This letter is in response to letter, "Electoral College vital for two-party system" (Page A4, Dec. 24).

The Electoral College does indeed perpetuate the two party system. That is not a good thing.

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The Electoral College was born of slavery. It was part of the 3/5 compromise and a bicameral Legislature. It was a way for Southern slaveholding states to insure the more populated North did not outlaw the South's "peculiar institution."

The raison d'état for the Electoral College's existence no longer exists.

Our present two-party system serves to reinforce the status quo. That is not acceptable. The status quo is the reason we face the challenges we do. Our hyperpolarized political process is broken, and doing more of the same will not fix it.

A viable third or fourth party is needed to right the ship. America is a centrist nation, yet neither the Republicans nor Democrats reflect this reality. That is why "independent" is the most common political affiliation, and "none of the above" was the most common choice voters made this last election.

As we stand, the two main parties have a lock on the political process. Presidential debates have ceased to be anything other than reality TV sideshows, and closed primaries retrench the status quo at taxpayer expense.

Restricted debates, closed primaries and a way to elect the president that was designed to protect slavery do not make our republic stronger. In fact, quite the opposite is true.

There is a compromise position. Opening the debates to any candidate on the ballot in all 50 states, opening the primaries, and reforming the Electoral College so that its votes are awarded proportionally would solve many of the problems of our current system. More than anything else, it would drain the swamp, regardless of how our politicos felt about it.

Paul Cline

Grand Forks