In his April 4 op-ed, “Constitutional reform starts with the electoral college,” E.J. Dionne Jr. argued for the elimination of the electoral college for electing the president. This is not a good idea.

We are a representative republic, not a direct democracy. A nationwide popular vote would violate this principle of our Constitution. Each state’s electors are determined by that state’s number of representative and senators, maintaining the ratio of electors to state population. The electoral college prevents the tyranny of the majority, a compromise to protect the rights of the small states. As demonstrated in the 2016 presidential election, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s popular-vote majority came from a small number of counties in California and New York. This hardly reflected the will of the country as a whole. A large majority of counties in the United States voted for Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Calls to eliminate the electoral college reflect a political party’s inability to accept an election outcome it doesn’t like. Under current demographic conditions, eliminating the electoral college would mean the president would be elected solely by East Coast and West Coast populations, disenfranchising Americans who live in most of the country.

Frank Hoerster, Woodbridge

Like E.J. Dionne Jr. , I am no fan of the electoral college, but simply removing it could be like pulling a Jenga piece from a precarious tower. Might it provide stability in our two-party system or inhibit sore losers in the primaries from mounting independent campaigns? If states matter less after eliminating the electoral college, would current divisions between the coasts and the heartland grow worse? And if an election were close, where would you start the recount process?

Shifting to just the popular vote without some form of runoff voting could cause problems with majority rule. Already with the electoral college, winners of four of our past seven presidential elections received less than 50 percent of the vote. Without the electoral college’s winner-take-all disincentive to independents, more candidates would be sure to run, increasing the likelihood of more and smaller plurality winners. The electoral college can occasionally be undemocratic, but the popular vote without runoffs would assuredly become nonmajoritarian, excepting the rare landslide. Mr. Dionne was right that constitutional reforms should not produce fear. Yes, the electoral college can go, but not in isolation. Watch the unintended consequences and find ways to replace remaining benefits. Let the vetting begin.

Rick LaRue, Silver Spring