John Avlon is providing reality checks on CNN and this morning he flatly got something wrong.
In this video you can see Avlon says James Madison described the Electoral College as “evil at its maximum.”
But that is not a true or factual statement.
You can read Madison here in his letter to George Hay dated August 23, 1823, well after the ratification of the constitution.
Madison is not referring to the Electoral College as “evil at its maximum.” Instead, as you can see in the letter, he is referring to the House of Representatives deciding elections if there is a tie in the Electoral College. Likewise, he is not even referring to the specific means, but to a situation then present in 1823 and his “evil at its maximum” quote is specifically about the limited number of states in the House of Representatives. He assumes that with population growth the “evil is at its maximum” and more states will minimize the problem.
That’s a pretty big difference from claiming Madison called the whole of the Electoral College’s implementation “evil at its maximum.”
What is also notable is that even if you took Madison as Avlon did, his letter makes clear he never contemplated direct popular election of the President.