"These systems might sound strange to us, but then our own Electoral College system looks downright exotic, not to say mystifying, to most other democracies. If you measure these overseas examples against our system of nominating and electing presidents, you can see just how much the rules of the game matter. This even extends to primaries: Had the Republicans been operating by the Democratic Party’s rules—no winner-take-all contests, hundreds more unbound “superdelegates”—Trump’s path to the nomination would have been much harder. And if we allocated electoral votes by congressional district, the 2012 race would have been much closer; Mitt Romney won 226 districts to Obama’s 209.
It’s a lesson at the heart of politics, one as clear as it is overlooked in so much political analysis: the rules of the road are often the most critical factor in determining who wins. Presidents who trumpet their victories and claim a mandate should be careful what they’re claiming: Often it’s the rules, as much as the people, that put them there."