Donna Carol Voss:
The Electoral College has been on life support since a chad—specifically a “hanging” chad—tipped the White House to George W. Bush in 2000. The painful reality of how our Constitution works was never more apparent. The Gore/Lieberman ticket won the popular vote 50,994,086 to 50,461,092 but lost the electoral vote 266 to 271.
There was a lot more to it, but the punchline is that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Bush the winner because he won the electoral vote. It’s a tribute to the American national character that we weathered that cataclysm without civil war, but it left a bad taste in the electorate’s mouth.
During the 2016 Republican primary, when it looked as if Donald Trump would win the popular vote but still not reach the delegate threshold for nomination, that bad taste turned sour. Riding high on populism and “throw the bums out,” Trump complained that the election was rigged because the people wanted him, and whomever the people wanted, they should get. Fortunately for the country, Trump reached the delegate threshold, and we were spared a debacle that would have made 2000’s cataclysm look like a lemonade stand.
Cue the national election. No controversy, scandal, “info dump,” lie, corruption, defection, or dirty trick has been left unturned. Why would election night go smoothly? Frankly, the plane is going down no matter who wins; it’s only a question of water or land and how many survivors there will be. Chances aren’t looking good for the Electoral College.
“This is a democracy,” the people cry. “It should be one person-one vote, and that stupid Electoral College needs to go!” Poor Electoral College. So misunderstood. If the Electoral College has to go, it has to go, but we should at least buy it dinner first. While we’re at it, we might as well get to know it better.
Trust History: You Don’t Want Mob Rule
The sad lot of the Electoral College is that what you see isn’t what you get. Like the counter-intuitive fact that a tire blowout on the right requires a steering wheel correction to the left, the EC works backwards. What appears to deprive the populace of its power to decide a president is the very mechanism that preserves its power. It works that way because this isn’t a democracy; not a pure one.
“Pure democracy” is just another phrase for “mob rule.” Dictatorship of the majority means 51 percent of the citizenry rule the other 49 percent. That minority has no rights except those the condescending majority grants. It works well for those in the 51 percent, not so much for those in the 49. Plato knew it, and James Madison, who knew his Plato, did too. Plato and Madison both recognized that justice and liberty for the minority is possible only when power is shared between groups in society.
Plato’s “Republic” heavily influenced Madison and the other framers to devise a Constitution that protected the minority. Plato held that the ideal, i.e., just, form of government was one in which power was shared correctly between workers, warriors, and rulers. Madison held that the ideal, i.e., American, form of government was one in which power was shared correctly between judges, lawmakers, and rulers.
Inspired as it is, our Constitution protects the minority while preserving the best of democracy: we the people elect representatives to run the government (republic) and we do so by majority vote (democracy). Ergo, this is a democratic republic. Ergo, an Electoral College.
The Electoral College Balances Voting Power
The purpose of the Electoral College is to balance voting power across states so no one region of the country can gain too much control. If a president is elected by a simple majority of votes, a candidate who is wildly popular in one region (e.g., Ted Cruz in Texas, Mitt Romney in Utah) can ignore smaller regions and campaign only where large majorities are possible. Or a candidate who kills in California and New York can write off “flyover country” completely.
The Constitution and the charter of the United States was ingeniously devised to provide for the liberty of ALL citizens. Unlike what the left would have accomplished with the Supreme Court, if given the chance, the Founders created a government which was for the people, by the people. Even when parts of it displeases or disappoints us, none of it should be “modernized”, as anyone crafting any portion of it will inevitably have one bias or another as the motive for the change.
Leave it alone.
The short sightedness of many members of current generations as the greatest generation passes away are more concerned with changing ideologies rather than personal values. Their primary concerns are themselves. Their lack of life experience and relevant education ensures the unintended consequences of their decisions. This is quite evident based upon the results of the past 8 years with the economy, Obama Care, foreign affairs and the last elections. Warren Bennis said, ” Managers do things right, Leaders always do the right thing! ” We need leaders not managers!
@Randy: I’m afraid we’ve had neither.
Electoral college makes perfect sense for one simple reason that is perfectly evident with today’s lawless & unaccountable Democrat party: it compartmentalized electoral corruption. If the election were strictly “popular”, we would all be at the mercy of GOTDV (“get out the dead vote”) in place like Chicago & Philly.
Lets keep the electeral collage lets dump the EPA instead its just another buracacy thats out of control