The Electoral College: As Relevant As When It Was Adopted


framersBefore starting, I just want to be clear that my knowledge on this topic derives not from Wikileaks, the web or traditional news sources.  My knowledge and opinion stems only from the fact that A) I have read every one of the Federalist Papers twice and B) my Master’s Thesis indirectly addressed this very topic.  So I am more than qualified to give a centrist perspective.

First, those who believe we live in a one person, one vote system are completely misguided.  We live in a Republic defined in the Oxford Dictionary as “A state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives.”  If one person one vote actually existed federally, then every person eighteen or over would march to Washington and vote on every law and proclamation.  But that isn’t how it happens.  We elect Congress People and Senators to vote on our behalf.  Such is the case of the Electors of the Electoral College with one very distinct and purposeful difference.

The Framers of the Constitution and the writers of the Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay recognizing the fact that the majority was not always right, took the power out of the hands of the people because they understood the potential dangers of the majority.  They recognized the need to have electors who could vote their conscience if there truly was a candidate who was a threat to the union.  More simply, they didn’t trust the average citizen and they were and are completely correct.

While emotions run deep, Donald Trump is not a fascist or a Nazi.  That type of language is useless and just makes the helpless feel as if they have some power.  He may not be a nice person, spoiled, undisciplined or too much of a man’s man but he is no fascist.  Time and history will prove me right despite the fact that I’m no fan.  But I am a centrist and there are few of us left it appears.  I see both sides of an argument and weigh them with logical and intelligent thought, not emotions.  Thank you Leonard Nimoy.

Second, for better or worse, like it or not, this past election was a perfect example of why the electoral college works so well.  In fact, THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE WORKED EXACTLY HOW THE FRAMERS INTENDED!!!  Most people on the left will continue to point out that President Elect Trump lost the popular vote, the one point I haven’t yet heard is that he won 37 of the 50 States.  No where did the Framers ever intend that because California (obviously not one of the original 13 states) has 49 Million people that it should dictate the lives in smaller states like Mississippi, Kentucky, Arkansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma, whose combined populations don’t come close to that of California.  It’s the same reason that Wyoming with six hundred thousand people has the same number of Senators as California.  Of course California has more representatives in Congress.  It was a trade-off that enabled these United States to be established.  Without that concession, the Constitution never would have been ratified.  The small and southern states would have been at the mercy of the larger, northern states.  Of course it had to do with free vs. slave states as well but that is beyond the scope of this post.

Finally, there is an old saying that “the wheels of justice grind slowly”.  The Framers clearly recognized that this government that they formed would be slow and inefficient.  That’s why it’s so difficult to ratify amendments or change the Electoral College.  But we are 240 years old and still the most powerful country on earth.  That will not change despite the fact that so many dislike the man who was voted into office.  Only Autocratic, authoritarian regimes like China, North Korea and Iran to name just a few are able to make sweeping changes, quickly, because they don’t answer to the people.

Although the Framers lived over two centuries ago and could not have imagined flight or even the automobile, (not true actually, Da Vinci envisioned and drew the helicopter), the Framers were far more intelligent, insightful and had more forethought than anyone living today.  That’s why our system should not be tampered with.  Rather than criticize and lament on the new President Elects election, people should do something to change and figure out the real reasons that Hilary Clinton did not make history by being elected our first female President.  In fact, the answer is not to fix a perceived problem with the system but rather to fix the actual problems within the Democratic party.  If those in charge do that, then the mid-term and next general election may yield very different results.

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