Keep the Electoral College: Abolish Progressivism!
The process for choosing the President and the Vice President is laid out in Article 2.1.2 of the Constitution for the United States of America:
“Each State shall appoint, in such Manner, as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress . . . “
The American system of government is not a Democracy (mob rule); it is a Republic! Per Article 4.4 of the Constitution, the American people are guaranteed a republican form of government, one in which: the people are governed by freely elected representatives and whose political power is divided, limited, checked and balanced. Yet, to listen to the TV talking heads and Progressive politicians whine about how the popular vote getter in the 2016 presidential campaign did not end up also winning the Oval Office, you might be led to believe that American government was originally framed as a pure democracy and that the Electoral College system is flawed.
Nothing could be further from the truth! For, our nation’s Constitution does not provide for the Chief Executive to be chosen based upon the popular vote. The mode for electing the President was one of the most hotly debated issues addressed by the Delegates attending the 1787 Philadelphia Convention where the Constitution was framed. Chief among their concerns, was the safety of the people; to that end, the idea of relying upon “electors” became the preferred mode due to that system’s inherent capacity for mitigating any opportunity for fraud, foreign intrigue, cabal and/or corruption. The notion of electing the President by popular vote (direct election) was rejected because of the “tumult and disorder” it would stand to invite.
In debating the merits of one system over the over, Founding Fathers Elbridge Gerry of MA and George Mason of VA explain, that danger of election by the people at large lies in the opportunity for uninformed people to be dangerously “misled by a few designing men…” Presidential candidates who would tell them whatever they wanted hear, maybe even promise them the moon, in exchange for their vote:
“A popular election in this case is radically vicious. The ignorance of the people would put it in the power of some one set of men dispersed through the Union, and acting in concert, to delude them into any appointment.” [Elbridge Gerry, MA – Madison Papers]
“It has been proposed that the election should be made by the people at large; that is, that an act which ought to be performed by those who know most of the eminent characters and qualifications should be performed by those who know least.” [George Mason, VA – Madison Papers]
A Safer More Equitable Mode: The Electoral College System
The Framers ultimately settled upon electing America’s Chief Magistrate by indirect popular vote. Per Article 2.1.2 each State would appoint a cadre of electors equal to the number of Representatives and Senators comprising the State’s congressional delegation. The electors were to be of a distinguishing caliber and vote “according to the dictates of their individual judgments.” That was then; in modern practice, with electors now pledged to vote along party lines, electors tend to uphold the sense of the people as revealed to them through their respective State’s popular vote.
Nevertheless, the Electoral College has more than lived up to the Framers’ expectations. It has proven itself to be: 1) reliably, the safest mode for electing the President; 2) capable of mitigating fraud, cabal, foreign intrigue, and corruption; 3) effective in protecting the interests of the less populous States by ensuring each State is considered equally in terms of its weight within the Legislative Branch.
Furthermore, unlike its challenger, the national popular vote, the Electoral College honors the Framers’ view of Federalism in the way it acknowledges: the important role held by the States, the vertical separation of powers inherent to our nation’s system of dual-footed government. Equally important, the Electoral College acts as a protective barrier against the advancement of tyranny of the majority in support of the Constitution’s guarantee of a republican form of government.
Alexander Hamilton, the one Founding Father the Progressives like to quote, said this about the Electoral College: “I venture somewhat further, and hesitate not to affirm, that if the manner of it [Electoral College] be not perfect, it is at least excellent. It unites in an eminent degree all the advantages; the union of which, was to be desired.” [Federalist Paper 68]
Thus, the clarion calls to abolish the Electoral College are ill placed and without merit. They emanate from the same Progressive mindset1 that convinced the American people to approve the17th Amendment (the popular election of U.S. Senators) by fabricating the lie that higher popular control of government made for good government. Now, more than a century after its ratification, we reap the bad fruit from progressivism’s deception.
The Electoral College is a bulwark against the Progressive agenda to turn America into a PURE democracy.
Throw off progressivism; but, keep the Electoral College!
_Dianne Gilbert \ Chairman
National Heritage Center for Constitutional Studies, Inc.
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