published Monday, November 5th, 2012

Keep the Electoral College

Given the real possibility of Mitt Romney winning the popular vote, but losing the Electoral College, discussion about the role — and the value — of the Electoral College is a common topic this election season.

The debate over the merits of the Electoral College compared to a direct popular vote is as old as the America itself. There are some who consider our current electoral system to be obsolete. The reasons America's founders favored and, ultimately, implemented the Electoral College remain as valid today as they were two centuries ago.

Our founding fathers intended to create an electoral system that both accommodated the needs of the day and ensured future stability. Because citizens and politicians in the 18th century were burdened by slow travel, citizens could not possibly make an informed direct vote based on knowledge of a given candidate's policies and character. Accordingly, the proponents of federalism, led by James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, suggested that citizens elect their own state electors -- a group of men that local voters knew.

Even early opponents of the Electoral College recognized the need to protect the rights of a people from all abuses of power, be it the agenda of a king or the arbitrary will of a majority. This was common ground among Federalists and Anti-federalists. As a result, the American Constitution compensates for the rights of underrepresented minorities or populations. That's why each state is granted two national senators, regardless of a given state's population. This ensures that smaller states are protected and their interests equally represented. The Electoral College, by placing value on states, offers the same protection.

A direct popular vote would enable presidential candidates to appeal solely to those most populated regions of the country. Wining over voters in the East Coast and California would be enough to snag a win under a popular election. People living in other areas of the county could be dismissed entirely with a popular vote system. The Electoral College ensures that less-populous states have a voice in federal government -- and that presidential candidates continue to appeal to their interests.

In 2000, President Bush managed a win over Al Gore despite a slight loss in the popular vote. National polls suggest that Mitt Romney stands the chance of winning the popular vote by a small margin and losing among state electors. Those who bemoan such occasional occurrences should consider the repercussions of the alternative.

Quite simply, under a direct elect system, minorities -- in any sense of the word -- would be all but forgotten.

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It's funny how people focus on the singular Electoral College election and ignore the host of others that are far more meaningful.

Why not reform Congressional elections? Why will a given Congressional Representative be chosen even when they might not even have a majority of the vote in their district?

Your narrow-minded focus on the big ticket ignores the foundation and why it's really rotten inside.

And that's not even mentioning how the current 435 number IS disenfranchising people.

Open your eyes.

November 5, 2012 at 1:11 a.m.
nucanuck said...

This election has been fought in about seven states. The other 43 are so pre-determined as to get little consideration or effort on the part of the candidates.

The electoral college is an idea that has come...and should go.

November 5, 2012 at 1:12 a.m.
EaTn said...

The carved-out districts, primaries and electoral college are the means of keeping control of the political system in the hands of the bureucrats rather than the people, much like communist nations.

November 5, 2012 at 5:38 a.m.
rolando said...

Any one here even know the reason the electoral college was established? Evidently not, if the above comments are any indication...sounds like a lot of sour grapes to me.

Perhaps they want the big cities to tell the rest of the state residents what to do -- and the populous states to tell the rest of the nation who our rulers [sic] will be.

Popular vote is a pee-poor method of democracy [rule of the majority] to directly select anything, as witness our current "vote-for-those-who-give-us-the-most-free-stuff" [aka bread and circuses].

We are [or used to be] a republic...

Just once I would enjoy seeing the various electoral colleges consider the welfare of the country as a whole, overrule the popular vote, and name THEIR choice of president. They are empowered to do that, you know...good thinking and foresight, once again, on the part of our Founders.

November 5, 2012 at 7:08 a.m.
EaTn said...

rolando..anything other than counting voter heads for president is chicken excuse for freedom.

November 5, 2012 at 8:24 a.m.
Leaf said...

It's impossible to point to past elections and decide who would have won had it been a popular vote. There are millions of people who didn't vote in those elections because their state was so red or blue that their vote had no chance of counting.

If nothing else, the elimination of the electoral college would give hope to those millions that their vote means something, and some percentage of them would become more informed because of it. That has got to be a good thing.

A good compromise would be for individual states to cast their electoral votes as percentages like Maine does. It's hard to get them to change though, because whatever party is in the majority always wants to consolidate their grip.

November 5, 2012 at 3:27 p.m.

rolando, obviously you didn't read my post, which actually covers the real distortion in this country at the legislative level and doesn't worry as much about the Electoral College at all. . And don't pretend that the Electoral College is immune to your big city problem, as that's actually known to be happening as well. Otherwise certain places wouldn't want to be modifying the system.

Of course, it seems you want an elite cadre to determine the course of the country and the feelings of the majority of the people be damned.

But don't worship the Founding Fathers as if they knew everything, by their rules, some states even had their state legislatures directly pick their members of the electoral college...South Carolina, for example, kept that practice up till 1860.

Leaf, I don't think they do it as a percentage, but by congressional district. Which was also proposed in Pennsylvania by certain Republicans so that those big cities that rolando got outraged over above wouldn't determine the state's electoral vote, and they could get a share. A similar act was done by Democrats in the 1890s Michigan.

But like I said, the Presidential election is one office, it's the several hundred others that really need to be examined.

November 5, 2012 at 9:43 p.m.
rolando said...

That so-called "elite cadre" of voters you disparage carried us well for 130-140 years, did the Founders' ideas and experienced-based writings. SoCarolina and the rest of the states acted lawfully and constitutionally regarding how electoral college members -- and US Senators -- were selected/elected. That was and is a state's perogative... [yeah, Senators are now popular-vote.]

Perhaps you forget the uproar when algore lost the electoral count to Bush...but won the popular vote [supposedly].

Bottom line -- each state sets its own rules regarding electoral college votes, how they are dispursed, etc. Blame the state, not the feds.

You do realize any elimination of the electoral college requires a Constitutional Amendment, right? But with all those gimme-free-stuff 47%ers out there, that might even pass...although it will never be put to a popular vote, will it? Amendments don't work that way...another smart thing the Founders did.

Evidently you still don't know why Senators and Presidents were not elected by direct vote. Open your own eyes and study a bit of history -- US History, not Europe's.

November 5, 2012 at 10:14 p.m.

You can think so rolando, you can think so. I think that elite cadre caused the Civil War(some of them, anyway) by protecting their interests under the guise of liberty, and supported, or at least ignored, widespread abuses and discrimination to many beyond that, and were not as good for the country as you so fervently want to believe. They just had the fortuitous luck to be around when things were going well for reasons that had little if anything to do with their actions.

And yes, you can accurately say what South Carolina did was lawful, but that just goes back to what I've long said, just because the laws allow something doesn't mean it's right. I thought that was implied in my remarks, but apparently I should have been more direct.

And the whole election of 2000 was about considerably more than the difference between the Electoral Vote and the Popular Vote. Especially troubling is that the outcome of that was not decided by a state acting on its own, but at the Supreme Court.

That kind of doesn't jive with your idea of a state working things out on its own. If you were committed to that, you'd repudiate it, and blame the Feds...well, five of them anyway.

And evidently you don't know why Senators and Presidents were not elected by direct vvote. Open your own eyes and study a bit of history, but US and European, without the tinted optimism you so favor to put them on a pedestal. The Founding Fathers blazed a path of elitism and discrimination with that choice, and thanks to faithful worshipers of them like you, we've not yet overcome the historical inertia.

Yes, we do need some Constitutional reform, thank you for noticing.

It'd be really nice if they put in a line that said "Hey, future people, we might get things wrong, or even just wrong for you tomorrow, don't pass the buck on deciding the course of action back onto us, have the courage of your own convictions and use your own judgment" but I have my doubts about that happening.

Too many people who want somebody else to use to justify what they're doing.

November 6, 2012 at 1:11 a.m.
rolando said...

You fail to mention the other 56 [sic] states, bulbs. What each and every one of them is doing and has done, electoral college wise, is and always has been, constitutional. You infer something underhanded or shady has been committed in the Carolinas. It hasn't.

Then you blame the US Civil War on the voters and refer to them as a "special cadre"! Amazing how you view history.

You then blame algore's loss on the SCOTUS! Again, amazing. Have you even read their decision? It would be much more accurate to blame the Florida Democrat-laden SC for their decision in defiance of settled state law. The SCOTUS slapped them down for that trick and told them to try again...which they did not do, of course. "Hanging chads", indeed.

Obviously you refuse to even consider why the electoral college exists and simply discard it out of hand as something that foils ProgLibs attempts to circumvent constitutional methods...the Amendment process itself. That still-not-ratified constitutional amendment is an example.

No, I most assuredly do NOT support your hair-brained scheme to eliminate the constitutional protections via non-constitutional means. There is no need for what you call "Constitutional Reform" but really mean judicial activism.

Bottom line -- you simply detest the idea that state law trumps unconstitutional federal whims. Why, that would never happen in your precious Europe now, would it? You want all laws to be federally driven and approved in defiance of the constitution. Never happen, no matter how hard you ProgLibs wish for it.

Too many people refuse to accept the responsibility for what they have done.

November 6, 2012 at 5:48 a.m.

Yes, other states did it too, that's why I said "some states even had their state legislatures directly pick their members of the electoral college" South Carolina was just one example.

Was this unclear to you? Or did you just look it up and decide to pretend outrage? Should I have listed them in all exhaustively? Seems a bit excessive.

I stated quite directly that by the rules the Founding Fathers set up that such was legal, and that I felt that was an example of why they were wrong. I consider it to be an example of why the law itself was wrong, because it let such a nefarious thing happen.

And how you got the idea that I was blaming the US Civil War on the voters, I don't know. Seriously, are you confusing "elite cadre" with "the voters" or something? That's a strained connection. And I certainly didn't say "special cadre" as you claim. Where do you get the idea that you can so blatantly and falsely manufacture words that I never typed? Have you been worshiping Reagan again, or was it just from Mitt Romney?

Please at least take the time to be responsible enough to comprehend what I'm saying, not just go off on a rant where you make things up. I know you already showed you're not good at such things with your support for the birther movement, but surely you can do better? Surely you can learn from the past.

Do keep claiming you're interested in defending the Constitution though, FascoCons only pretend to swear obedience to the Constitution because their attempt at a literal reading lets them get away with all the injustices they really want to do and put the responsibility on icons they've put on pedestals which can't be challenged since they're so sacred.

Bottom line? You simply detest the idea that justice is a matter of personal responsibility, and that the law does not trump rectitude. You want the laws to excuse all your discrimination and intolerance. You claim to want to follow the constitution, but you really mean blinding us to your exploitation of the name of liberty.

But you won't be able to get that past everybody. Not forever.

And you're still wrong about Florida. Keep supporting court decisions when you like the results, but ignoring the reasoning.

November 6, 2012 at 4:48 p.m.
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