Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Chosen by Electors

                    The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from Article I, Section 1, Clause 2:  "The … President of the United States of America … together with the Vice President [shall be] chosen … as follows:  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:  but no Senator or Representative, of Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector."  This constitutional provision allows each State the same power and proportion in choosing the national executives as it has in Congress.

                    "There was a long and heated debate as to the manner in which the President should be elected.  It was proposed that he be chosen by the Congress.  Others thought that `electors' should be chosen by the people in each state and the electors should then choose the President.  Still others thought it would be more appropriate if the governors of the various states made the selection.  Even the Senate was proposed as the best means of selecting the national executive.  Finally, there were a number who thought that the President should be selected by all of the voters throughout the nation" (W. Cleon Skousen in The Making of America - The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, p. 519).

                    "After struggling with numerous proposals on the election of the President, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention settled on establishing a college of electors and apportioning the number according to the total of Representatives and Senators from each state.  This method permitted the smaller states to have a somewhat greater proportionate share in the choosing of the President, though not as large an advantage as they had in the Senate.  The Framers not only rejected the direct popular election of the President, but also left it to the state legislatures to determine how the states' electors were to be appointed.
                    "This language in fact paralleled the provisions for state legislative appointment of congressional delegates in the Articles of Confederation, and of U.S. Senators under Article I of the Constitution.  With political parties widely disdained, this process was designed to pick not the candidate from the most popular political faction, but the wisest and most virtuous leader.  The Framers rejected direct popular election of the President (and of Senators), both because they believed that the populace would be ill-informed about national figures and because the Framers wanted to avoid interfering with state authority and underweighing small states.  The Framers also rejected having Congress select the President because they feared that would make the President dependent on Congress.  They hoped that the Electoral College would obviate these problems and would form a truly deliberative body on this single issue.  The delegates to the Convention disagreed about whether electors should be popularly elected or appointed by state legislatures.  They resolved that question by leaving the matter up to each state legislature" (Einer Elhauge in The Heritage Guide to the Constitution,
p. 184).

                    This may explain why there is a movement in our nation to do away with the Electoral College and have the President and Vice President elected on a popular vote.  We know that the Framers were correct when "they believed that the populace would be ill-informed" because Barack Obama was elected because of the color of his skin and his age rather than if he were "the wisest and most virtuous leader."  I believe strongly that we must reject this movement and keep the Electoral College.  I also think it would be good if we repealed the Seventeenth Amendment and returned to having Senators selected by state legislatures rather than by popular vote. 

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