The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns the Electoral College and why we should keep it. Progressives continue to be in favor of abolishing the Electoral College. They claim that it is “undemocratic,” and they are correct.
The United States of America is a republic, not a democracy. It is also a constitutional republic because its government is built up the Constitution. The Founders included both democratic principles and republican principles when they wrote the Constitution.
The Preamble to the Constitution states, “We the People of the United States….” The Founders believed that the people held the power in the government, and they wanted the people to have a voice in how the government was run. However, they knew the dangers of a pure democracy, and one danger is that the majority of the people do not always choose wisely. Therefore, they wanted the people to be in charge, but they wanted to have some controls over the power of the people. This is the reason why they did not create a pure democracy.
It is also one of the reasons that they wrote republican principles into the Constitution. Jarrett Stepman of The Daily Signal says that “much of our political system” is undemocratic, including the Bill of Rights. He explains that the Electoral College is one of those republican principles written into the Constitution for the good of the nation.
…the Framers of the Constitution created the Electoral College as a way to select presidents who could gather broad-based support around the country. The system is somewhat skewed in favor of small states, as the total number of Electoral College votes of each state is dependent on the size of a state’s Senate and House delegation.
Since every state has two senators, small states have that edge, though not so much that the large states aren’t still far more important to win.
The implications of this are twofold. Small states collectively can check the power of large ones, and more importantly, presidential candidates must appeal to states as states, not to the nation as a giant, undifferentiated mass….
There is a large movement among the states called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact movement. States that join this movement agree to award all of their electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the overall popular vote in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. As of this month, fifteen states and the District of Columbia have adopted the compact. Together they have 196 electoral votes out of the 270 votes required to elect a president.
However, some blue-leaning states are beginning to understand the implications of giving away their electoral votes. They realize that the small states will lose influence if presidents are elected on a popular vote. They are also beginning to see that some individual rights guaranteed by our Constitution cannot be protected in a tyranny built on who is the most popular. Stepman continues with his defense of the Electoral College.
The Founders had differing views on democracy, but few saw it as an unalloyed good. The current system, where states rely on a popular vote to select electors provides that balance of both federalism and democracy.
It preserves federalism (and minorities’ rights), protects the system against election fraud, and has produced a remarkably stable system for selecting presidents in the world’s oldest constitutional republic.
Democrats/liberals/progressives are upset because the system worked exactly as it was meant to work. In order to win the required 270 votes in the Electoral College, presidential candidates must appeal to all the states as states. Donald Trump won the most electoral votes because he went to the smaller states and convinced the people to vote for him.
I agree with Alexander Hamilton that the Electoral College is not a perfect system, but it is “excellent” (Federalist 68, as quoted by Stepman). The system has worked for more than 230 years. Why should we change it now simply because Hillary Clinton lost the election?
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