The Electoral College

Some quotes from the misinformed (either by ignorance or deliberate obfuscation)

"We're a democracy, so the majority should rule."

"The president is not legitimate because he did not win the popular vote."

"Eliminate the Electoral College, & the voice of the majority of Americans can be heard." 

This is what Democrats are clamoring for. Sounds good, doesn't it? Sounds "fair", right? Isn't that the way our country is supposed to work?

Well, um....NO, it isn't! 

Our country already works the way its supposed to, and there's a very good reason why. Read on....

 

Our Three Branches of Government

In a pure democracy, the majority does rule (the result is mob rule).

The United States of America is not a pure democracy; instead, its a REPRESENTATIVE  REPUBLIC

One more quote, from David Limbaugh (yes, he's the brother of Rush)

"The [founding fathers] crafted a partially but not purely democratic system. Indeed, they imposed safeguards against pure democracy (including the Electoral College), which they knew could lead to mob rule."

In a representative republic, citizens elect representatives who then act on our behalf. If we don't like their actions, we vote them out, and vote someone else in. We do not have a "direct one-on-one vote in any branch of our federal government. 

  • The legislative branch (Congress) acts on our behalf in the House and Senate. While "they" work on majorities to pass bills, "we" do not have a direct vote on any bill, i.e. the "majority of Americans" do not determine by direct vote which bills become law;

  • The judicial branch also votes within its body and a majority determines rulings. However, once again judges and juries act as our representatives. We do not cast direct votes on legal cases;

  • The executive branch oval office occupant, our president, is determined by representation as well. Enter the Electoral College. When we cast our votes for president, we are actually casting our state-level preference for the votes that will ultimately be cast on our behalf by our Electoral College representatives. 

If the DC Democrats who represent their constituents do not understand this most basic organization of our government, as dictated by our constitution, they should not be in office. While there may be a few who are uninformed, the vast majority know quite well the reason behind this structure is FAIRNESS. That they don't care, that they are happy to unfairly stack the deck in their favor, should give everyone pause. 

 

Why Do We Need the Electoral College?

(Hint: All States Matter)

 

If we decided that a section of the Constitution should be changed, the first thing that would have to happen is our Constitution would have to be amended. That's not an easy process, and the reason its not is to stop this very kind of shenanigans from politicians.  (Candidates who act as if they can just eliminate the EC are being dishonest.)

Ask yourself this, "If Hillary had won would the Democrats be so vocal about changing all the rules?" (Hint: If you answered "yes", you're not paying attention!) There is one reason, and only one reason you're hearing about abolishing the Electoral College: the Democrats lost the presidential election, they're afraid they're going to lose the next one as well, and so they're pandering to the uninformed, claiming they'll change the rules to unfairly ensure they can win.

So, what would happen if the Electoral College were eliminated, and we operated as a pure democracy to select our president? Very simply, presidential elections would be determined by Los Angeles, New York City, and possibly Chicago because of the dense populations located there. The rest of the country would literally have no voice. We would essentially have the potential for "rule by mobocrisy", to quote Mark Levin. Pure democracies tend to become authoritarian as a dominant power drowns out the voice of dissenters.

 

Does anyone think that's a good idea?  

Our Founding Fathers were pretty smart guys. They could already see not all thirteen states that existed at that time had equal populations, and they could foresee the problems for the people living in the smaller states if the ultimate decisions for governing always rested with the more heavily populated ones. The purpose of the Electoral College is to give each state an equal voice in the selection of our president. 

How Many Electors Does Each State Get

If each state received only one electoral vote, it might be fairly argued that the votes of states like California were unfairly diminished, or that a tiny state like Rhode Island had an equal vote as Texas. 

 

To acknowledge the population densities, the Electoral College is configured to match the total number of senators and house members allocated to each state. While there are 50 states plus the District of Columbia, there are 538 electoral votes, and it takes 270 to win an election. So, California, with a total of 55 electoral votes, already does have a larger voice than Rhode Island, whose total is 4.

 

So, when Democrats scream the Electoral College is not fair, remember that fairness has been established by mirroring Congressional totals, but as a Representative Republic, stop gaps are also in place to prevent a couple of densely populated states, like California and New York, from controlling the outcome of all presidential elections. 

Here is a map that shows the total electoral votes cast by each state in the 2016 election, and the breakdown depicting for whom those votes were cast. 

 
 
 
 

Another Example

This example has been making the Internet rounds. It clearly explains the need for an Electoral College. 

  • There are 3,141 counties in the United States.

  • Trump won 3,084 of them.

  • Clinton won 57.

  • There are 62 counties in New York State.

  • Trump won 46 of them.

  • Clinton won 16.

  • Clinton won the popular vote by approx. 1.5 million votes.

  • In the 5 counties that encompass NYC, (Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Richmond & Queens) Clinton received well over 2 million more votes than Trump. (Clinton only won 4 of these counties; Trump won Richmond)

  • Therefore these 5 counties alone more than accounted for Clinton winning the popular vote of the entire country.

  • These 5 counties comprise 319 square miles.

  • The United States is comprised of 3,797,000 square miles.

 

When you have a country that encompasses almost 4 million square miles of territory, it would be ludicrous to even suggest that the vote of those who inhabit a mere 319 square miles should dictate the outcome of a national election.

  • Large, densely populated Democrat cities (NYC, Chicago, LA, etc.) DO NOT and SHOULD NOT speak for the rest of our country!

In Summary

Clifford Humphrey, writing for "The Federalist", said it well: "Thus our republic is democratic in that it is controlled by public opinion, but our Constitution requires patience and persistence for the people to express that opinion through elections. By filtering the people’s judgment through elections over time, the Founders established a republic that would allow the people’s best beliefs about what is just—not their immediate impulses for what they want—to guide the government. Such a deliberative process is best described as republican, not “undemocratic.”

The design of our government ensures that while our voices can result in change, that change is intended to be considered and not the result of "mobocrisy rule". 

 
Other Useful Information

Democrats are also screaming about the number of senators assigned to each state. (They really are trying to stack the deck!) Let's take a quick look at the reasoning the Founding Fathers used when setting up the structure of Congress. Remember, it takes both bodies of Congress to pass legislative bills into law (which must then go to the executive branch as well).

Congress

Senators & The Senate

The Senate is designed to represent an equal voice from each state, and therefore the number of senators was determined to be two. The Senate comprises one-half of the two bodies that make up Congress. (As a fun fact, the Constitution called for senators to be appointed by the state legislatures rather than votes by citizens.The 17th Amendment changed the selection process to direct votes by citizens of each state.) The purpose of the Senate is to equally represent each state in the legislative branch of government. 

House Members and the House of Representatives

The House was designed to be The People's House. It is here that the difference in state populations is recognized. Larger states have more representatives and thus a larger voice in bills that become law. There are 435 members of 

While it takes both bodies of Congress to pass a bill, each body also has some specific duties. For instance, only the House can initiate appropriation bills, and the House must bring articles of Impeachment. The Senate ratifies treaties, and only the Senate can try, convict, and remove a president from office. Senators are elected for six year terms, while members of the House serve two year terms.

So, when Democrats say they want to change the Senate to match State size, they are again resorting to shenanigans because the House already does reflect size differences. What they are really after is more unfair power over unique areas of government assigned to the Senate as well as gaining an unfair advantage in the Electoral College. 

Constitutional Amendments

Our Founding Fathers made it difficult to amend the document which governs the structure of our country to ensure and protect the ideals embodied therein. Imagine if a party in power could alter the fundamental rules and structure by which our country operates. Our Constitution guarantees our freedom, guides and restrains the three branches of government, and provides the means by which changes to the Constitution can be made. 

Amendments can be initiated by Congress or by the States. It takes a two-thirds majority vote by both bodies of Congress to enable Congress to propose an amendment. States can also force propose amendments to be considered, through a Constitutional Convention, if it is called for by at least two-thirds of all state legislatures. To become an amendment, any proposed amendment must then be ratified by three-fourths of the states, through either the votes of the state legislatures or of "ratifying conventions" held by each state. 

Sources & Suggested Further Reading

Quora, "What is the difference between the House of Representatives and the Senate?"  

https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-difference-between-the-House-of-Representatives-and-the-Senate

The Federalist, "Sorry, Liberals, But America Is Not A Democracy, And Its Better That Way"  

http://thefederalist.com/2018/02/07/sorry-liberals-america-not-democracy-better-way/

US Constitution.Net, "U.S. Constitution"

https://www.usconstitution.net/consttop_acon.html

 
 
 

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