Upon the defeat of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, elements of that campaign has been beating a non-stop drum seeking to change the way American people select a president. A similar event had occurred after Democrat candidate Al Gore’s defeat in the 2000 presidential election. Both Gore and Clinton had apparently won the popular vote, but lost the election in the Electoral College vote count. As a result, both candidates have sought to change the way the American presidential election has been counted for 236 years.
How does this push for change affect you, the average American voter? Consider this. What if a committee of notable United States social scientists told us that for all future elections we would have to choose our next president based on how a computer decided what would be best for the country? In lieu of that idea, would it make you feel any better, if you were told there were actually two candidates, but the majority of experts who run the computer have already decided that Candidate Two was the appropriate choice? Eliminating the Electoral College would have exactly this impact.
The choice of president would, in many cases, be taken out your hands. The U.S. would be no different than a failing socialist country, Venezuela for instance, and your fate would be in the hands of faceless bureaucrats and their elite supporters. The people, especially minorities, would be at the mercy of the ruling majority, even in a democracy.
It is a common public perception that the United States is a democracy, but accurately speaking, that is not the case.
The U.S. is a constitutional republic. What, you may ask, is the big deal? If you have any concern about your rights, it certainly is a big deal. The authors of the constitution, schooled in the classics, philosophy, and history, quite certainly had every reason to be wary, and hence avoided establishing the U.S. as a democracy. As the reader, probably, is aware, in a democracy the majority rule. While that sounds fair if you are part of the majority, in a democracy there are no provisions to guarantee the minority rights. That is why a democracy is not a sustainable governing system. According to an old saying, a democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner.
The United States constitution has the outlined how the American public would vote for the president and that is through the creation of the Electoral College. Former U.S. Federal Election Commission member, Hans von Spakovsky has observed that, “The Electoral College is a very carefully considered structure the Framers of the Constitution set up to balance the competing interests of large and small states.” Hence, while “It prevents candidates from wining an election by focusing only on high-population urban centers (the big cities), ignoring smaller states and the more rural areas of the country the places that progressives and media elites have declared to be flyover country.”
In order to win the U.S. presidential election, a candidate must accumulate 270 electoral votes, or just over 50%. That’s because, by law, no matter how large a population, there are only 538 electoral votes available to divide. According to the constitution, each state is apportioned a fraction of the total by the following formula: one for each member in the House of Representatives plus two for their Senators. In short, the Founders were looking out for the people in “flyover country” long before there were airplanes to fly over them.
If not for the Electoral College, it would be very tempting for candidates to campaign in only the largest and most populace states, and ignore many American voters. This method of campaigning would effectively mute the voice of a large percentage of voters outside of states with large populations. Who would care what the people in Nebraska think about farm bills, the opiate crisis in Maine, ranching in Idaho or any number of other states with smaller populations? The people in “flyover country” seldom are asked their opinions on national matters, but without the Electoral College, they would be completely at the mercy of the majority. That is not the America, as founded. The left repeatedly argues that the Electoral College short changes democracy, and you can hear them repeat this mantra without explanation anywhere there is a microphone, but recall the U.S. is not a democracy (Wilcox, Hagen). We care about the rights of minorities, and we do not want them shut out of the political discourse. A dominant majority seldom cares about isolated voices, but the Electoral College seeks to guarantee them a voice (Bresler).
Early on, the framers of the constitution were determined to avert the inherent dangers of what James Madison called “the tyranny of the majority.” With that consideration in mind, they constructed a more lasting system of governance: a republic. Inherent in this system was a deftly crafted system of checks and balances. This republican style of government was carefully balanced to safeguard the rights of both the majority and the minority.
That also led, most notably, to the two-house structure of our legislative branch. We have a House of Representatives, where the number of members is greater for more populous states (which obviously favors those states), and the Senate, where every state has exactly two representatives (which keeps less-populated states from being steamrolled). Being a republic, we also don’t pick our president through a direct, majority-take-all vote (Arca). We have an Electoral College to ensure that all voices are heard through the din of the democrat-left. As the Austrian political philosopher Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn dryly observed in his book “Leftism,” the crucifixion of Jesus was “a democratic event.”
Recently, a new mechanism has been proposed by the progressives and democrats to effectively have the U.S. President elected “directly” by a pseudo-popular vote. Known by the innocent sounding title, National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC), it seeks to create an agreement among a group of States and the District of Columbia to award all their electoral votes to whichever presidential candidate wins the overall popular vote in the 50 states and the District of Columbia (Hagen 3). This not so subtle process to rob the less populated states of a voice in the presidential election has not yet gone into effect (Godek). The obvious thwarting of the rights of minorities to have a voice in the political process, as guaranteed by our Constitution, would be nullified by this end-run of the intent of the Founders. Consider this, if Georgia and Wisconsin are part of the proposed NPVIC, then African-American voters in Georgia, or women voters in Wisconsin voted successfully for a presidential candidate who won in their respective states, but was unacceptable to the national majority, their votes could be have little value, since their state’s electoral votes would go the national popular winner. As feared more than 200 years ago, “the tyranny of the majority” would prevail. Since the voice of every citizen matters, efforts to circumvent the functional and lawful Electoral College must not be permitted to occur. The voices of American minorities must be represented equally as well as majority voices.
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