Friday, November 11, 2016

The One College Liberals Don't Control

Because a Democrat has won the popular vote for President--but did not win the White House--for the second time in 16-years, calls are growing stronger to do away with the Electoral College.  "THIS IS NOT HOW DEMOCRACY WORKS!" is a common argument for simple, direct majority rule on the election of a President.  Which would be a great argument if the US was a true democracy--and not a representative democracy.

The Founding Fathers developed the electoral process through a series of compromises after winning the Revolution.  There were advocates for direct election of the President.  There were those who argued that Congress should elect the President--as such an important decision could not be trusted to the "unwashed masses".  It mirrored the debate over whether we should have a strong, centralized Federal Government or if more power should be delegated to the states themselves.  In the end, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe came up with ingenious ways to achieve a balance of power.

First is our bi-cameral Congress.  The House of Representatives is based strictly on state population--the bigger your state, the larger your share of the representation.  But the Senate spreads its power evenly among all 50-states--so that Delaware has just as much clout as California.  And that was the balance the Founders achieved in the Presidential election process with the electoral college: a greater distribution of power to every state--while still giving greater (but not total) influence to more populous states. What's more, each state was granted the power to determine their own way to select their electors--with most deciding to be "winner take all"--while a handful now distribute their electors by Congressional Districts won.

The irony of the "repeal the Electoral College" effort is that it would require the approval of the very states that it benefits the most.  Maybe we here in Wisconsin wouldn't mind not getting all of the candidate visits or the endless barrage of campaign ads every four years.  But we also wouldn't want to be completely ignored in favor of Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Houston and the other major population centers that by themselves would have the votes to elect the President.

So where you stand on preservation of the Electoral College shouldn't depend on if your party's candidate won or lost this week.  It should be based upon your belief that we should just be a country called "America"--or if we should continue to be the United STATES of America.

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