From the moment that it started looking like Donald Trump would win the presidency, but Hillary Clinton would take the popular vote, a collective groan could probably be heard across the country from anyone who remembers the election of 2000 or those of us who understand why we have the Electoral College. The hew and cry from the left that the Electoral College needs to go the way of the dodo bird were sure to start again, and indeed it already has.
Of course, that’s the worst idea for presidential elections ever.
I know it’s, like, so not cool to think that our Founders had any real clue what they were doing when they drafted the Constitution, because racist, slaveholding, white, old guys wrote it. But they actually had very good reason for not having the president (one of only two nationally elected offices — the other being the Vice President, at the time) elected via purely democratic means. The Founders were concerned with the government representing the American population, but also wished to avoid the perils of straight democracy that they knew had brought down great republics in the past. The electoral college was their answer, and it’s served us well for over 200 years.
Those who call for it ending A) don’t have a grasp on history, the Constitution or electoral politics, and B) fail to recognize how little it’s been used (only three times prior to 2016, since 1791) and how well the concept behind its existence has served to benefit the minority from a tyranny of the majority.
Our Founders created a federalist system of states coming together to create a whole. That meant that most law and control would be held by state and local governments, and was the key to the federalist model. However, states have been relinquishing their influence for awhile now. It’s a trend loathed by many, including myself. Repeal the 17th, anyone? Electoral College is one of those few instances where individual states still hold power and a smaller state can matter. This makes Californians and New Yorkers nearly apoplectic that they can’t simply hold a vote and ignore anyone in less populous, or dare I say it? Rural areas.
It’s too ironic not to enjoy the way the left loves and champions all things minority and fairness until it runs into something like the Electoral College that acts as a check against straight, unruly populism, and from the electorate potentially electing a corrupt individual.
Or, perhaps, the system worked exactly the way it was created to, and our Founders knew what they were doing and had the historical knowledge of human nature and societies to have the prescience to establish an electoral buffer between the voting public and the presidency.
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