The Long Version

Retired broadcast journalist. Blogging helps scratch the itch. Recovering exRepublican – Sober and still Conservative.

Posts Tagged ‘Electoral College

The Case For the Electoral College

leave a comment »

Damn that antiquated constitution and it’s old fashioned rules regarding how we elect our leaders!

The political Left appears to be in all out war against the constitution, the Founders of our nation, and our history. They wish to pick and choose which parts they will adhere to and which parts they won’t depending on the political advantage or disadvantage said parts provide them…

Now they are after the Electoral College.Electoral College

Apparently the election of Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton so riled the Leftists that they are now convinced, after 230+ years of use, the Electoral College is no longer useful. They are convinced abolishing the Electoral College will solve all of their election woes (and put them solidly back in eternal power).

But in their rush to get rid of one of the oldest institutions in our political system, they are overlooking some significant consequences should they be able to do so. You see, the pendulum always swings back.

Tara Ross is a historical scholar on our Republican form of government, the constitution, and our Founders. This was taken from a Twitter thread by Ross. I encourage you to follow her on social media. You will learn much about America and its form of government.

The Founders created the Electoral College because they knew several things we seem to have forgotten:

  1. Simple democracies are dangerous.
  2. Bare or emotional majorities can tyrannize even large minority groups.
  3. Two wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner is not a good system.

They understood that humans are fallible. Power corrupts. Ambition, selfishness, and greed are dangers to freedom. Some claim Founders were elitists who didn’t trust the people. NO. They didn’t trust ANYONE. Not the people, not elected officials, not states or feds. Checks & balances on EVERYONE.

Carol Berkin states this wonderfully, noting that delegates to the Constitutional Convention were the most likely men to be elected to the first Senate or as the first President, yet they still sat and debated how to put checks and balances on those offices because THEY DIDN’T TRUST THEMSELVES either.

The Electoral College serves us well. It has several benefits that go unrecognized. First it makes it harder to steal elections. You can’t steal an election unless you can steal votes in right state at the right time and during a close national election.

With a National Popular Vote system, any vote stolen anywhere affects national outcome. This is true even if the vote is easily stolen in a very safe blue or red state. This is a dangerous situation that the Electoral College protects us from today.

Second, the Electoral College rewards coalition-building. Perhaps that sounds weird after 2016? But NO ONE really focused on coalition building that year. The result? A close election. One party lost. The other mostly avoided losing. But, yes, there was a coalition and it won.

The coalition that won in 2016 consisted of a group of voters who grew tired of being ruled by DC elites. They felt ignored, unheard. They saw DC insiders living by one set of rules while they were forced to live by another. They were tired of being told what to think and tired of being called names simply because they didn’t agree with those elites.

Some of this coalition voted for Trump enthusiastically. Some held their noses and voted for him. But the coalition all agreed he was most likely to upset the status quo in D.C. and that gave Trump the White House. Right now, Democrats are very focused on eliminating the Electoral College they believe caused them to lose. But they’d be better off focusing on why they lost in first place. They should consider how they might reach out to the millions of voters who feel ignored. They should be searching for middle ground. They should focus on things that bring us together instead of things that drive us apart. They should figure out why they lost the trust of so many voters within their own ranks who crossed over.

They need to run a campaign more like FDR. If Democrats can find that nominee, they will win in a landslide in 2020 WITH the Electoral College firmly in place. Similarly, Republicans don’t have to be stuck in world where they barely win by the skin of their teeth each election. They too should find middle ground. How can they build coalitions? Earn trust? Figure that out and their will start winning again in Reagan-like landslides.

We need to stop going off in our partisan corners. Quit pointing fingers at the other side. Quit blaming the Electoral College for the party’s own failures. Instead focus on what your own party did wrong or right in 2016.

The first party to take hard look inward and fix its own flaws will start winning again. In landslides. Electoral College and all. We’ve been here before. After the Civil War, the country was sharply divided between North and South. But due to the Electoral College, both political parties were forced to move past that division or suffer massive defeat politically.

Pretty much whether they wanted to or not, Democrats in South simply couldn’t win without reaching a hand across the aisle. Republicans could win by relying on their safe areas, but just barely. Both sides had incentives to look at their own mistakes and figure out how to build better coalitions.

By the 1930s, of course, Democrats were winning in repeated landslides. The lesson? Remember that we live in a big, diverse country! Don’t force people into one-size-fits-all thinking. THAT is the lesson the Electoral College has taught over and over again, throughout our history.

Getting rid of the system now, when we are so angry and divided…. Well, it’s the worst possible solution. We’ll be stuck in this angry place forever. We are better off trying to remember why we have the Electoral College in first place.

Interestingly, there have been only five occasions in which a closely divided popular vote for the presidency and the Electoral College vote have failed to point in the same direction. 5 times in 235 years.

The Electoral College was designed by the framers deliberately, like the rest of the Constitution, to counteract the worst human impulses and protect the nation from the dangers inherent in democracy. The Electoral College is neither antiquated nor toxic; it is an under-appreciated institution that helps preserve our constitutional system, and it deserves a full-throated defense.

 

Advertisements

Written by DCL

May 21, 2019 at 3:59 pm

Posted in Politics

Tagged with ,