By Josh Peter of the USA Today
Josh starts the article by saying “Here’s a quick refresher on the subject, which you may not have given serious thought to since middle school.” While a refresher on the Electoral College isn’t a bad thing, to suggest that most people, let alone voters, aren’t aware of the basics of the Electoral College is amusing. There has been so much discussion on the Electoral College in recent years that it would be nearly impossible not to be aware of it.
Under the “What are the basics?” heading, Josh goes on to tell us there are 538 delegates. There’s a delegate for each of the 100 Senators and 435 Representatives plus 3 for the District of Columbia. The fact that there are three delegates for the District of Columbia was something that I only recently learned, but the rest was old news and has been discussed regularly since the 2016 election, let alone the 2000 election.
Josh goes on to include statements from Erwin Chemerinsky of the University of California at Berkley. Prof. Erwin, a “Constitutional scholar”, is quoted as saying ‘“I’m very concerned about the Electorial College” “I think the electoral college should be abolished…” “it proportionately favors smaller states over larger states.”‘
So why would a group of individuals who favored democracy put such a system in place?
The Electoral College was just one of the many safe guards put in place to by the Founding Fathers to safe guard the nation against the “tyranny of the majority”. That’s why we are a Representative Republic, not a true Democracy. They understood that true Democracies eventually fail once the majority takes over.
There are three key protections the Founding Fathers put in place. The first was the fact that Senators were elected by state legislatures, not voters. This gave states a check against the House of Representatives that might not be there if Senators were elected by the same voters who elected the Representatives. They also gave Senators a term of six years, rather than two for Representatives, giving the Senate more stability and making it less influenced by fluid public opinion.
The second protection was the a prohibition against an individual income tax. All taxes were to be proportional or based on the population of the states, not individuals income. They feared if the treasury was opened up to the voters, our nation wouldn’t survive. The individual income tax has changed that by giving the Federal Government large new source of funds. That allows politicians to use those funds to convince voters to vote for them based on how the politician says the funds will be used.
The third protection was the Electoral College. It keeps large states from dominating the government at the expense of small states. If all states were the same and had similar populations with similar goals, backgrounds, and economies we wouldn’t need states. We could be one nation. But that’s not the case. The Electoral College gives smaller states more of a say in the nation than they would if we didn’t have it.
Of the three basic protections put in the Constitution by our Founding Fathers, two have been removed. States no longer elect Senators. They are elected directly by voters. We’ve given the Federal Government a large source of income. We’ve allowed our politicians to “buy” votes by proposing policies that would benefit individuals, without them having to pay for them. We even allow politicians to propose policies that we can’t afford. That’s why we’ve only had four budget surpluses since 1969!
Now a supposed “Constitutional Scholar” is in favor of eliminating the last of the three major protections put in those Constitution by our Founding Fathers?
A close look at the 2016 Election Map by County shows why the Founding Fathers put the Electoral College in place. The United States has 3,100 counties or county like entities. Hillary won 500 of the counties and Donald Trump won more than five times that many with 2,600. Changing to determining our presidential elections by the popular vote would allow a few heavily populated counties and states to dominate federal policy and put in place policies that most of the country doesn’t want.
If this was meant to be a “fair and balanced” article, where were the comments by the “Constitutional Scholar” that understands why the Founding Fathers put the Electoral College in place and defends it. There are many of them out there. But Josh couldn’t seem to find one? Or did he not attempt to find one? Or was this really a piece to cast doubt on the Electoral College, not fairly report on it?