Attacks on the Electoral College Gain Momentum

lucianne.com/thread/?artnum=548335

Attacks on the Electoral College Gain Momentum

National Review Online, by Tara Ross

Original Article

corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=MmMyMDI4OTA0NDA3NTI2Y2Q0M2ZmMGZkMmM3MWNhMzk=

Posted 6/24/2010 4:46:03 AM

You won’t hear about it in the mainstream media, but the Electoral College is on the verge of being eliminated. One important legislative vote could occur Thursday. Two others could occur in the upcoming days and weeks. A California-based group, National Popular Vote, is lobbying hard for a dangerous piece of anti-Electoral College legislation. My NRO article on the mechanics of the legislation is here. Five states have already approved NPV, but now three additional states are dangerously close to joining them: Delaware, Massachusetts, and New York. Another trio of state legislatures approved the schem

This has been talked about ever since the first presidential candidate won the presidency but lost the popular vote. So far:

•John Quincy Adams who lost by 44,804 votes to Andrew Jackson in 1824
•Rutherford B. Hayes who lost by 264,292 votes to Samuel J. Tilden in 1876
•Benjamin Harrison who lost by 95,713 votes to Grover Cleveland in 1888
•George W. Bush who lost by 543,816 votes to Al Gore in the 2000 election.

Last time I checked, I lived in one of the United States of America, I'm not one of the "United Citizens of America."

Eliminating the Electoral College will eliminate our federal system of government and representation and and would lead to the nationalization of our government - to the detriment of the States. The President would be selected either through the domination of one populous region over the others or through the domination of large metropolitan areas over the rural ones.

If the Founding Fathers had intended for the President to be directly elected, they would have written it into the Constitution. But of course they didn't do that, seeing as they intended to create a government limited in scope and powers.

Power at the national level was split among the three branches, each reflecting a different constituency. Representatives were directly elected by the people (they still are), Senators were chosen by their respective state legislatures (they aren't anymore, but in my opinion they should be again), and the President was elected by Electors who were appointed by each state (for the time being they still are).

Power was also divided between the national government and the states (though we've certainly been seeing less and less of that in the last 75 years or so). There's a lot to be said for federalism... look at all the regional conflicts that trouble large and diverse nations like India, China and Russia. The Electoral College system at least forces presidential candidates to seek support nationwide, thereby making sure no state is left behind.

Direct election of the president would only reflect the will of a majority. In contrast, the Electoral College provides representation for both the population at large and the states. It thereby tempers and limits the power of majority rule.

I wonder if the activists who are seeking to eliminate the Electoral College in favor of a popular vote to elect the president (presumably because the EC violates "one person, one vote," as opined by Sen. Diane Feinstein on Larry King Live) are also willing to abolish the Senate for the same reason. Wyoming, with a population of 533,000, gets the same number of Senators as California with its population of almost 37 million. No "one person, one vote" there... where's the consistency?

[quote="Erich, post:3, topic:203088"]
Last time I checked, I lived in one of the United States of America, I'm not one of the "United Citizens of America."

Eliminating the Electoral College will eliminate our federal system of government and representation and and would lead to the nationalization of our government - to the detriment of the States. The President would be selected either through the domination of one populous region over the others or through the domination of large metropolitan areas over the rural ones.

If the Founding Fathers had intended for the President to be directly elected, they would have written it into the Constitution. But of course they didn't do that, seeing as they intended to create a government limited in scope and powers.

Power at the national level was split among the three branches, each reflecting a different constituency. Representatives were directly elected by the people (they still are), Senators were chosen by their respective state legislatures (they aren't anymore, but in my opinion they should be again), and the President was elected by Electors who were appointed by each state (for the time being they still are).

Power was also divided between the national government and the states (though we've certainly been seeing less and less of that in the last 75 years or so). There's a lot to be said for federalism... look at all the regional conflicts that trouble large and diverse nations like India, China and Russia. The Electoral College system at least forces presidential candidates to seek support nationwide, thereby making sure no state is left behind.

Direct election of the president would only reflect the will of a majority. In contrast, the Electoral College provides representation for both the population at large and the states. It thereby tempers and limits the power of majority rule.

I wonder if the activists who are seeking to eliminate the Electoral College in favor of a popular vote to elect the president (presumably because the EC violates "one person, one vote," as opined by Sen. Diane Feinstein on Larry King Live) are also willing to abolish the Senate for the same reason. Wyoming, with a population of 533,000, gets the same number of Senators as California with its population of almost 37 million. No "one person, one vote" there... where's the consistency?

[/quote]

The founding father also didn't intend for universal suffrage. There's a reason why only (free) men who held property could vote - they believed that only those with means and a stake in the country would be responsible enough to vote. Also, the founding fathers believed that the average citizen is not educated enough to be a responsible voter. Those men who had means were the most likely to be educated. Hence, we have a group of well-informed people on the electoral college. I can't say that I blame them, but for some reason it doesn't sit right with me. Sometimes I hate to agree with Sir Winston Churchill who said something to the effect of "The greatest argument against democracy is a five-minute discussion with the average voter."

I think the National Review article is unfounded.

Getting rid of the Electoral College would require amending the Constitution of the US. Its not a matter how many electoral votes favor such a change, as the article suggests. First, such an amendment would have to pass both Houses of Congress by a 2/3 majority. Then it would have to be approved of by 2/3 of the states, within a seven year period.

I'm sorry, but the claims of the National Review article are simply unrealistic.

[quote=Dale_M;6781936Getting rid of the Electoral College would require amending the Constitution of the US. **Its not a matter how many electoral votes favor such a change, as the article suggests.
[/quote]

First, such an amendment would have to pass both Houses of Congress by a 2/3 majority. Then it would have to be approved of by 2/3 of the states, within a seven year period.
That's not the claim. I thought it was at first, but it really is something different.

Basically, it is an attempt to have individuals states agree to a "compact" that whoever wins the national popular votes will have their electors cast a vote for that ticket. Individual states would pass legislation agreeing to that. IMO, this would be Constitutional, as each state determines how its electors vote. And if states want to tie their electors to the national popular vote, then they can do so.

However, such a compact could easily be broken by states opting out of said compact. Say they managed to get to the 270 they need. Just one state changing repealing the legislation would wipe-out the compact in effect. Doing it via Constitutional amendment would be considerably more difficult, and a lot harder to repeal.

Now, I don't think its a good idea. The article points out real problems with a national popular vote. And those reasons are as valid now as they were when the founders created the electoral college.

[quote="Monte_RCMS, post:1, topic:203088"]
You won’t hear about it in the mainstream media, but the Electoral College is on the verge of being eliminated. One important legislative vote could occur Thursday. Two others could occur in the upcoming days and weeks. A California-based group, National Popular Vote, is lobbying hard for a dangerous piece of anti-Electoral College legislation. My NRO article on the mechanics of the legislation is here. Five states have already approved NPV, but now three additional states are dangerously close to joining them: Delaware, Massachusetts, and New York. Another trio of state legislatures approved the schem

[/quote]

Hmm. I always thought that the electoral college was a stupid idea anyways.

[quote="Erich, post:3, topic:203088"]

If the Founding Fathers had intended for the President to be directly elected, they would have written it into the Constitution. But of course they didn't do that, seeing as they intended to create a government limited in scope and powers.

[/quote]

They also did not intend for the direct election of Senators, that came later as well, with the 17th Amendment. They also only wanted white, male, property owners to vote. Thankfully now the voter base has expanded, after many people sacrificed for justice and equality! Thank God the old days are gone, but we still must not stop fighting for justice and equality for those that are still oppressed in our society.

I'm firmly in favor of keeping the Electoral College in place, and not finding ways to circumvent it.

It would also be a good idea to return to the original method of having Senators elected by State legislators, as provided for in Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution, but that's not likely to happen. The Founders intended a Republic, but we've been chipping away at it.

[quote="Aggiornamento, post:8, topic:203088"]
They also did not intend for the direct election of Senators, that came later as well, with the 17th Amendment. They also only wanted white, male, property owners to vote. Thankfully now the voter base has expanded, after many people sacrificed for justice and equality! Thank God the old days are gone, but we still must not stop fighting for justice and equality for those that are still oppressed in our society.

[/quote]

Actually, the Founding Fathers of the United States included a huge number of black African Americans. Strongly suggest everyone read "Setting the Record Straight: American History in Black & White" by David Barton. Available from www.wallbuilders.com

You might be shocked and surprised.

[quote="Erich, post:3, topic:203088"]
Wyoming, with a population of 533,000, gets the same number of Senators as California with its population of almost 37 million. No "one person, one vote" there... where's the consistency?

[/quote]

It's more lopsided when you consider that 41 Senators from the less populous states can trump 59 Senators from the most populous states.

[quote="JimG, post:9, topic:203088"]
I'm firmly in favor of keeping the Electoral College in place, and not finding ways to circumvent it.

It would also be a good idea to return to the original method of having Senators elected by State legislators, as provided for in Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution, but that's not likely to happen. The Founders intended a Republic, but we've been chipping away at it.

[/quote]

Amen to that. Where would they even start recounts in close elections?

That said, no one said that each state must give ALL its electoral votes to one candidate. Two states, Nebraska and Maine have managed to split their electoral votes.

[quote="Suudy, post:6, topic:203088"]
Now, I don't think its a good idea. The article points out real problems with a national popular vote. And those reasons are as valid now as they were when the founders created the electoral college.

[/quote]

The major issue with the electoral college is not that the vote of a person in a less populated State counts for more than that of a person in a heavily populated State. The issue is that the result of a Presidential election is determined by 538 electors who don't have to vote consistently with their respective constituents. This problem presents itself even in the primaries. For example, Nevada went to Obama in the Democratic Primary even though Hillary won in that State. Why? Because 1 superdelegate representing Nevada ignored the voters and chose Obama.

[quote="EmperorNapoleon, post:13, topic:203088"]
The issue is that the result of a Presidential election is determined by 538 electors who don't have to vote consistently with their respective constituents. This problem presents itself even in the primaries. For example, Nevada went to Obama in the Democratic Primary even though Hillary won in that State. Why? Because 1 superdelegate representing Nevada ignored the voters and chose Obama.

[/quote]

The voting record of the electoral college is far different than that of state political party delegations. It is a misnomer to equate the two.

[quote="Beau_Ouiville, post:14, topic:203088"]
The voting record of the electoral college is far different than that of state political party delegations.

[/quote]

Irrelevant. They can, and have, cast their vote for anyone they want to without any consideration of the choice made by the citizens they represent at the balot box. THAT is what is wrong with the Electoral College and THAT is why it should either be abolished or the rules changed so that the electors have to vote consistently with the citizens they represent. As it stands, the people have no guarantee that their choice for President won't be usurped by the whims of a body of unelected officials. It's happened before, it will happen again, and it's funny that Republicans are the only ones who benefit from it.

[quote="EmperorNapoleon, post:13, topic:203088"]
The major issue with the electoral college is not that the vote of a person in a less populated State counts for more than that of a person in a heavily populated State. The issue is that the result of a Presidential election is determined by 538 electors who don't have to vote consistently with their respective constituents. This problem presents itself even in the primaries. For example, Nevada went to Obama in the Democratic Primary even though Hillary won in that State. Why? Because 1 superdelegate representing Nevada ignored the voters and chose Obama.

[/quote]

You are talking primaries here, not the actual election. The constitution has no say in how states choose their candidates or their electors. Don't like the way your state does it? Change your state law. You don't need to change the electoral college for that.

[quote="EmperorNapoleon, post:15, topic:203088"]
Irrelevant. They can, and have, cast their vote for anyone they want to without any consideration of the choice made by the citizens they represent at the balot box. THAT is what is wrong with the Electoral College and THAT is why it should either be abolished or the rules changed so that the electors have to vote consistently with the citizens they represent. As it stands, the people have no guarantee that their choice for President won't be usurped by the whims of a body of unelected officials. It's happened before and it will happen again.

[/quote]

That's not exactly true. There have been very few defectors, and none have affected the outcome. I don't have the link on hand, but there is a list of them. Also, most states have laws requiring electors to cast votes as per their pledge.

I could equally say that you don’t need to rig every Presidential election in favor of the Republican candidate by means of the Electoral College. If you don’t like the idea of a Democratic majority then perhaps you should focus your efforts on converting Democrats.

[quote="EmperorNapoleon, post:17, topic:203088"]
I could equally say that you don't need to rig every Presidential election in favor of the Republican candidate by means of the Electoral College. If you don't like the idea of a Democratic majority then perhaps you should focus your efforts on converting Democrats.

[/quote]

What? The electoral college is a federal institution, defined by the Contitution, that existed before the Republicans even existed. So I fail to see how it is "rigged" for Republicans.

And in case you haven't noticed, we are trying to convert Democrats.

[quote="curlycool89, post:7, topic:203088"]
Hmm. I always thought that the electoral college was a stupid idea anyways.

[/quote]

It may seem that way to you, but I do not want my country run by people entirely from both coasts. The Founding Fathers, in their wisdom, gave us a good system.

[quote="Suudy, post:18, topic:203088"]
[FONT="Arial"]What? The electoral college is a federal institution, defined by the Contitution, that existed before the Republicans even existed. So I fail to see how it is "rigged" for Republicans.

[/quote]

The only people who have ever benefited from it's composition are Republicans in less populated States. All three of the candidates who gained the Presidency because of the Electoral College and in opposition to the popular vote were Republicans.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.