The View From 1776

A Federal Republic If We Can Keep It

We must not abolish the electoral college, as liberal-progressive-socialists (and even some conservatives) are once again campaigning to do.

Delegates to the Constitutional Convention in 1787 were explicit in rejecting any opening for consolidation of too much power in the hands of any person or agency of the government.  The Constitution’s chief bulwark against such mischief is the preservation of states’ rights that had existed before the Constitution.  Hence, ours is a Federal republic comprised of states exercising significant powers that are denied to the national government.  It is not a democracy that is inevitably vulnerable to mob rule that makes the protection of individual political liberties under the Bill of Rights a mockery.

The electoral college is the Constitution’s method for preventing a tyrant from seizing unwarranted power by fomenting mob rule (see Obama’s class warfare political campaign) with the collusion of the so-called mainstream media, who represent less than half the nation’s voters, the liberal-progressive-socialist radicals.

Read Super-Storm of Irony, an editorial of The New York Sun, October 29, 2012,

See also A Federal Republic, Not a Democracy.
The founders were crystal-clear about it: a pure democracy is the least stable and worst imaginable form of government.

The following extract from The Liberal Jihad - The Hundred-Year War Against the Constitution covers the ground more extensively:

At least every four years commentators declare that this is an outmoded procedure that should be replaced by a straight popular vote. Polls of citizens generally show considerable support for doing so. Yet, in the 1787-89 period during which the ratification of the Constitution was hotly debated across the land, the Electoral provisions for selecting the President were almost the only part of the Constitution not fiercely objected to by one group or another (see Hamilton in Federalist No. 68). Most citizens at the time appeared to be fully satisfied with the indirect election method of the Constitution.

Why, then, did the Constitution establish the electoral procedure? Hamilton, in Federalist No. 68, explains:

It was desirable that the sense of the people should operate in the choice of the person to whom so important a trust was to be confided. This end will be answered by committing the right of making it, not to any preestablished body, but to men chosen by the people for the special purpose, and at the particular conjuncture.

It was equally desirable, that the immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice. A small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations.

It was also peculiarly desirable to afford as little opportunity as possible to tumult and disorder… The choice of SEVERAL, to form an intermediate body of electors, will be much less apt to convulse the community with any extraordinary or violent movements, than the choice of ONE who was himself to be the final object of the public wishes. And as the electors, chosen in each State, are to assemble and vote in the State in which they are chosen, this detached and divided situation will expose them much less to heats and ferments, which might be communicated from them to the people, than if they were all to be convened at one time, in one place.

In Federalist No. 39, Madison described the nature of ratifying the Constitution, as well as of electing the President and members of Congress:

... it appears, on one hand, that the Constitution is to be founded on the assent and ratification of the people of America, given by deputies elected for the special purpose; but, on the other, that this assent and ratification is to be given by the people, not as individuals composing one entire nation, but as composing the distinct and independent States to which they respectively belong. It is to be the assent and ratification of the several States, derived from the supreme authority in each State, the authority of the people themselves. The act, therefore, establishing the Constitution, will not be a NATIONAL, but a FEDERAL act.

In short, the Constitution sought to avoid precisely our present-day process, in which simplistic propaganda barrages are aimed at warping the opinions of citizens who know little about the issues facing the nation and have almost no understanding of the alternatives and trade-offs available to the government. Instead of choosing leading citizens in each state as Electors who can give careful, rational consideration to the qualifications of potential presidential candidates, we rely on public opinion blatantly manipulated by TV advertising.

Technically we still elect independent electors in each state, but they are almost always bound beforehand to vote for one of the two principal party candidates. Some states have removed even that decision from the electors, mandating that all electoral college votes be given to whoever has the greatest number of popular votes across the nation. Another problem arises from the population growth of major cities on each coast and in the Mid-West. If the President were elected entirely by popular vote, politicians might concentrate time and money influencing opinions of selected large-city dwellers, whose interests differ from those of most of the remainder of the country, and simply ignore voters everywhere else. Winning the big-city vote could provide a majority of the whole. But a statistical majority is a tricky thing. As with a river having an average depth of three inches, there may still be holes deep enough for one to drown in.