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In Defense Of The Electoral College

The Electoral College was attacked by the Asbury Park Press in yesterday’s editorial.  I replied with this.  I hope they publish it.


In their editorial “Time to abandon Electoral College” the Asbury Park Press writers wrongly dismiss the value of our electoral system, referring to it as “a little known vestige of another time”.  It is to our own detriment that it is little known today because if the people understood the Electoral College they would realize that it was important to us when it was created and it is just as important to us now.  They would defend it from attack.

The Electoral College was part of the compromise made between the large states and the small states at the Constitutional Convention in 1787.  It was also part of the deal made with the states that later joined the Union.  If we remove that provision that is so important to smaller states, then we must allow them to peacefully secede if they fear they will not be adequately represented in future presidential elections.  A deal is a deal.  The Constitution didn’t come with an expiration date.

What the Press editorial writers fail to understand is that the founders feared pure democracy and rightly so.  As a matter of fact, only the House of Representatives was supposed to be popularly elected.  Senators were supposed to represent state governments.  The “checks and balances” that the writers correctly praise also included, in the minds of the founders, checks and balances between the power of the majority and the minority, both between conflicting interests among the people and conflicting interests between the states.  In the pure democracy that the Asbury Park Press is promoting the rights of the minority, particularly their property rights, are routinely ignored by politicians whose only concern is winning the next election.  One feature common to all poor countries is their governments’ disregard of property rights and contract rights.  If we do the same thing as them we will see the same results.

The Electoral College also makes our presidential elections easier to manage.  While many elections have been very close in the popular vote, the electoral system usually produces clear winners.  If we switched to simply counting total votes, in a close election every voting precinct in the country would experience the same mayhem that Florida went through in the 2000 election.  It could result in a national crisis at a time when we really don’t need any more problems.

Think of the Electoral College as the World Series of elections.  In the baseball World Series we don’t count the total runs scored over the series of games that are played.  It is the games themselves that count and winning or losing each game is important to the players and to the fans that watch the games.  Presidential elections are the same way.  We don’t want New Jersey to simply deliver a blob of votes to a national election.  We want to have our own election right here that we can call our own.  That was the deal we made in 1787.  It is part of the glue that holds this nation together.  We should continue to honor it today.


One Comment

  1. Tom Burke wrote:

    You made your point, and even if they don’t print it, you are ahead. I think maybe your ratings are better than there’s anyway, at least in my view.

    Friday, December 28, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

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