“The choice of several to form an intermediate body of electors will be much less apt to convulse our nation into extraordinary or violent movements to abuse political power.”
– Alexander Hamilton
Following the Revolution in 1787, America's greatest leaders met in Philadelphia to form a more perfect union. They set aside the antiquated Articles of Confederation and agreed to write a new constitution. After hashing out a national court system, the powers of the executive branch, and the national legislature, discussions on how to fill these positions ended in fisticuffs. A barbarous battle ensued between the small and large population states. Tempers flared and fights broke out as the Convention turned into a bloodthirsty battle, worse than the final blow-off-jam at the Roller Derby.
Many call it divine intervention when delegates Roger Sherman and Oliver Ellsworth of Connecticut proposed a compromise to give states with larger numbers representation based on population in the House of Representative. This Great Compromise crafted a Senate with two members from each state. They also applied this principle to choosing a president. He would be “selected” by “representatives” who were “elected” by voters to protect the will of the people. Without this compromise, our nation would have no democratic equilibrium and any majority, any time could disenfranchise the minority at will.
Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution established strict parameters for the Electoral College to insure the process of selecting the president could never be abridged by a mob of malcontents. Since America is a republic, our Constitution protects rights of both the minority and the majority. Therefore, each state was given as many electors as representatives in Congress. Now all states had an equal voice. This insured neither could disenfranchise the other, as is the case in the pure democracies. When people vote on Election Day, they choose electors to vote in proxy for them.
The Electoral College is a skeletal part of republicanism. It directly reflects the will of the people. But the caveat is, on rare occasions a candidate might lose the popular vote by a small margin, and win the election. This happened five times in our history, but only by slight margins. In 1824, John Quincy Adams eked out a win over Andrew Jackson when House Speaker and candidate Henry Clay abdicated, and awarded his political colleague Adams his allotted electoral votes.
“It is the ultimate responsibility of Congress to act in the best interests of the people.”
– Henry Clay
During Reconstruction in 1876, Samuel Tilden outpolled Rutherford B. Hayes and he won 184 of the electoral votes while Hayes won 165. But 20 votes were disputed in four southern states that resented Reconstruction. The Electoral Commission intervened and gave them to Hays. In 1888, Grover Cleveland received 90,000 more votes than Benjamin Harrison, but Harrison won 233 electoral votes. Cleveland received 168. Cleveland was unpopular with the veterans and they convinced the New York Tammany Hall political machine to support Harrison and award him with their electoral votes.
Of course, none of us will ever forget the fiasco in Florida that launched the rebirth of the radical left progressive movement. George W. Bush's conquest of 537 votes over Al Gore triggered a binding recount that went on for days. The left maladroitly labored to interpret enough “hanging-chads” into a Democratic victory. The Supreme Court mercifully ended this vote manipulation. But to this day, progressives claim Bush stole their election and have been seeking revenge since.
“I never want to see what happened to me in Florida happen to Hillary Clinton on any other Democrat.”
– Al Gore
In the 2016 election, "media driven election polls” predicted a suppositious victory for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. Yet pollsters had egg on their faces. Clinton received 2 percent more of the popular vote than Trump. But Trump won 304 electoral votes to Clinton's 227. This shocked media pundits who were convinced they had the power to control elections with pernicious predictions.
“When will these reporters learn they can’t suppress the truth just because they don’t like it?”
– Donald Trump
Each election when a Democrat wins the popular vote but loses the electoral vote, they squeal the College is undemocratic. And they are right. We live in a “republic” designed to prevent mob rule at the expense of the minority. The College structure is identical to Congress so a citizen of every state has an equal voice in choosing our president. Since the number of electors is proportionate to the population, blue states with a large liberal populous have a significant more electors than the less populated red states. Obviously, this is not about the “popular vote.” This is all about the “politics.”
The left remains appalled they didn’t get their way in Florida and has been trying to dismantle every American institution that protects our voting rights. Once the tally was revealed last election, Hillary Clinton proclaimed, “This does not reflect the will of the people.” She doesn’t know how wrong she is. The College was created to “reflect the will of the people” – not to arbitrarily reflect the desires of one political party. The College represents a consensus of all beliefs, of all people in our nation on the candidate most qualified to represent the entire country; not just the politics of selected regions.
"It’s far easier to win the popular vote then it is to win over the Electoral College.”
– Donald Trump
The newest, wealthy, leftist hero, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, recently said, “If I am elected president, I’ll get rid of the Electoral College so every candidate will have to ask you for your vote.” But the exact opposite would happen. Candidates would invest their time and funds courting states with the most people, money and political influence. They’d rent a beach house on the left coast in California and lease a flat on Park Ave in New York. They’d spend the rest of their time in states surrounding the District of Columbia. They’d never set foot in the Midwest or the southern heartlands. This would segregate and isolate politics for the elitists, and it would decimate the protections of our republic!
As bad as our two party system is, without the College, it would be replaced with something worse. We would have more candidates and political parties than they have in a banana republic. A direct popular election would showcase every president want-to-be independent and candidates from 4th class parties stumping at the expense of our democracy. Instead of electing presidents who win by fifty plus percent of the vote, we’d elect someone who was lucky enough to get a third of the vote. It happened here in 1992 when Bill Clinton won 43 percent, George Bush 33 percent and Ross Perot 19 percent.
“Politics gives guys so much power that they tend to behave badly around women.”
– Bill Clinton
Since critics of the College are stuck on the phrase, “the will of the people,” they forget the salutary effects of impeding “the people’s will" – when “the people’s” are an obstreperous minority. In 1992, Perot won the hearts of a fifth of the voters, but the Electoral College thought better and gave him zero electoral votes. In doing so, this fashionably-unpopular, undemocratic American institution insured that the voices and the will of 81 percent of Americans prevailed on Election Day in 1992.
Despite its defects, our electoral system on a bad day is better than any other. It cultivates gridlock and compromise, which makes majority rule hard, and minority rule harder. Without The Electoral College, our elections would be a three-ring circus. Don’t mess with the Electoral College!
"A simple way to measure a country is to look at how many want in – and how many want out?"
– Tony Blair