Somebody Explain the Electoral College? … I Will!

I just had my first Twitter melt down. (How Trump of me.) I was responding to a gentleman who was under a misapprehension regarding the electoral college. It’s understandable that anyone would be confused about something as nonsensical as the Electoral College, and the fact that it has not been abolished,in these two hundred plus years since it was concocted, is beyond any explanation.

Up until the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December, after the presidential election of 2016, (which is when the members of the electoral college convene in their respective states to cast the votes that actually determine who wins— ridiculous but true), I still held hope in the Electors, the men who have the job of casting the actual votes that decide the next leader of the free world. 

If you read my blog, you understand my hope was that these men would do what the founding fathers intended which, as I interpret the constitution, would have been to vote to “protect the will of the people” by putting the actual decision of the presidency in the hands of the popular vote, and not to submit to the results of gerrymandering (the manipulation of boundaries of an electoral constituency so as to favor one party or class), and Russian interference.

The electoral college voted as they were expected to vote. The winner lost, the loser won, and Angela Merkel became the leader of the free world. 

That said, it was the arrogance of this twit, I mean tweet, that inspired me to re-post from January 09, 2017. 

Enough. He believes we have the electoral college so that the 10 most populated cities “who think they are intielctuallly superior to everyone” can’t decide the direction of the country. I won’t post my response here, but I think Ty needs a more thorough explanation.

So, not because I think I’m your “intellectual superior” but because everyone needs to understand the ugly truth of our history, this is for you Ty… and I’m sorry I called you a moron.

Someone (Nicolas Miller) once stated that our electoral system for electing presidents “is truly a gift that keeps on giving”- I say if there is a gift receipt I’d like to exchange it for something more fitting a Democracy. (Democratic republic for those who can’t grasp the fact that Democracy is the ideology this country strives for.)

The electoral college was adopted in 1787. The failures of the system were first apparent in 1800 with a tied election. Since then, elections in 1824, 1876, 1888, 2000, and 2016, all resulted in the loser winning.

This might be a good time to mention, Donald Trump list the popular vote.

I finally saw Hamilton the musical last night. I loved it, it was amazing. Beyond making … hmm…what’s his name…Alexander Hamilton a household name, it shed light on the man’s genius. He was an interpreter of the constitution, penning 51 of the 85 essays called the Federalist Papers which had the purpose of defending and clarifying the proposed Constitution, he was founder of the nation’s financial system and the first Secretary of the Treasury, he founded what was to become the US Coast guard, and he launched the New York Post. Those are only some of the achievements he accomplished in a relatively short lifetime…not bad for an illegitimate orphan from the British West Indies. 

Besides the inducement of enjoying theater, I had another reason to see Hamilton. I was interested to see if the subject of the electoral college was addressed in the musical, because Alexander Hamilton was in large part behind its conception. In answer to that, no it wasn’t specifically addressed. The musical was written before the subject became a hot topic of debate. Hamilton’s authorship of 51 of the essays in Federalist Papers was briefly mentioned.

In recent months, the most hotly debated essay of the Federalist Papers has been No. 68. It is the second in a series of 11 of said essays discussing the powers and limitations of the Executive branch and the only one to describe the method of selecting a president.
The electoral college was a compromise. It was concocted to garner enough support to ratify the constitution. 

The founding fathers were split on how a president should be elected. Some wanted a direct election by the people, while others wanted the president to be elected by congress. 

Again, the electoral college was a compromise concocted to garner support for the constitution which had not yet been ratified. 

In an attempt to gain support of the slaveholding states, the “Three-Fifths Compromise” was included in the Electoral College proposal—three fifths of the population in those states, at the time, were slaves— who were not allowed to vote. This “Compromise” essentially gave a slaveowner’s vote the weight of the numbers of their slaves. If their slaves had been given a vote, and they voted in accordance with their slave owners, that might have been fair…or not.

By virtue of the original intent of the Three-Fifths Compromise, it should have been abolished the same year blacks were given a vote. 

Let’s go back to Hamilton. He was anti-slave, however he viewed the system of an electoral college as superior to direct popular election for a few reasons:

  • He recognized, the “sense of the people should operate in the choice,” and would through the election of the electors to the Electoral College. Second, the electors would be:
  • “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 theirchoice.”
  • Such men would be “most likely to have the information and discernment” to make a good choice, and avoid the election of anyone “not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications”.
  • Corruption of an electoral process could most likely arise from the desire of “foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils.” To minimize risk of foreign machinations and inducements, the electoral college would have only a “transient existence” and no elector could be a “senator, representative, or other person holding a place of trust or profit under the United States”; electors would make their choice in a “detached situation”, whereas a preexisting body of federal office-holders “might be tampered with beforehand to prostitute their votes.”

Also, a successful candidate for the office of president would have to have the distinguished qualities to appeal to electors from many states, not just one or a few states:

  • “Talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity, may alone suffice to elevate a man to the first honors in a single State; but it will require other talents, and a different kind of merit, to establish him in the esteem and confidence of the whole Union, or of soconsiderable a portion of it as would be necessary to make him a successful candidate for the distinguished office of President of the United States”

Hamilton expressed confidence that:

  • “It will not be too strong to say, that there will be a constant probability of seeing the station filled by characters pre-eminent for ability and virtue”
  • The members of the electoral college do not have an infinite number of responsibilities. They have one job. That job is to ensure the person elected to office of President of the United States:
  1. reflects the will of the people, 
  2.  is unaffected by foreign machinations,
  3.  is someone with requisite qualifications.

On December 19, 2016, Members of the Electoral College failed to do their intended job. 

In addition, more than 50 Electoral College members who voted for Donald Trump were ineligible to serve as presidential electors because they either did not live in the congressional districts they represented, or they held elective office in states legally barring dual officeholders, and yet these factors were ignored by the Senate this Friday, January 6, 2016, when a third opportunity to disqualify an illegitimate election was disregarded.

Corrupt cowardice is at the helm of America’s sinking leader-ship. Our tax dollars pay these people who have allowed so many opportunities to correct an injustice to a vast majority of the population before Inauguration Day. Sorry, but I think it’s bullshit.


7 thoughts on “Somebody Explain the Electoral College? … I Will!

  1. I firmly believe the electoral college process needs a strong review and with it, either a defense of that system or abolishment. I’ve heard educated arguments for both sides and haven’t been able to reach a firm conclusion myself, but I do believe it is problematic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know DC is a little busy right now, but I don’t see anyone working toward a solution. The subject was forgotten after inauguration. If we had a true democratic process gerrymandering would not exist. This subject frustrates me beyond words.


      1. Something needs to be done, or an explanation as to why it isn’t should be given. DC looks at the immediate. That needs to change, as well, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for your research and explanation. It’s very helpful to us outsiders as to how it works in USA. Frankly, it doesn’t seem to benefit the voters, as those of us outside the USA are struggling to comprehend. It would seem a modern overhaul is needed to disallow unfair results… I really don’t know how you keep your patience, Lydia, blogging it all out must be one way of catharsis… I’m enjoying your Lots and learning too….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Vicky, It is frustrating to watch, although I don’t believe Trump will serve his full term. What is more frustrating is that his propaganda is still accepted as truth by many, and his approval rating is still 37%.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I find it very odd that circumstances that really seem out of order are seeming to be promoted as acceptable… it appears a different trump world order is acceptable ..

        Liked by 1 person

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