I have written Several posts on the topic of all that is wrong with the Electoral College. It’s a hot topic once again, thanks to Elizabeth Warren giving it her focus as she campaigns for the presidency.
Clearly the facts pertaining to Electoral College aren’t taught in schools. People have resumed their arguments over it, picked up where they left off in 2016 when Trump lost the popular vote by almost 3 million, arguing without the facts.
I thought I’d lay out the facts here, I’ve done extensive research on this subject, so read the facts, ignore my opinions, then, we can have educated debates, rather than you hurling statements at me like:
“My vote counts more than yours because you’re a fvcking libtard.”
Other reasons this subject merits mentioning again:
- Our democracy is in peril: Putin manipulated the Electoral College on Trump’s behalf, (explaining his win despite his loss),
- And because I can copy and paste most of my work from my previous posts on the subject, giving me time to enjoy my daughter’s company; she’s home from college (not Electoral), on spring break.
I wrote the following post the day after I finally saw “Hamilton” the musical which I loved. Alexander Hamilton was truly a genius, one of very few in our history…
Except for federalist paper 68.
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.
- He was an interpreter of the constitution, penning 51 of the 85 essays called the FederalistPapers 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,
- He launched the New York Post.
Those are only some of the achievements he accomplished in his 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” the musical. I was interested to see if the subject of the electoral college was addressed, 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 mentioned.
In recent months, the most hotly debated essay of the Federalist Papers has been number 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.
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 Mr 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 choicein 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:
reflects the will of the people,
is unaffected by foreign machinations,
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.
The GOP can only hold onto power by means of tools like the Electoral College, that effectively disenfranchise voters in largely populated areas by giving their vote 1/10th of the weight of someone who lives somewhere less populated.
They won’t give it up without a fight, nor will they agree to use voting machines that are secure, hand marked paper ballots, random manual audits, end gerrymandering, end voter registration purging, stop closing voting stations in poor areas, automatically registering legal voters upon drivers licence renewals, etc.
They don’t want every vote to count because that will be the death of the
party of sexist racist old white men.
Let’s abolish it. 🤓
3 thoughts on “Why Elizabeth Warren is Right About the Electoral College”
How does one do so?
After the 2016 debacle I have been thinking that in cases where the popular vote and the electoral college differ there should be a run off between the top two candidates. Regardless of party.
I remembered about the slave thing bit hadn’t connected the dots like you did. I totally agree : Now people of color can vote the electoral college should go bye-bye.
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Until Democrats have political power nothing will change. The question is, will democrats be able to take control from the GOP, when they use every possible method to cheat.
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I do think that the Dems are gifted at shooting themselves in the foot. In part by tearing apart their more moderate candidates.
The large number of candidates worries me greatly. What happened to the Republicans in the 2016 contest was in part because they had so many candidates that weakened one another. It creates a great opportunity for, shall we say, foreign interests using the techniques they use to control their own populations to have a large effect on the outcomes.
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