In the heels of Donald Trump’s Electoral victory came the inevitable calls for the abolition of the Electoral College on the basis of Hillary Clinton’s apparent popular vote majority. Not content with demonstrations and protests, some in the Never Trump crowd not only sent death threats but went as far as physical intimidation of a number of electors to force them to change their votes. Senator Barbara Boxer (DCA) promised to introduce legislation to abolish the Electoral College; in addition, there are petitions galore, most of which are nothing but sour grapes.
The Electoral College exists for a reason. We have to realize that we do not live in a democracy but rather in a constitutional republic and the difference is significant. In their wisdom, the founding fathers were mistrustful of the unbridled majority and mindful of the dangers of it swamping and obliterating the minority. Very early on in the Constitution, ratified on September 17, 1787 at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, they added Article Two, thus establishing the Electoral College. US citizens vote in each state to choose a body of electors who are then pledged to vote for a party’s candidate. It is further reaffirmed by the 12th Amendment, which requires each elector to cast one vote for president and another for vice president. The Electoral College vote is then certified by Congress in January.
The Electoral College is made up of 538 electors, made up of numbers corresponding to the 435 Representatives, 100 Senators plus 3 electors from the District of Columbia. The Constitution bars any federal official, elected or appointed, from being an elector.
The Electoral College assures that the most populous states will not shut out the smaller states. Were it not for its existence, elections would be determined solely by California, New York and Massachusetts and states like Iowa, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Alaska and such would be completely ignored. Candidates would not need to even campaign in those states if the results were to be determined by the popular vote alone. The founding fathers were aware of how easily democracy can turn into mob rule and that is why they established a republic that combines representative government with a constitution to prevent the mob from trampling on other’s inalienable rights.
For those protesters, this is not the first time that the electoral vote trumps (yes, it is a pun) the popular vote. It happened in 1824 (winner John Quincy Adams), in 1876 (Rutherford B. Hayes), 1888 (Benjamin Harrison), 2000 (George W Bush) and now in 2016 (Donald J. Trump) A quick glance at the electoral map shows a sea of red in the middle of the country sandwiched by blue states on the coasts. Given the contempt with which the progressive elites view the inhabitants of the flyover country, populated as it is by “deplorables” and “irredeemables” the importance of the Electoral College becomes apparent.
This is the system we have used since the creation of the United States as a sovereign nation. It has worked well for us and therefore, it behooves those would be reformers to consider the consequences of the abolition of the Electoral College very carefully, lest they come to rue the day they fundamentally change the country.