After two presidential elections so far this century in which the candidate amassing the popular vote has lost the presidency in the Electoral College delegate count, there are those calling for abolishing the system implemented by the Founding Fathers.
Many are saying the 2016 election especially bears out the need to do away with the system of selecting the next President, which is found nowhere else on Earth.
As I noted in Friday’s Kernels From the Cornfield:
Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee for President, continues to amass a wide lead in the popular vote over President Elect Donald Trump, the Republican standard bearer.
That lead in the popular vote can be narrowed down primarily from California, which is still counting votes.
In the latest count from the California Secretary of State, Clinton has 8,021,534 votes to Trump’s 4,196,371 votes.
If we take California’s votes out of play, Trump has 58,141,272 votes. Clinton has 56,411,865.
These facts are why so many say this proves the need to abolish the Electoral College.
I beg to differ.
The recent scenario proves the genius of the Electoral College. This shows the prescience of our Founding Fathers in not setting up a direct vote during the construction of the nation.
Going to a straight popular vote would mean that only one state – California – would ever need to vote.
Only one state – California – would decide for the entire nation who should be in the White House, which ideology the American people would follow, which mores and ethics would apply to an entire country.
There would be no need to cast ballots or to electioneer in any other state as by sheer population, California would hold all the cards. Make all decisions.
Sure state legislatures and governor’s offices would be up for grabs as would members of both chambers of Congress.
Yet in the end, no matter the ideology, the ethical bent, the morals of the citizens in the other 49 states and the District of Columbia, California would be the determinant state by the fact it would put the person in the Oval Office, who in turn would appoint all Supreme Court justices and jurists in all federal courts.
The genius of the Electoral College is that no one state would have the power and ability to dictate to the rest of the nation.
Another plan being put forth right now is for all electors to be bound to the popular vote winner rather than to the individual state winner. This would yield the same result with California dictating to the rest of the nation.
Some will argue, but what about population shifts?
The same result would ensue.
Whichever state has the most votes which can dominate, as California does currently, would become the only state that matters.
With the Electoral College – yes, I know in the beginning it was a compromise in part to protect slave states – all states are put on a more equal footing.
The number of electors is based on the population of any given state.
The long term benefit is that each state matters.
A candidate must amass, currently, 270 electors to go to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Population shifts would only juggle the number of electors for a particular state, but the requisite number would remain a constant percentage.
In essence the Electoral College does keep the spirit of democracy if not the strict adherence to the same.
The Electoral College provides greater equality for each state.
From the Cornfield, the Founding Fathers displayed genius not even they knew they had, as well as forethought not expressed, in devising a system of election unparalleled.