How bad is it to want to use “lol” when talking about a commentary on a major media website? Bad. Unfortunately, that’s precisely what comes to mind when reading Politico’s recent absurd attack on the Electoral College.
As usual, when an election doesn’t go their way, the left wants to change things so it will the next time. I’ll distill their argument down for you: the Electoral College needs to finally be done away with because the Russians were able to purchase $100,000 in illegal ads in Wisconsin, which might possibly have persuaded enough voters to give Donald Trump the victory.
Never mind the $200 million spent by the two candidates on advertising. No, it’s the election of Donald Trump, apparently brought to you by the Russians via Facebook that is the latest ax being used to chip away at the Electoral College. Also … wait for it … yes, it’s racist.
As we all know, since Rahm Emmanuel spilled the beans, the left never lets a crisis go to waste. And, knowing that removing the way our Constitution mandates how presidents are elected is a long, uphill battle, they take every opportunity they can to create suspicion and disdain for it in the minds of Americans.
So let’s take a step back and talk about the purpose and necessity of the Electoral College – and why it matters to you – shall we?
A friend recently reminded me that Churchill said, “democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried.” That might be a true statement were it not for the republican form of government.
No system of government will ever be perfect – because people are in charge and people aren’t perfect. But our founders knew, as John Adams pointed out: “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” That is why we are a republic and not a democracy.
The Electoral College is an integral part of our form of government. The desire to abolish and replace it with a National Popular Vote is the desire to move us ever closer to direct democracy.
Shouldn’t we have a National Popular Vote, you ask? One person, one vote, after all. We elect everyone else, so it’s only “fair” to directly elect the president, too.
What would elections look like, and how would they change if we switched to a National Popular Vote? Campaigning would immediately and nearly exclusively be relegated to the coasts where the largest population centers are. Nearly all the states within the coastal states would largely be ignored. Many might think, “Good! Keep those filthy politicians away from here.”
But would elections like that be truly representative of the population? Should all subsequent elections be decided by New York, L.A., and a few other cities? And what would politicians do to win votes there? Democrats and too many Republicans already buy votes with giveaways. All politicians would have to outdo one another – by being generous with your money – with promises made for greater and greater largesse to the voters.
And what about recounts? If it’s a close election, how does a nationwide recount sound? Fun, eh? Voter fraud? Scratch that. We definitely have no problem with that whatsoever, and I’m sure it would never, ever occur under a system where only a handful of localities need to be targeted.
In this, as with so many things, the Founders demonstrated their brilliance by giving us the Electoral College. They wanted to ensure that the smaller states would not be ignored and that cities were not given undue attention.
In speaking of government generally, James Madison said it well: “It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.”
We should tread lightly and be very circumspect when contemplating removing sections of the foundation of our form of government. Incidentally, this is precisely why the Founders mistrusted democracy: because the emotions of the masses could be whipped up and they could make a snap decision – one they might later regret.
Our form of government was intended to cause things to move slowly: to allow passions to cool and level heads to prevail (that was the idea, anyway – it doesn’t happen so much anymore).
As G.K. Chesterton once said, “Whenever you remove any fence, always pause long enough to ask yourself, ‘Why was it put there in the first place?'”
Perhaps we ought to do the same with the Electoral College.