Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Electoral College

The word "democracy" appears nowhere in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution. In Federalist No. 10, James Madison wrote, “Measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority.”

According to 2013 census data, nine states — California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia and Michigan — have populations that total roughly 160 million, slightly more than half the U.S. population. It is conceivable that just nine states could determine the presidency in a popular vote. The Electoral College gives states with small populations a measure of protection against domination by states with large populations. But it also assumes that voters in a state have voting aims in common.

This effort at balance in governing was more important that simple numbers in the minds of the Founders. In the Senate, Rhode Island has the same representation as California. The president can veto the wishes of 535 members of Congress. It takes two-thirds of both houses of Congress to override a presidential veto. Everywhere in our structure you can see the emphasis upon shielding the citizenry, the emphasis upon protection rather than expression, the belief that error is to be more feared than righteousness.

The current political discussion that attacks the Electoral College must accept that the idea that was part of the essence of the founding of America, that is the defense of the minority from the majority, is wrong.

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