Hillary Clinton’s supporters are pushing for the abolition of the electoral college after she became the fourth candidate to win the popular vote, but lose the electoral college. (The other elections were in 1876, 1888 and 2000.1 ) They say it would be justice for a democracy.
First of all, the United States is not a pure democracy where all eligible voters would vote personally on all legislative matters. We are a constitutional republic. We elect people to represent us in the decisions at the federal, state and local levels.
Our founding fathers created an ingenious legislature consisting of a Senate and House of Representatives. Why two sections of Congress? Because they understood the need to respect each state and they didn’t want the largest states dominating the smallest ones. They wanted to limit the impact of inevitable factions within our nation.2 Consequently, for a law to be enacted it must pass both houses: one which is based on population (House) and one which gives each state two representatives regardless of its population (Senate). When the states agreed to be connected into one nation, it was with the understanding that their autonomy would not disappear — something the Democrats who push for bigger and bigger federal government seem to have forgotten.
If the electoral college were to be abolished, presidential elections would be relegated to “ten pockets of population” as Larry Arnn, president of Hillsdale College, described today on Fox News. It would make those areas all-important and render the rest of the nation irrelevant when it came to campaigning. Without the electoral college, we would have had twenty states deciding for the other thirty in this election. Our founding fathers had a wise idea.
1 – “Presidents Winning Without Popular Vote,” http://www.factcheck.org/2008/03/presidents-winning-without-popular-vote/
2 – “By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.
There are two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction: the one, by removing its causes; the other, by controlling its effects.
There are again two methods of removing the causes of faction: the one, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence; the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests.
It could never be more truly said than of the first remedy, that it was worse than the disease. Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.
The second expedient is as impracticable as the first would be unwise. As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed. As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, his opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other; and the former will be objects to which the latter will attach themselves. The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object of government. From the protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results; and from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the respective proprietors, ensues a division of the society into different interests and parties.”
Part of Federalist paper #10, http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/documents/1786-1800/the-federalist-papers/the-federalist-10.php