Saturday, November 19, 2016

Electoral College: even under a parliamentary democracy, Hillary Clinton would still have lost, as Republicans have built a huge majority in the House of Representatives

Now the losers of the 2016 election are turning their fire upon the Constitution
writes John Yoo.
Clinton will win by a slight majority of the vote nationwide, but will not take the oath in January because of the Electoral College. Trump won a significant share of the electors, with more than 300 votes of the 538 at stake.

As they did after losing George W. Bush’s 2000 election by a majority of the Electoral College but not the popular vote, Democrats attack the Constitution’s method for selecting the president as fundamentally undemocratic.

Former Obama Attorney General Eric Holder went on a talk show to demand that the United States elect the president by simple nationwide majority vote, while failed 1988 Democratic candidate Mike Dukakis declared that the nation should have thrown out the Electoral College “150 years ago.”
These liberal officials have a point. The Electoral College is not democratic, if by democratic they mean rule by simple majority.
 … The Electoral College further encourages candidates to campaign state by state, particularly in the large “battleground” states that Clinton ultimately lost, such as Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. If Democrats had their way, candidates would ignore the states and campaign solely in the population centers that Clinton easily won, such as New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

But the Electoral College’s exaggeration of the power of the states is not some bizarre mistake or a constitutional version of the appendix.

The Framers specifically designed the Electoral College to dilute democracy and favor the states. Democrats who disagree are at war with the federalism that the Framers hardwired throughout the Constitution itself.
They forget that fundamental features of the Constitution are even more anti-democratic than the Electoral College.

 … If Democrats oppose the undemocratic nature of the Electoral College, they should seek to uproot other restraints on democracy.

They should start with judicial review, which gives nine federal judges, appointed for life, the power to strike down legislation. They could continue with the Bill of Rights, which exists solely to prevent the majority from infringing on the rights of individuals, no matter how great the benefit to society. They could finish with the administrative state, where unelected bureaucrats exercise most nation regulatory power.

Liberals, of course, would never oppose these undemocratic aspects of our government, because they more often than not advance their agenda.

The Electoral College has other positive features, despite its complicated process.

 … If Democrats oppose the Electoral College, it only is in keeping with their broad hostility to the Constitution’s founding of a republican government, not a democratic one.

They are also only arguing to benefit themselves now, not to defend principle. For if they were serious, they should argue that the United States adopt a parliamentary democracy — indeed, the very goal of Woodrow Wilson, the intellectual father of progressivism.

In most of our democratic allies, such as Great Britain, Germany, and Japan, the majority party in the legislature selects a prime minister, who becomes head of the executive branch as well. But even under that system, Hillary Clinton would still have lost, as Republicans have built a huge majority in the House of Representatives over the last three elections.

Nothing better shows how liberal attacks on the Electoral College amount to nothing more than sour grapes and constitutional cherry-picking.