Thursday, December 01, 2016

Electoral College: A Few Choice Remarks

Abraham Lincoln:
I now wish to submit a few remarks on the general proposition of amending the constitution. As a general rule, I think, we would much better let it alone.
 
 … I was once of your opinion … that presidential electors should be dispensed with; but a more thorough knowledge of the causes that first introduced them, has made me doubt.
The New York Post's Mark Cunningham:
[Hillary] Clinton “won” an election we didn’t have. Neither side was focused on a national-popular-vote win, because both knew the rules.

And if the rules were different, the whole campaign would’ve differed, too.

 … The thing is, every one of these features is vital to securing our great democracy, which is actually, in the famous 1787 words of Benjamin Franklin, “a Republic — if you can keep it.”

And the whole anti-democratic package is what has allowed us to keep it these 200-plus years. Let’s go back to “republic”: Democracy is all about majority rule; the word actually means “rule of the people.” A republic is about the self-rule of a nation of free people.
Investor's Business Daily:
 … from the 1787 crafting of our Constitution, our presidential elections were never designed to be popularity contests. They were designed to give the individual states a voice in who would lead them. There would have been no United States of America without this provision, since from the beginning the small states were terrified of being dominated and bullied by the bigger states if they joined the union.

The genius of this system is that it gives everyone a voice and everyone a stake in the election's outcome.

 … With our current system, candidates have to take even small states seriously. They have to run as national candidates, not as "California" or "New York" or "Florida" candidates.
Reason's John Yoo:
Democrats attack the Constitution’s method for selecting the president as fundamentally undemocratic. … 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.
Reason's David Harsanyi: "so that every part of the nation has some kind of say over the next executive while preventing large swaths of the nation from being bullied"
We have 51 separate elections. This is done so that every part of the nation has some kind of say over the next executive. The president, after all, is not a monarch. He does not make laws. Not even President Barack Obama was supposed to do that.
 
 … Diffused democracy weakens the ability of politicians to scaremonger and use emotional appeals to take power. It blunts the vagaries of the electorate.

 … Need it be repeated again, the Electoral College, and other mechanisms that balance democracy, create moderation and compromise—they stop one party from accumulating too much power. It is certainly possible that Obama's unilateral governance over the past eight years had a lot to do with the pushback of three consecutive losses in the Senate and Congress, and the election of Donald Trump.

To some extent, the Electoral College impels presidents and their political parties to consider all Americans in rhetoric and action. By allowing two senators for both Wyoming, with a population of less than 600,000, and California, with a population of more than 38 million, we create more national cohesion. We protect large swaths of the nation from being bullied.
The difference between democracy and repusblic, wrote Harry Jaffa, is that the first is majority rule while the second is majority rule coupled with the defense of minority rights. He also has this choice quote, the best ever that defines the government of a free people:
Those who live under the law have an equal right in the making of the law, and those who make the law have a corresponding duty to live under the law.