Letter: Constitutional relic should be retired
Regarding Marc Thiessen’s column concerning Democrats’ “Declaration of War” on the Constitution. Mr. Thiessen, the Electoral College system, which ostensibly gives states with smaller populations more equity in choosing a president, is deeply flawed and was once extensively criticized by our current president, who ended up winning by using it to his advantage.
Most of our founding fathers recognized the importance of a true democracy in that “all men” had an equal voice and an equal vote. However, the discussions regarding what was to become the Constitution quickly turned to less than amicable discourse between representatives from northern and southern states, with southern states feeling that the livelihoods they enjoyed made possible by slavery were threatened by the “abolitionist” sentiments of the North (Before it was a state, Vermont had abolished slavery in 1777).
Many founding fathers, while being on record as opposed to slavery, compromised their morals with the view that such actions were necessary in order to get the Constitution ratified and allowed Southern sentiments to prevail in the final framing of our election system as written in the Constitution.
Slave-owning Virginians occupied the presidency for the first 32 of the first 36 years of our Constitution, which gives an idea of how influential wealthy slave owners were in the founding of our country and drafting of the Constitution.
Pennsylvania, which had 10 percent more free men than Virginia, got 20 percent fewer electoral votes because of Virginia’s slave population. The Three-Fifths clause in the Constitution also gave representation in the House based on slave population.
The Electoral College is a 17th century relic of political compromise that directly protected the interests of slave owners and encouraged the perpetuation of slavery — a time when women could not vote, and men and women were property.
The system can be fixed; however, it needs to be changed on a state by state level whereby electors are allocated by an actual representation of the vote and not a simple majority.
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Less is more?