Letter: Electoral College be gone
Sorry, Mr. Essex, but the Electoral College was a bad idea in 1787 and a worse idea today. It was adopted by the Continental Congress to appease the Southern states concerned that the presidential elections would be dominated by the big Northern states of New York and Pennsylvania. Further, with 18th century communications, Northern voters would not know about Southern candidates and would ignore them.
Significantly, four of our first five presidents were from Virginia, and they all won the popular majority. The voters in New York and Pennsylvania knew who Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe were and they voted for them.
As far as domination by the more populous states, what do we have now but domination by the so-called battleground states? How is that any better?
Originally, electors were supposed to be able use their own judgment if the voters chose a candidate with no qualifications. Never was that more needed than today, but it’s not going to happen. There are some rumblings about electors voting for Republicans other than Donald Trump to deny him the 270 electoral votes needed to win, but in recent years the electors generally vote for the candidate they’re supposed to.
Belief in democracy, by itself, will not protect us from de Tocqueville’s “tyranny of the majority.” Belief in a republic can. Remember, Hitler did not take over Germany with a military coup. He was voted into office in 1933, but he didn’t take complete control until he dissolved the Weimar Republic.
People think Trump will be a tyrant because he’ll have a rubber stamp Congress and Supreme Court. I don’t think so. The Republicans in Congress know that Trump is not a true Republican and certainly not a conservative. If he tries to nominate some flaming fascist to the Supreme Court, Congress will not confirm him. Trump will not see the kind of resistance President Obama saw, but it will not be clear sailing, either.
Let’s remember, this is the United States of America. The states can elect their governors, their U.S. senators and congresspeople, but the presidential election is a national affair and each vote should be counted equally. That’s democracy. The Electoral College isn’t.
How can Mr. Essex say the Electoral College will survive “whether it still serves its originally intended role or not?” If we followed every precedent set by the Founding Fathers, women and blacks would not be voting.
Perhaps a more important priority is the one point I do agree with Mr. Essex on; the shamefully low voter turnout. I believe it happened on Nov. 8 because the media and the pollsters had the Hillary Clinton supporters believing she would win easily and they stayed away from the polls. Fifty-five percent of eligible voters is a national disgrace.
Fred Malo Jr.
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