To the editors:
Let’s remember that the Founders were not perfect. Their Electoral College sucks. They invented it because they feared complete direct democracy, a “tyranny of the majority” in which the populace could be swept up by emotional demagoguery and strive to impose themselves on minority factions of citizens (not at the time racial). In the case of the Founders, they most feared that citizens would rebel against them — a tiny ruling elite of land-owning white men in control — and start demanding things like barring aristocratic monopolies of wealth and power that severely limited economic enterprise for people “lesser” than them.
Due to the College last week, a minority of Americans — many of them, not all, who were motivated by a tolerance or outright support for racism, sexism, indecency and religious and individual-liberty bigotry to keep down other citizens — voted for their very open-about-it candidate to get that done.
As Alexander Hamilton wrote, the Founders designed our national system so ” … that the office of president will never fall to the lot of any man [literally, at the time] who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.”
The point of the Electoral College is to preserve “the sense of the people” while at the same time ensuring that a president is chosen “by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice.”
So, Hamilton, how’d that work out this year?
The College allowed a minority of Americans with about 550,000 fewer votes to impose their candidate on the majority. If you take President-elect Donald Trump at his word, he plans to embark on a raft of unconstitutional crackdowns on certain Americans. If he does, the Electoral College will be — as Trump would likely put it to kids and adults alike — the bitch he rode in on.
Ultimately, it’s the Constitution that protects minorities from voting majorities eager to create unconstitutional hierarchies of first- and second-class citizens. The majority of Americans, for example, favor making flag burners suffer greatly for expressing their political views, but, as the Supreme Court wisely ruled, the First Amendment bans voting “mobs” from bullying people with the same rights that they have.
The Electoral College is a terrible idea and is Exhibit A for anyone who says the American ideals of “one person, one vote” and rule by the people is BS. We should throw it a graduation ceremony and a kegger and wave goodbye as it rides off into the sunset in a used Kia.
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