Sunday, March 26, 2006

Getting Rid of the Electoral College?


This Seattle Times opinion piece spells out an extra-constitutional way to bring about the "majority rules" idea that so many seem to have such a penchant for, but it also spells out some of the pitfalls. Here's the primary reason to keep the college as it now exists:

It is no accident that the Founders chose to elect the president by counting votes in the states, since they wanted to emphasize that this is a federal republic with sovereignty shared between the states and Washington.

Folks, we do not live in a democracy. We live in a federal republic. And I want to keep it that way.

Get rid of the Electoral College and you may as well get rid of the Senate as well.


Robert said...

"Get rid of the Electoral College and you may as well get rid of the Senate as well."

Careful -- for some, this makes the argument of getting rid of the EC even MORE compelling. :)

Darren said...

So that would be a feature, not a bug?

elementaryhistoryteacher said...

When I start my government unit every year I ask students to go home and ask parents, "What kind of gov. do we have?" I get some amazing, scary results but most say a democracy. We make a bar graph for the responses and then I ask students to recite the pledge of allegiance. I stop them when we recite "of the 'republic'". We then talk about the differences and they get to go home and share. Get rid of the electoral college system? No way.

Darren said...

Now *that* is education.

EdWonk said...

The problem that I have with the electoral college is that due to the "winner-take-all" tradition of the Electoral College, states such as California really aren't in play because they are so dominated by a single party.

This means that candidates all but ignore these states, as (in California) the Democratic presidential candidate takes the state for granted while the Republicans have essentially abandoned it.

The roles played by the respective parties are reversed in other states, such as Arizona.

For the last few election cycles, almost all the focus has been on a handful of "battleground" states. They get nearly all of the candidates' time and receive the lion's share of national attention.

I think that every American's vote should count equally, and be equally sought-after by the candidates.

No state's electorate should ever be taken for granted.

Prediction: As we Americans seem to be past the point where we can, as a people, agree on any change in our Constitution, (except by judicial fiat; see Kelo Vs. New London) there will be no amending the Constitution in the foreseeable future for any reason whatsoever.

Candidates will continue to spend all their time and effort of these few battleground states while a large majority of the population will continue to be ignored and play no significant role in the process.

Which is a shame.

Darren said...

I agree that California should "count", but it wouldn't take a change at the national level to make it happen. California, which can choose its electors almost any way it wants, could merely change from its current winner-takes-all assignment of electors and divvy them up in some fashion that reflects the popular vote.

Let politicians have to fight for a share of California's--what is it now, 57 electoral votes?