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ELECTORAL COLLEGE: System operates the way the founders intended

Letter by William R. Smith, Lakewood on June 8, 2011 at 11:26 am with 33 Comments »
June 8, 2011 11:26 am

Re: “For 2012, we can solve the Electoral College problem” (TNT, 6-7).

Someone should inform Bob Keeler that the U.S. is a republic, not a democracy. This is exactly how our founders intended our republic to function. It is a sad commentary that no one at The News Tribune knew this article was irrelevant to the facts. The News Tribune has become a blog instead of a “newspaper.” SAD!

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  1. Fibonacci says:

    Willie
    At last, a conservative that knows we live in a republic rather than a democracy. I think you should tell the teapartiers and Tim Eymanites in this state about that. We don’t get to vote on everything in our system of givernment, that is why we elect representatives and senators.

    With that said, the founding fathers were not infallable. A system that lets some convoluted system of electors choose our president differently than the popular vote just seems wrong to me. The electors of the electoral college are not elected by anyone. They are “chosen” by the party and caucuses.

  2. Another shortcoming is the winner-take all laws which make it possible for a candidate to win small in about a dozen key states, loss big in the other states, and still come out the winner in the Electoral College.

  3. xring, I could not agree more!
    If any changes need to be made it’s to the winner take all aspect of the EC.
    That move alone would force the parties to pay attention to the small states and give voice to the muffeled in the one parety states like Idaho and Utah.

  4. aislander says:

    Pure democracy equates to mob rule, which is why lefties like it so much, even though they change the definition somewhat, but that’s another topic. The whole left-wing structure is designed to incite the mob; they depend on tapping emotions in order to win elections. Of course they hate the electoral college, just as they fought state selection of senators: both temper the passions of the mob…

  5. APimpNamedSlickback says:

    The founders did not err in designing the electoral college. They did not dictate that it had to be a winner-take-all system; in fact, two states (Maine and Nebraska) are not winner-take-all. The founders left the method of selecting electors up to the legislatures of each state, independently.

    Washington participates in the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact now, so when you vote in 2012, so regardless of who wins the election in the state, all of WA’s electors will be required to vote for whoever wins the national popular vote. Of course, I have a feeling that will quickly change after the next time a republican wins the popular vote and everyone west of the Cascades realizes their electoral votes went to Eastern Washington’s candidate.

  6. “The whole left-wing structure is designed to incite the mob”

    I see Mann coulter is making her rounds and the lemmings are lapping up her brand of BS so they can parrot it back.
    How nice.
    Meaningless but nice none the less.

  7. “I have a feeling that will quickly change after the next time a republican wins the popular vote”

    I seriously doubt that. The evil liberals are not that partisan, however the shrill crys from the right to do away with the EC have been around for decades, since winning fairly and giving voice to all Americans runs agaisnt the rights grain.

  8. The best part about Mann coulter and her\his BS is of course it pertains more to the right than the left.

  9. APimpNamedSlickback says:

    Actually, xtp, the shrill cries over the past few decades to do away with the electoral college have been primarily from left.

    And don’t try to tell me that liberals aren’t partisan enough to change election laws that don’t favor them. In 2004, when John Kerry had a chance at becoming president, the democrat haven of MA changed the law so that congressional vacancies had to be filled by special election, rather than allowing then-Gov. Mitt Romney to appoint a potentially republican replacement. Then, when Ted Kennedy was two heartbeats from death, they amended the law to allow Deval Patrick, the current and democrat governor, to make an appointment to fill the vacancy until the special election could be held. Considering that a republican won that special election, it would seem that giving voice to the people and filling offices fairly aren’t priorities for democrats either.

  10. theglovesRoff says:

    Good afternoon xtp, how is summer today?

  11. Fibonacci says:

    aislander
    You claim democrats more than republicans favor majority rule (or mob rule as you see it), but it is always the conservatives that cry foul when an initiative is passed and then the elected officials overrule it? The initiative is democracy and the legislature is a republic. You can’t have it both ways.

  12. aislander says:

    The initiative process is a troubling but minor contradiction. Nothing is ever perfect, and very few things are perfectly consistent. I think many people undervalue their votes, putting emotions ahead of reason, thereby empowering Dems. I’m not talking about those who vote to feather their own nests with other people’s money, of course. They aren’t salving their consciences; they’re just stealing. Then, when people actually SEE how their guilt-selected representatives are voting, they’re horrified and run to Tim Eyman for relief…

  13. “Actually, xtp, the shrill cries over the past few decades to do away with the electoral college have been primarily from left.”

    Just go ahead and make stuff up, no worries, the rightists will swallow it, they swallow anything.

  14. Gee gloves, it’s not summer yet, don’t you have a calander?

  15. theglovesRoff says:

    Damit!

    I meant Sumner (stupid phone auto correct). But you knew who I was talking about Troll/hack that you accused someone else of being. ;-)

    It isn’t even spring here yet. Bring on the glowbal warming……

  16. bobcat1a says:

    Actually pimp, you should read the Compact. It doesn’t take effect until states with 270 electoral votes agree to it. So far the number is 77. Long way to go. Not happening in 2012.

  17. No Islander, progressives do not favor mob rule. We do favor allowing all citizens to vote, unlike the Conservacons who want to restrict that right.

    And haven’t you often argued that the left is out of touch with the masses of American?

    Pimp,
    And you believe that the GOP have never tried to rig election laws?

    My problem is not with the EC, but with the winner take all laws.

  18. aislander says:

    I don’t wish to restrict the right to vote. I believe ALL citizens of the age of majority who don’t owe a debt to society should be allowed to vote at their local polling place. With a picture ID. Well, I guess I wouldn’t allow dead people to vote. Sorry, King County…

  19. LarryFine says:

    Weiner take all… LOL.

  20. commoncents says:

    LarryFine says:
    June 8, 2011 at 10:40 pm
    Weiner take all… LOL.

    ——

    Ok, that’s funny. I don’t care what side of the political fence you sit on…you have to laugh at that one.

  21. KARDNOS says:

    “Finally, a so-called “Committee of Eleven” in the Constitutional Convention proposed an indirect election of the president through a College of Electors.

    The function of the College of Electors in choosing the president can be likened to that in the Roman Catholic Church of the College of Cardinals selecting the Pope. The original idea was for the most knowledgeable and informed individuals from each State to select the president based solely on merit and without regard to State of origin or political party.”

    Now if THAT isn’t enough reason to go to a popular vote, I don’t know what is.

  22. KARDNOS says:

    Actually, for weiner jokes, life imitates art. Quote from LTE from Ron Petitte:

    “How can someone with all the clout and importance of writing columns overlook a breaking scandal as big as Weiner’s

    Read more: http://blog.thenewstribune.com/letters/page/2/#ixzz1OnHX0I2q

  23. commoncents says:

    “How can someone with all the clout and importance of writing columns overlook a breaking scandal as big as Weiner’s

    —-

    Weiner, Weiner, chicken dinner?

  24. APimpNamedSlickback says:

    @bobcat:

    My mistake. Still, my assertion stands that once it takes effect and a republican candidate that democrats find particularly detestable is the winner of the national popular vote (and especially if it’s as close as the 2000 election), I won’t be the least bit surprised when Washington’s democrats seek to withdraw from the compact at the earliest opportunity as they realize that their electoral votes went to someone they dispise, who won by a small margin. Just imagine the uproar in Seattle when after numerous recounts in many states, a Dick Cheney-like candidate wins the popular vote by 1,000 or so people.

    @xring:

    I never claimed that the GOP hasn’t tried to rig election laws; I was just saying they are far from being the only ones who’ve tried it. If you don’t like the winner-take-all system, talk to your state representatives. The folks in Olympia are the only ones with the power to change it.

  25. aislander says:

    If you don’t believe that lefties love the mob, you weren’t paying attention to events in Madison, WI earlier this spring…

  26. aislander that is without question the dumbest statement you or anyone could make.
    The ‘events’ in WI was freedom in action, real grass roots movement. Now if you want real ‘mob mentality’ look no further than the teahaddists and thier disgusting show at the town halls last year.
    For the love of all that decent in the world, LEARN what it is you are parroting for once.
    Put down the Mann coulter BS, it isn’t working, not for her\him and certainly not for you.

    And BTW, as a far right extremist you more than anyone work to restrict voting, the right has, mob like, worked to restrict voting for over 100 years.
    It’s really their only hope.

  27. Pimp – go look up ex-post facto law.

    Islander,
    One person’s large disorderly crowd or throng is another’s peaceful assemblage to protest.

  28. alindasue says:

    KARDNOS said, “Finally, a so-called “Committee of Eleven” in the Constitutional Convention proposed an indirect election of the president through a College of Electors… The original idea was for the most knowledgeable and informed individuals from each State to select the president based solely on merit and without regard to State of origin or political party.”

    Remember also that originally the only people who could vote were “landed” (property owning) white males. It was thought that the common folk weren’t knowledgeable enough to be informed voters.

    That aside though, the concept of the Electoral College did serve a practical purpose at that time as well at a time when “instant communication” meant a courier on horseback. A representative from even as close as Pennsylvania would still have to travel days to reach the capitol. Now though, by contrast, the popular vote results in Hawaii can be known in Washington, DC within seconds of the count and an Electoral College representative from there could conceivably board a plane after the count and be eating lunch in DC the very next day.

    Resisting the urge to make snarky comments about the “common people” still not being knowledgeable enough to be informed voters (and doing a bad job of it)…

    Voting is, rightly so, no longer limited to landed white males and, thanks to modern compulsory education, even many of our most “common” folk are as at least as educated as the landed gentry back then. Transportation and communication are no longer an issue either. In essence, the Electoral College has long out-lived its usefulness.

    Fibonacci said, “…we live in a republic rather than a democracy. I think you should tell the teapartiers and Tim Eymanites in this state about that. We don’t get to vote on everything in our system of givernment, that is why we elect representatives and senators.”

    A true democracy system where everyone votes on every issue is not very practical for all but the smallest communities – no, maybe not even then. If we had to gather all voters together for every little issue, not much would get done in this country. The republic form of government still makes as much sense now as it did nearly 250 years ago.

    However, it’s past time for our representative presidential election (the Electoral College) to go.

  29. Under the National Popular Vote bill, all the electoral votes from all the states that have enacted the bill would be awarded, as a bloc, to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The bill would take effect only when enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes — that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). The bill would thus guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes.

    The Electoral College that we have today was not designed, anticipated, or favored by the Founding Fathers but, instead, is the product of decades of evolutionary change precipitated by the emergence of political parties and enactment by 48 states of winner-take-all laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution.

    States have the responsibility to make their voters relevant in every presidential election. The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for president. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.

    National Popular Vote has nothing to do with whether the country has a “republican” form of government or is a “democracy.”

    A “republican” form of government means that the voters do not make laws themselves but, instead, delegate the job to periodically elected officials (Congressmen, Senators, and the President). The United States has a republican form of government regardless of whether popular votes for presidential electors are tallied at the state-level (as has been the case in 48 states) or at district-level (as has been the case in Maine and Nebraska) or at 50-state-level (as under the National Popular Vote bill).

    If a “republican” form of government means that the presidential electors exercise independent judgment (like the College of Cardinals that elects the Pope), we have had a “democratic” method of electing presidential electors since 1796 (the first contested presidential election). Ever since 1796, presidential candidates have been nominated by a central authority (originally congressional caucuses, and now party conventions) and electors are reliable rubberstamps for the voters of the district or state that elected them.

  30. alindasue says:

    mvymvy said, “Under the National Popular Vote bill, all the electoral votes from all the states that have enacted the bill would be awarded, as a bloc, to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The bill would take effect only when enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes — that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). The bill would thus guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes.”

    If we are now already doing that, then why not eliminate the extra step and just have popular vote determining the election like we do for all the other elected offices?

  31. The process for amending the U.S. Constitution, to abolish the Electoral College, does not reflect the will of the people. A federal constitutional amendment favored by states containing 97% of the people of the U.S. could be blocked by states containing 3% of the people.

  32. And Senators used to be appointed by Representatives of the House…
    Which would prevent “career” politicians…

  33. Mob rule and the Electoral College…..reminds me of the infamous Brooks Brothers Riot when Republican paid operatives created a hostile enough environment that poll workers, fearing for their safety, decided to not pursue a recount in Florida.

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