Politics

The Left’s Attacks on the Electoral College Are All About Political Power

electoral college political power attacksIt seems that there isn’t a prominent progressive left in America who hasn’t come out in favor of abolishing the Electoral College.

The latest is Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who called for an end to our 200-plus-year-old presidential election system on Twitter earlier this month.

Sanders didn’t explain why he wanted to ditch the Electoral College (it was a tweet after all), but it’s interesting that as a senator from a small state, he has benefited enormously from the supposedly “undemocratic” nature of the American political system.

So much for one man, one vote.

Suggesting that the Electoral College defeat for Hillary Clinton suddenly means that it is outdated or doesn’t work is without merit.

As a hypothetical, let’s say the shoe was on the other foot, and that Republicans currently had an Electoral College disadvantage. Would the mainstream media still be focused on abolishing the institution or running countless stories about how the GOP can’t win over voters and needs to abandon conservatism to win?

It doesn’t take long to answer that question.

As I’ve written before, the Framers of the Constitution created the Electoral College as a way to select presidents who could gather broad-based support around the country.

The system is somewhat skewed in favor of small states, as the total number of Electoral College votes of each state is dependent on the size of a state’s Senate and House delegation.

Since every state has two senators, small states have that edge, though not so much that the large states aren’t still far more important to win.

The implications of this are twofold. Small states collectively can check the power of large ones, and more importantly, presidential candidates must appeal to states as states, not to the nation as a giant, undifferentiated mass.

Even some blue-leaning states have grasped this, as Maine and Nevada recently rejected proposals to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact movement.

As my colleague Hans von Spakovsky wrote: “Under the compact, smaller states like Maine and Nevada would suffer the most under the inevitable tyranny of the most populous states.”

In that sense, the Electoral College is “undemocratic,” as is much of our political system. The Bill of Rights, for instance, is highly democratic. Certain individual rights have been protected from majoritarian rule.

The Founders had differing views on democracy, but few saw it as an unalloyed good. The current system, where states rely on a popular vote to select electors provides that balance of both federalism and democracy.

It preserves federalism (and minorities’ rights), protects the system against election fraud, and has produced a remarkably stable system for selecting presidents in the world’s oldest constitutional republic.

As Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist 68, the Electoral College isn’t perfect, but it is “excellent.”

Why would we want to change now?

There have been countless distortions about the original intent of the Electoral College in this debate, as well as more serious criticisms, but the tenor of the movement to abolish it is veering toward naked partisanship.

Democrats won solidly in the Electoral College as recently as 2012, in which the so-called Rust Belt—comprising states such as Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania—was considered a “Blue Wall” and impenetrable for Republicans.

It took a candidate like Donald Trump, with a very different message, to break through and win, as Clinton ignored the region to target other voters. That served to boost her popular vote totals—but cost her the election.

Far from an indictment of the Electoral College, the 2016 results showed how the system is supposed to work.

Again, presidential candidates have to appeal to states as states. While Pennsylvania, for instance, had been a reliably blue state in presidential elections since the 1990s, voters were trending in another direction. The right candidate—Trump—flipped the state into the red column.

Now, our national conversation has changed to focus more on the concerns of Rust Belt voters,  as that region becomes a political battleground.

That’s a healthy development for a vast, diverse republic.

An empire may ignore the opinions and interests of places far removed from the centers of power, but a representative republic cannot do that if it wishes to survive.

Many on the left can’t handle that dilemma, and now want to change the rules of the game so they don’t have to bother winning back voters who cast their ballots for Democrats less than a decade ago.

It absolutely follows the pattern of the modern left. From the Senate to the Supreme Court, the American left turns immediately and ruthlessly against any institution it doesn’t control.

That’s disturbingly shortsighted.

Not only are the small states that the Electoral College benefits fairly evenly divided between the parties, there is certainly no guarantee that the current urban/rural split will continue in the future.

It perhaps would be a more productive use of time for those on the left to assess why they are losing voters, rather than frantically trying to change the rules of the game to simply cut them out of the equation.

Fortunately, the Founding Fathers predicted human frailty and shortsightedness, and crafted a Constitution that was hard to change, except by the high bar of the amendment process—which the National Popular Vote Compact is intended to circumvent, albeit unconstitutionally.

Reprinted with permission from - The Daily Signal - by Jarrett Stepman

If You Enjoy Articles Like This - Subscribe to the AMAC Daily Newsletter!

Sign Up Today
Read more articles by Outside Contributor
Subscribe
Notify of
70 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mark A LaJoie
1 year ago

“Sanders didn’t explain why he wanted to ditch the Electoral College (it was a tweet after all), but it’s interesting that as a senator from a small state, he has benefited enormously from the supposedly “undemocratic” nature of the American political system.”

My goodness, you mean he put the principle of “One man, one vote” before his own interests?!

“O would the power the giftie gie us
To see ourselves as others see us.”

So many old folks seem to have lost their sense of smell.

Bill
1 year ago

We all need to publicize why the Electoral College continues to be the one powerful way to preserve the American election of the President.

Michael B
1 year ago

But Democrats just put their heads in the sand — until they win, thanks to the Electoral College.

Jeanne
1 year ago

Imagine the whole country like NY and CA.

Jeanne
1 year ago

They think we don’t know what they are up to. ” The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”

Bob
1 year ago

Our founders are proven correct again! Socialists prove if you can’t win, change the rules. Americans need to vote these low lifes out of office or risk losing America. Stop teaching socialist ideals in school.

Chris
1 year ago

You said “so much for one man, one vote.” Yet the EC literally makes some people’s votes count for more than others.

Roger G.
1 year ago

High population centers should not decide what is best for the rest of us. The electoral college was the smartest process the founding fathers did to make sure that every state had a voice in the choice of the president.

Douglass
1 year ago

ELECTORAL COLLEGE OR POPULAR VOTE?

In the 2016 election Hillary Clinton won four counties in New York plus Los
Angeles County with a combined population to win her the election if we had the popular vote then. Think of it, five populous counties out of a combined total of 3,142 counties and county-equivalents in the 50 states and District of Columbia would have won her the election if we had not had the Electoral College. Put another way .00016% of America would have decided the election for the other 99.99984% if we had the popular vote then.

The Electoral College protects our elections from the tyranny of majority rule. Without it candidates will have NO REASON to campaign anywhere but four counties in New York (Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan & Queens), plus Los Angeles county.

Believe me if the popular vote favored Republicans, Democrats would have nothing to do with it!

ahem tonto
1 year ago

The Russia hoax, eliminating the Electoral College, illegal immigration, political correctnes, control of the media, attempts to Gerrymander are all for one purpose. The Socialist Democrats attempting to wrest complete control of the. U.S. They don’t want citizens to have guns because as long as Americans arearmed they know they will never win.

Dale Hammond
1 year ago

The Dems remind me of the table game of. FLUX: The rules are always in FLUX. The Dems will lie, steal, cheat, and murder (Clintons WILL stand before GOD some day soon. I do not like to even thinkoff the outcome).

Dr. Covert
1 year ago

I agree the Electoral College should stay as the founding fathers meant. They had a reason for setting it up this way, and they knew what some people would try to do. Just because it doesn’t work for a group doesn’t mean it is wrong.

Frank2525
1 year ago

Electoral College was designed specifically to keep the larger states from doing what Democrats are trying to do. As Frank S. stated, DEMOCRACY with everyone voting, is MOBOCRACY. We see that in other governments, where records are kept of who voted, and who did not. Also REPUBLIC was to ensure the voters elected Representatives. And Original Constitution, Senators was elected by the Legislating Officials of each State, with only getting one vote. And the Senators then formed list for President and Vice President, and one with most votes was President, 2nd highest was Vice president.
————————
Constitution was modified many years later, to have voters elect all, and you see the mess we are in. Original would have maintained the separation between the offices, therefore shut off all the cliques, and caucuses of today. Every time the Constitution is changed, we lose more of our freedoms.

Greg Russell
1 year ago

Our Founding Fathers were absolutely BRILLIANT. They were deathly afraid, not only of a too powerful government, but also of a democracy. Benjamin Franklin is attributed with the quote: "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote" Whether or not he actually said that, it IS clear, the Founders had a complete disdain for a democracy, and thus, they left us with the brilliance of the Electoral College. Without this gem of a guardian, the coasts would select the U.S. President EVERY time, and the smaller states wouldnt have the same say. It shouldn`t be surprising that liberals want to get rid of that, since they just in general hate America, and all of our freedoms and individual liberties. The Electoral College saved us from the horrors of an Al Gore, and a Hillary Klinton presidency, and as such, MAY been the Grace of God, giving us another chance to repent and plead for His mercy and Grace.

gin
1 year ago

I’m concerned about voter fraud, duplicate voting and illegals voting. I’m sure here in California we have a lot of it. The libs don’t want voter ID, either. It’s alright for buying alcohol, etc, but not voting. Try going to another country and voting in their elections.

Brenda Blunt
1 year ago

The Founding Fathers knew what they were talking about when they set up the system. They wanted to make sure that ALL citizens were represented fairly and NOT to let bullies, tyrants, dictators take over and treat people like they currently do in China, Russia, Venezuela, and Middle East.

Frank Cannizzaro
1 year ago

I always thought that the electoral college should be updated not eliminated. Instead of the all or nothing for each state, they should be given proportionally. If a state has 40 electoral votes and the vote is split 60 to 40.
then the 60% would get 24 votes and the 40% would get 16 votes. It is unfair that California with the greatest number of votes, even if one party just barely wins gets all the votes. This way the popular vote still wouldn’t count and the electoral votes would be better represented. I understand why it started 200 hundred years ago. but in todays world there is too much emphasis on 4 or 5 large states .

Frank in San Diego

Greg Russell
1 year ago

No thanks, the Founders knew EXACTLY what they were doing, We`ll keep the Electoral College EXACTLY as they handed it off to us.

Pete from St Pete
1 year ago

If they win the Presidential and both Congressional elections next year they will make an effort to eliminate or modify the electoral college to their advantage. Let them appoint a couple of progressive Supreme Court justices and they may well prevail. It makes the 2020 elections an absolute must to continue our nation in the path the founders envisioned. Vote at all costs.

Garland
1 year ago

Who cares what B Sanders or a dumb ass Muslim think. The Muslims who want to change our of Gov to the one they ran from. Give um a one way ticket sack to wonderville

Dolf R.
1 year ago

We are still a nation of laws. In our Constitutional Republic, we have a process for changing the Constitution. A good example is Prohibition. It was added as an article and then withdrawn by the people because it wasn’t wanted. Therefore, if the people no longer want the Electoral College, there is a process in place to eliminate. The good news is, it is a difficult process and I am certain that there is no way it will ever be altered by the voters.

gin
1 year ago
Reply to  Dolf R.

We may be a nation of laws, but it seems like a lot of “elites” have managed to avoid having the law applied to them.

70
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x