We received a query from a reader asking about the electoral college and responded directly, but also thought this might be of some interest to other folk.
Martin forwarded your note to me. I’m another WWTFT blogger. When the Constitution was written and ratified, the intent was a federal system with shared power between the states and the national government. The delegates to the Constitutional Convention feared concentrated power and intended the states to be a potent check on the national government. They included five provisions for this purpose:
1. Enumerated powers, reconfirmed by the 10th amendment
2. Equal state representation in the Senate
3. Senators elected by state legislatures
4. Limited national taxing authority
5. An Electoral College
Unfortunately, few in Washington consider the enumerated powers a constraint; Senators are now popularly elected and have more allegiance to their party than their state; the 16th Amendment allows Congress to collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, and the Electoral College is under attack.
The Electoral College is the last vestige of the Founders federal design. Eliminating the Electoral College would move the nation further from a republic and closer to a democracy. In the history of the world, democracies have always failed. The closest we have to a pure democracy in the United States is the referendum system, which is one of the elements driving California toward bankruptcy. Without the Electoral College, fly-over country (including Ohio) would be completely irrelevant to D.C. All campaigning and spoils would be directed to the east and west coasts and a few cities along the Great Lakes.
One of the great myths of our time is that there are red and blue states. There are not. When voting patterns are studied county by county, it is obvious that there are red and blue counties, not states. If a state is dominated by concentrated populations in one or more greater metropolitan areas, those living outside those counties are disenfranchised for president and senate contests. City dwellers trounce their fellow citizens who live in the more rural portions of the state. As A former resident of Plymouth, Massachusetts, I’ve experienced this phenomenon and it was a disincentive to vote for many of my neighbors. Without an Electoral College, the same would be true for the interior of the United States. Nebraska would never see a presidential candidate and Alaska would become a piggy bank for the beltway.
I hope this has been of some help. The following links to WWTFT articles may also prove useful.