The Electoral College’s Protection Against Political Elites
At first glance, the electoral college seems like an arbitrary way of electing somebody to be President based on a close correlation to the national popular vote. Yet, with Trump winning the electoral college but losing the popular vote, the electoral college and popular vote diverged in this election for the fifth time in American history. Thus, many people wonder why we have the electoral college.
As originally envisioned, the Constitution includes an electoral college to insulate voting from the majority and enable wiser electors to choose the President. By doing so, according to Alexander Hamilton in Federalist 68, the electoral college would avoid “tumult and disorder” by ensuring that the small number of people who “possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations” would decide the President.
In practice, electors almost always vote based on state popular votes. Trump will win the electoral college regardless of calls for electors to defect against Hamilton’s nightmarish “man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications” for President.
Despite occasional defections, such as Roger MacBride casting his electoral vote for Libertarian candidates John Hospers and Tonie Nathan in 1972 and thus giving a woman her first electoral vote, the rare electoral college defections do not affect presidential elections. Much like the belief that factions would restrain federal power, the belief that the electoral college would enable wiser electors to decide the President has proven illusory.
Regardless of the original intention, within a two-party system in a large nation, the electoral college has an important function: it transforms elections from one national election into 51 local elections. With the elections managed locally, the federal government has little control over the voting process and cannot systemically tilt the election in favor of a party in power, preventing any party from systematically expanding its power through the voting system. Thus, the electoral college protects the voting system from potentially systemic federal corruption by dispersing it across the states.
Moreover, by having 51 local elections for electoral votes instead of 51 local elections that sum into a national popular vote, local politicians do not have a powerful institutional incentive to tamper with the voting system and commit voter fraud to concentrate power in their political party, making the electoral college within a two-party system a means of restraining voter fraud and the potential resulting concentration of political power.
Consider by example. In Texas, Republicans control the Governorship and 2/3 or so of the state House and state Senate. Similarly, in California, Democrats control the Governorship and about 2/3 of both the California State Assembly and the California State Senate. In Presidential elections, Texas casts its electoral votes to the Republican, and California casts its electoral votes to the Democrat.
If presidential elections were based on the popular vote instead of electoral votes, though, then Republican Texas politicians would have a powerful incentive to manipulate the voting system in favor of the Republican presidential candidate because the additional votes could matter nationally, and politically powerless Texas Democrats would lack political recourse. Democrats in California would have a similar incentive.
Full article: The Electoral College is Genius | Intellectual Takeout
I highly recommend reading the entire article, interesting stuff.
Anyway, every single presidential election brings out the people calling to abolish the electoral college. It’s getting a little more air time this go around because of the petitions to get the electoral college to vote for Hillary instead of Trump, the death threats to the electors, and the fact that the media is just as butt hurt as the socialists and millennials.
The fact of the matter is, as I have stated until I’m blue in the face, we are not a democracy, we are a republic, and there is a major distinction between the two that apparently is not being taught in school anymore. The people do not vote for the president; the states do. And that was done for a reason. The electors are supposed to vote with the people of their state, meaning if Hillary got more votes in California than Trump did, she gets the electoral votes for the state. California has 55 electors that represent the people of that state, so she gets 55 votes.
The reason for this is simple.
When states are densely populated, they get to rule over the rest of the country. And not to insult anyone here, but liberals seem to cluster together in large cities while conservatives head for fly over country where they can own land and not be on top of each other, literally. Large clusters breed group think, where ideologies come not from honest feelings but from what the group thinks is best. So large cities and other densely populated areas are going to lean one way or the other. That means that those states with the most densely populated areas are going to rule over the entire country. And what may be best for people in densely populated areas may not work out so well in fly over country. For example, in the city, your gun control plans may work out well for you and you might believe they will do some good for crime. But in fly over country, you just might need a semiautomatic with a 30 round magazine when the coyotes come in packs for your livestock. Not something people in San Francisco are very concerned about, nor do they understand how important livestock is and how dangerous those packs of coyotes might be.
So the electoral college is there is to make sure that two or three states aren’t deciding for the entire country. Imagine how frustrating it is for us when we see a map of votes and it is 95% red with a few smatterings of blue at the coast and those blue spots are telling the other 95% how to live.
Basically, it’s two wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for dinner, but the sheep has a rifle.