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Electoral College Is Not Just For Rural America

Democrats should forget about changing the rules and start worrying about their performance.

Electoral College Is Not Just For Rural America

Think we should do away with the Electoral College? Think again.

Originally published by The Hill on May 1, 2018
by Red Jahnke

Ever since the photo-finish presidential election in 2000, in which George Bush prevailed by a mere 5 electoral votes, despite losing by one-half-million votes in the national popular vote, there’s been criticism of the Electoral College. Following the 2016 election and Donald Trump’s convincing win with a 77 electoral votes, despite Hillary Clinton’s run-up of almost 3 million more popular votes, the criticism has been intense. No surprise.

The anti-College fever, primarily of Democrats, has continued unabated. Last week Democrats in the Connecticut House passed legislation designed to work around the Electoral College and award Connecticut’s seven electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote.

The National Popular Vote scheme would take effect once states with 270 electoral votes — the winning number — have approved it. The Nutmeg State would bring the tally to 172 (all in blue states. The state’s senators should take heed: the scheme is not a good idea, especially for Connecticut.

First off, Houston, we do not have a problem. The 2000 and 2016 presidential elections are only the fourth and fifth where the winner lost the popular vote, out of 58 contests, with the other three being elections in the 19th century. That means the Electoral College is batting 53 for 58. Not bad. As Winston Churchill observed, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”

The anti-College frenzy focuses upon three broad criticisms. First, the College doesn’t reflect one-man-one-vote. Well, it wasn’t designed to. The College is a blend of the pure democracy of the U.S. House, with one elector per U.S. representative, each of whom represents about 750,000 Americans today, and our federal system, with one elector for each of the two U.S. senators from each state (plus three for the District of Columbia).

We are both a democracy and a federation of states. The Electoral College was designed specifically to prevent the tyranny of big states over small states, as was the U.S. Senate, which affords all states, large and small, equal representation. If we do away with the Electoral College, we might as well do away with the Senate.

In 2016, the Electoral College worked precisely as intended. It prevented Hillary Clinton’s 6-million-vote victory in California and New York from cancelling her 3-million-vote loss in the 48 other states.

The second knock on the Electoral College is that voters in most states feel their votes don’t matter, that the entire contest is waged in a handful of swing or “battleground” states.

Yet, if we did away with the Electoral College in favor of the national popular vote, the election would still be decided in a handful of states — populous states such as California and New York. Even though both of those states are deep blue, the GOP candidate would still fish in their waters, because swinging 1 or 2 percent into the red column would be worth more than swinging 1 to 2 percent in a smaller state. Voters in small states, such as Connecticut, would be permanently and completely disenfranchised.

Moreover, candidates would campaign in big media markets (which, of course, are in big states) in order to reach as many potential voters as efficiently as possible. This would favor media personalities and celluloid campaigns. Candidates would never have to meet voters one-on-one, as they do currently in small swing states.

The third rather trendy critique of the Electoral College is that it favors poor rural red states over prosperous populous urban blue states, suggesting, perhaps unintentionally, that poor peoples’ votes should be worth less than wealthier peoples’ votes. More importantly, this critique recasts current trends into timeless immutable facts. That most small rural states are Republican today reflects politics today. Democrats might do well to develop a rural agenda.

The poor-prosperous characterization also sees unchangeable reality in what are only currently prevailing economic conditions. The idea that prosperous urban states are subsidizing poor rural states forgets that New York City would have gone bankrupt in 1975 but for a federal bailout and that Detroit did go bankrupt a few years ago.

Moreover, 1975 may repeat itself with several more densely populated blue states in disastrous fiscal condition, including California, Illinois, New Jersey and, yes, Connecticut, with its last-place rankings on most measures of fiscal condition and its capital city teetering on the edge of bankruptcy today.

According to the continuing chorus of critics, the divergence of the popular vote and the Electoral College vote in 2016 proves conclusively that the Electoral College is an anti-democratic anachronism. The greater truth is that the critics don’t like the anti-Democratic result of the election.

While President Trump is a unique, once-in-a-century national leader, his victory as a Republican is wholly consistent with the overwhelming national GOP consensus. Republicans control the Senate, the House, 33 governorships and the vast majority of state legislatures nationwide.

Democrats should forget about changing the rules and start worrying about their performance.

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5 Comments on Electoral College Is Not Just For Rural America

  1. We can thank Mr Jahnke for his clear explanation of the Electoral College, and why counting votes this way is better than a simple popular vote…I hadn’t seen that the College is linked directly to representation in Congress, but anyone conversant with the founding era knows that the great disparity in population from one state to another was a real sticking point at the Federal convention..Why would a small state – like Delaware – agree to any method of representation that left them powerless ? If elections were based solely on population, the big states like Virginia or Pennsylvania would dominate. Even today, a state like Wyoming – population 600,000 – has far fewer voters than Los Angeles ! Of course we all have seen the Libs contempt for “Flyover country”..their attack on the Electoral College is only one “Front” in their war on American society…

  2. Page 4 Luther Martin

    “The members of the convention from the States, came there under different powers; the greatest number, I believe, under powers nearly the same as those of the delegates of this State. Some came to the convention under the former appointment, authorizing the meeting of delegates merely to regulate trade. Those of the Delaware were expressly instructed to agree to no system, which should take away from the States that equality of suffrage secured by the original articles of confederation. Before I arrived, a number of rules had been adopted to regulate the proceedings of the convention, by one of which was to affect the whole Union. By another, the doors were to be shut, and the whole proceedings were to be kept secret; and so far did this rule extend, that we were thereby prevented from corresponding with gentlemen in the different States upon the subjects under our discussion; a circumstance, Sir, which, I confess, I greatly regretted. I had no idea, that all the wisdom, integrity, and virtue of this State, or of the others, were centered in the convention. I wished to have corresponded freely and confidentially with eminent political characters in my own and other States; not implicitly to be dictated to by them, but to give their sentiments due weight and consideration. So extremely solicitous were they, that their proceedings should not transpire, that the members were prohibited even from taking copies of resolutions, on which the convention were deliberating, or extracts of any kind from the journals, without formally moving for, and obtaining permission, by vote of the convention for that purpose.

    “But, Sir, it was to no purpose that the futility of their objections were shown, when driven from the pretense, that the equality of suffrage had been originally agreed to on principles of expediency and necessity; the representatives of the large States persisting in a declaration, that they would never agree to admit the smaller States to an equality of suffrage. In answer to this, they were informed, and informed in terms that most strong, and energetic that could possibly be used, that we never would agree to a system giving them the undue influence and superiority they proposed. That we would risk every possible consequence. That from anarchy and confusion, order might arise. That slavery was the worst that could ensue, and we considered the system proposed to be the most complete, most abject system of slavery that the wit of man ever devised, under pretense of forming a government for free States. That we never would submit tamely and servilely, to a present certain evil, in dread of a future, which might be imaginary; that we were sensible the eyes of our country and the world were upon us. That we would not labor under the imputation of being unwilling to form a strong and energetic federal government; but we would publish the system which we approved, and also that which we opposed, and leave it to our country, and the world at large, to judge between us, who best understood the rights of free men and free States, and who best advocated them; and to the same tribunal we could submit, who ought to be answerable for all the consequences, which might arise to the Union from the convention breaking up, without proposing any system to their constituents. During this debate we were threatened, that if we did not agree to the system propose, we never should have an opportunity of meeting in convention to deliberate on another, and this was frequently urged. In answer, we called upon them to show what was to prevent it, and from what quarter was our danger to proceed; was it from a foreign enemy? Our distance from Europe, and the political situation of that country, left us but little to fear. Was there any ambitious State or States, who, in violation of every sacred obligation, was preparing to enslave the other States, and raise itself to consequence on the ruin of the others? Or was there any such ambitious individual? We did not apprehend it to be the case; but suppose it to be true, it rendered it the more necessary, that we should sacredly guard against a system, which might enable all those ambitious views to be carried into effect, even under the sanction of the constitution and government. In fine, Sir, all those threats were treated with contempt, and they were told, that we apprehended but one reason to prevent the States meeting again in convention; that, when they discovered the part this convention had acted, and how much its members were abusing the trust reposed in them, the States would never trust another convention.”

    https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Proceedings-Debates-Constitutional-Convention/dp/1410203638

    The false “Federalist” Party members had to resort to some form of mob rule in order to get the votes they needed to get rid of the grass-roots, organic, free market, moral, golden rule, rule of law, federation of independent states, so they did what was done to reace that goal of disposing of moral government, replacing moral government with mob rule run by them and their kind.

  3. Where to find the straight dope about this question of votes, and a true picture of how the Constitution was hammered out ? The voice of Luther Martin, as cited above, gives a glimpse of how disputatious the proceedings were. Indeed, even General Washington, one of the strongest proponents of a more “Energetic” central govt, had his doubts about the Philadelphia convention and declined to preside over it until prevailed upon by Madison, Hamilton and other Federalists. He was concerned that, if the meeting failed, it would damage his reputation. As I have so often recommended, much light can be thrown on how it all came down by viewing Professor Joanne Freeman’s “Yale Freeman Lectures” and in particular her lectures #20 -“Confederation”…#21 – “A union without power”…#22 – “The road to a Constitutional convention”…#23 – “Creating a Constitution”…and #24 – “Creating a nation”…Really folks, is it so onerous a task to inform yourself about this critical moment in our history ? Professor Freeman is an animated and enthusiastic – and I must say, charming – expert of the founding era. Her laugh is musical. You couldn’t find a more enjoyable and informative source. The big takeaway from it all is that THE STATES CREATED THE FEDERAL GOVT ! And they never created it to be their master. Note that even after the founding charter of the fed had been formulated and published, it was only a proposal, and had no force of law. The States, in their own conventions, had to decide to sign on – or not. With the Fed now become an all consuming Frankenstein monster, with it’s own “Federal Culture” and it’s imperial claims of “Government Interest”, it is time for the states to flex their rights and re-assert their long atrophied prerogatives. This is the peaceful and constitutionally supported way out.

  4. “THE STATES CREATED THE FEDERAL GOVT !”

    That is not true, not in this context. That was true when people representing the whole people as one formed voluntary mutual defense associations in defense against a criminal National government known as The British Empire: 1775 up until 1789. Those people representing the whole people as one formed 13 States that were voluntary mutual defense associations. Those representatives of those republics formed the federal voluntary mutual defense association under The Articles of Confederation, and it was a federal government then, after 1789 it was no longer a federal government.

    “His primary aim was to crush the individualistic and democratic spirit of the American forces. For one thing, the officers of the militia were elected by their own men, and the discipline of repeated elections kept the officers from forming an aristocratic ruling caste typical of European armies of the period. The officers often drew little more pay than their men, and there were no hierarchical distinctions of rank imposed between officers and men. As a consequence, officers could not enforce their wills coercively on the soldiery. This New England equality horrified Washington’s conservative and highly aristocratic soul.” Generalissimo Washington, by Murray N. Rothbard

    A federal association is voluntary, a national association is often not voluntary and therefore despotic. Moral, peaceful, people form republics and federations for the mutual defense of all the people. Criminals, sociopaths, psychopaths, aristocrats, or whatever the latest fashionable name is for them, are the people who form despotic versions of so-called government, and they often collect extortion fees to pay for the costs of collecting extortion fees from the slaves: subsidized slavery.

    “That the question was not whether, by a declaration of independence, we should make ourselves what we are not; but whether we should declare a fact which already exists:
    That, as to the people or Parliament of England, we had always been independent of them, their restraints on our trade deriving efficacy from our acquiescence only, and not from any rights they possessed of imposing them; and that, so far, our connection had been federal only, and was now dissolved by the commencement of hostilities:
    That, as to the king, we had been bound to him by allegiance, but that this bond was now dissolved by his assent to the late act of Parliament, by which he declares us out of his protection, and by his levying war on us a fact which had long ago proved us out of his protection, it being a certain position in law, that allegiance and protection are reciprocal, the one ceasing when the other is withdrawn:” First Federal (not National) Congress, 1776

    “With the Fed now become an all consuming Frankenstein monster, with it’s own “Federal Culture” and it’s imperial claims of “Government Interest”, it is time for the states to flex their rights and re-assert their long atrophied prerogatives.”

    It is not federal, it is national, and the states are not republics, not since 1789. If it, the association called state, or called government, represents the whole people as one then, and only then, is it a republic. If the association called a federation is not voluntary then it is not a federation, it is a national government. There were 13 republics formed in defense against British criminal aggression, and the representatives of those republics formed a federation of republics. That was true until 1789. In 1789 the criminals took over and created a criminal organization that started out with National subsidized slavery, which is all the proof anyone needs to convict that Frankenstein monster created in 1789 of absolute despotism in fact.

    “That slavery was the worst that could ensue, and we considered the system proposed to be the most complete, most abject system of slavery that the wit of man ever devised, under pretense of forming a government for free States. ” Robert Yates at the Con-Con Con-Job.

    “There are but two modes by which men are connected in society, the one which operates on individuals, this always has been, and ought still to be called, national government; the other which binds States and governments together (not corporations, for there is no considerable nation on earth, despotic, monarchical, or republican, that does not contain many subordinate corporations with various constitutions) this last has heretofore been denominated a league or confederacy. The term federalists is therefore improperly applied to themselves, by the friends and supporters of the proposed constitution. This abuse of language does not help the cause; every degree of imposition serves only to irritate, but can never convince. They are national men, and their opponents, or at least a great majority of them, are federal, in the only true and strict sense of the word.” Maryland Farmer, March 07, 1788

    “A distinction has been made between a federal and national government. We ought not to determine that there is this distinction for if we do, it is questionable not only whether this convention can propose an government totally different or whether Congress itself would have a right to pass such a resolution as that before the house. ” E. Gerry at the Con-Con Con-Job.

    “He was pleased that, thus early in debate, the honorable gentleman had himself shown that the intent of the Constitution was not a confederacy, but a reduction of all the states into a consolidated government. He hoped the gentleman would be complaisant enough to exchange names with those who disliked the Constitution, as it appeared from his own concessions, that they were federalists, and those who advocated it were anti-federalists.” Melancton Smith, June 20, 1788

    “Mr. Chairman—Whether the Constitution be good or bad, the present clause clearly discovers, that it is a National Government, and no longer a confederation. I mean that clause which gives the first hint of the General Government laying direct taxes. The assumption of this power of laying direct taxes, does of itself, entirely change the confederation of the States into one consolidated Government. This power being at discretion, unconfined, and without any kind of controul, must carry every thing before it. The very idea of converting what was formerly confederation, to a consolidated Government, is totally subversive of every principle which has hitherto governed us. This power is calculated to annihilate totally the State Governments. Will the people of this great community submit to be individually taxed by two different and distinct powers? Will they suffer themselves to be doubly harrassed? These two concurrent powers cannot exist long together; the one will destroy the other: The General Government being paramount to, and in every respect more powerful than, the State governments, the latter must give way to the former.” George Mason, June 04, 1788

    “A federal, or rather a national city, ten miles square, containing a hundred square miles, is about four times as large as London; and for forts, magazines, arsenals, dock yards, and other needful buildings, congress may possess a number of places or towns in each state. It is true, congress cannot have them unless the state legislatures cede them; but when once ceded, they never can be recovered. And though the general temper of the legislatures may be averse to such cessions, yet many opportunities and advantages may be taken of particular times and circumstances of complying assemblies, and of particular parties, to obtain them. It is not improbable, that some considerable towns or places, in some intemperate moments, or influenced by anti-republican principles, will petition to be ceded for the purposes mentioned in the provision. There are men, and even towns, in the best republics, which are often fond of withdrawing from the government of them, whenever occasion shall present. The case is still stronger. If the provision in question holds out allurements to attempt to withdraw, the people of a state must ever be subject to state as well as federal taxes; but the federal city and places will be subject only to the latter, and to them by no fixed proportion. Nor of the taxes raised in them, can the separate states demand any account of congress. These doors opened for withdrawing from the state governments entirely, may, on other accounts, be very alluring and pleasing to those anti-republican men who prefer a place under the wings of courts.” Richard Henry Lee, Jan 25, 1788

  5. “Indeed, even General Washington, one of the strongest proponents of a more “Energetic” central govt, had his doubts about the Philadelphia convention and declined to preside over it until prevailed upon by Madison, Hamilton and other Federalists.”

    Generalissimo Washington had banked (fraudulent central banking) on stealing land from patriots during the pogrom perpetrated by the British Nationalists, the so-called Revolutinary War. Once that land grab by Generalissimo Washington was threatened by patriots in the last battle of the Revolutionary War in Massachusetts (so-called Shays’s Rebellion) Generalissimo Washington broke his political promise to retire from politics and he then joined the criminal Nationalists who hid behind the Federalist name, so as to perpetrate the treasonous crime known as the Con-Con Con-Job.

    That was explained very well in the work done by Leonard Richards.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QSwmvMr9cY

    Washington also invested in whiskey markets, which lends cause for his involvement in conscripting a National Army to crush the spirit of liberty out of the people in his Dictatorship which became known as the so-called Whiskey Rebellion.

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