With the news that the “abolish the Electoral College” meme is rearing its head again and being pushed by the Establishment, I thought it might be helpful for everyone to catch up on the importance of the EC and how and why it was established.

To that end, here is your Reading Assignment for this week:

The Electoral College

Written in 1992 by William C. Kimberling, then Deputy Director FEC Office of Election Administration, it provides an excellent history and analysis of the EC, along with an exploration of the arguments for and against.

Kimberling starts with the original arguments and moves through all the changes and adjustments since the Founding. There was a reason why the Founders chose a Representative Democracy, not a Direct Democracy. In the paper Kimberling notes:

…[T]he Electoral College system imposes two requirements on candidates for the presidency:

that the victor obtain a sufficient popular vote to enable him to govern
(although this may not be the absolute majority), and

that such a popular vote be sufficiently distributed across the country to
enable him to govern.

Such an arrangement ensures a regional balance of support which is
a vital consideration in governing a large and diverse nation (even though
in close elections, as in 1888, distribution of support may take precedence
over majority of support).

Far from being flaws, then, the historical oddities described above
demonstrate the strength and resilience of the Electoral College system in
being able to select a president in even the most troubled of times.

I made my opinion clear on Tammy Radio–abolishing the Electoral College would be a disaster for this nation. It is pushed by the Establishment (i.e. liberals) as it would make the President what Pat S. astutely noted to me “President of the Cities” as opposed to the “President of the United States.” But I suppose if you’re a Machine Liberal you’d really prefer to not have Fly Over Country have a voice in the elections, which would allow you to stop pretending you’re a conservative. This is why the Lamestream Media loves the idea, liberals love it, and the Machines wouldn’t object.

This is a 20-page paper, and should be read when you have some personal quiet time and can read it carefully. It’s great with history and analysis and provides perfect background for you when the “Let’s abolish the Electoral College” crowd starts to make noise again. I would also like to hear as many of you as possible chime in on this once you’re done reading the piece. I always enjoy and learn something from the TAM discussion 🙂

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13 Comments | Leave a comment
  1. LJZumpano says:

    Excellent article, Tammy. Gives a great picture of the process. Just loving the checks and balances of the Constitution. Down right exceptional! No wonder the progressives are so anxious to destroy it.

  2. Maynard says:

    I think very few Americans even realize that the president is not elected by popular vote. George W. Bush was elected in 2000 with fewer votes than Al Gore, and I’ve heard people allege this was due to a Republican trick, because they just couldn’t believe the system works that way. My succinct explanation: The president is elected by the states, not by the people; the people just tell their state how to vote. That’s the covenant under which the states formed the Federal government. It’s called the Constitution.

    States have traditionally used the “winner takes all” model. This maximizes the state’s clout in the nation, although it marginalizes the minority voters. But that’s the way elections are; there’s no second-place winner.

    Some states want to proportionally distribute their electoral votes, thus more accurately representing the voters. I can see the argument in favor of doing this; however a state that follows that model becomes less important in the eyes of the campaigners. If the race is 50-50, the candidates will work hard to seduce you in a winner-take-all contest, but they’ll ignore you in a proportional contest.

    Gov. Brown just signed a law that Schwarzenegger had refused to sign. It allocates all the California delegates to the candidate that wins the national popular vote. This only takes effect if a number of other states pass a similar law. This strikes me as, among other things, unconstitutional. It says our delegates no longer represent our state, and our voters can’t control our delegates. As a practical matter, of course, with Democrats so heavily favored here, the Democrats have more downside than upside. But it still seems wrong to me.

    When someone says to me that electing a president other than by the popular vote is an un-American model, I point out the Senate. Is it fair that a California senator, representing a gazillion people, has the same clout as a Nebraska senator with a fraction of that? The Federal government was created to represent the geographical regions as well as the head count. Remember that we started with the 13 colonies that might have gone their own ways rather than unite into the United States. We’ve become so used to the concept of unbridled central authority that we’ve forgotten that power flows up from us rather than trickles down to us. We’re losing our rights and sliding into an authoritarian framework because we’re failing to remember our precious heritage. It’s a problem.

  3. dennisl59 says:

    When it’s said: “Abolish the Electoral College”, what that really means, in my opinion, is “Repeal the 12th Amendment” to the U.S.Constitution.

  4. radargeek says:

    It is more chipping away of the Constitution (the very parchment they swore to defend!) usurping the American citizen’s rights. They want to consolidate more and more power until the citizen has no say so (for the little bit they have). And isn’t this exactly what o’bumbazz wanted in the first place? Coincidence?

  5. DouggieJ says:

    I support the Electoral College, but within the electoral college system, the states themselves can reform the system so it’s not winner-take-all. The states of Maine and Oklahoma have already done so.

    The Constitution gives the State Legislatures the plenary power to decide how to choose the electors for president and vice-president their states are awarded via the census. They can even just choose them themselves by name. Right now most states have a winner-take-all system but that is not at all demanded by the U.S. Constitution, the states are free to put in any sort of proportional system they see fit.

  6. strider says:

    That’s a core part of our system of government. Hope it is bing taught to students as such. Unless I wasn’t paying attention enough in school, seems like it was just skimmed over as a quaint mechanism.

  7. otlset says:

    Thank God for the wisdom of our founding fathers who hammered out the structure of this republic, and in memory of Ben Franklin in particular may we patriots continue the struggle to keep it.

  8. JuanitaDugas says:

    Thanks Professor Tammy for the electoral college homework assignment. I know generally why the EC was set up so all voters have equal influence electing federal candidates….even small towns in the wilds of North Dakota to the heavily poplulated cities of NY and L.A. Looking forward to reading and re-reading the paper I’ve printed and set aside for later. Please don’t grade with a red pen; I hear it crushes self-esteem. ;JD

  9. AniMel says:

    Anyone see the documentary “Media Malpractice?” It’s on Netflix and Amazon…it was made by John Ziegler. During the making of the film, he visited polling places during the last presidential election. He asked people simple questions – things like, “which party currently controls congress?”, “which candidate won his election to congress by getting his opponent kicked off the ballot?” – and a sizable majority of them couldn’t answer correctly. They didn’t know. Some even thought it was funny that they didn’t know. When he asked them cultural questions, however, such as, “which candidate spent $150,000 on clothes?”, “which candidate has a pregnant teenage daughter?”, and “which candidate said they can see Russia from their house?”, they all got it right.

    Here’s my point: the vast, overwhelming majority of liberals who follow that establishment and want the EC to end don’t know the facts and don’t care. I think it has something to do, on some level, with history and government no longer being taught in schools, but that’s a different argument. They have come to an emotional, irrational conclusion about an issue and they’re not likely to move even if you do give them the facts.

    Of course, that’s not to say we should stop trying. I’m just pointing out what when we hit the wall we should scale it and keep going. 😉

    • JuanitaDugas says:

      I too watched “Media Malpractice” AniMel and like you, was very disturbed but not surprised that those questioned had ready answers reflecting the daily media driven barrage of criticisms against Obama’s opponents, but were clueless about basic information any voter should know before stepping into a voting booth. Thought the movie would make me angry; instead it left me sad and afraid for the sovereignty of our great country. The fight goes on.

  10. Kat says:

    Professor Tammy, I completed my assignment with my son as he was doing his homework from college! It is amazing the foresight our founding fathers had…..no system is perfect because unfortunately we humans are not perfect (well….except maybe you Tammy 😀 )! It is also amazing the amount of American citizens that vote who have no idea what the electoral college is or what its purpose is too!
    Thanks for the assignment Prof Tammy learned some new things and refreshed my memory on others! Also, thank you founding fathers for knowing your future fellow Americans so well!!!!

  11. deaves1 says:

    Madam Tammy, you are wise beyond your years. I cringe everytime I hear the hemoraging hearts of the left and the establishment right start making noise about changing the US Constitution or the electoral process. The Constituion and Electoral College have served this great Nation well since the beginning, and us allowing a few primidonas to change it to give them a better advantage is absolutely the wrong way to go. Our Founding Fathers risked everything to create this Country and for us to sit back and allow the elite to change it to serve them and their cronnies would be a dis-service to not only everyone in American, but all those who have come and gone before us. The way I see it, if these Socialist don’t like the American way of life, they are free to leave and live somewhere else. This is OUR Country and the Constitution and Electoral College stays as it is. This Nation was founded as a Representative form of government. Though as of late, We the People do not seem to have much, if any, representation in our Nation’s Capital.

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