Electoral College works
18 October 2004 - Los Angeles Times
letter-writers on Monday took
up the call for the abolition of the Electoral College in favor
of direct popular election of the president. The publicís lack of
knowledge is indeed a problem, but shouldnít we endeavor to understand
why it was put in place before we go around calling for its removal?
nation was founded as a constitutional republic delicately balancing
the powers of government between two sets of three parties: the
nation, the states, and the people, in addition to the Legislative,
Executive, and Judicial branches of the federal government. The
methods used to select the members of the three branches were intentionally
made different to reduce the likelihood of a tyranny being put into
place by the majority over the minority.
are directly elected by the public and are the direct representatives
of the people to the federal government (thereís your "one man,
one vote"). Senators used to be selected by the state legislatures
and were supposed to be the direct representatives of the sovereign
states - since the 17th Amendment, theyíre directly elected as well.
Judges are appointed by the Executive but are under the Constitutional
authority of the Legislative. The president is supposed to be the
figurehead of the federal government, not a direct representative
of the people (itís called the United States of America,
not the United People of America), and as such, the use of
the Electoral College to elect the president was a masterstroke
by the Framers. It prevents a president from being elected by a
simple majority or plurality either of the people or of the states;
it gives power to states proportional to their population (so that
smaller states canít overwhelm larger ones), but does not ignore
the people of the smaller states (so presidents canít focus solely
on dense population centers, but must carry a mandate from the nation
as a whole).
Electoral College works, and it works the best when it needs to
the most - in a tight election.