Archive for the ‘#electoralcollege’ Tag

Constitutional Ignorance   Leave a comment

Found on Lew Rockwell

by Walter E. Williams

Image result for image of walter e williams on blackmailHillary Clinton blamed the Electoral College for her stunning defeat in the 2016 presidential election in her latest memoirs, “What Happened?” Some have claimed that the Electoral College is one of the most dangerous institutions in American politics. Why? They say the Electoral College system, as opposed to a simple majority vote, distorts the one-person, one-vote principle of democracy because electoral votes are not distributed according to population.

To back up their claim, they point out that the Electoral College gives, for example, Wyoming citizens disproportionate weight in a presidential election. Put another way, Wyoming, a state with a population of about 600,000, has one member in the U.S. House of Representatives and two members in the U.S. Senate, which gives the citizens of Wyoming three electoral votes, or one electoral vote per 200,000 people. California, our most populous state, has more than 39 million people and 55 electoral votes, or approximately one vote per 715,000 people. Comparatively, individuals in Wyoming have nearly four times the power in the Electoral College as Californians.

Many people whine that using the Electoral College instead of the popular vote and majority rule is undemocratic. I’d say that they are absolutely right. Not deciding who will be the president by majority rule is not democracy. But the Founding Fathers went to great lengths to ensure that we were a republic and not a democracy. In fact, the word democracy does not appear in the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution or any other of our founding documents.

How about a few quotations expressed by the Founders about democracy? In Federalist Paper No. 10, James Madison wanted to prevent rule by majority faction, saying, “Measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority.” John Adams warned in a letter, “Remember Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There never was a Democracy Yet, that did not commit suicide.” Edmund Randolph said, “That in tracing these evils to their origin, every man had found it in the turbulence and follies of democracy.” Then-Chief Justice John Marshall observed, “Between a balanced republic and a democracy, the difference is like that between order and chaos.”

The Founders expressed contempt for the tyranny of majority rule, and throughout our Constitution, they placed impediments to that tyranny. Two houses of Congress pose one obstacle to majority rule. That is, 51 senators can block the wishes of 435 representatives and 49 senators. The president can veto the wishes of 535 members of Congress. It takes two-thirds of both houses of Congress to override a presidential veto. To change the Constitution requires not a majority but a two-thirds vote of both houses, and if an amendment is approved, it requires ratification by three-fourths of state legislatures. Finally, the Electoral College is yet another measure that thwarts majority rule. It makes sure that the highly populated states — today, mainly 12 on the East and West coasts, cannot run roughshod over the rest of the nation. That forces a presidential candidate to take into consideration the wishes of the other 38 states.

Those Americans obsessed with rule by popular majorities might want to get rid of the U.S. Senate, where states, regardless of population, have two senators. Should we change representation in the House of Representatives to a system of proportional representation and eliminate the guarantee that each state gets at least one representative? Currently, seven states with populations of 1 million or fewer have one representative, thus giving them disproportionate influence in Congress. While we’re at it, should we make all congressional acts be majority rule? When we’re finished with establishing majority rule in Congress, should we then move to change our court system, which requires unanimity in jury decisions, to a simple majority rule?

My question is: Is it ignorance of or contempt for our Constitution that fuels the movement to abolish the Electoral College?

Russians Revealed Truth   2 comments

At this writing, it appears that the Electoral College has settled the matter in favor of the Constitution and Donald Trump will be the president … like it or not.

This entire electoral incident should warn us on just how insane the American elite has become. Presumably, they have access to the same Constitution that I have access to, so why is it that they seem unable to understand this very simple truth?

Image result for image of election interferenceThere has never been a national popular election for United State President. The Constitution provides for the states to elect the President and allows for states to decide what procedures to follow to do that. Theoretically, they could vary the procedures from state to state, but that isn’t the reality. Since 1836, the states have held statewide popular elections for President. Three states allow votes to be counted proportionally. The rest apportion electors according to the winnter of the statewide popular election. Additionally, 30 states require electors to vote with their statewide popular election. The media (and I suspect the public schools since I graduated) has put forth this fantasy of the national popular election, but it is a fantasy. It doesn’t exist. In fact, states should probably just stop giving their vote totals to the media until after the Electoral College meets. This might help with some people’s Electoral Delusional Complex.

On November 8, 2016, the voters in 51 states held popular elections (in accordance with the Constitution) and Donald Trump won 30 of those states. Hillary Clinton lost in a landslide. He may not be the best president we could have gotten. It’s entirely possibly he will not do what needs to be done. I suspect he’s better than Hillary would have been, but I don’t think that’s saying a whole lot. But he won the election and it’s time to move on.

Image result for electoral delusional complexBUT …

 

American elites are working to create a constitutional crisis as I write this, building up an immense head of steam that the Electoral College did not defuse.

Why? Because the Russians allegedly “intervened” in a US election. How did they do that?

They revealed the truth.

Yeah … shocking, right? How dare they!

But … wait … they told the truth and America’s elite overlords are upset about that?

 

Hmmm … maybe that tells us something about the elites that we really ought to pay more attention to.

The leaked emails were true and the truth they revealed ought to be huge news, talked about around every dinner table in America. Instead, the elites are trying to distract us with the revelation that RUSSIANS may have “interfered” with the election.

The inference is that the Russians did more than just reveal the truth at the worst possible time in the campaign for Hillary Clinton. I know people who are absolutely convinced that the Russians hacked the voting machines … even though that would be virtually impossible in 51 separate statewide elections, especially since some states use different systems at the district level … resulting in hundreds of different systems that would all need to be hacked. Yeah … can you say “Conspiracy Theory”?

Image result for electoral delusional complexBut, truthfully, they are mostly upset that the American people learned the truth about Hillary Clinton from her own camp and then voted based on that truth.

 

I didn’t vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. My decision was made months before the emails confirmed what I already knew, that Hillary Clinton is a lying warmonger who hates ordinary American people. But, for half a second in the voting booth, I almost filled in the oval for Donald Trump because I feared Hillary Clinton might win. Why was I more worried about it than I had been since March? I’d read those emails. I suspect a lot of people who read those emails filled in ovals for Donald Trump … because they had seen the truth about Hillary Clinton and they were voting against her and all that she stands for.

Democracy is supposed to be about allowing the people to self-govern through the ballot box. This time around, we rejected a candidate who had revealed herself to be an elitist snob, warmongering liar and enough of us embraced a candidate some of us don’t like. When it was Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in 2012 there was no call to set aside the election results. Why? Because everybody … even the losers … accepted that the US system works and doesn’t need to be “fixed”, but also because most people recognized that Romney’s “49% of the electorate” comment was him opening his mouth to insert his foot by revealing himself to be an elite. So, why is it different now with Hillary?

 

I suspect a lot of Hillary supporters have refused to read the emails. Maybe none of our elites have read them. I did … well, a sizeable chunk of them. They were … damaging. If I’d liked Hillary before, I probably wouldn’t have liked her after reading them. And, I know people who did change their votes after reading them. The emails, because they were truth revealed, had that effect. Yet, the entire elite class, including nearly all major media, doesn’t seem to have read them. Or maybe they didn’t have that effect on them because they already knew that was the prevalent Democratic attitude toward the American people.

So, to my point of view, the Russians did us a favor by revealing the truth. They didn’t tell us their version of the truth. They released elitist emails that revealed the truth about the elites in their own words. So much more damaging than if the Russians had concocted lies.

 

Thos emails are a massive condemnation of American governance, especially in the Obama administration. The voters, now thusly informed, voted in their own better interests to pivot away from DC elites. I still doubt that Trump will “drain the swamp” or “make America great”, but I don’t fault my fellow voters for voting against Hillary. That is how democracy works … like it or not.

The Russians didn’t “interfere” with the election by enlightening the electorate with actual truth. Would we be having this conversation if the New York Times had released the information? I doubt it. We’d be excited to see real journalism back from the dark maze it has been wandering in. Can someone please lower a lantern into that sewer? Really, it would be wonderful to see the return of real journalism.

If you want to know what interference in an election looks like, go back and review what the elites have done to forestall the inaugaration of the people’s choice for President. Remember the riots? Remember the calls for Electoral College electors to disenfranchise the voters of their states and vote for Hillary? Do you hear the continued calls for Congress to step in and overrule the EC?

Yeah, THAT is interference in an election and you don’t have to love Donald Trump to recognize it.

51 Statewide Elections for POTUS   Leave a comment

I hate Twitter debates because you really can’t say what you need to say in 140 characters. So, in lieu of that, I’m explaining it here, where I can make a reasoned, well-rounded point.

Image result for image of 51 statewide popular elections for presidentThe Constitution was created by people who (mostly) saw themselves as citizens of their state of residence. Virginians didn’t see themselves as Americans. They saw themselves as Virginians. John Adams called Massachusetts his “country”. If you read the extra-Constitutional writers of the various Framers, you discover that almost all of them thought they were forming a federation similar to the Articles of Confederation with just a slightly stronger federal government. They expected the federal government to be subordinate to the states, not the other way around.

So they set up the Constitution to reflect that attitude on many levels. One of those points where they did this is elections for presidents. Popular elections were not popular in 1789. The technology wasn’t really up to it, but more than that, our Founders feared the “tyranny of the majority” — low-information voters who would vote according to promises by politicians scared the heck out of them. States were supposed to choose their own electors for the Electoral College which selects the President. Back then, it was mostly done by state legislatures. Today, it is mostly done by popular election. Although the media makes a big deal out of the NATIONAL popular vote, that is really an unConstitutional process. More than that, it doesn’t reflect actual reality.

Instead of a national election for the presidency, we have 51 statewide elections. Each state gets to make its own decision on how to choose electors, but for more than a century, most states have used the popular vote within their state to choose the electors from that state. 30+ states have laws that require electors to vote in accordance with the popular vote within their state.

Sadly, most states have no real teeth to this law, which emboldens people who are unhappy with the current outcomes of the 51 popular elections to try and convince electors to simply ignore the popular vote within their state and vote however they want. By this, they mean “vote our way”.

By the way, this has happened before approximately 157 times, but no faithless elector has ever swung the election result. Most states have simply replaced the elector with someone who understood what state they hail from.

So, maybe it will happen this time … but, I doubt it because the states in which Trump won the popular vote will simply nullify their faithless electors’ votes. It will also probably cause them to strengthen the costs to electors who actually violate their charge from the popular vote of their state.

I know that’s hard for people to hear who are on the losing side of an electoral contest, who believe they have a right to have their preferred candidate in the White House because they won the “national popular vote”. But there is no national popular vote as the Constitution stands. There are 51 statewide popular votes. And Trump clearly won those elections.

 

Why Keep the Electoral College   6 comments

So many people I know are freaked-out-foaming-at-the-mouth upset that Donald Trump won the presidency even though Hillary Clinton supposedly won the popular vote.  There are a lot of people, especially over on the George Soros-financed MoveOn.org, screaming that we need to abolish the Electoral College immediately and have the presidency decided by popular vote. Even people here in Alaska, who SHOULD know better, are calling for it.

In contrast, I support the Electoral College, for the most part. I might change how it is calculated if I were in charge, but I generally approve of it because it is one of the Constitution’s providentially great procedures preventing the concentration of political power and the resulting abuses stemming from such concentrations.

Let’s start with the what makes the Constitution’s voting rules accidentally great.

At the time of the Constitution’s ratification in the late 1700s, its proponents expected federal power to be restrained by having a wide swath of different Americans in a large republic form many factions. These diverse factions would restrain federal action by hindering consensus.

“The smaller the society, the fewer probably will be the distinct parties and interests composing it; the fewer the distinct parties and interests, the more frequently will a majority be found of the same party; and the smaller the number of individuals composing a majority, and the smaller the compass within which they are placed, the more easily will they concert and execute their plans of oppression. Extend the sphere, and you take in a greater variety of parties and interests; you make it less probable that a majority of the whole will have a common motive to invade the rights of other citizens; or if such a common motive exists, it will be more difficult for all who feel it to discover their own strength, and to act in unison with each other.” Federalist #10, written by James Madison

According to Madison, having a lot of people with diverse interests restrains federal power and protects liberty by deterring the formation of oppressive majorities. Madison didn’t foresee the two-party voting system that would eventually be the norm in this country. He thought republican democracy would be more like herding cats than sheep.

When designing the Constitution, its Framers spent considerable time considering who voted when. The Constitution makes the House popularly elected by the people, the Senate appointed by the states, the President indirectly elected through the Electoral College, and the judiciary nominated by the President and approved by the Senate. Due to a skepticism of majorities, the Constitution empowers different people to choose different components of the federal government to protect against majoritarian dangers.

While the Framers concentrated on who should be allowed to decide, they largely overlooked how those people should be measured. Kenneth Arrow earned a Noble Prize in economics with his book Social Change and Individual Values. I warn that it’s a snore-fest, but his basic premise is that HOW collective decisions are measured matters more than who should be included in the decision-making process. In other words, the “will of the people” does not exist independently of the voting rules. Voting rules matter because the measure of “the will of the people” determines collective decisions.

For a Madisonian system with many factions that deter majorities, states would need to use a system of proportional representation in voting. Under such a rule, a party with about 10% support would receive around 10% of the seats in Congress, and Congress would need to form coalitions with many factions to pass legislation—just as Madison wanted.

Proportional representation often doesn’t work well. Currently, due to proportional representation, Spain has lacked a government for almost a year because of the inability to form a coalition. Belgium once had no elected government for 589 days. European countries with proportional representation voting systems show how Madisonian inhabitions on government might work. As Madison suggested, a larger, more diverse country with a proportional representation voting system would likely have such restrains more frequently.

Having underappreciated the significance of voting rules, Madison expected many factions and did not intentionally design the Constitution to restrain the unanticipated two-party system. A two-party system poses the danger of one party taking exclusive control and exerting its unrestrained will on the population. This is somewhat mitigated by the Constitutional requirement for staggered elections, but it doesn’t prevent it. We all saw the results of that in 2008-10 and may experience a repeat performance in reverse starting in January.

The Electoral College safeguards against the concentration of political power by one party because of its accidental operation within our two-party system. Many people assume the Electoral College is an arbitrary way of electing somebody to be President based on a close correlation to the national popular vote. For the fifth time in American history, the candidate winning the Electoral College lost the popular vote. So, let’s dump the Electoral College, people shout. But hang on a second.

As originally envisioned, the Constitution includes an Electoral College to insulate voting from the majority and enable wiser electors to choose the President. The Electoral College, Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist 68, 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 demands for electors to defect. Despite occasional defections, such as Roger MacBride casting his electoral vote for Libertarian candidates in 1972 (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 elector to decide the President is mostly illusory, but there are other benefits.

The Electoral College within a two-party system acts as a means of restraining voter fraud and the potential resulting concentration of political power.Regardless of the original intention, within a two-party system in a large nation, the Electoral College has the wonderful function of transforming a single 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 the party in power, preventing any party from systematically expanding its power through the voting system. The Electoral College protects the voting system from potentially systemic federal corruption by dispersing it across the states.

In addition to federal tampering with the voting system, politicians in red and blue states could have both the political power and the incentive to engage in outright fraud to empower the party in control. Considering how creative and manipulative these politicians have been in gerrymandering, politicians governing a one-party state within a two-party nation would likely manufacture many legal and illegal ways to enhance their party’s national popular vote. By creating 51 contests instead a national popular vote, the Electoral College deters red and blue states from tampering with the voting system and concentrating federal political power within their party.

Interestingly, the Electoral College defense reverses the historical case for it. Rather than having Hamilton’s politically astute elites choose the President, the Electoral College disperses power by protecting Presidential elections from partisan political elites.

Here is a map of the 2016 presidential election by county.

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Wow. That’s a LOT of red. As seen in the above map, Republicans overwhelming won America’s counties and carried rural America. In contrast, Democrats won substantially fewer counties and compensated by winning populous, urban cities. Do we think it’s a good idea for the cities to control presidential politics and electoral outcomes? As anyone read or seen The Hunger Games? Do away with the Electoral College and the cities decide presidential elections from here on out.

 

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