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Many of the Democrats are critical of the Electoral College which elects the president of the United States of America. Instead of having a direct election of the president, there are electors representing each state. The number of each state’s electors is determined by the number of Senators and Representative in Congress.
There were many theories and concepts debated at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, and ultimately a representative democracy prevailed, where the citizens vote for a representative to make political decisions for them. As James Madison, the main creator the Constitution, wrote, “The effect of a representative democracy is to refine and enlarge the public views, by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true intent of the nation.”
The original Constitution only allowed for the direct election of the Members of the House of Representative – the representative most familiar to the voter. The election of Senators was the duty of the state legislators, which enhanced state sovereignty. Unfortunately, the Seventeenth Amendment now allows for the direct election of a state’s Senators, which has reduced the power of state government, and increased the power of the likes of Senators Schumer (D-N.Y.) and McConnell (R-Ky.).
Recently, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) tweeted:
This common claim about “if we don’t have the Electoral College then a handful of states will determine the presidency” is BS.
a. It’s the EC itself that breaks down power by state, pop vote decentralizes it. b. The EC makes it so a handful of states DO determine elections
It appears that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez claims that the Electoral College gives too much power to the states, when she tweeted, “It’s the EC itself that breaks down power by state.” Of course, this was exactly the intent of the delegates at the Constitutional Convention. The small states feared the large states would control the elections of the president, who would in turn politically favor the big states.
Harmfully, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s support for the elimination of the Electoral College is even worse. A candidate for president would only pander to the big cities – New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Diego, Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco and more. Small town and rural America would be completely dominated by policies favored by big – mostly terribly governed – cities.
When Rep. Ocasio-Cortex writes, “pop[ular] vote decentralizes it,” she is calling for the direct election of the president. Again, the delegates – especially Madison - were strongly opposed to direct democracy. They feared that the public would not have the opportunity and interest to know the issues and the acumen of the candidates.
Additionally, the delegates feared “mob rule,” where charlatans deceive the general public. In Federalist No. 10, Madison defined the mob as a faction “united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.”
In an era where “fake news,” and political obfuscation and deceit abounds, the direct election of the president is not in the best interest of the citizens of the United States of America. Our Founders were knowledgeable of governance systems and direct democracy always ended badly. A better aspiration would be to repeal the Seventeen Amendment which would empower the states and stabilize our Constitutional Republic as originally established by the Constitution.