I was listening to the Townhall Review this morning and a light bulb went off. The last segment of the show features a clip from Dennis Prager, talking about how middle school in California (where else?) decided to nullify the results of a school election because the results were not acceptably diverse.

He goes on to talk about how those of a certain political leaning seem to only support democracy when the results are favorable to them. Hence the push by the left to disband the Electoral College.

I never really connected the dots on the issue of the Electoral College. It’s not something that I felt has been taught very well in school. For quite some time it’s seemed to me to be needlessly complex. Wouldn’t it be better to just look at the popular vote?

Well, it boils down to the US being a democratic republic, not a pure democracy. When you think about it, our country was initially a collection of colonies that became individual states. These states joined together to form a Union. Our founders intended that all states in the country be important and have a degree of autonomy. I think these days many people have lost sight of that fact. I know it took me many years and a lot of independent reading and thought to come to that realization. Many young people these days don’t see states as much more than geographical areas – they identify more with being Americans. There are positives to this, but there are also dangers to losing sight of the federalist intentions of our founding fathers.

Prager University has a couple of informative videos up about the Electoral College and the Popular Vote.






5 thoughts on “Epiphany

  1. No. It does not boil down to the US being a democratic republic, not a pure democracy.
    Pure democracy is a form of government in which people vote on all policy initiatives directly.
    Popular election of the chief executive does not determine whether a government is a republic or democracy.

    At the time of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island conducted popular elections for Governor. If popular election of a state’s chief executive meant that these four states were not a “republic,” then all four would have been in immediate violation of the Constitution’s Guarantee Clause (“The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government”). If the states were not “republics,” the delegates from these four states would not have voted for the Constitution at the Convention and these four states would never have ratified the Constitution.

    Madison’s definition of a “republic” in Federalist No. 14: “in a democracy, the people meet and exercise the government in person; in a republic, they assemble and administer it by their representatives and agents.” Also Federalist No. 10.

    The United States would be neither more nor less a “republic” if its chief executive is elected under the current state-by-state winner-take-all method (i.e., awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in each separate state), under a district system (such as used by Maine and Nebraska), or under the proposed national popular vote system (in which the winner would be the candidate receiving the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia).


    1. Cool story.

      By the literal definitions of “republic” and “democracy,” sure – the US would still be a democratic republic under a national election system based on popular vote.

      What I was pointing to is that when you look at our Electoral College in a historical context, it makes sense and is extremely American. To our founders, the federal government was meant to unify, yes, but to serve the states. I think that consideration has been lost. They were also obviously concerned about tyranny and excessive federal power.

      Your historical tidbits are certainly interesting but not really relevant to the topic at hand.


  2. Anyone who supports the current presidential election system, believing it is what the Founders intended and that it is in the Constitution, is mistaken. The current presidential election system does not function, at all, the way that the Founders thought that it would.

    Presidential electors were appointed by state legislatures for almost a century.
    In 1789, in the nation’s first election, the people had no vote for President in most states, only men who owned a substantial amount of property could vote, and only three states used the state-by-state winner-take-all method to award electoral votes.

    Neither of the two most important features of the current system of electing the President (namely, universal suffrage, and the 48 state-by-state winner-take-all method) are in the U.S. Constitution. Neither was the choice of the Founders when they went back to their states to organize the nation’s first presidential election.

    Supporters of National Popular Vote find it hard to believe the Founding Fathers would endorse the current electoral system where 80%+ of the states and voters now are completely politically irrelevant.
    10 of the original 13 states are ignored now.

    Four out of five Americans were ignored in the 2012 presidential election.
    After being nominated, Obama visited just eight closely divided battleground states, and Romney visited only 10.

    More than 99% of polling, organizing, ad spending and visits was showered on voters in just the ten states in 2012 where they were not hopelessly behind or safely ahead, and could win the bare plurality of the vote to win all of the state’s electoral votes.

    Candidates know the Republican is going to win in safe red states, and the Democrat will win in safe blue states, so they are ignored.

    Issues of importance to non-battleground states are of so little interest to presidential candidates that they don’t even bother to poll them.

    Over 87% of both Romney and Obama campaign offices were in just the 12 swing states. The few campaign offices in the 38 remaining states were for fund-raising, volunteer phone calls, and arranging travel to battleground states.

    Since World War II, a shift of a few thousand votes in one or two states would have elected the second-place candidate in 4 of the 15 presidential elections

    Policies important to the citizens of non-battleground states are not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing.

    “Battleground” states receive 7% more federal grants than “spectator” states, twice as many presidential disaster declarations, more Superfund enforcement exemptions, and more No Child Left Behind law exemptions.

    States have the responsibility and power to make their voters relevant in every presidential election.


  3. Unable to agree on any particular method, the Founding Fathers left the choice of method for selecting presidential electors exclusively to the states by adopting the language contained in section 1 of Article II of the U.S. Constitution–
    “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors . . .”
    The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly characterized the authority of the state legislatures over the manner of awarding their electoral votes as “plenary” and “exclusive.”

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the majority of Electoral College votes, and thus the presidency, to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the country, by replacing state winner-take-all laws for awarding electoral votes in the enacting states.

    Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps of pre-determined outcomes. There would no longer be a handful of ‘battleground’ states where voters and policies are more important than those of the voters in 80% of the states that now are just ‘spectators’ and ignored after the conventions.

    The National Popular Vote bill would take effect when enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes—270 of 538.
    All of the presidential electors from the enacting states will be supporters of the presidential candidate receiving the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC)—thereby guaranteeing that candidate with an Electoral College majority.

    Federalism concerns the allocation of power between state governments and the national government. The National Popular Vote bill concerns how votes are tallied, not how much power state governments possess relative to the national government. The powers of state governments are neither increased nor decreased based on whether presidential electors are selected along the state boundary lines, or national lines (as with the National Popular Vote).

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided).

    Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in every state surveyed recently. In the 41 red, blue, and purple states surveyed, overall support has been in the 67-81% range – in rural states, in small states, in Southern and border states, in big states, and in other states polled.
    Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.

    The bill has passed 33 state legislative chambers in 22 rural, small, medium, large, red, blue, and purple states with 250 electoral votes. The bill has been enacted by 11 jurisdictions with 165 electoral votes – 61% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.



  4. Enough NPV promotional material copy-pastes. My point was that the Electoral College makes sense. No system is perfect, and NPV has upsides and certainly has a base of support. However a lot of the stuff you’re throwing out is directly addressed in the videos I posted. Anyone reading can have a look and make up their own minds.


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