In church recently, our minister used a familiar phrase that I hadn’t heard in years. From the Preamble of the United States Constitution, he used the phrase “insure domestic tranquility.” It came so unexpectedly and was so far back in the recesses of what’s left of my memory, the result was as though someone had grabbed and shaken me.
Given the possibility that anyone needs a reminder, here it is:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure the domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence (sic), promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
When was the last time you recited the Preamble — if ever? Back in the ’50s most children knew it by junior high school. I suspect that most Americans, like myself, haven’t thought about it in ages.
The seed planted, I considered some perceived causes for the reduction of our national tranquility. Those who wish to change, ignore or circumvent the U.S. Constitution jumped to the top of the list. Primary among these are those who desire to meddle with the Second Amendment and the Electoral College. With upcoming elections in the news, let’s concentrate on the Electoral College.
First, as background, let’s look at actual election results. Beginning with 1932, there have been 22 presidential elections — Democrats winning 12 and Republicans 10. Does that sound like the Electoral College works against Democrats? Yet it’s Democrats who wish to eliminate or circumvent it. Perhaps, in their world, they feel that they deserve more.
As for actual results, let’s review how Democrats fared in the electoral voting. These are true numbers. In 1932, FDR took 88 percent, in ’36 he took 98 percent, in ’40 he won 84 percent and in ’44 he got 81 percent. Note that he won four consecutive terms. Moving on, Truman won in ’48 with 57 percent. Twenty straight years with two Democrats occupying the White House. In 1960, JFK arrived with 56 percent of the Electoral College followed by LBJ in ’64, who garnered 90 percent. The next Democrat was Jimmy Carter in ’76, who managed 55 percent of the college. In 1992, Clinton won with 68 percent. He returned in ’96 winning 70 percent. After two terms of Bush 43, Obama emerged. He got 67 percent of the college in 2008, and 61 percent in ’12.
In recent years, Democrats’ winning percentages haven’t been that impressive. The only Democrat to receive over 80 percent since FDR in 1944 was LBJ in ’64. Like them or not, both were dynamic people. Their percentages reflected this attribute.
None of the above results indicate that the college is unfair. To objective people who pay attention, the Electoral College concept is brilliant. Democrats have prospered under it, but have not dominated — sounds fair to me. The college hasn’t changed, but the candidates and their supporters have.
The problem as I see it is not the Electoral College, but the candidates that the Democrats put forward. In support of that opinion, I offer you the gang of current candidates. Not one with the star quality of JFK or even Obama. Don’t forget Al Gore and John Kerry — perceived by many as a couple of schlubs.
Additionally, there are those who want to circumvent the Electoral College by assigning a state’s electoral votes to the candidate winning the national popular vote. This from Democrats who say requiring voter ID will disenfranchise millions of voters. Think about this. Millions of Americans (of every stripe) will be disenfranchised if Electoral College votes are assigned based upon results from the West Coast, the Northeast and upper Midwest. Each state’s electoral votes should reflect the wishes of its voters. Otherwise, disenfranchisement of hundreds of millions of people will inevitably result. This plan destroys diversity that Democrats claim to champion.
In closing, an unrelated recent occurrence disturbed my domestic tranquility. Congressman Jamie Raskin is supporting the D.C. statehood movement. He stated that we “are the only nation on Earth” whose citizens of the nation’s capital don’t vote on national matters. Ouch, Raskin! You missed something. We “are the only nation on Earth” that does a lot of things. We were first to send the British home. Our ancestors formed a democratic republic in a world of monarchies. They made common people more equal than they had ever been. This could go on and on, but I bet even Raskin (like it or not) gets it. This country was formed, intentionally, to differ from the world of that time. Now, people like him want us to be more like the rest of the world. That is not the way this country was designed — not what made us what we are. We began uniquely, we’ve done it our way and in the final analysis we’ve become a great nation. I won’t speak for others, but I’ve always been proud of my country.
If we wanted to be like Europe, we’d have stayed there or at least invited the British to stay. We did neither.
Rick Blatchford writes from Mount Airy. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.