In response to Steve Valentino’s June 10 letter, “The brilliance of the Electoral College”:
Mr. Valentino wrote with a dual purpose of standing up for the Electoral College and apparently to ridicule people who seek education to improve their lives. I am responding to his letter because I think the two subjects are significant at this moment in our nation.
Mr. Valentino claims the Electoral College is brilliant because our Constitution is brilliant, but he does not offer any actual evidence or reasons why the EC is so great. Instead of relying on some mythical notion of our forefathers creating a perfect document, it’s important to remember that the U.S. Constitution was a compromise reached by many intelligent people with differing views. Because it was made by negotiations and compromise, it was probably not anyone’s idea of a perfect foundation for self-government. Our Constitution was ground-breaking in human history, but it was not a perfect document: It didn’t end slavery, the right to vote was only given to men with property, etc. My point is that nothing in the Constitution was God’s law. The Electoral College should be viewed and examined with that in mind. It gives more importance and weight to voters in states with smaller populations, allowing in some cases a candidate to lose the popular vote but still win the election. Valentino mistakenly suggests this has happened 15 times in our nation’s history, as if to argue that this situation is normal or acceptable. Actually, it’s happened only three times (in 2000, 2016, and once in the late 1800s). The example years 1992 and 1996 Valentino provides are just plain wrong: In these elections the popular vote and EC agreed, the winner was Bill Clinton (1992 = Clinton 43 percent, Bush 37 percent; 1996 = Clinton 49 percent, Dole 41 percent).
The EC is commonly thought of as a guard against the tyranny of the majority, which is a valid point. I am not advocating for eliminating the EC, but when a minority of voters can outright control the nation, then we have tyranny of the minority, and we have a problem! Perhaps there is a middle ground, where there is a runoff or a coalition government when the popular vote differs from the EC?
It’s a sad day when we vilify people who chose to expand their horizons and grow their brain through disciplined learning. Steve, not all educated people are smart, but most smart people are educated.