It’s a shame how many of today’s most “educated” lack a real understanding of the genius of the Electoral College, and moreover that they actually are now fighting actively against it.

Yet in spite of their ignorance of the breadth of protections created for us by the EC, and combined with the confusion they gleefully create by their dangerous misrepresentations, yet there are still miles of brilliant threads that weave together by it that create the enduring envelope of protection that has sustained us thus far. Simply, our system has proved itself brilliant, providing the best solution for governance that our constitutional republic requires, and there is no equal to it anywhere on Earth.

Absent a population where only and exactly 100 percent of all legal voters cast a legal and objective vote in each and every election, we are thus blessed to be protected by the wise and enduring provision of the Electoral College, which by its very existence provides an additional realm of checks and balances for us. This is essential to counter any polarity aimed against our common good.

Perfect? No, because among other things, a state’s elector can in some cases still refuse to cast their ballot as the electorate entrusted them to, but rarely can that occur without remedy anyway. Moreover, and subject to reasonable and measured adjustment only by constitutional amendment, the EC so far has been unmoved by any riotous fringe since its adoption. Better than any “popular vote” could achieve and since all do not always vote, the Electoral College balances the entire citizenry with equal scales and without bias: Equity for a single nation of 50 separate but united states and her territories — regardless of ZIP code, pedigree, political party, or the control of others.

But today’s haters and most critics of the Electoral College system will indeed say that its chief “fault” is that a president can be elected without winning a majority of the “popular” vote. Yet how painfully ignorant and unwise the “smart” minority of today really are ... because among other things, what they fail to tell you is that in fact a president with a minority of the popular vote has won the Electoral College vote 15 times in U.S. history, most recently in 1992 and 1996, when Clinton won only 43 percent and 49 percent of the popular vote respectively.

I’m all for a healthy debate and reasonable exchange of ideas in the public square if it may push us to greater excellence for our future. However, I’m not for the hijacking of the most excellent and wise principles of our bedrock ideals, simply because the rage of a select few chooses lunacy rooted in their continued refusal to accept the results of an election ... still.

Steve Valentino

Frederick

(92) comments

rikkitikkitavvi

One more time. When you call someone a name expect to be censored. it is pretty standard etiquette on a public forum. Don't get all martyr on us. Report Add Reply jsklinelga Jun 11, 2019 5:04am shiftless88 I did not call someone a name. It was simply political and it has happened before/ Report Add Reply × Your comment has been submitted. rikkitikkitavvi jsk, I had three posts where I specifically did not express my opinion on what I thought of the opposing parties ailments so they would NOT be deleted. They concerned: How walls work, the 'live' abortion issue and the lack of a Democratic platform vs the solid Republican platform. Providing links in the process for all three. They were deleted before the even hit the board. It is evident that there is no freedom of speech at a privately owned company for the opposing view. That is why I simply watch them play in their on sandbox and pat each other on the back for saying outlandish things about our President while they give each other participation trophies cause ya know "we all have a lot of hate for him because it was hillarys' turn." We know who is going to win the next election. The dems are still trying to win the last election. Pretty pathetic. Have a MAGA TRUMP in 2020!!

awteam2000

I would think the main concern with popular vote over the electoral college today would be commerce and fear of others that are different. Change is frightening. Rural verses urban based businesses and demographics. But States aren’t subordinates to the federal government when it comes to choosing how they distribute their electoral ballots. States can choose on how they distribute their electoral ballots.

jsklinelga

Interesting but not surprising that I had a comment deleted. It responded to a comment that called the letter writer "stupid". I did not use profanity, nor call the other stupid. The person who cast the aspersion claims to be a principal in the public school system. i found his comment, beyond the slanderous, very sophomoric I alluded to the fact that many are vying for changes in the public education system and the commenter is a perfect example of why. This is far from the first time I have had a comment deleted for political reasons which is odd for a free speech forum..

shiftless88

When you call someone a name expect to be censored. it is pretty standard etiquette on a public forum. Don't get all martyr on us.

jsklinelga

shiftless88 I did not call someone a name. It was simply political and it has happened before/

awteam2000

Nothing is going to affect the electoral college system in the near future. It’s simply a ‘none starter’. The biggest threat to Trump possibility of serving a second term probably comes down to 3 key states, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania all which went republican in 2016 but reversed course in 2018. In addition there are red states that are shading blue, or at least purple that Trump won in the 2016. States like Texas, N. Carolina, Georgia and Florida are up for grabs. They all voted Trump in the last election. Trump can’t afford to loss any of them. To be re-elected he will need to figure out away not to loss red states while holding onto three historically democratic states, which he barely won. I know it’s early but can anyone show me a Blue state shading Red?

jsklinelga

, Mr. Valentino, Great letter. The electoral college is not going anywhere. For one, the citizens would not tolerate its dissolution. Folks should look at the EU. It offers great insight into how our Union was founded. The EU consists of 28 sovereign nations who collectively yielded some power to a central government for security, freedom of intra-country commerce and freedom of movement. It established a set of primary rights to all citizens of the EU but each nation retained the authority to legislate rights and powers as a sovereign nation. It is remarkably similar to our founding. And you would not suppose the smaller nations would allow the President to be elected by majority vote. That would be incredibly unfair and the Union would not have been formed if that was the case. And, although similar, we have a better system for choosing a Union leader.

hayduke2

Wanna bet this changes in the next decade or two? http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/05/connecticut-joins-effort-to-overturn-electoral-college.html

Moon otter

Electoral College is based on your congressional districts and senators. If you have gerrymandered districts then your electoral delegates ideology is skewed due to those districts. I am in favor of the total number of votes based on percentage go to the winner. So if you have 60 percent for the winner and 40 percent for the loser the electoral delegates (vote) is split by the above percentages this is for the whole state. Tis a lot fairer over all.

hayduke2

Exactly Moon otter!

gabrielshorn2013

I would be interested to know how you would divvy up an unequal count using your method. Say you have 55 percent for the winner, and 45% for the loser, with ten delegates at stake. That would be 5 1/2 delegates for the winner, and 4 1/2 delegates fro the loser. Do you only count the integers, and not the fractions? Or do you round up to 6 for the winner, and 4 for the loser?

Obadiah Plainsmen

Now this is a solution I would vote for. We are both a democracy and a federation of states. The Electoral College was designed specifically to prevent the tyranny of big states over small states, as was the U.S. Senate, which affords all states, large and small, equal representation. If we do away with the Electoral College, we might as well do away with the Senate. And since we have opened the Constitution for changes, let's add (1) allow foreign-born citizens to be eligible after being American citizens and residents for a specified number of years. (2) limit the terms that members of Congress can serve. (3) require a balanced federal budget and prohibit deficit spending. (4) President’s veto power has been the proposal for a line-item budget veto, similar to that exercised by many state governors.

public-redux

" If we do away with the Electoral College, we might as well do away with the Senate. " Why? The EC depends, in part, on the Senate but the Senate does not depend at all upon the EC.

Obadiah Plainsmen

The EC and the Senate where written into the Constitution for one primary purpose, appease the smaller states. "We the people" applies to the House of Representatives not the Senate. Besides confirming(or not) the Presidential appointees, what are they good for.....Not much.

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Unsprung

People opposed to the EC understand it as well as you, but reject it because it really is NOT "brilliant" but an awkward, clunky relic, so allow let democracy to work by letting the people decide. When I vote, I want my vote for a presidential candidate to be cast FOR that candidate, not to essentially go to someone who may vote for the other guy. No other country has an EC. Guess they did not think it "brilliant" either.

prg45fan

https://www.theepochtimes.com/the-electoral-college-works_2711781.html

thump1202

This country was intentionally set up as a democratic republic, NOT a democracy. Why? The founders understood that people are stupid and cannot be trusted to keep a Hitler like figure out of office. This is why the power was meant to reside at the state level as a check against the mob rule many in the comments advocate for, only because they believe the mob is on their side. The truth is more people don't vote than support any candidates and I don't blame them, the choices are all trash since I've been able to vote.

public-redux

"...the choices are all trash since I've been able to vote." So the EC isn't working?

thump1202

No that's a complaint against our party system and media coverage, by the time we vote the choices really scrape the bottom of the barrel. For example, the only Democrats I could get behind being Gafford and maybe Yang if I knew more about him have next to zero airtime while all you see in the news is Biden Bernie mayor Pete and the occasional Warren Harris Booker Beto mention. Third party may as well not exist.

public-redux

Our party system stems directly from the system set up by the Founders. First-past-the-post and the EC ineluctably lead to a two party system. Media coverage. Yup, it sucks. But that's not a complaint about the political system; you are complaining about capitalism in the news industry. If it bleeds, it leads.

Unsprung

So may things to disagree with! "The founders understood that people are stupid and cannot be trusted." Really? Then why let them vote at all? The EC was NOT created to give states more power, but to give CERTAIN states (smaller ones) more power. And the EC is just a capable of electing a tyrant as the people. And when the EC differs from the popular vote, it creates confusion, much like the mob rule you claim it prevents.

thump1202

They didn't, originally only property owners could vote. Voting has been opened up to basically everyone now and looking at the politicians we have in office and some of the policies they propose, I'd say it's questionable whether that was a good idea. The current game is the EC makes the choice, going for the popular vote when you don't need it is foolish if you want to win. Going in that direction would give us less than 10 campaign stops, the rest of the country would be completely ignored and any laws or promises would favor large cities only. One person one vote sounds great until you think. That's when the inequity becomes obvious.

gabrielshorn2013

No unsprung. The Senate structure was established to give all states parity in national issues affecting them. The EC is merely a sum of HoR and Senate representatives. Another related, but off-topic issue is how the number of representatives in the House of Representatives is derived. The census determines the number of representatives in each state based on populations. Many non-citizens and undocumented aliens are counted in the census. Some states have a much higher number of non-citizens and undocumented aliens that lead to elevated numbers of representatives in those states. Therefore, non-citizens and undocumented aliens are effectively given a vote in making laws, appropriations, etc. that affect the citizens. Is that fair?

rikkitikkitavvi

I is a Representative Republic for the ones that actually participate in the elections. All the others that do NOT participate are fodder. They WILL remain so..

Unsprung

If you live in a very blue or very red state, the EC makes your vote is irrelevant. Our presidents are chosen by voters in swing states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. A direct democracy is better than the EC which games the system.

thump1202

So you support mob rule? How civilized.

Unsprung

No, there is not EC for Senators, Congressman, and local elections who we vote for directly just fine without "mob rule" so voting for a President is should be no different. Your claim that the EC prevents mob rule is completely ridiculous.

thump1202

I find your support of mob rule to be absurdly ridiculous so we're even. Senate was traditionally chosen by the state, the amendment moving it to the people has diminished state rights and created more corruption in our political system.

public-redux

thump, could you distinguish between mob rule and representative democracy? I've heard mob rule applied to direct democracy but never to representative democracy.

public-redux

Also, states don't have rights. States have rights or authorities. People have rights. This is more than a matter of semantics.

public-redux

...states have powers or authorities. Sorry for the confusion.

threecents

Thump, Would you please not be crazy?

thump1202

You're right in terms of state powers vs rights, the absence of state power concentrated the senate power into DC and ultimately made these politicians unaccountable in red/blue zones. In terms of elected representatives, I was using mob rule as a colloquialism since knowing LA, SF, NYC, etc. they live in a densely populated microcosm that is very different from the rest of the country. I'm not a fan of concentrated power, especially in politics, there's too much opportunity for corruption. Is that fair? Not really, but anything to diffuse the poorer aspects of human nature I'm fine with and that was one of the EC's intentions. Oh and three, you first. It's not crazy to support the current system, it's crazy to throw it away because it feels bad.

public-redux

I’ve lived in urban areas and I’ve lived in rural areas; l lived six miles from the nearest paved road for 5 years. In my experience, we all have much more in common than we have that separates us. I guess I do not understand your usage of mob rule applying to more densely populated areas. About 80% of Americans live in what the census bureau defines as urban areas. It seems in a representative democracy, that 80% is just as entitled to representation as the other 20%.

thump1202

I agree that the human experience is similar no matter what the circumstances and it's really easy to forget that, however the experience of living in a NYC skyscraper and a farm in Idaho are drastically different in terms of lifestyle and needs. That skyscraper is going to have hundreds of people in it where that farm may only have around 10 maximum in a much larger area. The social capital of that skyscraper in a popular vote makes it inefficient to have any concern for the farmer. That ends up setting the priorities as the politician seeks election and re-election leaving those smaller populations out to dry. When we talk about national level politics, any decision that is made creates millions of winners and losers with our strong federal system. People in cities certainly need representation and this is why I don't support a strong federal government, it's far easier to deal with these issues at the local government level because what works for NYC isn't going to work for rural NY much less Arizona. If I had one complaint about the US it would be that the states and localities don't offer much flavor. It would be interesting to visit places where say guns were banned, or concealed carry was guaranteed, taxes were high but there were a lot of public services like mass transit and clinics available, a city where there were fees for visitors that locals didn't have to pay on roads, parking, etc. something different to see how it works out that's of a scale where it can be adjusted until it works.

Unsprung

Mob rule! Mob rule! What BS. This claim that getting rid of the EC will create "mob rule" is pure fear mongering.

thump1202

When you're part of the mob, you believe mob rule is a good thing, isn't that right?

awteam2000

Mob rule? By citizens voting, acting within governing rules? Voting isn’t civilized? Don’t follow your logic.

threecents

[thumbup]Unsprung. Good posts.

hayduke2

A lot of verbage but little substance.

Dwasserba

"Yet how painfully ignorant and unwise the 'smart' minority of today really are ... " shades of Sanders. Ugh

public-redux

Which Sanders?

Unsprung

The reason I oppose the EC is not due to "rage of a select few chooses lunacy rooted in their continued refusal to accept the results of an election." I oppose it because it has no merit. It was about 1985 when I first urged my Congressman to support doing away with the EC because it is an unnecessarily clunky way to elect a president that no other democracy uses that causes confusion when the result differs from the popular vote. Your embrace of the EC is no doubt rooted in a desire to rationalize 2000 and 2016 Republican presidential candidates who won only because of our uniquely quirky election process, NOT majority will.

hayduke2

Unsprung -[thumbup]

thump1202

Look at the candidates, we already lack any real choices for president. Only approved candidates are given air while any others remain unknown and obscured. If you want one person one vote worry about voter ID and keeping corporate and foreign actors out of our politics first.

rcfoster

The Electoral College consists of 538 electors. A majority of 270 electoral votes is required to elect the President. Your state’s entitled allotment of electors equals the number of members in its Congressional delegation: one for each member in the House of Representatives plus two for your Senators. Here's a good site to read about the Electoral College: https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/how-electoral-college-works-why-it-works-well

Brookhawk

The Electoral College is based on a system that says the US is a federation of many individual states, and it's the states who elect the the president, not the people. So the question really is - are we one country with one person one vote, or are we still a collection of states with the states having the vote? I opt for us being one country, even though I don't like the politics of a good portion of the country. We are either one people or we are not. If not, let's dissolve the Union and quit pretending. That can be done under the Constitution, without "secession" and civil war (the CSA just didn't do it the way the Constitution sets out).

Obadiah Plainsmen

"it's the states who elect the the president, not the people", and who resides in these states? People!! This Union is dissolving faster than you know. We are not "one people" anymore. We are a vast collection of people from many different countries who are not leaving their culture behind or assimilating into this so called "United States". in your future you may have a monarchy , dictator or Shairia, where religion is the law, Good luck.

hayduke2

So, you agree that religion should have no influence on law.

Unsprung

A little dramatic aren't we? We can get rid of the EC without "dissolving" the United States of America. Remember, originally it was Congress that selected the President, not the people, but we changed that, for the better, without "dissolving" the union. There is always room for improvement.

hayduke2

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

threecents

OK, but I call president of Maryland.

rpkrauss

It is disingenuous of Mr Valentino to cite the popular vote counts of 1992 and 1996 without mentioning the effect Ross Perot had on these elections. He garnered just short of 19% of the vote in 92 and about 9% of the vote in 96. In neither case did the Republican candidates come close to Clinton in the popular vote.

hayduke2

He also seems to confuse percentages with winning the majority of the popular vote.

shiftless88

It is pretty funny that he disses the "educated" and then makes himself look stupid by not understanding the concept of plurality

hayduke2

Add to that the fact that he used every possible flowery adjective in vebose language to try to obscure a flawed premise.

awteam2000

He also doesn’t seem to understand the word MAJORITY, the greater number.

Obadiah Plainsmen

Constitution 101 Question, Describe the difference between a Nation and a Federal Republic? Supporters of abolishing the Electoral College claim that establishing a system based on a national popular vote would be “more Democratic.†As a MoveOn petition put it, “One person one vote to determine the one leader who is supposed to answer to all the people of the country.†This seems to be the right idea on the surface. The president serves as the leader of the “nation,†right? Why shouldn’t he or she be elected by a national popular vote? The answer is that the United States are not a nation, and the abolition of the Electoral College would fundamentally alter the constitutional system the founding generation envisioned. The United States was founded as a federated republic – a confederacy of sovereign states that came together to form a union. A nation implies a single, unified political society. When they declared independence, the colonies became 13 sovereign nations in their own right. They did quickly band together in a confederation, but this is not the same thing as a “nation.†The one thing that should be changed is the Pledge of Allegiance. America was never "one nation", America is a Federated Republic. Black's law dictionary explains in more detail the difference between a Nation and a Republic. https://thelawdictionary.org

Brookhawk

So, you are fine with being a collection of "countries" rather than one country? You are fine with states having the vote and not people? I'm not. I don't live in the 18th century.

Unsprung

Abolishing the EC would "fundamentally alter" the US? What a crock! In fact, there are proposals to make the EC functionally irrelevant that do not even require amending the Constitution.

hayduke2

Nonsense.

Unsprung

Mr Valentino repeatedly extorts the "brilliance" of the EC, but fails to offer a single reason why it is better than allowing people to choose their President directly because there is none. A simple popular vote would be cleaner and fairer but is opposed primarily due to partisan politics. In recent years, the EC put two Republicans in the White House who lost the popular vote, so why should Republicans give up the EC? They have not been won over by with arguments that a popular vote is cleaner, fairer, and would prevent a Democrat who loses the popular vote but wins the EC from taking the WH, which could occur just as easily as 2000 and 2016.

threecents

If it got Bush V.2 and Trump - two of the worst presidents ever - elected, then it is probably not a good thing. -Captain Obvious

Thewheelone

[thumbup], three!

mordans

Is I understad it from my school days ,the purpose of the electoral collage was because of lack of communication systems of the day, and the delegates would sent to cast the vote of each district. Communication is a little better now than 1776

mordans

1824: John Quincy Adams 1876: Rutherford B. Hayes 1888: Benjamin Harrison 2000: George W. Bush 2016: Donald Trump Are the only presidents elected solely by the college

sevenstones1000

The fatal injustice of the electoral college is that it destroys the concept of “one person, one voteâ€. An elector in North Dakota represents only 143;000 voters, while an elector in California represents about 500,000 voters. Why should sparsely populated North Dakota have so much power to elect our president? We already have the Senate where North Dakota and its few citizens has every bit as much power as California and its many citizens. We don’t also need to give North Dakota outsized power in the presidency.

jsklinelga

sevenstones Why do we have States? Isn't that the sum of your argument?

Unsprung

No, you completely missed sevenstones valid argument. Because the Constitution gives every states at least one Congressman no matter how small, the result is voters in low population states, like Wyoming, have more say in Presidential elections than those in more populous states. The solution is to get rid of the EC, not states themselves.

hayduke2

Missed seven's point completely...

shiftless88

Basically the concept is "why give small states the upper hand in both of the elected branches of government?" I do not know why that should be so.

sevenstones1000

Oh, dear, Mr. Valentino is so busy calling other people “ignorant†that he betrays his own confusion of “majority†and “pluralityâ€. Yes, when more than two candidates run, it is possible tha the winner can have fewer than 51% of the vote. It’s simple math.

public-redux

I am fairly certain that 1996 was not the most recent time someone won a majority of the EC with a minority of the popular vote. 2000 and 2016 come to mind.

shiftless88

Mr. Valentino; if the EC is so great, why do we not use it in any other elections? We could implement it here in MD, correct? Would it make it better?

shiftless88

The writer confuses a "minority" of vote (one candidate getting less votes than another) with "plurality" of votes (one candidate getting more votes than all others but still less than a majority). Perhaps he should get "educated".

jsklinelga

Mr. Valentino, Well written. States do have the ability to grant their electors according to the national public vote. And they have the ability to switch back if the tide changes. The United States is a huge country. Midwest farmers live in an environment and in accordance with a set of beliefs that is totally different then people living in the densely populated coastal regions. Our system tries to balance their freedoms of lifestyles while maintaining a federal government needed for national defense, commerce, international laws and treaties and protection of a small number of basic rights delineated in the Bill of Rights and subsequent amendments. It allows Minnesotans to be Minnesotans while at the same time Americans. It is a brilliant system. No better example of the product it yields is the sharp divisions created by moving away from the basics of our system . That has occurred in the last 50 years by SCOTUS.

public-redux

Ninth Amendment. Individual rights are not limited to those delineated in the constitution. We have many rights.

jsklinelga

public Exactly. And the 10th Amendment seals the deal, The rights not delineated in the Constitution are left to the individual States to determine. The Federal Government is restricted in its governing authority. This should make many anti-Trumpers happy. The President has limited powers. Unfortunately now, one of the President's primary powers is to change the courts. Under our original system the Federal courts should not have the power and ability to control rights not delineated in our Constitution. The 14th Amendment grants that power exclusively to Congress. That certainly allows States like California an upper hand. in determining law.. And the electoral college allows the smaller States some weight for protection against majority rule.

public-redux

Nope. The 10A has nothing to do with rights. It is about powers. Furthermore, the 10A is not limited to states. You omitted "the people". Governmental powers are subservient to rights. Some people think rights are god-given; certainly those folk would greatly object to the idea that government can take away that which is given by a god. Now I am not one of those people; I do not for a minute think our rights come from Zeus. But I do think the powers of government are derived from the consent of governed and no where did the governed consent to the usurpation of their rights, either by federal or state governments.

hayduke2

No, the EC allows the smaller states an outsized influence in both the election of the president and the direction of the senate.

jsklinelga

public You are absolutely correct to a point. The 10th Amendment grants the power. The "rights" comes from the power. Semantics.

public-redux

jsk ~ So you think individual rights come from government? You are saying that rights are not inalienable? This is not a manner of semantics but goes to the fundamentals of human existence. To be fair, you always maintained that the majority should get to define rights so this isn't something new for you. But at least you are being more explicit that minorities, however defined, don't count for much in your view.

sevenstones1000

One person, one vote. Disenfranchising the majority of people because you don’t like their lifestyle is unamerican. Why don’t we give extra votes to the Amish to help preserve their lifestyle?

francesca_easa

Thank you.

BunnyLou

Spot on LTE.[thumbup]

public-redux

No constitutional amendment is necessary to modify how a state chooses its electors. A state could award its electoral votes to the candidate who won the most votes nationwide rather than to the candidate who won the most votes in the state.

sevenstones1000

Red states have it pretty cushy right now. You think they are going to give that up?

public-redux

My point is that a constitutional amendment is unnecessary.

fjulia

Wow! Just wow! How did it take you to word your letter so it sounds like it was written in the 18th century? However, I agree that the EC still has a place but with one simple but essential change to reflect the fact that we are in the 21st century now. Electors in each state should not be bound by party affiliation. It should not be all or nothing based upon the popular vote in each state (you say this would be wrong at the national level and so would also be wrong at the state level). The electors should be allocated based upon popular results according to affiliation and then vote in secret ballot so there is no threat of retaliation from party fanatics. One last thing, no one is denying the election results, the complaint is that one party has abandoned its duty and responsibility to hold a liar, cheat, adulterer, racist, and self-admitted friend to America's enemies accountable.

BunnyLou

Fanatic just as the LTE writer described.

FCPS-Principal

Allocating the EC vote would certainly render it irrelevant and superfluous, so why have it in the first place?

hayduke2

Simple tweak - say, in PA, candidate one wins 48 % of the popular vote, Candidate one should receive 48% of the electoral votes. Do this for every state, add the totals and determine the winner.

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