Thursday, September 29, 2016

Civics (part 1) - The Electoral College

wikipedia/electoral college

Lately, there's been a lot talk about college. 

The electoral college, that is. And for good reason. As they cast the votes that really count when electing the President of the United States.

Nothing new about this. It's been in the US Constitution from the get-go.  Article II, Section I, Clause 3 to be exact. [reference: Electoral College ]

And below is an elementary lesson on civics on how our government works:

Why the electoral college?

After one of the first  Brexits, 240 years ago in 1776, the American colonies had their suspicions of rulers holding absolute power over them. Such as monarchs like King George III.

And rightly so.  As historian and moralist, Lord Acton, is credited to offer his opinion:

Power corrupts;
absolute power 
corrupts absolutely.
[reference: The Phrase Finder]

So the Constitution was designed with checks and balances for our leaders. And that included a check for the chief executive. That is evident as the founders did not trust a popular vote to elect the president.

For 230 years, there has been many debates on this system as it has its flaws as seen below:

What's the solution? 

A popular vote seems to remedy the downside of the electoral college. But the system does have an upside in protecting the interests of the country as a whole.

Consider a popular vote for president.

The candidates would concentrate only on the big cities.  New York City. Los Angeles. Denver. Seattle. Atlanta. Houston, Chicago. ... Those populations will largely will determine the elections.

Screw fly-over country. And the needs and concerns of the more rural areas will be overlooked for the denizens of big cities. And those differences can be poles apart.

Consider the electoral college.

As it is, fly-over country has more weight than the more populated states.  Such as pointed out in Adam Ruins Everything, an electoral vote per capita in Wyoming is worth three times more than an electoral vote in California.

Having lived in California, I understand the feeling that my vote didn't count much. At least for president. We were totally written off as in the tank for the Democrats. And seen a waste of time and money to court our votes. Except candidates saw California as their cash cow and stopped by regularly to milk the billionaire donors for their swing states.

Currently, I reside in Wyoming. More muscle for my vote, right? But we're mostly written off as in the tank for the Republicans. And we are ignored anyway. Only 3 electoral votes at stake. Who cares about us?

Time for a change?

That would require amending the Constitution. It's been done before.  Some 27 times (the first 10 being the Bill of Rights).  But the process is not easy to do. [reference: The Constitutional Amendment Process]

But that's the way it is. Under this Constitution. And it's worked remarkably well since 1787.

So begins another thread.


And this election cycle, vote your conscious. For there is more at stake than the electors we elect at the Electoral College.


Similar posts on this topic:

ZAMM (part 7) - Yes or No - Gotcha! (2012)

PC Watch (part 2) - The South Park Offense (2013)

Timeless Truths (part 6) - Magna Carta - 800 years and still going strong (2015)


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