Our founders were indeed visionary. How they proposed the election of a President and Vice-President to lead the new nation was a significant innovation, one that few of us understand and that I can hardly explain. But, the truth is, election of our national leaders was never thought to be a purely democratic vote. Most voting particulars of Senators and Representatives were entrusted to state governments. Election of national leaders like The President and Vice-President was assigned to electors, chosen by the states for that particular service. Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution of the United States, ratified by the states in 1788, the longest section dedicated to one topic, provides the details for the election and service of these electors. They are the ins and outs of the electoral college. It is election central in our voting system. If you would like to read this section of the Constitution, click here.
Of course, there is a popular vote for these national leaders. In most cases the electoral college vote totals and the popular vote totals express similar outcomes. Only in five voting occasions have their election totals been at odds---1824 when Andrew Jackson won the popular vote and John Quincy Adams was elected President by the House of Representatives; 1876, when Samuel Tilden won the popular vote and Rutherford Hayes the electoral college; in 1888, when Grover Cleveland narrowly won the popular vote, and Benjamin Harrison the electoral vote; in 2000, when Al Gore won the popular vote and George W. Bush the electors, decided finally by the Supreme Court; and in 2016, when Hillary Clinton prevailed in the popular vote but Donald Trump overwhelmed in the electoral college. Most researchers indicate that a majority of Americans prefer abolishing the Electoral College in preference for a simple popular vote. They indicate that this is unlikely because it would require a Constitutional Amendment needing approval by 2/3 of the Congress, and 3/4 of states.
Th electoral college has abundant detractors and proponents. Up front is the criticism that it is not purely democratic, the "one man, one vote"idiom most of us presume. Of course the electors were a significant element of our constitutional government from the beginning. Our election of President and Vice President has, in the word of most originalists, always been that way. Another complaint is that this election process had severely racial overtones, especially as states counted their populations for election of representative and electors. Our most recent voting laws have, however, eliminated these population discrepancies and have given all Americans the privilege of voting.
In my study, which is not extensive, the electoral college also moderates the influence of factions in our election systems. Without the electoral college our largest cities---New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, and others---could control the voting dynamics that far outweigh the smaller popular votes of rural voters and less populated states. The electoral college balances these prominent political party trends. In the past Presidential election Hillary Clinton won the popular vote through large Democratic counties in Chicago and Los Angeles. In the electoral votes, Mr. Trump won big.
Once again, Scripture doesn't address the electoral college, pro or con. The Bible does, however, give us instruction about the Christian life and our support of the government entrusted with our care. Let me focus today and what Simon Peter wrote---
Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor
as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise
those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to
silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your
freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the
brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
1 Peter 2: 13-17, ESV
Yes, the electoral college is one of our human institutions, envisioned by our founders, and in place for our good. I support the electoral college, and will vote in every election while I'm alive to see it continues to help us affirm our chief elected officials.
Like to know more about the electoral college. Click here.
Copyright: <a href='https://www.123rf.com/profile_tzido'>tzido / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
Copyright: <a href='https://www.123rf.com/profile_urfingus'>urfingus / 123RF Stock Photo</a>