Election 2000 and Electoral College

November 10, 2000


Why Are the Democrats No Longer Quoting Kennedy?


Electoral College: Myths vs. Law and Common Sense

By Bob Djurdjevic

In my September 5 column titled “Electoral College: Cornerstone of Two-Party Monopoly,” I wrote that “not many Americans, and no foreigners this writer has ever met, realize that the American people actually do NOT vote for President.  They vote for the Electors from each State who later (typically in mid-December) choose a President.  At least that’s what the U.S. Constitution and federal laws state.”

Well, four days after the U.S. November 7 presidential election, no longer does this writer run the risk of bringing up the Electoral College as a cocktail party topic, only to be asked by his charming, but otherwise dimwitted conversation partners, what the annual tuitions at that College are.  J 

Now, suddenly “everybody” knows about the Electoral College that has controlled 53 U.S. presidential elections over more than 200 years.  With no winner in sight, and 275 million losers awaiting the outcome of the latest American “demo farce,” it would probably be hard to find a citizen anywhere, not just in the U.S., who does not have an opinion about the Electoral College.  How informed an opinion, however, is a different story.

Take the Yale law professor’s OpEd piece, “Unfair from Day One,” which was published by the New York Times on Nov. 9. It was long on history and political partisanship, but short on law and common sense.  Par for the course, I suppose, in today’s “liberal” academia.  Prof. Akhil Reed Amar deserves an “A” for his historical research into the origins of the Electoral College.  But he would barely make a passing grade on other issues.  Yet even his history was presented in a biased manner, thus bringing into question this academic’s objectivity.  He writes, for example:

“The creation of the Electoral College… was part of the deal that Southern states, in computing their share of electoral votes, could count slaves (albeit with a two-fifths discount), who of course were given none of the privileges of citizenship. Virginia emerged as the big winner, with more than a quarter of the electors needed to elect a president. A free state like Pennsylvania got fewer electoral votes even though it had approximately the same free population.  The Constitution's pro-Southern bias quickly became obvious. For 32 of the Constitution's first 36 years, a white slaveholding Virginian occupied the presidency.”

Okay, so let’s accept Prof. Amar’s argument as stated - that the Constitution had a “pro-Southern bias.”  But what about the remaining 188 years of this Republic’s existence?  Or even for its first 90 or so years while slavery was still practiced in the South?  Obviously his argument falls flat on its face when you widen the span of years.  Which is why he chooses to use selective facts to back up his partisan opinions.  That’s hardly a mark of an objective academic or a fair historian.

It gets worse… Especially for a law professor.  “The Electoral College began as an unfair system, and remains so. So why keep it?”, Prof. Amar argues.

Well, one reason is the law.  It takes a vote by two-thirds of both legislative houses, which has to be ratified by 38 states, to amend the Constitution.  You would think that a law professor would know that.  And in a country that’s as divided as the U.S. is today - with a 0.1% margin (97,000 votes out of 97 million votes) separating the two leading presidential candidates after the first day of counting, chances of that happening LEGALLY any time soon is about the same as seeing snow in Hawaii.

 Speaking of the states like Hawaii… Prof. Amar makes another big blunder - for which he deserves a “D” in common sense - when he writes off their unique interests with the following dismissive comment:

 “In the current system, candidates don't appeal so much to state interests (what are those, anyway?) as to demographic groups (elderly voters, soccer moms) within states.”

 “What are those [state interests] anyway?”  This Yale professor doesn’t see the difference between the interests of a state like Hawaii, and those of a state like New Hampshire?  Or between a gargantuan state like California, overrun by legal and illegal immigrants to such an extent that white Americans are now a minority there, and a tiny and still pristine Rhode Island?  Or between an oil-rich Alaska, and a lawyer-rich Delaware?

 Furthermore, while lamenting the supposed unfairness of the Electoral College and clamoring for direct elections, Prof. Amar makes the following argument:

 “Direct election could give state governments some incentives to increase voter turnout, because the more voters a state turned out, the bigger its role in national elections and the bigger its overall share in the national tally. Presidential candidates would begin to pay more attention to the needs of individual states that had higher turnouts.”

Ever seen a bigger load of bull masquerading as a learned argument on the pages of a national newspaper?  To stay with our preceding state example, even if a state like Rhode Island were to somehow muster a 100% voter turnout, its half a million voters could never compete with gargantuan states like California where over nine million voters cast their ballots on Nov. 7.

Upon reflection, make that “D” for common sense an “F” for Prof. Amar.  But give him an “A+” for double-talk.  Because appealing for direct elections based on a national popular vote is in effect an argument in disguise for preferential treatment of big urban centers at the expense of the American countryside.  Which is one of the things the Founding Fathers had tried to prevent when they created the Electoral College and an institution like the Senate in which each state has equal representation.

Here’s an excerpt from my Sep. 5 column on that topic:

“Choosing NOT to have direct presidential elections was one of the many checks and balances the Founding Fathers had created in order to protect the states’ powers from being usurped by Washington.  And to preserve a fledgling country from being ruined by the rule of the mob, i.e., ignorant masses’ choices of a President.  Which is why they chose an indirect election through a College of Electors.”

This is how they reasoned it, according to William C. Kimberling, Deputy Director, Federal Election Commission, writing in his essay, “The Electoral College:”

 “The function of the College of Electors in choosing the president can be likened to that in the Roman Catholic Church of the College of Cardinals selecting the Pope. The original idea was for THE MOST KNOWLEDGEABLE AND INFORMED INDIVIDUALS from each State to select the president based solely on merit and without regard to State of origin or political party [emphasis added]

 The structure of the Electoral College can be traced to the Centurial Assembly system of the Roman Republic. Under that system, the adult male citizens of Rome were divided, according to their wealth, into groups of 100 (called Centuries). Each group of 100 was entitled to cast only one vote either in favor or against proposals submitted to them by the Roman Senate.

 In the Electoral College system, the States serve as the Centurial groups (though they are not, of course, based on wealth), and the number of votes per State is determined by the size of each State’s Congressional delegation.”

 One look at the color-coded map of the U.S. (see below)  should suffice for any fair-minded person that a direct presidential elections by popular vote would be grossly unfair to most of the rural residents of America.  

Why should the citizens of Wyoming or Montana, for example, be stuck with a president who is mostly catering to the urbanites of New York, Los Angeles or Chicago, for example?  Isn’t it bad enough already that the rural residents in the states of New York, California or Illinois have to pay for the subways and freeways or other urban utilities they don’t use or need?

 What’s also typical of the sour grapes liberal losers is that they tend to marshal out their objections about the electoral process under which 53 presidents have been elected only when things don’t go their way.  Right now, it looks as if George W. Bush may get the presidency even though Al Gore may win the popular vote.  But in 1998, it was the other way around.  Two years ago, the Republicans won over 500,000 more votes in the House races than did the Democrats.  Yet they lost seats because Democrats prevailed in more close races.  No objections from the “liberals” back then.

 What one doesn’t hear often, however, either from the “liberals” or the “conservatives,” is that the Electoral College, conceived in an era when there were NO political parties in our country, has been altered and abused over time by the establishment elites into a guarantee of a two-party political system.  The real travesty of this system is that a candidate who was able to woo 19% of the national electorate (almost 20 million votes) received ZERO (!) electoral votes for it (Ross Perot in 1992).

 But that WAS the central point of my Sep. 5 column:

 “Why not call a spade a spade? Our electoral system has been converted into a two-party "political monopoly." Or plutocracy. Thanks, in part, to the Electoral College - a constitutional tool that our Founding Fathers had devised for one purpose, and which America's 20th century constitutional wrecking crews have subverted into another.”

On Nov. 8, this writer was stunned to see that CNN, of all infamous “lie and deny” New World Order media mouthpieces, agreed with him.  Here’s an excerpt from a CNN report that aired the day after the U.S. presidential election:

 “How did we get this system? "We're in a republic, not a democracy. The founders were very careful to say they were worried about allowing people to directly elect representatives," said Dr. David Epstein, a political science professor at Columbia University.

When the framers of the Constitution debated how to elect a president, there were no political parties, no national campaigns, and there was concern that regional candidates would splinter a popular vote for president and trigger weak chief executives… One reason it has not been changed yet is that the Electoral College FAVORS THE INTERESTS OF TWO DOMINANT PARTIES.”

So there you have it - now also straight from the NWO horse’s mouth - the CNN.

But even those two establishment parties have now locked horns in bitter dispute over the election results in the state of Florida, which will effectively decide whether George W. Bush or Al Gore will win the presidency.  The battle promises to be long and costly with lawyers being the only sure winners of the latest episode of the American “demo farce.”

Here’s how the Wall Street Journal editors put it in the Nov. 10 editorial headlined "A Gore Coup d'Etat?":

"The cliff-hanging Florida results won't be final until the absentee-ballot deadline of November 17, but yesterday Gore campaign head William Daley told a news conference that no amount of recounting would do. Only one outcome would be acceptable "If the will of the people is to prevail, Al Gore should be awarded a victory in Florida and be our next President." And if the election results don't do that, the Gore campaign will try to find a judge to do it instead. In your ordinary banana republic, this would be recognized as a Gore coup d'etat." [...]

To which this writer replied: No. It would be a coup de Gore. For there is no state (etat) which such people want. Only power. Which is merely a state of mind. Some French kings thought otherwise ("L’état, c’est moi!" - Louis XIV; 1638-1715), until their descendants were separated from their heads while believing in their omnipotence.

As John F. Kennedy put it, "if you make peaceful change impossible... you make violent revolution inevitable."

Why are the Democrats no longer quoting Kennedy? Because they see too much blood and Gore in his statement?


Bob Djurdjevic, founder of TRUTH IN MEDIA of Phoenix, Arizona, is an internationally published author, e-mail: 

Also check out the Supreme Injustice

and... TiM Readers Forum - November 2000

and... The “Ugly American” Comes Home, Reincarnated as Florida Lawyer

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