A Party can Really Screw up College…

The ELECTORAL College that is….

“Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption….They have not made the appointment of the President to depend on any preexisting bodies of men, who might be tampered with beforehand to prostitute their votes; but they have referred it in the first instance to an immediate act of the people of America, to be exerted in the choice of persons for the temporary and sole purpose of making the appointment.”

From Alexander Hamilton, Federalist Paper No. 68, The Mode of Electing the President, originally published March 14, 1788.

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“Only a few states matter.”

From BBC Magazine, Five Things You Need to Know About the US Election

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19729802

Thank you British news for really boiling the issue with US elections down to one sentence.  “Only a few states matter.”  Seriously!?!  The British (you know the bad guys from the Revolution) in analyzing our current system have identified that charming fact as a core marker of our election.  And they’re right.  We’ve lost any semblance of a real democratic republic to a two-party system which pretty much means only swing states (or districts) actually matter.  And we’re really wondering if the system is broken??  When it gets to the point that the once oppressive mother country realizes where your formerly revolutionary government concept is completely flawed, we can safely say we need to fix some things.  The founding fathers are rolling over in their graves.  Halloween is coming up, we’ll be lucky they don’t rise from the crypt and make a White House appearance to clear up the confusion, since clearly Congress and the rest of our country hasn’t gotten the memo.

The original purpose of the electoral college was to avoid holding the nation hostage to a two party system (which the founders never intended to create).  It was intended to place a buffer between the people and the direct election of the President, so that a demagogue or tyrant would never seize control of power.  Or put simply, the founders didn’t trust the people of the time to necessarily choose right.  They didn’t want them to be swayed by corrupt officials who could pour lots of money and words at them (oh wait…..we’ve let two parties corrupt the entire system, so that safeguard is irrelevant).  The other big reason was so the smaller, less populous states wouldn’t have their needs trampled on by the bigger ones.  This was, and still remains, a more legitimate reason to have balance in the way voting is handled.  What’s good for New York may not necessarily be  good for Oregon.  But that’s also why we have a Congress that draws representatives in proportion to population, and senators evenly.  It was a redundancy that given today’s politics, has become relatively unnecessary.  The presidency was still intended to be the direct representative of the people, the founders just wanted to be sure he was qualified.  That problem is easily solved today…..give a test before you can even attempt to run for President.  Every other civil service position uses basic testing to see if someone is up for the job. Here’s a shocking idea-lets add one for Congress and the Presidency!  Maybe then we can all agree on whether the President is or is not, in fact, an idiot.

Here’s what the founders did NOT intend with the electoral college- for your vote and your state not to matter because you’re not living in a swing state.  They didn’t mean to create a system divided into a ridiculous partisan struggle where those places which were solidly on one side or the other would cause the minority votes counter to the dominant side to be completely useless.  In fact, the entire freaking point of the electoral college, and most of the safeguards of our system were to make sure everyone’s voices (both majority and minority) got heard, so NO ONE’s rights got trampled on.  A big round of applause to the modern political parties for completely jacking that one up.  Congratulations!  You know what the founders would really think about all this charming distortion of their “original intents”– that apparently our politicians have found a way to prostitute themselves after all, to their parties!

Res Publica

 

Documentation Without Representation:

Federalist Paper No. 68

http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/fed68.asp

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