Editor's Note: The primary reason we need the Electoral College is ensure each state has a equal say in decided who is going to represent them as President. It is imperative that to a huge state like California or New York be prevented from deciding the outcome of every single presidential election. Those two states do not represent the views and values of every other state. For example, if the popular vote were used in the 2016 election California alone would have decided the fate of the entire country. Each state choses who will represent them in Congress and each state must have the right to decide who will represent them as President.
By Randy Blaser
I see there is some squawking about abolishing the Electoral College in favor of direct election of the president by a majority of voters in light of the results of the 2016 election.
While on her book tour, Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee for president in 2016, who won a majority of the popular vote but lost in the Electoral College, said the peculiar institution should be abolished.
Some local newspapers agreed, calling it an outmoded method of election that really isn't fair.
I suppose when you fail to gain the presidency because of this odd institution even though you won the most votes, you're bound to want to change it. Clinton thought the same thing when Al Gore was denied the presidency in 2000, even though he won the popular vote.
And if you supported Clinton and Gore in those two elections, or if your guy was Andrew Jackson in 1824, or Sam Tilden in 1876, or Grover Cleveland in 1888, who all lost the presidency despite winning a popular vote majority, then you might want to abolish it, too.
But one shouldn't be swayed by the passions of the supporters of the losing candidate, which is something the great Alexander Hamilton feared in coming up with the Electoral College. And as we all know, Hamilton is so much in favor today he has his own musical. Could he be wrong?
Unlike those who wish to abolish it, I think that in today's America, the Electoral College is the only way to make an election for president fair.
One danger of direct election of the president by the popular vote is what James Madison called the tyranny of the majority. The founders were so concerned about this concept of the tyranny of the majority, they created a Constitution full of checks and balances.
And it's a good thing they did. I know it is counter-intuitive. We love the phrase majority rule. But if you think about it, there are all sorts of instances where the majority has been stopped.
Not long ago, the majority in California voted to outlaw same-sex marriage. And more than likely, a majority of Americans would also vote to outlaw it. Yet the tyranny of the majority on this issue has been checked by the courts.
There is no such thing as a national election for president, is there? To run for president, a candidate has to successfully get on the ballot in all 50 states. Elections are conducted by the states. How can you devise a system where a union of the states elect the only person who represents all Americans?
The answer was, and still is, the Electoral College, which fills that role neatly for a republic, which is what we have, not a democracy. A candidate must win a majority total in a majority of the states, which keeps one region having too great an influence over the rest of the country.
Finally, there is the recent issue of the alleged Russian tampering with the 2016 election. I know some of my more liberal friends believe Russia rigged the 2016 results, but think about it. Putin must be some sort of evil genius to figure out how to come up with just the right results in just the right states to give Trump the victory in an election where Clinton gains a majority of popular votes by 3 million.
Tougher than solving a Rubik's cube, if you ask me.
The Electoral College makes rigging an election impossible. A president is elected by 50 state elections all with different rules and different methods for voting and different timetables. Rigging 50 elections to get the outcome you want is impossible. Even a brainiac like Clinton couldn't figure it out.
Yes, the Electoral College is an antiquated idea. But maybe the founders were wiser than they knew. Wiser than we know.