The electoral college has become one of the most controversial features of our political system. Because it is a mechanism for sharing power between large, typically liberal urban areas and sparsely populated parts of America that tend to be more conservative, coastal elites want to eliminate the electoral college in order to dominate our country.
That ambition, driven by the insatiable hunger for power, was anticipated by our Founding Fathers. As we’ve seen the last few weeks in our newsletters’ exploration and discussion of The Federalist Papers, its authors — Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay – were very sensitive to the dangers of exchanging the tyranny of a British king for the tyranny of powerful and wealthy factions.
Instead of direct, or absolute democracy, in which majority factions would hold unmatched power, the authors of the Federalist Papers opted for representative democracy, where the people would elect representatives to vote on laws. This legislative body was one of three separate and independent branches of government in a system of checks and balances. The question Hamilton wrestled with in Federalist No. 68 was how to select the head of the executive branch, the president.
One plan proposed was that the chief executive would be chosen by congress. Another argued that state governors should elect the president. Madison believed that the people should choose the commander-in-chief directly, but he also recognized that since the southern states were less populous, they’d have little say in choosing the president.
The differing opinions resulted in a compromise: the electoral college. Voters would choose the electors who would vote for the president.
As Hamilton explains in Federalist No 68:
It was desirable that the sense of the people should operate in the choice of the person to whom so important a trust was to be confided. This end will be answered by committing the right of making it, not to any preestablished body, but to men chosen by the people for the special purpose, and at the particular conjuncture.
The electoral college is yet more evidence of the genius of our founding fathers, who designed a political system that used different mechanisms to mediate power. Thus, it comes as no surprise our increasingly oligarchic political and corporate elites have targeted the electoral college — to acquire yet more power.
We at America’s Future encourage you to stand with us in the ongoing fight to preserve our God-given liberty and stand against tyranny. You were chosen to wage this battle, the fight of our generation, and one that will be told for generations hence. Spread the word, and get others to join the battle — we are blessed to be living in this meaningful time!