As we find ourselves in the midst of epic presidential election chaos in an equally crazy year, talk of eliminating the Electoral College will inevitably come up again. My personal view is that there are two main reasons why people don’t like the Electoral College: first, the electoral results didn’t go their way but the popular vote did; second, they don’t understand our constitutional form of government. I’ll add a third, more radical, reason. They want to overthrow our current form of government.
I will deal with the second reason first. If we think the United States is a democracy, we would be wrong. America is NOT a democracy; it’s a Constitutional Republic that has democratic elements. The President and Vice President are not chosen by a nationwide popular vote, as if we are just one big monolithic state; they are chosen by 538 electors from 50 states, and D.C., as prescribed by the U.S. Constitution. The only purely democratic element is when we vote on election day in November to determine who our state electors will vote for in December. Now, on its face, you may be tempted to think this is not fair, but once we understand WHY the framers created the Electoral College, I think you will see the genius behind it.
So, why did the framers of the Constitution create this complex, two-phase system? It was because, from their careful study of democracies throughout history, they understood that pure democracies do NOT work. Historically, they all eventually implode.
As Tara Ross, a lawyer and author who specializes on this subject, said:
“Democracy has been colorfully described as two wolves and a lamb voting on what’s for dinner. In a pure democracy, bare majorities can easily tyrannize the rest of the country.”
Here are just a few of the reasons why we should never get rid of the Electoral College (that is, if we want America to stay “America”).
Why we need the Electoral College (EC):
- The EC encourages coalition building. Not only does the EC protect against the tyranny of the majority (mob rule), the presidential candidate must have support from many different types of voters in order to win. You cannot win the necessary 270 electoral votes if only one part of the country is supporting you.
- The EC protects the minority voice. Large urban areas, with heavy concentrations of people, with their particular culture, cannot decide every election for those who live in less populated areas who may have a different culture.
- Every state is fairly represented. California, New York, and Texas cannot determine every election, but their input is weighted based on population. More populated states have more electors. Every part of the country is fairly represented.
- The candidates cannot just campaign in NYC, LA, and Chicago. The people of North Dakota or Hawaii are just as important to the candidates as those in California or Texas. Without the EC, candidates would only go to the biggest population centers to get a majority of national votes. “Fly-over country” would literally be fly-over country, forever ignored by every single presidential candidate.
- It mitigates against voter fraud. The EC makes it harder to steal elections. For instance, there’s more likely to be voter fraud in urban voting districts. However, if there’s fraud in Chicago (which I know from personal experience, having lived in that city for many years), it doesn’t necessarily change the outcome nationwide. On that note, Wisconsin is reported to have had an almost 90% voter turnout this election (at least one precinct reportedly had over 100% of possible registered voters cast ballots!). If you think we’re getting an honest vote tabulation here, I have a bridge to sell you! I also saw a tweet showing that, according to voting records, 118-year old William Bradley (died 1984) successfully voted by absentee ballot this year in Wayne County (Detroit), Michigan. And that’s not a one-off.
Finally, we need to understand why the Electoral College is still important because our country is very polarized right now—urban vs. suburban and rural—so the popular vote will most likely not match the EC for some time to come. Calling ourselves a democracy confuses the issue and creates needless hostility against the EC.
Here’s a good video from PragerU that explains how the Electoral College works and why it’s necessary to our form of government.
Beloved, the reason why our country has had such a stable form of government over the last 231 years is because of the genius of our Constitution with all its checks and balances—including the three branches of government and the Electoral College. We must protect our Constitution from those who want to change it in order to fit their particular political agenda if we want to continue to be the home of the brave and the land of the free.
Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Eccl.4:12 NKJV)