The college, of which we presently write, would not evoke thoughts of campus life, tuition, academic standing or admissions policy; it is, in fact, the long established American institution, the “Electoral College.” Unique in the entire civilized world, this mechanism, established by the 12th Amendment to the Constitution, we maintain, gives the lie to our proudly advertised standard of “one man, one vote.” It, like an inflamed appendix, is a troublesome vestigial organ and best done away with.
“Democracy” is a word of Greek origin, representing the politically salutary concept of one man, one vote. [Today, happily, this includes women.] The concept has often proven to be inspirational, if not consistently accurate. Athens, Greece, for example, where the word had its origin, is often represented to be the birthplace of democracy, but this representation is entirely fallacious; only those qualifying as “Athenian Citizens,” a minority of Athenians, could vote. The large balance of the population, classified as “foreigners,” captives and slaves were not afforded the franchise.
Just as misleading as an uninformed concept of Athenian democracy, with specific reference to our Presidential elections, is our celebrated American representation of “one man, one vote.” The 12th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is the foundational basis for the mechanism called “The Electoral College” and is the exclusive method for their election. Pursuant to this mechanism, the voters of each State vote for “Electors” (assigned to the respective candidates) not the candidates directly, for said offices; a majority, 270 electoral votes, wins the top two offices. Each State is entitled to the number of Electors equal to the sum of the number of its Congressional Representatives plus two, the latter representing the uniform number of Senators allotted to each State.
There have been several elections, including the most recent one, where, based upon this flawed mechanism, a President and Vice-President were chosen, despite the fact that the “winners” garnered far less than the number of popular votes cast for their opponents. We find this to be hypocritical and inconsistent with the most precious and defining feature of a democracy.
This contemptible mechanism has also led to an unhealthy practice in which candidates will center their campaign efforts on States which have comparatively more electoral votes (“swing States”) and relatively ignore other States with less, albeit equally entitled to access. It has also been used, in recent past history, memorably, by the Southern States, to accommodate their immoral exclusion of certain groups of people, particularly black people, from the right to vote.
There may, conceivably, be some measure of acceptable argument in the equal allocation of two Senators per State, irrespective of population, arguably, to assure that all national interests are fairly represented in legislation; but the utility and rationale of that unfair and undemocratic mechanism, the Electoral College, mandated for the election of our national leader, boggles the mind. The right of every American voter to vote directly for his nation’s chief should not be diluted or impaired by any undemocratic filter. –p.