Tuesday, December 20, 2016

It is Amazing How Little Some People Know About the Origins of the Electoral College

Royalty doesn't need your vote
Mod: That a lot of people don't know very much about many things, nor care to make any effort to overcome their shortcomings in this regard, should be of no surprise to anyone. That's pretty much life, and you just have to deal with it. However, when someone actually comes out and states that proportionally shortchanging the presidential vote of Californians through the Electoral College is OK because it protects the feelings of people in places like North Dakota, that is a bit much. After all, Donald Trump lost California by a 2-1 margin, the worst loss for a major-party presidential nominee here since Alf Landon in 1936. That ought to count for something. And if it did our popular vote loser Donald Trump would not be heading to the White House in a few weeks.

All of that said, when you start to consider that the Electoral College actually has its origins in the slavery era, and was specifically created to protect the interests of the slave owners who designed this remarkably undemocratic method for selecting our presidents, it doesn't make the situation that much easier to live with.

So I thought I'd take a moment to address a comment.

Yesterday someone posted this: "The reason why you support an electoral college that reduces the vote of each individual in the state you hate so much to 3/5s per person is a lot of them aren't white. The electoral college that you love so much was a slave-era solution. Pretty wild that it still performs that same function today."

Here is how a reader responded to that:


So you know, Republican candidates for president have won the national popular vote only once since 1988. Or 1 in the 7 most recent elections. When you figure that the only time a Republican actually won the popular vote lately was the re-election of Baghdad Bush in 2004, and by the smallest margin for an incumbent president in US history, it doesn't look like the GOP is all that popular with actual voters.

But apparently it doesn't matter.

The news site Raw Story ran the following article yesterday. I think it explains the origins of the Electoral College very well. Here is a part of it.

The Electoral College was explicitly designed to protect slavery Because of the Electoral College, for the second time in 16 years, the person with the most votes will not become president. It is likely that Hillary Clinton will have a margin of more than 2,000,000 votes. This will make her the most popular presidential candidate to ever lose a presidential election. She follows in the footsteps of Al Gore, Grover Cleveland, Samuel Tilden, Andrew Jackson, and probably John Adams.

We know the Electoral College is deeply undemocratic. Presidential electors are allocated by adding the two senators to the number of representatives each state gets. Thus the smallest states have proportionally more power in electing the president than the large ones. In 2016 Donald Trump won 66 electoral votes from 14 small states, with a total population of about 26,300,000. Hillary Clinton won 55 electoral votes from California, with a population of 37,254,000. The math is clear. Twenty-six million people substantially outvoted thirty-seven million people. Something is clearly wrong.

How did we get such an insane, undemocratic system for choosing our president? The answer, oddly enough is because of slavery. The system was explicitly designed to protect slavery. One hundred and fifty years after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery, this proslavery provision lurks in our political backyard, like some horrible monster, waiting to spring on us to undermine the very notion of democratic government in the world’s oldest constitutional democracy.

How did we come up with the Electoral College? The classic explanations are that the Framers feared the common voters and that the Electoral College was needed to protect the small states from the large states. But, except for a complaint about voters from Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, there is no evidence in the records of the Constitutional Convention to support the first contention. On the second issue, delegates rejected allowing governors to choose the national executive precisely because the delegates feared the governors from the more numerous small states would outvote the larger states. Thus, both explanations are essentially urban legends that hide the real origin of the Electoral College.

While discussing how to choose the national executive, James Wilson of Pennsylvania, proposed that the chief executive be elected by “the people,” citing the successful experience of the popular election of governors in New York and Massachusetts. He argued that only the most famous people would be chosen under such a method. Later, Gouverneur Morris also argued in favor of election by the people: “He ought to be elected by the people at large, by the freeholders of the Country.” Morris argued that “If the people should elect, they will never fail to prefer some man of distinguished character, or services; some man, if he might so speak, of continental reputation.”

South Carolina’s Charles Pinckney opposed direct election of the president because the “most populous States by combining in favor of the same individual will be able to carry their points.” This statement cannot, however, be taken at face value. The issue here was not population, but the voting population. Half the people in South Carolina were slaves, and Pinckney could not support the direct election of the president, because that would hurt the South.

Hugh Williamson of North Carolina made this point directly, bluntly noting that the South could not support popular election because the people would “vote for some man in their own State, and the largest State will be sure to succeed. This will not be Virginia. However. Her slaves will have no suffrage.” This was a critical observation. If the president were directly elected by the people, then southerners, especially Virginians, might not get elected. Virginia had the largest population of any state, but about 40% of its people were slaves and none of them could vote. The same of course would be true for the rest of the South.

Somewhat later James Madison, conceded that “the people at large” were “the fittest” to choose the president. But “one difficulty … of a serious nature” made election by the people impossible. Madison noted that the “right of suffrage was much more diffusive in the Northern than the Southern States; and the latter could have no influence in the election on the score of the Negroes.” In order to guarantee that the nonvoting slaves could nevertheless influence the presidential election, Madison favored the creation of the Electoral College.

The Convention then accepted the idea of an Electoral College. By this time the Convention had already agreed to count slaves for representation under the three­-fifths compromise, counting five slaves as equal to three free people in order to increase the South’s representation in Congress. Thus, in electing the president the political power southerners gained from owning slaves (although obviously not the votes of slaves) would be factored into the electoral votes of each state.

You can read the rest of this article by clicking here.

The sad irony is those states being disenfranchised today through the continuation of this undemocratic system are the ones with the highest proportion of minority voters. In that way the Electoral College is still fulfilling one of its original goals.

Protecting the white vote.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

45 comments:

  1. Sadly we must still deal with this form of institutional prejudice. It appalled me that some extremist was on the Tattler just the other day happily thanking God that people of California and New York, which they claimed were filled with immigrants, were being disenfranchised. They outright acknowledged it with pride.

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  2. The Republican Party, which was founded to defeat slavery, now owes its survival to the Electoral College. An institution founded to protect the interests of slave owners.

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    1. The Democratic Party owes its survival to the public employee unions who they bribe with tax payer money and pay them unsustainable salaries and pensions. They also have a vested interest in making more people dependant upon the government - again paying them with other people's money. That's what they have to do when their policies are utterly bankrupt. Republicans win an election and now they are likened to slave owners. You guys are poor losers and those are the arguments you are left with. Try to shout people down with name calling. It's laughable.

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    2. Tea Party VisionaryDecember 20, 2016 at 7:47 AM

      Make America Great Again. Take away Granny's Medicare.

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    3. 7:34 is confused. Nobody called Republicans slave owners. That is just silly. Unless they own a factory in some poor 3rd world country. Which a lot of Trump's pals do.

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  3. Trump’s broken promise is a death sentence to thousands of his voters
    http://www.rawstory.com/2016/12/trumps-broken-promise-is-a-death-sentence-to-thousands-of-his-voters/

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  4. Thanks for that link. Fellow readers out there, take a look. Mod, use this info in your next post maybe?

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    1. Pretty nasty bait and switch, right? Trump promised he would not touch Soc. Security or Medicare, but now he and the swamp creatures are going after it tooth and nail.

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    2. All you Clinton / Obama supporters who want to "fundamentally transform America" just got stopped in your tracks. I know it's frustrating and I know you put your faith in the Alinsky tactics but they didn't work this time. People saw through it. America is not perfect but doesn't need to be fundamentally transformed as you want and fast swaths of the country disagree with you. Thank God for the Electoral College. Read the Slate article firm 4 years ago that touts the benefits of the Electoral College. But if course now that their candidate lost Slates most recent article equates the Electoral College with slavery. You have to love the hypocracy.

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    3. Obama won the popular vote twice. Bill Clinton won the popular vote twice. GW the 2nd won it once and lost it once. Trump is 0 for 1. Vast swaths of this country are empty. Where actual people are concentrated the democratic candidate won.

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    4. Slavery, 7:28? You guys are bringing that back, too? Wow, now THAT'S Conservative!

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    5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    6. Make America Great Again! Reinstitute slavery. McJobs for all!

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  5. Merriam-Webster: ‘Surreal’ Is the Word of the Year for 2016
    https://www.yahoo.com/news/merriam-webster-surreal-is-the-word-of-the-year-for-2016-195744626.html

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  6. Do any of you realize how many people are on Medicare and are: under 65, never paid into it?

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  7. Moderator, I dont recall "Trump" saying if you like your Medicare and Social Security, it will remain the same. Those branches of Government have been "bleeding" for years. They require being repaired, before they expire.

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    1. I can post some tomorrow if you like.

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    2. Social Security would be ok if it hadn't been robbed for many years and programs added to it.

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    3. OK. I'll post the truth about Soc Security tomorrow. Obviously you two (?) have guzzled the Kool Aid.

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  8. Forget Hillary. I get it. These were the rules. She lost. But now, could we at least look at what happened here? It's about future fairness for both parties. Who rationally thinks a candidate for any American office who wins by 2.6 million votes (and counting) should lose? Is it really that hard to remove partisan-colored glasses for two seconds to consider that? The electoral college is - and has been for some time - archaic. The only ACTUAL reason we haven't corrected it before now is that it has reliably reflected the popular vote, with rare exceptions in extremely close elections. Put another way, it stuck around because it wasn't hurting anybody. Now, I'd argue, for the first time in history it has markedly thwarted the modern democratic process. Now is EXACTLY the time to give the EC an honest, second look.

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    Replies
    1. No. The process worked as it was meant to work.

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    2. Yeah. The Klan , Breitbart and National Front folks are ecstatic. I hear they've all sent cases of wine to Pootie.

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    3. Well it hurt Al Gore... that dude went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize, meanwhile his opponent, who was somehow voted in by the Supreme Court despite the will of the people's popular vote went on to start two illegal wars, cripple the economy, and create the largest bureaucracy in American government (homeland security). Yet people still vote for his ilk.

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  9. Hillary should have studied the Electoral College. As an elite, she snubbed almost every State and was "partying" with all those Hollywood/Martha Vineyard fundraising cronies. That contributed to her loss. She treated and viewed the rest of the United States population as 3/5's.

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    1. Same crap, different day, eh Trump guy? Got your Christmas shopping done yet?

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    2. 9:20 Let's be glad she did.

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    3. You Trump dummies just keep reliving the election. It's over. Now you should be talking about all of the wonderful things he is planning to do. Can you actually think of any? Outside of robbing the old folks of their Medicare?

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    4. Mommy mommy what's an elite?

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    5. 6:27 - Check Trump's cabinet. It;s what the swamp drained into.

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  10. Will "Liberals ever be able to accept the Election results?" A second look at the Electrol vote? Why don't "you" just keep on recounting again and again, you might just come up with a different number!

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    Replies
    1. Has anyone except the Trump's birth certificate yet?

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    2. will you ever be able to accept a dictionary?

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    3. He wasn't born. He was baked.

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  11. I lean Conservative; of course my twelve gifts for everyone was taken care of throughout the year. I don't wait till the last minute. I don't "assume " the outcome of emptied shelves will work for me. Unlike Hillary, I plan for the future.

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    1. You must have a lot of time on your hands.

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    2. No time to spend the day protesting about the election, unlike Hillary's minions. Employment lines not cool?

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    3. No lines at the employment office. Jobs are now at an all time high! Even your lazy ass could probably find something to do.

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  12. Thanks buttercup, I'm gainfully employed.
    But I don't use my sick days or vacation days to protest for something as insane as an Electrol Vote "re-do".

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  13. Does your boss know you post on blogs at work?

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    Replies
    1. Check with the manager at Walmart

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  14. Not to make your comments meaningless, but right now, I'd like to know what kind of parents think it's really cool to take pictures of their children sitting on top of the crèche in Kersting Court? Or letting them climb into it and play with baby Jesus!

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  15. The State of Washington electors would not even cast a vote for Hillary, and she won that State!

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    1. The truth is complex. Probably why you don't understand it.

      Four Washington state electors break ranks and don’t vote for Clinton
      http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/four-washington-electors-break-ranks-and-dont-vote-for-clinton/

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  16. Why all the fuss about the Electoral College being so "undemocratic?" The absolute most "undemocratic" part of our government is the Senate. Same representation for each state regardless of population. How is that fair?

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