Friday, October 12, 2018

The Campaign to Undermine the Electoral College

From The Spectator:
By the same token, the chicly accoutered socialist Alexandria just scored some major points for Republicans with her astonishingly ignorant attack on the Electoral College and the idea that each state is accorded two senators, regardless of its population. Of course, she is not alone. Hillary Clinton, the erstwhile politician, likes the idea of scrapping the Electoral College, as does Ken Dilanian, prominent talking head for NBC, a legacy-media news network. Dilanian recently tweeted that ‘The idea that North Dakota and New York get the same representation in the Senate has to change.’ The It-Girl, now running for New York’s 14th Congressional District, echoed that sentiment. ‘It is well past time,’ she said, ‘we eliminate the Electoral College, a shadow of slavery’s power on America today that undermines our nation as a democratic republic.’

Slavery, eh?

What none of these advocates for direct democracy acknowledges is the wisdom of the Founders in constructing the electoral college as a buffer between that ‘blunt monster with uncounted heads/the still-discordant wavering multitude’ and its leaders. One of the Founders’ greatest fears was the encroachment of the mob. The pages of history, Madison wrote in Federalist 10, were littered with experiments in direct democracy, which tended to be ‘as short in their lives’ as they were ‘violent in their deaths.’

The distribution of an equal number of senators to the states was a brilliant device to filter the passions of the people and, moreover, to protect the interests of minorities in the smaller states. Why should Rhode Island, say, join a union in which rich, populous, and powerful Virginia would threaten its independence and sovereignty? Endowing each state with an equal number of senators while varying the number of House Representatives by population was a clever compromise to equalise influence while still giving voice to the people. (Speaking for myself, however, I think the old method of selecting senators, by state legislatures, is preferable to electing them directly, but that is a topic for another day.) (Read more.)

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