to the editor from this week's Chronicle:
No. 82 11/14/2016
Wow! The election is over but the controversy is not! Read the daily
press or watch the evening news and learn about the dissatisfaction with
those results which has triggered mobs, some peaceful and some violent,
protesting the results of the election.
Since this is the fifth time in our history that a candidate has become
president despite losing the popular vote, one can ask why keep the system
today. Or maybe overturn it! Had the founding fathers not included the
electoral system in our Constitution, the following elections would have
been changed. In 1824, Andrew Jackson, who led in the popular vote and
the electoral vote, but without the necessary majority there, lost to John
Quincy Adams, the final decision made in the House of Representatives.
In 1876, Rutherford Hayes lost the popular vote to Samuel Tilden, but won
the electoral college by one vote! And Benjamin Harrison in 1888, defeated
Grover Cleveland who won the popular vote! An interesting side note here,
Cleveland won the presidency both before and after Harrison!
More recently, Al Gore of global warming fame, edged George W. Bush
in the popular vote, but lost the electoral count 266-271 in the 2000 election
of "hanging chads" fame. And now it seems that Trump has won the presidency,
with a 306-232 electoral count, but is behind in the most recent popular
Understandably, the above results cause many to ask why have an electoral
college in the first place, followed immediately why not drop it today,
or can its results be overturned? Historically, the fathers who drafted
the Constitution had a huge problem when it came time to decide how representatives
in the national legislature be selected, The battle raged between the small
states who feared being overwhelmed by the more populated larger ones,
and the equal concern of the large states of losing control to the smaller
ones. Had this issue not been settled by the "Great Compromise,"
we are told the Constitution would never have been drafted. We know now
that the compromised decision gave each state two senators, and representatives
based on state population. Additionally, the senators were elected by the
states, and not directly by the people, until the 17th Amendment was passed
in 1913. With each state in the electoral system receiving a number of
electors based on their two senators and the number of their representatives,
thus giving California 55 today, down to the 3 assigned to the smallest
states, it is easy to appreciate the wisdom of the founders. A look at
election results in the past few elections definitely shows the struggle
between the smaller rural and more conservative states and the larger and
more liberal big cities like Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. Then when
the unparalleled record of freedom and prosperity linked to our past Constitutional
system is compared to our more recent socialistic tendency found among
liberal areas today, people like myself have no problem choosing. Those
extra two electors given to each state have been just enough to ward off
more progressive and liberal administrations in some few of our last elections!
And I for one, thank God for those results! Of course, the two Obama wins
show the urban areas dominating the rural ones!
By the way, two things! To eliminate the electoral system requires
constitutionally a 3/4ths vote of the states! Not going to happen! And
why were party colors red and blue switched before 2000? Red in Europe
was used to represent liberal, and clichés like "red with rage!"
And blue, is it not normally a sign of peace and serenity? Hmm! I wonder
why the switch?
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