At the close of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on September 18, 1787, a Mrs. Powel anxiously awaited the results and as Benjamin Franklin emerged from the long task now finished asked him directly, `Well, Doctor, what have we got? A republic or a monarchy?’ `A republic, if you can keep it,’ responded Franklin.
Over 200 years later, Benjamin Franklin would be proud that the country he helped create has indeed kept the form of government he and the other founders laid out for us. From the election of George Washington as our first President until present day, our electoral process has not changed. Individuals from each State go to the ballot and cast a vote for their candidate of choice. Votes are tallied for that State and the candidate with the most votes in that State receives the electoral votes. Although there are some States in which the electoral votes are distributed by Congressional District and cast for candidates accordingly. That may be about to change.
According to WallBuilders.com Senator Hillary Clinton has promised to introduce in the Senate a constitutional amendment to abolish the electoral college. Those of you living in populous States such as New York or California (I myself live in New York), may find this Amendment to be beneficial to you, it was not however, what our founding fathers intended.
The idea behind abolishing the electoral college is due largely to the 2000 election, with many feeling Bush actually lost the election, and without an electoral college, a recount in Florida would not have been needed. If however the election were to be decided on a popular vote basis, not only would a recount in Florida have been necessary, it is very likely a recount in every state would have been necessary as well. The amount of votes separating Gore from Bush amounted to one half of one percent of the votes, clearly Bush would have requested a recount nationwide if it were not for the electoral college.
In that same election Gore carried only 676 counties, while Bush carried 2,436 counties. Geographically speaking, Bush had won in a landslide, however because large parts of our population are concentrated in certain States, Gore managed to win the popular vote. This begs the question, if the President were to be decided by popular vote alone, would voters in rural areas be completely ignored by the candidates? As Wallbuilders.com points out:
Indeed, without the electoral college system, candidates would logically spend their campaign courting voters in the most populous urban areas such as Chicago, San Francisco, New York City, Washington, D. C., Miami, Seattle, etc., rather than visiting cities in more rural areas â€” cities like Wichita, Birmingham, Amarillo, Cheyenne, Springfield, Tulsa, etc. Additionally, since larger urban areas tend to be more liberal than the rest of the nation, presidential campaigns would therefore cater predominately to liberal interests.
National Popular Vote Inc. is leading the charge in this debate, their purpose is “to study, analyze and educate the public regarding a proposal to provide for the nationwide popular election of the President.” This group actually advocates bypassing a Constitutional amendment to alter our electoral process, and are asking the States to do it on their own. Their proposal calls on states to award their electoral votes to the candidate with the highest vote count nationally. If enough states do that, the candidate with the most votes nationally would be guaranteed to win the election. The Washington Post reported Maryland is ready to do just that:
The bill, which the Senate approved 29 to 17 yesterday, would award the state’s 10 electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the most votes nationwide — not statewide
My advice to Maryland voters, stay home on election day, your votes will no longer matter. The Maryland legislature has effectively nullified its residents votes with this bill. If a candidate were to receive enough votes nationwide he (or she) would receive all of Maryland’s electoral votes, even if the voters of Maryland voted overwhelmingly for that persons opponent. The Washington Post also is reporting:
“California lawmakers passed a version of the bill last year, but it was vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). This year, lawmakers in one chamber of the Arkansas, Hawaii and Colorado legislatures have approved such a measure, but it has not yet made it through the other chamber, according to National Popular Vote Inc., the California-based group pushing the idea.”
Ironically the idea behind this “movement” is that certain States are ignored in Presidential elections. The outcome of this movement however will guarantee those States are ignored in the future! What Presidential candidate will feel it necessary to campaign in Maryland when they know they will get Maryland’s electoral votes by winning more populous States such as New York, California and Texas?
Those in favor of abolishing the electoral college feel a Democracy is a superior form of government to a republic. Our founding fathers (whom I consider substantially wiser than Hillary Clinton) adamantly disagreed. In fact the Constitution guarantees a republic form of government. “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government”- Article IV Section 4
John Adams once said “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”
Over 200 years ago our founding fathers gave us a Republican form of Government, the question now is, can we keep it?
For more by this author visit Constitutionally Right