Last week, I gave you a little taste of why electing a president through our Electoral College system is vital to getting a country like the United States to run properly.
Despite how well the Electoral College works, there are still some Americans who are doing everything they can to destroy it. And what’s worse — they are close to succeeding.
But any time we talk about ditching the Electoral College, there is one question we have to ask ourselves:
If we eliminate the Electoral College, what comes next?
To get a better idea of what comes next, I interviewed Tara Ross, an expert on the Electoral College and the author of a book that I highly recommend called "Enlightened Democracy."
In this first clip, Tara and I talked about how opponents of the Electoral College plan to go about replacing it with a national popular vote — and some of the Constitutional questions surrounding their efforts:
Give More Control to Washington, D.C.?
If we move to presidential elections that are national in nature, what comes next? Inevitably we would have to create a federal election code to govern those elections as well.
In other words, we would end up giving virtually all control over our presidential elections to Washington, D.C.:
Tara brings up another fascinating question in this clip: If we follow the principles that the national popular vote is founded on, where does that ultimately lead us?
One of the main arguments against the Electoral College is that some votes don’t have as much impact on the outcome as others because they aren’t cast in swing states. In other words, the system isn’t democratic enough.
Opponents of the Electoral College argue that, in a country where everyone is supposed to be equal, everyone should have an equal vote for president. As they like to put it, we should have a system of one person, one vote.
And that argument would carry a lot of weight if we lived in a democracy. But we don’t, because democracy always fails. In a country like ours, allowing ourselves to be guided by democratic principles like one person, one vote is just a guarantee of failure.
That’s why we live in a federal republic.
Because of that, the Electoral College is far from the only undemocratic aspect of our government. So if we’re going to get rid of the Electoral College because it’s undemocratic and therefore unfair, then consistency would require us to get rid of the other undemocratic parts of our government—most notably, the U.S. Senate.
After all, it is just as undemocratic as the Electoral College and for the same reasons. So why aren't there any efforts to eliminate the Senate?
Could Lead to Disaster
Whenever you are designing a government, if you want to be successful, you have to do your best to think of all the different scenarios your country could possibly face and make sure the government is equipped to handle them.
One of the dangerous scenarios that comes next, if we move to a nationwide popular vote, is nationwide recounts. And we aren't equipped to handle that.
You can probably imagine what that would be like. Just think about the Florida recount after the 2000 presidential election — multiplied by 50! That sounds like fun!
One of the benefits to handling issues on a state-by-state basis is that it isolates any problems or irregularities and limits their effects. But with any kind of close national popular vote, those problems in Florida would have led to questions being raised in other counties all over the country along with similar recount fiascos. It would be a total disaster.
You Mean We Could Be Governed Just Like Illinois?!
Another example of what comes next if we eliminate the Electoral College is that our presidential elections will be completely dominated by the interests of voters in large cities.
Fortunately, you don’t have to take my word for that. You can already see examples of it happening in real life.
In Illinois, the Chicago area has more than enough voters on its own to decide statewide elections. So obviously candidates focus on that area and ultimately end up governing the state likes its one big urban area. The problem with that is, outside of Chicago, most of the state is very rural--but the concerns of people in those rural areas are often ignored.
And just in case you haven’t noticed, Illinois isn’t exactly a model of successful government.
We can expect the same thing to happen to our country as a whole if we eliminate the Electoral College. Candidates will flock to large population centers and cater to their interests while largely ignoring everyone else.
And as Tara explains in this next clip, Illinois isn’t the only place where we see this happening:
What Happens if We Act on Our Feelings?
Before we make any changes to our election system, we need to make sure we know exactly what we’re doing. This isn’t a situation where we can just pick whichever approach to electing a president we like best and expect that it will work just fine.
In the real world, some methods of choosing a president will lead to an effective government and others won’t.
I know this might be a bit of a bummer, but creating a government that works is a lot more complicated than just a bumper sticker slogan. Sure, “one person, one vote” sounds nice and it feels good to say.
But before we act on those feelings we need to ask ourselves: What comes next?
Chad Kent is an author and speaker with a unique style that makes the Constitution simple and fun. Listen to Chad every Saturday during The Chris Salcedo Show on TheBlaze Radio, visit his web site at www.ChadKentSpeaks.com, and like his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/theconstitutionguy.
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