Article 2 and the 12th Amendment – The Electoral College will remain …


Out there in "the public," there are various children (of various ages) who are weeping and gnashing their teeth (rending garments, etc.) over Trump's impending election by the Electoral College in spite of the apparent win by Clinton in the national popular vote.  Well pilgrims, this has happened five time in the past and there were undoubtedly cries in each instance to abolish the electoral college system and it never happened.  Why?  Read the linked parts of the US constitution and you will know why.   The electoral college system is an integral part of the Constitution.  It is in the body of the Constitution.  It exists, as does the provision for two US Senators for each state as well as the 10th Amendment to protect the interests of the less populated states in a FEDERAL REPUBLIC.  The people in "the public" who have signed a petition en masse to get rid of the Electoral College are engaged in futile nonsense.  Why?  Simple, 38 small population states would have to agree to an amendment that would emasculate them.  What's the chance?  What would be the incentive?

And then there are other visionaries who want all the states to agree to force their Electors to vote in accordance with the national popular vote.  That idea is also amusing.  I say unto them – Go for it!  Let us know when you get them all lined up.

But, let us say for the sake of discussion, that it was somehow agreed that the Electoral College should disappear to be replaced by a national popular system in which the states played no role. What would the system be like?  Would it be electronic?  Could you log in with some number assigned to you by the feds and then cast your vote on-line?

You could create such a system but it would be endlessly subject to tampering and would make the outcome of elections even more sensitive to the PR industry and the whorish MSM.


This entry was posted in government. Bookmark the permalink.

46 Responses to Article 2 and the 12th Amendment – The Electoral College will remain …

  1. The Porkchop Express says:

    “whorish MSM” — nailed them on all vectors of their spleen. Loved it.
    It’s amazing the lack of civic education on display, particularly amongst my “enlightened” cohort who imagine themselves quite smart and well informed. I am also confused as to why we go through a beginner’s course on the electoral college and how federalism is supposed to work every four years–which is then somehow not retained in any form or fashion.

  2. Aka says:

    Amazing isn’t it? People who are supposed to be sooo liberal and democratic are calling for what is basically a “coup” (demanding the electoral college to vote for Hilary) against Trump.

  3. divadab says:

    The Dems and their riled-up followers are having a temper tantrum at the moment, fueled by a desire to blame their own failures on someone, anyone, else. It, and the MSM’s attempt to make of it a movement or other such nonsense, is more sad than comical.

  4. Origin says:

    My party lost this election. As the campaigning progressed, there was a constant criticism that Trump would not “accept” the vote, suggesting such a thing would be a rejection of democracy. I have even heard rumors that some Republicans are trying to get the electors to vote for Ryan. Some on the left who criticized Trump for being undemocratic are wishing to game the Electoral College. They are the real undemocratic ones. Trump won the electoral college votes and he should get all he won.
    The Great Compromise was a stroke of political genius that, though the majority has often not “won” the presidency, the nation has “won” because the compromise makes our nation a nation of all of the states and requires politicians to attend to all of the territory and citizens of the nation, regardless of the population density. Direct democracy of a simple majority gives no protection to those who are in rural areas. Just look at some of the Catching Fire films to get a view of what a country might look like if it were dominated by the urban Capitol.
    After all, the decision of that minority who elected Trump may have more collective wisdom than I might think. It must be respected. That obligation of respect flows from our social contract made in 1797. We do not need a coup from either the Republican establishment or from any other group.

  5. Edward Amame says:

    Of course the Electoral College will stay — Dems would have the advantage with the popular vote.

  6. Lemur says:

    The electoral college keeps the country together. It’s as simple as that. What state would sign up for or stay in a union that was eternally at the mercy of a different region’s political preferences?
    That said, I read somebody saying Trump should create some new Republican states – Jefferson sliced away from Cal, and rural New York partitioned from NYC. LARPing of course, but symbolic of the way each side is openly calculating in tribal terms now. The wages of diversity.

  7. steve says:

    I am fine with the electoral college system, but it should be fixed. The ratio of people to votes in the electoral college should be the same for every state. AS an example, set it at one vote for every 100,000 people. A state with 1 million people gets 10 votes. 2 million gets 20.

  8. b says:

    “to be replaced by a national popular system in which the states played no role. What would the system be like?”
    That could be a normal system with local paper ballots. No need for some vulnerable electronic stuff. There are reasons why the German Supreme Court demanded a paper ballot system and forbid any electronic shenanigan. A vote where the people can no longer understand and follow how the outcome was really determined will lose its acceptance in the electorate.
    But the whole “popular vote” nonsense is ignoring a big factor. In a popular vote competition the campaigns would be oriented to the popular vote. There is no reason to think that Clinton would have won such a fight. What those people demand today is to annul a competition that was about A and instead change it, after the fact, into a putative decision about B just because B now fits their wanted outcome. Bollocks.
    Trump said today he would have won a real popular vote contest. I think he is right.

  9. Laura says:

    Col. — I think that the most interesting way to look at the electoral college v. popular vote issue is to ask the question
    “What would change?” Perhaps the actual candidates chosen to run by the parties would be different and perhaps the campaigns would be different? How would strategies change? Could the campaign be shorter? How would primaries be affected? Could it be a way to wring some of the money out of politics?
    It could be better for all of us and for our electoral process…worth a conversation.

  10. turcopolier says:

    Well, it was just a rhetorical flourish on my part. I don’t want the system changed and neither will the less populous states. pl

  11. Freudenschade says:

    Your nom de plum makes me very hungry.
    While I agree that the electoral college is one of those things most Americans learn about in public school and then promptly forget, one also needs to point at the MSM with their constant pushing of the national horse race polls. It’s easy to forget that it’s not all about the popular vote.
    Last cycle with sites like 538, and especially this cycle with a plethora of poll average sites, the spotlight was firmly on the likely electoral college outcome. Overall a positive direction for civics.

  12. turcopolier says:

    The US is not a “country” in the sense that that it is, in fact a confederation of semi-sovereign and autonomous bodies, not the unitary state that many want it to be and that was the basis on which the US Constitution was ratified. It is a contract among the states and the outcome of the WBS did not change that in spite of the BS about the “United States is.” pl

  13. turcopolier says:

    Very funny. Your change would never be ratified as an amendment and if it were would make this a unitary country and relegate the inhabitants of the smaller states to a subordinate position. pl

  14. turcopolier says:

    Trump will not have the power to do that. The constitution forbids the dividing of a state without its agreement. pl

  15. turcopolier says:

    Of course. The EC exists to prevent domination by the big states. The Republican Party dominates the smaller states as you Dems do the big ones. The factor of admixture is unimportant. pl

  16. Freudenschade says:

    One could suppose that the electoral college is an outgrowth of the thinking in Fedaralist 51, a bulwark against the “tyranny of the majority.” It is however a different idea — judicious men deliberating on whether a person has the necessary qualities to be the executive — as put forth by Hamilton in Federalist 68.
    I put it to you that no serious deliberation will take place amongst the electors. If it cannot fulfill its primary function, what purpose does it have?
    I myself would like to see rank order voting introduced at all levels of government. Only so can we move from a system where we make coalitions before the election to one where we make them after the election.

  17. turcopolier says:

    As you must know it is impossible to return to restricting the franchise to the able and the virtuous. That die was cast long ago so what are you really talking about? pl

  18. Freudenschade says:

    We are talking here not of the great unwashed, but rather of the electors, who should, in theory at least, be men and women of quality that discuss the qualifications of the winner, lest someone of bad character ascend to the presidency. If we can agree that that is its purpose, we should ask if it is fulfilling that purpose. If not, should we not simply abolish it and let the popular vote decide?

  19. scott s. says:

    Keep in mind that until reconstruction, South Carolina’s legislature picked its Electors. Also, the Territorial legislature in Colorado agreed to appoint its electors in 1876 in exchange for the Congress approving Colorado’s statehood admission — those 3 votes went to Hayes and ensured his election. USSC has given wide latitude to the state legislatures in carrying out their appointment power, most recently seen in Gore v Bush.
    In 1845 US Congress exercised its power under Art II/1 to set the Time of chusing the Electors by establishing the Tues after the First Mon in Nov as the uniform date for all states. This was in response to complaints of election fraud in the 1844 presidential elections. Congress likewise under Art I/4 authority established a nationally-uniform date for voting for Congress (representatives) for the Mar 1873 term (Nov 1872 elections). At that time, the regular session of Congress convened on the first Mon of December, then ran until the following March (of odd-years). In Presidential election years, the Senate would typically meet in executive session in Mar for a few days to consider Presidential nominations, then recess until the regular Dec session.
    A problem with voting mechanics in the US that doesn’t seem to be so common in other countries is the large number of races and questions which all appear on the same ballot. Note that the current system of state-mediated access to to secret ballots was not created until the adoption of the so-called Australian ballot in the period 1890-1892.

  20. turcopolier says:

    Yes, I would be a good elector, and you probably and even EA, certainly TTG and my tribe here. How do you propose that we get to that point? pl

  21. PF Khans says:

    I agree with you 100% that the outcome of this election needs to be respected and that the compromise that created this country requires a balance between the needs of less populous and more populous states.
    However, this is an election where the candidate who won more votes will likely win more votes on an unheard of scale. As bad as its been in the past, this is not a healthy place for the country to be, and I hope Trump and the Republicans, at the very least, offer a solution to it.
    The fact is that the less populous states have never been less populous and the most populous have never been more populous, the discrepancies are large. An updated compromise is in order. It won’t favor the smaller states, but they are less powerful and important to the country than they used to be.
    There is a real problem here that won’t go away. A solution is needed, but I hope that it could be as simple as giving states with populations over X an extra electoral vote for every 1 million people or so.

  22. kooshy says:

    Colonel, what about keeping the EC but stop, abolish the winer take it all, that will make the candidates fight for every vote in all states including Ca. , like orange county is a republican county but no republican president candidate bothers to campaign since the state is take it all.

  23. Ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Scott, you have an idiosyncratic view of the Bush-Gore decision. It took the resolution of the disputed votes out of the hands do the state of Florida. This was a blatant political decision, not one based on legal precedent. The tell is that the majority opinion explicitly stated that Bush-Gore should NOT be used as a precedent going forward. The degree to which this was done because of the political preferences of the majority as opposed to being done at the behest of the Borg will likely never be known.

  24. LeaNder says:

    We are talking here not of the great unwashed, but rather of the electors
    I am not sure, if you aren’t talking about the former in a roundabout way? Anyway?
    But thanks for the hint.

  25. kao_hsien_chih says:

    I’m always bothered when people attack the electoral college.
    The consequence of the electoral college, rather than straight popular vote, is that it requires construction of a broader, more “diverse” coalition, at least in geographic terms. Capturing an electoral college majority without something approaching a near popularity vote majority at the very minimum is impossible. But it is possible to construct a narrow popular vote majority, on the strength of support from populous, but very “narrow” geographies is quite conceivable.
    I tend to be sardonically amused when people who seem to think that forced diversity is a good thing in general have issues with the electoral college, precisely it forces the diversity of the kind that they don’t want. To capture an EC majority, they only need to broaden their coalition a little bit. To his credit, Obama did exactly that. HRC fell short. Now, EC is unfair?
    I’ve had the theory that the greatest threat to democratic rule comes not from people who will seek to rule without a majority, but a narrow and controversial majority (or plurality) that seeks to rule unbridled by restraints. The Ikhwan in Egypt struck me as an example of that: they did have a legitimate plurality. They had the organization to win elections. But they felt that that plurality was good enough to run everyone whom they disagreed with roughshod. Sisi’s coup might have been a bad thing, but it was the kind of response where everyone left outside the “illiberal plurality” could welcome, and welcome they did. Something analogous can be said about Allende’s Chile. Yes, he did win election fair and square–with a rather small and narrow plurality that had trouble building bridges outside their bubble. Outside intervention might have tipped the scale over, but Chile was already in deep trouble for years with many discontented factions seething against Allende government when the coup came along. Stable democracies with broad bases don’t topple so easily. If narrow majorities, in the name of short sighted “democracy” starts cutting at that base, the stability suffers.
    Electoral college helps stabilize politics by forcing the political coalitions to be just a little bit more diverse and accommodating of different factions, counters this sort of problem. Maybe, if the Democrats don’t like the results, they should try becoming a bit more diverse for change. Obama did it. Trump actually did make Republicans more diverse, by winning over many former Obama voters in right states, and that’s how he won, not just because he got the Republicans. Maybe the next generation of Democrats should try some real diversity–that’s good for winning elections, or so I heard, not change electoral rules so that you don’t need diversity to win.

  26. TV says:

    Since the left is composed, mainly, of emotional infants, this reaction (and the “protests”) are not surprising.
    Most of them seem to have “grown up” getting their way by “demanding” and tantrum-throwing.
    And then there’s the crying and the “safe spaces.”
    I’m an old guy and I can (when needed) intimidate most of these little wussies.

  27. pj33 says:

    Why should we believe that the national popular vote reflects the true will of the people. Both campaigns focused their time and dollars on what they saw as the main battleground states, completely ignoring many vote rich, but not in play, states. I would expect if Trump had campaigned in California, he would have energized the otherwise demoralized Republicans who had no chance at any statewide race. In the last polls in the state Clinton was up 22 points, she ended up taking the popular vote by 29 points. Had Trump campaigned, that difference would likely have been erased and so adding to Trump’s national vote totals. The nation popular vote is simply a distorted artifact of a presidential ele ction fought only in about 20% of the states.

  28. As I remember, Kennedy lost the popular vote to Nixon back in the day. That’s just the way the system works. Those demanding we change the EA system today are petulant fools. OTOH, I have no real problem with their street protests, except for the vandalism, or the “not my president” thing. Didn’t the NRA start that years ago? Plus, the opposition is bound to morph into something else well before the inauguration.

  29. Nancy K says:

    I agree that both sides need to play by the rules. Trump is our president or will be after Jan 29th. I wonder though how Trump and his followers would have reacted if the votes had gone the other way, with Trump winning popular and Clinton winning electoral.

  30. turcopolier says:

    pf khana
    Absolutely not! You do not understand that the states are real and not a phantasm. pl

  31. The Porkchop Express says:

    “You just listen to the old Pork Chop Express here now and take his advice on a dark and stormy night when the lightning’s crashin’ and the thunder’s rollin’ and the rain’s coming down in sheets thick as lead.”
    -Big Trouble in China. Excellent movie. A Kurt Russell classic.
    I suppose people do forget, though I don’t imagine how it’s “easy.” Not to be obstinate and I get the “whorish media” bears a lot of blame, but that’s still not good enough. It is absurd in the extreme that Americans should/need be re-taught every four years what our system is (definitionally), how it works (functionally), and why it was created that way (philosophically).

  32. AK says:

    “I wonder though how Trump and his followers would have reacted if the votes had gone the other way, with Trump winning popular and Clinton winning electoral.”
    That’s a moot point, and it seems by asking that question, you are seeking some cursory justification for the behavior of those protesting the results. If you must ask that hypothetical, please couple it with a consideration of what Clinton’s supporters would have to say about the EC in such a circumstance. My take on it is that they’d be perfectly fine with it and hail it as an example of the wisdom of our founding fathers protecting the republic from the masses of poor breeding who seek to destroy the country through their ignorance.

  33. Edward says:

    I think the U.S. should have a parliamentary system. This would allow third parties to participate in the government.

  34. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think the analogue of the President of the United States would be something like the Holy Roman Emperor or the King of Kings, or the a Roman Consul.
    He is the President of nominally sovereign states and the Captain General of the Armed Forces of the United States.
    I think US states lost that de facto claim to sovereignty on the battlefields of the War Between the States but the de jur claim still obtains.
    May be German commentators could supply analogues as theirs is also a Federal Republic.

  35. crf says:

    States should consider apportioning their EC votes according to the proportion of votes Presidential candidates received in their particular states.
    The method of Maine and Nebraska is “fairer” than most states’ winner take all system. Me and Ne give 2 EV to the winner of the state, and each congressional district gives the Presidential winner of the district an EV.
    The electoral college is fine, but the “winner take all” method most states use to choose them is a little unfair. Larger states matter much more than smaller states, currently.
    Changing things is harder said than done. Both parties will want to retain winner take all in their larger states that reliably vote for them. Florida, being the largest swing state, would be the best bet for going to a Maine or Nebraska style Presidential electoral system.

  36. Larry Kart says:

    pj33’s post makes good sense to me. The drive to replace the electoral college exemplifies American Liberalism at its most shortsighted and petulant.

  37. Freudenschade says:

    I’m not sure I understand what you mean.

  38. Freudenschade says:

    The electors have never functioned as independent actors as the framers intended. The electoral college was a noble experiment that failed, with no prospect for fixing it. It should be kept or abolished purely on the basis of whether the proportional representation it gives to each state is a worthwhile end.

  39. “the states are real” – from a 2010 Census report on Lifetime Mobility in the United States:
    Lifetime Mobility: Most people in
    the United States live in the state in
    which they were born.
    The comparison of data on state of
    residence in 2010 to data on state and
    region of birth reflects the cumulative
    effect of long-term patterns of migration.
    Fifty-nine percent of people in the
    United States were born in their state of
    residence (Table 1). However, there is
    significant geographic variation. At
    more than 70 percent, the Midwest
    had the highest percentage of its
    current population born in their
    current state, indicating relatively
    lower lifetime mobility. The West
    was at the other end of the scale
    with less than half of its population
    born in that region. The West
    led in the proportion of the population
    that was foreign born, just
    under 20 percent, followed by the
    Northeast at 15.6 percent.
    The state with the highest percentage
    of current residents born
    in-state is Louisiana, with 78.8
    percent of current residents born
    there. It was followed by three
    states in the great lakes region:
    Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania,
    with 76.6, 75.1, and 74.0 percent
    of residents born in their
    current state, respectively. In four
    states, Alaska, Arizona, Florida,
    and Nevada, and in the District of
    Columbia, less than 40 percent of
    residents were born in that state or
    district. With less than one quarter
    of its 2010 population born in
    that state, Nevada had the lowest
    percentage in the country.
    Quoted from

  40. Prem says:

    Maybe all states should, like Maine and Nebraska, split their electoral votes by congressional district.
    Would that have affected the outcome?
    The small states would keep their overrepresentation but the campaigns would have to spend time in all the purple districts in California and the deep South etc.
    BTW congratulations to the American people for choosing the much lesser of two evils, in the face of overwhelming propaganda.

  41. LG says:

    They might have acted with surprising reasonableness.
    Madam, your prediction about who would win was wrong. Now perhaps it is time to consider that your predilection was wrong too..

  42. LG says:

    It should not work that way. In India, constituencies to the national parliament were initially allotted on this principle of proportional representation. In the early 1970s, it became clear that the southern states like Kerala which had reach zero population growth would be the losers in such a system. On the other hand, states like UP that kept metastasising with an additional (11 million births annually now) would swamp he parliament. The supreme court decided to freeze constituencies per state. I think this is a reasonable system that has served the US well.

  43. jdledell says:

    I would like to see all the states adopt something similar to Maine and Nebraska except electoral votes would be determined by the winner of votes in each congressional district with two electoral votes based on the statewide results. This would not do harm to the theory behind the Electoral College and the Federalism it reflects. Basically this would forced a truly national political campaign where the two sides fight it out across 435 Congressional districts rather than a few swing states. This would make it prudent for Republicans to campaign in California,New Jersey and some other states and Democrats might campaign in Texas and Mississippi etc.

  44. Mark Logan says:

    As long as the vote totals are within a percent or two I think there will be no serious calls for an Amendment to abolish it. Should for whatever reason the day comes when there is a significantly difference there almost certainly will. Everybody hates it when the system is “rigged against them”, as Trump put it, and the majority have the power to change that.
    I had heard it was created with the intention of the electors being the ones who chose somewhere before. I was repeated here. Sounds interesting. The Electors were not intended to be robots but to be the actual people who made the choice? Is this documented?
    Interesting concept if true. If so I guess they failed to consider the problem of electing a representative to do one and only one task would entail The People asking their candidates one and only one question.

  45. SoCal Rhino says:

    We actually went Dem this election. Made history.

  46. Anna says:

    An amazing email from an activist-Clintonist:
    “The good news? Donald Trump will not be sworn in as President until January 20, 2017. And between now and then, there is still a lot the U.S. Justice Department can do to investigate his ties to Russia. Sign the petition to the Justice Department: Investigate Donald Trump’s improper ties to Russia.
    Despite his repeated denials, Donald Trump was in direct contact with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government throughout the campaign. This is frightening, because Putin has dangerous empire-building goals with Eastern Europe—not to mention his fascist government that persecutes gay people. Was there any illegal coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian hacker attacks on the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign? What ties does Trump have to Russian oligarchs to whom he might be in massive financial debt? What exactly does the Russian government have in mind for a Trump Administration? We deserve to know answers to this and other questions, and we won’t get them after January 20th. That’s why the Justice Department must investigate Trump’s ties to Russia now. Sign the petition.
    Keep fighting,
    Paul Hogarth, Daily Kos”
    Mr. Hogarth attempted at pretending that he knew nothing about this and this “As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.
    And shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.”
    What is the best way to highlight the corrupt involvement of Clinton Foundation with Russians and Saudis than by making hysterical claims about “Russian influence on the US elections.” Of course there was an influence coming from an idea of a hot war with Russia, which affected certainly the US electorate.

Comments are closed.