In the wake of Donald J. Trump’s historic election to the Presidency, the political left has again picked up the rallying cry demanding the elimination of the Electoral College. In the 228 years since 1788, the United States have held 56 Presidential Elections. In four of these, the winner did not secure the popular vote. Since the final tally of the 2016 Elections are incomplete as of the date of this writing, including absentee ballots, ex-patriots and our brave volunteer soldiers in the U.S. Armed Forces overseas, it is still unknown which candidate won the popular vote. This fact, however, has not stopped thousands of Leftists from protesting and rioting in cities and college campuses around the country in anticipation of another instance. Emotions aside, here are the historical facts:
In 1824, Andrew Jackson beat John Quincy Adams 99 to 84 in the electoral vote and by 38,000 in the popular vote but did not win the majority of electoral votes required by the U.S Constitution. This was the only time in U.S. History that U.S. House of Representatives had to determine a Presidential election. They elected Adams.
In 1876, Rutherford B. Hayes won the electoral vote by only one vote but lost the popular vote by more than 250,000 to Samuel J. Tilden.
In 1888, Benjamin Harrison won the electoral vote 233 to Grover Cleveland’s 168 but lost the popular vote by more than 90,000.
And in 2000, George W. Bush was declared the winner by the U.S. Supreme Court after confusion and countless recounts in Florida because of a poorly-designed ballot. Bush won the electoral vote, 271 to 266, but his competitor, Al Gore received roughly 540,000 more votes in the popular vote.
Today, as we wait both for the Electoral College to cast its votes and for the final tally of the popular vote, we again see the Left declaring that the Electoral College is un-democratic and must be eliminated to protect the rights of minorities.
However, what they fail to understand is that the Electoral College was designed precisely to protect minorities against the majority. But yet, on some level, I can relate to the feelings of the protesters.
One of the reasons I started PatriotMusic.com in 2005 was because I wanted to do something about my fellow citizens’ lack of knowledge in history and civics. My hope was that by writing non-partisan music with meaningful lyrics, I could spread my passion for our founding principles and do my part to get people thinking and talking about individual liberty from an informed perspective, rather than just an emotional one. By my late twenties, it became clear to me that although I had some strong beliefs about what government shouldn’t or simply couldn’t do, I struggled to back up my arguments because I didn’t have the necessary frames of reference. I hadn’t fully understood that the Bill of Rights and Constitution not only had the solutions to the problems of the time in which they were written, but also to the majority of our current problems, and that my knowledge of world and U.S. history was severely lacking.
Civics classes in the U.S. public school system are increasingly rare and history is almost universally thought of by students as boring because it is often taught in an antiquated way that requires memorizing names and numbers at the expense of the truly fascinating experiences of human beings. Combine this with the fact that public school teachers and administrators are unionized government employees who themselves don’t have to demonstrate proficiency in either subject, and it’s no wonder that no matter how much money we pump into our schools, they continue to produce graduates who contradict their own ideals because they feel rather than think, as did I at one time. The protesters we see today are perfect examples of humans based more on irrational feelings rather than reason.
Within the first week of any civics class in the U.S., students learn about different forms of government. But most importantly, they learn that the United States are a Republic, not a Democracy. Our founders knew through their own knowledge of history that democracies are brutal systems where minorities are tyrannized by the majority and die sudden deaths by suicide. And they usually do so based on a desire to protect rights. Since then, we in the modern age have seen countless collectivist forms of government, from socialism to fascism to communism, do the same. Each, in turn, has verified what they knew and protected us against as best they could. In their own words:
“A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.” -Thomas Jefferson
“Remember democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” -John Adams
“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!” -Benjamin Franklin
“Give all the power to the many, they will oppress the few. Give all the power to the few, they will oppress the many.” -Alexander Hamilton
Like so many of our Constitutional principles, the Electoral College was designed as a check and balance on forces that would destroy citizens’ rights. In fact, the Electoral College is the most effective method of protecting minorities against the majority because it ensures that Presidential candidates must speak to and win the favor of citizens in all areas of the Republic. Each State, and the District of Columbia, has one electorate for each Senator or House member, so the balance is evenly based on population.
Were it to be eliminated; only the most populated areas would be necessary to persuade. This would, of course, be a distinct advantage to the Left. Presidential campaigns could then ignore the vast majority of our Republic and focus hundreds of millions of advertising dollars on only the largest cities or the largest States. Except that people who live in cities see things very differently from those who live in rural or suburban regions.
This fact was not lost on our Founders and is certainly not lost on the leaders of those who support the elimination of the Electoral College. Their true intentions are clear. While their followers feel, protest and riot, those of us armed with reason and knowledge of history know better. The Electoral College protects minorities as effectively as the Right to Trial by Jury, the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, the Right to Free Speech, Freedom of Religion, the Right to Protest, etc. Eliminating it would be a terrible, irrevocable act of tyranny.