The future of GOP support for the electoral college
“We should respect the wisdom of the framers.” When it came to devising a way to elect the president, they weren’t so wise. Their system led, in 1800, to an election in which Thomas Jefferson and his own running mate, Aaron Burr, tied in the Electoral College. That flaw had to be fixed with a constitutional amendment, in 1804.
Stanford historian Jack Rakove, an authority on the Constitutional Convention, has written that “the framers did not reject popular election because of a fear that the people might fall prey to a demagogue. They worried instead that in a provincial society, citizens would never be well enough informed to make an effective choice without multiple and expensive rounds of elections.”
They expected most presidents to be chosen by the House of Representatives because no one would get a majority in the Electoral College. So much for their infallibility.
“The Electoral College is a pillar of federalism and state sovereignty.” False. The strength of federalism is the existence of states and their control over many spheres of government. The Electoral College allocates votes among states but doesn’t confer any power on them. Canada lacks the Electoral College, and its provinces enjoy more power than our states.