Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Modern Electoral College voters need to do their jobs

Why the Founding Fathers Created the Electoral College

Don't do away with the electoral college. Use it the way it was intended to be used...

MAY 5, 2017
I stand by the content of this post written before the Electoral College cast their votes. Donald Trump has turned out to be the demagogue I warned about, but not only that, he has blithely ignored the emoluments clause, and the Republican controlled House and Senate have turned a blind eye toward this. He has proven to be in this thing for himself and his billionaire appointees, carrying through on his "promises" to the common man that put him into office in the rust-belt states. It turns out that carrying through on his promises are only given lip service. Instead of universal healthcare and cheap premiums, the healthcare bill just passed by the House is really only for the rich. The healthcare bill creates the "death panels" Sarah Palin warned against in Obama's ACA. While there are no overt "death panels" mentioned of course, what it means is that the poor will have no coverage; those with pre-existing conditions might as well die, because their premiums will be too costly to afford. But most important, Trump's demagoguery involves saying one thing and doing another, stomping on the least able to fight back, while getting into league with other dictators and demagogues around the world. Who does Trump admire more than Putin? Duterte of the Philippines, Erdogan of Turkey, and he has even said he wants to meet with Kim Jong Un of North Korea. He also loves LePen of France. Demagogues all.

As never before, it is incumbent upon those entrusted with the electoral college vote to do their jobs—mainly to ensure that the people in a popular vote do not elect a demagogue or tyrant. The electoral college was created for two reasons, one of which was to give smaller states more measured power with the larger states in the federal election, since a popular vote only would always under-represent the smaller states. But the second and more important reason was that our patriarchal founding fathers wanted the electors in the electoral college to act as a buffer, should a demagogue rise to undo influence over the general electorate, being easily swayed by a candidate's rhetoric.

The founding fathers were afraid of direct election to the Presidency. They feared a tyrant could manipulate public opinion and come to power. The following is a quote from Hamilton in the Federalist Papers why they created the electoral college. The emphasis is mine (underlined portions):
  • It was equally desirable, that the immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice. A small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass [i.e., the popular vote] will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations. It was also peculiarly desirable to afford as little opportunity as possible to tumult and disorder. This evil was not least to be dreaded in the election of a magistrate, who was to have so important an agency in the administration of the government as the President of the United States. But the precautions which have been so happily concerted in the system under consideration, promise an effectual security against this mischief.
Many states have misguidedly passed legislation that makes it illegal for electors to cast their votes for anyone but the candidate who wins the popular vote in their states. They've got it exactly backward. The intent of the electoral college was for electors to do just that—to cast their votes in accordance with reasoned measure, and if it meant NOT casting their votes for a dangerous demagogue who arose and unduly manipulated the population with inspiring but usually false rhetoric, they were meant to cast their votes for someone else. 

Such a candidate for president is reflected in Donald Trump. He spoke directly to the common people in a language of fear and supposed concern for them that they became entranced, doubting everything anyone else said about him, excusing his coziness with the alt-right, the KKK, white supremacists, etc., while at the same time also excusing his hateful rhetoric of immigrants as rapists and murderers, women as fat pigs, and even mocking a disabled reporter, doubting the patriotism of a muslim family whose son died on the battlefield fighting for the United States. 

Trump is the closest we've come to a demagogue who is busy putting alt-right advisors in place in his cabinet and his followers are already committing hate crimes against immigrants, blacks, Muslims, and LGBT people. The electoral college voters who recognize this danger need to do their jobs and cast contrary votes against him, even though he may have won the popular vote in any number of states—for example in Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania where the popular votes were close.
So those who are electoral college voters have a duty to cast their votes for someone else to deny Donald Trump from becoming the 45th President of the United States. There is still time for the electoral college voters to choose another President. They should not be shunned for acting as a buffer against tyranny but, rather, be respected for it. This is precisely why the electoral college was created by the founding fathers. It was not meant to act as a rubber stamp.

There is no doubt that the vast majority of Donald Trump supporters are decent, hard-working people, who are not any more prejudiced or racist than other voters. The difference is, however, that they were duped by Donald Trump who exaggerated the threat to the nation if he wasn't elected, who throughout his campaign dealt in innuendo (going so far as to insinuate that Hillary Clinton should be taken care of by someone who supports the Second Amendment) and gleefully allowing his rallies to chant "lock her up" and even "kill her." And electoral college voters should remember the way in which Donald Trump announced his candidacy, by implying that the vast majority of immigrants from Mexico were to be criminal, thus relying on fear to scare Americans that immigrants would be taking their jobs, raping their women, dealing in drugs, and murdering American citizens. His inflammatory rhetoric continued right up to election day.