Fighting Tyranny With the
By Tom DeWeese
December 06, 2000
It is no surprise that Hillary
Clinton's first act as a US senator is an attempt to abolish the Electoral College. Her
central philosophy of government is the displacement of the roots of power from individual
Americans to the central government.
She is an advocate of "common-ism," the new global face of Communism, suggesting
that the popular vote promotes an agenda of "social equality" or "social
democracy." She would have us believe that the rule of law must take a back seat to
"fairness" and the "needs of the people."
The abolishment of the Electoral College would, in fact, establish an election tyranny
giving control of the government to the massive population centers of the nation's
northeastern sector and the area around Los Angeles.
If these sections of the nation were to control the election of our nation's leaders the
voice of the ranchers and farmers of the Mid and Far West would be lost, along with the
values and virtues of the South.
Throughout history, Americans have challenged the legality of the Electoral College.
Opponents point out that our president is actually elected by 538 virtually unknown people
who are members of 51 small delegations in 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Moreover, in most states the electors are not even bound to vote for the candidate that
won the popular vote. In fact, many constitutional scholars believe that's just what the
founders intended, 538 independent thinkers, bound to no one. There is reason and logic
behind the idea.
The Founding Fathers, particularly those from small states, were very concerned they would
be smothered by the larger states. Under the representative republic established by the
founders, the United States is made up of fifty sovereign States. Under the Constitution,
except for limited powers specifically defined for the central government, the power for
the rule of law is intended to reside in the states.
To deal with the problem, the founders decided on a compromise that would establish two
chambers for the Congress; the House of Representatives, whose size would be dictated by
the population in each State and the Senate in which every state would get two
representatives, regardless of size or population.
The same problem appeared in deciding how to select a president, the only elected official
to stand for election to represent all the people in the nation. Here again there was the
fear that election by popular vote would overwhelm the will of smaller states.
Again, compromise was reached to address the issue in a fair and equitable manner. Each
state was assigned a number of presidential electoral votes equal to its representation in
the House and the Senate. In each state, the electors would vote for a president and vice
president. The candidate receiving the largest number of electoral votes would be elected.
Under the plan the only connection with the popular vote was local election of the
electors. However, even the smallest state was assured at least three votes in the
To provide a further check in the process to protect the smaller states, in the event no
candidate won a majority of the electoral vote, the names of the top five would go to the
House of Representatives, where each state delegation would cast one vote for one of the
five candidates. In this process each state is equal.
There are fundamental and often regional differences in how Americans view the role of
government and the leaders they elect to run it. Little wonder those who seek to establish
the new "commonism" prefer elections be decided by the popular vote. Such a move
will eliminate the power of individual states in favor of elections decided by the
population of large, politically liberal cities.
Many lament the loss of the republic as envisioned by the Founding Fathers. Many believe
the Constitution is dead. Such a belief comes from the effects of a step-by-step erosion
of constitutional principles by Congress and by the courts, but the Constitution has
proven itself to be very much alive in the presidential election of 2000. Can anyone deny
that the people of Florida know the value of their votes? Can anyone argue that this one
state has not been heard?
If the Electoral College were eliminated, the election would be decided by the popular
vote of 677 counties out of 3,111 nationwide. Election 2000 has not proven the need to
eliminate the Electoral College. Instead, it is proof that the system created by the
Founding Fathers is working perfectly.
Tom DeWeese is president of the American Policy Center.