The Electoral College


The U.S. Constitution was designed to deal with the failings of the human condition. The Founders had many fears of the excesses of human nature, notably the susceptibility to corruption and the lust for power and control. Yet many people today don’t recognize the brilliance of the U.S. Constitution. They argue that it is outdated and inadequate to govern a modern nation in the 21st century.  The truth is the Constitution is as relevant today as it was in 1787 and as long as humans are prone to a lust for power and control, they will continue to be timeless and applicable to any nation that values individual liberty and limited government. 

The Founders viewed with dred the number of despotic states that had within living memory been free and whose enslavement, being recent, had been directly observed. Venice was one: it had recently been a republic, but now it was governed ‘by one of the worst of despotisms.’ Sweden was another; the colonists themselves could remember when the Swedish people had enjoyed liberty to the full; but now, in the 1760s, they were known to ‘rejoice at being subject to the caprice and arbitrary power of a tyrant, and kiss their chains.’”(1)

This is why the Founders put so many checks and balances into the system. Everything the Founders did was intended to disperse power so as to create consensus among all the participants of our representative government. 

Abolishing the Electoral College would allow a supermajority of voters in a small number of states to decide who wins the presidency. Today, we have two Americas increasingly divisive with the other. What if a supermajority did away with the checks and balances in our Constitution, packed the Supreme Court and did away with the Electoral College? This supermajority would create a permanent hold on power - and quite possibly lead to deadly violence.

One of the issues at the Constitutional Convention was the fear by smaller population states that the populous states would run the country for themselves and the smaller population states would have no say. To create a balance of power between large and small population states, the Founders created the Senate which would have two Senators from each state regardless of population while the House of Representatives would be based on population. This “great compromise” was intended to create a consensus between the large and small population states when legislation is passed in Congress.

Creating the Electoral College for the election of the President was a continuation of the idea that brought about the creation of the US Senate. Electing the president through the Electoral College was a compromise between those who wanted election of the President by a vote in Congress and those that wanted election of the President by popular vote. Contrary to popular belief, most advanced countries do NOT elect their national leader by popular vote - including Canada, Israel, Britain, Germany, India and other countries.

Those who opposed Congress deciding the presidency believed there was too much opportunity for political deals between the executive and legislative branches. 

Those who opposed the popular vote did so out of fear that a demagogue could appeal to voters by promising free gifts from the public treasury - getting something for nothing. The Founders hoped the electoral college would inhibit a demagogue from attaining power nationwide.

Some claim the Electoral College creates the very imbalance of power it was created to avoid. They claim that 6 swing states decide the winner and is giving undo power to these swing states. This is a phony argument. A state that is a battleground state now may not be in 30 years. Illinois 30 years ago was a battle ground state. Now it is hard core democrat. The number of electoral votes each state gets changes every 10 years after each census.

For instance, based on the 1970 census, California had 45 votes, Texas had 26 votes, New York had 41 votes and Florida had 17 votes.

Based on the 2010 census, California had 55 votes, Texas had 38 votes, New York and Florida both had 29 votes. So the balance of power in the electoral college is constantly shifting.

There is a dangerous movement underway that will effectively abolish the Electoral College, called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, or NPV. Under NPV, the state would give their electoral votes to whatever party won the national popular vote, regardless of how their own state voted. To change the vote of a state based on the votes cast outside the state would be the ultimate in voter disenfranchisement. So far, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New Mexico and New York have passed legislation to support this dangerous concept.

In addition, the National Popular Vote Compact violates the Presidential Elections Clause of Article II of the U.S. Constitution and is unconstitutional. Several states apportion their electoral votes by congressional district, rather then the winner of the entire state. We believe this also defeats the whole purpose of the Electoral College.

The Electoral College was and still is a brilliant idea!!!

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"Democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where 51% of the people may take away the rights of the other 49%."(2) Thomas Jefferson


Independence Hall,
Philadelophia, PA

“The Revolution of the United States was the result of a nature and reflecting preference of freedom, and not of a vague or ill-defined craving for independence. It contracted no alliance with the turbulent passions of anarchy; but its course was marked, on the contrary, by a love of order and law. It was never assumed in the United States, that the citizen of a free country has a right to do whatever he pleases; on the contrary, more social obligations were there imposed upon him than anywhere else. No idea was ever entertained of attacking the principle or contesting the rights of society; but the exercise of its authority was divided, in order that the office might be powerful and officer insignificant, and that the community should be at once regulated and free.”  

Alexis De Tocqueville

Additional reading:

1. The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution by Bernard Bailyn. p64,65. Pub 1967

Jan 2022
Alexis De Tocqueville