November 15, 2000
Electoral system held up well
Mr. Mirfendereski's defense of the U.S. electoral college system ["Keep
it the way it is"] was so elitist that for a few moments I questioned
my own faith in the system. Then I had to revert to my university books
and see for myself why I was for it. It certainly wasn't because as Mr.
Mirfendereski puts it: "the majority party, presently the Democratic
Party, will be assured to a greater extent of repeated captures of the
White House. There are simply more of them, registered and breeding."
Well, excuse us for breeding and populating "your" world!
Electoral college came out of a compromise made in Philadelphia in
1787. Some wanted the Congress to pick the president and some wanted directly
voted president, and electoral college was the chosen compromise between
the two camps. There was nothing divine about it, and no one said it was
to be forever cherished as chaste. However, it was practical, novel and
scientific, it was representative of the times and appropriate for a country
that was newly born, pragmatic and very forward oriented.
And it has held up well. Mainly because one has to consider that in
a country governed by a federal system, such as the Unites States, there
is not really one election, but as many elections as there are states;
in this case, there 50 states plus D.C., therefore there are 51 elections,
each with ITS OWN majority rule. This satisfies those who seek majority
rule (within each state only) and those who seek egalitarian state representation.
And by the way, arguing that abolishing the electoral system will ensure
perpetual Democratic Party victories leads us to believe that the electoral
college system has always acted as a buffer against majority popular votes
for more liberal candidates. Not so! Reagan received 51% of votes in 1980
vs. 41% for Carter.