What’s Up With The Electoral College?

electing-president-by-people vintage comc historical characters

People, elect the president? What were the Founding Fathers thinking?

Do We the People  really get the choose our president?

Americans chose Clinton but got Trump. A tough lesson to learn at the hands of the Electoral College.

As we slowly come out of our  fog, does this election  feel like deja vu again? A Democrat winning the popular vote but losing the presidency because of the Electoral College?

Majority Rule?

Something essential must be kept in mind, courtesy of Michael Moore:

“You must say this sentence to everyone you meet today: “HILLARY CLINTON WON THE POPULAR VOTE!” The MAJORITY of our fellow Americans preferred Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. Period. Fact. If you woke up this morning thinking you live in an effed-up country, you don’t. The majority of your fellow Americans wanted Hillary, not Trump. The only reason he’s president is because of an arcane, insane, 18th-century idea called the Electoral College. Until we change that, we’ll continue to have presidents we didn’t elect and didn’t want.”

What is this peculiar and archaic way America picks its presidents?

Even Donald Trump tweeted in Nov 6, 2012 “The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy.”

Just what were the Founding Fathers thinking?

For a simple understanding of what the Electoral College is and why the people do not vote directly for the president,  I offer this comic book version from the 1960 Classics  Illustrated Comics The Illustrated Story of American Presidents.

electing-the-president-swscan06864

vintage comic founding fathers

“The Illustrated Story of American Presidents ” – The World Around Us- A Classics Illustrated Comic 1960.

In 1787 in Philadelphia the delegates at the Constitutional Convention argued about the best way to elect a president.

The Founders didn’t think ordinary people, even white male property owners  who were the only ones allowed to vote- were informed or responsible enough to choose the president. Letting them do so, said Virginia’s George Mason, would be like referring “a trial of colors to a blind man.”

vintage comic founding fathers

“The Illustrated Story of American Presidents ” – The World Around Us- A Classics Illustrated Comic 1960.

So they created a double buffer. State legislators would choose presidential electors who would be “most enlightened and respectable citizens” as John Jay put it. These elites would come together at an Electoral College and use their superior intellect to decide on a president.

 

vintage comics george washington

George Washington, the Chairman of the Convention spoke. “The Illustrated Story of American Presidents ” – The World Around Us- A Classics Illustrated Comic 1960.

But electors soon began to run on party slates, pledging loyalty to party’s  nominee rather then use their own independent judgement. Soon all states let voters rather than lawmakers choose  the electors.

 

Elections and the Electoral College

vintage comics electionc

“The Illustrated Story of American Presidents ” – The World Around Us- A Classics Illustrated Comic 1960.

Because states don’t award their electoral votes proportionately to the popular vote it left us with what happened the candidate gets fewer votes still gets elected

The Electoral College has often fulfilled the Founders goal of acting as a check on the popular will- but not in the way they intended.

vintage comics electing-president

Five times in our history in 1824, 1876, 1888 2000, and this year, the Electoral college has handed the victory to the loser of the popular vote. “The Illustrated Story of American Presidents ” – The World Around Us- A Classics Illustrated Comic 1960.

 

vintage comics electing the president

“The Illustrated Story of American Presidents ” – The World Around Us- A Classics Illustrated Comic 1960.

“If the life stream of America flows in the story of its presidents,” as the comic suggested, then the health of our nation might be close to being on life support now that we have elected Donald Trump as president.

We the people might want to rethink this Electoral College. I would say in this election it deserves a failing grade.

© Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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7 comments

  1. Pierre Lagacé

    I don’t think that system will ever be changed.
    How the Republicans will try to control the new elected president will be something to behold… History will look upon this as the beginning of the end of the American Empire.

    P.S.
    I did not consult a monkey nor a fish.

    Like

  2. dirk

    why didn’t the Democrats the system the time they had the power,Hilary is a bad loser !

    Like

  3. Thank you for creating this post, it has been many years since I’ve learned much about the electoral college and the cartoons were really helpful. There’s just one part I’m still foggy on – if the goal of the electoral college is to keep the most populous states from winning every election and give the smaller states a fair chance, how does giving the larger states more electors solve that problem?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We the people might want to rethink this Electoral College. I would say in this election it deserves a failing grade.

    Completely agreed Sally! Now, the more serious question is Are the average American citizens informed enough, educated enough into making/forcing their state Representatives & Senators, up to the federal Reps and Senators do that? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This left me wondering what if the majority of electors chose Clinton. Wouldn’t that be legal? It sure would push both parties to get rid of the darn thing.

    Like

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