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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Upset in the Electoral College

Ah, do I have your attention now?

Yes, technically, the electoral college could elect Clinton as our next president.  Don't believe me, even I wasn't sure that was true.  So, I did a little research.  In a resent article on Fact Check, "Could Electoral College Elect Clinton?" explains just how this could happen.

However, I do not believe it should happen.  Regardless of how I may feel personally about President-elect Trump, he is our next president.  Our system is not perfect, but it is our system for a variety of reasons.  If we do not like it, then, we have an obligation to reach out to our individual states and look for new solutions.  If we are going to complain about the unfairness of the electoral college, then we need to do more than spout out words on FaceBook or post memes on Twitter.  Don't like it, neither do I, but let's do something about it then.

I've had a few lively discussions lately about the Electoral College.  I've heard both sides of the fence on this.  Mostly, I've heard people who are upset with Trump's win wanting to abolish it.  That is not going to happen.  The groundwork of our Electoral College was laid down in the 2nd article of the Constitution.  But, the Electoral College as we know it was refined by the 12th Amendment.

There have been more proposals set forth to amend the 12th amendment than any other constitutional amendment.  Constitutional amendments are the pulse of our changing nation of our attitudes and values.  They reflect how society and this country has matured over the past couple hundred years.  A search of the U.S. Congress website for legislation proposed regarding "electoral" representatives or college resulted in over 1,500 hits.  That's a lot, and it's going to take me awhile to sort through them all to get to the heart of it.  Even so, it is evident that this is not a Democrat v. Republican issue.  The issues have been brought up by both sides at different times.

In 1987, the American Bar Association has criticized the Electoral College as being "archaic" and "ambiguous".  Wow.  That's all I have to say, just "wow".  This particular reference I am still reviewing and researching.  One article of particular interest in 1996, by Joel Goldstein for the American Bar Association Division of Public Education, entitled "Electoral College Is it a dinosaur that should be abolished or a last bastion of democracy?" made some interesting points both for and against the current system.

One of the predominant reasons I have been hearing in support of the Electoral College is that it gives those states with a lower population a say in the elected President.  I agree that it does.  In the early 1900s, that proportional weight was not so great.  The Midwest and many parts of this country was filled with family farms and small towns.  Today, many small towns have all but disappeared and the family farm has lost way to massive conglomerate operations.  Many of those displaced from the rural areas have moved to the cities.  They have brought their values with them.  At the same time, the population of the urban and suburban areas has increased drastically.  Suburbia did not exist as we know it in the 1800s, or even the early 1900s.  It is a creation of our modern times.  As the population of our country increases, the proportional weight of less populous states will carry more and more weight in the election of our President, it will become the rural "gentry" and the country "gentleman" who will make the decision for the country.

I don't see the electoral college being abolished.  I do not see an amendment occurring to the 12th amendment.  That does not mean hope is lost!

We have a chance now to make our voices heard for the coming years.  The upset about the electoral college is not going to happen because of petitions trying to convince an electoral college to change their mind.  It should not, it is part of our democratic procedure.  That doesn't mean that we need to sit by idly and not move for a change.  Do your homework, find out who in your state executive you can contact and what you can do to make a change.  The change will not happen at the federal level, this is a change that needs to happen at a state level.

Let's make our voices by heard.