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Sprinkle: Stop complaining about the electoral college and recognize the founders' wisdom

Yet, again, we hear the plaintive wail of those who want to eliminate the electoral college and elect a president by popular vote.

Many of the people who espouse that view have little or no knowledge of the history of the subject or the intent of the founding fathers when they crafted Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution. Unfortunately, the study of the Constitution in schools and universities has not been a priority.

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Every citizen should be educated in Constitutional basics. A citizenry deprived of a basic understanding of the Constitution and its history is far too vulnerable to tyranny disguised as “fairness” and “compassion.”

To that end, let’s return to 1787 when the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention met from May 25 through Sept. 17 for the purpose of drafting the US Constitution.

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James Madison was extremely concerned that certain groups or cliques within the country could coalesce with some proposal that would violate the rights of individual citizens or bring harm to the whole nation. Alexis de Tocqueville would later refer to Madison’s concerns as “the tyranny of the majority.”

One should understand and appreciate the genius of the founding fathers in that they elected not to set up a pure democracy but instead opted to form a hybrid, a democratic republic wherein the citizenry elects representatives, and those representatives (the US Congress), together with the president, are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the country.

Before the First US Congress met and declared the newly-formed Constitution in effect on March 4, 1789, the founders clearly had much “discussion” concerning not only the new country’s formation, but also, the most reliable way to protect it from sinking into the kind of various oppressive governments they had witnessed. They finally settled on the system we have in place today: each state elects two representatives who will form the US Senate; the number of representatives in the House is determined by that state’s population (as fixed by the US census taken every ten years) and adjusted as the state’s population increases or decreases.

Following that same “representative” pattern, individual states are then allocated a number of electors who form the electoral college, the total of which is based on the number of the state’s US senators plus the number of that state’s US representatives. It is the Electoral College, not the popular vote, that determines who will be president.

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Following every election, the critics come out with declarations that the electoral college is flawed and should be abolished; popular vote should elect the president. But the founding fathers had the sagacity to understand the fundamental nature of humans, and more specifically, the fundamental nature of power-hungry politicians.

If there is a problem with the electoral college, the problem is not with federal mandate; the problem can be traced directly to the states themselves and their “winner-take-all” allocation of electors. For example, in California in the 2016 election, Clinton won 61.5% of the vote, according to The New York Times. Under California’s laws, Clinton was entitled to all 55 electoral votes; under a proportionate share system, she would have been entitled to only 34 electoral votes (61.5% of 55).

The arrogance of those who imagine their intellect exceeds that of those men in 1787 and pontificate on the “anti-democratic electoral eollege” is stunning. Winning the electoral college requires winning the popular vote in a substantial number of states. As noted by Bradley Smith on Dec. 19, 2016 in the Washington Examiner, “The Electoral College does not assure that the president will have received the most popular votes, but it does assure that the president will have won with substantial popular support, and that his support will not be restricted to one region of the country or to a handful of coastal metropolises.” That diversity seems to be precisely what the founders had in mind, a representative democracy.

It’s time to stop bemoaning an election that took place over two years ago and thank God every day for the wisdom and courage of those founding fathers who stood firm in setting up a government that is today the envy of the world.

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