Mon, Feb. 24

Letter: There is good reason we do not elect presidents by popular vote


For those who believe that Ms. Clinton should be president because she won the plurality of the vote (yes, she did not get a majority), they might consider the reasons the Founders embedded the electoral college in the Constitution.

It should also be considered that they invented a form of government that has not only lasted 228 years, but has seen a stable, peaceful change of the top office 43 times – the exception being the secession of the southern states.

Once the Civil War ended there has been an unbroken succession of peaceful transfers of that power and with it, the building of the most economically successful and most powerful nation in the world.

The genius of the Founding Document is that it spreads political change over both time (every 2 years for Congressmen, 4 years for president and 6 years for Senators) and geography, preventing chaotic change and protecting the minority from excesses of majority rule.

It created a Constitutional Federal Republic – not a democracy – a federation of states with Representative Democracy. The effect was to spread political equality across the vast geography of our country. The two party system that has evolved from this unique governing principle has been the vehicle for the checks and balances preventing unresponsive abuse of power.

But Ms. Clinton won the most votes. Shouldn’t she be the next president? Only 5 times out of 58 national elections has the elected president received less than the plurality of votes – two of the last three new presidents.

But, while Clinton won the popular vote by about 2 million votes (drop California’s vote and she loses), she lost the geographic vote – “…the vote that reflects the different ways that Americans live” – catastrophically.

Out of more than 5000 counties in the United States Ms. Clinton won barely 300. It is the function of the Electoral College system that levels the power field so that densely populated geographic areas don’t dominate the national will.

That is why our country is not called “The United People of America” but is, in fact, “The United States of America.”

Jim Barber

Mesa, AZ

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