THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE – Initially and Presently…


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This year, possibly more than any previous election cycle there are those who appear ready to defect from their pledge to vote according to the popular vote of their representative state.  There is the incessant plea of the Democrats, activist, pundits, and some NEVER TRUMPERS for the selected electors in states that Donald Trump won to refuse to vote for him and vote for Hillary or someone else.  That, in my view, is a direct assault on our electoral system and the intent of our Constitution, including amendments, and even the original intent of the Founding Fathers.

In Texas, there have been two, thus far, who said they cannot or will not vote for Donald Trump, the candidate who won the popular vote in Texas and thereby the Electoral College votes of the State.  One has resigned or is resigning so that there can be another person take his place who can and will vote according to the pledge each of them took.  The other a Republican from Dallas who appears to claim moral superiority and declares his intent to vote for another candidate is somehow a defense of the Constitution to protect it against all enemies foreign and domestic.  Clearly, he considers Donald Trump an enemy of America and the voters of his state lacking in integrity, morality, and intelligence.  I wonder what he considers Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, or the leftist agenda and policies of the past 8 years?  When anyone assumes moral superiority and suggests superior intelligence I hit the pause button and step back to examine the matter.  If I take a pledge to fulfill an obligation and fail to or refuse to honor that pledge my integrity is immediately questioned.  I may or may not be justified in my decision but I must make absolutely certain that it is not based on my personal preference but there is factual evidence that to honor my pledge does irreparable harm.  I personally, believe this is a case of preference not factual evidence of danger and feel this elector should resign rather.  I do not believe there is any factual credibility to his decision and when I realize that he is linked to a Van Jones organization, I become even more convinced.  The voters of this state are not ignorant or uninformed.

The initial method of electing the President and Vice President proved to be unworkable.  The candidate garnering the most electoral votes was President and the next vote getter was Vice President.  Under that system, Donald Trump would be the President and not Mike Pence but Hillary Clinton would be the Vice President.  Imagine that, Hillary Clinton the President of the Senate?  Imagine how disruptive that would be in the White House, Congress, and the Courts.  That was quickly remedied and we got the 12th Amendment, ratified in 1804.  Under the original system, each elector cast two votes for President.  The votes were counted and the candidate receiving the most was President and the runner-up Vice President.  The 12th Amendment replaced that system with separate ballots for President and Vice President with each elector casting a single vote for each office.

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The Constitution gives each state a number of electors equal to the combined total of its Senate membership (2) and the House of Representatives delegation. The 23rd Amendment added 3 electors for the District of Columbia, a decision that I personally disagree with but it is a ratified amendment therefore stands.  Today, the electors are chosen by the voters, but in the beginning, more than half the states chose the electors in their legislatures.  That changed in the 19th century as the vote was expanded to more and more of the populace.  The electors take a pledge to vote for the candidate chosen by their state and the strict adherence demanded varies from state to state.  The desire of our founders and subsequent leaders was to ensure the integrity of the Rights and Proportional voice of the states, thus the system we have today.  For an elector to reject the will of the people of his/her state after having pledged to honor that decision is something I believe should be addressed and possibly rather than having individuals represent each of those electoral votes they should be allotted based on the outcome of the vote of the states without debate or opportunity of any dissident to subvert the voice of the people.  That would be an amendment I could support.

The Founding Fathers did not want political parties but the very system they established, later amended did exactly that.  The initial system lasted through 4 presidents and the election of 1800 was a catalyst to adopting the 12th Amendment.  The electors of the Democratic-Republican Party gave Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr both members of that party an equal number of electoral votes.  The tie was resolved in the House of Representatives after 36 votes and left a very bitter taste in the mouths of many.  A primary intent of the initial system was to prevent the bargaining and deal making behind the scenes to select a president.  To prevent that from happening again the 12th Amendment came into being and I personally am grateful it did.  At the time of Hamilton’s Federalist 68, there was not the availability of information to all citizens as today.  Therefore, it was incumbent on the elector to be informed, often far beyond the average citizen, and make a decision based on facts, not preference or conjecture.  I also believe that considering today’s information availability the legitimacy of a rogue elector is incredibly limited if it exists at all.

I do not support national popular vote because that would negate the proportional voice of the individual sovereign states.  I also, do not support the idea that each elector can go rogue and ignore the vote of the people based on their particular view of morality or preference.  If a person selected to be a member of the electoral college pledges to honor the vote of the citizens of his/her state and fails to do that, that vote should be negated, in my view.  Again, I do not expect everyone to agree and realize that there are many so adamantly opposed to the Republican President-elect they would embrace any action to prevent him from being elected.  That, in my view, is tragic for the glaring reality is that Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will be the 45th President of the United States and Donald Trump won that in State votes.   We can continue dividing America or we can seek to unite around that which all of us have in common, AMERICA!   

God, bless you and God bless America is my prayer and desire!

 

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