As we enter another Christmas season, when hearts are turned more directly to most sublime of all messages--Peace on earth, goodwill toward men-can we not admit that we need heavens peace and goodwill now more than ever in our national affairs? Going through the presidential election of 2000 and hearing cries that we need to change the system, perhaps it is time to revisit the Heavenly wisdom of the electoral college which was meant to ameliorate exactly the tumult and factions our country is now experiencing.
How Should the President Be Chosen?
In the Constitutional Convention there was a long and heated debate as to the manner in which the President should be elected. It was proposed that he be chosen by the Congress. Others thought that "electors" should be chosen by the people in each state and the electors should then choose the President. Still others thought it would be more appropriate if the governors of the various states made the selection. Even the Senate was proposed as the best means of selecting the national executive. Finally, there were a number who thought that the President should be selected by all of the voters throughout the nation. ( The Making of America, p. 519)
The Founders Decided God's Law Had the
Best Method of Selecting Qualified Leaders
The Convention finally decided to follow the procedure under God's law, set forth by Moses, and set up a council of special electors or "wise men" to select their leaders who were leaders of "understanding" and "known" among the people. The candidates for public office would be "called to serve" or drafted by their respective areas as the most qualified and respected people available, and would agree to serve if elected. As with Washington, most candidates would be deeply involved in business or other activities and would not really want the job but would agree to serve as a matter of civic duty if elected.
It should be noted that these electors would be placed under oath to exert all their energy to determine who would serve the country best as president. This includes perhaps sitting down one-on-one with each candidate, looking them in the eye, and asking them questions to ascertain who would best preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. They would not rely on media hype or candidate packaging for their decision. (As a teacher of senior high school students, I have seen the marvelous ability of even these young people, once they have thoroughly studied the substance and meaning of the Constitution as outlined in The Making of America, to ask a few searching questions and come up with the best candidate every time. I have seen it happen in the classroom. I would trust this decision to my students!)
After the electors had interviewed, investigated, and evaluated each candidate, they would mark their ballots on a certain date and send them to Washington. There, according to the Twelfth Amendment, the president of the Senate shall open and tally the ballots before a joint session of Congress. If no person obtains a majority, then the names of not more than three having the highest number of votes shall be submitted to the House of Representatives. The House shall then choose the President with each state having one vote.
Notice that under this procedure there would be no political party campaigning, no expensive conventions and no candidates trying to get themselves elected. It was this procedure which the Founders felt would give them the best available talent to serve the people.
We should mention that the number of electors in each state would be weighted in favor of the smaller or disadvantaged states. This compromise was granted to the smaller states so they would not leave the constitutional convention. It is important to remember that if this "equalization plan" had not been adopted, probably six of the smaller states would have never come into the Union.
How the "Equalization Plan" Operates
Notice how much weight one of the smaller states such as Utah has in comparison with Arizona which has twice the population.
Utah has three Representatives and two Senators for a total delegation of five. Arizona has six Representatives and two Senators for a total delegation of eight. In other words, Arizona has only three-eighths more representatives than Utah even though Arizona has twice the population.
Of course, the comparison is less dramatic when Utah is compared with large states such as California or New York, but the fact remains, that this formula was definitely designed by the Founders to give a greater advantage to the smaller States so they would not be completely ignored.
Why Don't We Use the Electoral College Today the Way the Founders Intended?
The whole concept of the Electoral College lost its meaning when the political party system began to evolve around 1800. In a free society, there is always going to be the tendency for people of the same political thought to join together to accomplish their goals. But when political parties are given legal status through local and federal law, whole new political entities are created wherein corruptible influences can flourish. Such intrigue is hidden from the view of ordinary citizens and shatters the Founders' original plan to get our best leaders into top positions. It also destroys any inclination to go back to the original Electoral College system. .( The Majesty of God's Law, pp. 435-436)
The Founders warned against leaving the choice of president to "pre-existing bodies", whether governmental or created by government such as political parties. Listen to Hamilton:
"Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption. These most deadly adversaries of republican government might naturally have been expected to make their approaches from more than one quarter, but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils. How could they better gratify this than by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the union? But the convention have guarded against all danger of this sort with the most provident and judicious attention. They have not made the appointment of the President to depend on any pre-existing bodies of men who might be tampered with beforehand to prostitute their votes; but they have referred it in the first instance to an immediate act of the people of America, to be exerted in the choice of persons for the temporary and sole purpose of making the appointment. And they have excluded from eligibility to this trust all those who from situation might be suspected of too great devotion to the President in office. No senator, representative, or other person holding a place of trust or profit under the United States can be of the numbers of the electors. Thus without corrupting the body of the people, the immediate agents in the election will at least enter upon the task free from any sinister bias. Their transient existence and their detached situation ... afford a satisfactory prospect of their continuing so, to the conclusion of it." ( The Making of America, p. 563)
It should also be noted that the Founders designed the Electoral system so that they would never meet in a big national convention. This would provide too much temptation for corruptible influences. The Constitution therefore requires presidential electors to meet in their respective state capitols to cast their votes for president!
Dr. Skousen Looks To The Time When
Electoral College Will Be Restored In Its Full Brilliance
"By restoring the Electoral College as the Founders originally envisioned it, there will no longer be political campaigns with candidates trying to raise millions of dollars for advertising and obligating themselves to huge corporations and special interest groups in order to raise the funds.
"There will no longer be any national political conventions with nationwide television presenting charismatic candidates theatrically reading professionally written orations loaded with meaningless promises and frequently weaving a web of carefully designed deception in order to entice support from the millions of unsuspecting and often ill-informed masses of voters.
"Neither will there be tens of thousands of jobs in the form of political spoils going to the winners. Nor will the winning Congressmen or other leaders be in a position to pay off obligations to lobbyists and special interest groups with jobs or other special favors." ( The Majesty of God's Law, p. 589)
Is Our Present Corrupted Electoral Method
Preferable to a Nation-Wide Popular Vote?
The present clamor to completely get rid of the electoral system in favor of a national popular election must be resisted vigorously. Our present system still gives a little more weight to the smaller states. Our present system still helps prevent a total submission to the emotional rule by the majority of the masses-a condition which Dan Smoot referred to as "When the Mobs Elect the President". Our present system still forces more nation wide support than would a mere popular vote. Our present system still maintains a certain control at the state level. Imagine the intrigue of trying to force a nation-wide recount!
To help citizens better understand the desirability of our present system over a pure popular vote, Will Hively gives the results of a study done by Alan Natapoff . Natapoff uses a mathematical model to show that the power of one person's vote in districted elections such as the present state-by-state electoral system is greater than a person's vote in one huge national election. ("Math Against Tyranny," Discover magazine, November 1996, pp. 74-85) Hively says:
"Why worry how easily one vote can turn an election, so long as each voter has equal power? One person, one vote-that's all the math anyone needs to know in a simple, direct election. Natapoff agrees. 'The idea,' he says, is to give every voter the largest equal share of national voting possible.' Here's a classic example of voting power; under a tyranny, everyone's power is equal to zero. Clearly, equality alone is not enough. In a democracy, individuals become less vulnerable to tyranny as their voting power increases."
"Almost always, [Natapoff] found, individual voting power is higher when funneled through districts-such as states-than when pooled in one large, direct election. It is more likely, in other words, that your vote will determine the outcome in your state and your state will then turn the outcome of the electoral college, than that your vote will turn the outcome of a direct national election. A voter therefore has more power under the current electoral system."
Rather than recite the intricacies of his mathematical model, I will merely give the illustration the author gave which all Americans can easily understand.
"The same logic that governs our electoral system also applies to many sports-which Americans do, intuitively, understand. In baseball's World Series, for example, the team that scores the most runs overall is like a candidate who gets the most votes. But to become a champion, the team must win the most games . In 1960, during a World Series as nail-bitingly close as that years presidential battle between Kennedy and Nixon, the New York Yankees, with the awesome slugging combinations of Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, and Bill 'Moose' Skowron, scored more than twice as many runs as the Pittsburgh Pirates, 55 to 27. Yet the Yankees lost the series, four games to three. Even Natapoff, who grew up in the shadow of Yankee Stadium, conceded that Pittsburgh deserved to win. 'Nobody walked away saying it was unfair,' he says.
"Runs must be grouped in a way that wins games, just as popular votes must be grouped in a way that wins states. The Yankees won three blowouts (16-3, 10-0,12-0), but they couldn't come up with the runs needed in the other four games, which were close. 'And that's exactly how Cleveland lost the series of 1888,' Natapoff continues. ' Grover Cleveland. He lost the five largest states by a close margin, though he carried Texas, which was a thinly populated state then, by a large margin. So he scored more runs, but he lost the five biggies.' And that was fair, too. In sports, we accept that a true champion should be more consistent than the 1960 Yankees. A champion should be able to win at least some of the tough, close contests by every [legal] means available-bunting, stealing [bases not votes], brilliant pitching, dazzling plays in the field-and not just smack home runs against second-best pitchers. A presidential candidate worthy of office, by the same logic, should have broad appeal across the nation, and not just play strongly on a single issue to isolated blocs of voters.
"Experts, scholars, deep thinkers could make errors on electoral reform, but nine-year-olds could explain to a Martian why the Yankees lost in 1960, and why it was right. And both have the same underlying abstract principle."
Please remember NCCS in your year-end giving. More and more Americans are beginning to think the Constitution is our only answer. Your financial assistance to us now will help us be ready to give valuable service in the near future.
May this season truly bring the peace and comfort of Christ to you and your family.
Earl Taylor, Jr.
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