A Page from Our Book

Page 95 – Conclusions

What seems like a small change in the beginning can have large consequences when allowed to go to fruition. The movement of only a few inches of a railroad track at a switch can cause a train to go a completely different direction. What seem like small and insignificant changes to the Electoral College System have us operating under a completely different paradigm than the Framers of the Constitution designed.

The original system outlined in the Constitution was a system built around independent Electors. The evolution of the Electoral College System gave us manipulated Electors. We now have rubber-stamp Electors owned by the political parties and obligated to vote for a president/vice-president team that won their state’s popular election. Direct election of the President is not authorized by the Constitution.

For years there has been talk of eliminating the Electoral College and going to a strictly popular vote system for President. The philosophy, “one person one vote” appeals to the uninformed masses and those who want to gain personally by electing a particular candidate. The national interest and the state interests however are disregarded. Even in its ashes the existence of the Electoral College serves as a reminder of the plan of the Framers to create a system of Constitutional Federalism. As a check to the popular vote system, the Electoral College protects the less populous states from being totally bullied by the population centers not only in the selection of a President but in the administration and legislation enacted by individuals elected in this manner.

The current National Popular Vote movement attempts to bypass the Electoral College without a constitutional amendment. Essentially this movement would replace the state popular vote winner-take-all system with a national popular vote winner-take-all system. Bypassing is easy; we have been ignoring the Constitution for over two centuries. What is really needed is a return to constitutional principles.

Reacting to many usurpations of the national government, many states are currently trying to figure out how to reclaim their constitutional prerogatives through back-door approaches such as nullification. At first glance this seems like a logical solution. As we examine specious solutions such as nullification we come to the conclusion that, to use the vernacular, if the front door were not broken we wouldn’t be so intent on the using the back door. Why not fix the front door? The Constitution was designed to recognize and protect separate and sometimes conflicting interests. Arguably, the prime example of this was the mode of electing Presidents which we have outlined in this book. The rise to power of political parties was behind the evolution and destruction of that great system.

We advocate a return to the plan of the Framers to get the best presidential candidates possible. Our enemy here is not the national government or even the “other” party. It is the spirit of party that must prevail in a party based system. Earlier we quoted from George Washington’s farewell address as he warned us of the spirit of party. A brief excerpt in summary:

This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human Mind. It exists under different shapes in all Governments, more or less stifled, controuled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form it is seen in its greatest rankness and is truly their worst enemy.

… the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of Party are sufficient to make it the interest and the duty of a wise People to discourage and restrain it.

We need to recognize blind allegiance to political parties as a problem rather than rely on that allegiance as a solution. That does not mean that we can not be associated with a party. It means that the party does not control our thinking or our voting. We need to become independent thinkers and voters rather than sheep. We as individuals must be willing to take the effort to examine the motives, actions, proposals, thinking and direction of our elected officials at all levels. We must be willing to vote for someone of another party, if that individual more closely adheres to the principles we believe in.

This is where education in “the science of government” becomes so vital. When the people are ready to learn about freedom and what made this nation great, they will see that freedom is more important than allegiance to political party. The biggest obstacle to restoring the original Constitution is the adherence to the party system that supplanted it so early in our history.

Once we as individuals have decided and committed to stand up for freedom, the next step is to get our friends and neighbors to do the same. After these two steps have been taken, it is time to fill our state legislatures with statesmen rather than politicians. State and local governments are only the product of our individual commitment. If we are willing to let things go on as they are, state and local governments will continue in the mode they now pursue. As long as our state legislatures are composed of political party pawns the suggestions that follow are not really viable.

With respect to presidential elections, the state legislatures do not need to leave the process in the hands of the political parties. It would take courage and statesmanship but they could reclaim their prerogative and control over presidential elections by returning to the principles of the original Constitution.
One constitutionally authorized action that state legislatures could take would be to restore the nominating function of the Electoral College System. Instead of letting the parties choose the presidential candidates, each state could change their election laws to conform to the intent of the original Constitution. The Legislatures of each state have complete authority and control over the manner and method of appointing the Electors for their state. Election processes could be established that would select independent Electors. Wise men and women could be found to nominate outstanding individuals as potential candidates for President according to the plan described in the original Constitution.

In our opinion, having wise Electors nominate the most qualified presidential candidates is the way to go. The best answer by far is to return to the original design of the Framers as carefully outlined in Article II of the Constitution.

– National Popular Vote