This article was first published by The Western Journal.
Opposition to the Electoral College from America’s left is as predictable as any element of our political discourse; we know it is coming, the only question is… when? For our current election cycle, the effort appears to have arrived early this time around. In a recent New York Times Op-Ed titled “How Has the Electoral College Survived for This Long”, author Alexander Keyssar picked up the baton, by awkwardly trying to make the case that the Electoral College is racist. Apparently, anything the Left dislikes nowadays is racist. Fortunately for rational Americans, the Electoral College is not going anywhere, having been a hallowed part of our government system since 1804, as immortalized in the 12th Amendment. In order to repeal any constitutional amendment, there needs to be a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, or a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the State legislatures. Spoiler alert: that is not happening with the Electoral College
But why is there such a lack of appreciation from the Left regarding the Electoral College? Most of us learned in elementary school that we live in a democratic republic, not a simple democracy. We reinforce this fact every time we recite the Pledge of Allegiance; “and to the Republic, for which it stands.” Our Founding Fathers understood the ills of mob rule, we were taught. Allowing just a simple majority (50 percent plus one) to drive the direction of the entire country is not just impractical, it is perilous. The Electoral College is a significant aspect of our republic, and abolishing it would reduce the importance of states, particularly smaller states, and would take us one step closer to mob rule. Where would we be today on the issues of civil rights and religious freedoms if we had implemented simple democracy and the popular vote?
A curious aspect of this debate is the reluctance by those who support ditching the Electoral College to cite examples of other countries’ success using the popular vote. Ask someone from the Left to name a thriving country that uses the popular vote and you will likely get a blank stare. A closer examination of the question may reveal why.
According to the International Monetary Fund based on 2018 data, the combined GDP from the economies of the top ten countries globally is $58.5 trillion, which is well over half of the $85 trillion GDP for the entire world. We can therefore reasonably conclude that the electoral systems employed by these ten countries are the most successful systems. If we then investigate the methods these ten countries use to determine who leads their governments, we find that only two of the top ten use the popular vote: France and Brazil, which rank numbers six and nine respectively. Three of the top ten use an Electoral College method: the U.S., Germany and India, whose economies rank numbers one, four, and seven respectively. Four of the top ten use some type of parliamentary system: Japan, the U.K., Italy, and Canada, which rank numbers three, five, eight, and ten respectively. Finally, we have China, whose GDP ranks number two, and which uses a parliamentary system in which only one political party is allowed to participate; a system that even our friends on the Left would have to admit is not very democratic.
In addition to being relatively uncommon, if we continue to dig deeper we see growing flaws in the argument for the popular vote. While France indeed elects their president via popular vote, there is a caveat. In order to run for president in France, one needs to be nominated by a minimum of 500 elected representatives currently in government before being put on the ballot, a process which sounds a lot more like cronyism than democracy. If such a requirement were applied in the U.S., it is quite possible that outsider candidates like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders might never have made it onto a ballot. Additionally, countries like Mexico and South Korea — which are not ranked in the top ten for GDP — use the popular vote to elect their leaders, but they require only a plurality of votes to be elected. Consider the current president of South Korea, Moon Jae In, who was elected with only 39 percent of the total, nationwide vote. With viable candidates from multiple parties running for office, that is all he needed to win, which means 61 percent of South Koreans voted for someone other than Mr. Moon. Imagine if you will, the demeanor of the American Left if we were to have a similar result here: a candidate from a party they do not support becomes president with only 39 percent of the vote. The disturbing phenomenon of Trump Derangement Syndrome would pale in comparison; heads would explode.
An interesting piece of irony with this debate is the rationale behind Germany’s choice of the Electoral College. In a December 2016 Washington Post article by Rick Noack, the author explains that Germany’s “declared aim behind” choosing the Electoral College was “to prevent the rise of another Adolf Hitler.” It was critical for Germany to ensure they never have a repeat of the Nazi nightmare, and they used solid logic in choosing a system similar to ours. The American Left, the very people who accuse virtually anyone who disagrees with them of being Nazis, wants to abolish the very system that Germany installed to prevent another Hitler. Comical, but troubling.
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Essentially, the argument from our friends on the Left is this: we should abolish our current electoral system that has resulted in the single greatest country that has ever existed, the country that has done more to advance freedom and human rights around the world than any other country in history, so we can be more like Mexico. With all due respect to Mexico, no thanks. If we all got together right now and decided to start a new country somewhere and wanted to model it after an existing country, would we choose an economic powerhouse like the United States or Germany as our model, or would we opt for Brazil? And for those who dream of being like the French, c’est stupide, cretin. In spite of the current tendency by many to viciously criticize every aspect of American society, we live in a great country, one which needs fine tuning and not transformation. The Electoral College was a great idea, one that needs to remain in place.