QUERY : Should the will of the people be tempered by the wisdom of the Electoral College and allowed to elect Ron Paul (or anyone else) ?
On December 27, 2004, Representative Ron Paul wrote a piece entitled “Hands Off Our Electoral College” stating his rationale :
Our nation was founded as a constitutionally limited republic, as any grammar school child knew just a few decades ago. Remember the Pledge of Allegiance: “and to the Republic for which it stands”? The Founding Fathers were concerned with liberty, not democracy. In fact, the word democracy does not appear in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution. On the contrary, Article IV, section 4 of the Constitution is quite clear: “The United States shall guarantee to every state in this Union a Republican Form of Government” (emphasis added).
Democracy, we are told, is always good. But the founders created a constitutionally limited republic precisely to protect fundamental liberties from the whims of the masses, to guard against the excesses of democracy. The Electoral College likewise was created in the Constitution to guard against majority tyranny in federal elections. The President was to be elected by the states rather than the citizenry as a whole, with votes apportioned to states according to their representation in Congress. The will of the people was to be tempered by the wisdom of the Electoral College.
Just as Ronald Reagan received a vote from State of Washington’s Elector Mike Padden in 1976 (even though the “will of the people” thought the vote would be cast for GOP candidate Gerald Ford), recent media reports indicate that Ron Paul could actually receive some Electoral College votes once the Electors meet on December 17, 2012. The popular vote will be long over, but the actual Electors will cast their votes … and there could be some protest votes.
Nevada GOP elector Ken Searles said he may vote for Ron Paul as a protest, so long as his vote wouldn’t change the outcome of the election. Another elector, Kathleen Miller in Alaska, said she is planning to vote for Romney but left open the possibility of a Paul vote if the outcome of the election was certain and Republican leaders continued what she called “shenanigans.”
But one vote that Ron Paul may have gotten, appears to be lost.
Melinda Wadsley, an Iowa mother of three who was selected as a Republican elector at a district convention, had told the AP: “They’ve never given Ron Paul a fair shot, and I’m disgusted with that. I’d like to show them how disgusted I am.”
Mrs. Wadsley has now resigned as an Elector and will be replaced by the Republican Party … and that’s what Ron Paul misses : Does the Constitution empower the political parties to select the Electors ?
The Constitution only addresses who cannot be an Elector (see Article 2, Section 1, Clause 2 and Section 3 of the 14th Amendment). We do not have campaigns for who is to be an Elector as they are designated by the political parties. For example, in Minnesota, the major political parties (currently the Independence, Republican, and Democratic-Farmer-Labor parties) nominate candidates for presidential elector by delegate conventions called and held under the supervision of the party’s state central committee. The state chair of a major party must certify to the Secretary of State the names of the persons nominated as presidential electors.
As it is, the power does not reside in the People but instead in the Political Parties … and with so many of the states presumed to be “red” or “blue”, it means that Iowa with it’s paltry six electoral votes gets weekly visits from the candidates while Minnesota gets ignored.
Ironically, the Great Opportunity Party, as it refers to itself in its platform, affirms its desire to retain the Electoral College system … despite the fact that its Presidential nominee is at a disadvantage. Mitt Romney’s odds of winning, based on the accuracy of historical polls in predicting election outcomes, has a 20% chance of beating President Obama this year.
Consider that :
Obama has 201 safe electoral votes. Romney has only 181. Only 12 states (156 electoral votes) could go to either candidate.
Therefore, Romney needs at least 89 of those 156 electoral votes to win (57%).
Given current polling in those states & historical polling accuracy, Romney’s statistical chance of getting those 89 votes is only 20%.
Thus with the public being constantly inundated with polling data telling us who will win our state, voters lose their incentive to participate …
Representative Paul asserts that the President should be selected based “votes apportioned to states according to their representation in Congress.” Unfortunately, only Maine and Nebraska use an alternative method of distributing their electoral votes, called the Congressional District Method, whereby each Congressional District is valued. Admittedly, there are concerns with gerrymandering that could create distorted shapes segregating groups into (and out) of natural districts, but the biggest concern is that a Congressional District Method would actually encourage increased SuperPAC influence — consider how much money is spent when there are Special Elections to replace a vacated Congressional seat during a session … or how targeted certain Senate races … remember the 2004 South Dakota Senate battle, Republican challenger John Thune spent $74 per vote while then-Senator Tom Daschle (D) spent more than $100 per vote … and that was pre-Citizen’s United … what would be spent on non-issue personal-attack ads targeting a Congressional district ?
It’s worthy of discussion, but as a voter, why shouldn’t my vote count … why do we not elect via a national tally ? Instead, Ron Paul could come in third in the Electoral College and yet not win any states … the POWER lies in the political parties and the SuperPACs. It is time to eliminate the Electoral Collage and elect OUR President based on a popular vote.