In the aftermath of the 2016 election, there has been heated debate regarding the Electoral College and whether or not it is constitutional, even though it is a provision of the Constitution.
Alexander Hamilton wrote in the Federalist Papers No. 68:
It was desirable that the sense of the people should operate in the choice of the person to whom so important a trust was to be confided. This end will be answered by committing the right of making it, not to any preestablished body, but to men chosen by the people for the special purpose, and at the particular conjuncture.
It was equally desirable, that the immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice. A small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations.
It was also peculiarly desirable to afford as little opportunity as possible to tumult and disorder. This evil was not least to be dreaded in the election of a magistrate, who was to have so important an agency in the administration of the government as the President of the United States. But the precautions which have been so happily concerted in the system under consideration, promise an effectual security against this mischief. The choice of several, to form an intermediate body of electors, will be much less apt to convulse the community with any extraordinary or violent movements, than the choice of one who was himself to be the final object of the public wishes. And as the electors, chosen in each State, are to assemble and vote in the State in which they are chosen, this detached and divided situation will expose them much less to heats and ferments, which might be communicated from them to the people, than if they were all to be convened at one time, in one place.
In other words, if the American people elect someone to the office of president who is not qualified for the job, the electors, in their wisdom, would right that mistake and make certain that person was not elevated to the highest office in the land.
We now have a President Elect whose relationship with Vladimir Putin is becoming more alarming by the hour, much less by the day. Why is this not a front page story in every newspaper in the country? Why is this not the lead-in to every news broadcast in the nation? We now have a President Elect who just settled a fraud lawsuit for $25 million for his Trump University scam. We now have a President Elect whose closest advisor is a man who is a white supremacist. Some call him a white nationalist. What’s the difference? Both imply that the United States should be white and ruled by whites, preferably white men. An article from Breitbart claims that the inventions of the washing machine and the birth control pill were the worst things that ever happened to women because they are so very unhappy about being allowed to follow their dreams and denied an exciting career of housework and being a handmaiden to the man of the house. We now have a President Elect who has said incredibly hideous things about women and boasted about sexually assaulting them. We now have a President Elect who has fomented violence at his rallies and that violence has ratcheted up in the wake of the election. We now have a President Elect who not only condones torture; he says he will use it – in direct violation of the Geneva Convention. We now have a President Elect who has vowed to ban all Muslims from entering the country and cited the Japanese internment camps as a “precedent” for a Muslim registry. He has chosen General Mike Flynn as his National Security Advisor – a position that requires no approval from Congress. Flynn is virulently anti-Muslim and a war monger. He has nominated openly racist Jeff Sessions for Attorney General. We now have a President Elect who is a climate change denier.
I could go on and on, but here’s the question: What in the hell does it take to illustrate that we are in dire straits? Does Donald Trump have to actually go out and shoot someone on Fifth Avenue to prove that doing so would lose him nothing? If that is the truth, then we are surely lost.
Members of the Electoral College, I ask you to consider this: Hillary Clinton won the popular vote and her margin of victory is still growing. She is a smart, capable woman with vast experience. Donald Trump didn’t even realize that the White House staff doesn’t stay on when a new president is elected. His promise to “drain the swamp” has proven to be just like his promises to enrich those he fleeced with Trump University. He is nothing more than a con man out to enrich himself, and he could care less about the working people of this country. The rogues gallery he has assembled and floated for high government positions are all throwbacks to the Bush/Cheney neocon philosophy. They ARE the swamp.
If the Electoral College was included in the Constitution to protect our Republic against elevating a despot or an individual patently unqualified by experience or temperament to the presidency, then this is the time to flex those muscles. Because if not, what is the point of continuing with that institution?
To paraphrase Princess Leia from Star Wars: This is our most desperate hour. Help us, Electoral College, you’re our only hope.