College Daze

Yesterday, I mentioned in passing that a lot of people complain about the Electoral College, but never seem to work up enough energy to actually do what it would take to change the process. In the comments, some people thought that I was criticizing the Electoral College system, and others wondered just where I stood on the matter.

I was deliberately vague about my opinion, merely wishing to cite it as an example of a situation where people are upset about something, but not upset enough to actually fix it. In that context, my own opinion seemed irrelevant to the point — there are far, far too many people who seem content to whine and bitch and complain about something, but are too damned lazy to get off their asses and actually try to FIX what they’re complaining about.

Back before the 2004 elections, I stated my strong support for the Electoral College system, and not a blessed thing has happened to sway my mind since.

The Electoral College system is a check on “pure democracy,” a system that is almost certainly doomed to failure when implemented on any scale besides the smallest. It is intended to preserve the rights of the minority, preventing 51% of the people from screwing over the other 49%. In this case, our Constitutional Republic system keeps the presidential candidates from simply ignoring the citizens of the smaller states (such as, say, New Hampshire) and sinking all their efforts into the larger states (like California, New York, and Texas.)

Thanks to the Electoral College, New Hampshire has slightly less than 1% of the total number of votes for president. By population, we have about 0.3% of the people. Conversely, California has about 16% of the population, but slightly more than 10% of the electoral vote.

No, it’s not a purely democratic system. But it’s worked pretty damned well for over 200 years, and I see no reason to change it now.

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