First, we have to understand a couple of things before getting into the nitty-gritty of the “how it works.” We need to know why.

First, we don’t have “one man, one vote” system. That’s a pure democracy, against which our founders railed. Even when they could agree on nothing else, they agreed that a true democracy was not even worth considering. Mostly they argued about what kind of republic to have.

And a republic we are…a Constitutional Republic. A republic is based on the rule of law, with representatives that people elect to cast votes for us on the mundane stuff that we don’t want to, or have the time to, deal with. One of the many and diverse driving factors for creating a republic is that when our Constitution was written, there was not all this insanely awesome amounts of easy communication. The lawmaking process would have been glacially slow if representatives had to take proposed laws to the people for review prior to voting. We’re talking horse and buggy glacial. Instead, they chose to elect representatives they trusted to vote in our proxy. Now the communication is no longer an issue like it was then. No one promised to post bills online for 5 days before voting on it, because they couldn’t. Now, they promise it, and don’t do it because they are liars. But, I digress…and my main point being that the concept of representatives is a good thing, even though we have better technology. This brings me to the second (and still very relevant) point about why a republic is superior to a democracy.

A pure democracy would have the majority winning and the minority having to suck it up and deal with it, no matter the issue. This prompted Benjamin Franklin to use this analogy:

“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.”

No good for the lamb, right? That’s what happens with one vote per individual. The minority gets trampled. The rights of the lamb must be protected, too! But, you must have a republic to accomplish that (just ask the “great” democracy of Greece).

Third, Madison, Hamilton, and Jay wrote some great defenses for each portion of the US Constitution in the Federalist Papers, so if you want Hamilton’s take on it, you can read Federalist 68…or just read on for the gist.

Basically, he says that the electoral college is a wonderfully convoluted way to keep out corruption from the voting system.

Imagine, if you will, a populist person saying, “If you vote for me, I’ll buy you a phone!*” or something equally ridiculous. There would be a number of people who might fall for this garbage and vote for this person, solely due to the phone.

Now, imagine that everyone who is voting for president doesn’t get to rely on the “one man, one vote” deal and has to instead elect a representative, who must, by law, be chosen to be an elector by a specific system. First, the elector would have to know how this crazy system works, right?

Next, the elector would have a heavy responsibility: the entire nation’s future riding on the votes of these representatives. You’d think maybe this would not make a difference to the elector, but one has to have a vested interest in the country and its voting system to go to the trouble of getting off the couch and getting this all set up. Plus most states have systems where the electors are chosen by the state legislators. So, there is the voice of the people, electing state legislators (who live among their constituents much more than the DC gang), who then pick the electors.

Anyway, in the end, it’s to protect the quality of individuals elected to the office of president. Is this system perfect? No. But, that’s because it’s run by humans, and they WARNED US that if we got complacent, we’d get jerks in the white house anyway, no matter the protections they painstakingly instituted.

Being angry that idiots get elected president, and blaming it on the electoral college safety guard is like blaming your head injury on the seat belt that didn’t keep you from hitting your head when you drove drunk and got in a wreck. I mean, even safety guards are not perfect when those using them are corrupted.

“Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.”
Thomas Paine

Thank goodness you are reading this blog, though, because you are undergoing the fatigues of supporting freedom as I write and as you read. YOU are key to bringing this country back to its mores and greatness! Share this blog with everyone you know (have them follow my blog while you’re at it, huh?) and I’ll be writing the rest of the parts in short order. Godspeed!

*Yes, I know. 😉 If you don’t yet, please see here, or for an explanation, here. To get an Obamaphone that everyone says has no connection to Obama, here. What people *think* they are getting for free from someone can be as damaging to the integrity of the system as that person actually promising/giving it.