The country is abuzz with demands that the U.S. abolish the Electoral College. Does anybody making these demands understand that the United States was purposely founded as a republic and not as a democracy? What is the difference between the two, and why?
A republic is a nation whose guiding principal is that the rule of law and a Constitution take precedence over majority rule. The power in a republic is purposely dispersed between an executive branch, a legislative branch, and the judiciary bound by a Constitution whose laws are inviolable even by the majority. States were given separate, but equal, powers precisely to prevent federal abuse of power by a majority that might seek to limit the rights of the states and minority parties.
In a pure democracy, only the majority decide laws, and minorities seeking freedom from majority abuse are helpless if the majority decides, for example, that free speech can be limited, and thereby the free-market place of ideas can be suppressed to enforce the majority’s opinions. (Does that sound eerily like what is happening now on college campuses, whereby freedom of speech was denied to Condoleeza Rice, Lawrence Summers, or Ayaan Hirsi Ali? Or similarly, the threatened prosecution by New York’s attorney general against anyone disagreeing that humans are the principal cause of global warming?)
The backbone of states’ rights (and protector from majority abuse) was embedded in the Constitution via the creation of the Senate, whereby each state is entitled to two senators, no matter its population. Thus Montana has the same voting power in the Senate that California has, no matter that Montana’s population is less than 3 percent of California’s. Are Montanans demanding majority rule prepared to give up their two senators because the state is not entitled to even one based upon majority rule?
Similarly, the Electoral College purposely assigned electors based upon the number of senators and congressmen in each state, thus Montana gets three, while California gets 55, adjusted with each Census. Electors are chosen by the respective parties. Our republic guarantees dispersal of power beyond the all-powerful federal government to the individual states in order to prevent an abusive majority from forcing its will upon the individual states or minority parties with whom it might differ in opinion. In short, a republic puts the rule of law and the Constitution above majority rule.
Finally, though the ostensible popular vote shows Mrs. Clinton leading Mr. Trump by about 2.9 million votes nationwide, in California she leads by 4.27 million votes, yet anyone residing in California, undocumented or a citizen, is entitled to a driver’s license, and the majority party’s new law there requires automatic voter registration for all drivers licenses. Hispanics in California comprise 39 percent of the population (15.4 million), but we don’t know how many are not U.S. citizens.
In New York, Mrs. Clinton leads by 1.7 million votes, yet, like California, there is no Voter ID required at the polls. No Voter ID means that anyone can go to the polls, sign your name, and vote without having to produce proof of citizenship and valid ID (https://ballotpedia.org/Voter_identification_laws_by_state). A 2016 undercover video investigation shows the long-time Democrat commissioner of elections, Alan Schulkin, admitting rampant voter fraud in New York City, with buses taking voters from poll to poll to vote multiple times. Instead of opening an investigation, he is now being attacked by Mayor DeBlasio and other majority party stalwarts, yet another example of majority abuse of the law.
In Detroit, it was just revealed that 37 percent of the voting precincts show many more votes than ballots cast (http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/2016/12/12/records-many-votes-detroits-precincts/95363314/).
All other major democracies in the world require citizenship and Voter ID to vote. Until and unless we demand the same, we will not know who won the legal popular vote.
Chickering is a resident of Whitefish.