Defending the Constitution: It's time to strengthen the Electoral College

Republicans have lost the Presidential popular vote in four of the last five elections, but have managed to win three times. So naturally Democrats are looking to erode confidence in the Constitution, and undermine it so they can achieve immediate partisan advantage by abolishing the Electoral College through extra-Constitutional means.

Those of us who want to protect the Constitution, and our system of government, need to respond by strengthening confidence in the Electoral College.

Let’s start off by making one thing perfectly clear: there’s no chance at this point that Donald Trump will not be elected President. Even if dozens of “faithless electors” vote for someone else, the election will be thrown to the House where Donald Trump is sure to win. There’s not one state that Trump won whose House delegation tilts toward the Democrats (I just checked). Further, there’s at least one Hillary Clinton state whose House delegation does tilt toward the Republicans (Nevada currently tilts 3-1 Republican, though will tilt 3-1 Democrat in the 115th Congress next year).

Donald Trump’s approval rating went up once he won the election, as is usually the case for the winner of the Presidential election. There’s no chance the House would do anything but elect Donald Trump. So we’re free to take action to support the Constitution, without having to worry about overturning an election.

The Electoral College was designed by the Founders because they did not want the Presidency to be elected by a raw democratic vote, and because they wanted to give small states a way of protecting themselves from the large states. The “imbalances” in the system were intentional. If we want to preserve the Constitution, we must cast aside attempts to turn the Presidency into a pure democratic contest without a Constitutional amendment.

The current system mostly works as intended, for the most part. But there is one tiny wart that attempts to thwart the will of the founders: “Faithless elector” laws. These laws seek to impose penalties on electors who don’t vote according to the orders of state officials.

Faithless elector laws are a bad idea, because they undermine the Electoral College system. They take away agency from the Presidential electors, attempting to turn them from a meaningful check on raw democracy, into meaningless pro forma step in a process run by raw democracy.

If we want to build confidence in the system the founders gave to us, then we should repeal all faithless elector laws. Go back to the system as designed by the founders. We need to show people that we really do have confidence in the system, and that we’re not just looking for temporary partisan advantage for ourselves.

The Constitution: it’s not just a good idea. It’s the law.