Monday, November 21, 2016

The Electoral College Should Block Trump, Not Enable Him

Peter Beinart, in the Atlantic, explains how the Founders devised the Electoral College to prevent demagogues like Trump from reaching power, not to enable them to.

"As Michael Signer explains, the framers were particularly afraid of the people choosing a demagogue. The electors, Hamilton believed, would prevent someone with “talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity” from becoming president. And they would combat “the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils.” They would prevent America’s adversaries from meddling in its elections. The founders created the Electoral College, in other words, in part to prevent the election of someone like Donald Trump.”

David Kaiser says much the same thing in TIME.

From Federalist 68, the Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton:

"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... 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.”

Preventing a dangerous demagogue and liar and tax dodger and draft evader and con man and bigot like Donald Trump from seizing power is exactly why the Electoral College was invented. Trump’s whole life has been one of mischief. The Founders would be appalled.

Paul Abrams at Huffington Post cites the Russian spy agency's interference in this election as reason enough to use the Electoral College to block Trump––not to use it as a device to put him in the White House. After all, Hillary Clinton earned 1.7 million more votes than Trump did.

The Christian Science Monitor proposes some reforms to the Electoral College.

If the Russian interference isn't enough there is this: For 50 years the GOP’s game plan has included vigorous voter suppression.

ThinkProgress calls the Republican strategy a case study in voter suppression

How do we know the suppression and intimidation of voters has been central to the GOP playbook all along? They've boasted about it. They crow about each law they pass to disenfranchise voters. They boast about how it will elect Republicans if they can keep people from voting. This year's decline in voter turnout was the Republican Party's doing.

It's worth sharing this famous speech excerpt from the father of the modern right wing Republican Party, superchristian demagogue Paul Weyrich. Here, Paul Weyrich cheerfully derides Good Government. Over the past decades since then the Republican Party has done its damnedest to destroy Good Government and replace it with bad.

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