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Cruiser's avatar

Will the Electoral College serve the purpose the Founding Fathers created it for?

Asked by Cruiser (40421points) November 21st, 2016

Twitter is blowing up today with Tweets about the Electoral College. “The founders envisioned electors as people who could prevent an irresponsible demagogue from taking office.”

“The electors Hamilton believed, would prevent someone with “talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity” from becoming President”

So these electors was designed to be our fail safe to ensure Democracy would be preserved by preventing a whack job from becoming President. So on December 19, the electors will vote. Historically they do vote the party line as determined by the state election results but they are not legally bound to do so. Will the Electoral College fulfill their duty as envisioned by the Founding Fathers?

The Atlantic has a good read on the Electoral College and what could happen if Hillary was chosen instead.

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12 Answers

rojo's avatar

Since the electors are party hacks, the chances are slim. Some states prohibit their electors from backing anyone but the person the state selected but the penalties are not very prohibitive.

I cannot envision enough voting against the wishes of the party to make any difference and doing so would pretty much kill any future they may have within the party structure and, hey, party before country right?

Mariah's avatar

I’d be terrified if the electors changed the outcome of the election. I think the violence and riots that would break out would be horrifying. I fear our country would never heal.

The article seems to fail to grasp that the EC is precisely what will get Trump elected, since he lost the popular vote. So it’s not feeling like such a safety net to me, right now.

ragingloli's avatar

Why would they start now?

josie's avatar

I doubt it. It would probably cause more damage to the “system” than a character like Donald Trump could do in four years.
And about all you can really say about Trump is that some people think he’s a dangerous moron, and others think he is simply a moron. I wasn’t nearly old enough at the time, but I know from reading that people thought the same about Ronald Reagan.
But it is a fact that some of the Founders were skeptical of Democracy and regarded it as only a small improvement over mob rule. And Hamilton wanted the President to be for life.

rojo's avatar

True, but also true that Reagan wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. Reagan was a reaction to Carter, someone who was not only intelligent, he would not let the US population get by with platitudes but insisted they have reason for actions.

His biggest “failing” in the eyes of the masses was that he was not the aggressive foreign policy hawk, not the strongman that the people seem to want. They wanted and still want bullying, not fairness; force, not diplomacy; war, not words and thus as a knee jerk reaction after someone with a more diplomatic bent we end up with someone who can “make us great again”. And here we go again but this time we may have bitten off more than we can stomach.

ucme's avatar

The voting system you guys have has more layers than a fucking onion, no wonder it brought tears to the eyes of the average american.

Zaku's avatar

Maybe we should be looking at replacing all the electors with actual decent independent people rather than establishment agents.

rojo's avatar

^^^Sure, and while we are at it why don’t we give the debates back to the League of Women Voters instead of letting the two parties control it.

Rarebear's avatar

What people don’t seem to understand is that we’re not a democracy. We never were. The United States is exactly that. It’s a confederation of 50 independent state governments that are bound by a federal government. The FF wanted to make sure that the lesser populated states had a stake in the presidential election—if it were just popular vote then people would campaign only in New York and Boston.

Is it the right way to do an election? Probably not. But it’s the rules, and the rules are not going to be changed.

CWOTUS's avatar

A poorly understood purpose of the Electoral College was… to give more political power to the large but thinly-populated (with voters) Southern slave-holding states. As those who know Constitutional history already know, slaves were not allowed to vote, but were counted for purposes of congressional representation. The EC extended that counting to votes for presidential elections – which helps to explain why Virginia supplied 12 of the first 16 presidents. Lincoln’s election, the subsequent Civil War, the resulting end of slavery, Reconstruction and black voting rights broke that string. However, the EC does still serve to remind the federal government that “states matter”.

Cruiser's avatar

Excellent answer @CWOTUS +5

kritiper's avatar

The electoral college originated in 1677 long before our founding fathers could have thought of it.

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