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Wed Jul 8, 2020, 07:05 PM

The real American deep state: the Electoral College and the U.S. Senate

The real American deep state, after all, which thwarts the ability of Americans to govern themselves by the principle of majority rule, is the Electoral College and the U.S. Senate.

This nugget comes from a brief but excellent piece by Harold Meyerson in The American Prospect dated yesterday:
Majority Rule? Not Yet, Fellow Americans.

The subject is the tyranny of the minority imposed by the arcane system that empowers low-population states with disproportionately large numbers of electoral college votes and U.S. Senators.

Is there a way around the Electoral College, a piece of 18th-century handiwork put into the Constitution at a time when that documentís authors thought that only a relative handful of elite Americans would actually know anything about the presidential candidates, and when the Constitutionís Southern authors feared straight-out popular presidential elections could favor Northern candidates not necessarily predisposed to slavery?

As the Electoral College favors small states (since each state gets two extra votes reflecting its Senate representation), repealing the Constitutionís Article II provision that requires its use would prove difficult. As three-quarters of the states must ratify any constitutional change, it would take just 13 smaller states to block the Collegeís abolition.

In 2018, though, writing in these pages, Erwin Chemerinsky, a constitutional law scholar and dean of the UC Berkeley Law School, argued the Courtís one-person-one-vote ruling enforcing the Fifth Amendmentís establishment of equal justice under the law renders the Electoral College unconstitutional. No such case has yet come before the Court and itís by no means clear that Chemerinskyís argument would prevail. But it certainly should be tried.

Meyerson applies a famous Voltaire quote to the Electoral College: ťcrasez líinf‚me, which translates as "crush the infamous (or loathesome) thing."

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Reply The real American deep state: the Electoral College and the U.S. Senate (Original post)
klook Jul 2020 OP
Proud liberal 80 Jul 2020 #1
jacksonian Jul 2020 #2

Response to klook (Original post)

Wed Jul 8, 2020, 07:23 PM

1. I prefer just having the popular vote

But I will say the European parliamentary system is done is also much better than the electoral college system if we were looking at alternatives

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Response to klook (Original post)

Fri Jul 10, 2020, 01:57 PM

2. Actually, a solution to the EC

would be to go back to the original conception. The constitution lays out that there would be a House member not to exceed 1 for 30,000 population, this was changed in 1911 to being fixed at 435 to stop the size of the House from growing out of control. Right now, if we think of Wyoming as having population sufficent for 1 rep, California should have 61 under the old system and an extra 11 EC votes. This "fixing" of the House apportionment is just leading the EC ever farther from equal and rational representation as the population grows.

If we just made the EC to reflect what the original framers intended as to the makeup of the House, again taking WY as population for 1 House member, today there would be something like 759 total EC votes (328.2 million divided by @ 500,000 plus 100 senators and 3 DC votes) and the small state over-influence would be lessened considerably - but not totally eliminated.

Repeal the 1911 law (not a bad idea, fixes a lot of gerrymandering issues as well) and replace it with a more democratic apportionment that doesn't eternally erode large state representation. AFAIK, this can be done simply by Congressional action.

Or we could just chuck the loathsome thing.

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