In this week’s episode of Constitutionally Speaking, Jay and Luke discuss the Electoral College, the Rube Goldberg device the Founding Fathers created to select the president. The Electoral College was a compromise between multiple factions at the Convention—free and slave states, large and small states, federalists and anti-federalists. But unlike the Great Compromise, which apportioned the House and Senate differently, this one did not work very well. The Founders did not anticipate the rise of party politics, which necessitated a change in the Electoral College after the Election of 1800. In the Jacksonian Era, the rise of democratic politics obviated its original intentions. Today, the Electoral College remains as a way to apportion the strength of popular votes for president—which Luke and Jay both think is a better alternative than a nationwide popular vote.

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There is 1 comment.

  1. Coolidge

    I like the thought that the original Electoral College was the biggest goof of the Constitution. Accepting slavery was not a goof because it was a conscious decision, not an accident.

    Despite it’s original purpose, I most like the current Electoral College because it’s a check on cheating. While I don’t think there is a level of voter fraud that some people think there is, it’s still a problem. When a locality has a cheating problem, it can only affect the results for the one state. So there is less incentive. For a lot of people, the Presidential election is the be all and end all. If they think they can get away with it, and they think it could sway the election, there are many people who would do anything for their side to win.

    I see the biggest problem with the Electoral College, and also the House apportionment, is that it rewards states that attract illegal aliens. For instance, California would have fewer votes, both in the Electoral College, and the House of Representatives, if illegal aliens were not counted in the census.

    • #1
    • December 24, 2017 at 8:33 am
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