Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The 28.4%

(c) André Karwath
Remember,  this picture will be found identifying posts addressing the roots of classical liberalism, republicanism, and the Republican Party today.

Welcome to the Electoral College

That's all it takes to become President folks, 28.4% of the vote.  All you need to do is win 11 states:  California, Texas, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, New Jersey, and North Carolina for 270 electoral college votes.
Now I did a little research and according to the US census bureau there are 234,564,000 of us of voting age.  Now those 11 states have a voting age population of 133,225,000... but that's 57% you may say, true, but you only need to convince 11 more than half of them to vote for you. That's only  66,612,511 and that is 28.4% of the voting age population and you thought Florida in 2000 was bad.

So why have an Electoral College at all?

There was a very good article in Huffington Post by Carl Creasman. Professor of History at Valencia College.
The Founders NEVER saw the president as someone that represented the citizens or stood in their places as a representative. Instead, to the Founders, the president was supposed to be someone slightly detached from the passions and zealotry of "the masses" and provide a more, reasoned, comprehensive approach of, well, someone who is an executive...
The Founders' point was that there needed to be a way for us to have a chief executive who did answer to the people through the states, but not one who had to somehow participate in a popularity contest. Often, the best leader must make decisions and choices that the majority simply will not like. The Founders wanted to have a leader who would do that with few fears as to what the people might think.

A Republic - If you can keep it.

The founders thought the Republic such an important facet of government that it is specifically called out in Article IV. Section 4. of the Constitution: "The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government"

Why? A few of them made their viewpoints known:

Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.  ~James Madison
It has been observed that a pure democracy if it were practicable would be the most perfect government. Experience has proved that no position is more false than this. The ancient democracies in which the people themselves deliberated never possessed one good feature of government. Their very character was tyranny; their figure deformity. ~Alexander Hamilton.
To take from one, because it is thought that his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, —the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry, & the fruits acquired by it. ~Thomas Jefferson

What's wrong with America? Too much Democracy.

Representative Democracy Good, Popular Democracy Bad.

The intent of the electoral college was to insulate the presidency from the vagaries of popular opinion, to enable the president to make decisions that would not necessarily be popular with the population at large.  As we weaken the republican aspects of our government the United States moves closer and closer to popular democracy and our political situation degrades closer and closer towards everything we were warned about.  Politicians represent not their constituencies but the mob.  They don't need to represent their people, only an electoral majority of their people.  You vote for what keeps you in office, not for the general welfare and good of the country as a whole.  Politics has devolved into factionalism, we no longer debate ideas, we enforce platforms.

I'll leave you with two final thoughts, and to be honest, the second is from Viburnum:

The world is weary of statesmen whom democracy has degraded into politicians. ~Benjamin Disraeli
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. ~Sir Winston Churchill


Constitutional Insurgent said...

It's amazing to see how far we've been removed from the Founders intent.

National elections these days are nothing more than beauty contests between two opposing teams. Each team plays the same style of ball, the cheerleaders are all in or on the media, and the fans are conditioned to believe it's the only game in town.

Bunkerville said...

And that assumes all of the registered voters in those states decide to vote. Throw in some corruption and we are no more than a banana "republic".

Anonymous said...

Our Founders were well read in history and knew from history that democracies ineviysbly lead to tyranny. We are witnessing that truism today in America.

Ducky's here said...

Often, the best leader must make decisions and choices that the majority simply will not like.

Like kissing kapital's ass.

viburnum said...

Or not spending our great-grandchildren into penury.

Jersey McJones said...

I'm not sure how "too much democracy" is ailing the nation. Most Americans want pot legalized, gays allowed to marry, taxes on the rich raised, fair trade, universal healthcare, the end of the military empire, and a host of other things that we simply can't seem to squeeze out of our "too much democracy" government. Too much democracy? No. Too much bribery? OBVIOUSLY.


skudrunner said...


When you say most want !!!, how did you arrive at those conclusions.
National healthcare is split, gay marriage and legalized pot have been defeated in several states and only passed in a few. The envious non-rich, and of course Obama, want taxes raised on the rich. The remainder do not begrudge the success of others.

You used a broad brush with no support.

KP said...

Fascinating article. Thanks for your thoughts.

Jersey McJones said...

skurunner, you can fact-check everything I said. A majority of Americans want those things. Period.


skudrunner said...


Broad brush again.
53% do not oppose gay marriage
50% support national healthcare, that will change when they have to start paying for it.
50% support legal pot smoking
50% support raising taxes on the "rich"
20% do not think 250K a year is rich.

I hardly call 50-53% "Most"

Now you got what most far left want. Someone else did the work for you.

Joe Conservative said...

Repeal the 17th!

Joe Conservative said...

...AND the 24th! ;)

Ducky's here said...

It's amazing to see how far we've been removed from the Founders intent.

Were they prophets?

Why do you assume that wasn't inevitable?

KP said...

@Ducky << Why do you assume that wasn't inevitable? >>

I think the founders thought it would be difficult to stop a drift away from their intent. That is why they worked so hard to prevent or slow that drift. And that is why they warned of it in hopes later scholars and public servants would right the ship.

I understand that some may feel a drift away from their intent is a good thing. In fact, that seems to be one of the defining characteristics of a progressive. Is that how you see it?

Finntann said...

@ National elections these days are nothing more than beauty contests between two opposing teams.

I think you omitted the fact that a large majority of voters simply root (vote) for their tean with little thought or analysis.

@It's amazing to see how far we've been removed from the Founders intent. Were they prophets?

They seemed to have done a fairly good job in that department, especially where it comes to populism and faction. The point is our changes to some of the checks and balances they implemented have resulted in exactly what they warned us about.

Why do you assume that wasn't inevitable?

I think they assumed that it was inevitable, at least the attempts were, and they tried to make it as difficult as possible.

The arguments in constitutional convention against the Bill of Rights was that they didn't want it perceived that those 10 amendments defined our rights...

Which pretty much seems to be the way it is today.

Even then, clear statements such as "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Seem to have gone out the window.

viburnum said...

One of those safeguards, the removal of which seems to be the intent of the left, lay in not creating a "national' government, but a Federal one. Intended to be the agent of the states, it has proclaimed itself their master.

Ducky's here said...

I understand that some may feel a drift away from their intent is a good thing. In fact, that seems to be one of the defining characteristics of a progressive. Is that how you see it?


Yes, I admit to being completely perplexed by those who see the founder's thought as a complete sufficient revealed truth.

Much of it is of great value but I ain't going to eat everything. Some of it (i.e. Jefferson) is utter crap.

viburnum said...

Ducky: "Some of it (i.e. Jefferson) is utter crap."

Now that truly puzzles me. I would think that from your perspective Jefferson would be the least objectionable of the Founders. Care to elaborate?

Ducky's here said...

Jefferson was a fool who advocated an oligarchy and had a variety of asinine ideas.

Example: He felt we should not ave a standing army, too dangerous. Rather we should have militias (remember your sacred 2nd amendment).
He decided these militias were such hot stuff that he could just have them annex Canada. Of course they got a boot up their collective arse and we didn't hear any more of Jefferson's brilliant militia idea but we are still stuck arguing over the sacred 2nd amendment.

He also had a total lack of awareness of conflict of interest and seemed to feel the Lockean cult of property was all that was needed to define a well ordered society.

The Articles of Confederation were his idea of a well formed government. And we still have those on the right who make a fetish of the Republic as if they are unaware that a Republic is merely government with no monarch.

viburnum said...

He did indeed feel that a standing army was a threat to liberty, and the people should always have the means to defend themselves against oppression from a central government. Having read your complaints about the militarization of the police I can't imagine that your fears, and mine, in that regard are any different than his.

While there was indeed a attempt to wrest Canada away from the Brits, Jefferson didn't send them, as he'd left office 3 years before the War of 1812. I'll concede that he probably thought it worthwhile to try, for all the same reasons that induced him to make the Louisiana Purchase.

More tomorrow as it's getting late.

Silverfiddle said...

Ducky: All that you say is well and good, but we're not governed by it today.

What specifically in the constitution do you take issue with?

Ducky's here said...

I take issue with the electoral college. A true piece of nonsense.

I also take issue with the notion of "original intent", as if we knew.

Hell, historians have no clear consensus on the true causes of the Revolution. Many believe it was in fact a civil war others that it was a rebellion driven by an idea rather than any actual repression since conditions in America were good.

I object to childish high school civics views of history.

Silverfiddle said...

Ducky, again, I will not begrudge you your opinion, but reading their writings and personal papers to ascertain what they meant when the meaning is not clear is hardly childish.

You're a progressive. You want to wad it up and throw it away, or better yet, damn as being just a guiding document. Just admit it.

Ducky's here said...

No, I do not want to wad it up.

But just as I don't believe the Bible is inerrant revelation I don't believe the Constitution is an inerrant sacred text.

The founding oligarchs were fallible humans.

Silverfiddle said...

"The founding oligarchs were fallible humans."

Really? Wow...

Not to worry, The Constitution is more of a guidebook now anyway.

Trekkie4Ever said...

I wonder what I founders would think if they had known what this great nation has turned to. It would probably make them cry.

We need to get back to the basics and follow the Constitution.

However, the electoral votes should no longer be used and popular vote should be the only way to win any seat, especially the presidential seat.