The 2020 Presidential Election has been one of the most chaotic, dividing elections in US history. We have been bombarded with political propaganda all year, election day was a mess, and now we are dealing with post-election chaos due to massive amounts of election fraud because of both the corrupt Dominion vote counting software and fake/duplicate ballots. The Founders of America would be disappointed with what we are witnessing today. They knew that heated campaigns for such a high position would lead to corruption and would divide the nation.
Knowing this, the Framers prepared a wonderful system which would seamlessly provide an excellent Chief Executive without any chaos or division. As Hamilton said in Federalist 68, “Nothing more was desired, than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue and corruption… the convention have guarded against all danger of this sort, with the most provident and judicious attention.”
To understand this excellent system for electing a President, you must set aside your current model of, or the way you understand our election process. The ingenious system is contained in Article II, section I of the Constitution. It has three simple phases. Nomination, Candidate Selection, and the Final Vote.
First, Nominations. Article 2.1.2 states: “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress” and continues to say that the electors may not be connected to any “office of trust or profit under the United States.” 2.1.3 continues: “The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves.”
Basically, this means that each state comes up with a certain number of Electors who then meet on a certain day (same day for all the states; see 2.1.4) and nominate two candidates for president—with at least one of the two from out of their state. The electors may discuss options with colleagues from their same state as much as they want, but they may not communicate with the other states at all. The electors have no interest in the government—all they do is come to one meeting to nominate candidates for president. Once they have nominated their candidates, their job is done.
Second, Candidate Selection. This is a fairly simple process laid out in Article 2.1.3. “They shall make a list of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted.” It goes on to say that the top five candidates are then selected for the final vote, with the exception of a candidate receiving a number of votes equal to the majority of electors.
Third, the Final Vote. The remainder of Article 2.1.3 tells us how the final choice for presidency should take place. If one person receives a number of votes equal to a majority of the total number of electors (¼ of total votes since each elector casts two), they automatically become president. If more than one candidate receives a majority, the House of Representatives decides between the two with each state’s representation receiving one vote. Last, if no candidate receives a majority, the House will take the top five and decide between them, again, with each state’s representation receiving one vote. This candidate now becomes president.
“In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President.” (2.1.3)
What an ingenious, seamless system for the election of President! The Framers thought that the office should seek for the man, not the man seek for the office. The electors act as independent representatives of the people, they don’t have any interests or political ties with the government. They are not allowed to communicate and plan with other states’ electors. They would come up with the best possible candidates, and then the House of Representatives would choose the best of the top five candidates.
I was taught that whenever you share a cookie, etc., one person should cut it in half and the other person should choose which half they want. That is the most fair way to split it equally. In essence, the Framers Electoral College System works the same way. The Electors select the best candidates in the nation, and the House of Representatives picks the best out of the top five, making for an excellent Chief Executive selection!
Sadly, people started eroding this wonderful system as early as the 1796 election. The “Democratic-Republican” and “Federalist” parties started to select their own candidates. This was not allowed for in the constitution, but they did it anyway. In fact, George Washington warned about this important issue in his farewell address dated 1796. He said, “I have already intimated to you the danger of Parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on Geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of Spirit of Party, generally. [emphasis added]”
Too bad we didn’t listen to Washington. Instead, the parties took control over the 1800 election. We can learn a lot from looking at the electoral votes from that election.
Thomas Jefferson (Democratic-Republican) – 73
Aaron Burr (Democratic-Republican) – 73
John Adams (Federalist) – 65
Charles C. Pinckney (Federalist) – 64
John Jay (Federalist) – 1
Apparently, the Federalists were “smarter” than the Democratic-Republicans–they remembered to assign one elector to keep a vote away from the “selected candidates”. Because of this “mistake”, the House had to vote between Jefferson and Burr. Although it is apparent that Jefferson was the planned president, the Federalists in the house wanted to backfire on the Democratic-Republicans’ plan, so they all voted for Burr. There are a few problems with this situation. First, how is it even possible to turn out so few candidates if the electors are independent from political parties and the government? Second, two candidates tied for a majority of the electors. Third, how did the lesser known Aaron Burr get just as many votes as Jefferson, and less than widely known John Adams?
Obviously, the political factions are the reason this happened. This was unconstitutional and the beginning of the destruction of the true electoral college. To solve the president/vice-president “problem”, they wrote the 12th amendment, which was hastily passed and ratified. This amendment changed the system so that the electors had to nominate one person for president and one for vice-president. To the casual reader, the 12th doesn’t seem to change much, but in reality, it distorts the whole meaning of the electoral college system, and allows for major party manipulation.
Since then, we have allowed the system to erode more and more, and today, we have total party control. Politicians are trying to destroy the last traces of the electoral college by instituting a new nationwide popular vote system. More and more American Citizens are considering themselves “Republicans” or “Democrats” instead of Americans, and are considering basic American and Christian values to be optional.
Now, more than ever, we need to honor the sacrifices of our forefathers and return to the Electoral College System of election that the Framers so wisely included in our inspired Constitution to “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity”.