Is the College too old?

2009/04/05
By

A common public view of the Electoral College seems to be, “I don’t understand it so it must be wrong.” Witness the following from a letter to Seattle’s only remaining news daily.

… it is time to come into the 21st century. There is no place in today’s society for 200-year-old practices.

Here is part of my response.

Perhaps Mr. Hopper would also like to ditch freedom of speech and the press? After all, the First Amendment is just a tad younger than the rest of the Constitution. What about “created equal” and “inalienable rights”—those sentiments, from the Declaration of Independence, are even older.

The test of such institutions is time, a test the Electoral College has passed. By forcing candidates to build broad, national coalitions and to focus on the most evenly divided states, the Electoral College is a source of both unity and moderation.

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The genius of the United States of America: we are both United and States. The American system of states is Federalism. One part of it is the Electoral College, the state-by-state way we elect the President of the United States.

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