Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Electoral College, What It Is & Why...

Are you familiar with the Electoral College?
Can any of you describe with any detail what it is or why it was started? Let me start this topic then with a little introduction of exactly what the Electoral College is & why our forefathers had the tremendous insight to put it in place. Then we’ll fast forward to 2000 to see exactly how their vision actually came to pass! Here is a legal definition from the Dept. of State: Often misunderstood today, the Electoral College was established early in our country’s history and continues to play an important role in the American political process. Although the name suggests ivy-covered walls and classrooms filled with books, the Electoral College is responsible for formally selecting the next president and vice president of the United States. To be elected president, a candidate must receive at least 270 of the 538 electoral votes cast nationwide. If no candidate receives 270 votes, the final decision is made by the U.S. House of Representatives. Only two American presidents have been chosen by the U.S. House of Representatives because they lacked enough Electoral College votes. In 1800, Thomas Jefferson and, in 1824, John Quincy Adams both took office after the election was sent to the House of Representatives. To understand why the Electoral College, and not the people, ultimately determines who is president requires a brief look into our country’s turbulent beginnings. The Electoral College was written into the U.S. Constitution in 1787, a time when our nation was new and still struggling in many ways, including politically. Of primary concern was the possibility of a nationwide election breaking down into chaos and confusion. To counter the politically volatile environment of the late 18th century, the Electoral College was established to balance the state’s and people’s interests. The idea of mass communication and the dominant two-party political system we take for granted today could never have been anticipated by our country’s first leaders as they wrestled with the problems of the early republic. Our country was founded on the principle of government of the people, by the people and for the people. Voting is one of this country’s most cherished rights. Our political system, including the Electoral College, is designed to ensure the full realization of this fundamental principle. In 2000 we actually had the incredible opportunity to see this in place! If you look at the map of the U.S. & which state voted from whom, you’ll notice that President Bush won very small states that only have 3-5 electoral votes. States like, North & South Dakota, New Hampshire, Idaho, Montana & Wyoming. This is significant because these states put the president “over the top” in the election, thus giving less populated states a fair & honest say in any & all presidential elections. However friends, there are many on the left & even some on the right sadly who want to eliminate the Electoral College in favor of the “popular” vote, which Al Gore won in 2000. Now on the outside that may seem to make sense, so what is the fuss?

For one I just shared with you a very good reason above, those small states if there was a popular vote would rarely if ever see the Candidates. Plus, as we see today, very large populations of people in concentrated cities are voting a certain way & in heavy populated area’s of people voting the same way, the rural area’s in both those states as well as different states would never stand a chance! In 2000 this is exactly what we saw & I must say that our founding fathers had great insight to protect ALL the states at least politically wise. Eliminating the Electoral College would be an attack upon the framers vision of our Country & would certainly spell the end of any influence of those living in rural America, important workers like Farmers & all those who make a living off the land or with livestock, etc. It is said that there will be a strong push come 2012 to remove the Electoral College so we need to be aware friends & speak up about it, lest we see another building block of our framers going by the wayside!

Stay Tuned,

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