Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm.
— James Madison, Federalist No. 10, Nov. 23, 1787
The Framers were brilliant.
While this is apparent every day, it really stands out on the first Tuesday after the first Monday every four years for the quadrennial presidential election.
Tuesday was the 58th time Americans headed to the polls to choose the chief executive of the federal government — not our leader, not our ruler, but the person to manage the federal government.
Every time, the transfer of power, no matter how acrimonious the preceding election was, has always been successful and within the rule of law.
But the real brilliance is the election process itself — a process of which many Americans are completely ignorant, which itself is proof of its brilliance. At the heart of the process is the Electoral College.
It works well. This election proved it.
For the fifth time in history — and the second time in the last 16 years — the winner of the popular vote in the general election will most likely lose the Electoral College vote when it takes place on the Monday after the second Wednesday in December, which lands on Dec. 19 this year.
I say likely because many constitutional scholars agree that the electors, despite some state laws to the contrary, are free to cast their votes for whomever they please. Such “unfaithful” electors are rare with most members of the Electoral College committed to voting for the candidate of the party that nominated them.
The last time an elector voted for someone else was in the 2004 election when an unknown elector from Minnesota pledged to vote for Democrat John Kerry cast a presidential vote for his running mate, John Edwards. The person also cast the vice president vote for Edwards, which might indicate the presidential vote was a mistake.
In 1972, Roger L. MacBride, a Republican elector from Virginia, cast his vote for the Libertarian Party’s John Hospers. He cast his vice presidential vote for Libertarian Toni Nathan, making her the first woman to ever receive an electoral vote. In 1976, MacBride was the Libertarian Party presidential nominee.
Of the 157 faithless electors in 57 elections none has ever affected the outcome, including in 1836 election when 23 Virginia electors defected.
But I digress.
Predictably, Democrats are whining (it is what they do best). Perhaps it is because of the five times a candidate won the popular vote but lost the election it was a Democrat. Not sure that is actually relevant, but I just enjoy pointing it out.
Now they want to abolish the Electoral College. Well, I shouldn’t say “now,” because they have been trying for decades to eliminate it. In 1969, a proposal to abolish the Electoral College passed the House but failed in the Senate.
The Electoral College is a brilliant construct, and not just because it has kept five Democrats out of the White House.
It ensures that our presidential elections are national in scope. Without it, the people of Los Angeles and New York City would choose our president in every election. And those candidates would be progressively more leftist until we all became wards of the state in some sort of communist dung heap.
The Electoral College ensures that a candidate would have to appeal to people in every region of the United States, not just a few urban centers.
The Electoral College also produces a clear winner. In a popular vote election, there would have to be runoff elections if no one wins a majority of the vote, just as happened in this election.
The Electoral College also reduces the likelihood of challenged elections and endless recounts that popular votes would bring.
And it is better than any of the other plans considered in 1787 including selection by Congress, by the governors of the states, by the state legislatures, and by a special group of members of Congress chosen by lot.
Instead of trying to abolish the Electoral College, we should praise the brilliance of the men who created it.
Now, a few thoughts on this election so I never have to write about it again.
•The hypocrisy of the left really shined through. In 2008, anyone who expressed anger or dissatisfaction with Barack Obama’s election were accused of wanting him to fail. Yet, the left came out and actually protested the election. Not sure what they were protesting, though. You protest things you can change. Otherwise you are just crying. As we heard for the last eight years, “Obama won, get over it.” Well …
•While both candidates were awful, perhaps the two worst candidates in U.S. history, watching Donald Trump win was enjoyable for two reasons. First, the media personalities (I can’t really call them journalists) were hilariously trying to cope with it live on national television. Then all the leftist who were so disappointed the next day I actually saw some crying. That almost made it worth it.
•Spotted online: “You may have gotten your President Trump, but it is at the cost of my being your friend, your brother, or your son.” Wow. If you let politics interfere with your familial relations, you have serious mental health issues. Seek help.
•I saw an interesting statistic. Some 55 percent of Democrats and 59 percent of Republicans report that this election has caused them significant stress. Stress over an election? This election is really no more important than any other election despite what the pundits and party bosses tell you (to the talking heads, every election is historical and the most important ever). However, there is no importance when one big-government, crooked statist is running against another big-government, crooked statist. The march toward tyranny will continue unabated.
Now that this election is finally over, who will run in 2020?
Thomas J. Lucente Jr. is an attorney with the Hearn Law Office in Wapakoneta (419-738-8171) and night editor of The Lima News. Reach him by telephone at 567-242-0398, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @ThomasLucente.