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Electoral College Highlight

From Audio: Electoral College

station description This podcast uses government documents to illuminate the workings of the American g... read more
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Listen to this electoral college highlight to learn a brief history of and the current state of the electoral college
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Listen to this electoral college highlight to learn a brief history of and the current state of the electoral college
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a bunch of clothes, right? So nothing else changes of underwear and socks. Yeah. So let's go back, Thio. The writing of the Constitution. Um, one of the chief defects of the articles of confederation was that there was no executive branch in our national government. So there was basically no branch that could implement those rare times where the 13 states could actually agree to do something post revolutionary war. So the current we don't agree on anything, except perhaps toe, perhaps toe all breathe goes all the way back to the very, very beginning. Post revolutionary. Yeah. We've never So this dream of, like, congressional harmony and all the Kumbaya love that. Why can't people just get along? Not so much. Not so much, in fact, was crushed early on. Yeah. I mean, that's a rare condition. Okay. It's a statistical anomaly. Okay, They're getting okay. So So the framers of the Constitution, Um, you know, one of the issues they struggled with was Okay, so we haven't Executive branch. Um, there's somebody in there that needs to run the executive branch. But how do we choose who this person will be? And there were any number of proposals. So? So there was no method for electing the president at this point. No, I mean, so we're at the constitutional convention, and I'm point somebody. I mean, we'll do rock paper. Scissors would have been awesome. Just saying Jefferson probably would have won that he would have figured out some way toe because he would have studied it, you know, over, like, 12 years, okay? And wrote down, you know, every single physical chances, whatever. Until he couldn't I mean that, you know, that's what Thomas Jefferson did. Right? Um, so I'm not going to cover all the proposals, but just to give you an example, one proposal was the president would actually be, ah, multi person committee of Congress. Okay, Another proposal. The president is the president's. Yes. Okay. And it would be an executive advisory council to the legislative body, which is terrifying, because if you don't want something to happen, you ask a committee to do it. Oh, sure. I mean, hey, we both work at a university, right? Library committees air. Fabulous. Just that. All like, library committees are completely fabulous. And there's never any waste of time ever. I don't know what you're talking about? Yes, because in political science okay, they are models of inefficiency now. E mean, committees air these get stuff done. But there's also personalities on. There's varying opinions, and sometimes you have to try stuff and it doesn't work. And you have to try something else. Which is fine, unless you're leading a nation, which is a little scary, because then you're like, Well, let's try a little war against Spain. Oh, that was a terrible idea. Let's undo that. That's much harder to undo our or, you know, you know, one of those we have discussed with war powers is not so easy to just stop. Yeah, I mean, you know, one of the pathologies that public administration scholars have identified with any kind of bureaucratic structure is they are prone to inaction, not action. That makes sense. You protect what's already in place, and you get it's easier. It's cheaper and simpler. You don't have toe, and you've got to convince a whole bunch of people on the committee to actually agree to something which is hard to dio. See, Dean, except for chocolate cake, I mean, you could get everybody to agree to eat something like that, but getting everybody to agree, Uh, increasingly, with better diets. Okay, it's pretty hard to go ahead. And it is a vegan. It? Yeah, you know, it is healthy, you know? Hey, I got high, you know, high blood pressure, high cholesterol. I shouldn't be eating this. Okay, Well, the rest of you guys air eating bad, I will go ahead and, you know, be part of the group. Really? Okay. Another proposal was that the Congress would actually pick the president. Um, much like the parliamentary form where the majority party in Parliament gets to pick the prime Minister. But for obvious reasons, since they just got done being under the yoke of the British crown. Okay, they were like, now, not so much. Another proposal waas a majority of the popular vote of the entire country, which the individual states did not like. The individual states were like, Hey, wait a minute here, Okay? If we're a small state, you know, whatever our citizen, whoever our citizens want as president, well, we're gonna lose out to all the larger states, right? Our vote counts less because there's just fewer of us. Okay, mathematically, it doesn't work in their favor. Okay. But then ultimately, what the framers settled on was that you would have, um, eligible voters in each of the states vote. And then within each state, the elites would be chosen as part of what they call the Electoral College. Okay, that would have the potential authority to override the popular vote within a state. Okay. Andi in. I wanna make sure I get the right Federalist papers. I usedto no, all of these. I actually had undergraduate professors who forced us to, like, memorized what each of the Federalist Papers was about. Uh, yeah, How about that? Okay, it wasn't Oh, that help you in life? Not so you teach this. Yeah, but I mean, I wonder how many of your classmates are Are using that every day? Of course. That's my argument against subtraction. Thio. Why did I have to learn subtraction? How much of that do ideo And then it's kind of like trouble if you don't. I mean, it's kind of like, you know, calculus for May. Yeah, like what am I gonna do with that? Which is not I mean, every everything you learn in school is useful because it changes your brain in some way, changes your brain, teaches how to think differently. It's a process, you know. Hey, if you can, you know, struggle through a subject you don't like, Then maybe you could struggle through something later on in life. Okay, But in federalist paper, number 68 Alexander Hamilton actually discussed why an electoral College was necessary. And he gave basically, uh, two reasons. One and I want to get the exact quote because this is this is good stuff. Okay? He said you need an electoral college to make sure that a person was chosen that had the quote requisite qualifications and possessed more than just quote talents for low intrigue. Wow. By the way, that was a phrase in the late 17 hundreds. Low intrigue. That was a phrase in the late 17 hundreds to describe what we would refer to today as a demagogue. Okay, And then he So he's saying not just people who could whip up a crowd. That's right. Okay. And then, second, your charisma doesn't count. You need to have other quality. That's right. Okay, Onda, again, if you think about the evolution of political power historically what the United States and then subsequently other Western democracies were trying to do was replaced traditional political power e a monarchy where the powers Yeah, or charismatic leaders with okay, ruled by law. That's what they were trying to create. Well, and weren't they also trying to create a system where someone didn't stay in power until they were overthrown? Slash killed, slash Died of something e mean like, that's also part of it. Is that part of elections is that you want you want a consistent, you want an orderly stables of service and then you want an orderly, stable handover of power. Yeah, treat the peaceful transition of power, which is the common phrase that's used. Thio describe that as a separate view from the coup data slash dictatorial revolutions. Right. The second reason that Hamilton mentioned okay and which actually has kind of sort of some relevance, um, in regards to the 2016 presidential election is that many of the framers were concerned that foreign nations would try to influence okay, presidential elections. Yeah, I wouldn't and that Electoral College voters would be able to go ahead and overturn decisions made by, uh, the voting populist that may have been influenced by nations at that time. Great Britain and France. Okay, so I want you to keep that in mind. Those were the stated reasons in the Federalist Papers for why we need Electoral College. Now, let's be very clear. The Electoral College is an anti democratic institution because it basically says to the voters in each state, no matter who you pick, if we as elites who are members of the Electoral College, we get to go ahead and second guess you we get to go ahead and say you guys were wrong and we're right. Okay. Okay. Well, it well, it I know what's better for you than than you do. It's very parental parental. It's your nanny. Whatever you wanna call them with the idea of government by elites, right? The idea that you're not bright enough to pick a person, which is pretty insulting. I mean, I'm just saying, Okay, so that was the original purpose. But then almost immediately, the Democrat or the political parties Okay, uh, the Democratic Republican Party, led by Thomas Jefferson and the Federalist parties immediately tried to if you will, um um, rigged the system because they basically passed laws in the very states that would require the electors to follow the results of the popular vote within the state, which at that point makes it moot Tohave an electoral college completely moot. Because why now? You're just saying okay. My people said this. So I'm saying this is a equals A equals a. Okay, well, then we could just count it the first time and be done, and we don't have to wait till December. That's right. Okay. So almost immediately. Okay. The promise or purpose of the Electoral College was subverted by the political parties who are like, Hey, wait a minute here, okay? I love the American system. What a great idea. Let me tweak it just a again. You know, listeners of the podcast referred to say this. Okay, I have thousands of students who hear me say this all the time. We have the constitution is written, and then we have the Constitution in practice. Okay? Yeah. In the Constitution of practice was almost immediately, uh, subverted as it relates. A zit relates to theory journal intent of the Electoral College. Right. So as this develops throughout the 19th century, Okay, a majority of the states passed laws that explicitly said Okay, if you are chosen by your political party to be a potential member of the Electoral College, you must okay, swear an oath to uphold the popular vote results within that state and became a way for political parties to reward, um, those very active members of the party. Oh, like I don't know if you don't know if listeners conventional eyes, the conventions, but the conventions at the different states of the different two different conventions. So all the Republicans go to their convention. All the Democrats go to their convention. So if you're, let's say, your Republican from Virginia, um, and you go to the Republican convention, you go because you've been chosen to go by the by the state party and basically you're being rewarded for service to the party, right? You've gotten out and gotten the vote out, and you've done all kinds of stuff in your local polling places. You've done a lot of work, and the way they reward you is they send you to a big party where everybody gets to hang out and go. Yeah, we love being Republican, right? Like or or Democrat, or I assume the libertarians have something like that. But I don't know whether it's e I can see them phoning it in, which will be very libertarian of them. Yeah. Yeah, we're not coming up. We'll just tell you what we think. You can't tell me to come to a exactly don't you s don't tread on me. So, uh, but another way to reward party faithful okay, is to select you, Because the way the Electoral College works is you have the presidential election on the first was second Tuesday, first Tuesday. Oh, I can't remember the elections. Yeah, the first Tuesday after the first Monday November. Okay, so you have the election, and then the Electoral College actually comes to Washington D. C. In December to cast their votes now because the parties have already rigged the system, we basically know, Okay, the evening of the election, what the Electoral College votes should be right, and some of them are by, like, the whole state winner takes all right. And so some of them were broken up by percentages. If a percentage of the like, If there are 10 votes in a state, then if 70% went for the popular vote, went for 11 candidate. Then they would get seven and the other person would get three. Yeah, you states that are like that. There's only two or three states that actually divide up the Electoral College vote based on either percentage or by which presidential candidate. One ah congressional district within the state. I think it's basically 47 or 48. Do the winner take all. Okay, so Virginia rubber stamp eso in Virginia, for instance, in 2016, majority of the voters picked Hillary Clinton. So all of Virginia's Electoral College votes. And if you are trying to figure out how many Electoral college votes your state has, it's the number of representatives in the House. Plus two senators, two senators. Okay, um, and then there are realized the Electoral College is 538 people. Yeah, because it's 535 members of Congress plus three Electoral College members for the District of Columbia. Uh, that's how. Okay, that's how they tabulate. They get about. So basically, if your presidential candidate, but wait so Guam doesn't and Puerto Rico doesn't and all of our territory American Samoa. They don't get. They don't have electoral college votes. That's not nice. That's that's not e mean. They vote, and then it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. Oh, I would protest if I lived in Guam. I would be grumpy about that. I would be extremely grumpy. I mean, Hey. So you got 503 father to go. Okay, in a majority.
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