electoral college part 2 counterargument

Part II: Your Counter Argument

Counter the posting below. Your entry should include the following:

  • At least one counter-argument statement that addresses a specific argument made by your classmate.
  • At least one fact to back up your counter-argument(s) utilizing resources provided in class or obtained through independent research.
  • Comment as to whether or not the solution provided by your classmate will be successful in addressing the issue and why you feel that way.

The electoral college is outdated and is no longer relevant in today’s society.

This was a difficult decision to make because I see both sides of the debate and because I am generally an originalist when it comes to the Constitution. I agree with Justice Antonin Scalia who noted that the problem is once courts open the door to replacing the carefully thought out dictates of the Constitution, justice becomes a free-for-all of subjective interpretations and applications. There is nothing, shy of authoring a new Constitution, to effectively replace it and even if that were proposed and viable, non-originalists can never agree on its content, specifically, what should replace its original meaning. In other words, eradicating parts of the Constitution is a dangerous thing because it was carefully designed based on a system of checks and balances. Using the examples of slavery and cruel and unusual punishment, Scalia demonstrates how we no longer adhere to bygone values (Scalia). I agree that certain sections written in the 1700s conflict with our modern-day values which makes me a half-hearted originalist. Still, I believe we should adhere to the Constitution to the extent possible. The more we tamper with it, the more things become obscure.

My view might best be represented as not that the electoral college is no longer relevant in today’s society but that it is outdated and needs serious amendments. I don’t want some idiot who can’t even get the presidential candidate’s name right representing my vote nor do I want the elitist cousin of a politician deciding it for me. At the same time, people have their own agendas and I don’t want a president elected by people running on emotion who don’t take the time to educate themselves on the candidates and/or who rely on inaccurate information. One of the things Steven Crowder’s video honed-in on was the multiple concerns of the founders that pure democracy has historically proven itself evil. I have attached a supporting article by Jeffrey Rosen which articulates this position. It uses ancient Athens as an example of what can happen when people adopt certain mindsets based on emotion versus reason. The article is not politically biased, at least not in my opinion, and offers a very good analysis of the political climate in America today. Rosen cites Madison wrote in “Federalist No. 10:”

The Framers designed the American constitutional system not as a direct democracy but as a representative republic, where enlightened delegates of the people would serve the public good. They also built into the Constitution a series of cooling mechanisms intended to inhibit the formulation of passionate factions, to ensure that reasonable majorities would prevail.

Deep political divide has become extremely problematic, heavily fueled by the news and social media. Rosen cites polarization of Congress; that it has not been so divided since about the time of the Civil War. He believes we are engaging in “ideological warfare between parties that directly channels the passions of their most extreme constituents and donors—precisely the type of factionalism the Founders abhorred.” He attributes the combination of low voter turnout and ideological extremism as tending to favor very liberal or very conservative candidates in primaries and states, “Thanks to safe districts created by geographic self-sorting and partisan gerrymandering, many of these extremists go on to win the general election” (Rosen). Note that Rosen uses “thanks” facetiously here.

Rosen explains possible solutions such as alternative primary systems. What sounded more promising is his example of California and Washington State which have adopted a “top two” system, in which candidates from both parties compete in a nonpartisan primary, and the two candidates who get the most votes run against each other in the general election—even if they’re from the same party. Ultimately, he suggests that calling for more civic education and having a more educated citizenry may be the best security against “crafty and dangerous encroachments on the public liberty” the underlying theme behind Madison’s insistence that the rich should subsidize the education of the poor (Rosen). I think before we take the drastic step of booting the electoral college altogether, we might want to look at ways to amend it. Such steps might represent a more balanced and viable solution because they would allow for adherence to the Constitutional aim of the electoral college while allowing room for vast improvements and fairness.

Works Cited

“Rebuttal: ‘Adam Ruins Everything’ Electoral College Bull Crap” Louder With Crowder. Dec. 2016.www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBJmogy9d6U&feature=youtu.be (Links to an external site.) Accessed 7 Nov 2019.

Rosen, Jeffrey. “America is Living James Madison’s Nightmare.” The Atlantic. October 2018 Issue. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/10/james-madison-mob-rule/568351/ (Links to an external site.) Accessed 7 Nov 2019.

Scalia, Antonin. “Originalism: The Lesser Evil.” University of Cincinnati Law Review 57 (3), 1989. pp. 184-93.