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Federalist No. 68 - The Electoral College

Updated on December 4, 2016

There are many people providing their opinion on value and validity of the electoral college these days considering it's usefulness to our modern structure and whether we've grown out of it. I would say that if nothing else, President-Elect Donald Trump proves we've anything but grown out of this failsafe. While our distribution and cap on representatives in the House of Representatives may need to be reconsidered and revised to ensure fair coverage, this in no way degrades the value of the electoral college. The electoral college is showing it's value even if it never becomes more than a discussion on how to deal with our current president-elect. If we'd grown out of it, there would be no discussion on if Trump rises to the threat level to actually use it.

Why the electoral college?

To get an idea of the reasoning behind the electoral college it's probably best to go back and read a piece, Federalist No. 68, written (probably) by Hamilton in the Federalist Papers on what the electoral college is supposed to do -- another measure in the many checks & balances to protect us from not only those with ill intent, but also from ourselves and our sometimes heated populist tendencies. Just because this has never been a tool necessary to use (as Hamilton also predicts the multi-state process should make it a very rare necessity) does not make it "ceremonial" it's existence today.

People want to eliminate the electoral college, but if Trump had won the popular vote that would be the simple end of this process. There would be no "voice of reason" to measure that final step.

The Bedrock of our National Security

Our government is build on checks & balances, popular opinion checked by a more reasoning measure... the House & the Senate are yet another example of the people making their wants know, then being put through what is supposed to be balanced by a more sedate, thoughtful process in the Senate, to move onto the check of the executive branch.

The U.S. government was built to meet and defuse virtually every threat to it's success possible. Even despite our Constitution's greatest flaws, its primary goal to keep our democratically derived Republic afloat is built on brilliant strategic thinking to outmaneuver the worst human ideas. It was built to avoid fast, drastic, autocratic changes by government entities or overly harmful populist demands from the people. It was intended to gradually strain out the worst ideas to leave us with the best.

The Electoral College is just another one of those checks and balances to keep our nation on track in it's now traditional measured pace.

To better understand the reasoning behind the electoral college and it's purpose, the Hamilton Electors have put together an excellent video you can watch below. Please share and help our citizens and our electors understand that this is a serious constitutional tool and we have reached a serious point in time where it's use must at the very least be considered by our electors.


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    • claptona profile image

      John D Wilson 

      23 months ago from Earth

      LOL - yup, 36 states got propagandized by Putin, had LSD put into their drinking water and voted for Trump.

      The logic of the video is flawed - there is no proof that Trump is unfit to take office. There's no proof that those who have been chosen for the Electoral College have any greater insight into Trump's capabilities than the voters and the states.

      Hamiltons "opinion" "views" are not facts. My opinion is just as valid, as it can be backed by numerous members of the signing of the Constitution.

      You're justifying your views, not providing facts.


    • Pragmatic Politic profile imageAUTHOR

      Pragmatic Politic 

      23 months ago from United States

      Funny. I'm pretty sure Hamilton had a damn good grasp of exactly why they created the electoral college. This isn't my opinion, it's the opinion of one of our founding fathers... so, no, he's not wrong. You are correct that an element of the electoral college is the balance of electoral members being tied to the number of representatives and senators is intended to equalize the impact of the electoral vote, but it's purpose is to create the protective buffer between direct democracy and our government that so many other elements address in similar manners. Our founding fathers did not trust the people, did not trust they would take time to learn the complexities of issues, and would at times act in the heat of passion.

      Your opinion is build on half the facts, meaningless if you can't even be bothered to actually read the history and logic that was applied to it's creation by those that actually created it.

    • claptona profile image

      John D Wilson 

      23 months ago from Earth


      Well, see we do agree on something! LOL

      Have a great week!


    • Readmikenow profile image


      23 months ago

      Claptona you are absolutely correct. I don't think we realize we would have a much different country without the electoral college. It would be controlled by larger populations living in smaller areas.

    • claptona profile image

      John D Wilson 

      23 months ago from Earth

      Sorry, this is wrong.

      The Electoral College was put into place to ensure that a small number of state would not force a larger number of states to follow their desires.

      If you look at the voting at present, Trump carried 36 states, Clinton Carried 14. The most populous states - NY and CA were the two states that might have made this a close election.

      But, Trump carried so many more states, it nullified what the more populated states wanted.

      States were part of the checks and balances within our government. Hence, since 36 states went to Trump, Trump is the choice of the States.

      The "populist" vote that's talked about in your video is the exact reason the Electoral College is in place. If it wasn't, those with the biggest population would be telling those states with smaller populations what they could or could not do.

      The states were meant to be have an equitable voice in the election of the president. And this played out well in the election of 2016.

      Most states (the people who live in those states) do not accept the liberal agenda of the more populated states.

      If this was not the case, Trump would not have won as many states as he did.

      The concept that Trump is not "qualified" to lead is a personal opinion, not a proven fact. Obama had never held a job outside of what he could garner making off of taxpayers dole.

      Eisenhower was a General with no "government" experience.

      Unfortunately, with the idiotic rhetoric like the above video, the true nature of the "checks and balances" of the states is not talked about. It was crushed under Lincoln, never to be considered again.

      But the reality is this - when the majority of states want a particular person as president, then that's the person that should be put into office.

      It's not up to members of the Electoral College to decide what is right and what is wrong, it's their duty to do the task that the voters have asked them to do - choose what the voters wanted. Trump is the President elect and will be the next President of the U.S.

      "Delegates from the small states generally favored the Electoral College out of concern large states would otherwise control presidential elections."

      The Electoral College had nothing to do with the fear that citizens were stupid.

      The fear was larger populated states would control the Presidential election.

      Anything else, populist vote, qualifications, etc. is garbage.

      The Electoral College allows smaller populated states to have a somewhat equal voice in the process of electing the President

      Any other concepts of why the Electoral College is in place is total nonsense.



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