In the May 19 Spokesman-Review opinion page, E.J. Dionne Jr. calls the electoral college system absurd.
This absurd system of ours has not done too badly over the past 230 years. Dionne states that the Founding Fathers’ design of the electoral college failed after 16 years because it was changed by the 12th Amendment. This is silly. Amendments are part of the original design of the Constitution. How would he characterize the 14th Amendment?
Mr. Dionne wants the presidency to be elected by direct, popular vote. The Founding Fathers specifically set up a representative democracy, not a direct one. Under the present system, 81% (438 of 538) reflect the will of populations while the remaining 19% reflect the will, equally, of the states. This seems to be a reasonable compromise between the popular vote and rural (minority) rights.
Ever since the Athenian experiment in ancient Greece, people have warned us that pure democracy leads to anarchy. If we start electing presidents by popular vote, three things would probably happen. First, we would have to get rid of the Senate because it would be blatantly undemocratic. Second, people’s voices in less-populated states would become irrelevant. Third, due to the succor of liberal theology, the U.S. would become a one-party country.