COLUMBUS — Many have asked me about the Electoral College. Currently, President-elect Donald Trump won the presidential election with majority of electoral votes, while Secretary Hillary Clinton lost, despite winning the popular vote. What does this mean, and why does it matter?
Contrary to Secretary Clinton’s concession speech, our form of government is not a Constitutional democracy. America is a Representative republic. The Founding Fathers did not want a Pure democracy based on popular vote, because this form of government is susceptible to mob rule. In a Pure democracy, the rights of an individual or minority can be sacrificed to the will of the other 51 percent of voters. So the problem was: how is liberty shared for all states and peoples and not only the majority? To prevent mob rule and other forms of corruption, the Founding Fathers created a government with checks and balances between lawmakers, judges and the President.
The Electoral College is organized similarly to the U.S. Congress. The U.S. House has seats based on population, but to balance the larger states like California and New York from running everything, each state, no matter how small, has two senators. So, in the U.S. Senate, Vermont has the same voting power as California.
The Electoral Colleges distributes powers fairly to both citizens and individual states. Presidential candidates must appeal to all 50 states. If we used the popular vote to decide the winner, politicians would only visit populous cities or states, such as New York, California and Florida. Less populous states, such as Ohio, New Hampshire or Iowa, would not be represented in the election process. With only 11 million people, Ohio would be virtually ignored by the candidates and have no influence on the election. Our union of states would in effect be ruled by the 39 million people in California or the 20 million who live in New York.
The Electoral Colleges also makes sure that each region is represented by a presidential candidate. This way the East and West Coasts can’t choose who is president, while ignoring the heartland. No one region of the country can win the entire Electoral College, so candidates must appeal to all regions. Each candidate must appeal to different regions with different interests and traditions. California is not Ohio, and Texas is not New York. We are a union of states, and the republic was not meant to be one large nation but a collection of individual, unique and sovereign areas with some shared, but limited interest in the national, federal government.
The Founders created the Electoral College to be fair to all and to protect our republic and union of states. The Electoral College protects minority rights, regional diversity and state sovereignty.
Nino Vitale is the State Representative for Champaign and parts of Shelby and Logan Counties. He can be reached at [email protected] or call 614.466.1507.