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By Kevin Anthony Stoda
The electoral college was essentially written into the constitution to avoid what was known as mobocracy. America is now at a crossroads. Will its electors do the right thing as the founding fathers intended in writing the constitution?
by Kevin Stoda
“Trump Says Electoral College ‘Genius’ After Calling It ‘Disaster’” was the headline on ABC a few days ago. Everyone is still a bit confused about what is possible with America’s archaeic electoral college system.
FactCheck.Org posed the important question recently:
Q: Can the Electoral College elect Hillary Clinton on Dec. 19 [, 2016]?
A: Yes, it may be constitutionally possible; but no, it will not happen, according to election experts.
The author, Robert Farley,of that particular FactCheck piece noted: “A Change.org petition, now signed by more than 4.3 million people, encourages members of the Electoral College to cast their votes for Hillary Clinton when the college meets on Dec. 19. The petition argues that Donald Trump is “unfit to serve” and that ‘Secretary Clinton WON THE POPULAR VOTE and should be President.'”
Farley continued: “‘If they all vote the way their states voted, Donald Trump will win,’ the petition states. ‘However, they can vote for Hillary Clinton if they choose. Even in states where that is not allowed, their vote would still be counted, they would simply pay a small fine — which we can be sure Clinton supporters will be glad to pay! We are calling on the Electors to ignore their states’ votes and cast their ballots for Secretary Clinton.'”
The American constitution set up the electoral college over 225 years ago. In it, the election of the president, the head of the executive branch is defined and clarified. When Americans vote for the president under the constitution they do not actually vote for the president directly but simply for an elector. The elector is supposed to both represent the will of the people of the state while avoiding the worst tendencies of mobocracy–what the founders of the Repulblic seem to fear more than slave rebellions and corruption in government or financial institutions.
With the election of the most hated candidate in American memory, i.e. Dondald Trump, by about 45% of American voters in the various state populations across the USA this past 8th of November, for only the third or fourth time in the last two-hundred-plus years a group of electors in the Electoral College System is seriously being called to think through the will of the people, the needs of the land today, and the needs of future generations when electing the president.
Too often, the job of an elector has been fairly automatic. It can no longer be if the Electoral y College system is to stay in existance. The college is meant to be a break on the entire system , i.e. to help avoid the worst and most hateful tendencies in the Republican system, like in the recent Brexit vote in the UK,
What follows in the next sections of this writing is a fairly complete history of how electors have acted since the constitution went into effect in the 1780s. I encourage you to read through this narration. Then I suggest you talk to your state’s elector about the options.
ree Thinking electors have existed, but they have been few in number. There have been one in each election in the years 1948, 1956, 1960, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1988, and 2000. And they have never influenced the outcome of the presidential election.
However, these free thinkers in the Electoral College did influence elections starting from 1792 onward. Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr received votes for president in the 1792 electoral college system. They received 5 votes total while George Clinton received a whopping 50 votes in that years electoral college. (In 1792, he [Clinton] was chosen by the nascent Jeffersonian Republican party as their candidate for vice president. While the Republicans joined in the general acclamation of Washington for a second term as president, they objected to the allegedly “monarchical” attitude of Vice President John Adams. Under the system then in place, votes for Vice President were not differentiated from votes for President.) Some of these were favorite son or favorite neighbor votes. that is, they had not received significant vote at the local levels or state levels to actually have received a proportional representation of any sort.
In 1796, John Adams barely won the electoral infighting with 71-68 victory of Jefferson. Meanwhile, other candidates got various votes during the electoral college events of that election: Thomas Pinckney (59), Aaron Burr (30), Samuel Adams (15), O. Ellsworth (11), George Clinton (7), John Jay (5), James Iredell (3), S. Johnston (2), George Washington (2), John Henry (2), Charles C. Pinckney (1) . Some of these were favorite son or favorite neighbor votes votes.
In 1800, America’s first electoral tie occurred when both Aaron Burr and Thomas Jefferson received 73 votes in the Electoral College’s first vote. Meanwhile, John Adams received 65, Charles C. Pinckney 64, John Jay (1). Again, some of these were favorite son or favorite neighbor votes votes.
Prior to ratification of the 12th Amendment, votes for President and Vice President were not listed on separate ballots. Although John Adams ran as Jefferson’s main opponent in the general election, running-mates Jefferson and Burr received the same number of electoral votes. The election was decided in the House of Representatives, with 10 State delegations voting for Jefferson, 4 voting for Burr and 2 making no choice.
Despite the institution of the 12th amendment, free thinkers continued to vote for favorite sons or their favorite politician or leader in subsequent elections: In 1808, again George Clinton (6) received votes in the Electoral College as electors from New York split their votes.
In 1824, acoalition of parties and electoral voters came together to defeat Andrew Jackson’s first attempt at the presidency. John Quincy Addams was the one elected that year, but a large number of electors voted for others than either Jackson or Adams–some of this OCCURRED BECAUSE STATES SPLIT THEIR VOTES 2 or 3 WAYS at that time: William H. Crawford (41) & Henry Clay (37).
In 1872, a lot of electors for Horace Greeley were forced to think well-out of the box. For the first time in history a major candidate for president died between election day and the day when the Electoral College voted. (Three votes that were still made for deceased Horace Greeley were not counted.) B. Gratz Brown recieve 18 of Greeley’s votes; Thomas A. Hendricks took 42. Charles J. Jenkins got 2 votes, and David Davis received one vote.
The 1880 election saw an extremely close popular vote between candidates of the two major parties (just over half a million votes seperated James Garfield and his opponent, Winfield Hancock. Hancock won California; however, one Elector cast a vote for Garfield.
In 1888, the Democrat Grover Cleveland won the popular vote but lost the election. None of the those in the electoral college took the opportunity to think and vote outside of the box that year.
In 1892, the electors of the Electoral College for the Presidency of the United States finally returned to their original roots. Eight of them thoughtfully voted for others than won the highest number of votes in their state.
- Welcome: Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington and Wyoming become states during this election cycle
- Grover Cleveland first (and only) President elected to a 2nd, non-consecutive term
- Harrison won Oregon; however one Elector cast a vote for Weaver
- Cleveland won California; however one Elector cast a vote for Harrison
- Harrison won Ohio; however one Elector cast a vote for Cleveland
- Michigan Electors split their vote: 9 for Harrison, 5 for Cleveland; Harrison had won popular vote
- North Dakota Electors split their vote: 1 each for Cleveland, Harrison and Weaver; Weaver had won the popular vote
- Issues of the Day: Farming Issues, Homestead Steel Strike
In short, no favorite sons were voted for in 1892, but numerous favorite neighbor (favorite opposition candidate) were chosen by at least 8 electors. In 1896, one California elector voted for William Jennings Bryan although McKinley one California.
In 1912, once again, California electors were thinking outside the box in their roles in the Electoral College. Theodore Roosevelt won California; however, two Electors cast votes for Woodrow Wilson. (By the way, Socialist Party candidate Eugene V. Debs received about 900,000 votes, but no Electoral Votes. That has been too often the American Way.)
In 1916, one elector in the Electoral College from West Virginia voted for Wilson although the rest of the delegates voted for Charles Hughes, the Republican candidate for president. It would not be until 1948 when again electors in the Electoral College once again began to choose for themselves again. It was in that year that a Tennessee elector voted for Strom Thurmond as a favorite son Southern Dixiecrat in that famed election of Harry S. Truman and Thomas E. Dewey.
In 1960, “The electoral vote was the closest in any presidential election since 1916. In the popular vote, Kennedy’s margin of victory was among the closest ever in American history. The 1960 election also remains a source of debate among some historians as to whether vote theft in selected states aided Kennedy’s victory.” Virginian Senator Harry F. Byrd received 15 electoral votes from 14 Southern states and one Oklahoma elector. (Nixon won Oklahoma; however one Elector cast a vote for Byrd. Alabama Electors split their vote: 6 for Byrd, 5 for Kennedy; Kennedy had won popular vote.)
“The election also featured a strong third party effort by former Alabama Governor George Wallace. Because Wallace’s campaign promoted segregation, he proved to be a formidable candidate in the South; no third-party candidate has won an entire state’s electoral votes since.” Again, in 1968, although Nixon won North Carolina, one Elector cast a vote for Wallace.
Although no electors stood up to support him, businessman Ross Perot won record numbers of votes as an outsider in both the 1992 and 1996 elections. That is, independent candidate H. Ross Perot received 19,741,065 votes in 1992 , most ever for a 3rd party candidate, but no Electoral Votes. In 1996, the Electoral College again ignored votes of many citizens. (That year, the Reform Party candidate H. Ross Perot received 7,866,284 votes, but once again no Electoral Votes.)
So, as the new 3rd Millenium dawned, the Electoral College was seen more and more as archaic but the Democratic and GOP bigwigs had found it vested tehir parties with full control of the executive branch. In 2000, the following occurred and Americans began asking for a change in the status quo: The Green Party candidate Ralph Nader received 2,882,728 votes, but no Electoral Votes. Al Gore won D.C.; however one Elector did not cast a vote. George W. Bush was declared the victor in December of the close election by the USA Supreme Court. It was one of only 4 elections, and first in over 100 years (1824, 1876, 1888) where the popular vote winner lost the election.
In 2008, for the first time in 4 decades a state’s set of electors for the Presidency of the United States split its votes. However, this was not doneby simple clear choice of an elector thinking out of the box. This election marked the first time that Nebraska has split its electoral vote since it went to an allocated system in 1992. Four votes of Nebraska went for John McCain but the remaining vote went to Barack Obama.
Now, in 2016, again it appears that for the second time in 16 years a Democrat has clearly won the popular vote while the Republican candidate appears to be winning the Electoral College. The latest 2016 Election Results (from yesterday) indicate Clinton will beat Trump by between 2 million and 4 million votes depending on uncounted votes in Utah and California. Meanwhile, Trump appears to have won four large states by less than 1% of the total cast votes making the difference. (Michigan, one of the big 4, is still counting its ballots, by the way. The other 1%-vote-difference-states were Pennsylvania, Florida, and Wisconsin.)
It is for this very reason that the people of this nation called the United States of America asks all electors in the Electoral College for the presidency and vice-presidency to think what the real American neighborhoods they are from need now for the exectutive branch. How would the variety of voters in their own state like to see them represent their peoples this 2016?
The Electoral College needs to show the wisdom it was once created long ago to reveal. It was created to avoid mobocracy. Can voting for someone for president and vice-president, i.e other than the majority-vote-getter for their states, become a possibility? Only if they think outside the box and observe the needs of the time, especially the need to fight climate change.
How can we keep this land from moving to a full oligarchy where only the 1% control all power? What side are you on in history, Mr. or Ms. Elector?
Submitters Website: https://eslkevin.wordpress.com/2009/07/09/3-big-paradigms-hol
KEVIN STODA-has been blessed to have either traveled in or worked in nearly 100 countries on five continents over the past two and a half decades.–He sees himself as a peace educator and have been– a promoter of good economic and social development–making-him an enemy of my homelands humongous DEFENSE SPENDING and its focus on using weapons to try and solve global issues.
“I am from Kansas so I also use the pseudonym ‘Kansas’ and ‘alone’ when I write and publish.- I-keep two blogs–one with BLOGGER and one with WORDPRESS.- My writings range from reviews to editorials or to travel observations.- I also make recommendations related to policy–having both a-strong background in teaching foreign languages and degrees in teaching in history and the social sciences.–As a Midwesterner, I also write on religion and living out ones faith whether it be as a Christian, Muslim or Buddhist perspective.”