The Electoral College: Designed to Prevent Tyranny


“Bear in mind this sacred principle: that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.”

–James Madison


Many people are questioning the validity of the Electoral College, especially since recent elections have shown the popular vote going to one presidential candidate, while the electoral vote went to another. Some say it is archaic, reflecting old values and ideas.

Before 1840, no one personally campaigned for office. The people of that day thought it was arrogant to seek office–as in, “the office seeks the man, not the man the office.” That has certainly changed! But the Founders designed the Electoral College with a very specific purpose. They wanted a compromise between the vote of Congress–which in the early years determined who won the presidency–and the popular vote of the citizens. The Founders believed the Electoral College would give smaller states a bigger voice. They also wanted a buffer so that a charismatic tyrant could not sway the popular vote. As a group, the electors ensure that only a qualified person may become president.

The number of 538 electors reflects our Congress. Each state gets two senators (all states are equal) plus the number of representatives based on population (proportional representation), thus 538 total. This reflects a balance between population and all states having an equal voice.

The electors do not meet in Washington, D.C., but within their own state. This prevents the possibility of bribery and corruption and preserves state sovereignty. It takes the votes of just over half, or 270 electors, for a candidate to become president.

The legislators of each states decide how the electors are chosen and how the votes are alloted. Some go by congressional district, proportionally, or winner-take-all. Electors are supposed to exercise their judgment when they cast their votes.

The U.S. President is elected as chief executive of a union of federated yet sovereign states. It is not supposed to be solely a popularity contest. President Obama won 3.3 million more votes overall than Romney in 2012, but in just four cities alone–Chicago, Philadelphia, New York and Los Angeles–he beat Romney by 3.6 million votes! If not for the Electoral College, candidates would only need to campaign in the most densely populated cities in the U.S. instead of building coalitions and earning support from different geographic areas.

America is, after all, not a direct democracy, but a representative republic. The Founders put in safeguards to preserve states’ rights because they knew that pure democracy could lead to tyranny.

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How to Pray: For the election process to be completed and Trump’s inauguration to go without a hitch. Continue praying for his protection, wisdom, and humility. Pray for Mrs. Clinton, Huma Abedin, Anthony Weiner, John Podesta and others that if they have broken laws, they will be prosecuted. To God be all glory! In Jesus’ name, amen.

Ps. 63:11 – But the king shall rejoice in God; every one that sweareth by him shall glory: but the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.

Prov. 25:2 – It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.


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