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OPINION

Constitutional ignorance

By Walter Williams

This article was published January 18, 2018 at 2:50 a.m.

Hillary Clinton blamed the electoral college for her stunning defeat in the 2016 presidential election in her latest memoir What Happened? Some have claimed that the electoral college is one of the most dangerous institutions in American politics. Why? They say the electoral college system, as opposed to a simple majority vote, distorts the one-person, one-vote principle of democracy because electoral votes are not distributed according to population.

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hah406 says... January 18, 2018 at 8:46 a.m.

The founding fathers were absolutely correct about the tyranny and folly of majority rule. Getting rid of the electoral college would be unwise. However, as populations have shifted and changed, perhaps it is time to re-formulate and bring a bit more balance to the proceedings. An electoral college vote in Wyoming should not carry four times the weight that one in California does. Yes, it will and should always carry more, but perhaps four times more is excessive and misrepresents the will of the people?

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brettell_sbcglobal.net says... January 18, 2018 at 10:23 a.m.

Walter Williams asks a question at the end of his article: "Is it ignorance of or contempt for our Constitution that fuels the movement to abolish the electoral college?" The answer is simple: BOTH. Generally speaking, our Public Schools have failed its students -- our children -- for nearly five decades through a faulty philosophy of education. Our institutions of higher learning have and are failing their students via liberal professors. Therefore, the general public has been "dumbed-down" to the point that they "accept" any lie coming out of the mouth of any liberal, progressive, Democrat, RINO, politician, Justice, Judge, and/or Lawyer. WAKE UP, AMERICA! The "frog-of-FREEDOM" has been slowly boiled in the "waters-of-liberalism" for decades; and "we-the-people" are responsible for this tragedy for allowing it to have occurred. There's a "new-water" beginning to boil in this country, and masses are beginning to wake-up. It's NOT too late to restore America to its intended purpose. STAND-UP and let your voice be heard. Thank you, Walter Williams, for this fantastic article.

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Dontsufferfools says... January 18, 2018 at 10:55 a.m.

How does giving Wyoming residents and residents of low population states in general a 4-1 weighting in presidential voting make the U.S. less tyrannical? It doesn't. It's a phony argument. Voters in N.Y. and California aren't any more or less tyrannical than voters in the Dakotas. Historians say the founding fathers weren't weighing tyranny when they set up the electoral college system. They worried that in presidential elections, candidates would simply ignore low-population areas and focus on where most of the votes were, so they gave the low-pop states a way to attract candidates. Back then, traveling to the hinterlands to campaign was a major undertaking. This isn't working today because of our bright red-blue division and isn't necessary because of air travel. Candidates can fly in and out of several states in one day, if they wish. But presidential candidates spend little time in the Dakotas and Wyoming, both reliably red, and spend all their time and money in the handful of swing states. Terrible argument by Mr. Williams, deceptive even.

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Slak says... January 18, 2018 at 11:48 a.m.

Sufferin' Fool demonstrates the answer is Ignorance, at least for the class of proglibs known as the so-called "useful idiots".
As for the elitist cabal which leads the proglib insurgency, it is most certainly contempt. For these traitors, any means justifies the ends.

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mozarky2 says... January 18, 2018 at 1:06 p.m.

With a name like Dontsufferfools, it makes you wonder how he lives with himself...

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WhododueDiligence says... January 18, 2018 at 1:18 p.m.

As Williams points out, the founders were opposed to direct democracy and its associated rule by majority. However, they were also opposed to ruling-class aristocracy through birthright and also vehemently opposed to rule by monarchy. Democracy is generally not defined as Athenian-style direct democracy. It's usually defined as representative democracy in which citizens vote for their representatives and are otherwise given rights to participate in the political process. The fact that the founders designed a republic doesn't prevent the USA from also being an example of a representative democracy.
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In his argument that the USA is a republic and not a democracy (an often-stated argument from the extreme right), Williams conveniently ignores the fact that the Constitution begins with "We the People," which strongly suggests a degree of democratic process. Article 1, Section 4 gives power to the states to determine how their US representatives are elected, which also allows implementation to some degree of the democratic process. Williams presents his argument as an either/or choice. But it's a false choice--an either/or fallacy--because the founders designed a government which can be legitimately referred to as both a republic and a representative democracy.
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Williams' last question is also an either/or fallacy. The answer doesn't have to be either. As brettell pointed out, the answer can be both. The answer also can be neither. It's a complex issue, and it's likely that many people who oppose the electoral college are neither ignorant nor contemptuous of our Constitution. I happen to agree with Williams that the electoral college should not be abolished, but the way Williams presents that question, in the all-too common political form of an either/or fallacy, is objectionable.

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TimberTopper says... January 18, 2018 at 2:16 p.m.

WhoDo, excellent points! My thought is Gerrymandering does much more harm to our nation.

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Delta123 says... January 18, 2018 at 2:32 p.m.

"Gerrymandering" is only seen as harmful if you think members of your tribe are put at a disadvantage as a result. It's also a great excuse for trying to explain away why your candidate got beat. It can't be my candidate and what they stand for, it has to be because of Gerrymandering.

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Dontsufferfools says... January 18, 2018 at 2:42 p.m.

It's always a victory when one's detractors answer your argument with schoolyard insults.
Williams got his history and his logic wrong in this instance. Point made. Case one. Russian trolls can writhe and whimper, but the truth will out.

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Slak says... January 18, 2018 at 2:46 p.m.

Case one (sic).
---for amigoo

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