“The whole system stinks”, is the best description I can think of for the way the United States elects its president. The process is undemocratic, subject to partisan and special interest manipulation, and managed at a state level when it’s a national activity.
My critics will scream that what I am saying is unconstitutional, and that’s correct. However, despite widespread opinion in the U.S. that the Constitution is sacrosanct, what it specifies in terms of how the President is elected, and the way state electors, not the people, elect the president, should in of itself be unconstitutional. It is also interesting to note that the Constitution makes no mention whatsoever about an Electoral College, which is the institution that currently elects the president.
The system is flawed, archaic, anachronistic, and most certainly undemocratic. The President of the United States is the President of the people of the United States not just president of a group of “Electors”, many of whom are appointed rather than elected by the people. I should add, for those of my readers who are not familiar with this situation that state appointed “electors” are sent to the Electoral College to elect the president – the people of the United States have no say in the matter.
The Electoral College was created, and pushed through into law, by the first slave-owning governors of the southern states. They did that in order to retain control over the presidential election process. They twisted the vote count by authorizing the amazing condition that each slave could be counted as two-thirds of a vote, when those slaves had no right whatsoever to actually vote. Those “slave” votes, of course, were actually used by their owners, which meant the owners had multiple votes. It worked. The first five presidents of the U.S. were all from the south.
The founders of the Electoral College confused the process even further by not only allowing states to appoint the electors to the Electoral College, rather than have the people of the state elect them, but also in some cases, not legally requiring those electors to vote for the presidential candidate their appointers wanted. The whole system stinks, and should be banished.
The current movement of Republicans to subvert the course of democracy by passing laws designed to restrict the vote of elements of the electorate that don’t agree with them, also uses the archaic system of electors, and the Electoral College, as a vehicle to achieve their goals. In some states, the republican legislatures are currently passing laws that will permit them to arbitrarily invalidate any election, and appoint whoever they want both to “elector” positions and, in some instances, to their state U.S. Congressional and Senatorial posts as well. The whole system stinks.
National public positions should be determined by all eligible U.S. voters, and the states should have nothing to do with the management of that process. The states should manage the processes that elect state officials, but not national officials. That responsibility should lie with the Federal Government, so the process is as equitable and as standardized as possible, across the whole country.
The first step on my election process “course correction” program will be a Constitutional amendment abolishing the undemocratic, slave-based origin, archaic and anachronistic anomaly called the Electoral College. This will be followed by the establishment of a presidential election process, managed by the Federal Government, which reflects the “One man, One Vote” concept that the U.S. always espouses as a fundamental part of its governance system. I should add that although the Constitution doesn’t mention the Electoral College, it will take a constitutional amendment to abolish it.
I fully realize that any political system can be manipulated, but one that actually embodies anti-democratic practices, in a country that likes to boast it founded democracy, is hypocritical at best and downright dangerous at worst. I hate to remind people, but it was only because he lived in a democracy that Hitler was able to come to power. Donald Trump’s recent attempt to subvert the last presidential election, and stay in power, showed, once again, that democracy is fragile and, unfortunately, contains the elements of its own potential downfall.
Let’s start the U.S. democracy course correction program with the elimination of the Electoral College, and then implement a system where the people of the United States can actually elect their own President.