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Thread on the Electoral College Part 4:

Below you will find links to the 3 previous tweet threads in this series on the Electoral College. I appreciate everyone’s interest in this as coincidentally there is a lot of press coverage on this topic lately.
What I want to do is close the loop on this series and just how serious this topic really is. Hopefully this helps shine a light on the issue and spark a larger conversation on civics.
Going back to our scene:

That heavy air doesn’t dissipate as you ponder what you just read. Your child can see you’re thinking and they are looking at you intently as you digest what you just read. Finally you look up at them and say, “what I am reading is
“the founders were very concerned about the influences on the majority by foreign powers or a cabal within the country. They also wanted the obstacle to those influences to be practical and simple. Does that sound about right?”
Your child smiles and responds by nodding their head. “Ok,” you move on further. “Tell me what the difference is between a democracy and a republican government.” “That’s a great question dad! First I’ll point out the founders
“were very familiar with the history of democracies having studied Greek history. Why is Greek history important? That is where democracy as a form of government was founded. And throughout history pure democracies have
“proven to be a failure. The reason behind that is that democracies rely upon a majority. You don’t have to be a scholar to understand just how risky that form of government is for the long-term survival of the government.
“All an adversary would have to do is to influence 50.1% of the voters to overturn a sitting government and/or hence change policy. So to make this detail practical, let’s look at the two parties in our country, the Republicans and Democrats.
“Under a pure democracy during a Presidential election, all it would take is a simple majority of the voters to decide who is President of the United States.”
“Ok, that makes sense,” you say. This tracks with how you’ve always thought elections are decided. You’ve heard of the Electoral College before but didn’t really understand how it works. You have a feeling you’re going to learn.
“So kiddo, one of the things I’m not sure of is what you mean by a republican government.” “That is a great question! So I mentioned that our founders were great lovers of history and also studied the early history of the
“Roman Republican. In Rome before Caesar there was a Senate and a pair of Consuls, or leaders that were usually elected for one year at a time. The founders wanted to follow this model with some additional tweaks.
“What they have added is a House of Representatives and a Judiciary, which ends up filling out the three branches of the government: the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary. Okay so far?”

“Yes, got it. Makes sense.”
“Awesome! The founders were keenly worried about the tyranny of the majority in how Presidents are elected, so they put into the Constitution the framework with which our elections happen, even in the 21st century.”
“Can you show me where?” you ask. Again, your child grins big. You can tell their enjoying this as much as you are. They dig down into their backpack and pull out a small booklet with calligraphy writing & old documents on the cover.
They go directly to a page that’s been tabbed and read:

“Article II:

Section 1. The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his office during the term of four years,
“and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same term, be elected as follows: each state shall appoint, in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a number of Electors, equal to the number of Senators & Representatives
“to which the State may be entitled in Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed Elector.”
Again there is an air of silence. You’re thinking again about what you’ve just heard. “So the states choose people called Electors and each state has the same number of Electors as they have in Senators and Representatives.”

“That’s right pops.”
“And if I remember what I read yesterday in Federalist No. 10 those who are part of our strong Union cannot be of such character they would be influenced by factions or other foreign influences. Isn’t that right?”

“You are correct again.”
“So we have a total of what, 538 Electors, to match the totals in all of Congress.”

“Yep.” Their eyes are focused on everything you’re saying, almost anticipating what you’re going to say next.
“So explain to me what these Electors are so important,” you say.

“Let me answer that question the way my professor did when I asked the same question. What states today have the largest population?”
“New York and California.”

“Right! And they are both leaning Democrat because of the urban voters in both of those states. What are some other states that have large cities?”
New Jersey, Florida, Texas, Georgia, Virginia, Illinois, and Pennsylvania are the ones of the top of my head.”
“Ok, you’ve just named nine states with 41 states remaining plus the District of Columbia. Let’s not forget the Territories like Puerto Rico and Guam who also vote. Would it be fair for those nine states to have enough votes to elect a President?”
“Absolutely not!” you exclaim. “Could that happen?”

“Hypothetically? Yes it could.”

“How. That is ridiculous!”
“Well dad first you have to remember that not everyone in the country votes. Generally less than 50% of the population votes every 4 yrs for the Presidential election and even less then than for the mid-term elections.
“So with that framework let’s look at the total popular vote in the last election: the total vote count was 136,669,276; the winner got 62,984,828 votes and the loser got 65,853,514 votes. This is the best example of the
“Electoral College at work. The winner got 304 Elector votes and the loser got 227.”

You nod, acknowledging the data.
“To break this down further, let’s look at the 9 states you noted a minute ago. The winner of the last election got 43% of all their votes from those states, while the loser got 51% of their votes from those states.”

Again you nod.
“To make the population geographic imbalance more pronounced, the loser won the majority votes in WA, OR, CA, HI, CO, NM, MN, IL, ME, NH, VT, NY, NJ, MD, MA, MA, RI, CT, and the District of Columbia.
“And these states produced nearly 66 million voters for the loser. Now those voters are really ticked off now since the current President is going against what those voters wanted while the rest of the country is thrilled with the outcome.”
You think back on that election. You don’t live in any of those states and you remember thinking of how your values were, and remain, very different from the voters in those coastal states. But didn’t your guy win?
You look to your child and they are already anticipating your question. “Yes dad the last election was different. The winner of the last election won the popular vote and initially lost the Electoral College, but ended up winning
“the Electoral College because of something called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.”

“What’s that again?”

“This is where enough states join together to award their Electoral Votes to the candidate who wins the popular vote.”
“Doesn’t that happen already?”
“It does and it doesn’t. Before the last election each state would award their Elector’s votes to the popular vote in their state instead of the national popular vote. Now they look at the overall vote totals and cast their votes accordingly.”
“Well that isn’t good, is it?” you comment.

“Well dad, it depends on who you are. Are you part of a faction? Do you support the majority with everything the majority wants to do?”
“I would answer NO to both questions.”

“Ok. I know you voted for the eventual winner, even though they did not win the Electoral College before the change. Why did you vote the way you did?”
“That’s simple. I voted because the donkey party promised to fix healthcare, fixing the cost of going to college, give everyone a living wage, and a couple of other things I can’t remember. You are benefiting from all of that by the way.”
“And I appreciate the lower cost of my education. And I appreciate the fact that your healthcare out of pocket cost has gone down. But as I’ve learned about what the Founders wanted in a limited government, I have to say
“that I would vote for it to go back the way it was before. We have reduced the competitiveness of capitalism and increased our society’s reliance on the government. And what has that gotten us?”
An awkward silence hangs in the air. You know they are right about everything they’ve said. “Not to mention the increased tax bills that you and mom have had to pay and the huge increases in the deficit because of all these programs.”
You nod your head again. Your kid is pretty smart. “Well bud, your old man needs to go hit the sack. Tomorrow’s a big day and work and my head hurts from our chat. You’ve given me a lot to think about.
“I’ll see you tomorrow after work and we can pick this back up.”

“Sounds good pops. I’ve really enjoyed these chats.”
You smile on your way to bed. You’ve learned more about how the President is elected in the last couple of days then you ever knew before.
A week or so later you’re reading the Sunday paper and you see a headline about the Electoral College. Since your chat with your youngest you’ve been thinking more about the upcoming election. They have a point about the larger influences the government has in your everyday life.
You read the article and discover the Tea Party has risen and is suing the states that have signed the Compact that allowed Electors to cast their vote with the national popular vote. Huh! That’s interesting. The suit is filed in Texas and is being fast tracked through the
courts because of the upcoming election. You also read the Federalist Society is also supporting the suit. Makes sense, right?
A few months later and the time has come for Republican and Democrat Conventions. The speeches of the leading candidates could not have more different. The Elephant candidate spoke a lot about reducing the impact of government on people’s lives. There are 3 things on the plank:
1) Elimination of the universal living wage and tax credits to companies that create and fill new jobs; 2) Elimination of government subsidies to the nation’s colleges & universities, significantly reduce availability to student loans, forcing tuition levels back to where they
we’re 20 yrs ago; and 3) adopt the mantra “drill, drill, drill” and kick start the energy industry to where the country becomes energy independent. The point is to eliminate the programs that are creating the huge deficits. Once the spending cuts get implemented and make their
way through the economy then a 4th priority would kick in, lower marginal tax rates, which leads to the 5th priority, tackle healthcare. All of these items seem reasonable to you. Maybe this Party isn’t so bad. You’ll want to see what the Donkey Party says at their convention.
The following week the candidate you voted for appears on the stage for their acceptance speech. You notice they appear angry, completely the opposite from how they looked 4 yrs ago. Back then they looked gleeful. Now they look a mix between worried & mad.
As they start their speech you reach for that article in the paper that outlined the Republican platform. You want to have it handy while you listen to this one.
For the first 30 minutes they recount all of the programs their administration created and rolled out to the American people. Almost gloating. Then they move to the next part of the speech. The part where they talk about expanding the government programs and the added taxes to
pay for these benefits. Unfortunately everyone was going to have to sacrifice to make the poor and middle class realize the American dream. They talk about raising taxes on all incomes above $75,000, creating a national sales tax, and an estate tax on wealth above $1 million.
Ouch!!! That’s going to bite. In addition to the increase in taxes the next priority is to reduce spending in the military and eliminate Social Security benefits for anyone with liquid assets above $1 million.
“Our wealthy must pay their fair share to help our poor & middle class rise up again. The reaction in the audience was adulation. The crowd was practically frothing at the mouth. The wealthier looking attendees didn’t look too happy.
The next morning the front page of the paper shows the stock market crashing. The speech of the President sparked a huge sell off in every market around the globe. It’s looking like a drop of at least 10% in the first day. That’s not good. You don’t have that many yrs to go
before you retire. You turn on CNBC and the anchors on the morning program are losing their minds. Everything is heading in the same direction. Red is everywhere. Hopefully this ends soon and there’s it too big a hit to your retirement.
A couple days later you read online that the Federal Distrixt Court in Texas has ruled in favor of the Tea Party law suit. The Donkey lawyers immediately appeal to the DC Appeals Court. A hearing is scheduled for the following week. That’s a lot quicker than normal.
A month later and Labor Day is coming up. Your thinking of taking the holiday off work and going to play golf. As your booking your round online you notice the Supreme Court is going to hear the Tea Party suit. Apparently the DC Appeals sides with the Donkey’s lawyers. Now it is
time for SCOTUS to decide the fate of the Electoral College. Unless a Constitutional Amendment made it past a super majority of the states to do away with the Electoral College it looks like this Colonial institution was going to survive.
The hearings were not televised but that didn’t stop either Party from politicizing the event. But things got explosive when SCOTUS ruled in favor of the Tea Party. Attack ads from the Donkey candidate became vicious, slandering the leaders of the Tea Party and accusing them of
being part of the 1%. That gets you interested in who the leadership of the Tea Party are and who is supporting their legal fight. A quick search and you pull up their web site and you see a leadership page with bios and find everyone is just like you, hard working blue and
white collar Americans who are passionate about their country. You also see they have a page on their site that invites people to donate funds to help them fund their fight to take back the country. You notice at the bottom of the screen that no donations over $100 are allowed.
Well that’s interesting. The next 5 weeks are going to be interesting, you think to yourself.
That was an understatement! The attacks from the Left are keeping the polls close. After everything you’ve learned the last year you know how you will vote come Election Day. You will cast your vote to reduce the government. You just hope enough of your fellow citizens do too.
The big day has finally arrived. You voted that morning so you could watch the election results on TV. You come home from work, have dinner, clean up the kitchen and sit down with your family in the living room. It’s early though and the big states on the east coast were already
reporting results. They don’t surprise. The usual urban voting turnout is the ways it’s always been. The Donkey Party is starting quick, but the more Elephant parts of the country are reporting YUGE turnout. Some the precincts don’t close on time since the lines were so long.
About midnight the election was called. The Elephant Party candidate was declared victorious. You call it a night. You’re exhausted. The excitement of the night has worn off.
The following morning you bounce right out of bed. Your morning paper is waiting for you in the driveway. The front page is full of election coverage. You notice the popular vote by the Donkey Party outpaced the Elephant Party. Your heart sinks! Dang it!! Your guy lost.
When you get inside you put the paper down on the kitchen table and go get some coffee. “Hey pops! What a night huh?” “Yep, but we lost. We didn’t win.” “Dad, we won the Electoral College. That’s all that counts.”
“YES!!!” You had forgotten the Founders had put this process in place for a reason, to protect the idea of a Constitutional Republic from the tyranny of the majority. It was clear the majority had it out for their fellow Americans who have more then they do.
One month later all 400 Electors place their vote for the Elephant candidate. Even though the Donkey Party got fewer popular votes than his opponent, he failed to convince enough voters to win the Electoral College.
The protections put into place by the Founders actually worked. The process is not perfect, but it is excellent.
If everyone would just learn and get involved. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!!! @realDonaldTrump
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