It is natural and patriotic to revere our founding fathers and their wisdom in creating the Constitution and I’m one who does. However, they were products of their time and certainly were not saints and could not see into the future. Among several issues that plague us today are two serious issues that impacted the outcome on Election Day and does not bode well for our nation in the future.
At the time of our founding, it was accepted that only white educated male property owners had the ability and intelligence to govern our republic. We were not founded as a full fledge democracy but rather a Representative Republic. In that republic white males would have the right to vote for their local representation, but as a compromise between the fledgling states and the views of the time, they would not be allowed to vote directly for the President of the United States. Instead they could vote for qualified and able “Electors” in a process determined by the individual states, who would in turn select our President and Vice President. Further, again because of the views that uneducated people were not qualified to make important decisions and again as a compromise to the States, nothing in the Constitution actually guarantees individual voting rights. The mechanism for voting is still up to the purview of the states. Some Band-Aids have been amended to the constitution to address voting rights, but nothing that absolutely guarantees it or how elections are ran.
So because individual states have the full authority to determine how Electors are selected for the Electoral College and the fact that there is nothing specific or concrete in our Constitution guaranteeing each citizen the equal right to vote throughout the country, we have an 18th Century compromise still in effect that has twice now in the past 16 years allowed a President to be selected who lost the national popular vote, Al Gore and now Hillary Clinton. Due to the gutting of the legislative “Voting Rights Act” individual states were very successful in suppressing minority votes on false pretense of “Voter Fraud” to facilitate appointing Electors and impacting local elections too. I asked a Trump supporter on Twitter to explain to me why in this day and age why a vote from a rural state carries more weight in selecting a President than a vote from a densely populated state? Why shouldn’t all votes across the nation be the same in selecting a national leader? Representation in Congress is one thing but this is the leader of the entire nation, so why is geography more important than individual views and rights on a national level? Of course he had no response.
The fact of the matter is however that he is right, whether you like it or not, agree with it or not, citizens in sparsely populated Red states, though their numbers represent a fraction of the overall population, have more say in selecting the President than all the people in the Blue coastal States who by the way pay the Federal Taxes those in the Red states depend upon to meet their budgetary State needs. Whether you think it’s fair or not, under our current system it is the law.
There is a lot of blame to go around for the election results. Polling interestingly has shown that a full 20% of those who voted for Donald Trump have an unfavorable opinion of him and don’t trust him. The issue was they felt worse about Hillary Clinton. Polling of Trump supporters clearly show that the majority of them are actually doing very well currently and they will acknowledge he is a liar, unqualified and not fit temperamentally to be president but he wasn’t Hillary Clinton. We can debate the issue of why Clinton was the Democratic Nominee but the fact remains she was, she received more popular votes than Trump and the attacks against her were hyped and unfounded. The Electoral College and the lack of critical thinking skills of the voters have given us Donald Trump. Perhaps to some degree the founders were right about the voter. Problem is the Republican Party have molded this loophole in the Constitution to their advantage and this must end.
Although it would be time consuming and very difficult the only solution to this problem in the years to come will be a Constitutional Amendment to not only eliminate the Electoral College but also make voting an equal right enjoyed by all United States Citizens with the same privileges and responsibilities regardless of who they are or where they live. As you know the process is long and is always an uphill battle. Now as someone pointed out to me on Twitter today, “Why would the GOP allow such an amendment to be presented?” That is a good point. Basic Civics tells us that Congress presents and votes on any amendment to the Constitution, it is then voted on in both chambers and must pass with two-thirds of the vote, be signed by the President and then sent to all State Legislatures where it must be ratified by three-fourths of the States. http://www.usconstitution.net/constam.html
Now with the Republicans controlling each branch of our Federal Government and most of the States why would Republicans even initiate such an amendment since the Status Quo has worked so well for them?
That is a fair question. The problem and solution lies with We the People. Over 60% of Americans polled stated they wanted a third party candidate to run in 2016. They state that the problem is the system is rigged to only permit a two party system. Well, that’s not quite it. It’s not rigged, it’s that way by design going back 240 years. You cannot have a viable third party candidate run and win in a system that relies on the Electoral College and a Constitution that does not clearly state that a vote is a sacred right that cannot be suppressed and the results cannot be manipulated with. In short we need to start adopting more of a Parliamentary system to get past the current two party system but that can only happen with a Constitutional Amendment and national laws governing the election process and validity.
It’s all good and fine to complain about the current system, we hear these complaints every two years but we spend too much time shouting in the streets, on social media and when we complain to our representatives, we only complain to the ones who share our party affiliation. We spend too much time preaching to the choir than trying to convert the sinner.
This entire election process clearly showed that majorities of both Republican and Democrats don’t trust their nomination process and we already know Independents and those aligned with Third Parties agree. But again the problem is Constitutional. So to effect a change, to get this addressed in Congress to begin and eventually ratify an amendment we must act on what unites 60% of us, changing the constitution and taking our demand straight to Congress and our State Legislatures. Don’t look at these representatives as Republicans or Democrats look at them as members of Congress who must serve you. Organize, lobby and push a change of the system at a constitutional level. Let them know you will not support anyone, whether they share your party affiliation or not with campaign donations or more importantly your vote.
Doing nothing will get you no results. That is the problem with our system. Those who affiliate with Republicans only get active every two years while Democrats only get active every four years and we always fight the wrong battle to effect change. You really want a third party? Be that party yourself and get active to push an amendment. Oh, and it doesn’t end there. As a nation our views are not being heard by our representatives. Why should they listen to you if you won’t be heard? In your silence they only have to listen to their big money supporters and they use that money to lie to you. Get informed, get organized and get active or this repeats time and time again. This has to start somewhere.