Alexander Keyssar, a historian at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, contributed a post to The New York Times in a discussion on what things would Americans like to see changed in the U.>S Constitution. Professor Keyssar argues that we should abandon the Electoral College.
The rational for eliminating this perceived bastion of anti-democratic snobbery is that its reasons for being: keeping in check the passions of the American masses; the concern that the people would not be familiar with national candidates; a desire to reinforce the compromises between the states, i.e., the Three-fifths Compromise, are no longer that important.
I would beg to differ. There is still a reason to distrust popular elections. Americans simply do not spend time learning the issues in an objective, thorough way, relying on extremist media personalities and platforms to educate them.
A significant number of Americans believe that President Barack Obama was not born here and is not a Christian. So much for candidate familiarity in an Internet and social media age.
Granted slavery is over, but can we say that a state maintains a level of dominance simply because of its size? Georgia is a big state, but given its educational system and sour economic performance, I can’t call it a domineering state.
The American campaign season has devolved into a semblance of the preliminaries for The American Idol. Get rid of the Electoral College and you will definitely have Night at the Apollo. The solution is the other way around. Either ditch the popular vote, which is the engine for the silly season, the magnet for the simpleton solutions politicians try to pass as policy; or go to a parliamentarian system. Let the president and vice-president be selected by Congress.
I would go one step further and have state legislators nominate and select their states’ representatives to Congress. You would have shorter and less expensive campaign seasons, and with one vote on the state level, voters could correct the philosophical mistakes they made in the prior election season.
Trying to maintain the current form of American democracy for an electorate that refuses to educate itself on the issues is waste.