Ocasio-Cortez: The Electoral College is a Shadow of Slavery!

The Democratic Candidate for New York’s 14th Congressional District, Ms. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, continued to display her less than superior intelligence on Saturday when she tweeted that the Electoral College was a “shadow of slavery’s power on America today that undermines our nation as a democratic republic.”

There are many reasons one could validly employ in arguing that the Electoral College ought not be used in selecting the President. Those arguments include the underrepresentation of urban areas and the apparent inconsistency of a victorious president who fails to win the popular vote.  I understand these arguments and am willing to debate against them.  But claiming that the Electoral College represents some outcrop of slavery is not merely an immensely unsubstantiated charge, its promotion serves only to reveal its proponent’s complete ignorance.

The Electoral College is a method by which the President of the United States is elected that employs electoral votes instead of popular votes.  Those electoral votes are loosely proportional to each state’s population and serve to grant slightly greater weight to those less populous states; states that tend to be more agrarian in nature.

The Electoral College is an outcrop of the tension between those larger, more commercial states and those smaller, more agrarian states at the time of our nation’s founding.  Although those states were largely separated by latitudes back then, today the battle lines are more properly drawn between the urban coastal centers and the nation’s agrarian midsection, erasing whatever shadows Ms. Ocasio-Cortez may be divining.

Moreover, the selection of the Electoral College as the system by which the President is chosen springs from the philosophical presumption that the President of the United States answers to the states.  It is because he or she is subservient to the states that the states ought to be given the responsibility of electing the President.  This concept was a foundational precept for the nation’s creation.

But if her wildly erroneous comment about the Electoral College and slavery’s power were insufficient to demonstrate her ignorance, her charge that it “undermines our nation as a democratic republic” does.

The Electoral College is the centerpiece of our republican system of government because it places an extra tier of representation within the democratic process.  Not only is each state a republican system of government, but also by making sure that the states elect the President, we have essentially created a second republic.  This concept of multiple republics under the auspices of a larger one is the essence of federalism and provides an extra layer of protection for the minority.

For Ocasio-Cortez not to recognize these concepts as the Democratic candidate in a general election defies belief.  Quite frankly, the notion that any district within this great Republic would ever cast its vote for her is even more inexplicable.

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EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Federalist Pages. The featured photo is by Anthony Garand on Unsplash.

1 reply
  1. DeNova Weaver
    DeNova Weaver says:

    Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    Neither the Electoral College nor the US House of Representatives are inherently racist, undemocratic, flawed by slavery, or outdated. They are simply mechanisms of our republic form of government based on population. More populated states have more US Representatives and more Electors.

    As a constitutional republic rather than a direct democracy, the United States relies on representatives (legislators) to create laws by which we self govern. If we don’t like their legislation, we vote out our representatives.

    The Electoral College is also representational and generally reflects the majority will of each state. There are 538 electors which include 3 for DC and 535 divided among the 50 states – 435 of which are based on population just like the 435 members of the US House of Representatives.

    In 48 of our 50 states, faithful electors are to cast their electoral college vote based on their state’s popular vote – winner take all. In my state, Washington, all 12 votes (10 Congressional Districts and our 2 US senators) usually go to the Democratic candidate even though not all 10 congressional districts vote blue.

    When popular vote advocates refer to the Electoral College being linked to slavery, they are really referring to the Three-Fifths Compromise which increased slave state representation in both the US House of Representatives and the Electoral College without slaves themselves being represented.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-Fifths_Compromise

    The 13th Amendment (1865) abolished slavery. The 14th Amendment (1868) gave former slaves citizenship. The 15th Amendment (1870) gave them the right to vote. Hence the 3/5 Compromise method of counting population and determining representatives hasn’t existed since 1870. Today all citizens have an equal vote.

    Today our problem is not slave states using the slave population to gain a representative advantage, but rather sanctuary cities and states inflating their population and thereby congressional and Electoral College representation with illegal immigration. Congressional districts/representatives and electors increase or decrease based on the US Census which includes non-citizens. Non-citizens protected from deportation directly inflates population census counts and thereby representational apportionment.

    Rather than inflating representational power by counting non-voting slaves, some cities and states now use illegal aliens.

    https://people.howstuffworks.com/question4721.htm

    https://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-08.pdf

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