December 12, 2020
By Dan Hall
Special to The Lee’s Summit Tribune
(Editor’s Note: Lee’s Summit resident, Dan W. Hall, has been elected to serve on the 2020 Electoral College as one of ten Missouri Electors. The Missouri Electoral College delegates will meet in the State Capital in Jefferson City on Monday).
On Monday, December 14, 2020, elected delegates will meet, in each of our fifty states, to cast ballots for President and Vice President of the United States. Missouri has ten electoral votes while Illinois, on our eastern border, will cast 20, and California will have 55 votes all based on state population. Every four years, a temporary group of electors equal to the total number of representatives in Congress meet to elect our next President. The first candidate to get 270 of the 538 total electoral votes wins the White House.
Without the Electoral College, presidential candidates would face no incentive to appeal to a larger cross section of voters, instead focusing on the interests of elites in populous cities such as New York and Los Angeles. The needs and interests of regular voters in thinly populated rural areas would inevitably be overlooked in favor of majority interests and at the expense of legitimate minority interests.
Without the Electoral College, presidential candidates would not need to worry about the support of farmers in rural counties, blue-collar workers, or small business owners if they could only secure the support of the almost entirely big population cities and states such as Boston, or Chicago or states such as California and New York.
Founding father and second United States President John Adams warned us, “There never was a democracy yet, that did not commit suicide.” Madison echoed Adams, calling democracy “the most vile form of government.” Indeed, America is not a democracy, it is a republic, and the Electoral College is one of the remaining safeguards that keep it so.
While the framers knew America could not exist as an adequate governing body for the securing of our rights without a strong national government, they admitted that ultimately America was a union of states, not a homogenous land mass. Therefore, in seeking to uphold the power of the states, the founders created a system in which Americans who vote for a president are not primarily voting as citizens of America, but as citizens of their state.
The founders showed an astounding amount of foresight in choosing our Electoral College method of electing the president. These individuals understood how coalitions of elites could band together to oppress regular people — and they understood that regardless of whether these oppressors represented a majority or a minority of the people, they could threaten liberty.
(Note: Much of the above is taken, in part, from Sara Weaver who is pursuing a master’s degree in the Van Andel Graduate School of Statesmanship.)