The State Of The Electoral College

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“Tyranny naturally arises out of democracy.” These words from the Greek philosopher Plato summarize the most fundamental concern of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention when they considered what the best way to conduct presidential elections would be. While, in concept, democracy sounds like the fairest form of government, in practice, it is less than ideal. Fear of “tyranny of the majority” prompted discussion over how the president should be elected. The Founders chose the Electoral College—which incorporates democracy, federalism, and republicanism—for presidential selection, because it provided for the best balance of power. The Electoral College was the product of no small amount of debate during the Constitutional…show more content…
While he agreed that “the sense of the people should operate in the choice of the [president],” he made clear the importance of “afford[ing] as little opportunity as possible to tumult and disorder.” This would require the will of the people to be tempered by “an intermediate body of electors.” Not only would this be a compromise between the competing ideas in the Constitutional Convention, it would prevent any one group from having undue discretion when it came to electing the most powerful person in government. Of these competing ideas, two are prominently reflected in the Electoral College. The first is democracy, an idea largely advanced by Alexis de Tocqueville in Democracy in America. Democracy, loosely defined as the direct representation of people in government, seems the most logical way to conduct an election. The second is federalism. Understanding how this could become problematic, the founders decided to include states in the election process. According to Federalist 68, this would allow “the people of each State [to] choose a number of persons as electors…who shall assemble…and vote for some fit person as President.” This balance of individual and state discretion would soon be codified in Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution.
The Electoral College has remained steadfast in our ever changing world. What
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