Tag Archives: Basic Civics

Let’s Talk About the Electoral College

Image courtesy of NationalAffairs.com

As I predicted months ago in another blog, and a few days ago here; the Electoral College is coming under fire as part of the US election process again. The press isn’t even waiting until after the election.

THAT tells me they’re very scared about the results and know the polls are not reflecting real numbers. We’re not here to spin numbers however.

I’m not sure which is more disheartening; the fact that the media is trying to destroy a cornerstone of equal democratic representation in this country OR that people are too damned ignorant and lazy to learn how it works.

This was BASIC junior high / middle school learning back when I went to school.

LONG story short, when the founders were drawing up the constitution, they were originally going to go with a straight election vote. None of the smaller original states would go along with that however, because it meant that New York and Massachusetts would have complete say over who gets elected President. The other smaller states would have NO say, and the President would have NO reason to listen to their concerns at all.

The Electoral College was created as a compromise that ensured the popular vote still held strong, almost total sway, BUT at the same time, the smaller population states had to be taken into account if one wanted to be elected.

Despite what the talking heads trying to destroy our Republic are saying also, the College has only tallied up different than the popular vote on FIVE occasions in the over 200 years of this country’s existence.

In modern times, even with the college, we still hear the entire central 3/4 of the country referred to as “fly over country”, as in “screw them, they don’t have enough votes to matter, I’m not campaigning there”.

WITHOUT the Electoral College, the election would be decided by California, New York, Florida and 3 or 4 other states. Look at the map in the top picture. The number of electors a state gets is based on population, and is the same number that they get for Representatives in the House of Representatives side of Congress. California alone can already override the votes of the entire western 1/3 of the country. Does San Francisco understand what Montana’s needs and goals are? Do they have any reason to even care?

Do NOT believe the lies and propaganda, people. The Electoral College serves a vital role in protecting the representation of the minority against the tyranny of the majority.

If you want a more detailed read on the subject, I recommend the NationalAffairs.com article that I borrowed the picture from.

Silk’s Civics Class – Bills and Laws

I’m going to have a little fun with some basic learning over the course of a few posts.

I’m starting with BASIC civics. The stuff I learned in elementary school about checks and balances and how a law is made. Sadly most 30 somethings and younger seem utterly clueless here. Think I’m kidding about elementary school? Here yah go; courtesy of Saturday Morning Cartoons and Schoolhouse Rock:

I wish more people would learn this stuff too. It’s utterly scary how many people I’ve seen over the past 10 years screaming for the executive branch’s role to be ignored (with both Obama and Trump).

Even worse, I’ve seen state and local government in California completely violate the entire process, even overturning lawful public votes on referendums (same idea as a Bill but the public itself gets to vote on if it becomes legal – true direct democracy), simply because it wasn’t the result they wanted. Public ignorance and apathy are death to a civilization.

The only part that disappoints me with the above video is that it doesn’t explain the role of a presidential veto as part of the system of checks and balances or how / why it can be overridden with a 2/3 majority of both houses.

For those who actually care, the presidential veto is supposed to act as a check and balance against a corrupt majority vote in the Congress. The founding fathers realized that sometimes we might get a batch of bad apples in office or that congress might do what’s popular and expedient instead of what’s right. Gee, NEVER see that…

They also realized we could elect a bad or biased president also, so Congress was given the ability to override a veto with a 2/3 majority vote of both houses. They figured if it was an important enough law, the 2/3 majority would be there. Otherwise the bill can go back through the process again and modify it so it’s acceptable to both houses of Congress and the President.

Yes, the process was deliberately set up to make laws difficult to pass also. The founders had this silly idea (note sarcasm) that tyranny starts with excessive laws.

And the Supreme Court (Judicial Branch) was only supposed to get involved if a law was blatantly unconstitutional. Thanks to lawyers and lobbyists, that’s everything now. At any rate, they have the power to strike down a law if it is unconstitutional.

As part of the checks and balances however, the Constitution can be modified (a long and complicated process involving the states) so as to override the Supreme Court. …OR Congress and the President can go back and work on a new version that IS constitutional.