Electoral College Day, then and now

640px-Scene_at_the_Signing_of_the_Constitution_of_the_United_StatesThe Electoral College meets today, with the designated electors meeting in state capitols to cast their vote for president.  In most states, electors are required, by law or by oath, to vote according to the election results of their state.  Nevertheless, this year electors are receiving thousands of e-mails, letters, and phone calls, insisting on the autonomy of the electoral college and begging them not to put Trump in office.  Even Democratic electors are being pressured not to vote for Clinton but a more conventional Republican, in the hopes of attracting enough Republican electors to switch from Trump.

In the first presidential election, each state voted, either popularly or by state legislature, for upstanding citizens and trusted local leaders who gathered together to deliberate on who would make the best president.  They voted, and the winner would become president.  That first Electoral College chose, unanimously, George Washington.  There hasn’t been a better president since.

But soon political parties came into existence, nominating their candidates. The electors came to represent a particular party.  They began to all be selected by a popular vote.  And soon we had the system we do today.  (See this for the history of the Electoral College.)

Would you favor going back to the original Constitutional method of picking a president? [Read more…]

Why America will survive a bad election

Ma ny  Americans icans are worried that our constitutional republic won’t survive a Hillary Clinton presidency.  Other Americans worry that it won’t survive Donald Trump.  Still others worry that we are doomed whoever wins.

But David French points out that our Founders put together a constitutional system with so many checks and balances, so many legal limits, and so many opportunities to fix things that our nation can survive a bad election, just as it has already survived much worse.  Not that America couldn’t lose its liberties.  But it would take a long and arduous process to do so and would require the full complicity of the American people.  “Our ship is resilient,” he says. “It would take more than one iceberg to sink.” [Read more…]

Judge sees “absolutely no value” in studying the Constitution

Richard Posner is a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit and a professor at the University of Chicago Law School.  In an op-ed for Slate, he said that he sees “absolutely no value” in judges devoting even seconds to studying the Constitution.  Even the Bill of Rights does “not speak to us today.”

Here is a link to what he said.  Cal Thomas dissects it after the jump.  Then I jump in on the topic, how could the United States cease to exist? [Read more…]

Updating the Constitution?

According to a recent poll, 41% of Democrats believe that the Constitution should be “updated.”  The study did not go into details about what they think should be changed.  The Second Amendment, probably.  I wonder what else they would change.  This compares to 28% of the general public and  20% of Republicans.

Do you think this is an eroding of allegiance to our fundamental national law?  Or a prudent openness to revision?  If the latter, what changes do you think are in order? [Read more…]

The administrative state

Mollie Hemingway at the Federalist just rips to shreds the Obamacare contraceptive mandate.  In the course of doing so, she points to an overarching problem:  The establishment of the administrative state, in which Constitutional government is replaced by administrative agencies, which have the power to make laws, enforce them, and judge and punish those who do not comply.  That is to say, we now have bureaucracies that have legislative, executive, and judicial power. [Read more…]

Madisonian politics

George Will has found something that President Obama and the Tea Party have in common:  Both disdain Madisonian politics; that is, the checks and balances that require the different factions to compromise with each other, as built into the very structure of Constitutional governance. [Read more…]