Why We Are a Republic, Not a Democracy

happy-constitution day celebration read republicHillary Clinton blamed the Electoral College for her stunning defeat in the 2016 presidential election in her latest memoirs, “What Happened.”

Some have claimed that the Electoral College is one of the most dangerous institutions in American politics.

Why? They say the Electoral College system, as opposed to a simple majority vote, distorts the one-person, one-vote principle of democracy because electoral votes are not distributed according to population.

To back up their claim, they point out that the Electoral College gives, for example, Wyoming citizens disproportionate weight in a presidential election.

Put another way, Wyoming, a state with a population of about 600,000, has one member in the House of Representatives and two members in the U.S. Senate, which gives the citizens of Wyoming three electoral votes, or one electoral vote per 200,000 people.

California, our most populous state, has more than 39 million people and 55 electoral votes, or approximately one vote per 715,000 people.

Comparatively, individuals in Wyoming have nearly four times the power in the Electoral College as Californians.

Many people whine that using the Electoral College instead of the popular vote and majority rule is undemocratic. I’d say that they are absolutely right. Not deciding who will be the president by majority rule is not democracy.

But the Founding Fathers went to great lengths to ensure that we were a republic and not a democracy. In fact, the word democracy does not appear in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, or any other of our founding documents.

How about a few quotations expressed by the Founders about democracy?

In Federalist Paper No. 10, James Madison wanted to prevent rule by majority faction, saying, “Measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority.”

John Adams warned in a letter, “Remember democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet, that did not commit suicide.”

Edmund Randolph said, “That in tracing these evils to their origin, every man had found it in the turbulence and follies of democracy.”

Then-Chief Justice John Marshall observed, “Between a balanced republic and a democracy, the difference is like that between order and chaos.”

The Founders expressed contempt for the tyranny of majority rule, and throughout our Constitution, they placed impediments to that tyranny. Two houses of Congress pose one obstacle to majority rule. That is, 51 senators can block the wishes of 435 representatives and 49 senators.

The president can veto the wishes of 535 members of Congress. It takes two-thirds of both houses of Congress to override a presidential veto.

To change the Constitution requires not a majority but a two-thirds vote of both houses, and if an amendment is approved, it requires ratification by three-fourths of state legislatures.

Finally, the Electoral College is yet another measure that thwarts majority rule. It makes sure that the highly populated states—today, mainly 12 on the east and west coasts, cannot run roughshod over the rest of the nation. That forces a presidential candidate to take into consideration the wishes of the other 38 states.

Those Americans obsessed with rule by popular majorities might want to get rid of the Senate, where states, regardless of population, have two senators.

Should we change representation in the House of Representatives to a system of proportional representation and eliminate the guarantee that each state gets at least one representative?

Currently, seven states with populations of 1 million or fewer have one representative, thus giving them disproportionate influence in Congress.

While we’re at it, should we make all congressional acts by majority rule? When we’re finished with establishing majority rule in Congress, should we then move to change our court system, which requires unanimity in jury decisions, to a simple majority rule?

My question is: Is it ignorance of or contempt for our Constitution that fuels the movement to abolish the Electoral College?

From - The Daily Signal - by Walter E. Williams

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3 years ago

If we did not have our national electoral college system we would all be ruled by the one or two largest cities in each state and the rest of us would have no say. This is already the way it is on most things political as most state legislatures spend your money on their benefits. The largest gathering of morons rules!

3 years ago
Reply to  CHARLY

Sounds like a feudal system to me!

Bill in TX
3 years ago

Understanding that the United States is a Republic is first tenet of any political or policy discussion. Repeatedly government office holders and the news media anchors refer to a democracy when they desire to undermine the Republic’s process, such as the electoral college. When a politician (most often a Democrat and sometimes a confused Republican) begins their comments referring to a democracy I know to closely examine the information that follows. Their words must be examined closely because the speaker is attempting to sway the listener emotionally. The Clinton’s want a democracy so they can personally benefit. They have absolutely no concern for the citizens or the country. The same is true of the progressive democrats. They as a group will personally benefit and be able to rule over those who do not agree with them. Our role as citizens is to challenge anybody who thinks our country is a democracy. Take time to educate them that we are a republic. If they can not understand what our country is then they do not care what our country becomes.

Melissa J
3 years ago
Reply to  Bill in TX

You are so very right, it is our responsibility, our duty, to educate those that either weren’t properly taught American Government &/or Civics in high school either due to the staggering amount of “dumbing down” or due to the blatant indoctrination that’s been steadily increasing it’s stranglehold on the youth of our nation for decades! There are “apps” for virtually everything these days including the Federalist Papers, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I have them all on my phone so that I can help reverse the misguided minds of people who think we are a democracy and/or those who think that we should be. Sometimes when I show them these things I can see a veritable light turn on. The Left is always squawking about fairness & equality for all & these tools help to explain that a republic is actually more fair and equality based than that of a democracy. Not to mention, if the Millennials & especially GenZ see it on a phone app, they believe it more than from the mouths of baby boomers or GenXers!
Until we can actually overhaul our completely broken primary & secondary school systems, it’s pretty much the only way to try to get through to them…we HAVE to get through to them somehow & with teachers, professors, politicians and the MSM’s biases working overtime to suit their agendas, we have to do it fast or we’ll end up a communist country or a Muslim ruled totalitarian country or worst of all, WWÍII.

3 years ago

More people voted for Hillary in Detroit and Chicago than there are people in Detroit and Chicago. If there were an electoral college for the deceased, she might have won. ;^) Just kidding, but you get my drift.

3 years ago

Our country’s founders were indeed very wise in differentiating the benefits and liabilities of a Republic and a Democracy. The Progressively Communist Democrats definitely want to have a simple majority rule where 40 million illegals thankful for “sanctuary” and welfare, food stamps, healthcare and housing benefits would surely vote in favor of their benefactors, the Democrats! … And in answer to the article’s ending question, it is the ignorance of the general populace that results in their contempt of the Constitution. After all, this has always been the goal of the Progressively Communist Democrats to dumb down the general populace by ignoring and criticizing the Constitution when educating the children through young adulthood in this country. How else does an outright Communist, err, Socialist, like Bernie Sanders become the overwhelming favorite choice for becoming our President by the vast majority of young people??? … But after all in Communism, “The end justifies the means!”

3 years ago
Reply to  Rik

Hi Rik,

Yes, the answer to the article’s final question is indeed ignorance fostered through the intentional dumbing-down of the population via a public education system that has been successfully controlled by the Progressives (Socialists / Communists) for decades. Progressives have been extremely successful in this approach, as evidenced by the massive support Bernie Sanders had in 2016 and still has today. Our colleges and universities continue to churn out newly minted “useful idiots” every day to add to the growing ranks of the ignorant and indoctrinated. Progressives also continuously use the equally left-wing controlled mainstream media to reinforce the false message that the United States is a democracy, rather than a representative republic on a daily basis. Nothing reinforces leftist propaganda like a non-stop barrage of it.

The original safeguards built into the design of our nation and articulated in our Constitution can only protect us as long as the nation, as a whole, chooses to abide by those standards. The ultimate goal of the left is get enough of the population dumbed-down enough to willingly decide it is time to cast all those “old fashioned and outdated” safeguards aside, by electing enough like-minded Progressives, to shred those protections and allow the country to be re-cast into the kind of socialist democracy the left wants. That is why WE all have to expend the personal effort to try and reach out to young people still open and willing to learn. Make it relatable to them, rather than just quoting the Founding Fathers, so they can understand why our system of government is better than the socialism they have been taught to accept and strive for. That what it takes to hold their interest in any subject these days. If we don’t do it, who will? It sure won’t be their teachers, who are the ones filling their heads with this destructive socialist and communist garbage.

Enjoy the weekend.

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