Yesterday we considered the Electoral College, but in order to fully appreciate the discussion, I think we need to look into the system that was set up by the Founders. When we look at this question, however, we have to start with voting, and what we find may be shocking to some of you.
Who Had The Right to Vote?
When we look at elections around the founding we find that the only people with a right to vote were land owning males. Now, certainly this says a lot about what the common beliefs were about gender roles at the time, but it also says something else.
If you were to set up a government where you wanted to make sure only the best were chosen—just the ones that had the best of the country at heart—then who would you chose to vote?
The high priority was for protecting the rights of life, liberty and property. Land owning males would seem to be not only better educated, but they would actually be a check on government—because they would not want it growing to take away their property.
The Electoral College
As we discussed, the Electoral College was another check to make sure that the people that were chosen were the best, and should something come out the Electoral College could fix it. These people should be someone of high morals—a group of statesmen.
The Founders believed that a majority of the nominations for President would end up being decided in the House and Senate. That would mean that we’d have statesmen (in their model) deciding between multiple people.
Oh, and the Senate was supposed to be decided by the House, or the legislature, not a popular vote.
So, What If It’s Broken?
The question that we’re left with is this: What should we do if the system is broken?
You see, the Founders planned checks and balances. They planned for people that would have a good chance of limiting government and choosing people that were best for the country would be the ones making the decisions. Now we’re looking at an electorate with its hand out. Whoever makes the most promises gets the job—regardless as to whether it actually comes to pass (we’ll see if a President Obama can come through on everything he promised).
If it should be fixed, how do we go about fixing it? If the nation wants the chaos that comes with Democracy, should we give them what they want?