18 December 2016

Electoral college

On Monday, the Electoral College will meet to decide who to confirm as the next President of the USA. In 1788 Alexander Hamilton explained the purpose of the exercise:

Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption. These most deadly adversaries of republican government might naturally have been expected to make their approaches from more than one quarter, but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils. How could they better gratify this, than by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the Union? But the convention have guarded against all danger of this sort, with the most provident and judicious attention.

Donald Trump has announced that he’s not going to do anything about his many conflicts of interest around the world. He’s already enriching himself from his position. It also seems clear to me that he’s Putin’s puppet. And his campaign has reportedly been threatening electoral college voters. So, pretty much exactly the kind of corrupt candidate engaging in intrigue while in thrall to foreign powers that Hamilton was confident the Electoral College would block.

But I don’t think that’s going to happen. After living through 2016, I no longer believe there are enough principled Republicans to save the party from Donald Trump. I’ve decided that Monday is going to be when I decide how I feel about the electoral college. If by some miracle Trump is stopped and some other Republican is elected in his place, I’ll agree that the electoral college serves some purpose. If not, then it’s clearly useless and should be eliminated.

© mathew 2017