Electoral College

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Electoral College
Robert Dahl argues in chapter 4 of his book “How Democratic Is the American Constitution?” that the electoral college was misunderstood by the Framers. The standard view of the electoral college is that the Framers wanted to remove the choice of the President from the hands of popular majorities and to place responsibility in the hands of a select body of wise, outstanding, and virtuous citizens. Dahl points out that this view comes directly from the Federalist No. 68. But Dahl suggests that the intension was that the people of each state shall choose the electors. The result shows that most states did not initially assign that responsibility to the people. In contrast, Akhil Amar suggests that the Twelfth Amendment is the reason behind this issue, arguing that it weakened the influence of some states by decreasing the likelihood of House involvement and restricting the number of candidates amongst which the House would choose. Amar believes that today’s electoral college is not the one the Framers cobbled together. Understanding that Akhil Amar is an originalist, I argue that the electoral college process should not be fixed to the intention of the Framers, due to complexities in today’s elections.
Even with my limited knowledge of the Framers, I believe that they were very smart people, heroes who fought for Independence, and tried their best to make things better. However, as Robert Dahl points out, they were repeatedly forced to compromise in order to complete the Constitution. They believed that the best way to select a president would be through the national legislature. At that time this was the preferred method by the Framers, and suggested that each state shall appoint a number of electors, equal to the number of Senators and representatives to which the state may be entitles in Congress, “thus the Electoral College was born.”

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