By Bruce Olson
The Election is over. Trump is to be our President. However Trump has been elected not by “We the people”, but by “They the People.” In any event all of “We the People” must support him and give him his chance. He will soon be the President of the United States. As an American first and foremost I have said and I say again: I will support him and hope he does well by the American People. However, I need to vent and explain my feelings about this election process more than my feelings about Mr. Trump.
In this election a majority of “We the People” including many experienced Republicans and Independents put their concern for the American People ahead of their party above all else. A subset minority of “We the People”, albeit massive, but still a minority, of “They the People” voted for Trump out of the same honest concerns for our nation but from a different perspective. “They” just happened, by population patterns, to have more valuable votes that counted more toward winning. It is by the luck of historical fate and our nation’s original but now constitutionally rejected racial male chauvinist perspective that this was able to happen. History will likely show that Clinton won the popular vote by almost 2 million votes while losing the election.
National Popular Vote Bill – Do something about it
Read the Preamble to our Constitution. It was written by and for “We the People” and says so in its opening words. “We the People” created this government to form a more perfect union. The Electoral College method of electing our President was designed into the Constitution to achieve that end and maybe it did back in 1787.
But this is not 1787. It is 2016. We the People of today are not limited to the “We the People” as our Founders thought of themselves but not of others. Today’s citizen voters are more truly all of “We the People” of America. It is for them that our government is supposed to be made more perfect. It says so in the Constitution. It is our Constitution’s (and the government it created) reason for being.
The “We the People” who could vote to elect our President in 1787 were limited to well established, white males. Like with Roman Plebes, the rest of the People were not included. Women were counted but could not vote. Slaves were not even considered people as much as they were property and nearly all, if not all, were of black African descent. They could not vote but did count as 3/5 of a person for “representational” purposes; how politically convenient to pad the power of slave holding white men in the “People’s House.”
In 2016 “We the People” are no longer limited to the privileged white men of the nation, the “Patrician” class. Men and Women of all colors and economic status are now voting citizens. The Electoral College, by design, is a re-enforcer of the now abandoned 1787 definition of “We the People”, not the 2016 reality of who “We the People” really are. As a result it has created a subset of a more powerful voting minority within “We the People” that I call “They.” It is not fair and it is not right. “They” are no more equal or more powerful or need more voting influence than the rest of “We.” We, including They, are all in this together. We all have the same inalienable rights, equally, under the Constitution.
The Preamble mandates the reason for our government to exist in a single awesome sentence. It exists to ensure a more perfect union of “We the People” through the federal government. The American People are not served in a more perfect way when a subset of Electors no longer equally represents “We the People”, if it ever did. It artificially creates inequality among citizens supposedly of equal stature and due equal treatment and representation in selecting our President. It gives more strength to “They” based on long gone and invalidated reasons. It promotes divisiveness; it makes a mockery of the concept of equality of citizens and the value of citizenship. It promotes a less perfect rather than a more perfect government.
Slavery is now dead in America. Women are now empowered to vote. As citizens we are all equal including women and regardless of race, religion or geographical location. Those are our inalienable rights, among others. The Constitution says so and ensures it to be. The Electoral College is an impediment; it is unconstitutional in sprit and theory. It does not in any way threaten either minority protections or protect States Rights. Those protections are ensured by the Constitution itself including its amendments and by its structure of the Senate including its ability to make its own rules. The President is our President, not the States’ President. He works for us, he speaks for us, he supposedly does what he thinks is best for “We the People”, not necessarily individual or the collective states.
Winning this way is capricious and creates distrust. The process is a relic of an age long gone. We should all be just “We” in this election process. “They” among us, by where they just happen to live, should not have a vote any less or any more influential. That is flat out unfair. It is discriminatory. It protects nothing inalienable or any “States Rights” but totally undermines faith in the concept of equal treatment and equal rights, things that are inalienable and protected under both our Republic and in the concept of democratic representation. We are after all, a democratic republic, not a Roman like Republic with 2 consuls or Imperium or Emperor by elite patricians through a Senate where us lowly Plebes would have no voice.
Our constitution incorporates the strengths of democracy and the protections of a Republic for both its citizens and its far flung states. But the President is a man representing “We” the people, not just the “They” among us who have more voting influence by luck of the draw.
The Electoral College needs to go. It protects nothing and distorts everything, including what we stand for as a nation. Both our major political parties need to bite the bullet and together propose an amendment to the Constitution that the states can ratify, post haste.
Otherwise this is an American Achilles Heel that could finally doom our once noble experiment of a republic governed by the people for the people. It may have been the GOP candidate who won these last two times this outdated anachronism has resulted in the minority being the “majority” but it could and will be just as likely the other way around in the future. It has only occurred four times in our history but the last two times have been in the last 5 elections. Given the reality of the geo and demographic shifts in who “We the People” are and where we live, this needs to be done sooner than later. Otherwise it will happen more and more frequently regardless of the party that wins the popular vote. Each time it will further destroy faith in our government as a Republic created by and for the people. More and more citizens will say: Why vote at all? Trump was right. It was rigged. Let’s go protest, or let’s riot, no, let’s rise up and march and finally, let’s fight. Eventually It will happen regardless of the “winner” when the straw finally breaks. That straw broke in 1776. It happened in 1861. The reasons were real much earlier but it took decades for those reasons to become big enough to fight over. This issue is now real, very real. If Electoral College victories continue to trump popular vote victories it will become big, very big.
Our President needs to be elected by “We the People” with all votes being equal. There should be no “They.” It is as simple as that…and as complicated as that in today’s America.