Electoral College keeps intact tyranny of the minority

On the letters page of the March 16 Gazette, David Reinhart made several assumptions with which I disagree.

First, I am quite aware that the Electoral College was put into the Constitution as a bribe to the agrarian states to get them to join the infant United States because the Southern states feared the more populous northern states would be able to dictate to them on all important issues.

For almost seven decades the system worked, but it was not always the smoothest. When in the 1840s the system began to break down, the succession of the Southern states was caused in part by the Northern states’ reluctance to admit more "slave states" on parity with "free states"; "Bloody Kansas" was one of the outcomes.

Now, with the ongoing policies of the Republican Party to assure they have power in excess of their actual numbers, we have a tyranny of the minority. As a result of Gerrymandering in a number of states, including Virginia, we have states where it takes a super-majority of votes to elect a Democrat to the state legislature.

In 2018, North Dakota prohibited anyone whose mailing address was a Post Office Box from voting, thereby preventing the vast majority of Native Americans in the state from voting. In 2011, the Virginia Legislature packed the 3rd Congressional District with the majority of black voters resulting in the creation of three "safe" districts in Southeast Virginia for Republicans. These were overthrown by the courts. There are similar Congressional Districts in other states, not the least is the 12th District in North Carolina, which crosses the middle of the state following Interstate 85. There are similar districts in Florida and many other states.

The tyranny of the minority continues with the purging of the voter roles throughout the country, which focuses on the elderly and minorities. Then there are places such as Kansas City, with a minority-majority city where the only polling place is on the edge of town and more than a mile from the end of the local bus line because the city council wants to make it difficult to vote. Then there is the State of Ohio, which limited early voting so lower-class voters would find it hard to vote. And the list goes on.

The tyranny of the minority continues with the actions of Sen. Mitch McConnell when he refused to do his constitutionally appointed duty to hold hearings and a vote on President Obama's third Supreme Court nomination. And, once the current administration came into power, the Republicans bypassed the tradition of considering candidates for federal judges approved by congressmen and senators from the state in which the judge would serve and only considered candidates from a list prepared by the Heritage Foundation, assuring that rather then getting judges who would work for the people, we got judges guaranteed to work from the far right. And there is the accused sexual predator who was appointed to the Supreme Court, assuring the court will become a political arm of conservatives for a generation.

If the U.S. elections were truly "one man, one vote," then candidates would have to pay attention to more than the voters in what are now called the swing states, because the others are predictably in one corner or the other. The candidates would have to mount a truly national campaign and appeal to all Americans.

Without the Electoral College, the vote of a rancher in Wyoming would mean the same as a vote in Williamsburg, and a candidate would have to offer a reason to both in order to earn both votes. By losing the Electoral College, I would hope American politics would return to the middle and politicians from both parties would once again work together for the good of the American people rather then for those at the extremes.

WL Maner

Norge

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