Lots of controversial ideas get promoted during an election season. We are getting our share of them this time. Eliminate the Electoral College, regulate campaign speech, and end the filibuster are just a few. It occurred to me that the best way to respond to many of these proposals is to remind Americans that our country is a republic, not a democracy.
The framers recognized that the country would be quite diverse. They wanted to create a government that would allow different viewpoints to get a hearing. They didn’t want the president merely to be elected by the larger populations in cities like Boston and New York.
That is why we have an Electoral College. States with small populations feared that states with large populations would always select their candidate. The Electoral College forces candidates to campaign in the entire country, not just in populated areas.
That also explains why we have the House of Representatives elected by voters every two years. But regardless of its size, each state gets two US senators who were selected by the state legislatures every six years, but now are also elected by the popular vote.
We have a Bill of Rights in the Constitution to protect Americans (especially minorities) from a democracy where the majority could take away fundamental rights from a minority. We enjoy freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to bear arms, and freedom from unlawful search and seizure.
Even the idea of a filibuster in the U.S. Senate was implemented so that the majority would be forced to hear the arguments from the minority before passing important legislation. The filibuster may have been abused, but the concept once again illustrates our constitutional order.
Unfortunately, many of these controversial ideas are being proposed by political candidates who went to law school and should know better.