Electoral College Is Only One Problem…

Candice eetimesMany folks have been calling for a constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College for a number of reasons, one of which is the failure of our recent election to install the candidate who won the most votes.  Personally, I have even more issues with the system in that we no longer vote directly for an Elector, but instead we have bypassed the original intent by voting for a slate of Electors by party in a winner take all contest in many states.  Then, we have laws that would seek to enforce the winner take all slate vote during the actual Electoral election some weeks later for the candidate that they had pledged to when selected by their party.  This present system could not be further removed from the original intent of the framers of the Constitution of the United States of America back in the late 18th Century.

So lets imagine that those original framers were somehow alive today and able to debate the issues anew based on what over two hundred years of the history of our republic have taught us about their great experiment.

First, all of the abolitionists would be both satisfied and horrified that their misgivings about slavery had come about.  Yes, there were active abolitionists at the convention.  But in order to pull together the States into the Union, a compromise was needed.  My favorite aphorism about politics is that “Good politics is compromise… unless it is one’s own rights that are compromised”  Unfortunately, all of the framers were white men.  I would add “straight”… but in fact a few of them were very likely gay or bi, both from historic evidence and from statistical probability.  No black men.  No women.  That slavery and institutional disenfranchisement of women were baked into the constitution were just two of the great injustices found in this otherwise great document.

Did you know that at the time of the framing of the constitution that one of the states allowed women to vote?  Yes, New Jersey allowed women to vote if they met the same qualifications as men… which was they had to be financially well off.  But since far more men then women owned property, they booted women off the island in the early 19th Century.  Yes, women’s rights went backward, a lesson for LGBT folk as well.  We can’t be too vigilant.

There would be another problem that the framers would now recognize.  The status of the Vice President.  In real practice, the “Vice President” is actually the “President of the Senate” with the ability to vote there in the case of a tie vote.  But the VP is also in the line of succession.  As we saw in the case of the death of FDR during WWII, the then VP, Harry Truman, was totally unprepared to step into the Oval Office at first because he had been outside the loop.  He had truly been the President of the Senate… NOT the an actual member of the Executive Branch of the government.  This needs to be fixed.

Finally, as we’ve seen this past year, the framer’s fears that a popular but utterly unsuitable candidate might be installed by an ill-informed public if given the direct vote was realized due to our having disabled the original mechanism of the Electoral College.  There has even been calls for the other party to double up on the problem by encouraging yet another such candidate to stand for election to oppose him.

The original framers would, I strongly believe, be aghast.  I certainly am.

We do not need another celebrity President.

So, in the spirit of being at a Constitutional Convention, I propose several amendements to our constitution:

Item:  The Office of President of the Senate be separate from the Vice President of the United States.  The President of the Senate to be elected solely by the Senate for a term of six years.  To be qualified, the candidate must have been previously a Senator for at least a full term, with honor, and may not be a currently sitting Senator.

Item:  The Office of President of the United States of America is to be elected by direct popular vote of the People of the United States and its Territories for a term of four years and may not serve for more than two terms.  To be qualified, the candidate must have served at least one term, with honor, as the Governor of one of the several States.

Item:  The Office of Vice President of the United States of America is to be elected by direct popular vote of the People of the United States and its Territories.  To be qualified, the candidate must have served at least one term, with honor, as the Governor of one of the several States.  During their tenure as Vice President, the officer shall hold the position and responsibilities of Secretary of State.

Item:  The line of succession should the President be unavailable or unable to fulfill the responsibilities shall be as follows, the Vice President.  The Office of Vice President would then be filled by a qualified candidate elected by a college consisting of the current Governors of the several States only until the next Federal election.

Item:  Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

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