Michael Uryasz explains why the Electoral College is still a good idea
After a bitter 2016 presidential election, some Democrats are so unhappy with the outcome that many want to change the way we elect the president from the Electoral College to a national popular vote – but McCleskey Law Firm attorney Michael Uryasz said the process will endure.
“I think it’s a natural reaction to feel that if you lost, you’re going to want to change the way you lost. If you win, you’re not going to want to change much, if anything.” said Uryasz, who was active in student politics at Texas Tech University and is now legal counsel and parliamentarian of the Lubbock County Republican Party.
Uryasz said there’s a reason the Electoral College has been around for more than 200 years.
“The Electoral College is not something our Founding Fathers thought of overnight. It went through rigorous debate and scrutiny. It’s imperfect, but it is unquestionably the best system in the world. The Preamble of our Constitution charges the American people to strive for a more perfect union and the Electoral College is an integral part of that union,” he said.
“Perhaps its biggest attribute is that it provides a clear winner of the presidency. It provides stability, which may seem odd right now. The electoral process has been proven in every election – including the five times the loser of the electoral vote won the popular vote (1824, 1876, 1888, 2000 and this year) and once the college actually failed to elect a president.” said Uryasz.
The Founding Fathers did consider a popular vote to pick the president, but decided against it.
“The Founding Fathers considered many options when deciding how to elect the president – national popular vote, election by national legislature – but eventually they settled on the Electoral College which provides a constitutional barrier against a runaway electorate.” said Uryasz.
He said there’s a movement for a national popular vote. Maryland, for example has said it would give electoral votes to the winner of the national vote. But that would only take effect if a majority of similar states agree.
“The Founding Fathers, for good reason, feared tyranny and a runaway electorate. The Electoral College is actually designed to protect the minority and ensure every state has a voice, no matter how big or small. If this were not the case, presidential candidates would only visit the majorly populated areas and states,” he said.
President-elect Donald Trump lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton, but Trump said if it was about the popular vote, he would have focused more on the urban centers in California, Texas, Florida, and New York.
“Trump went to many smaller states and garnered a significant portion of the vote. The Electoral College ensures those smaller states’ votes matter just as much as a Texas or California vote,” Uryasz said.
“In reality, the presidential election is actually 51 different elections. This is why our country is a Constitutional Republic and not a pure democracy,” he said.
“The Electoral College will endure as it has for more than 200 years. It provides stability and preserves federalism. It’s probably the last real piece of sovereignty each state has,” he said.
Uryasz says more than two centuries after our nation was founded, a big federal government was not the original idea.
“While the Constitution was built out of the need for a stronger federal government, the Constitution was not designed to limit powers of federal government, as much as it was designed to create a federal government of limited powers,” he said.