Monday, January 13, 2014
FAIR VOTE ISN'T FAIR!
Weekly Opinion Editorial
FAIR VOTE ISN’T FAIR!
by Steve Fair
In 1966, I was in the eighth grade, in Civics class our teacher presented why the founders of America had used the ‘electoral college’ as a mechanism to elect the president. He carefully explained the Electoral College concept was not one of the three original proposals of the founders to elect the POTUS.
The founders rejected having the president selected by Congress or by the state legislatures; because they believed it would have created an oligarchy- a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with a small number of people. They also rejected electing the president by ‘popular vote,’ because they believed the larger more populous States would have too much influence over the government. They referred the issue to a committee of eleven who came up with the Electoral College concept.
The reason they choose this method of indirectly electing the president was for two very important reasons. First, they wanted to reinforce the concept America was a republic and not a pure democracy. By indirectly electing the president, the ‘representative’ form of government became reality. Second, they wanted to give the smaller, less populous States a slightly greater voice, proportionally speaking in their government, which the Electoral College does. For example, California is the largest State in population and their electors represent significantly more population than electors in Wyoming, the smallest State. It was a question of states rights. Individual states were given power, not individual voters, again reinforcing the republic form of government.
The concept seemed to be clear to all of us in the eighth grade civics class and the teacher marveled at the wisdom of the founders. They understood we were the United STATES of America, he said. They rejected what he called ‘mob rule’ or a true democracy. It appears some Americans were asleep in their eighth grade civics class.
The Electoral College has been under attack for years by various groups. Because the concept is not taught like it once was in school, most Americans don’t understand the Electoral College. That has given rise to groups who advocate our abandoning the Electoral College and elect the president by popular vote.
One such group is FairVote, whose Chairman Krist Novoselic is one of the founding members of the rock bank Nirvana. FairVote also wants to establish what they describe as ‘proportional representation’ for electing members of Congress. They want to abolish the congressional district lines and allow Representatives to be elected ‘at large.’ FairVote is holding a conference in Miami Beach this week with six members of the Oklahoma legislature in attendance. If this group can get the attention of legislators from conservative Oklahoma, can a National Popular Vote or Proportional Representation bill in the Sooner state be far behind?
Why should Oklahoma citizens be concerned about FairVote?
First, if the president were elected by popular vote, Oklahoma would lose. We currently get little or no attention in a presidential race, but in the Electoral College, we have a disproportional amount of influence in the process. If the president were elected by popular vote, nominees would only concentrate their efforts on large population centers. If you think Oklahoma is a fly over state now, wait until the president is elected by popular vote.
Second, these concepts are the European model for electing political leaders. Europe has nothing we need in America. Europe has out of control government spending, low worker productivity, citizen discontent and their governments are disintegrating before our very eyes. Wealth redistribution hasn’t worked out in Europe and will not work here. Our founders established a ‘REPUBLIC,’ form of government, far superior to a Democracy. Citizens of Europe would happily exchange their government for ours.
Third, Proportional Representation violates the concept of a representative form of government. The current system requires a Congressman to represent a specific geographic area with a specific population. They must be aware of how issues will impact their specific district. By blurring the lines, a ‘federalist’ mindset is established and government is removed from the intents of our founders. If you think your representatives to the U.S. Congress don’t listen to you now, wait until you go to proportional representation.
FairVote is NOT a fair concept. If left unopposed, it will move America toward federalism. Call your Oklahoma state senators and representatives today and tell them to oppose the National Popular Vote and Proportional Representation proposals.
For more information on FAIRVOTE, go to http://www.fairvote.org/.