Shameful Media Promote Outright Distortions About Electoral College

By Jarrett Stepman | March 25, 2019 | 11:13am EDT
(MRC Photo)

Many on the left are calling for the nation to get rid of the Electoral College.

And it appears that many in the media support this notion.

Unfortunately, progressives and their media allies at CNN and elsewhere have waged a disinformation campaign to bury the intentions of the Founders, or distort the Founders’ views on an institution vital to the republic.

Detractors have absurdly connected the Electoral College to racism and slavery.

The creation of the Electoral College had nothing to do with slavery; it was never even mentioned as part of the slavery debate at the Constitutional Convention. There were many slave states with large populations and free states with small populations.

And it was the Electoral College that allowed Abraham Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, to become president with 39 percent of the national popular vote, a mere plurality.

Linking the Electoral College with slavery is a smear, pure and simple.

Of course, in attacking the Electoral College, CNN chose the path of sheer dishonesty by insinuating that James Madison, a man often referred to as the “Father of the Constitution,” called the institution “evil.”

This is fake news.

Madison didn’t call the Electoral College evil, far from it. In fact, he wasn’t really talking about the Electoral College at all in this selectively twisted quote; he was talking about a contingency for elections not decided by a majority in the Electoral College.

The framers of the Constitution disagreed about much, but they had widespread agreement about the Electoral College and the methods of choosing our chief executive.

Alexander Hamilton, who worked with Madison on the Federalist Papers, wrote in Federalist 68 that if the Electoral College wasn’t perfect, it was at least excellent. Hamilton reflected the views of those at the convention, and wrote that it was the best way for a large and growing United States to choose presidents with a broad-based consensus from the whole country.

The debate over the merits of the Electoral College are worth having. The logic of the Founders for its creation was as sound in 1787 as it is today and serves as a powerful challenge to those who today want to turn America into a pure democracy.

The Founders, in their wisdom, crafted our system with democracy’s strengths and weaknesses in mind, and they formed a republic that has stood at the pinnacle of success in the modern world.

It’s particularly shameful for CNN and others in the media to promote outright distortions about an institution that has worked so effectively for over two centuries.  

Jarrett Stepman is an editor and commentary writer for The Daily Signal and co-host of "The Right Side of History" podcast. Send an email to Jarrett.

Editor's Note: This piece was originally published by The Daily Signal.

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