America’s experiment in self-government is founded upon republican ideals of self-government. James Madison and the rest of the founding fathers fought hard to establish a republican form of government rooted in the principles of federalism. The electoral college is a key component of the system they crafted, which carries through to today. Big government folks have conveniently forgotten this in the past two years.
At a CNN town hall in Mississippi this week, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) reminded us why for Democrats, the electoral college is no longer in vogue. “Every vote matters and the way we can make that happen is that we can have national voting and that means get rid of the electoral college — and every vote counts.” Not only is Warren a hypocrite, she’s also blatantly wrong.
Warren probably wasn’t lecturing people about the shortcomings of the electoral college prior to Election Night 2016, back when Republicans still had to contend with the so-called “blue wall.” The entire point of the electoral college is not just to ensure that every vote matters, but that every state matters.
The electoral college gives “battleground states” like Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania a check on populous states like California and New York in presidential elections. Most battleground states unexpectedly went for President Trump in 2016, which explains Democrats’ newfound anti-electoral college narrative.
Even without the electoral college, no serious Democrat would waste time campaigning in deep red Mississippi. Each party would still focus on turning out the base in favorable states. Democrats could even stick to campaigning the few blue enclaves left in America. At least Warren put her money where her mouth is by attending the Mississippi town hall, though it’s not like she’s going anywhere this cycle.
The founding fathers embraced the electoral college for a reason. The electoral college gives a voice to smaller states in deciding elections based on the size of their congressional delegation. Without it, just a few large states would effectively decide every election.
Checks and balances like the electoral college are the very core of federalism. They’re in place to protect the inalienable rights of the individual from the “tyranny of the majority,” also known as “mob rule.” Without checks and balances, human nature tells us the majority would strip the minority of its constitutional rights.
Federalism empowers voters and states to make their own decisions. Land use, health care, and taxes are just a few of the issues that conservatives believe are best left to the individual states to decide. Abolishing the electoral college would degrade federalism and result in more one-size-fits-all solutions that infringe upon the rights of Americans.
Rather than trying to regain the trust of middle Americans in battleground states, Democrats would rather change the rules mid-game so that blue voters from large coastal states make decisions for the rest of the country. Abolishing the electoral college is one way to silence the voice of small states.
Federalism’s checks and balances also define the roles of each branch of government. Democrats increasingly want to blur these lines to their own advantage. One trial balloon they’ve floated is to “pack the court” by increasing the number of Supreme Court justices. Like most political power grabs, it’s short-sighted.
Would Democrats change their tune if a newly re-elected President Trump announces he will immediately up the number of Supreme Court justices from nine to 15? As great as it sounds to have the likes of Sen. Mike Lee or Judges Amy Coney Barrett, Bill Pryor, and Don Willett on the federal bench, “packing the court” would set a dangerous precedent by politicizing the Supreme Court.
But don’t let Democratic claims of “payback” for Republicans filling open judicial seats with constitutionalists fool you. Democrats are fine with packing the court because they want to appoint activist justices who will circumvent Congress to advance a big government agenda. The Supreme Court is supposed to interpret the Constitution, not legislate from the bench. Legislating should be left to the elected representatives in Congress, rather than the unelected justices on the Supreme Court.
Whether it’s by abolishing the electoral college or by packing the Supreme Court, Democratic candidates’ 2020 ideas share a common theme: big government. Instead of checks and balances, they’d rather have an all-powerful federal government that undermines not only the voices of individual states, but the rights of individual Americans.
Even Alexander Hamilton, unquestionably an advocate for a stronger federal government compared to his fellow founding fathers James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, thought the electoral college important enough to author Federalist 68. For all of “Hamilton’s” recent popularity, you’d hope that Democrats would understand and accept Hamilton’s position as one of the electoral college’s biggest supporters, even if they won’t take it from us.
Adam Brandon (@Adam_Brandon) is president of FreedomWorks, a nationwide grassroots organization dedicated to lower taxes, smaller government, individual liberty and the American rule of law.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.