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Without the Electoral College, there’d be no such thing as red and blue states. It is an odd collage of a college, grown directly out of a rushed and convoluted 3-month, 18th century political quest, at the very end of the Constitutional Convention, for a middle ground among the founding fathers. The presidential electoral process represents a compromised straddling and intermingling of the principles of popular democracy and state’s rights federalism, along with those of a republican (with a little “r”) approach to government. Yet our system remains unique in the (small “d”) democratic world.

My premise tonight, on the eve of another presidential election, is that in these times, we’ve seen one electoral collage too many. This anachronism of the Constitution receives failing marks, in a modern era when the electorate has easy access to full disclosure of fact and opinion regarding all the candidates via 24/7 media coverage and the internet. The presidency’s accountability is not just to the states, but clearly to the American people at large.

We’ve come a long way from the time Convention delegate George Mason said, “The extent of the country renders it impossible that the people can have a requisite capacity to judge.”

February 2010

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