The James Wilson Foundation on Natural Rights and the American Founding

“Electoral College Continues to Serve the National Interest”: Michael Maibach in The Virginia-Pilot

by James Wilson Institute on December 7, 2020

Our own Managing Director and a Distinguished Fellow for Save Our States, Michael Maibach, co-authored an op-ed with Professor Patrick Garry, a professor at the University of South Dakota Law School. The authors address a bill before Virginia General Assembly that seeks to have Old Dominion join the National Popular Vote Compact. The essay introduces why that Compact is an unconstitutional bypass of the Electoral College system, which would put at risk the voice citizens living in rural areas and in less populous states have in choosing the president of the United States of America every four years.

Some excerpts from this article:

With these momentary contretemps playing out, we can all agree about the value of diversity of political views, the need to heal our deep divisions while ensuring the protection of minority rights. And yet, a cynical political movement — the National Popular Vote Compact — fundamentally threatens diversity of opinions, regional and economic interests and minority rights. The NPV bill (H.B. 177) before the Virginia General Assembly in 2021 threatens to make our political divisions unrepairable and election results forever contested with endless national recounts.

Without the Electoral College, our major metro areas would always choose our president and make America’s rural communities and farmers serfs feeding those populations. New York City has more people than 39 of our states, Los Angeles County has more people than 41 states. Fifty-one percent of Americans live in just nine states. In 2016 Hillary Clinton won only 12 of Illinois’ 102 counties but won the majority of the state’s votes around Chicago.

Diversity of interests has been a reality in America since our founding. It is a strength, but also a representational challenge. One way the Constitution meets this challenge is through the Electoral College. Protecting the diverse interests of our unique regions was deeply important to our founders. Their federalism speaks to this. The Constitution’s authors were delegates from the states, and they aimed to build a “Nation of States” — not a “United States of Large Cities.” Our Constitution’s federalism and separation of powers is a unique American contribution to the science of republican self-government to the world.

The Electoral College requires that presidential candidates pay attention to the people, customs and economies of places such as Idaho and Alabama. They are vastly different than Boston and Miami. If our presidents were always chosen by our major metropolitan areas, huge numbers of citizens in more than 20 less-populated states would be politically abandoned.

Read the complete article here.

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Law and liberty cannot rationally become the objects of our love, unless they first become the objects of our knowledge.
— James Wilson, Lectures on Law, 1790