Letters: Electoral college is protective
Because we have failed to educate generations of Americans on the design and purpose of our Electoral College, our citizens are too easily lured by misinterpretations of our process and assertions that each vote must count -- as if our presidential votes are now ignored ["One person, one vote? Not in the USA," Opinion, Oct. 23].
In fact, we vote as individuals within our states, then allocate our Electoral College votes as each state decides.
Our founders knew from history that a pure or direct democracy becomes mob rule as countries grow and powerful factions develop that vote for their own interests at the expense of the rights of the minority. We see this at work in Egypt, where the new democratically elected majority is proceeding to crush the freedoms of the minority, with no regard to even basic human rights.
In the Federalist Papers, No. 10, James Madison explains: When a majority is included in a faction, the form of popular government, on the other hand, enables it to sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest both the public good and the rights of other citizens. To secure the public good and private rights against the danger of such a faction, and at the same time to preserve the spirit and the form of popular government, is then the great object to which our inquiries are directed.
Barbara Samuells, Dix Hills
I was disappointed but not surprised to see that nowhere in the article did either of the two political science professors from SUNY Old Westbury use the word that describes the system of government we've been using since 1787: federalism.
It is true that the Civil War settled the question of state sovereignty. But in this day of a burgeoning central government controlling the states from Washington with heavy taxation, national health care and burdensome educational statutes, the Electoral College may well be our last bastion of states' rights.
The College is more a hedge against hegemony than an archaic voting system. Our founding fathers had much more foresight than these professors give them credit for.
Thomas Testa, Baldwin