Here’s a letter to a new correspondent who does not all like the fact that I recently linked to this column by Walter Williams.
Mr. Jeremy Norris
Thanks for your e-mail, in which you express strong disapproval of my colleague Walter Williams’s defense of the Electoral College.
Whatever arguments might be leveled against the Electoral College as a means of choosing the head of the executive branch of the U.S. national government, your argument that it “removes Americans from directly choosing our President” does not work.
As matters now stand, American citizens every four years vote for representatives to attend meetings at which these representatives then vote to choose the next President of the United States. How does this process differ from American citizens every two years (in the case of the House) and every six years (in the case of the Senate) voting for representatives to attend meetings at which these representatives then vote to choose which bills will and won’t be enacted? That is, if you believe that something is amiss with citizens voting to choose representatives who then vote in their own assembly to decide which man or woman will become President, do you also believe that something is amiss with citizens voting to choose representatives who then vote in their own assemblies to decide which pieces of legislation will become ‘laws’?
Again, I do not here register approval or disapproval of the Electoral College. I note only that, if so many Americans, such as yourself, believe that the choices made by the duly elected representatives to the Electoral College are (as you say) “illegitimate and undemocratic,” then a question larger than even the ones that Walter posed in his column is in play, namely: Are also the choices made by the duly elected representatives to Congress illegitimate and undemocratic?
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030