Recently, Colorado became the fourteenth state to sign legislation delegating their electoral votes to the popular vote of the nation. There has been serious debate over the constitutionality of such legislation. Proponents have argued that the constitution says that state legislatures reserve the right to declare how the state will delegate their votes. When considering this particular method of vote delegation though, it is important to remember exactly why the founders felt it was important to stay away from a direct national vote for President.
One of the largest problems faced by a republic spread over a massive distance is the ability of factions to take control of the government. This was perhaps the most powerful argument made in the Antifederalist Papers. “Brutus” argues in the first of his many pieces opposing the ratification of the constitution that a republic over such a vast area means that the president, and to a lesser extent the senators, would be elected by the majority at the extent of the minority. James Madison counters this argument in Federalist 10, stating that the vastness of the country results in people of all opinions and values voting on the President. Madison says that the rigor of this election process will result in a President who represents the greatest portion of the United States, both in number of people and by raw area of the country. What Madison never predicted was that the bipartisan nature of today’s politics would shred this argument of a rigorous election.
According to Gallup, the percentage of Americans not identifying strongly with either political party was under 40%. This means that the majority of citizens will vote for whoever their party nominates regardless of whether or not the candidate represents their views comprehensively. The result will be, as Brutus predicted, the domination of the majority party over the minority parties. The final blockade protecting the say of these minorities is the sanctity of their vote. The electoral college allows for the underpopulated middle of the country to ensure that their voice is heard in the election of the president. The legislation put forward by these fourteen states undermines this founding principle, and will undoubtedly result in the domination of American politics by the coastal elites if left unchecked.