Gallup: Support For Electoral College Surges After 2016 Presidential Election

d46bffd8-7832-4835-895e-9f89680f51aeDemocratic leaders have suddenly discovered that the Electoral College is anti-democratic and have called for its elimination.  I have long been a critic of the Electoral College, though I understand the concerns of those who fear that the loss of the institution would reduce presidential elections to the choice of states like California and New York.  However, the interesting result of this election (where Hillary Clinton won the popular) was a ground swell of calls for the elimination of the Electoral College.  The hue and cry for reform gave hope for critics (despite the obvious opportunism and hypocrisy from some quarters) but a recent Gallup poll indicates that an inverse move has also occurred as many have come to appreciate the counter-majoritarian impact of institution in this election.  The net results appears to be an increase in support for the Electoral College.

According to the latest poll,  47% of Americans say they want to keep the Electoral College while 49% want to amend the Constitution to allow for a popular vote for president. (For the record, I favor a majority vote requirement much like many countries around the world where a runoff occurs between the final two candidates to insure a majority election).  What is fascinating is that there was previously a majority in favor of eliminating the Electoral College.

The shift, not surprising, follows political affiliations.  Previously 50 of Republicans favored the elimination, but now it was just 19 percent.

 

The loss of the Democrats appear to have cut off this option with all of the spoils of victory.  While a bill was introduced to eliminate the Electoral College by Democrats, the Senate is now going to be control of the same party as a president who counts his election on that very institution.

Who said that Electoral College was not actually educational?

369 thoughts on “Gallup: Support For Electoral College Surges After 2016 Presidential Election

  1. The issue of the electoral college is but a red herring. It distracts from the real problems of what Americans call their Democracy. Firstly the founding fathers did not create another religion but a living breathing system of self rule that was intended to change with society. Just as their creation of this new country was a change from the status quo at the time, it can only be surmised that they were aware that life continues to evolve through change.

    Those that refer religiously to the past are but the species that won’t survive. Every democracy in the modern world proves this as does some of what the American system proves as well.

    The present system can only be seen as extremely faulty after this past carnival funded by private interests and built on lies, deceit, and bigotry by the winner. Until the voters elect candidates based on substance and not emotions tapped into 24/7, we will continue to see mutts like DDT and Clinton. Clinton was not the better choice only the less dangerous one. The one lesson that has come out of all this is that something needs to be done.

  2. Patrick appears to take the view that all European descendants in the Old South were plantation owners. Nope. The English stold the low lands, for plantations, from the Amerindians there. That meant that the following Scot-Irish had to move further inland to find land to steal. Those hillbillies had essentially no use for slaves.

    He also has failed to consider the role of the Religious Society of Friends, Quakers, both in the North and the Old South. Set against slavery from the beginning in England.

    • This can only appear that way if you haven’t been listening. Twice I have advised the reading of Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America, by David Hackett Fischer. Perhaps this time I should provide a link to it: https://www.amazon.com/Albions-Seed-British-Folkways-cultural/dp/0195069056

      The top review starts this way:

      The first major wave consisted predominantly of the Puritans from East Anglia who settled in New England between 1629 and 1640, the years immediately preceding the English Civil War in which Oliver Cromwell and the Puritan army defeated and beheaded King Charles I.

      The second wave consisted of defeated (or soon to be defeated) supporters of the king and the Established (Anglican) Church of England, primarily from the south and west of England, who settled in the Chesapeake Bay regions of Virginia and Maryland between 1642 and 1675.

      The third wave was the migration of Quakers from the English midlands (and their religious kin from various German sects) who settled in the Delaware Valley (southeast Pennsylvania, west New Jersey, north Delaware) between 1675 and 1715.

      Finally, the “Scotch-Irish”, referring collectively to immigrants from the north of England, lowland Scotland, and Ulster, settled the Appalachian backcountry from Pennsylvania southwest through Virginia, the Carolinas, and into Tennessee and Kentucky from 1717 to 1775.

      *****

      Button course, that’s off topic. I’ve been trying to explain why the Electoral College came to be. Sheesh.

    • The English stold the low lands, for plantations, from the Amerindians there.

      The Amerindians there had the land because they ejected the previous band of Amerindians on it.

  3. I can’t read replies to replies to replies…

    The gutter, i.e, the column width, is too narrow and too far to the right for this mobile device.

    Also, I have no longer the ability to focus. Makes reading more difficult.

  4. I suppose we can compromise on the fact that the representation in Congress and so the Electoral College is a compromise, not in accordance with the more modern idea of equal influence for every voter.

    • Another thing, David B. Benson. If you have read my comments on this subject, it is abundantly clear that I have a deep historical knowledge on this subject, and I have focussed on the numbers.

      So what are you talking about?

      If you provide a link to TIME, I will read it, although no one with sense reads that worthless crap.

          • Your whole set of theses is nonsense. The constitutional convention convened in May of 1787. In 14 months, 11 states had ratified the document. Three conventions ratified in unanimously (among them 2 slave states and 1 free state). Four conventions (2 slave states, 2 free states) did so by margins ranging from 2-1 to 6-1. Four conventions (1 slave state, 3 free states) were more closely divided; the most contentious convention was not in any slave state being snookered, but in New York. The states which refused were North Carolina (by a margin of more than 2-1 and Rhode Island, by a 10-1 margin. After the document went into effect in 11 states where 88% of the population lived, North Carolina and Rhode Island had to decide which of their options to take. The South ratified the document more readily than the north.

            • Nonsense? Well.

              My set of “theses” are these:

              *The United States government recognized the need for some changes, so it asked its constituent parts (the states) to suggest changes to its charter.

              *The various states agreed to send representatives to do just that.

              *Those “delegates” immediately decided to spit in the face of the government that ordained their mission, and overthrow that government.

              *They did just that, conniving to create a new government, completely illegally (unanimity was the law under the Articles, but the conspirators would require less to change the government).

              *Because the slave states had too many people for the new system to work, a compromise was crafted whereby tens of thousands of people in the Southern states would not be accepted by the decennial census, to artificially reduce representation in the legislature, so as to artificially strengthen the power of the Yankee North.

              *In order for the Southern states and the Northern states to agree to ratify the overthrow of the government of the United States, an Electoral College was devised, to create an artificial balance between the two incompatible social/economic systems.

              *We live with the results of that compromise today.

              How does this end up being “nonsense”? It’s just history.

              The Constitutional Convention was convened to tweak the existing government. The handful of men who attended it decided to overthrow that government, taking a great risk that they would not be hanged as traitors if they failed. They won that bet, so now they are regarded as patriots. Spelling out the path to the win does not make them, miraculously, into good guys. We are lucky that the replacement government they created was pretty good. But facing reality is not “nonsense.” I’m new around here, but if this is the level of discourse one is to expect here, I won’t be around very often. Pathetic.

      • David,
        Long hold on the web address. That should pop up options to copy, cut, paste, or send the link in an email. Choose the option that looks like two sheets of paper. Then, in the Comment box/reply on this page long hold should pop up paste. Select that and your link should appear. I have found I have to return down a few lines or the link practically runs off the end of my comment.

        At least, that is how it works on my device. Good luck.

      • I searched for it and found rate article, David, which I regard as facile. Here is how he concludes it:

        “Thus, at the time the Twelfth Amendment tinkered with the Electoral College system rather than tossing it, the system’s pro-slavery bias was hardly a secret. Indeed, in the floor debate over the amendment in late 1803, Massachusetts Congressman Samuel Thatcher complained that “The representation of slaves adds thirteen members to this House in the present Congress, and eighteen Electors of President and Vice President at the next election.” But Thatcher’s complaint went unredressed. Once again, the North caved to the South by refusing to insist on direct national election.

        “In light of this more complete (if less flattering) account of the electoral college in the late 18th and early 19th century, Americans should ask themselves whether we want to maintain this odd—dare I say peculiar?—institution in the 21st century.”

        If you read the reply I just made to Rose, you will know why I think this is shallow thinking, but I’ll add this:

        There would be no way to “toss” the Electoral College at that time; it would be harder in fact that it would be now. I don’t know why this guy can’t see that, given all his so-called reasoning leading up to this passage. There would BE no Constitution had the slave economy not been acknowledged as the central mechanism of the Southern states: it would never have been ratified. Likewise, the 12th amendment was easily ratified because all were in agreement that political parties were going to be a permanent feature of American life, but nothing had changed re/slavery since the convention. There is no way an amendment that would strip the balance of power away from the system would be ratified. No slave state would cut its own throat.

        It’s not a “pro-slavery bias ” that was in view; it was the reality that there were two dramatically different economic systems artificially joined to one another. Yankees have always considered themselves morally superior, and people who disagree with them are by definition benighted, in need of fundamental transformation to become Yankees themselves. (Today we call them “neoconservatives,” people who are fully confident that they can force tribal Moslems in Iraq and Afghanistan to become Western democrats, because by nature the way of thinking Yankees embody is the true nature of the human race–and anyone who resists must be killed.)

        When he says “Once again, the North caved to the South by refusing to insist on direct national election”, he sounds particularly foolish, indeed perfectly ignorant. There was no “caving” in the part of the North; it was a reality that made the Constitution possible, a compromise, and it had not changed. To imagine it was a failure of nerve for the Northern states (note that the fellow quoted was from the Yankee-est of Yankee states) not to insist that the Southern states commit political suicide, so that arrogant Yankees could get a 60-year jump on Lincoln, is to reveal himself as entirely without understanding of the situation.

        Yet the guy fancies himself so morally superior that he triumphantly characterizes his empty lecture a “more complete account of the electoral college.” What a joke.

        Incidentally, the Southern cultural mind thought its way of life to be infinitely superior to that of the North. The idea of living that way, chained to the second hand, racing after money, filled the Southern breast with dread and disgust. And to have pushy, arrogant Yankees strut around and demean the Southern way of life as morally abhorrent only sealed that assessment. Guys like Samuel Thatcher were the never-Trumpers of the era, neoconservatives who cannot comprehend that anyone with intelligence would not think the way they do–and if they don’t they are obviously in a “basket of deplorables,” irredeemably evil (to borrow a phrase). They cannot listen, and any compromise for them can only temporary, because they are divinely ordained to remake the world in their image and thus, if they cannot persuade, they are compelled to force the other side to capitulate.

        These people disgust me.

  5. Would that “somebody” be me, by any chance? I think I’m the only one who pointed out the vital connection to the problem of ratification of the new Constitution between the Electoral College and the 3/5 provision, so I don’t think I’m being conceited here by making that inference.

    You should have composed this comment more carefully, because it makes little sense.

    Look. Women could not vote. Yet all of them were counted in the decennial census. All people were counted. Only African slaves, at the insistence of racist Yankees, had two thirds of their number thrown out, so that the states they lived in would have a reduced representation in Congress, and a hobbled position in the Electoral College.

    Who, here, is confused?

    • The Troubling Reason the Electoral College Exists
      Akhil Reed Amar
      2016 Nov 08
      TIME

      Learn some history and arithmetic.

    • Patrick,
      “Only African slaves, at the insistence of racist Yankees, had two thirds of their number thrown out, so that the states they lived in would have a reduced representation in Congress, and a hobbled position in the Electoral College.”

      I do not see why the Yankees were racist. Slaves would not have been allowed to vote. The Southern states would have been overrepresented but without the balance of all actual voters. Why should slaves get to boost representation if their interests are never represented?

      It would not have been fair to the slaves or to the Northerners if the Southern plantation/slave holders had artificially inflated representation.

      • I of course am not approving of the situation America found itself in, having to cope with the deep entrenchment of the slave economy, Rose. But I am capable of observing it realistically, as it was to be a person alive then.

        That said, two considerations arise from your thoughts. (Two and a half, actually: if you study the times, the only true hatred of Africans in America was in the North; as Southerners had been living and working together with Africans for centuries, they understood each other and got along well for the most part. Jefferson’s brother, for example, the one who knocked up Sally Hemings, used to party with the slaves long into the night when he visited Monticello, dancing around the bonfire with them and playing music.)

        First, since the North hated Africans, their position on the debate at the convention about representation had nothing to do with equity concerning the slaves. They were the opposite of today’s “social justice warriors.” They wanted fewer blacks counted because they would have too little power otherwise; it was all about power in the proposed government. The Southern states, on the other hand, considered their African charges in a paternalistic way. They considered them akin to children they were responsible for, whom they had to care for from cradle to grave. Remember, the vote in those days was apportioned as one family/one vote–and the slaves were regarded as an extension of the family.

        Second, understanding the reality I just described, which seems strange to us in today’s way of thinking, your argument regarding “fairness” loses its “obviousness.” The South had all those people they had to take care of, people the Yankees despised, and they considered it terribly rude for the Yankees to pretend they didn’t count as people, just to artificially elevate the North’s power in the proposed government–an “artificiality” that is exactly the opposite of the one you suppose. It was a slap in the face to propose they not be counted–and the South considered chivalry a high virtue.

        Again, the Convention was a coup to secretly plot the illegal overthrow of the legitimate government; if they were to get away with it, all considerations involved compromises–it was all about whether the folks back home would ratify the new Constitution. So they struck a balance: two out of five Africans would not be counted, and there would be a rough balance of power in Congress and the Electoral College.

        As for me, I think the Articles of Confederation should have been retained; I would have been an Antifederalist at the time. As became clear in the 1830s and again in the 1860s the cultural distinctives of New England and the South made them incompatible. They should never have been artificially joined together, and under the Articles they probably would have eventually peacefully gone their separate ways (and would have done in 1860 had Lincoln not invaded and destroyed the South).

        (I highly recommend the masterful history Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America by David Hackett Fischer. Also,The Cousins’ Wars: Religion, Politics, Civil Warfare, And The Triumph Of Anglo-America by Kevin Phillips)

        • Patrickchatsamiably:
          Slaves in the South were viewed as chattel, nothing more. Their treatment varied from state to state and from owner to owner . While some Southerners “got along” with slaves in the sense a farmer “gets along” with his plow horse, others terribly abused them individually and collectively. They were never considered equal members of Southern society either socially or legally. Your statement that the North “hated” Africans is likewise overly broad. Abolitionists groups were founded and thrived in many northern venues being populated with African freemen, whites and European immigrants. In fact, the Civil War was fought over slavery’s economic and political implications as well as the moral shortcomings of that “peculiar institution.” As to your political argument about the Articles of Confederation, it is undeniable that the AOC were a stumbling step towards nationhood. It produced a toothless national government and a cacophony of state actors trying to further their own interests. It was unworkable and the delegates to the constitutional convention knew it. Not sure a peaceful reorganization of government voted on by its members constitutes a secret “coup” in any meaningful sense.

          Your brush is colorful but paints too broadly.

          • It was a coup because the Convention was only authorized to suggest amendments to the Articles (some issues definitely needed to be attended to), not replace them completely. Any changes to the Articles had to be agreed on by every state to have effect, but the conspirators, meeting in secret, ignored that, proposing to replace the government with only nine states’ ratification. Moreover, knowing that they were committing treason, every delegate pledged to hand over all their notes to Washington, and ordained that none of those documents would be released until every conspirator was dead (that day came in the 1830s).

            To compare the Christian English Americans’ attitude toward their servants as akin to farm animals is not so much a vicious slur on those godly people, as it is a window into your own ugly racism, I suspect, because it implies that you think that millions of human beings could be treated that way for centuries, accepting such abasement as normative–as if they really didn’t have a spark of humanity that would make it impossible for such a system to flourish–because that’s just in the nature of Africans. (You should think about that, if you are going to keep comparing them to farm animals.) Yet it did flourish; very few Masters feared closing their eyes at night, for fear of having their throats slit in their sleep. It is, in other words, unthinkable that such a ridiculous social attitude prevailed. These people were the decedents of intensely committed protestants, who felt a need to spread the gospel to all mankind. Most slave owners owned only a few (they were VERY expensive property), and they were almost always considered part of the family; the whites and blacks were all born and grew up and lived on the same farm for generations. To imagine that they considered these people mere animals is hard to fathom. Familiarity does not breed contempt, butt the mutual recognition of humanity. It has nothing to do with social equality, though.

            These people knew the Bible very well, and knew perfectly that slavery was normative throughout history. Slaves in Biblical times were fully human, and English American protestants understood the great responsibility that the position of Master placed upon them. Modern Biblical illiterates might imagine that English American protestants of the time were capable of such debasement, but as I say, it tells us a lot more about the modern than the ones they so glibly slander.

            Surviving slaves in the early 20th century (https://www.loc.gov/collections/slave-narratives-from-the-federal-writers-project-1936-to-1938/about-this-collection/) were interviewed about their memories of slavery, and if you read some of their narratives, you will weep with joy at the happiness with which most of them looked back on those days. They loved their white families, and wished Lincoln had not taken that world away from them. They were not of equal status, but they were indeed part of the social order in the South.

            Abolitionists were for the most part cynical manipulators, true Yankees, who despised Africans just as much as the rest of the Northern whites did–but they were valuable tools, so they pretended to have compassion for them–as long as they didn’t come to live around them. Just as there are a minority of very sick parents in our day who mistreat their children in hideous ways, there were slave owners who did the same, and abolitionists examined Southern newspapers closely to find reports of such abuses, which they wrote about in Northern papers to give the impression that it was the norm. And since Yankees hated the South as much as they hated Africans, they believed it.

            • patrickchatsNOTsoamiablywhenchallenged:

              “To compare the Christian English Americans’ attitude toward their servants as akin to farm animals is not so much a vicious slur on those godly people, as it is a window into your own ugly racism, I suspect …”
              ********************************
              I’ll take your racist slur for what it is – an utter inability to deal with any of the facts I used to rebut your rather unlettered, broad-brush take on American history. Convention as coup is laughable. And your inability to distinguish the historical attitude of slave owners from that of the author shows a real lack of reading comprehension. Thus your “deep historical knowledge” (as proudly disclosed in you 8:08 pm post) if based on more than flash cards or cartoons is in deep doubt.

              Thanks for showing your uber-radical bent so we can judge your other “works.”

          • Very good post Mespo. It would appear Patrick has a deeply entrenched belief that the Northern states railroaded his beloved South into membership in the United States. The South gained representatives (not lost) with the 3/5ths clause. If it wasn’t in any way a “win” for the Southern slave states then it would hardly be considered a compromise. He seems to be an apologist for the slave states. I mean seriously, those racist Northerners that want to end the practice of slavery? The slave owners actually loved their slaves like family and most slaves didn’t want that relationship to end?

            I’m sure he has a million of them. Wow!

            • Olly:
              He’s got a Henny Youngman style to him no doubt. The truth is the Southern states played as vital a role as the New Englanders in forming the new nation. The midlanders were a little less enthusiastic. Some southern reluctants existed like South Carolina (who always took great pride in being contrarians a la 1861) but by and large the Republic was a joint effort.
              Behold:

              • The Convention, again, did not create a “new nation.” It changed it, fundamentally. These guys are not depicted as scheming conspirators, because they WON. Winners write the the history books. And movies.

                But what you say is true: all the men in that room had to craft a document that they could go home and SELL. They were on the same page. They were traitors, but because they succeeded they are now regarded as “patriots.”

                • I should add that the constraints placed upon them by the need to get the new document ratified forced them to make the new thing a pretty good form of government, which I am grateful for. If you’r going to overthrow a nation, it shouldn’t be done like the French did it. That it ended up being pretty good is a thing devoutly to be thankful for. The knowledge that those folks back home would hold their feet to the fire was a constant companion in their dealings that summer.

            • What you say here is false, when it is not incoherent.

              First, The South couldn’t be manipulated into “membership in the United States,” because the Southern states were already IN it.

              What was going on at the convention was a group of men from the various states were tasked on how to improve the Articles of Confederation, the United States’ constitution. They were in a sense a self-selecting group, predisposed to going beyond that task (Patrick Henry said he “smelled a rat,” and refused to dignify the plot with his presence.). So these people, who decided on day one to toss their commission in the waste paper basket and devise a replacement for the United States government, from the start were conniving to make it possible for the folks back home to agree to the coup.

              (Incidentally, how a loss of tens of thousands of souls in the decennial census could possibly result in MORE representatives in Congress is a mystery only David Copperfield might be able to pull off.)

              You say that “He seems to be an apologist for the slave states.” As if that’s a BAD thing. They had wonderful attributes, much to be admired. One does not have to hate them as themselves to bemoan their economic system, and wish for it to be somehow changed (which is essentially what Yankeeism was). That is you could love the South but disapprove of slavery. If you have read the other comments I have posted here in the last couple days, you certainly know that I am simply explaining what happened, and why. It’s not about me. It’s about what it took to get the new Constitution ratified.

              It is about the incompatibility of the two systems, and the desire of the men in that room to solidify the bad marriage. It is not about the morality of slavery, or the presumed moral superiority of the Yankees. It has nothing to do with those things. The Southern states gave up considerable power to remake the United States, which is why we have the Electoral College. That’s the point. These men connived to remake the United States into something far more powerful than it was originally intended to be, and that desire transcended their mutually incompatible economic systems.

              I am not making it up when I report the intense hatred of Africans that prevailed in the North, or the paternalistic care the average slave owner took when it came to his slaves. The things are very easy to verify.

              • Here’s your great “conivers,” patrick:

                Connecticut
                William Samuel Johnson
                Roger Sherman
                Oliver Ellsworth (Elsworth)*

                Delaware
                George Read
                Gunning Bedford, Jr.
                John Dickinson
                Richard Bassett
                Jacob Broom

                Georgia
                William Few
                Abraham Baldwin
                William Houstoun*
                William L. Pierce*

                Maryland
                James McHenry
                Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer
                Daniel Carroll
                Luther Martin*
                John F. Mercer*

                Massachusetts
                Nathaniel Gorham
                Rufus King
                Elbridge Gerry*
                Caleb Strong*

                New Hampshire
                John Langdon
                Nicholas Gilman

                New Jersey
                William Livingston
                David Brearly (Brearley)
                William Paterson (Patterson)
                Jonathan Dayton
                William C. Houston*

                New York
                Alexander Hamilton
                John Lansing, Jr.*
                Robert Yates*

                North Carolina
                William Blount
                Richard Dobbs Spaight
                Hugh Williamson
                William R. Davie*
                Alexander Martin*

                Pennsylvania
                Benjamin Franklin
                Thomas Mifflin
                Robert Morris
                George Clymer

                Thomas Fitzsimons (FitzSimons; Fitzsimmons)
                Jared Ingersoll
                James Wilson
                Gouverneur Morris

                South Carolina
                John Rutledge
                Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
                Charles Pinckney
                Pierce Butler

                Rhode Island
                Rhode Island did not send delegates to the
                Constitutional Convention.

                Virginia
                John Blair
                James Madison Jr.
                George Washington
                George Mason*
                James McClurg*
                Edmund J. Randolph*
                George Wythe*

                Madison, Wythe, Randolph, Rutledge, Franklin, Mifflin, Hamilton, King all traitors to your cause! You are the historical comic. Stop it. You’re making me sick laughing.

                • Obviously, you cannot understand what I have been saying. They were not authorized to replace the government, only suggest changes. They disregarded that commission. That is by definition treason. However fine they were as individuals.

                  Furthermore, the existing constitution required unanimity to make any changes, and they went ahead with a plan to replace it with a less-than-unanimous consensus.

                  If you think this is funny, you have a strange sense of humor. If they did not get the thing ratified, they could have all been hanged by the government they were intent on overthrowing–because that’s how things were done in those days.

                  If you can dispute my facts, try. I dare you.

                  • “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

                    The DoI proved the just cause of the revolution. The self-evident truths that led to the AOC also led to the Constitution. The same “divine right of kings” worldview that considered the revolution an illegal act by traitors is the very same worldview used to justify slavery.

                    • The Declaration listed numerous infractions that justified our people’s separation into a new nation. These infractions on the part of the mother country had been ongoing for years. These things do not pertain to the Constitutional Convention.

                      Furthermore, the Convention was a commission, assigned a task by a government that recognized it needed some adjustments. It was very specific, limited commission. No one had any grievances against the form of government that necessitated its overthrow. Indeed, the government was itself asking for suggestion as to beneficial alterations to itself.

                      The commissioners defied their commission, flagrantly (amongst themselves) and secretly (no one outside that room was allowed to know anything about their deliberations).

                      If that’s not treason, I don’t know what is.

                  • “No one had any grievances against the form of government that necessitated its overthrow.”

                    Tell that to Gen. Washington and his soldiers, or the slaves.

                    We always have the right to alter or abolish our form of government. That doesn’t make it treasonous as long as it is to provide MORE security of our unalienable rights.

                    • Well. That’s a new one on me. Please provide a reference. There was an incipient uprising against the government of the United States because slavery existed? Washington and the long decommissioned soldiers who fought under him were longing for an overthrow of the government of the United States?

                      Wow. News to me.

                      And think I’ve spent decades reading books on the subject. Knock me over with a feather.

                  • Patrick:

                    You refute your assertions with your succeeding sentences. You don’t need me, That’s why you’re hilarious. The Constitutional Convention didn’t abolish the AOC, it proposed abolishing them with a new constitution. The states ratified the changes suggested but didn’t have to do so. That’s made the states autonomous and the proposers not traitors but patriots, which raises some other questions: Is English your second language? Do you have a history book? Are all anarchists obtuse?

                    • mespo – the writers of the Constitution were just supposed to fine tune the AOC but instead delivered a brand spanking new Constitution. And to make it worse, it only had to be ratified by 3/5s of the states to make it operative on the others. The Federalist Papers are the selling of the Constitution. Each time an issue was raised a new paper would be written to take care of that point. I know that a lot of people like to quote the Federalist Papers for this or that, but really it is like quoting a Toyota ad for what your Toyota should be.

                    • And to make it worse, it only had to be ratified by 3/5s of the states to make it operative on the others.

                      No, it had to be ratified in nine states to go into effect in those nine states. There was resistance only in North Carolina and Rhode Island.

                  • Conventions in all Southern states ratified the Constitution. North Carolina was the only resistant Southern state.

                    • Logic escapes the ideologue like the facts he omits that refute him. If you ratify the changes, it means you approve them no matter what you sent the delegates to do initially. Patrick can’t get over the truth of what happened, clinging to “we only told them to tinker with it” mantra. We had some of the best minds the world has ever seen at that convention. Too bad some of the worst ones we’ve ever seen can’t acknowledge that.

                    • That is entirely beside the point, mespo. The point is: why do we have an Electoral College? It is because of the competing interests of the states, and the compromises the men who crafted the replacement government had to make to get their plot to fruition.

                      Why is this so hard to comprehend?

                      If they hadn’t chosen to overthrow the government of the United States, the United States today would not have an Electoral College. Duh.

                      But since they DID choose treason, they had a delicate task in getting the folks back home to agree to the plot. Thus, the Electoral College. They were walking a tightrope. It worked. The government was replaced. They were certainly successful because they were wise and intelligent (for the most part). But many wise and intelligent men have overthrown governments throughout history. It is only because it is OUR, current, government that is the result of such a coup that its citizens are reluctant to face the history of how it came to be–even if they don’t understand why core mechanisms within it were devised. To do so feels somehow unpatriotic.

              • “First, The South couldn’t be manipulated into “membership in the United States,” because the Southern states were already IN it.”

                They were IN an extremely weak confederation of states. Had the framers not come up with a compromise then “they” wouldn’t have been in anything. There is nothing to be admired about any economic system that requires slaves to make it work.

                “I am not making it up when I report the intense hatred of Africans that prevailed in the North, or the paternalistic care the average slave owner took when it came to his slaves.”

                If you’re going to “report” then you should provide sources. Unless of course you have firsthand knowledge.

                One more thing: the only thing that matters is the actions, not the feelings. We will always have people with negative opinions of others. Intense hatred is a feeling that is part of human nature. As much as Issac tries to claim “it” does, human nature DOES NOT evolve. Paternalistic care of slaves is an absolutely corrupt understanding of the institution. Benevolent Dictator sounds nice as well. Would you be okay with me stealing your car if I made sure you had bus passes? How about I take your children to do chores at my house? I’ll treat them with the same love I do my own children, with the exception of sending them to school and reading them bedtime stories.

                EVERYTHING that flows out of the infringement of natural rights IS WRONG, even if there is a perceived benefit. Yours is a utilitarian concept and it’s what is so disgusting about progressivism. There is NO greater good to be found in infringing the natural rights of anyone.

                You can “report” whatever you want but the nanosecond you report infringement of rights as a net positive is the exact moment your credibility is gone.

                • “EVERYTHING that flows out of the infringement of natural rights IS WRONG, even if there is a perceived benefit. Yours is a utilitarian concept and it’s what is so disgusting about progressivism. There is NO greater good to be found in infringing the natural rights of anyone.”

                  I agree entirely. I am an anarchist who would settle for libertarianism. Lew Rockwell is a hero to me.

                  The whole point I have been making is the necessity to understand how people in the past thought and felt about their world, without imposing our own sensibilities on them. If you travelled back in time, you could not convince people to think the way WE do.

                  I am not defending involuntary servitude. I am defending the principle that people in the past were different than us. This is not utilitarianism. It is an attempt to get the history right.

                  • Oh, and in case you didn’t see my comment on the issue, it is my belief that, were the Articles of Confederation to continue in force, it would have been the very best outcome–because the thing would have inevitably been recognized as untenable, and groups of like-minded states would have broken off and gone their own way. That’s why I recommend the book Albions’ Seed. The four British folkways were destined to remain separate. They should have been allowed to become each a country of their own, with a destiny unique to themselves.

                    That is why I bemoan the success of the coup at Philadelphia, which artificially maintained a marriage doomed to fail.

                    • That is why I bemoan the success of the coup at Philadelphia, which artificially maintained a marriage doomed to fail.

                      You live in a region that exists only in your mind, and are comically prolix while telling us what it’s like in there.

  6. Somebody is deeply confused above about the Electoral College. Since slaves could not vote the effect was to amplify the votes in the slave holding states to beyond the proportion of the popular vote.

    This is rather elementary arithmetic.

  7. I’ll follow the non sequitur with another one…..

    This video beginning at 1:25 shows the same kind of ridiculous mental breakdown the Democrats and the weird brainwashed-Hillary-cult followers are doing right now in America. Sobbing over Hillary, politicizing the Electoral College electors, CIA, FBI, Hollywood pleading for electors to to disregard their states’ voting results and deny Trump the presidency, etc, They are losing their minds. Someone please explain the difference.

      • Love that song, and thanks for the reminder. I’m not too far gone, but I will admit that my despisement of Hillary drove me into the cult of Trump. Yes, I bought my ticket and boarded the Trump Train….reason and logic be damned. And before that I was swept up with the cult of “The One We’ve Been Waiting For”….but only once.

  8. The Electoral College was a device to give the slave holding states greater say in selecting the president and vice president.

    • No. It was precisely the opposite.

      The Southern states, inexplicably, allowed the Northern states to trick them into allowing two fifths of their slave population to not be counted in the decennial census, under the new Constitution. The 3/5 provision made them significantly LESS powerful in making new presidents.

      That is, they volunteered to REDUCE their say in electing the executive, when they crafted the Electoral College.

      I say they were stupid to do that, primarily because I think the Articles of Confederation was a far better form of government, and the tyranny we now groan under would not be possible had the coup not happened. Alas.

      As I stated in a previous comment, this morning, the reason the Southern states agreed to give up so much power was that their tricky delegates were deeply desirous of overthrowing the legitimate government they had been tasked to improve, not replace.

      All those people for that reason should have been tried for treason and hanged, but in Philadelphia they found the right balance, and the several states agreed to accept the overthrow, so they are now considered “statesmen.” Still, understanding the details is important, and you, David B. Benson, get this particular detail exactly inside-out. The Southern states were significantly WEAKENED by the Electoral College, when the 3/5 provision was agreed to. Had it been me, I’d have demanded that every slave be counted, the Yankees be damned.

        • Well, what would YOU suggest, had you been a delegate from a Southern state at the convention? Suicide? Allowing zero slaves to be counted in the census, and thus having no power in the new government?

          Look. The states were countries, in loose confederation. If they were to give up any of their sovereignty, it had better be worth it, else the folk back home would not ratify the coup.

          You might not like that.

          Patrick Henry refused to be a delegate, saying he “smelled a rat.” I’d have done the same, because he was right. But had I been prevailed upon to attend, I’d have told them to piss up a rope, if they wanted any human being to not be counted in the census. But that’s just me. The states should have fought for their full position, or simply allow the Articles to continue (which would have been best, anyway).

          • But according to those of the south, slaves were not human beings or persons. They were property. If property was to be counted as a means of determining apportionment, then why not count the cows and other farms animals in both the south and the north as well?

            • That is simply not true. It was not either/or, but BOTH. The Englishmen in America who inherited the slave economy were Christians. It is a modern lie that they did not recognize their slaves as human. They were greatly torn about the question of teaching them the gospel, for instance, as their souls needed saving, but that would force the question of equality, But they WERE property, too, and often their monetary value made up the entire net worth of the owner, so slave owners were trapped by the system. It was a quandary they were constantly wrestling with.

              But there is no doubt they knew the Africans to be human, even if they were considered inherently inferior.

              In any event, if they had not been considered human the debate about their numbers would be moot: only people can be represented politically. It was a difficult matter precisely because everyone present at the convention recognized their humanity.

              What do you think these English Americans thought when they offered a slave his/her freedom? What about people in general, who interacted with free Africans (there were lots of them, some of whom owned African slaves themselves)? Do you think they saw them as intelligent apes? Preposterous.

          • You forget, our Issac is blessed by the background hum of the universe with all-knowing moral clarity. Certainly, he would not fall victim to the cultural perceptions of the time. He just knows it all, and he knows it.

      • “The Southern states, inexplicably, allowed the Northern states to trick them into allowing two fifths of their slave population to not be counted in the decennial census, under the new Constitution. The 3/5 provision made them significantly LESS powerful in making new presidents.”
        *******************

        h/t : Buddha is Laughing

  9. We are not a democracy. We are a constitutional representative republic. Those two nouns can become dangerous when uttered by Howard Zinn disciples educated by 1960 radicals, now teachers in our schools and universities. Beware!

  10. Obit on Myron:
    Champion of equality Judge Myron Bright dies at 97
    By Helmut Schmidt on Dec 12, 2016 at 2:26 p.m.
    Judge Myron Bright, 97, died early Monday morning, Dec. 12. Dave Wallis / The Forum

    FARGO – Judge Myron Bright, a champion of equal rights for minorities and women and the longest-serving working judge on the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, has died.

    Bright, 97, died early Monday, Dec. 12, at Eventide Fargo on the city’s south side.

    “He died peacefully with his entire family with him this morning, about 12:15 a.m.” said Christian Golding, his son-in-law.

    “He was living history. He was at the time of his passing the oldest currently serving federal judge in the country,” Golding said. “He was more than just quite a man. He was a legend.”

    Oil pipeline spill near Belfield, ND, estimated at 176,000 gallons

    Bright had moved about a month ago to Eventide from his longtime residence at Touchmark at Harwood Groves in Fargo, Golding said.

    Until a couple of weeks ago, Bright was still hearing cases as a judge in senior status on the appeals court, Golding said.

    “This is one of the really last great people of his generation,” Golding said.

    U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., praised Bright and his lifetime of service to the nation.

    “Judge Bright’s empathy and compassion were unsurpassed – whether at home or in the courtroom,” Heitkamp said in a statement. “While making decisions, he always walked in the shoes of those who may not have had a voice in the courtroom, reminding us why empathy is so vital on the bench. That compassion and ability to look at matters from all perspectives made him an invaluable defender of equal rights and a proponent of tolerance – improving lives in Native American communities and bringing kindness to any job he did or decision he made.”

    Boulger Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

    Bright was born March 5, 1919, in Eveleth, Minn., the son of Jewish immigrants from Russia. He grew up on the Iron Range during the Great Depression, and he served in the U.S. Army Air Corps in the Pacific during World War II, rising to the rank of captain.

    He married Louise Reisler in 1946, and they had two children.

    He was admitted to the North Dakota Bar in 1947, and he practiced law for 21 years before President Lyndon Johnson appointed him to the federal bench.

    On Aug. 16, 1968, Bright was sworn in as a judge on the 8th Circuit appeals court.

    By 2013, Bright estimated he had heard 7,000 cases and written 2,500 opinions – many of them dissents or separate concurrences – in his time on the bench. Even as late as 2014, he was hearing 40 to 50 cases a year, he said.

    In all, Bright served more than 48 years as a federal judge between full time and senior status.

    Judges often reflect the philosophies of the presidents who appoint them, and in a December 2010 interview, Bright said he was proud to have done so, too.

    He and other Johnson appointees “worked unceasingly to batter down the prejudice against blacks and other minorities and women,” Bright said.

    Bright said he was proud of his ruling in McDonnell Douglas v. Green, in which he wrote about covert discrimination, as well as his opinion in Solem v. Helm, which overturned a life sentence without parole for a South Dakota man who committed several nonviolent felonies.

    For years, Bright was concerned by the disproportionately long sentences for Native Americans who commit the same crimes as whites.

    In recent years, Bright said the nation needed to address the sentencing of large numbers of nonviolent drug offenders to prison, which cost the U.S. billions of dollars annually.

    His efforts paid off. In 2013, then-U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder spoke out against harsh mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent offenders. Legal experts credited Bright with being one of the most influential judges in advocating an end to mandatory minimum sentencing.

    “What shall I say? I got vindication,” he told The Forum in a 2013 interview.

    Bright’s efforts also loomed large in the life of James Dean Walker, an Arkansas man imprisoned for more than two decades after being convicted of murdering a police officer in 1963.

    “After I looked at the Walker case, it didn’t smell right,” Bright told The Forum, even though he at first regarded the appeal with skepticism.

    After a series of hearings and procedural reversals, Bright prevailed in a 5-4 decision that allowed Walker to leave prison as a free man in 1985.

    The divided appeals court concluded Walker was convicted with false evidence, and found that favorable eyewitness testimony had been suppressed.

    Bright’s parents emigrated from Russia and settled in Minnesota’s Iron Range, where his father first worked in the shipyards of Duluth.

    ND will have a first lady as Burgum announces marriage

    His father later became a merchant, running a series of general merchandise stores in small towns. In 1927, he bought a store in Eveleth, Minn., where Bright grew up during the Great Depression.

    The Iron Range communities then were comprised of immigrant workers: Finns, Italians, Slovenians and others from Eastern and Central Europe, including Russia.

    “They all were interested in bettering themselves,” Bright said. “I was a first-generation American and so were all my friends. We all learned to live together and work together.”

    Although Bright seldom experienced discrimination, his Jewish background came up when he was interviewing for jobs after graduating from the University of Minnesota School of Law in 1947.

    A lawyer from a Duluth firm asked about his religion, and when he answered that he was Jewish he was told that could pose a problem for some New York insurance clients.

    Later, when interviewing with what became the Vogel Law Firm in Fargo, he volunteered that he was Jewish but the answer was, “What difference does that make?”

    Bright moved to Fargo and spent 21 years in private practice, with a heavy emphasis in trial work.

    Two cases stand out from Bright’s years as a trial lawyer; both civil disputes.

    In one, his written argument cleared the way for William Guy to be seated as governor in 1960, following a challenge that he was ineligible because, as a state legislator, he had voted to build a new governor’s mansion and for a new car for the governor’s use.

    In the other, his argument that municipal bond issues could be applied to private issues – his clients were in the sugar beet industry – enabled the access to capital that benefited not only his clients but many other enterprises over the years.

    As a judge, Bright said he had the satisfaction of seeing many of the decisions he helped to mold become embraced by the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Often, the son of an immigrant storekeeper who repeatedly granted credit to jobless customers found himself siding with the disenfranchised while on the bench.

    Behind the mask: Surgery is precise, polite and a bit sad, nothing like on TV

    “I suppose I have a sympathetic heart, you might say,” Bright said, though he added that his decisions must be based on the law.

    In late 2014, his autobiography, “Goodbye Mike, Hello Judge: My Journey for Justice,” was published by North Dakota State University.

    Arrangements are being handled by Boulger Funeral Home, Fargo.

  11. Off topic. Judge Myron Bright died at age 97. He was the longest serving judge in history. He sat as a senior Judge on 8th Circuit until his death. Hails from ND. Originally from MN.

  12. When I could not get into the Electoral College I waited many years and then decided on Trump University. I graduated and have a B.S. in Fine Farts. I teach part time as a retired person now. My class is in a nearby public grade school. I teach computer use.

  13. You state, “I understand the concerns of those who fear that the loss of the institution would reduce presidential elections to the choice of states like California and New York.” This also could could be stated as, “I understand the concerns of those who fear that the loss of the institution would simplify presidential elections and return the choice to the individual voters.” What is there to fear? True democracy?

    Voters in states like CA and NY do not all vote uniformly for one party or candidate. Counting all their citizens’ votes (unlike the present Electoral College system) would be an improvement to our democracy.

    • Again, you’d have to federalize elections administration if you abandoned the electoral college, or have a parallel system of federal and state administration. It’s possible to repair the electoral college to correct some of its problems.

      • StepStep:
        How does one “correct some of the problems” of an institution that is intentionally designed to defeat democracy in the election of POTUS?

        Even if you distribute the electors proportionally, its still not fair since the count of electors in each State depends partially on the fact of two Senators seated from each State regardless of population. Thus Wyoming will always have more electors than its population size deserves, while California will always have many less than IT deserves. To proportionalize something that is out of whack to begin with does not offer a solution. National popular vote, where “one American citizen, equals one American vote” does solve the problem.

        • This is utter nonsense. The states created the federal government. “Fairness”? What is absolutely and utterly fair is that the states rule. This is the USA, the United STATES of America, not the UPA, the United PERSONS of America. Why is this so hard to comprehend?

          “Wyoming will always have more electors than its population size deserves…”. “Deserves? What are you talking about? The states deserve to be equal amongst themselves.

          Too bad no one teaches basic civics in America anymore. This is agonizing. No one should have to teach this stuff to grown ups.

    • Feyd,
      Right, the only part of our Federal Government that meets the definition of a representative democracy is the House of Representatives. Not the Senate, and certainly not POTUS.

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