Right now there is a major push to change elections. Part of the chatter touts democracy as a force for good. Another is pushing for elimination of the “Electoral College” and it’s role in our presidential elections. Mostly, Americans do not understand what the “EC” is and why we have it. Nor do they grasp the difference between a Democracy and a Republic, and why we have one and not the other.
To set up the data, let’s start with this 5 minute video which truly examines the American ideal of Liberty.
And now for a look at the differences…..
Differences Between Democracy and Republic
This is excerpted from a Irish website http://www.wiseupjournal.com
One of the major differences is that in a Republic the person’s rights are paramount and must be safeguarded at all costs. While in a Democracy the State can make everyone conform to the beliefs they want, and introduce any amount of laws which take away inalienable individual rights of a person in the name of what is “best”.
Under a Democracy nothing is safeguarded, anything can be put up to a vote. 10% of the population could turn out for a vote on a new law that infringes on our rights and 51% of those people can vote yes to taking away rights from the other 94.9%of society.
The following is exerpted from The American Ideal of 1776: The Twelve Basic American Principles.
These two forms of government: Democracy and Republic, are not only dissimilar but antithetical, reflecting the sharp contrast between (a) The Majority Unlimited, in a Democracy, lacking any legal safeguard of the rights of The Individual and The Minority, and (b) The Majority Limited, in a Republic under a written Constitution safeguarding the rights of The Individual and The Minority.
The chief characteristic and distinguishing feature of a Democracy is: Rule by Omnipotent Majority. In a Democracy, The Individual, and any group of Individuals composing any Minority, have no protection against the unlimited power of The Majority. It is a case of Majority-over-Man. A Republic, on the other hand, has a very different purpose and an entirely different form, or system, of government. Its purpose is to control The Majority strictly, as well as all others among the people, primarily to protect The Individual’s God-given, unalienable rights and therefore for the protection of the rights of The Minority, of all minorities, and the liberties of people in general. The definition of a Republic is: a constitutionally limited government of the representative type, created by a written Constitution–adopted by the people and changeable (from its original meaning) by them only by its amendment–with its powers divided between three separate Branches: Executive, Legislative and Judicial. Here the term “the people” means, of course, the electorate.
The Electoral College: Compromise and the U.S. Constitution
The following is excerpted from The Heritage Foundation: Destroying the Electoral College.
In creating the basic architecture of the American government, the Founders struggled to satisfy each state’s demand for greater representation while attempting to balance popular sovereignty against the risk posed to the minority from majoritarian rule. Smaller states in particular worried that a system that apportioned representatives on the basis of population would underrepresent their interests in the federal structure.
Out of this concern arose a compromise proposed by the Committee of Eleven at the Constitutional Convention, which helped to balance the competing interests of large states with those of smaller states. By allocating electors on the basis of a state’s cumulative representation in the House and Senate, the Electoral College system avoids purely population-based representation but still gives larger states greater electoral weight.
Furthermore, the arrangement prevents candidates from winning an election by focusing solely on high-population urban centers and forces them to seek the support of a larger cross section of the American electorate. This aspect of the U.S. election system addresses the Founders’ fears of a “tyranny of the majority,” a topic frequently discussed in the Federalist Papers. In the eyes of the Founders, this tyranny was as dangerous as the risks posed by despots like King George and had the potential to marginalize sizeable portions of the population, particularly in rural and more remote areas of the country. The Electoral College was devised as a response to these fears as a means of “ensuring the participation of a broad regional diversity in the outcome of elections.”
Aside from shaping the electoral system, this fear of marginalizing large portions of the population is also the reason that the Constitution calls for a representative republic and not a direct democracy.
A long post – I know. But how important is it for us to understand our form of government and why we have it. Before we rush to change things it is imperative to look carefully at what we have. The ‘powers that be’ are making changes without the voters’ consent. Before we usurp our Constitution with additional changes it is critical that we weigh the likely consequences.
Reread the two paragraphs from the Wise Up Journal and then think about the slippery slope that actual democracy can represent.