Roger Stone proposes a way to reform the Electoral College, turning it into a proportional representation system.
I have a better idea: Let’s go back to the system that gave us the best president in US History: George Washington.
The way it would work is as follows.
First, state legislatures choose, according to whichever method they like, electors that match the number of senators and representatives from their state. Then, on the chosen day, the electors meet separately to determine who they will vote for president. They send a sealed, certified letter to the House of Representatives with the details of their votes, who then read the votes aloud in a public session of the house. If any one person receives a majority count, they become president. If there is no majority, then the representatives choose a president from among the people who received votes.
I believe state legislatures would do well to remove the popular vote portion of the presidential election altogether. I believe select committees should be appointed to debate the issue of who should be president and make a wise decision. I believe state legislatures would be wise to choose people on that committee who can put politics aside and think about what kind of person we need to run the federal administration for the next four years. However, if the state legislatures want to abuse that power and choose electors who vote for the person they wish, and thus take on the weighty matter of who the president should be, let them consume their limited time with this fruitless debate.
I draw on logic and reason as my guide in this matter. See, we don’t have elections for CEO by the shareholders. CEOs are chosen by the boards who represent the shareholders. These board members spend a great deal of time finding good candidates and interviewing them. This kind of process is impossible on such a large scale as shareholders. Why do we think it is appropriate for all 300 million Americans to think about who should be president?
If the Electoral College process were adhered to, with the electors free to vote their conscience, then after their appointment and before the meeting, they would spend all their free time thinking as hard as they could about what we need in a president and which candidates would best serve the needs of our country. People who are likely candidates would probably be called in to interview with groups of electors. Debates would be focused on weight policy matters and issues of qualifications, not on political sloganeering or organizing mobs to rustle up votes across the country. Presidential aspirants would have to be well-versed in politics, political theory, military command, and administration, or it would be obvious that they were clearly unqualified for the job, no matter how politically appealing they are.
When the electors meet to discuss their final decisions, the debate would focus on substance, not politics. The principle question would be about our country and whether each man (or woman) would be a good president for it. All the other issues pale in comparison to these.
In the likely event that there is no majority vote, the only body which should be entrusted with deciding the president would be the house. Seeing as how the house and the president need to be united in purpose, this is the ideal scenario, and leads us to the kind of harmony that parliamentary systems have, with their chief executive chosen by the parliament. Instead of regional interests being pitted against national interests, as we are today, we would see regional interests compromise for their own good and the good of the whole.
Which of the above features are found in a democratic, mob-rule system that Roger Stone proposed? None. Roger Stone, I believe, doesn’t understand why democracy is a bad thing, and why the American system of government was never setup as a democracy. He may have a hard time understand why the country has discovered so many new problems since we adopted the system of electing our senators by a vote of the people, rather than by the state legislatures. Democracy is appealing to the masses—but the masses are not appealing to reasonable government and the protection of individual liberties. We can no more hope that an individual would, as a matter of life, constantly defend the rights of others, than we can expect the masses to do so. Thus, the system we have were democratic notions are tempered by republican aristocracy and the tyranny of an individual president.
These arguments are not new, nor are they to be ignored. These are the reasons why we have what we have today. Those who can’t argue against these particular arguments—and arguing for a more “fair” democratic process is not a starter—do not need to waste their time in thinking of changing the system.