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2016 Election

Harvard Law Professor Tells Electors to Vote for Hillary

Written by Philip Hodges

In an op-ed published in the Washington PostHarvard law professor Lawrence Lessig argued not for scrapping the electoral college, but instead using it to the Democrats’ advantage and encouraging the voting members to put their support behind Hillary Clinton:

[I]f the electoral college is to control who becomes our president, we should take it seriously by understanding its purpose precisely. It is not meant to deny a reasonable judgment by the people. It is meant to be a circuit breaker — just in case the people go crazy.

In this election, the people did not go crazy. The winner, by far, of the popular vote is the most qualified candidate for president in more than a generation. Like her or not, no elector could have a good-faith reason to vote against her because of her qualifications. Choosing her is thus plainly within the bounds of a reasonable judgment by the people. 

Yet that is not the question the electors must weigh as they decide how to cast their ballots. Instead, the question they must ask themselves is whether there is any good reason to veto the people’s choice.

There is not. And indeed, there is an especially good reason for them not to nullify what the people have said — the fundamental principle of one person, one vote. We are all citizens equally. Our votes should count equally. And since nothing in our Constitution compels a decision otherwise, the electors should respect the equal vote by the people by ratifying it on Dec. 19.

[…]

The framers left the electors free to choose. They should exercise that choice by leaving the election as the people decided it: in Clinton’s favor.

The thing is, the popular vote is not representative of the states as a whole. That’s where the electoral college comes in. It balances everything out. It’s a check on the popular votes from heavily populated cities like New York City and Los Angeles. The large urban areas always go for the Democrats. Everywhere else – rural areas and Middle America – are predominantly Republican. Republicans are diffuse across the country, while Democrats are typically concentrated in the bigger cities.

People are only trying to make arguments against the electoral college, because Hillary didn’t win. You know that if the situation were reversed – and Trump had won the popular vote and Hillary the electoral college – liberals would would be “educating” us on the importance and value of the electoral college and why it’s needed.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com


About the author

Philip Hodges

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