Critics see the Electoral College as an anti-democratic and dangerous relic. Supporters see it as an important part of the architecture of the Constitution, which combines popular and geographic representation. Recall, for example, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s words to the Senate in 1979, in arguing fiercely against a proposal to abolish the Electoral College. Sounding very much like John Calhoun, he maintained,
“Concurrent majorities are also required between sufficient majorities in both Houses of Congress and the Presidency to enact a law, and the President himself comes to office by having achieved a majority of the electoral votes cast. The power subsequently evolved, but clearly anticipated by the framers — and I think this is settled — that the Supreme Court could review the acts of the Congress and the President in their concurrent majorities, and the majority of the court could judge upon constitutionality. This is a pervasive and understood principle of the Constitution thought to be — and who would argue that history has not supported that expectation — learned from history. And of all these majorities, none was more subtle or more central to their thinking than the majorities required to elect a President.”
The Publius Society, a politically diverse group of students, faculty, and oher citizens, will gather at 7:30 p. m.on Sunday, September 28 at the AHI’s headquarters (21 West Park Row, Clinton, NY) for dessert and lively discussion.
Those interested in attending should come prepared to discuss the following readings:
We look forward to an an evening of thoughtful exchanges.