No, the Electoral College Is Not a ‘Shadow of Slavery’s Power’

The Daily Signal | 1/11/2019 | Staff
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Tara Ross is a retired lawyer and author of several books, including "The Indispensable Electoral College: How the Founders' Plan Saves Our Country from Mob Rule," and "We Elect a President: The Story of Our Electoral College."

“There you go again,” Ronald Reagan famously joked in 1980 when President Jimmy Carter painted an inaccurate picture of one of his policies. Perhaps he’d say the same of those who are distorting the history of the Electoral College today.

New - York - Congresswoman - Democrat - Alexandria

New York’s newest congresswoman, Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, has been quick to jump onto this bandwagon, recently labeling the Electoral College a “shadow of slavery’s power on America.” Others have called it a “living symbol of America’s original sin,” an “antiquated relic of slavery,” or even a “pro-slavery compromise.”

Mere hours into the new Congress, a bill was introduced to eliminate this “outdated” system.

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Such a view of the Electoral College’s roots threatens to become conventional wisdom, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Obviously, some of the Founders owned slaves. Compromises were made in America’s early years because North and South couldn’t agree on whether to continue the institution. Just as obviously, virtually all Americans today wish that slavery had never existed. It’s a part of America’s heritage that is clearly at odds with America’s founding principles.

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That does not mean, however, that the Constitution and its presidential election process are simply a “relic of slavery.” The discussions at the Constitutional Convention were shaped more by the delegates’ study of history and political philosophy, as well as their own experiences with Parliament and the state legislatures. They wanted to avoid the mistakes that had been made in other governments. They sought to establish a better constitution that would stand the test of time.

George Washington expressed this conviction, felt so strongly by the founding generation: “[T]he preservation of the...
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