It should come as no surprise that Hillary opposes the Electoral College. Alexander Hamilton explained that the whole point of the Electoral College was to interpose "every practicable obstacle" to "cabal, intrigue and corruption." The roundabout method of choosing a president imposed by the Constitution was intended to frustrate "the adversaries of republican government" and prevent them from gaining "an improper ascendant in our councils."
Instead of relying upon "existing bodies of men who might be tampered with beforehand to prostitute their votes," the Constitution placed the power of selecting a president "in the first instance to an immediate act of the people of America."
But it would not merely be a vote of the people because the framers feared that a direct popular vote would tend to reward candidates practiced at the "little arts of popularity," as Hamilton put it in Federalist No. 68. The people would simply vote for electors, and the electors would have the "temporary and sole purpose" of choosing the president.
Though the system somehow let Bill Clinton slip through, the Electoral College has largely been free of the corrupting influences of concern to the framers. Electors have occasionally wandered off the reservation, as in 1988 when a lone Dukakis elector cast his vote for Lloyd Bentsen, but as a group they've been pretty incorruptible.
Electors have never been stolen outright by a Chicago mayor or Texas precinct captain -- as popular votes have been. No elector has never been convicted of taking bribes -- as members of the House and Senate have been with woeful frequency. The New York Times has never run an op-ed piece enthusiastically endorsing electors trading their votes -- as it did recently with regard to Nader and Gore voters trading popular votes across state lines.
The Electoral College is supposed to be enigmatic and complex -- the better to foil "foreign powers," "cabals," corrupters and other enemies of republican government. It remains to be seen if the Electoral College can frustrate the corrupt machinations on behalf of Al Gore.
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