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Saving America Requires More than Just Electing Presidents

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Steve Karnowski

Presidents come and go. Those who couldn't wait for President Obama to leave office celebrated his exit and President Trump's victory over Hillary Clinton. For those who call for the impeachment of President Trump, the 2020 election can't come soon enough. But rest assured that America has weathered changes in presidents and congressional control since its founding.

Our founding fathers and responsible politicians through the years have wisely worked to establish and ensure our enduring freedoms by building a political structure that cannot be easily changed. With three branches of government, all are empowered with ways to check and influence each other.

America has remained strong and frustrated those who desire radical change from either end of our political spectrum. Excesses by either political party are likely to fuel increased donations and surface candidates committed to counter those changes through the election process.

Some current Democratic candidates are proposing political changes that should concern most citizens. Here are three proposed changes worth resisting:

Electing a President by Majority Vote instead of Electoral College: There are reasons the Electoral College was created for presidential elections.

Our founding fathers worked diligently to help balance the legitimate needs of states by giving more power to larger states while ensuring that smaller states working together could still provide a check to that power. The House of Representatives provides seats according to the population of the state. California, Texas, New York and Florida have more representatives while Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, Nevada, Delaware, Vermont, and the Dakotas have only one representative each.

The Senate was created as a counter balance to the House, equalizing the power of each state. No matter what the size, no one state can control a law's passage in the US Senate. Broad-based support from many states must be earned because the country as a whole is more important than any one state.

By combining the number of representatives and senators to determine the Electoral College power of every state, we ensure that the size of a state's population matters while making sure that even small states continue to have an impact.

Using the popular vote alone in presidential elections would tip the scales in favor of the larger states and could tear at the unity Americans treasure. A president should have to appeal to a broad base of Americans in order to be elected. Our present system requires that and should be preserved.

Expand the Number of Supreme Court Justices: Candidates, including Senators Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Kirsten Gillibrand, have all signaled an openness to overhauling the court if they become president. Increasing the number of Supreme Court justices would allow them to pack the court with supporters to counter President Trump's recent appointments.

Elections matter. In any presidential election, supporters work to elect candidates who will be able to appoint more supportive judges to vacancies. This causes some judges and justices to retire in order to have a like-minded replacement approved. Other justices wanting to retire hold onto their positions until a more supportive candidate can defeat the incumbent.

Knowing the power of the court in impacting legislation and even legislating from the bench, citizens with strong opinions are more motivated to support their party's candidates. Any effort to change the number of Supreme Court judges for political purposes diminishes the impact of elections and should be resisted. If you want your judges appointed, put your focus on electing your presidential candidate.

Noncitizens Should Be Allowed to Vote in Local Elections: Federal law doesn't prohibit noncitizens from voting in state or local elections, but no state has allowed noncitizens to vote in state elections since Arkansas became the last state to outlaw noncitizen voting in 1926.

Noncitizen voting is already happening in some Maryland towns. In 2016, voters in San Francisco approved Measure N allowing noncitizens to vote in local school board races.

Allowing noncitizens to vote in any election undermines the value of citizenship. A few votes have made the difference in some critical elections. Only citizens should be allowed to vote in local, state, and federal elections.

Thankfully, these changes right now are just talking points in campaigns. Such changes like these are almost impossible to be approved quickly or with the support of only one party. Such safeguards have served us well for over two centuries. Let's keep it that way. If the eventual Democratic candidate espouses these changes, the very future of this country may depend on that candidate being defeated! Fight with every fiber of your body and soul to make sure these changes never occur.

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