Electoral Boogie. Pick a dance, and perfect it already.

If you take a really fuel efficient car, convert it to electric power, then install solar panels on the roof, what do you get?  3 good ideas that won’t get you to work.

That’s what we have for our Presidential elections. Selecting smart people to gather and choose the President is a good idea. Giving each states a stake in the decision process is a good idea. Popular votes are also generally considered a good idea. It’s hard to call any of these a bad idea, but together, they make an unworkable system.

It would be better to choose one and make it work.

Option 1) Hamilton’s Electors. Pick an honorable and/or smart neighbor, tell them your concerns, and let them go pick the President with a lot of other people’s neighbors, and then come back home to explain their choice to you.

Hamilton’s Federalist 68- “election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice. A small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite”

This appeals to me because it ascribes the closest to the adage ‘All politics are local’.

Option 2) Popular Election. One person, One vote. Let the scale of public opinion carry the day.

This is not my favorite, but I do understand the appeal of its simplicity.

Option 3) Parliamentary model. Elect representatives, semi-permanent, professional legislators, and they will select a leader from their midst, and continue working with their choice.

This has many of the advantages of the Electoral model, but it does create a class of removed folks that are likely to make decisions based on their own career objectives, rather than far removed constituents.

Honestly, I’d be fine with moving to any of these options. Our current system makes nods to all of them, but most of the benefits of each are cancelled in the details.  Why do we keep it, then? I don’t think there’s a good answer for that beyond pure political inertia, or lack of a clear benefit for change to any members of the entrenched system.

Author: patrixmyth