Having returned to the Ohio Valley during a recent weekend for a family event, I had the opportunity to read the Sunday edition of the News-Register. I'll take this opportunity to applaud your staff on the excellent content of the editorial section of your Sunday edition.
I read with great interest the opinion article by Mark Shields: "Electoral College Should Be Eliminated." This issue arises every four years during the election cycle for the presidency and argues that the president should be elected by the sheer majority of the national popular vote. Mr. Shields cites Ohio as presently being "the epicenter of the political world" because of its electoral votes. He goes on to say that the only reason the national candidates are in Ohio is because of the "historical mistake we call the Electoral College." He cites the Electoral College as being "absolutely anti-democratic."
Well Mr. Shields, the last thing we as a nation should want is a true democracy and I believe you don't have a true understanding of how a democracy functions or what its implications are for a free society. Democracy is simply majority rule; mob rule if you will. That may sound fine to you as long as you are a member of the majority. But, how would you like it if you were a member of the black race in 1900 and the democracy you wish for (majority rule) decided to have a majority vote on whether slavery should be the law of the land? Put more simply, a true democracy could be illustrated by the scenario of two wolves and a deer sitting down and taking a vote on who would be the main course for dinner that evening. You wouldn't want to be the deer in that democracy, would you, Mr. Shields?
Let's fast forward 100 years from now to when the fastest growing segment of the world's population, the Muslim sect, could be the majority of voters in this country. What if that majority decided it was time to elect a president who advocated Sharia law as the law of the land? That wouldn't work out so well for anyone other than Muslims, would it? The Electoral College was designed to prevent exactly that from happening. It gives every citizen a voice in the direction of our government, not just the majority.
If there were no Electoral College, and the popular vote (majority rule) was the standard for election of our president, the outcome of the election would be determined only by the high population centers of the East and West coast, primarily the large cities along the Northeast corridor and Los Angeles and possibly Chicago. Candidates for national office would have no reason to campaign anywhere else and the so-called "fly-over country" which consists of any area outside the East and West coast major cities would be given no consideration at all. You basically complained that the candidates for national office are only paying attention to Ohio because they need your electoral votes. How would you feel if they didn't need the Ohio electoral votes and ignored the entire Ohio Valley completely?
Ironically, upon retuning home to Virginia Beach, there was an article in my local paper (The Virginia Pilot, Tuesday, Oct. 30) by a friend and neighbor, Dr. Charles Dunn, Professor of Government at Regent University and author of "The Seven Laws of Presidential Leadership," extolling the virtues of the Electoral College. Dr. Dunn goes in to great analysis regarding the total number of electoral votes relegated to each state and its impact. Without replicating his numbers here for the sake of brevity, allow me to simply state his opinion of the effect of the Electoral College. Dr. Dunn states that the Electoral College as designed reflects "the diverse interest of all 50 states ... featuring substantial minority group populations, business and industrial enterprises, important labor unions and agricultural development, and a variety of cities, suburbs, and small towns. In short, they are an excellent cross-section of America's diverse regions."
In short, the Electoral College is designed to represent all of America and not just the highly populated major cities on the East and West coasts as the popular vote that you advocate would do. Trust me, Mr. Shields, the Electoral College is not a "historical mistake" as you claim. It is what makes our country unique and gives all of us a voice in our representative republic which is not, thank God, a democracy.
Virginia Beach, Va.