I am writing in response to recent opinion letters voicing concern that those who do not support Donald Trump do not understand the Constitution, the definitions of a republic or a democracy, or the functions of the Electoral College.
The argument that the United States is a republic and not a democracy is a flawed argument that we as a nation are only a single form of government. While the definition given for both a republic and democracy are correct, the opinion that we are one, a republic, and not the other, a democracy, is flawed. We are both.
While it can be said that the U.S. is not a direct democracy, in which laws are made by predominantly majority vote, it is true that the U.S. is a “representative” democracy.
Our Founding Fathers and Framers called our form of government both a democracy and a republic; John Adams in 1794, Noah Webster in 1785, St. George Tucker in 1803 and Thomas Jefferson in 1815.
The U.S., in addition to being a representative democracy is also a constitutional democracy. This means that the courts recognize some measure of the democratic will. This also makes us a constitutional republic.
Nevertheless, in both forms of government, a republic and a democracy, there is no indication that either has any expectation that the will of the people shall be ignored or subjugated to the Electoral College.
The argument was then presented that the …”Electoral College makes all the votes of ALL the states count” and this is also a flawed supposition. A popular vote would do the same (1 person, 1 vote; all votes count).
What I believe the writer posits is that the Electoral College equalizes votes, however, simple math tells us this is not the case. Smaller states’ electoral votes carry more clout than states with larger populations.
I choose to believe that most Americans care deeply about what the Constitution says, the laws of this nation, and truly believe that we are a “government of the people, by the people and for the people” (Abraham Lincoln) and not a government of or for any single man.