Don Brown is a former U.S. Navy JAG officer, a former Special Assistant United States Attorney, and a prolific author. He is a frequent contributor to Fox News and other media outlets and is currently licensed to practice law in North Carolina and South Carolina.

In Defense of the Electoral College

By Don Brown

In the last twenty years, democrats have twice lost presidential elections when the Electoral College has “trumped” the popular vote, leading to republican victories. First came George W. Bush’s electoral victory over Al Gore in 2000, then Trump’s shocker over Hillary in 2016. As of this writing, the post-Election Day 2020 presidential election remains mired in litigation, with claims of “President-elect” Biden ordained by the mainstream media on one side, and more accurate claims of widespread ballot fraud on the other.

Even still, radical democrats demand the abolition of the Electoral College. “It’s undemocratic,” they say.  “The will of the people should rule,” they cry. Yes, it’s undemocratic, with states sending electors to elect the president rather than by popular vote, which, believe it or not, is an exceptionally good thing. That’s because the United States is not, and never has been a “democracy.” The word “democracy” is not in the Constitution. In fact, the founders hated democracies. Instead, Article 4, Section 4, states that the Constitution provides a “Republican” form of government. Not a democracy. There’s a difference.

“Democracy” equals mob rule, where angry, fist-shakers “vote” for or demand whatever they want. Think the mobs burning Portland and Seattle. Think middle-of-the-night “ballot drops” in places like Detroit, Philadelphia and Milwaukee, where the “ballot fairy” miraculously appears with hundred of thousands of “votes” to try and reverse a presidential election.

“Republic” equals freedom and the rule of law, featuring internal checks-and-balances against over-concentration of power. Remember that phrase, checks-and-balances. It’s key to understanding the Electoral College.

That’s because the Electoral College erects a constitutional check-and-balance to prevent corrupt urban politicians and urban voters, and foreign governments from wielding disproportionate power over rural and small-town America.

Before returning to the Electoral College, let’s do a primer on some constitutional basics.

Though the Constitution contains 7 Article and 27 Amendments, two powerful concepts emerge as keys to understanding the Constitution.

1. To Protect Freedom

First, the Constitution establishes government’s primary role, which is to protect individual freedom.  The broadest freedoms designated for governmental protection are found at the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, guaranteeing Americans the right to life, liberty and property. Jefferson expresses a similar concept in the Declaration of Independence, discussing “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” So, protecting freedom is the government’s principal role, not to become a giant lollypop factory dispensing free goodies as the democrats advocate.

2. A Restraining Device Against Over-concentration of Power

Here’s the second concept: The Constitution is also a restraining device against over-concentrated governmental power.    When lecturing on the Constitution, to illustrate a point, I often show a photograph of a drunk driver, just after being arrested by police officers, with handcuffs clamping his hands behind his back. Likewise, the Constitution handcuffs government on multiple levels, restraining excessive governmental power to protect citizens.

That’s because the founders understood an age-old concept: “Power corrupts absolutely, and absolute power corrupts.”   So, to deter over-concentrated governmental power, the Constitution features many internal restraining devices known as checks-and-balances. Some of these checks-and-balances we may know, like divided government.

Our federal government is divided to prevent over-concentrated power.  Congress passes bills. The president signs bills into law, or vetoes bills. Congress may override vetoes. The president is commander-in-chief of the armed forces, etc, etc. The courts decide cases based on federal law.  It’s about dividing power.

The Bill of Rights places even more restraints against governmental power. The First Amendment provides that Congress cannot pass any laws infringing upon (1) freedom of religion, or (2) of the press, or (3) speech, or (4) the right of the people to peaceably assemble, (5) or the right to petition the government for redress of grievances.

The Constitution creates many other checks against government: No search without a warrant. No warrant without probable cause.  No taking property without just compensation. No criminal trial without a right to confront witnesses. These are but a few of many governmental checks in the Bill of Rights.

3.    The Electoral College – The Ultimate Check-and-Balance

Then comes the Electoral College. The founders understood that festering like a deadly cancer, political corruption metastasizes within large cities. They were right. Urban corruption has been a common thread since the beginning of the Republic.  In recent years, we’ve seen graft in Chicago, New York, Detroit, and others, run by corrupt city bosses like Richard Daley.

More recently, we’ve seen big-city democrat corruption on national TV after George Floyd died. We’ve seen Portland, Chicago, Seattle, New York, Minneapolis, and other cities burn and get looted while corrupt city governments don’t lift a finger to protect citizens. In fact, liberal big-city leaders encouraged the violence, by ordering police stand-downs, and allowing thugs to burn and destroy property and lives without legal consequence.

In the 2020 presidential election, with Donald Trump going into early hours of November 4 apparently headed to a landslide victory, suddenly, counting “stopped” about the same time in big cities like Philadelphia, Detroit and Milwaukee, for no valid reason.  And when voting resumed, hundreds of thousands of votes seemed to appear out of nowhere, an apparent effort to tip the election away from President Trump. Understanding this danger of big-city urban graft, the founders created the Electoral College to protect small-town and rural America from being overrun by faraway, urban corruption.

The Federalist Papers were written to persuade the 13 states to ratify the U.S. Constitution, of which the Electoral College is a centerpiece. Alexander Hamilton wrote advocating the Electoral College in Federalist Papers, Number 68.

Consider just a few of Hamilton’s quotes from Federalist 68 on the Electoral College:

“Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption.” Hamilton goes on to call cabal, intrigue and corruption, “These most deadly adversaries of republican government.”

Throughout Federalist 68, Hamilton continued to cite corruption as a reason justifying the Electoral College:

“The business of corruption, when it is to embrace so considerable a number of men, requires time as well as means. Nor would it be found easy suddenly to embark them, dispersed as they would be over thirteen States…”

In other words, Hamilton argued, and correctly so, that the danger of electing a president by corruption is reduced, if the election power is spread out among the states – which is precisely what the Electoral College seeks to accomplish. Perhaps the founders’ crystal ball foresaw modern-day democrat urban corruption.

Consider this partial list of major democrat mayors and city council members convicted on corruption-type  charges in recent years: Dwaine R. Caraway, Dallas; Megan Barry, Nashville;  Ray Nagin, New Orleans; Patrick Cannon, Charlotte; Kwame Kilpatrick Detroit; Larry Langford, Birmingham; Sheila Dixon, Baltimore; Joe Ganim, Bridgeport, CT; Gerald McCann, Jersey City;  Hugh Addonizio, Newark; Isaac Carothers, William Carothers, Wallace Davis – Chicago; Monica Conyers, Detroit; Miguel Martinez, Larry Seabrook, Alex Rodriguez – New York. And the list goes on.

Electoral maps of the country from 2000, 2016 and even 2020 show most of the nation’s counties voting red, with small dots of blue concentrated around major urban cities. Geographically, it’s not even close. America remains an overwhelmingly red tapestry.

Without the Electoral College,  corrupt mobs in big cities like New York and Chicago, and socialist mayors like Bill DeBlasio and Lori Lightfoot, who control election machines and graft in their cities, could always manipulate presidential elections, and control and manipulate the lives of farmers in Kansas, of coal miners in West Virginia,  of fishermen working off the Carolina coast, of natural gas workers in places like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Texas.

That is a danger that we battle even today, which may be the ultimate lesson of the 2020 election, with sudden late-night vote count stops, and sudden, magical appearances of votes in big cities in states where President Trump was winning by wide margins – the danger of urban corruption threatening America’s electoral process.

But regardless of the ultimate resolution of the 2020 election, the Electoral College remains one of America’s last defenses to protect middle America against corrupt urban power and serves as a great check-and-balance against totalitarian rule-by-the mob.

It must be defended at all costs.