Voting For Electors

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My idea: vote for electors a year or two before the Presidential election.

You vote for actual electors, not who those electors are pledged to. You vote for people you respect, who are knowledgeable, before you even know who the candidates are (except, perhaps, for the case of a first-term President).

This would have one big obvious problem: if you vote for an elector because you like/dislike the incumbent, your feelings could change by the time the Presidential election comes around. But this should only make us more willing to vote for electors regardless of their party affiliation, picking people who can make good choices for the people they represent.

And of course, it would only further entrench the electoral college, which some people don't like anyway. But I don't care: that's not the topic here. If you don't like the whole idea of the electoral college, that's a separate issue.

It would produce tremendous benefits. To a greater degree, candidates would be campaigning on a higher level, not needing to talk down to Americans, because their audience is the electors. The primaries and caucuses would not change much, except that they would not need to hold them all so early, because there's less need to get them over with to get the campaigning started.

And of course, it would help provide some of the benefits Hamilton discussed in Federalist 68. One of the main reasons they had the electoral college was to decrease the tumult and disorder caused by everyone voting for the one man to lead us. Clearly, this objective is not being fulfilled, and this plan would help fulfill it: we go back to voting for several instead of one, and we get it out of the way a long time prior, even before we know who the candidates are.

And because the campaigns would cost less and rely less on good press, that means the candidates would also be less beholden to special interests, whether corporate or Congressional, helping to fulfill others of Hamilton's most important desires.

Of course, this won't ever happen, because the people erroneously believe their voice is more likely to be heard the closer they get to direct elections. The truth is quite the opposite. The more direct voice we have in who the President is, the less actual voice we have, because there are too many factors more powerful than our voices: the press, money, the party machines, and our own fickle natures.

I am not against democracy, but I think the Framers were wise to keep Senators and Presidents out of the direct hands of the people, and put a buffer in place, and that buffer has already been all but destroyed. Whether or not you agree with that buffer, it is all but gone, and we should either re-establish it (and this is one plan to do so), or finish the job by moving to direct election (which will give us far more chaos and special interests and pain than we have now ...).

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