“Instead of the Blue vs. the Gray, we have a scorched-earth war between two prescriptiondrug plans.”
—Frank Rich, commenting on the presidential election of 2000
The movement toward popular democracy has, since the Civil War, remained constant and ascendant. The Secret Constitution and its principles of organic nationhood, equality, and popular democracy have progressively won the upper hand against the 1787 values of voluntary association, freedom, and republican élitism. Yet there has been one holdout, one major exception, to the thrust toward trusting the popular vote. The gap in the populist pattern has been the electoral college.
The original Constitution provides for a system of election by “presidential electors” who shall be “equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress.” 1 These electors are “appointed” by the state. The same clause, which I shall call the electoral college provision, informs us further that the legislature of each state shall “direct” the manner in which the state appoints its electors. The Twelfth Amendment, ratified in 1803, clarified the procedures by which this group of state-appointed electors chooses the president of the United States. 2 The electoral college must vote separately, on two lists, for the president and vice president. The electors vote in their home states and transmit their votes to Congress,