The Case against Direct Election of the President: A Defense of the Electoral College

The Case against Direct Election of the President: A Defense of the Electoral College

The Case against Direct Election of the President: A Defense of the Electoral College

The Case against Direct Election of the President: A Defense of the Electoral College

Excerpt

In August 1974, for the first time in the history of the republic, the office of President was occupied by a man who had not been confirmed by a national election. Gerald R. Ford, thirty-eighth President of the United States, succeeded to office on the resignation of his predecessor. Unlike vice-presidents who had succeeded before him, Gerald Ford was nominated by his predecessor and confirmed by the vote of Congress under the provisions for filling vice- presidential vacancies in the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the Constitution. Speaking to the American people in his inaugural address, President Ford stated,

"I am acutely aware that you have not elected me as your President by your ballots."

In making this statement, the President clearly recognized the uniqueness of his incumbency and anticipated the attacks that might be made by majoritarian democrats on his mandate to govern. The consent of the governed is a necessary condition for the selection of leaders in a democracy. Democratic theory requires that consent be formally given in free and frequent elections. There is no question about Ford's legal and constitutional authority to govern. But many may question whether his theoretical . . .

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