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Point of View: This country needs the Electoral College

Many arguments for the so-called popular vote are based on a misreading of history. The foundational premise of the Constitution is limited federal government. Our Constitution balances the sovereignty of local government with a federal government needed for "big ticket" items like military defense or interstate regulation. The American Revolution was a conservative war. The colonies banded together to simply conserve the status quo. It was called the New World because colonists pursued personal liberty by fleeing autocratic, centralized governments in Europe. It is bad history and an over-simplification to simply say the Electoral College resulted from a compromise.

One person, one vote is not as intuitive as it sounds. We seem to confuse simple democracies (like ancient Athens) with the complex realities of a union of 50 states, not to mention districts and territories. Is it fair for major urban areas to dictate to a majority of state governments? This is not just about individuals but about the concrete realities of their resources, cultures, etc. To lump all peoples, cultures, ethnicities, races, religions, etc. into one big voting bloc distorts the complex reality and can threaten individuals and minorities.

Any "disconnect" between the Electoral College and the mass vote is a symptom of real politics — real differences in opinions. It is not based on the design of our system. There are only swing states because we are almost evenly split in our philosophies and opinions about our lives.

We actually want the diversity that the writers of the Constitution intended for the Electoral College. This newspaper recently quoted Mark Almond, an Oxford University historian, as saying "... it's unlikely the United States government could be overthrown by an armed force because the country is so large and has multiple centers of institutional power beyond the capital." Any military strategist will tell you it is much more difficult to defeat multiple nodes of power rather than a centralized node of power. Removing the Electoral College would move us in the direction of more centralized power. Our strength as a nation results from this very difficult balance between centralized and local government.

Historically, our Constitution, as written, has been validated by the vast numbers of immigrants drawn by opportunity and liberty, despite a complex diversity not found in other countries. Despite our failings, the Constitution, as written, will better protect minorities through a unity of diversity rather than uniformity of thought.

Rupel, of Edmond, is a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force.