"George Washington Addressing the Constitutional
Convention," painted by Junius Brutus Stearns in 1856
The Constitution was designed to elevate reason, not passion or the voice of the people.
Each day seems to bring a new reason for Republican leaders to contemplate how they might derail Donald Trump at the GOP convention, along with hand-wringing over whether it would be appropriate to violate the will of the people — or at least the will of most Republican primary voters. But there is one group that would wholeheartedly support party officials: the Founding Fathers.
The Founders were far more worried about a demagogue seizing power than they were about following the voice of the people. Most important, they clearly intended the election of the president to be well-insulated from a direct expression of the popular will. That is why we have the Electoral College, which was designed to temper the sometimes clamorous voice of the people.
Although this has led several times to candidates winning the popular vote but losing the election, most recently in the case of Al Gore in 2000, the Founders would not necessarily have had a problem with such a result. They were far more worried about too much democracy than they were about too little democracy.
The reason for this was simple: The Founders did not entirely trust the people, who were too likely to be ruled by their passions, rather than guided by their reason. As James Madison wrote, “It is a misfortune, inseparable from human affairs, that public measures are rarely investigated with that spirit of moderation which is essential to a just estimate of their real tendency to advance or obstruct the public good; and that this spirit is more apt to be diminished than promoted by those occasions which require an unusual exercise of it.”Read the rest of this USA Today op-ed HERE.
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