What in the ever-loving spirit of Liberty have you fuckwads done with the Republic? I admit that we didn’t exactly set you up for success by creating the Electoral College. It was a dumb idea, I was against it before I was for it, and we had to change it almost immediately after we started using it.
But sweet Judy blue eyes, Americans! You, the Devil, and Ted Cruz found an entirely new way to shit the bed.
Personally, I thought the president should be elected by the great mass of the people. When I say “the people,” I mean all the people, by which I mean all the people who are white people, male people, and reasonable-minimum-land-holdings people.
I wasn’t the only one. You’ve heard of Founding Father Gouverneur Morris? If not, it’s because the Gouvernator spent his time literally writing the fucking Constitution instead of engaging in pointless rap battles. Like Hamilton, he was honored by New York, not in the form of a hit Broadway musical but rather in the form of naming rights to a town and an entirely separate village up in St. Lawrence County. And he wanted the people to elect the president.
James Wilson also agreed with me. Wilson grew up in Scotland, immigrated to Philadelphia, and later became a Supreme Court Justice. Unfortunately, he couldn’t hold onto a dollar — I am not going to make a joke about Scotsmen — and eventually lost all his money gambling. That landed him in the hoosegow out in Jersey, after which he fled to North Carolina to escape his creditors and — I shit you not— caught malaria. Wilson also wanted a popular election for president.
But others disagreed. Most of the shitsticks at the Constitutional Convention wanted Congress to elect the president. This was a terrible idea, so naturally, we talked them out of it — did you catch that, Senator Hawley? The problem was finding an alternative.
And then, in mitn derinnen, Wilson blurted out his batshit idea of “electors.”
I was apoplectic. Later that night, I cornered him at the bar while everyone else was watching the Phillies game. “Jesus, Wilson, what the fuck?”
He leaned in close. “See here, Jimmy, my wee bawbag,” he said, “it’s ye boggin peely-walley southern roasters.”
“English, Wilson,” I insisted.
So he laid out the “problem,” and I understood instantly. In the South, we had many people who were, shall we say, not the type of people that my respected Southern gentlemen planter friends and I would want diluting our votes. You know the people I’m talking about — don’t make me say it out loud. OK, they were “urban.” No, not really — they were pretty rural. How about we just say that there were “free Persons” and then there’s what the Constitution called “other Persons,” and I myself owned a substantial number of “other Persons,” and please let’s move on because this is awkward for me.
The South sure as hell wasn’t going to let those “other Persons” vote. But then the North would have more votes because, as I delicately explained, the “right of suffrage was much more diffusive” up there.
That’s how we ended up with this dumbass compromise. The Southern states got credit for three-fifths of the “other Persons” in their count of electors, and that way, they could be influential in the presidential election without letting Black people actually, you know, vote.
So in a way, Senator Hawley is kind of an originalist.
Of course, nobody wanted to publicly defend the Electoral College on this basis. I wrote some bullshit hand-waving blog post trying to explain it away.
But you know who really sold it? Alexander fucking Hamilton. The same genius who argued for a hereditary king at the Constitutional Convention because “the English model was the only good one.” But when asked, Hamilton wrote an elaborate defense of the Electoral College. It seemed to mollify the public, or at least white people on the Upper West Side. Of course, we realized the system was broken in our third election ever, but we assumed that you dingbats would scrap it once everyone involved was dead.
Now, look what you’ve done, America. You’ve got one group of nutjobs imagining that the vice president can refuse to open the envelope containing the electoral votes, and another group imagining that Congress can just object if they don’t like the results. You’ve embarrassed me, the Constitution, and Paul Giamatti.
So what now? Will you amend the goddamned Constitution to fix this? Or at least pass the National Popular Vote Compact? Even Scotland does elections better, and they stuck us with Lewis fucking Capaldi.