“Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide.”
Every four years in this great country of ours, we are re- minded yet again of the prescient wisdom of our founding fathers. The Electoral College, the arcane system whereby we elect the President of the United States, is one such example.
There are those who believe that we should abolish it in favor of a simply majority rules vote. This group was es- pecially vocal during the controversy which sprung from the 2000 Bush/ Gore election in which Al Gore won the popular vote nationally (by 500,000) but lost the electoral college by one vote!
Each time, one party suffers through such an ignominious defeat (it has happened just 4 times in our history, the last before 2000 was in 1888) there are feverish calls to discard the system in favor of majority rule (pure democ- racy)
The founders were terrified of democracy. So much so that nowhere in any founding document is even the word democracy uttered. Not in the Declaration of Indepen- dence, nor in the Constitution, nor even in any of the 50 states founding documents.
The founder’s were learned men and knew well the histo- ry of the world. They studied the fall of the great societies of Greece and of Rome and knew that the tyranny of the majority had destroyed both. As Sam Adams put it so well, democracy is short-lived and will always “murder itself.”
The Electoral College, built with the safeguards of a true republic, may ru e a few feathers every hundred years, but that is a small price to pay to avoid the fate of Greece or Rome.