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Judd Gregg: Delaware, a province of California

The animus the left directs at President Trump is insatiable and all-consuming.

It is propagated in politics, government and the media. It seems to have no bounds.

Liberals in all these fields have mounted a continuous stream of attacks on everything they deem to be associated with the president’s election and with the manner in which he governs.

{mosads}The Democratic presidential candidates are constantly trying to out-do each other in questioning the legitimacy of the Trump presidency.

Among their more ludicrous ideas are packing the Supreme Court and terminating the electoral college.

What is unique and disconcerting about this frenzy of political extremism is that it is being taken seriously.

It is promoted not only by Democratic candidates for president but by others who should recognize the disastrous effect of such policies on the states they represent.

There are now 14 states whose legislatures have called for an end to the electoral college. They want to elect presidents by direct popular vote.

This is beyond comprehension. It is an affront to anyone who is concerned with the integrity of our federalist system. It is a uniquely self-destructive proposal for many of the states that have endorsed it.

Delaware is one of those states.

When the U.S. Constitution was created at Philadelphia in 1787, John Dickinson — then a delegate to the convention from Delaware — played a vital role.

While most historians focus on the Federalist Papers as the definitive explanation and defense of the constitution, Dickinson wrote nine letters under the name Fabius which argued the case for ratification.

His letters were brilliant. They were so effective, indeed, that Delaware became the first state to ratify the constitution. This is why it says “First State” on its vehicle license plates.

The core of Dickinson’s case for ratification by Delaware was that the constitution as drafted had, as one of its essential principles, the protection of the small states’ rights from any threat posed by much larger states, such as Virginia and New York. 

This critical element of leveling the political field of power allowed for the joining together of all the states under one document of governance.

This was accomplished, as Dickinson pointed out, first by the structure of the Senate, with two senators from each state; and second, by the manner of electing the president and vice president using electors from each state.

It was not the intention of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, John Dickinson or any of the other drafters of our form of government to create a pure democracy.

They sought — and got — a republic where citizens elect people to government rather than the citizenry governing directly.

They also created a federalist system in order to protect the states from overly autocratic national government.

To accomplish this, they reserved to each state equal power in the central government through equal representation in the Senate and the right to choose the president through an electoral system.

This approach was further codified and clarified with the ratification of the Twelfth Amendment in 1804. This amendment sets out the procedures for the election of the president and vice president using the electoral college, giving each state a significant role in electing the nation’s leader.

Now, numerous lesser luminaries are proposing that all of this work should be undone.

Some of them wish to be president. Some of them are state legislators who seem even less knowledgeable about the roots of our constitutional government.

They all claim the right to adjust our constitution because of their righteous indignation at Trump’s election.

They have gathered, because of the nature of the times, not in Philadelphia but on their Facebook pages. They proclaim that the historic work done to bring balance to our national government should be ended.

They believe this will satisfy, in some part, their outrage at Trump’s success in winning the presidency without winning the popular vote.

The whole purpose of setting up the electoral college was to protect the small states.

Delaware seems to have missed the point — even though it was Dickinson who played the pivotal role in gaining these rights.

Using the logic of Delaware’s legislature and governor that the president should be picked by popular vote, it is reasonably obvious — since Delaware has around one million people and California has almost 40 million people — that Delaware has deemed itself irrelevant.

The natural extension of Delaware’s logic is that it should also hand over its senators to California.

Using the Delaware axiom, it makes no sense that such a small state should have the same status in the Senate as a highly populated state like California.

In fact, using that same logic, it is only reasonable that Delaware should simply disband as a state and declare itself to be a province of California.

{mossecondads}At some point, the liberal legislators in smaller states ought to pause.

They have allowed their hatred of Trump to lead them to contemplate the dismantling of our federalist, constitutional republic.

These states and their alleged leaders might want to get up in the morning, look in the mirror, and admit that they are not Washington, Madison or Dickinson.

They might want to rein in their antipathy towards Trump and acknowledge that ending the electoral college is a really bad idea — especially for a state like Delaware.

Judd Gregg (R) is a former governor and three-term senator from New Hampshire who served as chairman and ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, and as ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Foreign Operations subcommittee.

Tags Donald Trump Electoral College electoral reform Electoral systems Federalism States' rights

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