I have to start this with a story.  When I was in High School, I had a history teacher who went on a very emotional rant against the Founding Fathers of our country–in front of the whole class.

His reason?  He thought that it was ludicrous that the United States would have a House of Representatives based on population, but also have a Senate which has only 2 representatives for the state without any regard to population. I was in California at the time, and he made the point that the state had 43 congressmen and a state like Rhode Island only had one. But both states have 2 senators apiece. This literally drove him nuts to think about it. “Why should a state like Rhode Island have as much influence as California?”

He was championing a pure democracy.  The founding fathers of America, who understood the real dangers of it, fought against it.

My history teacher’s thinking is unfortunately becoming more prevalent as society, heavily influenced by a centralized social media, leans more and more toward making populous opinion prevail.  The populous opinion prevailing is also part of the thinking behind the challenges to the usefulness of the Electoral College as well.

More and more people talk about the threat to American Democracy, while forgetting that the United Sates was intentionally designed by the founders as a republic. The founders were wise men who understood that a democracy historically devolves into an oppressive majority rule and usually ends very badly, but a working democracy always gives a fair voice to the minority.  They struck a balance between state, public and personal interests, which is the democratic model for the world today.

This has worked for over 200 years, but the value of it is not taught in school anymore. Those limits in the constitution on any one group (or branch of government) having unchallenged control is intended to pressure all parties to continue to work together and iron out differences, so that one party does not unilaterally implement its agendas unchallenged.  It is a valuable concept that people are sadly villainizing currently.  It’s called compromise, and it is a foundation of good government–and good relations.

I heard someone say it quite well once.  “The number of points of debate in all areas of your life, must always greatly outnumber the number of points causing division.”  This way of thinking is critical to our national motto:  Out of many–one (E Pluribus Unum).

A subtle threat to keeping the majority from becoming oppressive made its way onto the ballot in Florida as an amendment to the State constitution this fall (November 2020).  It was Amendment 3.. It proposed a change to the way elections occur for the primary and general elections. The primary election has always been a pre-qualification of candidates for office, with the winners of each party moving on to the general election.  Amendment 3 changes the candidates who move forward to the general election, to be the top candidates REGARDLESS of party affiliation.

While it may seem like a good logical change, it upsets the balance in the American republic which protects the interests of the minority from being usurped by the majority.  As my high school teacher made his rant about, Rhode Island is underrepresented in Congress, but equally represented in the Senate.  While most times there is no conflict, when Rhode Island and other smaller states are unfairly threatened by a law passed by Congress, they have the ability to vote down the law in the Senate to prevent what is essentially legal bullying.  This forces the majority and the minority to negotiate and compromise on the law to make it acceptable to all (or at least, enough to be workable without excessively favoring one over the other).

When multiple candidates from only the same party go to the general election for an office, that balance is lost.  Parties in America have become hives of specific doctrines and worldviews, which isn’t to be unexpected.  This is especially true nowadays, with each party putting enough pressure on their members elected to office to “stick to the party line”.  Not having a candidate from parties of opposing worldviews and thoughts in the general election truly increases the danger of not only oppressing a minority, but losing the influence on local government policy to a nationalized or central agenda.  This is exactly what the founding fathers were fighting against, by putting in the safeguards to keep a balance of power at the Federal government level–yet this threat exists at all levels of government.

Never forget, that in every Communist country (and in many socialist countries, including Germany), the ballot is always really asking “what party do you want running the country?”.  In socialism parties are elected, but not people in a party (which means no personal accountability, only “party” accountability).  In communism, there’s always only one answer to the party question.

Think about whether that’s what you really want.  This proposal and similar ones are a pathway to it.  And anyone who understands democracy should recognize… that’s not a democracy.

(In the end, the Florida ballot failed short of the majority it needed to pass, even though it received a 54% yes vote)