From the Archive: Math Against Tyranny

“When you cast your vote this month, you’re not directly electing the president—you’re electing members of the electoral college. They elect the president. An archaic, unnecessary system? Mathematics shows, says one concerned American, that by giving your vote to another, you’re ensuring the future of our democracy. ”

Pretty interesting stuff.

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1 Comment

  1. Stacey November 9, 2004 at 5:23 pm

    This was a great article. Should be a “must-read” for students studying govt.

    Madison did well when he came up with the idea for the electoral college. And the mathematical principles of statistics behind this concept make sense.

    This sums it up so well:

    “The idea,” he says, “is to give every voter the largest equal share of national voting power possible.” Here’s a classic example of equal voting power: under a tyranny, everyone’s power is equal to zero. Clearly, equality alone is not enough. In a democracy, individuals become less vulnerable to tyranny as their voting power increases.

    James Madison, chief architect of our nation’s electoral college, wanted to protect each citizen against the most insidious tyranny that arises in democracies: the massed power of fellow citizens banded together in a dominant bloc. As Madison explained in The Federalist Papers (Number X), “a well-constructed Union” must, above all else, “break and control the violence of faction,” especially “the superior force of an . . . overbearing majority.” In any democracy, a majority’s power threatens minorities. It threatens their rights, their property, and sometimes their lives.

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