There has been much gnashing of teeth over the past several weeks over what pathetic choices we have for president. And there has been much creative writing about what can be done to ameliorate the situation. One writer in the WSJ went so far as to propose that after his victory Trump voluntarily resign so that Pence could become President.
Yet the solution is right before our eyes in a document almost 230 years old. The Constitution does not give the power to elect the President to the People. Because the founders were not democrats and did not create a democracy. They believed a mixed form of government to operate as a republic would provide the best rule. As stated in the Federalist #68 regarding the selection of the President:
It was desirable that the sense of the people should operate in the choice of the person to whom so important a trust was to be confided. This end will be answered by committing the right of making it, not to any preestablished body, but to men chosen by the people for the special purpose, and at the particular conjuncture.
It was equally desirable, that the immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice. A small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations.
It was also peculiarly desirable to afford as little opportunity as possible to tumult and disorder. This evil was not least to be dreaded in the election of a magistrate, who was to have so important an agency in the administration of the government as the President of the United States. But the precautions which have been so happily concerted in the system under consideration, promise an effectual security against this mischief. The choice of SEVERAL, to form an intermediate body of electors, will be much less apt to convulse the community with any extraordinary or violent movements, than the choice of ONE who was himself to be the final object of the public wishes. And as the electors, chosen in each State, are to assemble and vote in the State in which they are chosen, this detached and divided situation will expose them much less to heats and ferments, which might be communicated from them to the people, than if they were all to be convened at one time, in one place.
Talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity, may alone suffice to elevate a man to the first honors in a single State; but it will require other talents, and a different kind of merit, to establish him in the esteem and confidence of the whole Union, or of so considerable a portion of it as would be necessary to make him a successful candidate for the distinguished office of President of the United States.
Alexander Hamilton didn’t get everything right.
The People are not about to elect a president. They are about to elect 538 electors who shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves. The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President.
So the question becomes, are there enough patriots among the 538 electors to vote for someone other than the two deplorable and irredeemable candidates put forth by the non-constitutional political parties so that neither of them has a majority of the votes cast? And if so, who should receive the third highest number of votes?