Save Our States - Republic or Democracy: The Real Debate

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Republic or Democracy: The Real Debate

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A debate I participated in last week in Denver went to the heart of the fight between those pushing the National Popular Vote interstate compact (NPV) and those of us defending the Electoral College.

The question is about democracy and what it is for. Is democracy a process, or is it a purpose? Because if democracy is the purpose of government, then justice and protecting individual rights cannot also be the purpose of government. If democracy is our purpose, there is no reason to limit government’s power or even to have a Bill of Rights.

My view, which I think the American Founders shared, is that democracy is an essential process to register the consent of the governed and to hold government accountable. But the reason we have a republic—a representative government bound up with checks and balances and limits—is that the purpose is justice. Or, to say the same thing differently, the purpose is to protect individual rights.

The Electoral College is a two-step democratic process that promotes political stability and provides representation to Americans outside of the big cities. For those of us who understand democracy as simply a key process within our republic, it is easy to support the Electoral College. But for those who think democracy is the only moral standard for government, any limit, any system of checks and balances, must be torn down.

Watch the debate, comment on it and share it, and help us educate Americans about the importance of protecting our Republic and saving the Electoral College.