Monday, November 28, 2016

Eighth Anniversary of My Blog; Blogger Report


           Yesterday was the eighth anniversary of the launch of my blog in 2008.  Thank you for visiting and making it successful.  I especially appreciate those who visit regularly.

            I always take this occasion to report on my blog’s statistics from its host, Blogger.  Although these analytics are less specific than those of StatCounter, the blog host’s does track more page views, on net, than StatCounter.

            The trend from last year of more pageviews continued into this year and then doubled.  Whereas before mid-2015, there were an average of around 450 pageviews per month and 15 pageviews per day, with a low of under 6 to a high of over well over 20 per day, starting around May of last year through June of this year, the totals for more than half of the months exceeded 20, ranging as high as over 22, with the rest of the months ranging from over 10-18.  But starting in July of this year, there have been more than 1,000 pageviews nearly every month.  There were 25 pageviews a day in the lowest month and 40 in the highest months. 

The news stories about my resignation from the Republican Committee because of the GOP nomination of Donald Trump and the publication of two of my articles at The Federalist, as well as increased general interest in the presidential election, were likely responsible for the sharp rise in visits, a trend which is continuing, although many of my older posts continue to be viewed.  I plan to continue to post issues of interest to conservatives, particularly in regard to current events, in order to maintain vigilance in defense of liberty.  

Again, thank you for visiting and for the offline compliments, questions and suggestions I often receive.  Please continue to visit regularly, and to follow, comment or post links to my blog at social media and other websites.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Commentary on the Death of Communist Cuban Tyrant Fidel Castro


           Former Cuban Communist Dictator Fidel Castro died Friday.  The tyrant had ruled Cuba from 1959 to 2006, when he was succeeded by his brother, Raul, who continues to rule.  Like North Korea, Cuba has become a Communist hereditary dynasty. 

           In a century full of brutal dictators, Castro stands out as among the worst.  His death reminds Cubans and the world of the global harm caused by Communism.

Fidel Castro had led a rebellion against a pro-American dictator, promising liberty and free elections and denying any intent to impose Marxism, only to establish a totalitarian Communist state more brutal than the one it replaced, which he allied with the Soviet Union instead.  All freedoms were curtailed or eliminated, as no dissent was tolerated.  Thousands of Cubans were executed, often summarily, while many more were imprisoned and tortured.  Several hundred thousand fled what became an island prison.  Castro impoverished the once-prosperous Cuba, despite Soviet and later Venezuelan subsidization, even after stealing from those with property or businesses, including from Americans.  Tens of thousands more Cubans died trying to cross the Straits of Florida to freedom in the United States.  The Marxist revolutionary also sent troops to fight in or helped fund wars to advance or defend Communism throughout the Western Hemisphere and Africa.  Castro sponsored terrorists and harbored American fugitives, including terrorists.  The Cuban dictator also engaged in drug trafficking.  Castro’s acceptance of Soviet troops and nuclear missiles nearly lead to war between the U.S. and Soviet Union in 1962. 

It is appalling that anti-American liberals and some world leaders have expressed admiration for Castro for his socialism, minimizing or ignoring his tyranny.  It is also disgraceful how U.S. President Barack Obama, a liberal Democrat, has legitimized the Communist Castro regime by awarding it diplomatic recognition and easing economic sanctions by removing it from the list of terrorist sponsors, in exchange for nothing, as Cuba continues to hold political prisoners, to deny basic freedoms and to refuse to allow free and fair elections.  In fact, there has been another recent crackdown on dissent by the Communist Cuban tyranny.  These are the issues, not past Cold War rivalry, that continue to divide the U.S. and Cuba, along with its harboring of fugitives and theft of American property.  I have expressed my opposition to legitimizing Castro’s dictatorship in many posts, as recently as last month, when I urged Congress to block the appointment of an ambassador to Cuba.  Unlike foreign states that have been motivated by support for socialism or anti-Americanism or by greed, the U.S., as leader of the Free World, must make a moral stand against oppression and for liberty.

Although Fidel Castro can no longer oppress the Cuban people, his tyranny continues through his family.  Instead of propping up this weakened dictatorship by trading with the Castro regime for the sake of business profits, the U.S. and others should stand for its principles by focusing more on ways to bring freedom and representative government to the Cuban people, such as most other Latin Americans and inhabitants of the Caribbean Sea enjoy.  While Communism has led to death and poverty, freedom has lead to peace and prosperity for hundreds of millions of people.  

May the death of Fidel Castro remind people around the world of the tyranny of the Castro regime and lead soon to effective measures to free Cuba.

The European Union Will Rebuild the Norcia Basilica in Italy


           The European Union announced last week that it will rebuild the Fourteenth-Century Basilica of Norcia, Italy, which was destroyed, except for its fa├žade, in last month’s aftershock of the August earthquake in central Italy that killed nearly 300 people. 

The church is located in the home town of St. Benedict of Norcia, the Father of Western Monasticism.  The Sixth-Century monk is regarded as one of the founders of Western European Civilization, as he established his Benedictine order which united Christians across what passed at the time for political borders and preserved civilization after the Fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 A.D., amidst the barbaric invasions and plagues of the Dark Ages, by becoming centers of learning.  Benedict’s order copied not only the Bible and other religious manuscripts, but also classical texts.  The Benedictines are thus responsible for the preservation of most of the ancient Greek and Roman works extant today.  Western Europe would later experience relative political unity under the Carolingian Franks, particularly Charles the Great (Charlemagne), the other co-founder of Western European Civilization, by the late Eighth Century. 

The European Union was established in the post-Second World War period to unite Europeans politically, under the belief that they shared “Europeanness.”  However, as I have posted, there are few, if any things that unite Europeans culturally and the one major thing that does, namely Christianity, has largely been abandoned by the E.U.  

Even if the E.U.’s intent in rebuilding the Norcia Basilica is only to restore an important historical, architectural and artistic treasure and to rebuild Italian tourism, the restoration of the church of the town of the Founder of Western Civilization is a reminder of the Christian, Medieval cultural roots of Western Europe.

Update on the Russian-Backed Attempted Coup in Montenegro


           Serbia’s extraditions last week to Montenegro of Russian suspects in the Russian Federation’s attempted coup d’etat in Montenegro validate the Montenegrin Government’s allegations, in addition to the growing evidence the latter has gathered.  Serbia is a Russian ally.  The Montenegrin Government alleges the Russians attempted to overthrow Montenegro’s government and assassinate its Prime Minister on the day of parliamentary elections in October. 

The pro-Western premier, who was reelected, supports joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.  He defeated a coalition of pro-Russian parties.  

            The Russian Federation, led by a Communist dictator, Vladimir, Putin, has actively been interfering in elections throughout Europe to undermine N.A.T.O. and the European Union, in order to reconstitute the Soviet Union and capture former Eastern European satellites into its orbit.  The Russian Federation has spread its propaganda to Europe and the United States and backed far-right nationalist parties, even in Western Europe, as Putin, a former Soviet intelligence officer, has pretended to be a champion of nationalism.    

The Russia Federation has even interfered in the American presidential election, through Internet hacking, propaganda and disinformation.  The unprecedented foreign interference into the elections in the U.S. appears to have been successful in electing a majority of Republican Electors, although the election results have not been certified.  Their party’s pro-authoritarian presidential nominee, who is backed significantly by far-right nationalists, is favorable to Putin, including acquiescing to Russian aggression in Ukraine and supporting Russian war crimes committed in Syria to back the terrorist-sponsoring Russian-allied Bashar Assad regime.  

Putin used democratic elections to be elected Prime Minister and later President of the Russian Federation, after which he implemented authoritarianism to guarantee he would remain in power, with only a democratic pretense of free and fair elections, after a crackdown on dissent and the independence of the judiciary.  He has been attempting similarly to use democratic elections to undermine liberty abroad and, as in the case of Montenegro, like his invasions of Georgia and Ukraine, the Russian dictator is willing to use force to achieve his dream of restoring the Communist Soviet Empire.  

It is vital to resist Putin, as well as to be vigilant against the loss of representative government to authoritarianism through the election of those who would be autocrats. 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving; Blog Notes


           I wish all the Americans particularly who visit my blog a Happy Thanksgiving! 

The first Thanksgiving was held for the early Seventeenth-Century English colonists in America to give thanks to God for the bounty they had received from the land and for the friendship and advice from their Native American neighbors.  The first President of the United States, George Washington, established Thanksgiving as a federal holiday to give thanks for blessings, particularly as a public thanksgiving for freedom.  This public acknowledgment of the Creator affirms the divine origin of rights.

This year, liberty is a blessing for which we can especially be grateful.  We give thanks to those who help us to enjoy our freedom, especially during this War on Terrorism.  This Thanksgiving holiday is also a reminder to that we must be especially vigilant in maintaining liberty against authoritarianism.

I plan to post guidance on ways to defend the Constitution and liberty and even to advance it, as well as to defend and advance representative government in America

After the ballots have been counted and votes certified, I plan also to post conservative analyses of the general elections in both Pennsylvania and across the Union.  

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Foreign Digest: Venezuela, Colombia, Hungary


Venezuela
            An agreement, brokered by the Holy See, was reached recently between the Socialist government and the democratic opposition.  It included confidence measures by both sides: the release of four political prisoners by the government and the congressional opposition’s abandonment of a political trial of the Socialist dictator.  The other terms included a provision for special elections to replace opposition legislators who were denied seats by the regime, an acknowledgement of legislature’s autonomy and an agreement on appointments of replacements to the National Electoral Council—the body that had rejected the presidential recall referendum I had posted about a few times recently.  On substantive issues, the agreement includes measures to address medicine and food shortages.  Venezuela is amidst a deep economic crisis and suffers from high crime and corruption.  The agreement validates the legitimacy of the democratic opposition to the Socialist dictatorship.

Colombia
            A new accord between the government and the Marxist narco-terrorists to end over five decades of civil war was recently signed.  Unlike the first deal that was rejected in a referendum last month, which I posted about at the time, the new deal includes trials for guerrillas accused of war crimes and drug trafficking, which was one of the main concerns of opponents of the deal.  One controversial provision that did not change is that the rebels may seek election to the legislature.  No seats are reserved for them and they are not brought into the executive.  The conservative government may seek legislative approval for the deal instead of another referendum. 

Hungary
            The far-right Prime Minister of Hungary declared a few days ago that his country should be an “illiberal” state.  Such a loss of freedom and representative government would make the former Communist state the latest example of the global rise of authoritarianism.  Venezuela, Russia and Turkey are all examples of states with leaders who were democratically elected but became dictators. 

           The Hungarian Government also recently announced that Hungary would remain on daylight savings time, which effectively changes their time zone and thereby eliminates daylight savings time.  It cited the usual objections to the bi-annual changing of the clocks: the inconvenience of the disruption and the compromises of health and safety.  I had raised such concerns in my post Abolish Daylight Savings Time, from March of 2011, http://williamcinfici.blogspot.com/2011/03/abolish-daylight-savings-time.html

Several Pennsylvania Bills Are Signed into Laws


           Since the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s budget and related bills were passed and signed into law, the state legislature, led by Republicans, passed several bills that were signed into law by the liberal Democratic Governor. 

            There were several measures signed into law to address the state’s opioid crisis, while another act stiffens penalties for gun crimes.  A bill to legalize and regulate ride-sharing in Pennsylvania was also signed into law.

            In addition to the measures I posted about earlier this year, there were several more bills enacted to liberalize partially the sale of alcohol in Pennsylvania.  However, there was no privatization of the Commonwealth’s wholesale monopoly and the state’s retail system will continue.  

           Although these laws make the state safer and somewhat freer, there is much work for the legislature left unfinished.  The General Assembly still has passed no bills for pension reform or for the elimination of real estate taxes.  There were no major spending cuts, as the Governor favors increased spending, despite a large projected budget deficit, and a measure to enact further restrictions on abortion did not advance far enough for a vote.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Cinfici’s Latest Piece at the Federalist Re: the Representative Role of the Electoral College


           My latest piece in The Federalist was published on how the Electoral College was intended to be a representative body, whose members exercise their best judgment in the best interests of the people and States they represent, in good conscience: http://thefederalist.com/2016/11/08/dont-actually-vote-president-curious-facts-electoral-college/

My article in The Federalist is similar to my blog post from earlier this month, but includes a discussion about the formation of the Democratic Party in protest of the body the Framers established, which led to more democratizing of American politics and away from representative republicanism.  

With the current attempts by Democrats and liberals to persuade the Electors to vote for the Democratic nominee because of her lead in the “popular vote,” the piece in the Federalist is especially timely.  They are right to exercise their freedom to attempt to persuade the Electors, but for the wrong reasons and candidate, as I explain in the article that there is no such thing as the popular vote for president because the presidential election is not a democratic exercise.  Instead of advocating for her on the basis of the Democratic Electors having received the most votes, the Democrats and liberals, together with principled constitutional conservatives, should be persuading the Republican Electors, who comprise the majority of the Electoral College, to vote for anyone else they judge to be fit to preside over the Union of States, which is a more politically likely way to fulfill their constitutional duty of exercising this safeguard.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Foreign Digest: France & Spain, Montenegro, Nicaragua and Hong Kong


French Police Arrest the ETA Leader
            French police arrested the leader of the Basque terrorist organization ETA.  The left-wing terrorists, who have killed over 800 people since the 1960s, advocate for the independence of the Basque country of northern Spain and southwestern France.  After many arrests of their members in Spain and France, they have ceased attacks, but have not laid down their arms.

Montenegro Find Russia Was Behind the Coup Attempt
            A special prosecutor in Montenegro has determined that Russia was behind a nationalist coup attempt the day of the former Yugoslav republic’s parliamentary elections last month.  The plotters planned to assassinate the Montenegrin Prime Minister.  The recently-reelected premier is trying to get Montenegro to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a move Russia opposes.  Because of Russian aggression against former Soviet republics and threats to other states, NATO has sent forces to its eastern flank.  Russia, which has supported various European nationalist parties, has also been interfering with the United States presidential election.

Nicaraguan Presidential Elections Were Not Representative
            The presidential election in Nicaragua was won by the leftist incumbent after he had effectively weakened the opposition by removing all of their members from congress.  There was low voter turnout with only a few opponents standing for election in order to make the election appear competitive.  The President’s wife was elected vice president.  The opposition suspects his wife will succeed him to extend his legacy.  The former Marxist dictator won his third consecutive term after he was made eligible for the presidency indefinitely.  Nicaragua is an ally of Socialist Venezuela and Communist Cuba.  The United States Congress is considering a measure to limit loans to Nicaragua, which it should do until representative government is restored.

Update: Hong Kong’s Opposition Members Barred From Taking Office by China
           Communist China has effectively barred the two newly-elected opposition members of the Hong Kong legislature from taking office because they declined to take the oath verbatim as a protest against Peking’s infringement on the territory’s promised autonomy.  There will have to be special elections to fill their seats.  The two opposition victors could stand for election again.  The democratic opposition had won a majority in Hong Kong’s legislature, which includes many members appointed by Peking and others who support the Chinese Communists.  The two opposition candidates were among those advocating for independence from China.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Conservative Overview of the 2016 Pennsylvania General Election


           In addition to the election for Presidential and vice presidential electors, Pennsylvanians will be electing candidates for several other important offices on Tuesday, November 8.  There are conservatives on the ballot for most of these offices.  Some of the contests are especially close.

            Pennsylvania will be represented by 20 of the 538 presidential and vice presidential Electors who collectively comprise the Electoral College.  The candidates for Elector are chosen by political parties and are not named on the ballot.  Instead, the parties’ presidential and vice presidential candidates are named, which misleads the voters into believing that the election is for the presidential and vice presidential ticket, instead of for a slate of Electors.  Under the Commonwealth’s election law, all of a party or candidate’s slate of Electors are elected if their ticket receives the most votes.  I explained the history and original representative purpose of the Electoral College in my last post.

            This year, neither of the two major American parties nominated a conservative for President of the United States.  Alas, the usually-conservative Republican Party nominated someone who, in addition to being morally unfit and lacking in experience and knowledge, has no reverence for the Founding Fathers and the Constitution, but instead has authoritarian proclivities, is nativist and isolationist and supports the dictator of the Russian Federation.  I have posted several times about the GOP nominee, Donald Trump. 

Among other options for Pennsylvania conservatives to vote in good conscience, Evan McMullin is registered with the Commonwealth as a write-in candidate, which means that write-in votes for him for President will count for his appointed slate of presidential and vice presidential Electors.  He is bidding to become the first non-major party candidate in 48 years whose Electors are directly elected, as he is surging to the lead in Utah, at least.  If no candidate receives a majority of the votes in the Electoral College, then the House of Representatives elects the President among the three candidates who received the most electoral votes, voting by state delegation.  In addition to demonstrating a separation from conservatism and Trump and discouraging the Republican Party from nominating someone who does not represent its conservative platform, a large total of votes for the former Central Intelligence Agency operative who fought terrorists might help to persuade Pennsylvania’s Electors or those of others States to vote for McMullin instead of the Republican nominee.  As Republicans are expected to retain a majority, or at least plurality (as some States would be equally divided), of state delegations in the House, they may decide to vote for McMullin, who was the former policy director of the U.S. House Republican Caucus.

            As one third of the seats of the U.S. Senate and every seat in the House of Representatives is up for election in this General Election, Pennsylvanians will be voting for one Senator and all 18 Representatives.  Conservative, pro-life, pro-right-to-keep-and-bear-arms Republican Senator Pat Toomey is the upper chamber of Congress’ leading fiscal expert and advocate against wasteful spending.  He has strongly opposed President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with the terrorist-sponsoring Iranian regime.  Toomey’s opponent is his political opposite.  The Democrats and liberal groups have targeted him for defeat because elections are usually close in Pennsylvania and party control of the Senate may depend upon the outcome of the Keystone State’s choice in this election, which has become the most expensive in the Union.  There are at least relatively conservative Republican candidates for most of Pennsylvania’s U.S. House seats.  It is critical that conservative Republicans be elected to both chambers of Congress in order for the GOP to retain their majorities, which allows them to set the agenda, and to be a check on the next possibly liberal Democratic President, as they have been effectively doing for the last eight years.

            The offices of Pennsylvania Attorney General, Auditor General and Treasurer are on the ballot statewide.  There are conservative Republican candidates for each.  After Attorney liberal Democratic General Kathleen Kane, who had been worked in the administration of former U.S. President Bill Clinton, resigned and was convicted of perjury, it is essential to restore integrity to that office.

            For Pennsylvania’s state legislature, the General Assembly, candidates for half the seats in the Senate and all of the seats in the Houses of Representatives will be elected.  It is necessary for conservative Republicans to retain their majorities in both chambers, where they have been successful in blocking liberal Democratic Governor Tom Wolf’s tax increases, among other significant accomplishments.  Although these offices are at the bottom of the ballot, because state legislators directly affect citizens in numerous ways, these offices are by no means of least importance.

            In addition to offices, there is a statewide ballot question about which Pennsylvanians will be voting.  There is a state constitutional referendum to increase the mandatory retirement age for judges from 70 to 75 years.  

           The polls in Pennsylvania are open from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM.  Pennsylvanians, make plans today to vote on Tuesday for conservative candidates.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Presidential Electors Are Supposed to Be Representative of the States and the People


A brief study of the history of the Electoral College makes it apparent how far the process of the selection of the president of the United States has changed from the vision of the Framers of the Constitution and the practices of the early years of the Republic and helps to appreciate better its purpose.

The Electoral College was inspired by the College of Cardinals, which elects the Pope.  Charles Carroll of Carrollton, the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence, is credited with its creation.  He had authored a distinctive provision in Maryland’s first Constitution in 1776 that established a body of popularly elected electors who selected the state’s senators.  At the Constitutional Convention in 1787, a provision based on Maryland’s was adapted as the basis of the constitutional method for the selection of the president.  A key difference between the two, out of respect for state sovereignty, under the constitutional principle of federalism, is that the electors do not meet as a whole body, but separately in each state and the District of Columbia.  The words “Electoral College” do not appear in the Constitution as a name for this institution, as the presidential elections are the collective work of 51 individual bodies.

Because of current practices regarding the selection of the president, it is commonly believed, at least by those who recognize that electoral votes are more than a kind of point-scoring system that evens out the weight of the states, that the presidential and vice presidential electors (the members of what popularly became known as the Electoral College) serve as a check on the people, which, in practice, has become true.  However, the history of their office reveals the electors were intended more as representative of the people, as well as of the states. 

In creating electors as a method of selecting the president, the Framers chose neither direct popular election, nor election by the Congress, as some of them had favored, but instead established a method that was representative of the people and the states.  Except for the later provision of electors for the District of Columbia, the allocation of these electors matches that of the combined number of members of both chambers of Congress.  The number of representatives in the House is based upon population because they are elected to represent the people, while each state is represented in the Senate by an equal number of senators.  Therefore, the size of the Electoral College is the result of a compromise that, like the Congress, balances population with state equality, in keeping with federalism.  Similarly, the composition of the Electoral College helps prevent domination by the larger states over the smaller ones.  Beyond the composition of the Electoral College, the role of the states in the selection of the president, who presides over the Union of the states, is preserved through the power of state legislatures to choose the electors by whatever means they decide, even if they chose to make the office of elector elective.  

The Framers opposed democracy (direct rule of the people), preferring representative republican government.  The office of member of the House of Representatives was the only constitutional office the Framers established that was necessarily elected popularly, as the president, vice president and senators were not directly elected under the original terms of the Constitution.  Even the office of presidential and vice presidential electors was not necessarily elective, but could be appointive.  Therefore, the only two federal offices established by the Framers that could be elective were both representative in nature.  Appointive electors, like senators, were appointed by state legislatures to be primarily representative of the states while elective electors are more representative of the people.  Nevertheless, in both cases, the electors, like the Congress as a whole, represent both the people and the states.  This dual representation is noticeably conserved in contingency elections, whereby the House elects the president, but votes by state. 

Like any representatives, presidential and vice presidential electors are supposed to exercise their judgment, in good conscience, as to what is in the best interests, not only of the union, but of the states and the people.  As the method of selecting a president is not based primarily on the will of the people, an elector who carries out this duty as a representative is thus not a “faithless” elector, but a faithful one.    

This representative role of the presidential and vice presidential electors can also be observed in the state laws of the early period of the Republic regarding the selection of these electors.  Some state legislatures opted at first to appoint their presidential and vice presidential electors, others to allow them to be popularly elected.  A few even alternated between presidential elections from the elective to the appointive method.  Gradually, all of the states adopted the method of popular elections, but with South Carolina as the last holdout, the first presidential election in which all of the electors were popularly elected was not until 1868.  For extraordinary reasons, there have been subsequent occasions when electors have been appointed.  The states retain the power to set aside the election of the electors, even after they have been elected, and appoint them instead.  Even though the states exercise their discretion to allow the people to elect the electors to represent them, it is important to remember that this representation occurs only through the power of the states.

In the Federal period, those electors who were popularly chosen were elected directly by the people,   unlike the current practice, whereby the voters elect them indirectly by casting ballots for presidential and vice presidential candidates them that are counted for an unnamed slate of electors who are nominated by the presidential candidates.  In some states currently, it is not even mentioned on the ballot that the election is only for the electors nominated by these candidates, which misleads people even more to believe they are voting directly for president and vice president.  The representative role of the Electoral College was thus clearer in this original method of direct election than today’s method, in which it is popularly believed that the presidential election is essentially a democratic exercise, and that the purpose of the electors is mainly to even out the strength of the states. 

Not only did these early methods of selecting presidential and vice presidential electors emphasize their representative role, but common practices at the time did, as well.  It is critical to understand that in the first several decades of the Republic, no one personally campaigned for president, vice president or for any other political office, including even presidential and vice presidential electors.  The popular belief at the time was that seeking office would be arrogant, as “the office seeks the man, not the man the office.”  The similarity between the Electoral College and the College of Cardinals was more noticeable then, as no one publicly campaigns to be elected Pope and the selection is sometimes a surprise to the public whenever a less relatively known person is selected.  There were no political campaigns in the early Republic in the more modern sense, but informal public debate, which was conducted through conversations among the people and through the exercise of the freedom of the printing press.  It was not until 1840 that anyone personally campaigned for president or vice president of the United States.   

Before the rise of political parties, there were originally no names on ballots for offices; there were only write-in votes.  Later, parties united behind candidates whose names were placed onto election ballots, through changes to election laws.  Similarly, at the Electoral College, there were only write-in votes for president and vice president. 

The rise of political parties also led to a democratizing trend away from the original vision of the Framers for the presidential and vice presidential electors, which has increasingly blurred the distinction between electing the electors and electing the president and vice president.  Making the office of elector elective, instead of appointive, and binding electors nominated by the presidential and vice presidential candidates to vote for those candidates, instead of allowing the electors to be free to exercise their judgment, have weakened the representative role of the Electoral College.  Such democratization helped to mislead the people into believing that presidential elections were primarily supposed to reflect their will because many people perceived that they were voting directly for the candidates for president and vice president whose names appeared on the ballots, instead of only casting ballots for electors.  Others who had at least some awareness of the Electoral College believed they were indirectly electing the president and vice president by voting for the presidential and vice presidential candidates who would then necessarily win the votes of the electors from their states, as the electors were nominated by the presidential candidates and were often bound to vote for them by state law.  However, contrary to common parlance and belief, unless one is an elector or U.S. representative, no one votes for president and vice president.  No presidential ticket receives any “popular votes.” 

As envisioned by the Framers, a person need not personally campaign, be named on any ballot and receive any “popular votes” to be elected president of the United States by members of the Electoral College, who are not themselves necessarily elected or, even if the were, need not to have personally campaigned for office, and whose names need not to have appeared on any ballot.  And someone could be elected president after having received as little as one electoral vote.  

Although the Electoral College is at least recognized nowadays as a check on the popular will, the origin and early history of this institution suggests that the presidential election was never intended to be primarily a democratic exercise, but an exercise in representative republican government.  A restoration of the role of the electors as representatives of the states and the people would not be a usurpation of the will of the people, but a return to the vision of the Framers of the Constitution.