"The Founding Fathers wanted the people to have a say, there was concern that a charismatic tyrant could manipulate public opinion and come into power. Alexander Hamilton briefly addressed these concerns in the Federalist Papers. The idea was that the electors would be a group of people who would ensure that a qualified person would become president"

Reference.com on Electoral College

If the electors are a group of people who ensure a "qualified president" would make it to the White House, and our Standing President (and many others) believe Mr. Trump is not qualified to serve and Secretary Clinton won the popular vote, why hasn't the Electoral College exercised their right to keep Mr. Trump from winning the general election?


There are several reasons that people support the Electoral College system today. One of them is indeed that the electors could choose to vote against a demagogue. That hasn't ever happened. There have been faithless electors—those who don't vote for the candidate they're pledged to—but never very many and never enough to influence the outcome.

Since you're asking why we have the system though, I should emphasize that there are other reasons why it exists. These include the original notions of our federal system and the sovereignty of the states; and balances of power between various groups, such as large vs. small states and urban vs. rural. Further reasons may be debated, such as the idea that it helped entrench slavery.

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    From Wikipedia : A demagogue is a leader in a democracy who gains popularity by exploiting prejudice and ignorance among the common people, whipping up the passions of the crowd and shutting down reasoned deliberation. Demagogues have usually advocated immediate, violent action to address a national crisis while accusing moderate and thoughtful opponents of weakness or disloyalty. Demagogues overturn established customs of political conduct, or promise or threaten to do so. Most who were elected to high office changed their democracy into some form of dictatorship. – Tom-Tom Dec 2 '16 at 19:11
  • Why did you say that the states are sovereign? According the Constitution, or how it was designed, the People are the sovereign. – American Patriot Feb 18 '17 at 2:18
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    @Tom-Tom That Wikipedia entry has undergone significant revision since early 2016. Nobody can say for certain, but it certainly appears to have been tailored to fit our current President's behaviors. The March 22, 2016 entry's first paragraph was: italic A "demagogue" according to Webster's Universal College Dictionary is a person, especially an orator or political leader, who gains power by arousing people's emotions and prejudices._italic_ They added a lot of scary words like "exploiting" and "ignorance" and "violent". Perhaps it's accurate, but perhaps it's a way to influence thinking. – Bob Mc Jul 29 '19 at 21:18
  • @AmericanPatriot There is a complex argument and history there. See e.g. the 10th amendment, the nullification crisis, secession, & Gamble v. US. It's definitely worth a question here, if there isn't one. – Jacktose Jul 30 '19 at 6:22

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