It was not the British Parliament’s tax on tea that caused the Boston Tea Party on Dec. 16, 1773; it was the denial of the Colonists’ right to be represented in Parliament.


It is not the sexual part of unwanted sex that matters to the Me Too Movement. We Homo sapiens have spent the last 200 to 300 thousand years engaging in sex; it is the “unwanted” factor that is objectionable.


And when our Founders were barely able to cobble together our republic it was not the fact that some of the Thirteen Colonies had much greater populations than others or much greater wealth than others that almost caused the United States to be simply 13 entirely separate entities; it was the fear by both the more populous and less populous colonies that their voices would not sufficiently matter.


There were many reasons why and how our constitutional democracy survived colliding circumstances, desires and egos but two of the most significant compromises were the Proportional Representative construct and the Electoral College.


Large states accepted the compromise that in the Senate each state would have two and only two senators because their proportional influence was recognized by having the number of congressional representatives determined by population. Smaller states accepted this arrangement in like manner because they would have an equal voice in at least one of the two congressional bodies, the Senate, even though they would have fewer congresspersons than larger states.


Then there is the imaginative system of the Electoral College. The Electoral College determines who will be the Executive Branch leaders, the President and Vice President, via a method similar to the proportional representative system. And because the President has the authority to nominate all federal judges, whoever has influence over the election of the President has an indirect voice in the makeup of the third branch of our federal government, the Judicial Branch. Therefore, the Electoral College, whose only job is to meet every four years and vote for the Chief Executive and the Vice President, has some influence over two of the three Branches of our government. Of course, the Executive Branch contains the armed forces, the F.B.I., the D.E.A., etc., etc., etc. And these countless agencies assert immense power over all of us. We certainly want our opinions to matter when it comes to all those aspects of our government.


The number of electors of the Electoral College is determined by totaling the number of congressional representatives each state has and each state’s two senators. The number of congressional representatives is derived from each state’s population. So, very similar to the general system of representative/proportional government, where all states have two and only two senators but have differing numbers of congresspersons based on population, the Electoral College is based on every state having some electors but more populous states having more electors than less populous states.


Currently there are 538 members of the Electoral College based on 100 senators and 438 congressional representatives. For example, Indiana has 2 senators and 9 congresspersons for a total of 11 electors and Oklahoma has 2 senators and 5 congresspersons for a total of 7 electors. On the other hand, California has 2 senators and 53 congresspersons for a total of 55 electors. Indiana’s sister state of Illinois has 20 electors, almost twice as many as Indiana, and Oklahoma’s sister state of Texas has 38, over five times as many as Oklahoma. The District of Columbia has no senators but does have 3 electors based on the 23rd Amendment to the Constitution. Three is the least number of electors of any state. The U.S. territories do not receive any electors.


Whichever candidate receives 270 Electoral votes, the current majority of electors, is elected President. Sometimes the candidate who receives the most popular votes does not receive a majority of the Electoral votes. This always reignites a debate to eliminate the Electoral College and go to a pure one person/one vote system. Such was the case in 2016 when the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, received 3,000,000 more popular votes than the Republican nominee Donald Trump, but Trump received 304 Electoral votes, which was 77 more than Clinton received. Had this outcome been inverted, I suggest the pro/anti-Electoral College debate would have also been inverted.


There certainly are legitimate arguments for modifying or even eliminating the Electoral College system even though the College has helped to assuage the constant yin and yang of large states versus small ones. As for me, having spent most of my life, so far, in either Oklahoma or Indiana, I do not wish to rely upon the tender mercies of the few lumbering giant states with huge populations of voters that might deign to turn a deaf ear to my concerns and those of the other residents of the numerous less-populous states.


James (Jim) M. Redwine was born in Pawhuska, Osage County, Oklahoma. He is a graduate of Pawhuska High School, Indiana University, I.U. School of Law, the Indiana Graduate Judges College and the National Judicial College. He lives at JPeg Osage Ranch in rural Osage County, Oklahoma with his wife, Peg. Jim and Peg have 3 grown children, 7 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.