The Musicians’ Voice

Volume 117, No. 2February, 2017

E-mail letters to or write to Allegro, Local 802, 322 West 48th Street, New York, NY 10036. Letters must be no more than 300 words. Opinions expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of Local 802.

Response to Tom Olcott re: Electoral College

I think Tom Olcott’s rant about the electoral college in the January issue of Allegro was more about his candidate losing than a reasoned critique. Tom champions the election of the president by popular vote, as if the U.S. was a democracy. The U.S. constitution creates a republic, not a democracy, with various centers of powers, divisions of powers and modes of representation, with two objects in mind: to reach out and represent as many groups as possible; and to make it extremely difficult for any one group to ever become a majority over all the others.

One purpose of the electoral college is to enhance the voting power of the smaller states as part of a structure to protect the rights of the minority. Just as college admissions boards sometimes favor minorities in order to help create a more diverse student population, so does the electoral college help create a more diverse representation in the branches of government. This includes not only the presidency, but the Senate, where every state, no matter how big or small, gets two senators. As a counterweight, members of the House of Representatives are proportioned according to the population of each state. Each state’s electoral college votes are the sum of its number of congressmen and senators. This ingenious structure has worked well for 228 years and is needed as much today as when it was first written.

I know there are many residents of the large coastal cities who think they should decide all matters for the rest of the country because they are smarter than everyone else. Thanks to our republic form of government, this is unlikely to ever happen.

Bob Haley