own interests in decades to come. That is federalism, and it hasrnworked well.rnThe real scandal of 2000 was not that the “people’s will” wasrnstymied, hnt rather that so many Americans demonstrated suchrna stunning ignorance of how the system worked, and more important,rnwhy it was set up that way. Unless that situationrnchanges, unless people can understand that the states are notrnjust an anhquarian sunival but the pivotal element of the constitutionalrnsystem, we can say goodbye to federalism and acceptrnan untrammeled unitar’ megastate. And by that point, Arizonarnand Pennsylvania will have precisely as much political substancernas, well, Wessex or Aquitaine. crn(VGJMKSrnRoll Over, James Madisonrnby Clyde WilsonrnTo anyone who has spent sonic time v’ith the Framers andrnratifiers of the U.S. Constitution, most current talk aboutrnthat document seems not about the Constitution at all butrnabout some fanciful construct of wishful thinking, accumidatedrnmisunderstandings, and successful usurpations. This is certainlyrnso in regard to the recent discussions of the Electoral College.rnTrue, the Electoral College vas, as is now complained of, inrnpart designed to take the selection of president a remove or hvornfrom the people. The reason for this was not to thwart the people’srnwill but to induce deliberahon and mature considerationrnof the public good and the virtues of candidates by persons whornwere in a position to have some solid knowledge of the matter.rnThis design, of course, has been rendered null by the machinationsrnof political parties. Electors are now anonymous partyhacksrnwhose names often do not even appear on the ballot andrnwho would not know what you are talking about if you men-rnClyde Wilson is a professor of American history at thernUniversity of South CaroHna.rnDirge Without Musicrnby B.R. StrahanrnMap of memory shadowed facernof a million names and nonernfane of lost crossroadsrnleading everyplace and nonernSecret whispered on the marriage bedrnstory told on the last dayrnlanguage of Babel and Byzantiumrnwhat was sung “by the waters of Babylon”rnChipped icon on the crumbling wallrnrotten stairway to the shattered towerrnfinger in the sun’s angry eyernfinal cry before the great unfolking . ..rntioned deliberation and judgment.rnBut an even more important consideration in the design ofrnthe Electoral College was the representation of the states.rnThere was no possibilit’ of a mass vote, since each state set itsrnown qualifications for the franchise and chose the electors in itsrnown manner —by the legislature or by districts in the beginning.rnStates no longer set their franchise: The federal governmentrnnow requires us to allow 18-year-olds to vote and to registerrnaliens when they show up at tiie drivers’ license bureau.rnNevertheless, the Electoral College, at least potentially, representsrnthe states. The smaller states were given more weight,rnby a design (and neeessih at the time) that permeates the realrnConstitution. If the Electoral College yielded no majority, thernHiousc of Representatives was to make the choice, with eachrnstate having one vote, hi fact, tiie Framers expected this to happenrnquite often.rnThe functioning of the Electoral College was perverted inrnthe 19th century by political part}’ organizations. The peoplerncould (and can today) vote only for candidates selected by part)’rnconventions, which are neither democratic nor recognized byrnthe Constitution. (A lot of Americans probably tiiiiik the hvornparties are part of the Constitution.) This is, in fact, a muchrnmore serious denial of majorit}’ rule diaii tiie weight given tornsmall states in tiie college. So is tiie winner-takc-all system, anotiierrninvention of the part)’ hacks.rnThere is nothing in tiie Constitution that requires all thernvotes of a state to go to one candidate. According to presentrnpractice, a candidate may win California with a 3 5-percent voternin a tiiree-way race and receive all of California’s electoral votes,rnthereby disenfranchising two thirds of the voters. The only reasonrnfor this is that it is convenient for political parties.rnIf we reall)’ wanted to live up to true majority rule and preservernthe virtues of the Electoral College, we would take thernhigh constitutional function away from parties and choose electorsrnby districts and as independents —men and women knownrnfor character and reason and an understanding of the peoplernthey represent. (Of course, they would have to be real districts,rnnot ones designed bv federal judges to maximize the success ofrnfavored groups.)rnThev would assemble in their state capitals and vote after deliberationrnand without reference to party organization or tornpolls and predictions and media declarations of winners on thernbasis of one percent of the votes. This would be closer to realrnmajorit)’ rule and tiie real Constitution, and the results might bernquite interesting. <-•rn20/CHRONICLESrnrnrn