I know some European's I have spoken to seem a little confused on why the electorial college thing exists. But it goes back to the point of the show, America is like 50 small countries, each distinct and unique, with their own rules (many laws are different in each one) and culture. And therefore the president has to win a majority in 50 separate elections.
The United States is not a Democracy; rather, it is a Federal Republic, and we all know it was founded by the landed gentry from Great Britain. The Electoral College was a compromise between Congress electing the President and the President being elected by popular vote -- the founding fathers thought the peasants too stupid to directly elect the President... they didn't really want to give soooooo much power to the ignorant, unwashed masses.
By the way, nothing in the US Constitution requires a state's electors to cast their electoral votes based on the popular outcome in that state. For example, if a state has 5 electors and the popular vote is for candidate A, 1-5 of those electors could in reality cast his/her electoral vote for candidate B. Some states have laws to prevent this but most do not.
I finally got around to watching episode 3 and thought it was hilarious when he got to WI and MN and was dressed like he was in Siberia! And I would have liked to have seen more of his performance with Second City - does anyone know if the DVD is going to contain additional footage?
Sorry, Bmkealu, but I'm calling shenanigans on you..
The US is a democratic republic, not a straight democracy, but a combination of democratic and republican forms of government. Our founders examined both forms of government that they admired, and sought to choose a combination of the two, to avoid the hopeless messes that either form alone brought about.
For whatever foibles, the founding fathers might have had, they created a truly unique structure for the US government. Something amazing, that had the potential to rise far above the limits of their particular time in history.
I wouldn't apply too much credence to the remark about "peasants", because some of our founding fathers came from, what those in the old world would have considered "peasants". If you care for the truth, the term "peasants" originated in the same place that created the generic term "the masses", to indicate a faceless, group of the most powerless, who lacked a voice and a vote. Here in the US, we are not limited by antiquated designations like whatever class one happens to be born into. The founders resisted any notions of gentry, and in fact our first president refused the title of king that was offered to him. Again, they weren't perfect by a long shot, but they were head and shoulders above the sorry lot that leads not only the United States, and those seeking the office of president (and I mean both Obama and McCain), but also those leading the UK, France, Spain, Germany and the rest of Europe, Russia, the Arab World, the Middle East, Asia, the entire world.
The electoral college did NOT come about to deny the average people the vote, but was a mechanism so as to not drown out the votes of people in less populated states, by the massive number of votes from those in more populated states. It's not perfect, again what is? Certainly not the dogma that sprang from the diseased mindset that birthed Marxism. The great Dr. Martin Luther King said it best, that "Communism and socialism deny a man the right to self determination, without that right, a man is a slave".
Among my favorite of the founders, is the amazing John Adams. He was the son of a man who was a poor parson and dirt farmer. John and his wife Abigal did not own slaves, they freed slaves, and paid them wages, they did not believe in slavery, and Abigal was one of the early proponents of women's rights. They were amazing people, and he became one of our great presidents.
Oops, almost forgot so I'm editing this in. The son of John Adams, John Quincy Adams (another fine president), in his old age, represented the prisoners from the slave ship, the Amistad. He didn't do it for money, or praise, but in the interest of justice and freedom.
Another of our founders, the great Stephen Hopkins was the representative from the littlest state in the union, Rhode Island. Hopkins was born to a family of farmers in Scituate, RI. His ancestor, also named Stephen Hopkins, who came to the New World, in the Mayflower, was a tanner.
Hopkins spoke out against British tyranny long before the revolutionary period. In 1764 he published a pamphlet "The Rights of the Colonies Examined" whose broad distribution and criticism of taxation and Parliament built his reputation as a revolutionary leader.
In 1773, he freed his slaves, and the following year, while serving in the Rhode Island Assembly in 1774, he introduced a bill that prohibited the importation of slaves into the colony. This became one of the first anti-slavery laws in the new United States.
He led the colony's delegation to the Continental Congress later in 1774, along with Samuel Ward, and was a proud signer of the Declaration of Independence. He recorded his name with a trembling right hand, which he had to guide with his left. Hopkins had cerebral palsy, and was noted to have said, as he signed the Declaration, "My hand trembles, my heart does not."
Hopkins was such a stickler for rights and freedoms, that he withheld his signature to the Constitution, until it included many of the rights and freedoms that Americans most prize today.
Yes, I'm an awful, long winded blowhard on the subject, but it's because I love my country, and all Americans have the right to be proud. I can't sit back and allow either ignorance of or indifference to the facts pass unchallenged.