Recently, Herald columnist Lloyd Omdahl took to task the Electoral College ("Archaic Electoral College still electing presidents," Page A4, Nov. 28).
Omdahl's crusade against a system designed to help small states such as North Dakota can only be explained by his party affiliation.
The Electoral College was codified in the Constitution as a compromise between the large and small states. The small states were justifiably scared that without such measures, their interests could be overrun by the large states.
And without the support of the small states, the Constitution would not have been ratified. A president that could be elected solely with strong popular support in the large states would have scared small states away from the table.
Omdahl laments the inclusion of U.S. senators in the counting of state electoral votes, yet this was and is a fundamental component of the Electoral College. North Dakota is about one-tenth as powerful as New York in the current Electoral College, while it would be only one-thirtieth as powerful without the inclusion of senators.
Furthermore, Omdahl writes that "we would be hard pressed to justify continuance of the U.S. Senate" if the Electoral College was abolished. He ignores the fact that the Senate lets North Dakota have the same voice on the national stage as states with many times its population.
North Dakotans should distrust any calls to end the Electoral College (or to abolish the Senate, which Omdahl seems to favor). If North Dakota had been at the table when the constitutional debates were ongoing in the 1780s, our representatives apparently would have walked away without insisting on safeguards such as the Electoral College and the U.S. Senate being put in place.