Leave picking the president to the people

Mr. Andrew Johnston’s suggestion that Congress should elect the president [“Congress should elect our presidents,” Letters, March 4] is, whether or not he realizes it, a call for a parliamentary form of government.

What would be next? A vote of no confidence and throwing the current bum out, followed by a call for a new election of members of Congress?

The idea is flawed for several reasons.

There is a strong likelihood that it would lead to the formation of new political parties. It is hard enough to get legislation passed now with just two political parties. Imagine how difficult it would be if the president had to form a coalition of parties to get anything done.

If the Congress selected the president, it would weaken the separation of powers, with the president beholden to the Congress. The president should be responsible to the people, not to Congress.

Speakers of the House hold considerable sway over their caucus members when voting on matters before them. That places too much power in one person’s hands to exert influence on who the next president will be.

The Electoral College is comprised of persons pledged to vote for a specific candidate as determined by the primaries. If Congress selects the president, the potential is there for Congress to select someone other than the candidate selected by voters. The people are smart enough to pick their president.

Thankfully, the Electoral College is embedded in the Constitution. My gut feeling is that a 38-state majority would be extremely difficult to achieve.

Noel Pilon


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