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May 04, 1924 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1924-05-04

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_. . . .. M

Nomination and Election of the President



By Thomas 1H. Reed

(this is the third of "Pro fessor ReM's articles on the
2arofis phases of our political systcjui. Nekt Sida's
at ticle a cill discuss party orgaiz-'ation and miethods )
The greatest of all offices is not'fi~ed by direct
vote of the people. The framers of. our Constitution
felt that ,a very much Gbetter choice would be made by
electors chosen in the several states for that purpose.
These electors majlbe chosen in any manner which the
legislature of the state may direct. They are nowv
always chosen, by -popular vote, and at large. The
intention of the framers was that the electors -shoild
ekercise an independent choice. They thought tat"
the people of each state would elect their best and
wisest men as electors .anid that they would in turn
choose the best ran in the country for the presidency.
The rise of political parties, however, put an end to
this dream. Since the second l4esidetial election in
1.792, the electors have always been party nominees
pledged to vote for the parties chosen for the presi-
dency. With but one exception they have always done
so. One elector in 1i82o failed to cast his vote for
President Ml!oniroe 'ltus preventing his being elected
urtnanimiously. When in 876 the results of the pei
prsdential election were long disputed and one additional,
vote for Tilden w~ould have insured his eection and
ended all difficulty, someone proposed to James Rus-
sell Lowell, a Republican elector from Masschusets,
that he exercise his legal freedom of choice-and vote
for Tilden. Lowell: expressed his personal inclination
to do 'so but declared that it would be a breah of
:w 'public faith which he could not in honibr commit.
When we. vote fr presidential- electors; ?therefore,-
oftwhom there are as many from each state as there
are Representatives and Senators in Congress. wve vote.
merely for automata. Thie so-called electoal ollege is
mrely a irecording device by whch the vote bf each
state as a whole is giveni to some candidate for the
presidency. {,TJhe electors being chosen fromt the state
at large the whole electoral ticket of some party is
ordinarily chosen.) This has had One very iiarked
effect upon -our choice of presidents. It has over-
emnphaized the importance of the large states.It is
very much hinoe imiportant to carr-v Newv York with its
45 eectoral votes'biy a phtrt.ity of a thosan than
it is to carry Ionwa .wth Its t3 electoral votes by o,-
OOQ6. It mray therefore hiappen that a candidate for the
presidency mray' have a popular ;ttjority and' yet nit
achievre a mAJority 16f electoral votes. This actually
occurred in m~g8 when Harrisonh.was elected over
'Cleveland. A still more important consequence. of
the ovceritrrtanlce of the large states, however, is
the fact that candidates for the- presidecy are almost
nevernobin ated f rom any except a smal goup 61t
large and doubtful states. A -candidate is supposed
to be strong in -is own state.- The importante of-car-
ryiig athe states of New York and Ohio in whkh
courol slips easily 'front one party to another is so
great as/to limrit the choice of presidential candidates
almost' together to these two states. Pennsylvania
is almost as large as New York buit it is rok vrihed
lRepuiblican which makes it unnecessary to flatter, the
ennsylvanians With a presidential candidate of their
own. We have ,never had a ;presidet from ,a state
farther; west than Ililois, fromn south; of the Masonr
and Dixon line since Zachary Talr, or:Until the
accidental succession of Calvin .efiClge froth Newv
Erngland since the time of Van~lin :Pierce. At the~
last 'eigt presidential elections,' the President was
ch6sen =Four times from Ohio and ttwice frot Ne?
York.. If you happen 'to live in Michigan 1Ioa or
At laaa you may be as eloqutent as Demosthenes, or
as wise as Aristotle, but you will probably- inevr be
president of the United States.
The 'candidates for the presidency oif the 'United
States are still nominated 'by great national conven-

tionis. The Democratic pMarty allows each state twice
as many' delegates as it has Senators and Represent a-
tives in Congress. The' Republican party formerly
followed the ftime pr'atlce. This dieat. of couse,
that the handful of Republicans in the Southern states
was -much over-represented. The Republican Conven-
tion is now made tip of two delegates for each United
States Senator,- one delegate .for each Congressional
district in-which 2500 Republican votes were cast
the last election and an additional delegate for each
Congressional district in which io,ooo Sch votes were
cast. The delegates are chosen in sonmc states by
primaries but in the majority are still selected by
conventions. The haioial convention always meets
in-some great hall. The delegates and their alternates
sit in the body of the hall while spectators crowd the
galleries. Of, corse, there is little chanice'in such a
gthering" for calm deliberation, and more than one
national -convention has been stampeded- by the nisy
and-contagiouis enthusiasieiof delegates and spectators.
The national committee mnakes up what is known as
the temporary roll of "the convention, that is, the list
of persons ,who prima f ace' are entitled to sit as dele-
-gates. The opening sessiwn is called to- order by the
chairman of the national commrittee. The temporary
chairmoan is then elected. This is somnetimets the, oc-
casion of a test of strength of factions within the con-
vention. The remaindier of this session is ocupied in
naming ithe four commtittees on Credentials, V-ern a-
nient┬░Orgatiizatioin,'Rtles ahd COrder of Butsiess, PI'at-,
form 'and Resoluttions. The net session of the cn-
vention is devoted to the reports of commiittees, of
which tht on Credentials is first rendered. 'There are
usu ally disputes over the.-ight of some dleleg te-sto-
~sit _and , ocasiopnally the report of the Credentils
Comimittee is fought upon the floor. Trhis -as notably
the case in the Repuiblicani Convention of 112. The
Con-inittee n'mPermanen~t Orgaization then presents
a list of =nominees for permanent chairnman and other
ofcers. The permanent chairman on being escorted to
the chair delivers a political, hArangue which is us ally
- known as thie "key-tie" speec. This session closes
with the'.report'of 'the 'Coinmtittee on 'Platform and
Resoitions. SOnletlmes there is debate upon the
subtject ofi the vrious"plaiis of th platform. but
ordinaril';the lt foritn"i iecdgizedas merely hoey
to catch'fHies and-no treat weight is attached to it either
in or oit fte'Convention.
The'last 'thk of the !Convention is the'nomiinationi
for president and vke&-president. As the r~ll 'of'te
staites is called a :deleate from~ that state either non'n-
hiates a candidate or 'yields the foor to some other
delegation to make a nomiinatioh. There are often
several' na'm s pr-seted to a Cofrvietion, nmost of thenr
bing thse of "favorite sons,"' en prominent in their
own stateAwhob are ┬░thus out f6rward as a atter of
comjplinflent , Ansimple ' risajorty' is stiffiient -for nom-
' 'iatiQn iiia epttbhicain Conve ition, A two-thirds ote
is required- i} a Demo ratic Cnxvetion. This matkes
It mnutth more diffclt .to<Wcuiiate in the em cratic
Civertponr - Numerous b.allots are 'somretinies teces-
say. t :took40 ballots to nio inate Wilson in 19T2.
A President who has served only one term is usually
T tttiin led by hais party, often 'by aclamnation. There
is i stall5y nd contest niter the noiationi of a Vice-
President, the hono'r beintg'dsposed of in Suich ai way
as the leaders 'of the party thintk ill strengthen the
party in the cinitg eleti~.,
After, nontiiations are "made, a committee is ap-
pointed #ton'otify the candidates of their nomination.
When thus committee waits upon- the candidate for
'Pr'esident, hie delivers what is known as the speech
of acceptance, in which hie lays (lown the principles
upon which hie will conduct his administration if
reelected. This speech is of much more importance thn
the Barty platformr as a meastre of whlat the party
ptilicy will be in case of victory.
,after the nominations have been made and ac-

cepted-and no man has ever dclined the nomination-
of a great party for President of the Un'rited States-
the campaign begins. Campaigns. are not what they
used to be in intensity and eithisasmi. Indays when
party feeling ran high, the rank and file of the party
took a hand with bonfires, torch light processions and
other violent demonstrations. The old time campaign
was a thing of nose and fury. The modern cam-
paign is much more of an intellectual performance.
Crowds wold! assemble only to hear the candidate
or a few able and distinguishied speakers. The torch
lijht procession is nitvo oly, a picturesque memory.
Party propaganda is larWgely carried on through the1,1nesar.>tis& arreyioads'htap
come to -blows over pylitical difficulties. "Mot ptei-
dential candidates "in reet' years htae tken the stnnW1
in their own behalf toirib g the cbiiitytrom ne ind
to another. 'Mr. Aar 4nri,'etutned to an ~ldertia i-
tion by remainings at hfoie ahd speaIt g frot~h. is
"fromt porch" to delegati'onrs whob caeto see hzifrom~tit
various parts of the coutry. Whther' lie vri'ud t ┬░
pursued the same plicy if his eletion ad nt ten
a foregone conluisi~rn no'be will -e er knowit. 'iiiay
-'e safely asstmed, 'ow~vevr, that zznder criir~y cr
cunistanee scaniiidates'fetr thte pr esilcy tvh psses
the ift rif pni i 'pech"'andi are in pb seszin f t liir
fulil health and vitality gill I66con' ti "xto t ie
people as did rya, -Rooeelt =ad Wlsbn.
One thing very Ycharatersitc"of the 'Aeical'
peosle must 'be rnoted. No matterho hiktesy he
presideintial election hlas beien fdttit, 's sin ts the
results are'known 'an attibale of 1cqtie' hdle swees
over the country. The def eaied prty bows to the
decision, of the~ra~jrity 'and( goes into training forte
next bout four: years henice.... --The-results .Ar t Ai~l .-.
known within a few littrs lifter the'pollare cloe(: "
When the electbrs have been chosen there remains
only the formality of cating their tallos. Ior -tis--
purpose the electors of eah - sate assemble at their
state capitol on the second Monday in January A id
vote for President and Vi6e- resident spartey.
Three 66-tificates of the rsult are ;prepared, &le of
which is deposited with thet'Uited States Ditrict
court, the second inailed't'&the {President of 4he ,gkiite
and the third~tdespatched to'i-itby speca i -hsserik.
On tesecohld Zednesday in'Eebttir, he =tiae-id
the 1-ouse- f Repfesetatives h'x't in .joint es: i~n.
The President f .the senate psth'lieretifitat frfi'
each State. It .sthen 3hpnided'tt tit1elers frtii-e iei
house'who'read it -to'he-iisserhil ly. f'lte iethis frmn
anry State are dspte, the ittr is ssetled dtiaccir-
ance i ih rthre provisitns of iiiAt f rmS7.'If dt)l
houses, whflo retire to ther reective claii~ersfr'PMle
purpose, agree, a vote'may ib e eeced on thle r8 ttid
that it -iasr-not!been reg'ildy i ev h 'by th ' l~cts
certified by'the Govefnor f. he ste ff a 4rsti t~
ar ises as. to cwich o'(f' - tit .. iore .s~ate 'ti~toitiWis
the one legally ,etitied to 8d6eIine, wht ciletdr
have been 'chosen, r Ii o' sti'h dieM iiiatiO'tia
takenu place JA th'e tte a iily Ft~hoe voes are cbimi'tetd
'khiich 'the twQ ouss-cmcr'n4ddm'-~ -c'
by lawful electors.
'at no candidate has a Taorty ;catthe tiffce -ao
Presidenit, it becdnes Pe dty of the i' bse +of -ke=:e
sentatives 'to ele@thle Pr'sfinieh Ct, Uner siilrclr-
cutistanices the ice l'i rsdt ~s chotn iby tie eate.:
The Houise of Repir enttves 'c~oses ti h '~i t
from the three highest imkdates. 'The tng is by
states, each state 'having one; vote, the w ay the vrote
of the state shall be cast being deternined by the ma-
jority of the 'mtembers of tile 'H-ose from that state.
I f they are evenly divided. the vote of the state is 'lot.
A fiaj6'rity 'f stat'es is necessary for a clioic& In
choosing a Vice-President the Senate votes -by ballot,
the choice being confined to the two highest candidates
on the list. Only twice, ii 8z and in i425 have
presidents been elected by the Hdtse of Repre-

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