To the Editor:

In his guest column in the Jan. 17 edition, Martin Dyckman proposes to “eliminate the power of the Electoral College.” I submit that his proposal about how to do that virtually eliminates the need for it altogether and might as well be seen as the last stage in the ongoing reduction of the states from sovereign entities in a sovereign union to dependent provinces of an all-powerful federal leviathan.

Mr. Dyckman proposes that each state should enter a compact to cast all that state’s electoral votes for the winner of the nationwide popular vote, no matter who wins the state’s popular vote. This would result in further conversion of this country’s political system into a virtual direct democracy, which means that it would be only a matter of time before it became a tyranny, possibly after passage through a period of rank anarchy and civil strife.

This is not to say that the Electoral College system could not stand some serious reformation: Even when one clears away the vestiges of TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome) that called forth this particular column, there is a need for such reform, so long as it preserves the republican nature of the American Constitutional order.

Accordingly, I would propose that states enter into a compact to cast their electoral votes according to which candidate receives the most votes in each Congressional District, with the two that correspond with the Senate seats being given to the statewide winner. In 2016, that would probably have meant that Mrs. Clinton would have garnered one or two of North Carolina’s 15 votes instead of the zero with which she finished.

This is a system that at least two states — Maine and Nebraska — already use and which another — Virginia — has been considering in a modified form. Like Mr. Dyckman’s proposal, it requires no federal amendment. All that is necessary is the willingness of the state legislatures to enact it.

Such a plan would accomplish one of the objectives that Mr. Dyckman says he wants much more efficiently than his own proposal, in that it would impel candidates for the presidency to allocate their campaign resources more generally than they do at present.

Certainly, the ideal would be to incorporate the Congressional District method into the federal Constitution, but I suspect that Mr. Dyckman is correct in his assessment that such an effort, at least for the moment, is futile. It will be difficult enough in this state, given the bipartisan willingness to rise above principle when political power is at stake. However, it is worth a try, and I strongly encourage our Reps. Mike Clampitt, R-Bryson City, Rep. Keith Corbin, R-Franklin, and Rep. Michelle Presnell, R-Burnsville, and Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, to submit and support a bill to make it happen.

Samuel Edwards

Waynesville

After months of searching for someone to replace founding School Director Ben Butler, Waynesville public charter school Shining Rock Classical Academy has made its choice.

After receiving 20 applications from candidates hoping to succeed founding School Director Ben Butler at Shining Rock Classical Academy, the Waynesville public charter school’s board has narrowed its options down to four people.

Last week, Shining Rock Classical Academy held an event for “parents and community supporters” to meet the top four candidates in the running to be the charter school’s new director, but there seemed to be some confusion over whether the hiring process would be public or private.

The Shining Rock Classical Academy Board of Directors accepted the resignation of School Director Ben Butler during a Sunday night emergency board meeting. His resignation is effective immediately.

Lake Junaluska Executive Director Jack Ewing announced today that he will retire on Dec. 31, 2017.

An unusual number of “for rent” signs have been cropping up in downtown Sylva lately, and the vacancies have town leaders and business owners wondering what this forebodes in the year ahead.

Dillon Ingle will only be the third music director in Folkmoot’s 33-year history.

fr healthdirectorJackson County’s health department is gearing up to start millions of dollars of construction for its animal shelter and health buildings, but before those projects get off the ground leadership will change with the coming of a new health director. 

fr dssdirectorAfter 20 years with the department, Jackson County’s director of social services will be retiring from county employment at the end of the month, but the department won’t want for experienced leadership going forward.

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