Friday, November 18, 2016

O colégio eleitoral norte-americano

A favor - Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist 68 (12 de março de 1788):

It was desirable that the sense of the people should operate in the choice of the person to whom so important a trust was to be confided. This end will be answered by committing the right of making it, not to any preestablished body, but to men chosen by the people for the special purpose, and at the particular conjuncture.

It was equally desirable, that the immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice. A small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations.

It was also peculiarly desirable to afford as little opportunity as possible to tumult and disorder. This evil was not least to be dreaded in the election of a magistrate, who was to have so important an agency in the administration of the government as the President of the United States. But the precautions which have been so happily concerted in the system under consideration, promise an effectual security against this mischief. The choice of several, to form an intermediate body of electors, will be much less apt to convulse the community with any extraordinary or violent movements, than the choice of one who was himself to be the final object of the public wishes. And as the electors, chosen in each State, are to assemble and vote in the State in which they are chosen, this detached and divided situation will expose them much less to heats and ferments, which might be communicated from them to the people, than if they were all to be convened at one time, in one place. (...)

All these advantages will happily combine in the plan devised by the convention; which is, that the people of each State shall choose a number of persons as electors, equal to the number of senators and representatives of such State in the national government, who shall assemble within the State, and vote for some fit person as President. Their votes, thus given, are to be transmitted to the seat of the national government, and the person who may happen to have a majority of the whole number of votes will be the President. But as a majority of the votes might not always happen to centre in one man, and as it might be unsafe to permit less than a majority to be conclusive, it is provided that, in such a contingency, the House of Representatives shall select out of the candidates who shall have the five highest number of votes, the man who in their opinion may be best qualified for the office.
Contra - "Republicus", Anti-Federalist Paper 72 (1 de março 1788):
An extraordinary refinement this, on the plain simple business of election; and of which the grand convention have certainly the honor of being the first inventors; and that for an officer too, of so much importance as a president – invested with legislative and executive powers; who is to be commander in chief of the army, navy, militia, etc.; grant reprieves and pardons; have a temporary negative on all bills and resolves; convene and adjourn both houses of congress; be supreme conservator of laws; commission all officers; make treaties; and who is to continue four years, and is only removable on conviction of treason or bribery, and triable only by the senate, who are to be his own council, whose interest in every instance runs parallel with his own, and who are neither the officers of the people, nor accountable to them.

Is it then become necessary, that a free people should first resign their right of suffrage into other hands besides their own, and then, secondly, that they to whom they resign it should be compelled to choose men, whose persons, characters, manners, or principles they know nothing of? And, after all (excepting some such change as is not likely to happen twice in the same century) to intrust Congress with the final decision at last? Is it necessary, is it rational, that the sacred rights of mankind should thus dwindle down to Electors of electors, and those again electors of other electors? This seems to be degrading them even below the prophetical curse denounced by the good old patriarch, on the offspring of his degenerate son: “servant of servants”. . .

Again I would ask (considering how prone mankind are to engross power, and then to abuse it) is it not probable, at least possible, that the president who is to be vested with all this demiomnipotence – who is not chosen by the community; and who consequently, as to them, is irresponsible and independent-that he, I say, by a few artful and dependent emissaries in Congress, may not only perpetuate his own personal administration, but also make it hereditary?(...) Or, may not the senate, who are nearly in the same situation, with respect to the people, from similar motives and by similar means, erect themselves easily into an oligarchy, towards which they have already attempted so large a stride? To one of which channels, or rather to a confluence of both, we seem to be fast gliding away; and the moment we arrive at it-farewell liberty. . . .

To conclude, I can think of but one source of right to government, or any branch of it-and that is THE PEOPLE. They, and only they, have a right to determine whether they will make laws, or execute them, or do both in a collective body, or by a delegated authority. Delegation is a positive actual investiture. Therefore if any people are subjected to an authority which they have not thus actually chosen-even though they may have tamely submitted to it-yet it is not their legitimate government. They are wholly passive, and as far as they are so, are in a state of slavery. Thank heaven we are not yet arrived at that state.
De qualquer maneira, tanto Hamilton como "Republicus" fizeram a sua defesa/crítica do colégio eleitoral assumindo que iam realmente serem escolhidos eleitores que depois escolheriam o presidente (e que muito provavelmente não haveria maiorias e acabaria por ser o Congresso a escolher o presidente); nunca funcionou assim - desde que houve eleições disputadas (isto é, tirando os dois mandatos de Washington), os delegados ao colégio eleitoral foram sempre eleitos já conotados com candidatos presidenciais, com os votantes a escolherem Fulano ou Beltrano para delegado, não por confiarem na sua capacidade de "possuir a informação e o discernimento necessário para a investigação complexa" para escolher um presidente, mas simplesmente por quererem votar em Jefferson, Adams, Jackson, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Kennedy, Reagan ou Trump, e Fulano e Beltrano estarem na lista de delegados associada ao seu candidato presidencial favorito; ou seja, sempre foi mais uma eleição direta com um método peculiar de apuramento do resultado, do que uma verdadeira eleição indireta.

Já agora, é interessante que a defesa do colégio eleitoral tinha sido feita pelo federalista Hamilton (talvez o mais centralista dos "fundadores" dos EUA) e a oposição tenha ficado associada aos anti-federalistas; porque hoje em dia quase que apostava que o alinhamento é o inverso (com os defensores da autonomia dos estados a defender o colégio, e com os defensores da eleição direta a serem a favor de maior intervenção do governo federal).

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