The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion The United States is a republic, not a democracy

“I Voted” stickers at a polling place in Richmond on June 23.
“I Voted” stickers at a polling place in Richmond on June 23. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)
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Regarding Charles Lane’s Sept. 29 Tuesday Opinion column, “We don’t have a ‘national’ election for president. We never have.”:

Mr. Lane, as have others, discussed the abolishment of the electoral college in favor of a direct national election. This is a debate that has raged since the founding of our nation and the writing of its Constitution and likely will not end soon. Arguments like this and others relating to allocation of power (remember the “Three-Fifths Compromise”?) become especially louder and proliferate following the election of a president without benefit of the popular vote. 

Mr. Lane lamented that the Nov. 3 elections “will not represent a reliable measurement of national voter sentiment.” This may be true, but contrary to another popular myth, our nation is not a democracy but a republic — a sovereign nation of many sovereign states.  Unless and until a constitutional amendment is passed, our states and D.C. will exercise their sovereignty and elect a president every four years. We are not the United Peoples of America but the United States of America.

Joe Spruill, Washington

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