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Mr. DIAMOND. In this last one had there been the system you propose as a substitute for the electoral college?
Senator BAYH. Yes.
Mr. DIAMOND. I certainly can't give firm numbers, but I would say George Wallace, Eugene McCarthy, Norman Thomas, and vegetarians, prohibitionists, and a dozen others whose names we don't know because they haven't yet been conjured into being by the prospect of garnering a share of the vote and a hunk of Federal financing. I see no difficulty in adding up to 20 or 30 percent for all of them together in the first election.
Senator Bayh. I'm not prepared to accept that, but for the sake of argument, neither will I say that it couldn't possibly happen.
My personal experience is that sitting out in the wings with a few votes doesn't do any good. You have to get where the action is, and that means you have to win.
Which of these 18 splinter parties would have gotten more votes than Gerald Ford or Jimmy Carter so that they would have been in a runoff? That's the key question.
Mr. DIAMOND. Yes and no, sir.
The key question is: How many elections do we have? How fragmented do you have your party system? How many parties do you give reason to come into being ?
It is not hard to create the French Chamber of Deputies in a multiparty system. We've seen it happen everywhere. It can be done by fiddling with the constitutional structure that undergirds and constrains and channels the two-party system.
It wouldn't be the horror story of one election, but the horror story of two or three elections. What would happen is that every charismatic personality in one of the major parties, frustrated at its national convention, would be able to threaten to go it alone and would go it alone and reduce the votes of the major parties still further.
Every minority party would have no reason for the chastening constraint of the need to win elections in the first election. There would be a kind of victory for everybody. And then they'd stay in business, to get the Federal financing again in the next election.
We would simply create a multiparty system. Now I don't know; perhaps you would regard that with equanimity. I regard that with something of horror.
Senator Barh. No. I think a multi-party system is bad. Having participated in one of the parties and having a lot of friends who have participated to a greater extent than I have in another, I must say that most practicing politicians I have talked with come to the absolute opposite conclusion than you do.
The same reasons voters didn't vote for Thomas would apply under any system: They realize they don't have a chance to win. They trot their horse out on the track and the race still ends up between the Republicans and the Democrats. As soon as it begins to look like the Democrats aren't going to get in the terrible runoff, which frankly I don't think we will have, then the Democrats are going to figure out how they can assimilate one of those other parties in it. That is what happened to most of Thomas' political philosophy. It was assimilated in the Democratic Party. The Eugene Debs ideas which were so revolutionary were captured by Franklin Roosevelt. That would happen under a direct election system or an electoral college system because the idea is winning.
You have come to a different conclusion, and we're all entitled to that. I appreciate your taking the time to be with us. We have put your statement in the record.
Thank you, Professor, for being here.
[The booklet “The Electoral College and the American Idea of Democracy,” submitted by Professor Martin Diamond was marked "Exhibit No. 15" and is as follows:]
[EXHIBIT No. 15]
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
Martin Diamond is professor of government and holds the Thomas
Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 77-81901
AEI Studies 163
© 1977 by American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research,