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This paper examines the process of electing the president of the United States and the importance of the Electoral College. There was brief outcry in the 2000 presidential election between majority popular vote Democratic candidate Al Gore and majority Electoral College vote Republican candidate George W. Bush regarding the Electoral College system. With a repeat scenario in the 2016 presidential election between majority popular vote Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and majority Electoral College vote Republican candidate Donald Trump; uproar from the public ensued – causing many debates to come to light between the discrepancy in numbers between the Electoral College and the popular vote. This paper explores Virgin (2017) and Zingher (2016) analyses in relation to the Electoral College to fully understand the underlying principles the Founding Fathers made to help the country effectively and fairly elect a leader for the country.
Keywords: Electoral College, election, Founding Fathers, principles, popular vote
Process of Electing a President
The process of electing our president has been such a slippery slope. The Electoral College process to elect our president is by far in history the best way to vote for a leader; although there is still much more room to improve. Granted it’s not perfect, but that doesn’t mean the country should abolish it completely and use a whole different system. Our Founding Fathers took in consideration other systems and saw the best potential in this system, that’s why they chose this system instead of popular vote or any other method.
Why hasn’t the government change the method of electing our president from the Electoral College to direct popular vote? Most people are easily convinced and peer-pressured by other people. Have you ever bought a certain product or did a particular activity because someone or something told you to do so? The same thing can be applied for voting for the president. Celebrities and well-known people can easily convince the mass public to vote for a certain candidate regardless of the intentions the candidate has for the country (Zingher, 2016). Society needs to understand the Electoral College system before making hasty, uninformed decisions that will in the long run affect their lives.
The Electoral College consists of 538 electoral members. The 538 electoral members are divided into two groups, 100 members of senators and 438 members of representatives. Those members are voted by the people – for the people. When time comes in November for presidential elections, the people go to vote; but in reality, the people don’t “actually” vote for the president, society vote to show to the electoral member who we want them to vote for. It is a very indirect way the people vote for the president.
One of the benefits of the Electoral College is that it makes the election process fairer. If society did the direct popular vote for electing the president – then the mostly likely result would arise from an unfair candidate selection due to the differing sizes of the states (Virgin, 2017). It wouldn’t be an accurate decision for larger states that would hold more votes compared to smaller states. In addition to highly populated cities, cities with people with higher status compared to the average Joe has very strong influence on society. For example: take A1 celebrities; they have so much power over people because they can easily convince the people to do certain types of things, like help vote for the president that’s not best fit for being president. Musical Artist, Kanye West once stated, “Vote for me for the 2020 election.” If the government changes to NPV (National Popular Vote) clearly the musical artist will win against any political candidate or average Joe because the amount of popularity Kanye West has over them.
Second is accuracy; if the government already has problems collecting voting ballots from 538 people, how much more for hundreds of millions of people voting ballots. Also, these ballots cannot be easily forged. The government can easily verify the electoral members making sure the members actually voted for that presidential candidate. If millions of people use both the paper ballots or voting machines mishaps are bound to happen. How does the government verify all those votes to make sure they are legitimate and not forged to help a certain candidate win?
The Founding Fathers found this system because they didn’t like how the systems were set up back then, which where that the government or the king would have say and the people will have zero to none. The Founding Fathers hated the monarchy system therefore; they created the Electoral College giving everyone a voice. Society believes that the popular vote also gives everyone a voice because popular vote it collective and every vote counts. Contrary to that belief, that is not accurate – just take in consideration the demographics of a state. Political candidates will only go to “powerhouse” states such as California, Texas, and New York. Political candidates won’t pay attention to states such as Kansas or Wyoming because of its light population density (Virgin, 2017). Political candidates can take the first ten-fifteen states that have the smallest population and still lose to California. People will obviously say well California is big so of course they will lose to those small states. Therefore making the same statement “that all votes matter” that means those ten-fifteen state useless and removes the voice of the people in those light populated states. Hence, that’s why we have the Electoral College because it gives those states with a smaller population a voice. Those light population density states have people such as farmers or miner, jobs that are often forgotten by urban people. Those workers deserve a voice that need to be heard because America works together not against each other.
Society complains and rambles about why we should abolish the Electoral College only when their candidate loses. In 2000 Al Gore and Bush ran against each other. Al Gore won the popular vote although Bush won the electoral vote therefore Bush was made president. People criticized about how unjust and broken the electoral system was. If the Electoral College system is so broken then why hasn’t it been fixed? Why only complain 16 years later when the same situation happened? The same people that complained had 16 years to possibly change this system, but it hasn’t happened due to the fact that those same people forget the “problem” of the Electoral College when the Electoral College vote aligns with the popular vote.
In summary, not only does the Electoral College make voting for the president more fairly, it gives presidential candidates to consider a different array of problems across the United States. The candidates don’t need to only focus on heavily populated states; they also have to consider light populated states as well. The Popular Vote may seem like a great system on the surface, brainwashing people saying that every vote counts when it actually doesn’t. Although the Electoral College system may be far from perfect, it still is the best way to vote for our president.
Virgin, S. G. (2017). Competing loyalties in electoral reform: An analysis of the U.S. electoral
college. Electoral Studies, 4938-48. doi:10.1016/j.electstud.2017.07.003
Zingher, J. (2016). The relationship between bias and swing ratio in the Electoral College and the
outcome of presidential elections. Journal Of Elections, Public Opinion & Parties, 26(2), 232-252. doi:10.1080/17457289.2016.1145686
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