Essay: Alternatives to the Electoral College

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  • Subject area(s): Politics essays
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  • Published on: January 10, 2019
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The electoral college is the system by which the President of the United States is elected. Created by the founding fathers while writing the constitution in 1787, the electoral college was the middle ground between letting Congress determine who was President and allowing the popular vote to decide. Each state is given a number of electoral votes assigned to them using the number of reprehensive in Congress. To be elected to the office of the President of the United States, the candidate must receive 270 electoral votes. However contrary to what most citizens believe the election help on November’s super Tuesday does not elect a presidential candidate into office. Instead, the electoral college meets in December with 538 delegates, electors, are people who represent their state and states best interests. The electoral college members vote for the president, and because they represent their state, the,or vote is assumed to be the same as what the outcome of Super Tuesday. The electoral college is made up of the state’s two representatives in Congress and each state gains a representative for every 500,000 people in its population. The States with the most electoral college votes are California, Florida, and Texas, more people in the state the more weigh a state has in the election (Arnn).

The founding fathers created the electoral college system because they did not want the original states to hold more power than any other state. A reason for the electoral college’s creation was to ensure that Southern states were able to hold the majority over Northern states when electing the president. The premise was if the United States held a true majority vote with the people smaller states would be overshadowed and never get a chance to benefit the state. When the Electoral College was established as par,t of the United States Constitution, it was said to be a tool so that the less educated voters would not influence the election negatively, so that the larger population states would not have too much sway on an election, and in large part, because northern voters did not want the south to have a majority simply because they were slave owners (Amar). In the 1700s, when slavery was emplaced, the members of the congressional congress were persuaded to implement the Three-Fifths Compromise by James Madison. This allowed for Southern states to remain relevant because without slaves being representative in the calculation of electoral votes, the North would have greatly outweighed the South (Mahler 1). But today’s twenty-first-century society the problems and factors that led to the creation of the electoral college are irrelevant and make the presidential voting process outdated. In the issues that we are facing in today’s America, there is much more flow of information, the platforms of candidates are clear and well known. Unlike in the 1700s where only those who were present at speeches, and rallies were able to hear candidates speak, into days election the new stations play speeches given by candidates from all over the country through their broadcast. With all the revision that have had to be made in the way out society function in everyday life since the electoral college was created one could say that it is long overdue for lawmakers to consider revisions

After 45 President and 5 incongruent outcomes, the citizens of the United States have begun to question the system that came out of the second congressional convention. This has forced modern-day lawmakers to take a closer look into the wording and motivations behind the founding legislation of our country. When interpreting the constitution can be viewed through originalism. Originalism analyzes the text in the time frame that it was written and follow the literal meaning of the constitution (Calebresi 1). Under this ideology, the electors who vote on the electoral college is the constitutional way to elect a president because in the 1700s there was no popular vote. Electors were carefully selected and they were to exercise good judgment to pick the most qualified candidate. But this was before radio, television or social media, and with the advancement of technology, it is evident that the election system is in need of revision(Post).

In November of 2016, the United States was shocked to learn that they would not see the first female President due to a 2-century old system that was created in the height of slavery. This sparked renewal in interest for politics and an immense outcry of the abolishment of our current system (Jost). This was not the first time in either, as recently as 2000 in Gore vs Bush. Although not as publicized as the outcome of the 2016 election, G.W Bush is a president who lost the popular vote. Gore won 48.4% of popular vote and only 266 electoral votes. The next Republican to win the White House without the popular vote would be Benjamin Harrison in 1888. This was back when 201 was the number of electoral votes needed to be elected. Harrison was able to collect 233 votes over 20 states with only 47.8% of the popular vote. But this past election in 2016 was the largest popular vote margin loss by any winning Presidential candidate. Donald Trump lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton 46.1% to 48.2%, which works out to over 2.5 million votes (Schmidt). Outraged, voters now are looking for answers and solutions from their Congressional representatives. This discrepancy is the major issue that citizens have with the current system.

Another issue that has arisen from the Electoral college in the modern day that was not present at its creation is the disproportionate amount of campaign recourses being funneled into swing states vs states that are almost certain to vote in their “traditional” pattern. For example in 2004 is was found the more than half of the recourse present in the entire election went to just Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania (Fairvote). There were also 18 states during the 2004 election that did not receive a visit from either Presidential candidate. In California there zero dollars spent on presidential candidacy TV ads where is Florida there were over 64 million dollars spent on TV alone. With the current election system, this focus on “swing” states is the only feasible way to win the election. This should raise concerns that someone who is being elected to represent the people did not step foot in 18 states. Does this mean that the problems and concerns of the voters in those states are less important than those voters in “swing” states?

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