The United States has a system which is use to elect an American president that lasted for over two hundred years, although this system did not stay up to date especially the Electoral College. The Electoral College is one of the most significant political systems ever created in the United States, this system determines who will become the president, and runs on a winner-take-all system. For the reasons of it creating complications in the election process, it decreasing the chance of a third party existing, and lowering public opinion, it should be abolished since it’s clearly an unfair system.
The Electoral College was framed during the Constitutional Convention by the Founding Fathers, as they attempted to create a system that would resolve the United States’ problem during that time. Several ideas were encountered such as; Congress being the one responsible for choosing the President, State legislatures being responsible for it, the idea to choose a President through popular vote, and finally, they came up with College of Electors. There were two designs of the Electoral College the first one was not that successful because it was not supposed to work with political parties and national campaigns. So then as the political parties had parties had emerged the design had to adapt, this was the catalyst of the “two party system” era. The Electoral College runs in a system of “Winner takes- all” where the candidate with the majority vote receives all the votes for that particular state.
The Electoral College does have some exception such as Nebraska and Maine, these two states are under the proportional representation which is “the basic principles underlying proportional representation elections are that all voters deserve representation and that all political groups in society deserve to be represented in our legislatures in proportion to their strength in the electorate” (www.mtholyoke.edu). And to illustrate the difference of the two. Let’s say that a certain party wins 15% of the national vote but have no seats in individual elections. Under the winner take all system earns any seat in the legislature, while in the proportional representation that party 15% of the seats. Voting privileges in the District of Columbia differ from the ones in the 50 states of the United States, it being the capital of the U.S. it is not viewed as a state but a special federal district, this revoked its privilege to have a voting representation until the 23rd amendment which states “The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as the Congress”. Although D.C. is represented by a delegate in the United States House of Representation.
There are some advantages and disadvantages of having the feature of the winner-takes-all system. Some of the advantages are to earn votes by persuading the majority of a state to have the same political perspective as the candidate. For example, California is considered to be a democratic state due to the majority of the people who live there being Democrat. Als, the Electoral College promotes centrism and discourages extremism to appeal a wide enough cut of the electorates, and this system also promote political stability which often results to economic growth. Several flaws are the controversies between the Electoral College and the Popular system (implying to the Gore v. Bush court case); it is difficult to have or even create a third party, because Third Parties usually end up being scavenged and absorb by the two major parties such as the Democrats and Republicans. The complication that the Electoral College contains is its exceptions to having a single proper voting system such as winner-take-all. During the time that the Electoral College was created there really wasn’t a base government to compare with, making it difficult to face and find its own solutions. And the fact that this system encourages a two party system which discourages cooperation due to coalition and disagreements.
During the election of the year two thousands the United States had two candidates that were running for the presidency, Albert Gore, Jr. and George W. Bush. This election is salient among the others because it revealed several complications about the Electoral College system. In this presidential candidate Al Gore had 266 Electoral votes and 50,992,335 popular votes, while George W. Bush had 271 Electoral votes and 50,455,156 popular votes. This election was a close call but George W. Bush ended up winning because of the court case Gore v. Bush. Due to Florida not having a statewide standard that each county board could use to determine whether a given ballot was a legal vote, George W. Bush argued that the recounts had violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Why does the Electoral College still exist? Despite its mockery to the views of freedom and the power to vote, the Electoral College has remain because of several reasons which are; it having a surprising amount of followers which is unlikely to assume but over a third of the country actually support this system, in belief of it having a cohesiveness of the country, enhances minority issues, contributes to the stability of encouraging a two party system. it has also been the reason why our elections are still active. The Electoral College was really unique considering the fact that it did not have a similar political base when it was founded. The question of The Electoral College whether to stay or not is very debatable, but most context leans on it not being so stabled for future generations. The popular vote system is an ideal system for democracy because it will then actually apply “people’s power”, also this will promote the idea of one popular vote does matter, this was originally rejected and was over ruled by the Electoral College mainly because of the 3/5 clause, this would’ve affected the South devastatingly and could’ve made them a minority.
The Electoral College greatly affects American society, this system has been a tradition to American society, and people look forward to this event every four years, if compared with the Olympics it would be similar most Americans look forward for this because it’s the time for them to have a political reconciliation, and realize what they need and what will benefit them. The United States’ government has evolved around the elements of pluralism and individualism. The election occurs every fourth years each American that has the eligibility to vote may cast their vote for an elector, who pledge to vote for a certain party. The Electoral College functions with 538 electors and a majority of 270 votes required on electing a President, it consist of two systems the winner-take-all and proportional representation. Each representatives used for the two systems are determined using the popular vote system. This system isn’t perfect due to its complications listed above; this system mainly resulted in dividing the United States government, and because of that it promotes the idea of votes for Third parties often go to waste. This system is not that productive due to disagreements, because not everyone will follow your perspective.
In conclusion the question of whether the Electoral College system must remain or not comes up. And a clear answer would be no, it shouldn’t be allowed to continue. The Electoral College is a system that at some point may have been effective and necessary but not anymore. This must be abolished considering the fact that it takes away the actual power of the people and the thought of the importance of their power to vote.
Gehard, Peters “The American Presidency Project
George C. Edwards III/Martin P. Government in America textbook/tenth Edition/ by Wattenberg/ Robert L. Lineberry
2012, National Cable Satelite Corporation
1995-2010, Craig Walenta
The Proceedings of the
Electoral Commission of 1877