Time for a change: Electoral College
The Electoral College was designed and founded in a time when the United States was far more decentralized than today. When the Constitution was written itr’s arguable that states were more powerful than the central government. Throughout our history, extraordinary change has occurred, including the abolition of slavery, womenr’s suffrage, the passing of the civil rights acts, and the legalization of gay marriage. However, although the country as a whole has progressed, and continues to progress, there has been little change since the framing of the Constitution 229 years ago regarding the electoral college. The President has the power and the responsibility to administer laws, declare foreign policy, and guide the people, representing them as head of state. It is crucial that this elected official truly represents the people he serves.
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In order for the rule of law to democratically reflect the needs of the American people, there must be change to coincide with an ever-changing nation and world. Currently the Electoral College is more of a relevant problem than ever before, with this past election recently contributing to history books as the 5th time the winner of the election did not win the popular vote, but won the electoral votes. I believe it is time for a change, a reformation where the people are able to grasp the power that should have been theirs from the creation of their nation. The power for the people to be able to protect the future of our country must not be besmirched by antiquated customs. I am of the opinion that the Electoral College is an archaic system, that needs to be abandoned or deeply revised in order for the President to truly represent the People of the United States.
A key purpose of the Electoral College is for every, state regardless of size, to have a say in who becomes the representative of the American people, however this resulted in over representation of the small states and the Electoral College favors small states over large states rather than equal representation for all. Rather than an outdated system that provides more powerful votes to a person in some states rather than others, based merely on state of residence, I believe that every individualr’s vote should be as impactful as the rest. No greater, no less. The development of the Electoral College system was a rather logical solution when first implemented, due to the fact that the President was meant to be a leader of the individual states more than he was meant to be a leader of the people.
The founding fathers in fact feared democracy and as a result established the Electoral College to protect the people from themselves, they believed too much power in the hands of the people bestowed by direct democracy could result in the people being misled by a tyrannical presidential candidate they could elect, or a tyranny of the majority, as said by founding father John Adams. I believe that the average voter today is more than capable of making their own informed decision; They do not need to be protected by the aristocratic elites. According to Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., an esteemed social critic and former President John F. Kennedy’s speechwriter, Direct popular election of the President, is the only system that is truly democratic, truly equitable, and can truly reflect the will of the people as well as being the only voting method that meets the moral criteria of a democracy. Schlesinger is not wrong here, a true democracy requires fair and equal power to all voters. Similarly, the only way for our country to fully realize the democratic ideals which it originally was based upon, we must grant each citizen the equal and unbiased representation that they deserve.
Towards the end of the presidential election process it merely becomes a race between two of the nominated candidates of the Democrat and Republican party, Third parties become powerless in the hands of the Electoral College due to the Plurality voting system it employs. Douglass J. Amy, a leading expert on electoral voting systems, states that our current election system, severely limits the organization options of groups outside the political mainstream. Simply put, third parties can never succeed as Plurality rules tend to foster two-party systems by systematically discriminating against minor parties and making it extremely difficult for them to achieve any electoral success. At this point of the election each electoral vote is crucial to the success or loss of either candidate.
This becomes a problem with the Electoral College as citizens begin to ponder that if they were to vote for a third party candidate, one they truly identify with, they are also contributing to the success of a possible unfavorable candidate to them as third parties tend to never achieve any success but simply take votes from the two main parties. In this situation many would settle for the lesser of two evils choice and sacrifice their actual opinions and beliefs and vote for an individual merely so the other main candidate wont succeed. According to Travis N. Rieder a writer of the washington post, the people are being put in the position of choosing an eternal moral principle over an internal one. This goes against principles of diversity within our nation and fighting for what you believe in, given the circumstances where the two parties are truly the only ones that matter. Citizens must make the decision to either vote for what they believe in or vote for a candidate they dont entirely support.
Within the timespan of approximately 2 years, presidential candidates must travel across the nation in attempt to inform the American people of their campaign goals. Yet the Electoral College inhibits the candidates from visiting states that they are confident they have secured votes from and instead concentrate on battleground states, where the polls show the contest is likely to be closest.(Edwards) and where presidential candidates will focus most of their time due to the possibility of the votes going either red or blue. This results in states with tendencies of remaining blue or red for an extended period of time to be kept in the dark from presidential campaign visits.
Whatr’s the point in voting if your vote really doesnt make a difference? The Electoral College system may very well be a contributing factor to the decreasing voter turnout in recent years as people believe their civil duty is limited due to the insignificance of their vote, the electoral college does not represent the one man one vote system where every vote counts and can make a difference in the election results. Typically the popular vote matches the electoral vote and the end result is the same, but in these odd instances where the American people vote for a candidate and the electoral college votes differently, therer’s a problem. As stated by Lucius Wilmerding Jr. a former consultant of the Federal Reserve Board, The Electors were never meant to choose a President, but only to announce the votes of the People. Unfortunately this is not the case due to Faithless Electors who vote not for the candidate they pledged to vote for but instead vote upon personal preference, no longer reflecting the American People’s desire but reflect their own opinion. By implementing the Automatic plan it will eliminate the threat of Electors voting based on their own preference and instead will enforce the Electors to vote based on the peopler’s preference. This solution allows the Electoral college to be kept, and more democracy is established. Another solution would be the Virginia Plan where the Electoral votes are distributed based on the popular winner within each of the congressional districts and the statewide popular vote winner receives two additional votes, or otherwise implementing the congressional district plan states such as Nebraska and Maine utilize today. By adding these modifications to the Election system there will be balance between centralized government ideals and a true democratic Nation.
Overall the Electoral College has proven to become quite the hindrance for democracy. The popular vote must have more effect and power in the election process, otherwise It eliminates the point in the people voting, The people who actually represent the nation. the poor and middle class, the common individual not the aristocratic elite who believe they know whatr’s best for the nation, as former president Andrew Jackson once said The majority is to govern not the small group of elites. Simply put the popular vote along with modifications to the Electoral College such as the Automatic, Virginia, and congressional district plans, are what true democracy is. Where every single vote counts equally. popular vote will pose more of an impact and the people of the United States will respond. The people will reach validity through their empowered civil duty that shouldve been theirs from the start and the future of our nation will be bright through the Peopler’s vote.
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