The Electoral College has been around since the beginning of the country. This system is used to determine in a Presidential election year who has won the most electoral votes from all of the states and gets to become President. Over the last few years, several people have called for its abolishment. However, I feel that the Electoral College should be kept. The Electoral College allows for all of the states to have a voice, not just states with big populations. Keeping the Electoral College allows us to maintain a fair process in the Presidential Election every four years and that by allowing each state to vote and not base the Presidency on the popular vote, we can have a fair election to decide who the President of the United States will be.
The Electoral College was founded as a way for the President of the United States to be formally elected, with each state holding a certain number of electoral votes depending on how many people live in the state. Giving each state a certain number of electoral votes in the Electoral College gives each state the choice on who they believe deserves to win the Presidency. All of the states deserve to speak their mind on electing the President because states with huge populations such as Florida, Texas, and California should not have the power to pick the President but also allow states such as Idaho and Wyoming to have their say as well. Idaho and Wyoming may have different population numbers compared to Florida and California, but they should have every right to participate in the Electoral College as a member of the United States of America.
In an article from the Washington Post written shortly after the 2016 Presidential Election, the authors of the article defend the use of the Electoral College as the primary method of electing the President. One section of the article that stood out was mentioning the idea of why the Electoral College was brought to fruition, allowing an equal opportunity for all fifty states- not just a few states, to cast their votes for President. The article also looks back at how Abraham Lincoln won the Presidency despite losing the popular vote, he still managed to win in the Electoral College, thus the southern states seceded because those states thought that the country would get rid of slavery. When reading that section of the article, I could understand why the southern states were angry because they wanted to keep slavery, but President Lincoln thought otherwise. In this case, the Electoral College divided a nation rather that united it.
Jake Curtis, a reporter for the Washington Examiner, wrote a piece looking at the Electoral College and why it helps the smaller states in the U.S. Senate. He points out the Great Compromise as being the reason why small states such as Rhode Island and Delaware let their voices be heard not only in the Senate, but in the Presidential Election. Despite the bigger cities such as Los Angeles and New York having a big portion of the American population, smaller cities such as Boise, Idaho and Wichita, Kansas have the right to speak just as LA and New York do. In the recent U.S. Senate election, we saw that some states decided that they would like to be represented differently starting in January 2019 than they currently are today. Those states have the right to speak in the Senate as part of being in the United States. If not for the two senators per state regulation, states such as California, New York, and Florida would have multiple senators, while the smaller states may have one or two depending on the population of the state. Having the right to equal representation in the Senate should also matter to the Presidential Election as all states are seen as being united, hence the United States of America.
Martin Diamond wrote a journal titled The Electoral College and the American Idea of Democracy. In the journal, he takes a look at the importance of the Electoral College in American history and the benefits of keeping the Electoral College. Diamond, on page three, mentions that George Washington was elected President based on the popular vote. However, in 1796, when the Presidency was between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, two very well respected men at that time, the electors were tasked with making a difficult decision as to who should succeed George Washington as President. The Electoral College, since the election of 1796, has been tasked with the choice of electing the President every four years. Diamondr’s argument on page three is that the founders did not want to create controversy with the Presidential election and suggested that there should be a group of electors charged with the task to make the election more democratic. His argument is valid because although we have people claiming every Presidential election cycle that the Electoral College should be scrapped, the founding fathers wanted to establish the Electoral College so that the popular vote did not ruin the integrity of the election.
Page seven of the article written by Diamond takes a look at Electoral College when someone who wins the Electoral vote but loses the popular vote assumes the Presidency. In 2016, we saw this when the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but failed to secure the most important vote, the Electoral College, to her Republican opponent Donald Trump. According to the website FactCheck.org, this has happened in the past when George W. Bush, John Quincy Adams, Rutherford B. Hayes, and Benjamin Harrison all lost the popular vote but snuck away with the Electoral College. In class, we discussed the 2000 election and how Florida kept going back and forth between Bush and Gore as to who was the winner of the state, with the vote requiring several recounts the weeks following the election. If Bush had not won Florida, he likely would not have became the 43rd President of the United States. When Donald Trump won, those who supported Hillary Clinton argued that she should become the 45th President because she won the popular vote. However, those who sought to use the popular vote as their argument for Hillary winning the election should look back on the history of past Presidential elections where the candidate who won the popular vote ended up losing because they did not get more than 270 electoral votes necessary to be elected. On the same website, it is noted that George W Bush also did not win the popular vote against Democratic challenger Al Gore. What should also be noted is that Trump and George W Bush are Republicans, including both Rutherford B. Hayes and Benjamin Harrison while John Quincy Adams was not a Republican.
It is really interesting to see that the candidates other than John Quincy Adams who lost the popular vote but won the college shows that the Democrats are known for winning the popular vote, but dont know how to secure the electoral votes. In class, we discussed the campaign trail for 2016. During that discussion, the states that Trump won were states that he frequented the most because he knew that he could secure victories in those states. He also made it a point to visit swing states such as Pennsylvania, Florida, and Michigan due to their high electoral votes. Clinton, on the other hand, failed to spend more time in those states because while the west coast and New England states along with her home state of New York tend to vote blue, she could have spent more time in the swing states and turned them blue rather than red. If one is seeking to win the Presidential election, that person must continue to visit the states that not only are swing states, but states that have low electoral votes hold just as big of an influence as those with a higher number of electoral votes.
The counterargument in this case would be that the Electoral College should not exist anymore. Before Donald Trump ran for President, in 2012 he strongly opposed the reelection of President Obama and took his thoughts to Twitter suggesting that the Electoral College should be abolished. At one point or another, members of both the Democratic and Republican parties have expressed their frustration of the Electoral College when either party loses the Presidential election. If you were to say that the Electoral College needs to go, my suggestion would be that you should look back at why the Electoral College was created to allow equal opportunities across all of the states to duly elect the President. One person might argue that the electors may not like who their stater’s votes are going to, and depending on the stater’s laws concerning electoral voters, decide whether to resign from their position as an elector or just accept the results. I would never want to be put in the spot as an Elector because there would be too much pressure on me to cast my vote which is what Democrats did in 2016.
That year, several protests occurred at and outside of meetings where members of the Electoral College across the country got together in their respective states to cast their ballots. To me, that is disrespectful to have your meeting disrupted, but at the same time, these protestors do have a right to be mad that their candidate lost and to put pressure on electors by voting against the candidate that won their state. When the Texas delegates voted for President two years ago, in a video on Youtube, protestors were outside the capitol building in Austin demanding that the electors do not vote for Trump, even though Trump won their state. The electors ignored the protestors, thus allowing Trump to become President. Abolishing the Electoral College sounded like a good idea to the Democrats, but it did not work in their favor two years ago. Neither did it work for Donald Trump on Twitter in 2012 when calling out the Electoral College ater President Obama won a second term. Calling for the abolishment of the Electoral College does not do both major parties any good, it only causes more tension.
The Electoral College is an important part of American history when deciding who should become the President of the United States. If we were to get rid of the Electoral College and allow the popular vote to determine the President, chaos would ensure regarding the election, creating controversy every four years. In the United States, every state has the right to cast votes for President, regardless of the population of the state. Only the states with big populations such as California, Florida, and New York would get to decide who the President should be, and that is not fair. The Electoral College was founded on the basis to keep our elections fair for all of the states. To some, the popular vote should be the way that we should elect the President. In this case, Trump, George W Bush, John Quincy Adams, Benjamin Harrison, and Rutherford B. Hayes would not have been elected if there was no Electoral College. Today, Hillary Clinton would have been the first female President in the history of the United States if the election was based off of popular vote. The popular vote should be used for lesser offices such as Mayor of cities, Governors of states, and those we elect to serve in Congress. The popular vote should not be used to the elect the President of the United States as it only allows states with large populations to have a say, thus silencing the smaller states. By having the Electoral College, the rights of each state is valued and so is the vote that is cast by each state.
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