Explaining the Electoral College And How It Is Flawed
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Politics and Activism

Explaining the Electoral College And How It Is Flawed

This isn't a Democrat vs. Republican issue, this is an equality issue for all Americans

Explaining the Electoral College And How It Is Flawed

I have hesitated to write about this for several weeks now since there seem to have been many people claiming this electoral issue is just the whining of people who wanted Hillary to win, but that's not the case here. Ironically, I had planned to write about this before the election but as there's no way to really prove this I'll just move on.

Here is the problem, in what is supposed to be the world's greatest ever democracy the votes you cast for president don't really count individually the way they should. In reality only 538 people, Electors in what is called the Electoral College are actually voting for the president. which is why a candidate can lose even when they receive 2.5 million more votes than the competitor such as this past election (that number seems to be rising even as I type this now).

To explain the issue simply, lets imagine that 18 people voted from two states with 9 people from each state and one Elector each. Candidate A got 12 votes while Candidate B got 6 votes. This should be a clear win for Candidate A, but technically this could end up a tie because if you are doing it by Electoral College rules where winner takes all in each state, and doesn't care about the actual number of votes, Candidate A might win "State One" by 8-1 but lose "State Two" by 4-5. So though he has 12 of the 18 votes the candidates are tied because they each won one state which would each have the same amount of electors because they have the same relative population.

This system was made in The Constitution for multiple reasons but mainly because they didn't want one region of the country to be able to have a monopoly on all political decisions just because they have a large amount of the population. This way if the majority of the country lives in State 1, come election day, they could partially avoid electing a president who is just going to pander to the 51% of the country in State 1 and totally ignore and oppress the 49% in State 2. This prevents the majority from eternally ruling over the minority and keeps minority rights. But the problem is that this really isn't helping or applicable in the modern day era, and it really never was.

At the time the founding fathers created this life was far more localized, which is why they were so scared of one candidate pandering to a certain section of the country. The world was a place in which most people never strayed much more than a few miles from home. State and even county identity was a lot bigger deal than it is today since the U.S. was still getting itself sorted out and the states were still not so united and acted far more individually. So the states were much more contentious with one another and all were afraid they would be left out so the Electoral College was made to make sure certain states weren't. But today the country is infinitely more connected and spread out, people move across state lines all the time, family, mass culture, and technology has made the American identity and sense of unity far exceed the bounds of local and geographic regions. Though there are obviously still many many divisions in America they don't necessarily run down strict state lines, there are pockets of both Democrats and Republicans all across the North, South, East, and West parts of the country.

But more than that, the Electoral College was flawed at its creation because of the messed up reason of slavery. The founding fathers had to negotiate with the Southern states who didn't want things decided directly by how many people voted because a huge amount of their population came from slaves who obviously couldn't vote because of the very oppression Southerners had put on them. If they did it by popular vote the Northern states would have far more voters and power than the Southern slave-holding states and Southerners would not compromise with this. So they forced a system where they benefited politically from having more people without having to properly represent a large portion of them (the enslaved) who near certainly would not have voted the same as those enslaving them. So pretty much we did it so pro-slavery people could stay happy and oppress a minority population, which is sort of really messed up and ironic. .

Getting rid of the Electoral College would be beneficial in several ways, first it would make sure all votes are actually equal and counted. Currently they are not equal because despite population all states are required at least 3 electors of the 538. This means that in a state with an extremely small population, like Wyoming, your vote would count far more than a person in Texas because hypothetically an elector of there might be representing the vote of 10,000 people while one in Texas is representing 300,000.

The Electoral college is also terrible because it means that if you have a different political opinion from those directly around you, you are effectively silenced even though you are voting on a national scale. Because it's a winner takes all situation in nearly all the states, a Democrat in heavily red Texas or a Republican in heavily blue California might as well not vote for president because their vote means literally nothing. In addition, the electors in most states aren't technically required to vote for the person that the people they represent chose. They can choose to vote someone else if they really want. Though it's rare they do vote differently, the possibility of this is still, again, really messed up.

Which brings me to my third point which is that if we got rid of the Electoral College voter turnout would go way up. People would finally start to feel like their votes mattered because for once they actually would. If every single vote was counted less people would feel compelled to stay at home and feel as if they were just too busy to deal with participating in a process they felt so inconsequential in. I know personally several people who don't vote simply because they don't think it will actually count, and unfortunately they are in many ways right.

In rebuttal to all this I have seen many people put up maps showing the breakdown by state of voter populations like the one below to show the unfair control large states would hold.

These maps aren't quite accurate or proportional (even the more official looking ones). But the bigger picture here is that they are still wrong in thinking down state lines. If the Electoral College did not exist the liberalism of a place like California where technically more than 30% voted for Trump but were denied a say and the Republicanism of a place like Texas where technically more than 40% voted Democrat but were denied a say, would not gain such monopolies as whole states were no longer cut up into partisan parts disenfranchising tons of voters. Texas would not have a greater say because we wouldn't be measuring Texas as a single whole and its republican majority but the multitudes of different people in it with all sorts of different opinions and stances. It also makes common sense that 20 voters should end up with a greater influence on who wins than 10 voters, that's how voting is supposed to function.

Census information tells us that over 60% of the people live on 3% of our land so showing maps of states blown up in size or that show a sea of rural red voters surrounded by tiny pockets of blue in the cities doesn't prove an imbalance in influence. They claim the Electoral College prevents tiny areas from ruling everything but this doesn't really mean much because most of those areas are where all the voters reside. sometimes these massive areas of red have very little people in them, we are supposed to be counting how many votes there are not miles of empty land, people should not get more of a say just because there are less voters living around them.These tiny pockets or red or blue in the seas of opposing colors aren't just in one small corner of our country but are spread out through many parts of it and those tiny dots consist of most of our major cities, and our nation's people.

In the end however you want to bend it Hillary Clinton received a growing number of more than 2.5 million votes over Trump (this is equivalent to nearly every living person in Nevada voting and then being told they don't count at all) and she still lost by a massive margin in the Electoral College to Trump. This is intrinsically wrong. It would be wrong if the same happened To Trump and Hillary had then won, it would have been wrong if Obama had ever beat McCain or Romney solely on Electoral votes, and it was wrong when Bush beat Gore this way in 2000.

It is technically possible in this system for a candidate who gets 78% of the votes to lose to their competitor because of the Electoral College. We need a change, representing the population accurately in the most important vote of the free world should not have to divulge into a partisan issue based on who won that year. More politicians, media members, and citizens need to step up in the coming years and acknowledge the problem, and not wait to acknowledge it until it does poorly for their campaign and their party's results.

The lessons of the Civil rights movement taught us not so long ago that separate is inherently unequal. So why continue to separate our votes down largely imaginary geographical lines and dilute voters by state instead of treating people as individuals? It is wrong and intentionally takes away the voices of millions every election whether their candidate wins or not. If people really wish to "make america great again" as Trump puts it or be "stronger together" as Hillary puts it then start by letting people know they are equal, not inconsequential. Lets abolish the Electoral College.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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