Why We Use The Electoral College
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Why We Use The Electoral College

The Electoral College is here to stay

Why We Use The Electoral College

Over the last two centuries, the Electoral College has been the institution that has chosen the president every four years. The constitutional framers implemented the Electoral College in order to prevent tyranny. Since the first election, the Electoral College has remained in place. However since the turn of the 21st century, the Electoral College has received a lot of negative stigma. After this crazy election, (where Trump won the electoral vote yet Clinton won the popular vote), people are questioning the effectiveness and use of Electoral College. Prior to the 2016 election, only five times in our history the candidate with highest popular vote didn’t win the election: 1824 (Adams over Jackson), 1876 (Hayes over Tilden), 1888 (Harrison over Cleveland), 2000 (Bush over Gore) and now in 2016. Although scorned in the recent years, the Electoral College has proven to be very successful in electing the president for the American people.

Here is how the Electoral College works: The president is selected by a “college” of 538 electors from the states. When voters step into a ballot box to select their candidate for president, they actually are casting a vote for fellow Americans, called electors. These electors, appointed by the states, are pledged to support the presidential candidate the voters have supported. In addition, The Electoral College holds its vote the Monday after the second Wednesday in December following the election. So, the electoral map you see is a projection of the electoral college vote, and it is a representation of the popular vote from each state. Each state gets as many electoral votes as it has members of Congress, and the District of Columbia gets three. To be elected president, the winner must get at least half the total plus one — or 270 electoral votes. Most states give all their electoral votes to whichever candidate wins the state’s popular vote. More details here.

There are many pros and cons to having the Electoral College. To some, the peculiar and mystifying institution that ensures only a few, select individuals will ever cast a direct vote for president in the United States. Others complain that the system rewards smaller states with more proportional power than the large ones.

Founding father Alexander Hamilton defended the Electoral College in the Federalist Papers. He argued; “it was important for the people as a whole to have a great deal of power in choosing their president, but it was also “desirable” that “the immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice.” He later advocated; "...an intermediate body of electors will be much less apt to convulse the community with any extraordinary or violent movements, than the choice of one who was himself to be the final object of the public wishes.”

The Founding fathers created the Electoral College because of their fears and distrust of democracy. Democracy, which means either the "rule of the people" or "rule of the mob.” The rule of the majority people has not always worked out for the ideals of the democracy, “check back to ancient Greece.” The Electoral College gives protection of individual rights and majority rule, the Founding Fathers attempted to create a “federalist” system that would keep most of policymaking power reserved to states and localities. The Electoral College empowers smaller states and gives them a voice. If the election were simply decided by a popular vote, then the candidates would simply focus on populated areas of New York, Southern California, southeast Florida, Chicago, Dallas-Forth Texas, Seattle, and Atlanta. This areas alone make up almost 40% of the U.S. population. All of the citizens that live in the midwest and the south would become irrelevant. Double check here.

Unneeded tinkering with a process that is over two centuries old could destabilize one on the steadiest political systems in the world. The elimination of the Electoral College would result in national referendums. The Electoral College is a huge reason why America has conducted peaceful transitions of power for over two centuries.

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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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