Electoral College System Or National Popular Vote

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Every four years in the month of November millions of Americans nationwide march to the polling booths to cast their ballots for the United States Presidential Election. While the most recent of these elections was quite controversial due to the discrepancies from the electoral college and the popular vote, it creates pause to truly force us to examine these political systems. While numerous countries around the world use a direct popular vote to determine who is the new Head of the State the United States uses a complex electoral college system based on populations and their jurisdiction. The electoral college has gone against the popular vote on five separate occasions in our nation’s history. Only in the most recent years has there been a shift in opinions that argues that the popular vote should be the end all be all of deciding which individual should become the true President of The United States.

Even though each country has a different process of determining who is elected head of state, it aids us at looking at the number breakdown of how they are elected into office. In the entire world there are one-hundred and twenty-five democracies in which sixty-five of them elect their head of state via a direct election (52-percent), The United States is not one of them. Countries like France, Costa Rica, Croatia, Mexico, Algeria, Nicaragua, Poland, Finland, Belarus, Austria, and handfuls of other democratic systems all use direct election for their officials. Other countries use the legislature, some use state departments, but the United States uses the electoral college. In fact The United States is the only democracy that utilizes an electoral college system when determining the next President in power. While nationalism runs deep in the United States, if we are the only political system that uses a certain method which has been criticized on numerous occasions does that mean we are best at elections or does our arrogance cast a blanket that covers the craziness that lies beneath?

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The United States claim that everyone that resides legally within the country has an equal say in how the country should be run. This means that by common deductive reasoning that each individual maintains a level of opinion which is valued just as much as their own neighbor as well as the other inhabitants around them. However due to the electoral college system we not only cast aside individuals opinions, but in some instances make the unethical call. Just like an umpire in baseball who calls a strike when the majority of people call a ball, The United States government makes the electoral college the umpire of our election system. The primary and key reasoning behind establishing the electoral college was to prevent a catastrophe from occurring. The founding fathers established this system in order to ensure that the common folk did not somehow elect an absolute foolish government official. These common people at the beginning of our country’s history were largely uneducated, illiterate, and absurdly moronic. Therefore the fathers created a system where those who were competent ensured that a foolish individual was not elected to lead our nation. However this governmental institution was established over two-hundred years ago and since then the United States has made great strides in the education of the population. While still not the utopian education society, there are undoubtedly a majority of citizens who are capable of making rational, thought out decisions such as who to elect for president.

Looking back at the historical aspect of how the electoral college has made decisions in determining who shall be the next President of The United States and how the system has influenced these rulings. There have been five separate occasions where the electoral college has gone against the majority population and their opinions. Three of which occured all within the 1800’s with John Quincy Adams in 1824, Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876, and Benjamin Harrison in 1888. While all of these rulings were relatively early in our nation’s history and were consequently important in how the nation was formed, these incidents would not be isolated. The next two instances where the electoral college went against the popular vote wouldnt occur until almost one-hundred and fifty years later after Harrison’s election with George W. Bush in 2000 and Donald J. Trump in 2016. The most recent election of Donald J. Trump would be the occasion that rocked the boat, awakening all of the masses on board of the change that had to follow suit. Since Donald Trump’s election the individual citizens have united in expressing their growing displeasure towards the function of the electoral college has gained steam, including bills that have passed through both chambers of congress. This growing social group is called the National Popular Vote movement and the people who share the same ideology run in the millions. These include over three thousand members of state legislators who show their support for the National Popular Vote movement. The ease with which one can win in presidential elections relies on key states who possess the majority of the electoral college votes. Overall there are five-hundred and thirty-eight electoral college votes and a candidate needs a simple majority of two-hundred and seventy votes to outright win a presidential election. That being said presidential candidates only have twenty-four hours in a day and countless event to attend to when scheduling a rally, candidates tend to focus on key states that they must win in order to reach the end-goal of two-hundred-seventy votes. For instance in 2016 nearly all of Donald Trump campaign rallies were held in Ohio, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. One of the biggest flaws in the electoral college system is the winner-take-all ruling. This is where all of a states electoral college votes can only go to one candidate even if the other gets a slim proportion less. This means that if candidate A get forty-two percent of the popular votes and candidate B gets fifty-eight percent of the popular votes, candidate B would get the entire states popular votes all to themselves. Even while on candidate might deserve fifteen out of thirty-five electoral college votes, the winner takes all system shuts any chance of this occurring out the door. The final element is how even while the popular vote might argue that the electoral college should vote in one direction, there is no law that establishes that the electoral college must follow the state’s popular voting decision.

In conclusion, the electoral college system is a severely flawed institution which has long overstayed its welcome in The United States. While the National Popular Vote movement has gains a tremendous amount of steam in recent years, especially due to the recent election of Donald J. Trump bypassing the Constitution and scrapping the entire system is impossible. When people say something is impossible, many times there is a way in which it is possible, however in this instance sadly it is nearly an impossible goal to accomplish. In the government there are countless checks and balances along with voting, proposals, editing, committees, and boards that a bill must pass in order to become a law that banishing the electoral college not only would take a tremendous amount of time and effort, but at some point would die as nearly all bills at some point do. While in my opinion the electoral college should have been discontinued decades ago, the possibility of change is slim to none. Power to the people has been a reoccurring theme of our growing generation and while a change is unlikely to happen, hope is the one thing we cling onto with our lives, hoping for change and a better tomorrow.


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