Elec[i][/i]toral College Essay by n80

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Elec[i][/i]toral College Essay

n80 (View Blogs)
2 weeks ago, 13 Views
Category: Uncategorized
(Last edited: 2 weeks ago)
Created in 1787, and perpetuated for a little over 230 years, the Electoral College system is the method the United States uses for selecting the President of the United States of America. Though created in compromise to prevent citizens from any sort of malpractice, the Electoral College, in modern times, is rather outdated, especially with the ease and spread of information online that exploded in the early twenty-first century. In this essay, the Electoral College will be analyzed to demonstrate how it is not the best method to vote for the President; an examination of the history and function of the system will be compared to the more favorable national popular vote.

Structure and function of the Electoral College
When it came to decide a system for choosing its chief executive, founding fathers at the Philadelphia convention in 1787 were wading into an uncharted fenland. No other country in the world at the time had direct elections, and further distrust of executive power demonstrated by King George III complicated the tasque – the United States did not want another tyrant on their hands. James Madison drafted the Virginia Plan, which was the proposal to the United States Constitutional Convention for the “creation of a supreme national government with three branches and a bicameral legislature” (Wiginton, 2020). James Wilson proposed the Electoral College, and in Federalist No. 68, Alexander Hamilton laid out the key advantages of the Electoral College, stating,

“It was equally desirable, that the immediate el[i]ection 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. A small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations.”[/i]
(Hamilton, 1788).

The Electoral College system was born of compromise, with delegates making sure the Congress wouldn’t have a hand in the cookie jar to pick the president, and another group checking to ensure a straight popular vote wasn’t put to practice to prevent a headstrong “democratic mob (Roos, 2020)” from leading the country astray behind a populist president appealing directly to the people. Such power was deemed dangers and some founding fathers, like Alexander Hamilton, felt citizens wouldn’t be fully informed about the candidates they could vote for.

Electoral College System Compared to a National Popular Vote
The Electoral College system was framed into what it currently is – a temporary group created every four years of electors equal to the total number of representatives in Congress (538). It is these electors, not the American people, who vote for the President of the United States. The first candidate to get 270 of the Electoral Votes wins the White House. Attached to the right of the current text is a map of Electoral Votes allocated to each state and the District of Columbia for the 2012, 2016, and 2020 United States presidential elections. State legislatures are responsible for nominating electors, with a common way being that “[the] elector is nominated by [their] state party committee (perhaps to reward many years of service to the party)” (Bonsor & Dove, 2020). The Constitution makes no mention of qualifications, but lists that a member of the Electoral College cannot be “a member of Congress […] a high-ranking U.S. official in a position of ‘trust or profit’ […] [or] someone who was ‘engaged in insurrection or rebellion’ against the U.S.” (Bonsor & Dove, 2020). Using an Electoral College system can result in most Americans voting for a candidate, but having that candidate lose. In 2000, Democratic candidate Al Gore secured 48.4% of the popular vote, yet Republican candidate George W. Bush barely won the election with “271 Electoral Votes and 47.9% of the popular vote” (Levy & Tikkanen, 2017). The same situation occurred in 2016 when Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton secured 48.1% of the popular vote, but lost to Republican candidate Donald Trump, who had 46% of the popular vote but 304 Electoral Votes. The major consequence of the Electoral College is that the election could be won with only around 23% of the popular vote, as demonstrated below:

How to Win an Election with 23 Percent of the Popular Vote
State | Total Votes Cast in 2012 | Votes Needed to Win State |Total Electoral Votes
Wyoming| 249,061| 124,531 | 3
Vermont 299,290 149,646 3
South Dakota 363,815 181,908 3
North Dakota 322,627 161,314 3
Montana 484,484 242,243 3
District of Columbia 293,764 146,883 3
Delaware 413,921 206,961 3
Alaska 300,495 150,248 3
Rhode Island 446,049 223,025 4
New Hampshire 710,972 355,487 4
Maine 724,623 362,313 4
Idaho 656,742 328,372 4
Hawaii 434,697 217,349 4
West Virginia 672,119 336,060 5
New Mexico 783,757 391,879 5
Nebraska 772,515 386,259 5
Utah 1,020,861 510,431 6
Nevada 1,014,918 507,460 6
Mississippi 1,285,584 642,793 6
Kansas 1,157,532 578,767 6
Iowa 1,582,180 791,091 6
Arkansas 1,069,468 534,735 6
Oregon 1,789,270 894,636 7
Oklahoma 1,334,872 667,437 7
Connecticut 1,558,993 779,497 7
Louisiana 1,994,065 997,033 8
Kentucky 1,798,048 899,025 8
South Carolina 1,964,118 982,060 9
Colorado 2,571,846 1,285,924 9
Alabama 2,074,338 1,037,170 9
Wisconsin 3,068,434 1,534,218 10
Missouri 2,763,689 1,381,845 10
Minnesota 2,936,561 1,468,281 10
Maryland 2,707,327 1,353,664 10
Tennessee 2,460,904 1,230,453 11
Massachusetts 3,167,767 1,583,884 11
Indiana 2,633,143 1,316,572 11
Arizona 2,306,559 1,153,280 11
Virginia 3,854,489 1,927,245 13
New Jersey 3,651,140 1,825,571 14
Wyoming 249,061 124,531 3
Total 29,847,550 270
Total U.S. Votes 129,227,221 538
Share of Total 23.1% 50.2%
(Kurtzleben, 2016).

Plenty of assumptions were made in the table, but the idea is that voters in low-population states count for a larger share of electoral votes than popular vote, which is a crisis that was brought upon trying to equal out the number of members of the House of Representatives for each state to the number of electors of the Electoral College for each state. Modest popular vote margins turn wins into landslides, like in the 1984 election: Republican candidate Ronald Reagan won 525 Electoral Votes and had a popular vote percentage of 58.8% (Levy, M. & Tikkanen, 2017).

Value of Individual Votes Under the Current System
In 2012, 45th President of the United States of America, Donald Trump tweeted, “The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy” (Trump, 2012). After winning the Electoral College vote, but losing the National Popular Vote, Trump tweeted, “[…] I used to like the idea of the Popular Vote, but now realize the Electoral College is far better for the U.S.A.” (Trump, 2019). It could be concluded that favorable results suggest the perpetuation of the Electoral College for presidential elections today. Some may say that the Electoral College maintains American federalism, and that it is a process integral to the Separation of Powers. However, voters in states with fewer Electoral Votes have greater representation in the presidential election than voters in states with more Electoral Votes. The value of individual votes is undermined, and the United States must reconsider methods of confirming certainty of the popular vote outcome of the presidential election rather than continuing to preserve an outdated system that ignores the will of the people.

In a recent study, there was a conclusion that most U.S. adults say that “the Constitution should be amended so the presidential candidate who receives the most votes nationwide wins” (Daniller, 2020). Reforming the Electoral College would be a complicated process, for it would require a Constitutional amendment, “which would require the votes of two-thirds of the U.S. House of Representatives, two-thirds of the Senate, and three-fourths of the states” (Parks, 2019). Although an amendment hasn’t been adopted since the 27th in 1992, the Electoral College continues to disproportionately inflate the influence of rural areas while undervaluing votes of cities. The Electoral College is outdated, and as the United States continues to propel into a more inclusive atmosphere, the system for selecting the President and Vice President needs to be reconsidered in order to create a more equal America.

Bonsor, K & Dove, L. How the Electoral College Works. Retrieved from
Daniller, A. A majority of Americans continue to favor replacing Electoral College with a
nationwide popular vote. Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-
Donald J. Trump [@realDonaldTrump]. (2019, Mar 19). ....just the large […] Twitter. Retrieved
from https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1108190837257764864
Donald J. Trump [@realDonaldTrump]. (2012, Nov 6). The electoral college is a disaster for a
democracy. Twitter. Retrieved from
Hamilton, A. The Federalist Papers: No. 68 – The Mode of Electing the President. Retrieved
from https://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/fed68.asp
Kurtzleben, D. How To Win The Presidency With 23 Percent Of The Popular Vote. Retrieved
from https://www.npr.org/2016/11/02/500112248/how-to-win-the-presidency-with-27-
Levy, M. & Tikkanen, A. United States Presidential Election Results. Retrieved from
Parks, M. Abolishing The Electoral College Would Be More Complicated Than It May Seem.
Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/2019/03/22/705627996/abolishing-the-electoral-
Roos, D. Why Was the Electoral College Created? Retrieved from
Wigington, P. What Was the Virginia Plan? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/the-
Zifan, A. Electoral college map […] Retrieved from

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War Hero
1 week ago
Dang, how long'd this take?
2 weeks ago
yeah the electoral college is senseless garbage isn't it
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