Monday, October 01, 2012
It's Time For The Electoral College To Go
The supposed justification of this archaic system of electing a president was to protect the interests of smaller states. Frankly, I fail to see that. A small state with a small population will also have a small amount of presidential electors, and their tiny amount of electors will be easily outvoted by larger states with many electors. I suspect that the only reason this system is still in effect, is because it provides a path to election for a political party that cannot get a majority of votes -- and it effectively keeps minor parties from having a voice in federal elections.
I will be honest. I do not like the electoral college system of electing a president, and I think it should be discontinued as soon as possible. It serves no purpose -- other than to occasionally subvert the will of the majority in an election. The only sensible way to choose a president in this modern world is to elect the person who received the most popular votes (either a plurality or a majority, which might require a run-off). I believe there are two main reasons to do away with the Electoral College.
1. The Electoral College can make it possible for a candidate to become president without winning the most popular votes.
This doesn't happen very often, but it does happen. It has, in fact, already happened four times in this nation's electoral history.
1824 -- John Quincy Adams was chosen president, but Andrew Jackson received more popular votes.
1876 -- Rutherford B. Hayes was chosen president, but Samuel J. Tilden won the popular vote.
1888 -- Benjamin Harrison was chosen president, but Grover Cleveland received more popular votes.
2000 -- George W. Bush was chosen president, but Al Gore received more of the popular vote.
Whatever you may think of those chosen or not chosen, the fact is that the popular vote of the citizens was subverted. More of them voted for one candidate, while a different candidate was chosen to be president by the Electoral College. This is just wrong.
2. The Electoral College makes the votes of millions of Americans worthless.
Consider the following. In the 2012 election, there are about 12 swing states -- states where it is possible that either of the presidential candidates could win. That means there are 38 other states (plus the District of Columbia) where we already know who will be getting those states electoral votes. It also means that a person living in those states who is not a part of the political majority will be casting a meaningless vote.
For instance, a Republican voting in California or New York will be casting a meaningless vote, because the Democrats hold a winning majority in those state and the Democratic candidate will get all of the electoral votes from those states. And a Democrat voting in Texas or Mississippi will also be casting a meaningless vote, since it is a foregone conclusion that all of the electoral votes from those states will go to the Republican candidate. This is the case, as I said, in 38 states and the District of Columbia -- meaning that millions of votes from those states are meaningless, and will do nothing to determine the next president.
The easiest way to eliminate this problem of not having millions of votes count toward electing a president is simply to do away with the Electoral College. If there was no Electoral College, then all votes would count equally -- whether it was cast in a small or large state, or whether it was cast by a member of the majority or minority party in a particular state. All votes would be equally meaningful, and the candidate who received the most of those equal votes would become president.
That's what I think. What do you think? Should we do away with the Electoral College?