Electoral college outdated system
December 21, 2016
Filed under Op-Ed
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Donald Trump is a minority president despite his overwhelming privilege. This is because in the political world a minority president isn’t someone belonging to a minority, but someone who won the electoral vote but not the popular vote.
The Electoral College silences the voices of the people and interferes with democracy. The Electoral College awards votes to candidates based on whether or not they won the popular vote within a state. It denies anyone who votes against the majority their voice.
Hillary Clinton won the popular vote with 62,523,126 votes. Trump lost with 61,201,031 votes. The people spoke, and they want Clinton for President. But because of the country’s outdated Electoral College, Trump will still enter the Oval Office in January.
“The Electoral College does not accurately represent the views of the country. It creates an opportunity for a minority vote to overcome the majority, simply out of luck of what states they live in,” California voter Chloe Esser told the Playwickian via email.
“One Founding-era argument for the Electoral College stemmed from the fact that ordinary Americans across a vast continent would lack sufficient information to choose directly and intelligently among leading presidential candidates,” Akhil Reed Amar of TIME Magazine wrote. The founding fathers were afraid that someone would manipulate uninformed voters and become a dictator.
Becoming an informed voter nowadays is incredibly easy. There are several sites and publications dedicated to social issues, foreign policy, and economics. Several news outlets published articles to help voters fact check after the presidential debates.
“An original purpose was to ensure uneducated voters did not turn the election into a popularity contest. The purpose of the delegates was to vote according to their conscious for the best candidate. However, nowadays the delegate is bound to vote for a specific candidate,” Neshaminy history teacher Richard Greenberg said.
Dismantling the Electoral College would also allow for other political parties to have a real shot at presidency and would encourage people to get out and vote.
“The institution of political parties largely seems to force candidates to one end of an extreme…to conform to the extremist views of their party, which are not necessarily that of the voters. Likewise, voters feel pressured to either have completely conservative or completely liberal opinions. If someone has fiscally conservative yet socially liberal viewpoints, they are forced to sacrifice one of the aspects of their ideology… Abolishing the Electoral College would likely incite the introduction of multiple prominent political parties with varying degrees of moderateness,” Esser commented.
A variety of options could increase voter turnout. Many people feel that the two-party system traps the country in a never-ending struggle between Democrats and Republicans and very little gets done in the way of lawmaking and public policy.
“If we do not challenge the views of the creators of our country then we are ignoring the spirit of democracy on which it was founded. The founding fathers were not the mortal gods of democracy,” Esser said. “In using the popular vote instead of the Electoral College, no drastic change would be required. The popular vote is already counted, just not considered.”