Here are some of their telling statements from the Constitutional Convention of 1787. Critics of the Electoral College system argue that by taking the selection of the president out of the hands of the public at large, the Electoral College system flies in the face of democracy. According to Alexander Hamilton, the Electoral College is if “not perfect, it is at least excellent,” because it ensured “that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.” [ 7] As a part of their plan to separate powers and authority, the Founders created the Electoral College as the method by which the people could choose their highest government leader—the president—while avoiding at least some of the dangers of a direct election. "Electoral College Results." The Founding Fathers also felt the Electoral College system would enforce the concept of federalism—the division and sharing of powers between the state and national governments. Richard P. Bruneau holds graduate degrees in history and liberal studies from Wesleyan University and Central Connecticut State University. (The president cannot veto a constitutional amendment.). When a state has determined that a candidate has more votes, the electors cast all their votes to that candidate. Leaving aside the fact that a deal is a deal, there are very practical reasons why we will always need the Electoral College under our current constitutional system. It’s a replica of Congress, but it does not legislate. I understand why the U. S. Electoral College was first created, but I think times have changed and that we should abolish this outdated system. Abolish the Electoral College, and America could face strangulating litigation in every state in the Union, as victory would ride solely on the national vote. The Electoral College has also awarded the presidency to candidates with a plurality of the popular vote (under 50 percent) in a number of cases, notably … Requiring a two-thirds vote from both houses, a constitutional amendment must have strong bi-partisan support—support it will not get from a split Congress. The short-sighted ignorance represented by the movement to abolish or circumvent the Electoral College and constitutional limits will not enhance voter rights, but it will open the door to greater abuse, fraud, and tyranny of the majority. Encourage National Campaigns. Even the harshest critics would have trouble proving that in more than 200 years of operation, the Electoral College system has produced bad results. In 1787, the Founding Fathers, based on their direct knowledge of history showing that unlimited power tends to become a tyrannical power, created the United States as a republic—not a pure democracy. How the US Electoral College System Works, Presidents Elected Without Winning the Popular Vote, Vice President of the United States: Duties and Details, What Happens If the Presidential Election Is a Tie. Witness where potential voter fraud has emerged in the current election. If you don’t like the politics, economics, and cultural atmosphere of one state, you can move to another. Under the Constitution, the people are empowered to choose, through a direct popular election, the men and women who represent them in their state legislatures and in the United States Congress. The Electoral College is the system the United States uses to elect a new president. The question is not whether it is better for presidents and presidential candidates to care about, and travel to, the entire country or just a portion of it. Through a combination of the Electoral College and representatives in the House and Senate, the United States Senate works to stop mob rule and ensure middle America and states with smaller populations are represented in presidential elections. One way to understand what the Electoral College is, by the way, is that it’s a replica of Congress in its composition. The states form the lifeblood of freedom and democracy. The primary difference is that the Founding Fathers wrote the Declaration of Independence, and the Framers wrote the Constitution. If the popular vote alone decided elections, the presidential candidates would rarely visit those states or consider the needs of rural residents in their policy platforms. We’d all like clean, quick, and decisive election results. The Electoral … The Founding Fathers had seen the dangers of placing ultimate power into a single set of human hands. To be brutally honest, the Founding Fathers gave the American public of their day little credit for political awareness when it came to selecting the president. The Founding Fathers established it in the Constitution, in part, as a compromise between the election of the President by a vote in Congress and election of the President by a popular vote of qualified citizens. ...Ida Campbell The Electoral College: Good or Bad? Why the Electoral College? Finally, the constitutional amendment must get a two-thirds vote from both houses of Congress and be ratified by three-fourths of the states. why is the electoral college good provides a comprehensive and comprehensive pathway for students to see progress after the end of each module. Arguments for keeping the Electoral College Supporters of this institution say that it is a fundamental part of America's checks and balances on government power. The Electoral College creates a clear winner in cases where the popular vote is very close. Why the Electoral College is good? It’s also important that the election system minimize the potential for corruption, demagoguery, and especially a concentration of power that invites tyranny. He retired after 33 years as a high school history department head and teacher. Any change to the way America chooses its president will require a constitutional amendment. Advocates of the institution point to its functionality, endurance, and tradition as valuable features. There is hardly anything in the Constitution harder to explain, or easier to misunderstand, than the Electoral College. Every state has two senators. Rhode Island, for example, with three electoral votes would hardly matter if the presidency were decided strictly by a national popular vote. The electoral college is organized by state. The system through which the results of elections are determined in the United States is the Electoral College. ", Why The Electoral College Is Still Good For The United States. Democrats Can’t Be Trusted. Arguments for getting rid of the Electoral College Many critics argue that the electoral college is outdated and doesn’t accurately represent the voice of the people. That "Constitution" thing. The Founders intended for the Electoral College to act the exact way the … Thomas Jefferson and John Quincy Adams. Article II of the U.S. Constitution grants the power to elect the president and vice president to the states through the Electoral College system. On the surface, the math sounds good, but here are five reasons we should rid ourselves of the Electoral College and go with a popular vote instead: Democrats Can’t Be Trusted. The party in power typically benefits from the existence of the Electoral College, says Edwards, and the minority party has little chance of changing the system because a … He is currently writing a book on "The American Press and Adolph Hitler, 1933 -1939. Achieving a "separation of powers" ultimately became their highest priority. Everyone’s President. If the popular vote alone decided elections, the presidential candidates would rarely visit those states or consider the needs of rural residents in their policy platforms. Republic vs. Democracy: What Is the Difference? And who did the House decide on in those two cases? Equally important, a direct popular vote would further erode the power of the states in maintaining the intended constitutional balance between the national and state governments. Why The Electoral College Is Still Good For The United States. Critics call the Electoral College outdated, and see it as an 18th-century relic. But no one, at least in recent years, has laid out the … Supporters of the Electoral College argue that it is fundamental to American federalism, that it requires candidates to appeal to voters outside large cities, increases the political influence of small states, preserves the two-party system, and makes the electoral outcome appear more legitimate than that of a The dispersion of power between the states, especially in relation to the federal government, is among the greatest protections against a concentrated national tyranny. A state’s number of electors equals its number of senators and representatives combined. It would also likely open the door to greater election-result paralysis, as well as more voter fraud by big state and city machine politics. Direct democracy works only when all or at least most of the people participate in the process. Under the above circumstances, it is probable that neither the Republicans nor the Democrats would hold a strong majority of seats in Congress. Due to the Electoral College process, candidates must get votes from multiple states—large and small—thus helping to ensure that the president will address the needs of the entire country. How Many Electoral Votes Does a Candidate Need to Win? Each state gets a certain number of electors, the people who vote in the electoral college. The same number of representatives and senators from each state. Eliminate the Electoral College, and the voice of voters in small states all but disappears in the presidential election. Under the Constitution, the highest-ranking U.S. officials elected by the direct popular vote of the people are the governors of the states. National Archives. Much of this rich checkerboard of American politics would be lost in presidential elections based purely on a popular vote. Getting elections as close to correct as possible is essential to democracy. The United States Electoral College is the group that is responsible for electing the President and the Vice President every four years. But because the Electoral College has worked just as the Founding Fathers intended for over 200 years does not mean that it should never be modified or even abandoned completely. Washington DC: Office of the Federal Register, 2020. It’s the reason why people say … The Electoral College requires a presidential candidate to have transregional … Yet patience should be in greater demand. How likely is it that 39 states are going to vote to give up that power? Photo by Morning Brew from Unsplash. All electoral systems, including the Electoral College, enshrined in the Constitution create incentives to home in on a limited set of places that are most likely to determine the outcome. This has already happened exactly four times in the nation's history: It is sometimes reported that Richard M. Nixon received more popular votes in the 1960 election than winner John F. Kennedy, but official results showed Kennedy with 34,227,096 popular votes to Nixon's 34,107,646. As a result, the decisions and actions taken would not truly reflect the will of the majority, but small groups of people representing their own interests. All electoral systems, including the Electoral College, enshrined in the Constitution create incentives to home in on a limited set of places that are most likely to determine the outcome. Even if the first two criteria were met, it remains highly unlikely that the Electoral College system would be changed or repealed. The states, through the Electoral College, are empowered to choose the president and vice president. All Americans benefit from a greater diversity of thought, action, and opportunities. In most cases, the Electoral College forces candidates to win not just a majority, but a super-majority. Donald Trump’s election with fewer popular votes than Hillary Clinton has raised again the question of why the presidency is decided through an Electoral College and not a popular vote. Otherwise, the impetus to blame the nation's woes on the Electoral College system will never materialize. Contrary to popular belief, the United States is not a “true” democracy in the rawest sense of the word in part because of our electoral college.The mechanics of the United States Electoral College … But as a conservative, I'd file this article under the category, "Duh." They make up new … By design, the Electoral College system grants the states the power to elect the president of the United States. The future of the Electoral College is being debated following the 2000 and 2016 presidential elections when the winner of the popular vote lost the electoral college vote and thus the election.. Next, a candidate that loses the popular vote but wins the electoral vote must turn out to be a particularly unsuccessful and unpopular president. For this to come about: First, a presidential candidate must lose the nationwide popular vote, but be elected through the Electoral College vote. In reality, it was the Framers of the Constitution who came up with the Electoral College, not the Founding Fathers. In this instance, a college isn’t a university, it’s a group of people called electors. The Founders were unanimous in their desire that no single entity, be it the people or an agent of the government, be given unlimited power. Two of the most widely recognized forms of democracy are: The United States is a representative democracy operated under a "republican" form of government, as provided for in Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution, which states, "The United States shall guarantee to every State in the Union a Republican form of Government..." (This should not be confused with the Republican political party which is merely named after the form of government.). The Electoral College. The Electoral College website now has an easy-to-remember address. When a state has determined that a candidate has more … The Electoral College protects that diversity and ensures that all voters matter, not just those who reside in urban areas or states. The Founding Fathers knew that as the nation grew and the time required for debating and voting on every issue increased, the public’s desire to take part in the process would quickly decrease. Generally, states award all their electoral college votes to whoever won the poll of ordinary voters in the state. So, since there are 435 Representatives in the House, 100 Senators, and the District of Columbia gets three electors, we have a total of 538 electors in the Electoral College, as per the Constitution. In most cases, the Electoral College forces candidates to win not just a majority, but a super-majority. For non-conservatives, this article requires very careful reading. And when a presidential election hands the palm to a candidate who comes in second in the popular vote but first in the Electoral College tally, something deep in our democratic viscera balks and asks why. Abolishing the Electoral College threatens the voices, survivability, and creative freedom of all states. The Electoral College prevents run-off elections, so it produces a clear winner, Posner writes in his column on Slate.com.. And he gives a good reason for that. The Washington Post editorial board, for example, recently renewed its call to abolish it. They do it every time they don’t get what they want. Many people who have been educated in the United States or have the right to vote in the United States have heard of this system, but don't really understand how it functions – or the history that comes with it. The Electoral College is the system the United States uses to elect a new president. And the perfect case study for it is: The Democrat Party Cabal's massive election fraud in 2020. Their big compromise? Did the Founding Fathers—the framers of the Constitution—not realize that the Electoral College system effectively took the power to select the American president out of the hands of the American people? Abolishing the Electoral College would be a disaster for freedom and the constitutional imperative to prevent the concentration and abuse of power. Presidential candidates could and would ignore states like Rhode Island and focus on states and districts with large population centers, offering more bang for effort and dollars. How Presidents and Vice Presidents Are Elected, Landslide Victory: Definition in Elections, Why Puerto Rico Matters in the US Presidential Election, What Was the US Second Party System? In response, they created the Electoral College system as a process to insulate the selection of the president from the whims of the public. Are existing Schools Not Good Enough? The Electoral College has also awarded the presidency to candidates with a plurality of the popular vote (under 50 percent) in a number of cases, … The Electoral College is a process, not a place. The Electoral College would allow a candidate to win a majority of the popular vote and lose the election four more times in history—in 1876, 1888, 2000, and 2016. Today, many Americans debate whether the Electoral College is a good or bad way to elect the president. Under the Electoral College system, it is possible for a presidential candidate to lose the nationwide popular vote, yet be elected president of the United States by winning in only a handful of key states. Well, if we know Dems, we know they’re going to use every dirty trick in the book to make the Electoral College seem like the worst thing since lynching (which Dems invented). The title of Alexander Keyssar’s new book—Why Do We Still Have the Electoral College?—is also, he says, the question Americans ask themselves every four years. He served as a USAR Captain, Military Intelligence. America can currently tolerate a socialism-friendly Vermont right alongside a no-income-tax polity such as New Hampshire because the U.S. system does not promote nor demand cookie-cutter states. The United States Electoral College, however, was established by the United States Constitution and was created to ensure that elections don’t result in huge sections of society being unrepresented. Small-state electoral votes have often affected the national outcome. This is dead wrong: The Electoral College is vital to the American system of self-government. … If one state has voting issues, you can just do a recount in that state rather than creating national upheaval. Only twice have the electors stumbled and been unable to choose a president, thus throwing the decision to the House of Representatives. Fifty states, engaged in a hothouse of democratic experimentation and exploration for creative political solutions, has benefitted America throughout her history. In this instance, a college isn’t a university, it’s a group of people called electors. Likewise, states pioneered reforms and strengthened rights in a multitude of areas including civil liberties, voting, religious freedom, property rights, equality of opportunity, and many others. In 2000 the Bush vs Gore election truly showed the nation why the electoral college should be abolished and revised. This is not a new claim: People have been arguing against the Electoral College from the beginning. They do it every time they don’t get what they want. The question is not whether it is better for presidents and presidential candidates to care about, and travel to, the entire country or just a portion of it. In fact, the Founders always intended that the states—not the people—select the president. Whatever the outcome of the 2020 presidential election or future contests, the Electoral College provides a potential challenge to either party claiming a clear mandate by a myopic focus on the national popular vote. They make up new rules. For an example, go to this page. The founders designed the Electoral College to moderate the influence of large states and big cities over small states and rural districts. Make sure to update your bookmarks! Accordingly, they feared that placing the unlimited power to elect the president into the politically naive hands of the people could lead to a "tyranny of the majority.". The Electoral College helps give rural states with lower populations an equal voice. There’s no need for a national recount when you have an electoral college. Supporters of the current electoral process say it forces candidates … The Electoral College also stands against the concentration of power and the potential for voter abuse. Abolishing the Electoral College would be a disaster for freedom and the constitutional imperative to prevent the concentration and abuse of power. If former Vice President Joe Biden prevails in the 2020 election by scoring a victory in both the electoral and popular vote tallies, it will not curtail the clamoring nor the movement to send the Electoral College to a crematorium. The Electoral College was designed specifically to prevent the tyranny of big states over small states, as was the U.S. Senate, which affords all states, large and small, equal representation. Robert Longley is a U.S. government and history expert with over 30 years of experience in municipal government and urban planning. Especially with all the advances that we have made in technology, conducting a popular vote would now be a fairly easy process than a century ago and we need to take steps to change the way that we conduct presidential elections. Every four years, and across time, the college provides a valuable countrywide, state-by-state snapshot of the trends and diversity in political thought. Most of the 2020 results across the country are complete. He is a former Western Civilization Instructor in the UConn Early College Experience program and for many years taught AP courses in U.S. History, European History, and Comparative Government and Politics. Ending slavery, impossible at the founding on a national basis, began as a state movement. Moreover, 12 states control 53 percent of the votes in the Electoral College, leaving only 38 states that might even consider ratification. The Electoral College preserves the constitutional checks and balances to power that the founders in their wisdom intended. Copyright © 2021 The Federalist, a wholly independent division of FDRLST Media, All Rights Reserved. So here are 5 reasons we actually need the Electoral College. The Electoral College creates a clear winner in cases where the popular vote is very close. The Electoral College protects that diversity and ensures that all voters matter, not just those who reside in urban areas or states. The Electoral College is the result of a series of compromises struck during the grueling Constitutional Convention of 1787. Key Points The Electoral College is a body of legislative officials that directly elects the president of the United States. To be ratified and become effective, a constitutional amendment must also be approved by the legislatures of 39 out of the 50 states. America is, after all, a democracy, is it not? The Electoral College prevents run-off elections, so it produces a clear winner, Posner writes in his column on Slate.com.. And he gives a good reason for that. Kennedy won 303 Electoral College votes to Nixon's 219 votes.. The Electoral College helps give rural states with lower populations an equal voice. Fortunately, the potential litigation is only concentrated in a few states and big cities with possible voting irregularities. The electoral college, proponents say, makes U.S. presidential elections less contentious by providing a clear ending. 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