An in depth look at how democratic the electoral college truly is.
I understand the University’s rules governing plagiarism. The work contained in this paper is my own, and any words or ideas taken from other authors are appropriately cited.
Contrary to the belief of Jessica Lovaas, author of “Time to abolish outdated Electoral College “, the electoral college is a completely necessary part of our political system here in the United States. Democracy plays no part in this equation. Not only does it provide for a fair and balanced election process, contrary to popular belief, it does reward the correct candidate with the presidency. Direct elections do not work for very specific reasons and 3rd party participation is relatively irrelevant in the case of the United States electoral system.
According to the pamphlet,” Who Will Elect the President”, “.. The principle of one person, one vote should not pertain to the Electoral College, just as it does not pertain to the U.S. Senate… the college was designed to underscore the federal nature of the U.S. government.” (www.organizations.Oneonta.edu) Democracy is not an issue when it comes to the basis and workings of the electoral college. Overall, the electoral college “contributes to the cohesiveness of the country by requiring a candidate to demonstrate a distribution of popular support to be elected.” (www.organizations.Oneonta.edu) Also, although some people will claim that the electoral college has a role in depressing the voter turnout, it really enhances the status of minority groups because their votes may make the difference between winning all of the states electoral votes or none at all. Democracy is all about voters rights and voter turnout. Using the electoral college system, more and more minority groups and other people who would not normally matter or count in an election are getting their voices heard with their votes. This in turn leads to new representatives being elected, which in turn will lead to new laws being passed to benefit their constituents. Democracy in action, as recent history has indicated.
... "national bonus plan" that would maintain the Electoral College but add 102 electoral votes to the existing total of 538 and award all ... deluging them and their 'swing voters' with advertising. Some small states worry that if the Electoral College were eliminated they would be ... came down to electing a new president. The people would feel as though their vote was important so voter turn out would ...
The elections of 2000 were some of the most debated and hotly contested election results America had ever seen. With Al Gore winning the majority of the popular vote, but George W. Bush winning the electoral college, who had the right to the presidency? Well, the answer to that question is simple: The man who won the electoral college votes. Now, it is asked why would such a system exist? Why reward a man who received less than 50% of the popular vote? Shouldn’t that say something as to what the people want? In a word, no. Even though a candidate may have more popular votes, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the candidate won more states. For example, Al Gore won California but lost crucial states such as Ohio. California has more than 33 million people in it, With more than 12 million people voting. Al Gore received almost 6 million of those votes while GW had just over 4 million. Same situation in Massachusetts, where Gore won the popular vote by more than one million votes over George W. See how these popular vote statistics can be misleading? George W. won many smaller states, such as New Hampshire, Nevada, Nebraska, and Montana, which gave him just over 1.2 million popular votes. Gore squashed that margin in California alone. It’s not fair, as a populous, to solely look at the popular vote, although it is hard not to. It would make sense that if a candidate received the majority of popular votes from the United States that he would be elected president, correct? There are some very valid points in that argument, but the bad of that idea far outweighs the good.
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Plain and simple, direct elections will not work. This is not because of the sheer stupidity of people. No, it is because with direct elections, people will have a limited knowledge of candidates and therefore vote for the good old boy, or the man from their state or region. “To abolish the Electoral College in favor of a nationwide popular election vote for the president would strike at the heart of the federal structure laid out in the Constitution and would lead to the nationalization of our central government- to the detriment of the states.” (www.organizations.Oneonta.edu) Not only would a direct popular election of the president be detrimental to the states, “…There would be every incentive for a multitude of minor parties to form in an attempt to prevent whatever popular majority might be necessary to elect a president.” (www.jceb.co.Jackson.mo.us.html) A multitude of minor parties forming to try to stop the growth of the two major parties sounds like an accident waiting to happen. Not only could it lead to strife and dissent in our nation, it might lead us into another Civil War, in an extreme case.
“Indeed, they point out that the Electoral College system is designed to work in a rational series of defaults: if, in the first instance, a candidate receives a substantial majority of the popular vote, then that candidate is virtually certain to win enough electoral votes to be elected president; in the event that the popular vote is extremely close, then the election defaults to that candidate with the best distribution of popular votes (as evidenced by obtaining the absolute majority of electoral votes).” (www.uselectionatlas.org) Obviously, there have been cases where this thought has not held true. The 2000 elections was one such case, as stated by Jaques deLisle, “The electoral college (with its winner-take-all, state-by-state elections and the consequence that the victorious presidential candidate could have finished second in the popular vote)” (www.http://www.unc.edu)
... and Benjamin Harrison, Cleveland won the popular vote by over 100, 000 votes, but when broken down into Electoral College votes, Harrison won by a large ... , which is called 'Allocating the Electoral Vote.' In this method the states hold a popular election and the electoral votes are allocated by percentage. Thus if ...
Although some people have called for direct elections every since then, it has been outlined clearly in the above paragraph as to why this would be a terrible idea. Why would someone want to bring more strife and contention into a country as large as ours? To make trouble? This is yet another good reason to simply leave the current electoral college in its place. Many of these critics say that the electoral college is biased. To this, an answer comes forth. “In the September 1996 issue of PS, I.M. Destler analyzes the supposed “electoral lock that Republicans have on the Presidency due to the dynamics of the electoral college. Under Destler’s analysis, there turns out to be no great advantage in the system for either party.” (www.jstor.org.proxy.lib.muohio.edu) The electoral college does its job and does it quite well. Although Bush did not win the popular vote, he won the electoral college, which is the only thing that counts. “The result of a direct popular election for president would likely be frayed and unstable political system characterized by a multitude of political parties and by more radical changes in policies from one administration to the next.” (www.jceb.co.Jackson.mo.us.html)
3rd party participation in the United States is worthless. Yes, worthless. The only thing that third party participation encourages is the right to take away votes from a worthy candidate. Take for example, once again, the 2000 elections. Ralph Nader stole 97,488 votes (www.http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0876793.html) from the two main candidates, George W. Bush and Al Gore. Those votes could, no better yet, would have made the difference between a Republican and Democratic White House. Our system of two large political parties (Republicans and Democrats) has worked enormously well for the last 60 years. With the onslaught of new minor parties beginning to try and infiltrate the system (Libertarians, Green Party), the electoral college is more important than ever. “Proponents of the electoral college, however, argue that it contributes to the political stability of the nation by encouraging a two party system.” This is completely and one hundred percent true. With a two party system, it is guaranteed that one party and one candidate will receive the majority of the electoral college votes, therefore ensuring a fair and balanced election. The way I look at the 3rd parties is this: They have many radical views.
... if not all of the problems presented by the Electoral College System. The direct election is the only proposed method, which assures popular and ... Rand on. Party Politics in America. 9 th Ed. Longman, New York, NY. 2001. Kienitz, Paul. Options for Electoral College Reform. web ... of 'electors' who are nominated or appointed by each party within each state however they choose, who have pledged their ...
The two party system encourages and sometimes forces them to join together with one of the two larger parties, which in turn creates a larger more diverse party that more people can identify with. This also encourages such things as political coalitions to “form within the parties rather than within the government.” (www.jceb.co.Jackson.mo.us.html) With this push to incorporate 3rd parties, not as actual parties, but as a part of the two larger parties, a better cohesiveness is formed inside of said party. This also leads to the two parties becoming the center of public interest and opinion and leads to a better candidate race. Instead of focusing on the psycho Nazi party trying to push their candidate into the race, Americans can focus on the issues and problems that are being presented and make clearer, more well thought out decisions.
Jessica Lovaas is not correct in her analysis of the electoral college. Outlined in the above paper are reason as to why direct election would be the death of our political system. The electoral college, although not at first glance, is very democratic in its own special little way. “The Electoral College has performed its function for over 200 years (and in over 50 presidential elections) by ensuring that the President of the United States has both sufficient popular support to govern and that his popular support is sufficiently distributed throughout the country to enable him to govern efficiently.” (www.jceb.co.Jackson.mo.us.com) Why mess with something that is working? This reminds one of the age old adage: “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”
Berthoud, John. “The Electoral Lock Thesis: The Weighting Bias Component.” PS: Political Science and Politics Jun 1997. 19 Apr 2006 http://www.jstor.org.proxy.lib.muohio.edu/view/10490965/ap020039/02a00070/0?searchUrl=http%3a//www.jstor.org/search/BasicResults%3fhp%3d25%26si%3d1%26Query%3dElectoral%2bCollege&citationAction=save&charset=u&frame=noframe&dpi=3&userIDfirstname.lastname@example.org/01cc99333c00501d49ec1¤tResult=10490965%2bap020039%2b02a00070%2b0%2c3F&config=jstor&citationPath=10490965-ap020039-02a00070&PAGE=0.
... Reform. http://www.electionreform.org.ERMain/priorities/ec/reform.htm Civic-Values State Lawmakers Mull Electoral College. Nov ... Electoral College System. 1992, League of Womens Voters of California Education fund. http://www.ksg.harvard.edu./case/3pt/electoral.html Electionreform.org. 2001. Election ...
– deLisle, Jacques. “Sinical Voters? Elections in Greater China… and The United States..” American Diplomacy (2002).
16 Apr 2006 http://www.unc.edu/depts/diplomat/archives_roll/2002_10-12/deLisle_sinical/deLisle_sinical.html.
“Electoral College.” Jackson County Election Board. 19 Apr. 2006 .
Kimberling, William. “The Electoral College.” www.uselectionatlas.org. FEC National Clearinghouse on Election Administration. 18 Apr. 2006 http://uselectionatlas.org/INFORMATION/INFORMATION/electcollege_procon.php.
LWUS Education Fund. Who Will Elect The President. : LWVUS Education Fund , 1996.
“Presidential Election of 2000, Electoral and Popular Vote Summary.” 01 2001. 13 Apr. 2006 .