Why is it that in the United States the words politics and politician has associations that are uncharacteristically negative for our country’s leaders? Today, America’s politicians have turned into greedy executives. The mix of politics and business is driving our country away from the principles that our founding fathers set fourth. Why is our forty-third president in office when the majority of Americans voted for a different candidate? An election that gives the people the choice without regard to state lines of a president by a majority would cure some of the current problems of the Electoral College.
We have a president that bullied his way into office and now many Americans question the government. Where did the Electoral College go wrong?
The popularity vote seems to not play any factor in our presidential election. A major conflict concerning the Electoral College lingers in America. The Constitutional Convention created the Electoral College in 1789 in hopes that it would be an adequate system (MacBride 29).
The Electoral College consists of senators and representatives who cast their votes for the state they represent. Those who feel that the college should remain as it is believe that the American people are too uninformed about election issues to vote. The argument for the modification of the college maintains that the people are not actually electing the president, but the larger states are. Ultimately, the majority of the United States citizens support the elimination of an Electoral College that serves no purpose in the government.The argument in favor of the continuation of the Electoral College holds that it represents an effective institution. First, the format of the college demonstrates its validity. The amount of electoral votes awarded to each state, extremely critical in elections, remains decided by the number of senators and representatives in Congress (Polsby 45). Many politicians find the existing system extremely efficient because they feel the electors represent their constituents (Best 52). In addition, the Electoral College’s ability to efficiently serve its purpose provides a reason for its long existence. “An electoral system should produce a definite, accepted winner and avoid prolonged contests and disputes that create uncertainty and public turmoil” (Best 210). Moreover, never in the history of the Electoral College has a controversy developed in which the college rejected “an individual who had an undisputed majority of the popular vote” (Best 52). Most importantly, those who agree with preserving the Electoral College believe that election by popular vote, the alternative to the college, would create numerous deficiencies in the system. Election by direct popular vote would be “hazardous to the nation’s health,” said a concerned citizen (Weisberger 24). Liable to deceptions of the truth and too uniformed of the candidates, the people, voting directly, pose a threat to the system of electing presidents (Weisberger 24). Many people feel that the “popular election of presidents would work a diminution of the political power of racial and other minority groups in the nation’s urban centers” (Bickel 13).
On the other hand, the position in favor of ridding the nation of the Electoral College argues that the college serves no purpose. First of all, the present format of the Electoral College manifests the colleges’ insufficient qualities. The current format of the college, giving the edge to the larger states, exhibits the inadequacies of it (Polsby 32). “The electoral college system, it is claimed, does not guarantee that the candidate with the most popular votes will win, produces great inequalities in voting power among the national electorate, contains a contingency election provision that is not only unrepresentative but that could also result in an impasse or in political duels, permits the will of the majority voters in a state or even in the nation to be thwarted through the constitutional independence of the electors, and permits the electoral decision to turn on fraud or chance in key states” (Best 22). A study conducted by John F. Banzhaf, III revealed “states like New York and California have over two and one half times as much chance to effect the election of the president as residents of the smaller states” (Bickel 6). Furthermore, causing confusion amongst the political system, the Electoral College raised a question mark in Congress. Passed by more than the mandatory two-thirds vote in 1969, the House called for a constitutional amendment to change the election of presidents and vice-presidents is by nation a wide popular vote rather than the Electoral College (Bickel 10). However, the amendment failed to result in a vote on the Senate floor (Bickel 11).
Contrary to claims that the college represents the people’s voice, the college’s popularity decreased dramatically nation wide. First of all, the citizens feel that they reserve the right to directly elect their commander in chief. Election by popular vote is much more accurate of an election than the Electoral College (MacBride 19). Decreasing the amount of problems brought on by the college, elections by popular vote allows the United States citizens to truly and fairly elect the president of their choice (MacBride26). Most importantly, election by popular vote permits the citizens to take part in their government denied to them by the existence of the Electoral College. Numerous changes in the election system and the citizens’ view of it would take place as a result of the abolishment of the Electoral College. Bickel, in his book Reform and Continuity, claims “if each states’ electoral vote were divided – precisely or roughly – in proportion to the popular vote cast for each candidate in each state, the representation would become quite real, and might have considerable effect” (Bickel 5). In addition feeling good about themselves for taking part in the political system and making a difference, the citizens would gain more respect for the political system (MacBride 25).
The Electoral College clearly stands as an insufficient system for electing the president. Election by popular vote, truly giving the people the choice, should be established in the electing of the president instead of the college. Moreover, the government’s choosing that the bigger the states, the more electoral votes they receive is a grave mistake. It has been determined that the presidency is either won or lost in the “large industrial states, where one or another group can make all of the difference” (Bickel 50). Strangely enough, “the presidential nominees tend to come from big states and tend to run on platforms likely to appeal to interest groups that cluster there” (Polsby 46). The government’s deciding to continue to utilize the Electoral College is a drastic mistake. Ultimately, the establishment of popular vote as a means for electing the president offers a new hope for constituents in a political system that often leaves them disillusioned.
Apparently, the Electoral College is insufficient in every way. The United States has the technology to be one of the most efficient countries. Although if we can not a president thoroughly and correctly, our country we fail in every way possible. Our founding fathers set fourth a nation built on loyalty and freedom not insufficient tallying of votes.
Best, Judith. “The Case Against Direct Election of the President.” London: Cornell
University Press, 1975.
Bickel, Alexander. Reform and Continuity. New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1971.
MacBride, Roger. The American Electoral College. Caldwell, Idaho: Caxton Printers, Ltd.,
Polsby, Nelson. Presidential Elections. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1984.
Polsby, Nelson. Presidential Elections: Contemporary Strategies of American Electoral
Politics. New York: MacMillan, 1988.
Weisberger, Bernard. “Electoral Headaches.” American Heritage. November 1992.
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