Why The Electora College Must Go

Started Nov 6, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Marty4650 Forum Pro • Posts: 13,477
Why The Electora College Must Go

As I write this, no votes have been cast yet, so this isn't a partisan plea to help one candidate or the other. This is just a statement about why this system no longer makes sense for America.

Our Electoral College was created in order to give more influence to small states. By assigning electors based on the number of Congressmen, small states tend to get over represented in selecting our President, since every state - no matter how small - gets 2 senators.

Plus, the system is mostly "winner take all" which means all the votes cast for the losing candidate in each state are essentially wasted. They are not added together to determine who wins the election.

One more problem is that voting for an elector doesn't guarantee that that elector for your candidate will vote for your candidate. They are "pledged" to do so, but we have several examples of times they voted for whoever they wanted, not who you wanted when you voted for them. These are called "unfaithful electors" and there is nothing illegal about it.

The net effect of this is that a person can lose the popular vote and still win the election. The candidate with the fewer votes can be elected. And this flies directly in the face of the democratic concept of "majority rule."

While rare, this has happened four times in our history, the most recent being in 2000. The Democrats were right when they said "Gore should have won because he got more votes" but they only said this after he lost. Prior to the election, the Gore campaign team actually thought the electoral college would benefit him, since they thought he would lose the popular vote but win the electoral vote. It turned out exactly the other way around, so it was only at that point that they decided to change the rules.

You just can't change the rules after the game is played. You have to do it before the game begins. And that is still true today. It's too late to change the rules for 2012, but we certainly can fix this problem for the 2016 election.

I actually did the math, and while unlikely it is mathematically possible for a candidate to win an election by just winning the 11 states with the most electors.  They could lose the other 29 states and still be elected president.

It is also possible to win an election with just 28% of the vote... if you win the top 11 states with a slim majority, and get absolutely no votes in the other 29 states. This is even more unlikely, but it could happen. Why are we taking this risk when it would be so simple to just say "whoever gets the most votes wins" just like we do for every election EXCEPT the Presidency.

The Electoral College might have had a purpose 200 years ago, but today it is just a quaint anachronism that can potentially cause real problems for a nation that thinks it is a democracy. (OK... a representative democracy... but you get the idea.)

This method just doesn't make logical sense in the 21st Century. We should change this method of electing our President before the next election. No matter who wins this one.

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