I am a citizen of the United States who is not affiliated with any political party. I am a conservative-leaning independent.
Every once in a while, and usually after the candidate for President who won the popular vote loses the election, the Electoral College debate starts again. Thus, when President Donald Trump defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, the debate ignited once more.
It is unlikely that the Electoral College will ever be abolished because the smaller states (which are many in number) would vote against its abolition. Even so, discussions about how our country should be ran is a blessing; in many countries, questioning the way the governments' work could get you into a lot of trouble and could even result in death. Thus, the discussion of this issue may be considered a blessing that is the result of the liberty that we enjoy in the United States.
When you vote for a presidential candidate such as Hillary Clinton or Al Gore, and they get more popular votes and they still lose, it makes those who voted for either one of them feel like their vote didn't matter. When this happens, it is usually the Democrat candidate that gets the short end of the stick. Given this, it is perfectly reasonable to expect some grumbling from Democrats, and I don't think their grumbling is necessarily stupid, and I do think, on a personal level, that their complaint is reasonable (though I disagree with it).
The United States, however, is not a straight-up democracy. It is a collection of states that decided to make a union, and in order for the union to be successful, some compromises had to be made and one of those compromises was the Electoral College. Now, does historical precedent make the Electoral College a necessity in our country? This question only goes to show that there is a philosophy that underpins historical interpretation. The problems of history are not so easily solved, for some would answer this question with a "yes" and others with a "no."
Why the Electoral College Should Stay
I support the Electoral College because I view the United States as a union of state governments, and it is the state government's officials that are to represent the American people directly. It is true that some federal government officials represent the people, but the states are supposed to have more of an impact on our lives than the federal government. Unfortunately, the federal government has taken on roles that the states were originally intended to fulfill. Thus, there is an overemphasis on the federal government which is, frankly, not good for our country. Different states in the union have different needs, and this is why the Electoral College is necessary. The state represents the voters and the state's electoral votes represent the state's voter's will, and the necessity of each electoral vote ensures that the concerns for each respective state are heard for the election.
The issues that California faces are not the issues that Oklahoma faces. This is because the geography is different, the people's beliefs are different, and the states have different governing policies. This is one of the beauties of the republic. Though there is disagreement between the people in different states about government policies, they have separate governments that can address the issues that the citizens of states are concerned with. Thus, California can have its liberal policies and Oklahoma can have its conservative policies.
Problems with the Arguments for the Abolition of the Electoral College
If we abolished the Electoral College, it would not make any sense for states to have their own governments. Why? Because state governments (particularly smaller states) would have such little power that their government policies would become inconsequential. A straight-up popular vote would result in the primacy of larger states in regards to policy, and thus, the policies of those larger states would eventually become federal policies, for the politicians elected would agree with those states. Thus, smaller state governments would be beside the point.
Some will counter by arguing that people are getting the short end of the stick because even though one candidate gets more votes from individual people, they can still lose the election, thus, the will of the minority is forced on the majority. Since many of the people making this argument are liberal, I find it a bit ironic because liberals tend to be very concerned with issues of minorities. It seems to be inconsistent thinking on their part.
Observations of irony aside, the objection does make a reasonable point; however, I do not think it is enough to justify the abolition of the Electoral College. This is because we are not a democracy; we are a republic. This highlights a point that I previously made. If the Electoral College is abolished, there will be no point in having state governments. In essence, it would break our republic, and due to this breaking, the entire government of the United States would need to be changed. Because of this, simply advocating the abolition of the Electoral College is not enough; what supporters of Electoral College abolition should be advocating is a complete restructuring of the US government and the abolition of state governments. Thus, the supporters of the abolition of the Electoral College are framing the issue at hand incorrectly.
Does the inconvenience of such a change invalidate our opposition's position that the Electoral College should be abolished? Not necessarily, but it does show that the current argument for its abolition is faulty in its reasoning. The arguments being given by supporters of the abolition of the Electoral College are inconsistent, and thus, deficient, and showing the deficiency of arguments for a position is enough for us to justify dismissing the position.
Martin on April 14, 2019:
"Because state governments (particularly smaller states) would have such little power that their government policies would become inconsequential."
Except this is already happening with the EC in place. The only states that matter are swing states. Any state that isn't swing, gets largely ignored regardless of size.
And why would anyone want smaller, economically unimportant states to have so much impact on who wins the presidency anyway? So called blue parts of the country account for two thirds of economic activity in the US. Red states on the other hand tend to be economically weak, largely dependent on hand outs from the federal government. Why would anyone want these red states (who have proven time and time again that they are incapable of implementing economic policies that help their people at the local level) to have so much power at the federal level? We should put an equal amount of power into the hands of voters in states that are economically viable (yes those are mostly blue states) and the taker states (mostly red states). Right now, the taker states have way too much power when it comes to both the presidency and the Senate. This is terrible for America's long term economic health. Making the voting power of both givers and takers equal is only fair.
Getting rid of the EC won't mean the end of the Republican party or permanent dominance for the Democratic party. Both parties will have to change to broaden their appeal to more kinds of people. Republicans will have a reason to appeal more to minority voters and Democrats will have to appeal more to rural whites. The EC is encouraging both parties to appeal to the extreme left or the extreme right even though most Americans are moderates. It's time for the moderate majority to have a say. Good riddance to the EC.
Jason L Petersen (author) from Pensacola, FL on April 05, 2019:
I am agreement with you that there is an issue with the EC. The way it is supposed to work is that the electoral votes are supposed to vote in accordance with the will of the state. For instance, Hillary Clinton would have gotten about half of Florida's electoral votes. If the electoral representatives had voted along percentage lines in states, Hilary Clinton may have won the election. I think fixing our electoral college is a better solution than getting rid of it (the reasons I have for this are largely the same as the ones I gave for keeping the electoral college in the article). Thank you for commenting!
Brad on April 05, 2019:
The need for the EC to be kept couldn't have been illustrated any better than the Trump 306 to 230 win over HFC. If the popular vote would have been without the offset by the EC then the highly populated states would always win. And three of them CA, NY and IL would dictate the government for the country.
The one thing wrong with the EC is the all or nothing vote by some states. It should be a fraction of the total to each candidate. Between CA, NY and IL they gave HRC 105 EC votes. And these three states are 6% of the states, and yet gave about 30% of the 270 needed and that leaves 47 more states to 165 EC votes. There is the West Coast and the East Coast states with high populations. The EC was the best chance for the other states to be involved in the voting process to not get drowned out because of their lower population.
just a thought
Jason L Petersen (author) from Pensacola, FL on April 04, 2019:
It is likely that the timing of the discussions are, for the most part, politically motivated.
Steven A Hall from Holbrook on April 04, 2019:
The only people who actually argue for it to be abolished are liberals who are mad that Trump won.