desirable that the sense of the people should operate in the choice of the
person to whom so important a trust was to be confided. This end will be
answered by committing the right of making it, not to any preestablished body,
but to men chosen by the people for the special purpose, and at the particular
conjuncture (Hamilton).” While I believe
the President should be elected by popular vote, the Electoral College is
a practical and honest process of electing our editor-in-chief. Though it was formed
by men who had no facet of what the world would be like today, the Electoral
College was created in the hopes of preventing a tyrant from being elected. It
provided the smaller states an opportunity to compete with the larger states
and offered a balance to the country. Yet, even with all of its progress, there were
still four cases in our history where the popular vote lost to the Electoral College,
meaning that even though America went through the process of electing their party
members to cast their votes for President, the votes of what the majority wanted
lost. So, I have to wonder if this is an outdated process that is too imbedded into
the American practices to easily change.
In 1787, during the Constitution Convention
the idea of choosing our POTUS by the means of electing officials was met with
widespread approval. “The committee demonstrated that this process would reconcile differing state and federal
interests, provide a degree of popular participation in the election, give the
less populous states some additional leverage in the process by providing
“senatorial” electors, preserve the presidency as independent of Congress, and
generally insulate the election process from political manipulation (History).”
The Electoral College would distribute 538 votes. 438 would be divided by the states’
holdings in the House of Representatives and the last 100 votes would be
divided equally among the 50 states (Ginsberg). What this means is that states
like Delaware, Nebraska and Alaska that have a small populations would get
their 2 votes from the Senate, and then would get one vote from the House.
California, being the biggest populous, would have 53 votes from the House and
their 2 votes from the senate. Once election time rears its head, Americans
will have an opportunity to vote for electoral candidates who will be the ones
to use the electoral votes, for their chosen state, to elect the president and
the vice president. It is the work of a middle man that makes the American
dream. Many people believe that they are directly voting for the president when
they cast in November, but in fact, they are voting in the hopes that their
state delegate will vote in favor of what the masses want.
Throughout recent history, there have really
only been two colors to pay attention to when dealing with a presidency; those
being red and blue. Each state generally falls into one of the two color
brackets. These colors determine if a state has a democratic majority or a
republican majority. Over time many states have fallen into a term that is
commonly called the “safe states.” These refer to state that generally select a
presidential candidate from the same political party year after year. The
democrats hold the larger state populations and tend to reside on the out
skirts of the country in places like California, New York, and Washington.
While on the opposing, republicans, take up the central US, encompassing Texas,
the Dakotas, and Nebraska, just to name a few. These states have remained so consistent
over the years that candidates will do very little campaigning in them. Instead
they will stick to the “swing states.” These are the states that are divided on
their political stance. It is in these states that will make or break an election.
Those men and women gunning for the Presidency will take special care in states
like Pennsylvania with 20 electoral votes, or in Ohio, a state with 18
electoral votes. It has been states like this that turn the tide for an
election year gaining the candidate one step closer to the 270 that they need
to win. It would then stand to reason that you would want to spend as much time
as you could visiting these swing states over the course of the campaign in the
hopes of turning them into a safe state for your party.
all this information in mind it would seem like an open and shut case on how
the president is elected and for the most part, it is fair for all states.
However, there comes a time, five times to be accurate, when the elected official
is not one that the mass majority wanted in office. Just recently during the 2016
election, though Trump won the Electoral vote and secured his victory, it wasn’t
without major frustration. Trump won in six states by less than a 2% margin.
Within these 6 states, the real decision came down to Pennsylvania, Michigan
and Wisconsin where the division of the people was even narrower. The 2016 election “was effectively decided by 107,000 people in
these three states. Trump won the popular vote there by that combined
amount. That amounts to 0.09 percent of all votes cast in this election (Silver).”
This is where, in my opinion, the Electoral College finds its faults. They
tried to create a system that
promotes equal opportunities based on population but there are only a few
states that actually make a difference in an election. However, if too many
people leave the “safe state” it will no longer be so. So, if you want to help
you must stay where you are and not change a thing.
there is no better model to choose from and for the most part this system does
its job. We the people just need to begin to evolve in a more unified fashion
to see progressive progress. I know that there are difficulties with a popular
vote just as there are negative with an electoral college but we Americans need
to be amendable to the times. We are evolving into a society that wants the
greater good, equality and dependability. Perhaps the methods that worked for
older generations are no longer useful today. Perhaps as we grow as a nation we
will find a new way, or enhance the old ways when it comes to electing the
official that governs our nation.
Ginsberg, Benjamin, et al. We the People: an Introduction to American Politics. W.W. Norton &
Hamilton, Alexander. “The Federalist Papers : No. 68.” The Avalon
Project : Federalist No 68, 14 Mar. 1788,
History.com Staff. “Electoral College.” History.com, A&E
Television Networks, 2010, www.history.com/topics/electoral-college.
Silver, Nate. “Donald Trump Had A Superior
Electoral College Strategy.” FiveThirtyEight,
FiveThirtyEight, 10 Feb. 2017,