Electoral College still of use today

By on November 13, 2012
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Every election, there are talks of abolishing the Electoral College. As many people know, the popular vote does not directly pick the President. Instead, the common man votes for electors, who then convene in December to pick the President. Because all electoral votes of a state are given to the majority, the Electoral College effectively silences the minority in many states. Only in the few battleground states do individual votes really matter, as they can determine the direction in which the state goes.

Why do we have the Electoral College? The Founding Fathers faced two problems. One was that communication was slow during the 18th century, and counting the votes of every citizen would be extremely time-consuming. Two, they believed that the common man was not knowledgeable enough to pick the president.
In today’s world, it seems that both of these problems are a thing of the past. The internet makes communication almost instantaneous, and the wealth of information accessible through various media can make anyone knowledgeable. Why, then, should we still have the Electoral College?

Though the problem of communication is passé, I feel that the problem of knowledge is still very much alive. Yes, information is much easier to reach, but people must be willing to absorb that knowledge. Much is buried in the long, dry studies and reports that the common man is unwilling to read. We are much more willing to listen to the television than to read through pages upon pages of legalese and business speak.

Unfortunately then, the general population is gullible. It takes nothing more than a politician on television to turn a lie into a fact. Take, for example, views of our health system. Many people, especially those in the Republican campaign, believe that the United States has the best health system in the world because someone on television proclaimed so. They can’t be wrong if they’re on TV, right?
The last time the World Health Organization ranked the world’s health systems in 2000, the United States placed at 37. In 2010, the Commonwealth Fund ranked seven developed countries’ health care system. In all five categories – quality, efficiency, access, equity, and healthy lives – the United States came in dead last. We did, however, come in first in cost per capita, spending over $7,000 per person. We may have the best doctors and the latest technology, but unlike other developed countries, we are bogged down in a quagmire of corporate interests, lack of oversight, and bureaucratic red tape.

Until the common man is willing to look beyond the lies fed to us by the media, the Electoral College will continue to be of use. After all, we still need to be protected from our own ignorance and our willingness to accept lies as truth.

Tianjiao Zhang
Staff Writer
tzhang@uab.edu

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  • Anonymous

    If it weren’t for the Electoral College, we wouldn’t have had to suffer Bush’s first term, and if he hadn’t had a first term, he wouldn’t have had a second.

    Besides, the rest of this country is tired of having to pay attention to Florida or Ohio every four years.

    • Dave

      if it wasnt for the electoral college, we wouldnt have obama and biden back for four more years of hell! and then the media celebrates the obama supporters fro selecting the “right candidate”. this nation sickens me to the point.

      • Jim Jones

        Obama won
        the popular vote. So what system do you purpose? Whichever one favors a
        Republican? The hell you speak of is a byproduct of the wonderful 8 years of
        Bush destroying the middle class.

      • http://www.facebook.com/rdiazalbertini Ricardo Diaz-Albertini

        last time i check romney did not win the popular vote either.

      • Anonymous

        Obama won the popular vote, both times. Sorry this fact eludes you. Maybe if you stepped out of the echo chamber you’ve been living in, you might see facts as they really are.

  • Martha

    The people take truth as the authority not authority as truth. It doesn’t take a genius to pick between two candidates and I hardly believe Tianjiao Zhang has his pulse on the American public. The plutocracy must end starting with the two party system and then the electoral college may Zhu Rong have mercy on your soul.

  • http://twitter.com/oldgulph s e

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the
    candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in
    presidential elections. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state
    maps. There would no longer be a handful of ‘battleground’ states where voters
    and policies are more important than those of the voters in 80% of the states
    that now are just ‘spectators’ and ignored after the conventions.

    When the bill is enacted by states with a majority of the electoral
    votes– enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538), all the
    electoral votes from the enacting states would be awarded to the presidential
    candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC.

    The presidential election system that we have today was not designed, anticipated,
    or favored by the Founding Fathers but, instead, is the product of decades of
    evolutionary change precipitated by the emergence of political parties and
    enactment by 48 states of winner-take-all laws, not mentioned, much less
    endorsed, in the Constitution.

    The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in
    the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for President.
    Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the
    President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial
    property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have
    come about by state legislative action.

    The National Popular Vote bill would end the disproportionate attention and influence of the “mob” in the current handful of closely divided battleground states, such as Florida, while the “mobs” of the vast majority of states are ignored. 9 states determined the 2012 election. 10 of the original 13 states are politically irrelevant in presidential campaigns now. In 2008, 98% of the campaign events involving a presidential or vice-presidential candidate occurred in just 15 closely divided “battleground” states. 12 of the 13 lowest population states (3-4 electoral votes), that are non-competitive are ignored, in presidential elections. Over half (57%) of the events were in just four states (Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and Virginia). Similarly, 98% of ad spending took place in these 15 “battleground” states.

    The current system does not provide some kind of check on the “mobs.” There have been 22,453 electoral votes cast since presidential elections became competitive (in 1796), and only 17 have been cast for someone other than the candidate nominated by the elector’s own political party. 1796 remains the only instance when the elector
    might have thought, at the time he voted, that his vote might affect the national outcome. Since 1796, the Electoral College has had the form, but not the substance, of the deliberative body envisioned by the Founders. The electors now are dedicated party activists of the winning party who meet briefly in mid-December to cast their totally predictable rubberstamped votes in accordance with their pre-announced pledges.

    If a Democratic presidential candidate receives the most votes, the state’s dedicated Democratic party activists who have been chosen as its slate of electors become the Electoral College voting bloc. If a Republican presidential candidate receives the most votes, the state’s dedicated Republican party activists who have been chosen as its slate of electors become the Electoral College voting bloc. The winner of the presidential election is the candidate who collects 270 votes from Electoral College voters from among the winning party’s dedicated activists.

    The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld state laws guaranteeing faithful voting by presidential electors (because the states have plenary power over presidential electors).

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in recent closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%; in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and in other states polled: AZ – 67%, CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.

    The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 states. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions with 132 electoral votes – 49% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.

    NationalPopularVote
    Follow National Popular Vote on Facebook via NationalPopularVoteInc

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