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Electoral College still of use today
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.