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Electoral College and Its Supports

The Election System

In the U.S., during the presidential election time, regular people do not vote for the candidates directly. Instead, they choose the representatives and define the winning party of the state (Farrar, 2019). The number of electoral votes includes two for the members of the U.S. Senate and additionally one per each Congressional district. There are currently five hundred and thirty-eight chosen representatives, and two hundred and seventy votes are needed to achieve 51% and win the elections (Above the noise, 2019). The U.S. Senate resolves challenging situations after the Electoral Voting stage (Cobb, 2020). After that, the candidate becomes a presidential elect and starts to prepare for their work at the Office.

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The Purpose of the Electoral College

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the U.S. politicians had a divided opinion over the presidential election process. Some supported allowing only the nation’s leaders to choose the future rulers, saying that illiterate workers and farmers would not be able to vote adequately. Others wanted to avoid the concentration of power in one governmental organ and to hear people’s needs (Above the noise, 2019). The Electoral College became a compromise that allowed to consider all the citizens’ needs but voice them through the qualified representatives. Moreover, such system helped to avoid the increased influence of the highly-populated states.

The Electoral Votes by State

The electoral votes per state are defined based on Census data every ten years. The main factor influencing it is the number of districts, primarily correlated with the population and its homogeneity (Above the noise, 2019). For example, the current map of elected representatives shows three (the minimum) for Alaska since it is not heavily populated, and people there tend to have similar political views and daily issues. California has fifty-five because citizens living there have different needs to be addressed locally, thus requiring separate districts for the governing.

US Presidential Elections 2016

The U.S. presidential elections of 2016 became a significant event not only for the U.S. but for international politics in general. The whole world was interested to see who would become the American leader for the next four years: Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. The former represented the Democratic party and concentrated her campaign around the affordable healthcare system, LGBT and women’s rights, and raising the minimum wages. The Republican candidate, Donald Trump, focused on trade-agreements, business support, and stopping illegal immigration (CNN, n.d.). In most states (except Nebraska and Maine), winning the popular election means that all electoral votes go to the winner candidate, even if the difference was insignificant. Thus, it is possible to lose the people’s vote but still win the presidential elections, as it happened to Donald Trump. The 2016 presidential elections were the first ones taking place after the weakening of the Voting Rights Act in 2013 (Slater & Way, 2017). The ruling allowed each state to decide the requirements for participating in elections, including the need for ID or early voting conditions.

Popular Votes Results

Hillary Clinton won the popular votes by almost three million, including her confident victories in California, Illinois, and New York. Donald Trump lost the overall people’s vote, but gaining support from Florida, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin (although by a much smaller margin) allowed him to secure the needed number of electoral votes (CNN, n.d.). This may seem controversial, but it is allowed and legal in the U.S. political system. The fixed state contribution may not reflect the actual number of citizens voting, as Census data taken every decade is not accurate. Sometimes, a strong Third party may significantly shift the results in favor of either candidate, but the U.S. has had a two-party government for many generations. The strong representation of Republicans and Democrats also created challenging conditions for any other candidates.

Electoral College Results

Electoral college results have flipped the expectations of many U.S. voters in 2016. Donald Trump of the Republican party received a total of three hundred and six votes, while Hillary Clinton stopped at two hundred thirty-two. Florida (twenty-nine votes), Pennsylvania (twenty), and Wisconsin (ten) were crucial in those elections (CNN, n.d.). Democrats have blamed the results on the security measures during the voting process and international influence, but Trump still became the new president of the U.S. His opponents point at the unethical or intolerant remarks made during the election campaign. Still, the supporters either chose to focus on other aspects of the candidate’s programs or ignored the defiant behavior. It is also possible that Trump acted that way to attract attention, which could be beneficial during the election campaign if used by professional marketers.

Arguments in Support of Electoral College

There are opponents and supporters of the Electoral College instrument in the U.S. government. The original purpose of it was to divide the power between the federal system and states. The only way to do so would be to elect the local representatives before the final voting. It is a complicated and lengthy process; however, it has already been implemented and practiced for many years. Another argument is considering the interests of all the states when choosing the leader of the country, not just the most populated. Finally, the current electoral system may not be perfect, but it is approved through the U.S. Constitution, and changing it would require numerous meetings and discussions in order to be legitimate.

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Dividing the Power

The original aim to separate the state and federal governments is still crucial today, as concentrating all the decisions in a small group’s hands would mean the end of liberty and democracy, the essence of the U.S. Separating the institutions also allows to limit corruption since financing has to be reported several times throughout the process by different organizations. The state representatives have to earn and retain the population’s trust in order to be successful in politics, which is an additional stimulus for them to do their job well and think of the community.

Considering Small and Rural States

There are fifty states in a country, and each one of them has its interests and goals. If the votes depended solely on the number of people voting, the candidates could ignore the small states to concentrate on the large ones and gain an advantage in numbers (Above the Noise, 2019). Some states have large populations with low income and education levels; their representatives need to vote on the national level to improve the living conditions of the communities. Not all the national economic factors are connected to the urban institutions. Some significant resources, such as National Parks, Native Indian reservations, and scientific research facilities, are in the states with small populations and need protection the same as the popular urban or industrial locations.

Changing the Constitution

Currently, the elections of the president of the U.S. are guided by the Constitution of the U.S. Particularly, the XII Amendment describes in detail the process of voting for the future leader of the country (LII, n.d.) In order to change such document, two-thirds of both the Senate and the House of Representatives would have to vote for the new guidance standard to be accepted (Above the Noise, 2019). As the circumstances evolve, so do the needs of the U.S. citizens. Thus, there may be a need for a new Amendment before the next presidential elections. If the majority of the population demands the changes and states the reasons, they may happen before the 2024. However, going back to the popular vote or opting for other election systems may lead to unexpected economic and political consequences.

In conclusion, the current system supports the presidential elections through the Electorate College process and would be challenging to change. It allows the states with a small population to receive relative protection and representation in the government. Electoral College also encourages the presidential candidates to consider small states and their interests. Supporting environmental and educational programs is often necessary for the areas that generally do not receive attention and media coverage. Finally, such system is useful in avoiding power concentration and centralization as the voting process involves several layers of community representatives.

References

Above the noise. (2019). The Electoral College: Why such a big Debate? [Video]. YouTube.

CNN. (n.d.). Presidential results.

Cobb, W. N. (2020). Political science today: Constitutions, law, and justice. Sage.

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Farrar, L. (2019). Is the Electoral College good or bad for Democracy? KQED.

Legal Information Institute. (n.d.). Amendment XII. Election of President.

Slater, D., & Way, L. A. (2017). Was the 2016 U.S. election democratic? Here are 7 serious shortfalls. The Washington Post. 

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