I wanted to get this post up before the election so there would be no chance of it seeming like a whiner in case the unspeakable occurs on November 4th. That and should the unspeakable occur on November 4th, I’ll likely be busy as I plot my escape to Canada or Bali. Can you just live in Bali? Note to self: google Bali immigration website.
Let me preface my argument with: I have a great deal of respect for the founding fathers. I mean if you overlook the whole slavery thing, lack of women’s rights and whatnot, they were the best of the best when it comes to creating this little thing we call Democracy.
But let’s face it, there is no perfect union. No matter how many times we pat ourselves on the back for such, it really has a number of flaws. One of the bigger ones is the Electoral College in my humble opinion.
I’ve read the arguments for and against the system we currently use. Did the founding fathers lack faith in their fellow countryMEN? Was it about protecting the little states? Poor, poor Rhode Island. You know I’ve never in all my travels met anyone from Rhode Island? Don’t you think that’s a little weird?
Where was I?
Oh yes, the Electoral College. Back in the day as the watercolor that would be our political landscape was painted, great concern was given to the small states. Many feared that small states would lose any voice in federal government in a straight one MAN – one vote system was put in place.
But according to some sources, though this is the reason so many quote for the EC’s inception, the founding fathers might have had other thoughts in mind.
from Wikipedia article:
The design of the Electoral College was based upon several assumptions and anticipations of the Framers of the Constitution:
1. Each state would employ the district system of allocating electors.
2. Each presidential elector would exercise independent judgment when voting.
3. Candidates for either office would not pair together on the same ticket.
4. The system as designed would rarely produce a winner, thus sending the election to Congress.
On these facts, scholars have described the intended role of the Electoral College as simply a body who would nominate candidates from which the Congress would then select a President and Vice President.
 Chang, Stanley (2007). “Updating the Electoral College: The National Popular Vote Legislation”. Harvard Journal on Legislation 44 (205, at 208). Cambridge, MA: President and Fellows of Harvard College.
 Berg-Andersson, Richard E. (September 17, 2000), “What Are They All Doing, Anyway?: An Historical Analysis of the Electoral College”, The Green Papers
Interesting, no? If this is the truer reasoning behind the Electoral College, it needs to be abolished immediately if you ask me.
But for the sake of argument, let’s assume the intention was true and they were simply looking out for Rhode Island and all future Rhode Islands, you know like Montana and Alaska. It’s still outdated and should be revised at minimum and dissolved at best.
How can we claim that each vote counts in America when it really doesn’t? How in the world can we risk the electoral votes falling opposite the popular vote? How do we excite the voters and get them to the polls when it’s so easy to conclude that one extra voter is unimportant in the grand scheme of things?
The argument for the smaller states? Let’s be realistic, when it comes to presidential numbers, these small states are window dressing. How many visits did either candidate make to these 3-pointer states compared to Ohio or Pennsylvania or Florida? It’s absurd to think this system gives smaller states an equal voice, it simply doesn’t.
All voters regardless of state matter in a popular vote. Even those in the remote, small-tier states, long overlooked by candidates and campaigns, benefit from the abolishment of the EC. Their vote would count just as much as a voter in big California or Michigan because each vote would carry the exact same amount of weight. Nevermore would we hear about candidates pulling out of x state because it was a foregone conclusion. There would be no more red states/blue state arguments. Just millions and millions of votes that actually matter for the first time. One voice – one vote.
In 2000, George W. Bush claimed the Presidency without the popular vote. Al Gore held over 500,000 more votes than Bush and yet was never sworn into office. How can we tell our young people that voting is a responsibility that must be prioritized when it could very well mean nothing when the counting is done. Imagine if you were one of those half-million people?
As far as I’m concerned, I was one of those people. My vote didn’t count in 2000, along with 543,894 of my closest friends. As much as I blame W for the state of things right now, perhaps those framers of the Constitution deserve a little of it as well.
It does us no good to dwell on the what-could-have-beens, but now is the time to think long and hard if this is the version of democracy we want to continue with. Is it?