|Categories:||Politics United States Political science|
The Electoral College is made up of a group of people representing each state of the United States who vote for the election of the President and Vice-President of the United States. The presidential candidate who receives more than two hundred and seventy electoral votes which are the more than fifty percent of the electoral votes wins the Presidency (Register, 2016). The Electoral College has its share of critics and defenders who have their valid points on why they support or do not support the Electoral College. This paper will look at the advantages and disadvantages of the Electoral College based on the arguments brought forward by these critics and defenders.
Critics argue that the Electoral College leaves room for the election of a minority president, one who does not have the majority of the popular votes. This has been observed before in 1824, where there were more than three presidential candidates and the country was so deeply divided politically that no candidate attained the majority electoral vote. This could also happen if a presidential candidate has heavy support in a small number of states but the opponent maintains a slight popular lead in a sufficient number of states to enable him to win the majority of the Electoral votes as was observed in 1888. Also, as was seen by Kennedy in 1960 and Nixon in 1968, a third candidate can get enough votes making none of the top two candidates to get over fifty percent of the national popular total (Kimberling, 2016).
Critics also argue that the Electoral College discourages voter turnout. They argue that when a state highly favors a specific party that is either Republican or Democrat, voters usually feel that their votes will not have much effect as each state gets the same number of electoral votes despite the voter turnout. The system does not motivate people to turn out and vote apart from the big swing states where voters are evenly split.
Critics also argue that the Electoral College falls short on giving an accurate reflection of the national popular will as the presidential candidate who gets the majority of the popular votes in that state wins all the Electoral votes of that state. They argue that the system gives more power to the small less populated states which is not fair to the big states.
Supporters of the Electoral College system defend it arguing that it prevents a president from being elected solely based on domination of one populous region over the others, therefore, giving candidates who come from the less populated areas a chance at winning the presidency.
Supporters also defend the Electoral College stating that it has contributed to political stability as it has encouraged and facilitated the maintenance of a two-party system. Electoral College system makes it quite hard for a third minor party to get an adequate amount of popular votes in a sufficient number of states to have a chance of winning the presidency. Therefore, third parties are compelled to compromise their radical views and form a political coalition with one of the two major parties if they desire to accomplish any of their objectives.
Supporters state that the Electoral College upholds a federal system of government as it gives each state the freedom to devise and make amendments to its individual laws with respect to voting.
The Electoral College has been in existence for over two hundred years and though proposals have been brought forward to eliminate the Electoral College none has succeeded as the alternative to it seems to be more problematic than the Electoral College system.
Kimberling, W. C. (2016, April 28). The Electoral College. Retrieved from http://uselectionatlas.org/INFORMATION/INFORMATION/electcollege_procon.php web.
Register, O. o. (2016, 4 28). What is the Electoral College? Retrieved from U.S Electoral College: http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/about.html web.
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