10 Pros, Cons, and Ideas for the Electoral College
The electoral college is a very interesting system of voting that has several pros and cons. I think it has some good and bad points, and I think it has some room for improvement.
Pros and Cons of the Electoral College
1. Pro: It allows small states and small town America to have a say in the the election. The candidates go to every corner of the battleground states and many people get the opportunity to meet and question them. I am originally from a small town and I think that this is one of the major benefits of the electoral college.
2. Con: Many states are seemingly completely left out of the process. A solid blue state like California never gets to see either candidate. Neither does a solid red state like Texas. These are the 2 biggest states in the union and they don’t get any attention from the candidates.
3. Pro: It gives the winning candidate the majority of the vote. In the 1992 election Bill Clinton only received around 42% of the vote. However, due to the influence of Ross Perot he still won a convincing majority in the electoral college. There is definitely some benefit to winning a majority. You don’t want the perception of 2/3 of the country not wanting you as soon as you take office.
4. Con: Some votes are “worth” more than others. Certainly a vote in Ohio is not the same as a vote in New York.
5. Pro: It avoids the possibility of a recount of the entire nation. After the fiasco in Florida in 2000, can anybody imagine the nightmare of a recount for the whole country. The chances of fraud would also go up tremendously.
6. Con: It is a remnant of slavery. The southern states had smaller populations when the country was formed due to blacks only counting for 3/5 for population reasons. The compromise for small states to be represented, (and so that they would join) was the senate. The senate has 2 representatives for each state, putting the small states on a level playing field with the large states. These 2 votes in the electoral college also give small states an advantage over large states. A vote in a small state is worth more relative to a vote in a large state because of this.
7. Pro: I think that it does a better job representing the country as a whole. Some of the larger states leaning in one direction could completely over power a large portion of the country. The electoral college provides some balance to this.
8. Con: It makes having a third party nearly impossible. If there was a legitimate third party, the electoral college simply does not work as it is currently structured. As it is now, a candidate must win a majority in the electoral college to win. If there is no majority, the House of Representatives votes to decide the president. If we have 3 parties splitting the electoral votes, the house would decide each time. I don’t think the American public would stand for this.
9. Idea: Go to a straight popular vote. This basically solves each con of the electoral college. Unfortunately, it basically negates all of the pros for the electoral college in that it would ignore small town America and create a nightmare in the possibility of a nationwide recount. This brings me to what I think is a better solution.
10. Idea: Separate the votes in the electoral college by district as Nebraska and Maine do and as the Democratic party did for most of its primaries. This solves many of the problems of the electoral college. Instead of having battleground states, we would then have battleground districts. This would make candidates campaign in many more states than they currently do. A Democrat could win some districts in Texas and a Republican could gain some votes in California. More people would be given the opportunity have their voices heard. This would be much closer to a popular vote yet we would be spared the possibility of a nationwide recount.
This would also make a third party more viable. Though they currently are not able to compete on a statewide level, I believe third parties could compete in some districts. After winning some electoral votes, they would gain recognition and increase support among like minded individuals. As it stands now, most people feel it is a wasted vote making it nearly impossible for third parties make a difference. While we would have to work around the problem of not having a majority, there are certainly benefits to having another option. If nothing else it would help police the two crooked parties we have now. If there were the possibility of another party winning, they would have to behave themselves more than they currently do. I think this is overall a much better solution than the system we currently have in place. Also, this would not be that difficult to put into place. The states already have the option to do this. As I said earlier, Nebraska and Maine do it this way now. 2 down, 48 to go.
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