The US does not elect presidents by popular vote; rather, it uses the process of Electoral College to select leaders, which may not be politicians who are favored by the majority of voters. One good and most recent example of this was in 2000, when Al Gore won the popular vote, but George W. Bush earned more electoral votes, which gave him the presidency.
This method was originally set up by the country’s founding fathers to retain a representative form of government, where states are allotted certain numbers of electors that are equal to their number of members in the House and Senate. Typically, these electors vote for the candidate for which their states popularly voted. As time passed, numerous movements aimed to go from this method to a popular election, but the system still remains. To have a good idea about this, let us take a look at its pros and cons.
List of Pros of the Electoral College
1. It protects the interests of minority.
The Electoral College preserves the voice of states that have fewer populations and more rural areas. This is especially true in these modern times, where this method saves the interests of farmers and people who are living in less-bustling locations.
2. It maintains division of power.
The Constitution divides the government into 3 different branches, which are contrived to offer checks and balances, along with deliberation. As proponents argue, the president (if directly elected) can declare a national well-known mandate that would undermine the other branches. What’s worse about this is that it may lead to tyranny.
3. It entrusts more power to the states.
States have the power to select delegates to the Electoral College, which allows them to take part in the selection of a president. Therefore, a representative form of government is maintained.
4. It facilitates a 2-party system.
Though activists may hate the 2-party system, this structure actually creates more stability. A small number of political parties will allow for a generalized platform, rather than parties focusing on specific issues.
List of Cons of the Electoral College
1. It does not assure that the person favored by the majority wins.
Smaller states are given more Electoral College votes than their individual population percentage, as the minimum number of such votes for a state is 3. This is considered by some people as being not democratic.
2. It gives more attention to states in bigger “swing”.
Most states see candidates who have the majority of votes acquiring all of their electoral votes, while a few of them hold a history of consistently voting the Republican or the Democrat. Now, candidates tend to pay less attention to states that have more attention and clear favorites to larger states that do not have a clear favorite.
3. It is complicated, which discourages people from voting.
A popular vote is a simple majority, but the Electoral College is composed of redistribution of votes every decade due to the election of delegates and changes in population. Also, it involves many more steps, which might cause the people to feel that their votes do not matter and encourage them not to participate in the elections.
By weighing the pros and cons of the Electoral College, you will now be able to know where you stand.
Crystal Lombardo is a contributing editor for Vision Launch. Crystal is a seasoned writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience. She has been an editor of three popular blogs that each have had over 500,000 monthly readers.