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Electoral College - Essay Example

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In a vibrant democracy, there is always the desire to change one’s government for the better such that it represents more of its citizens in a satisfactory way. Within this context, there are those parties in the United States who have this strong desire to change the structure of the federal government as a means of abolishing a long-held tradition of electoral vote…
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Electoral College
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Download file to see previous pages This system of giving a voice to the smaller states was a system designed by the Founding Fathers at the beginning of America’s history, when only a few states stood in existence (Hardaway 76). Just like many decisions of the federal government today, the Electoral College system was built from a compromise that gave greater strength to the union. The attempt to disassemble the Electoral College system undermines the ability of the country to provide effective leadership to elected officials, which in turn would make the country weaker in the end. Although the United States is commonly described as a democracy, it is in fact not a pure popular democracy like Ancient Greece, in which each citizen was invited to make decisions in the legislature (Diamond 7). Rather, the Constitution of the United States strictly limits power between individual citizens and the federal government. The Electoral College is one such limitation placed on the power of the people, and it must be understood properly within this historical (or Constitutional) context. Namely, while the United States is a democracy, the interests of the people are upheld by the representatives that take on that power. The electoral vote shares this power between the people and the government in a way that incorporates the interests of states, the people, and the federal government. With respect to the states, the Electoral College provides protection to the interests of smaller states, just as the Founding Fathers originally intended. At that time, the critical issue on everyone’s mind could not be avoided—namely, how the small and large states would share power in both the legislative and executive branches” (Hardaway 76). That is because the current system provides for the protection of all states’ rights. Remembering that the United States is a federation of states, and not one single state, each state is deserving of its own individual say in the election of the president to preside over that union. A popular vote undermines the concept of a federal system of states, causing candidates to focus only on the most populous, urban areas of the country. “Elections are as freely and democratically contested as elections can be—but in the states… Democracy thus is not the question regarding the electoral college; federalism is” (Gregg 7). There also appears to be a practical problem with changing the electoral vote system to a system of popular vote, which is its primary competitor. Fears surrounding the Electoral College deal with the possibility that the popular vote does not match the electoral vote. However, this is a nonexistent problem, considering “the fact that the electoral and popular vote winners have been the same in every presidential election conducted in the past 100 years” (Hardaway 11). In fact, because inconsistency between the two methods of measuring vote legitimacy is so rare in history, it seems practically irrelevant to implement the changes need to switch to a popular vote. Changing the electoral system would require an Amendment to the Constitution, which also poses a practical problem for Congressmen. Members of the House and Senate from large states, like California and Texas, will be unlikely to surrender their power over smaller states in return for a system that ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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