Should the electoral college be abolished?

Illustration: Carter Klassen · The Sentry

Illustration: Carter Klassen · The Sentry

the college protects from tyranny of any sort

Opinion by Gillian Russo

A common misconception among the public is that the United States functions as a democracy, when it actually was established as a republic. A democracy favors the majority vote, whereas a republic is “a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives…rather than a monarch.”

This differentiation is extremely important. A republic ensures that everyone has a fair chance to be heard, while a democracy only allows for the majority vote to have their say, effectively stripping the minority vote of their innate right to select their leaders. It is the Electoral College that prevents what James Madison called the “tyranny of the majority.” It would appear the current majority at risk of becoming tyrannical is the Democratic Party.

As a country “composed of small republics” the equal representation of each states’ interests is essential. Without the coalition of each “small republic” the United States would have never come to be and would no longer continue to exist (the Civil War, anyone?). The founding fathers instituted the republic system to prevent the formation of an oligarchy, and to simply dissolve the electoral college because it is “antiquated” is to dissolve the Constitution for the same reason.  

The Democratic party believes that the Electoral College is antiquated simply because it has recently prevented their majority from resting power from the rest of America, such as with Mrs. Clinton in the 2016 election. The very fact that Democrats believe that less populated states have been “overrepresented” is proof that the threat of the tyrannical majority still exists today. So, for a party that  always claims to be fighting for the little guy, why is it the far-left voters are trying so hard to squash the very system that has kept the little guys running a fair race with the popular vote for over two centuries?  

Moral of the story is this: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. No one wants to find out how the United States turned into Panem, which coincidentally is a democracy, not a republic.

the college ignores the votes of the people

Opinion by Lorraine Kelly

In 2016, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. More Americans voted for her than for Donald Trump. But who cares about individual votes coming from the actual constituents of the country when the electoral college exists? Why even bother voting when an elite group of electors can make the decisions for the whole country?  

 The electoral college is an antiquated system that systematically overrepresents certain states, and thus does not align with democratic equality. In the electoral college, each state is given a number of electoral votes cast by electors. The number of votes depends on population size. While its intention was to balance power between smaller, less populated states and large metropolitan states, its real impact has shifted in the last few centuries.  

As the United States has grown and expanded, the power of the electoral college has shifted in favor of conservative, likely rural, states. For example, in 2015, Wyoming was overrepresented by 306%. The electoral college has even begun to represent conservative votes in general: 11 “strong Republican” states (as defined by Gallup) have 65% more representation in the Electoral College than if their votes were truly defined by eligible voters.  

Moreover, the electoral college minimizes the incentive for voting. Each state has the same amount of electoral votes regardless of voter turnout. The United States already has a history of electing presidents who have lost the popular vote: Donald Trump, George W. Bush and John Quincy Adams were all elected president, despite having fewer popular votes. If voting is the foundation of democracy, then why does the United States implement a system that controls its impact?  

In a country as expansive as the United States, the intended effect of the Electoral College has become ultimately obsolete. Especially since the last several elections have led to non-popular vote candidates, voter turnout will inevitably decrease, leading to the further destruction of American democracy. It’s been two and a half centuries since the Electoral College was formed: time to get over it.  

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