The original formation of the Electoral College for the purpose of selecting the President and Vice President of the United States once every four years had very solid reasoning behind it. There was a fear that people had poor access to information and that they would perhaps be biased to vote for whomever was running for the office from their state, and so there would be a number of people representing each state and no real decision made about who should be the next president. That may have been fine for that time period, but we are living in an age of information that is readily available — even if that information is about what the housemates of Big Brother are doing at any given time.
People are now able to gather information about candidates whether the person lives five miles away from them or fifteen hundred miles away. We have to wonder now, what would happen if the electoral college were no more?
For one, there would be no such thing as a swing state. The swing state is a state that could either vote for one candidate or another. States vote either one way or another and all of their electoral votes go one way or the other. Consequently, if a state looks like it could go either way, presidential candidates focus quite a bit of attention on those states and not so much on other states which have historically always gone to them.
What a world of difference it would make to a Republican voter living in New York, or a Democrat living in Texas, knowing that their vote actually would have an impact instead of being swallowed in the sea of opposition votes. Moreover, had the popular vote been what chose the President in 2000, we would have had President Gore from 2000 to 2004 instead of President Bush. I can’t help but imagine that the country would be in a different place now had that been the case.
What would it take to end the electoral college? Since it was enacted by the Constitution, it would take nothing short of a Constitutional amendment to end it. It’s quite a process. Congress must propose amendments and two thirds of both the House and Congress must vote in its favor. The amendment then must be ratified by at least 38 of the 50 states in order to be established. I would be very interested to see if this will ever happen in my lifetime as it would change radically the way the President is elected and how campaigns are run.
I agree we should elect presidents because of the popular vote they win — not some outdated voting scheme!
Quite right. Getting it done, however, seems insurmountable!