Although the election of Donald Trump is not the sole reason to doubt the abilities of the antiquated electoral system of the United States, it has greatly re-energized intense scrutiny of the College. Rightly, regardless of their motivations, many have concluded that the epitome of democracy and freedom should not abide by a system capable of muffling the will of the majority of its people. In remembrance of the radical ideals conceived and adopted by the fathers of our nation, to preserve and augment the core virtues that distinguish and empower, the nation should endeavor to see this Electoral College laid to rest.
The Electoral College was created by the Founding Fathers and codified in the Constitution, yet this fact alone does not inhibit fault in the system. The same quill that gave ink to the College determined anyone of dark complexion forty percent lesser. Furthermore, alterations to the Constitution were pioneered by the Founders themselves with the Bill of Rights. Archaically, amend means to “put right.” The Thirteenth put right slavery. The Nineteenth put right suffrage. The Twenty-eighth can put right elections.
The Founders implemented the College in order to prevent the concentrated peoples in cities from overpowering rural Americans. There were clear divides of interests between the urban American and the rural American, the Northern American and the Southern American. In an effort to balance these interests, the College was devised. As America aged, this decision seemed eerily astute. The Southern and Northern sections of “these” United States of America, catered to by sectional parties, harbored two disparate cultures and societies. The emerging urban culture of the industrialized city in the North conflicted with the westward extension of slave-based agriculture. To compensate, neither could overshadow the other in the College (although a clear horizontal divide was imminent each election). Not until Lincoln’s election in 1860, name absent from all Southern ballots, did the flaws of the College become apparent.
Today, there is no profound gash afflicting the United States of America. Farms and factories can be found in all states—service occupations, the principal job in the U.S., dominate the humblest towns and the greatest cities. No issue like slavery pervades; no polarizing force persists. If this noble facet of the College, the checking of politically parted regions, has become obsolete, should the system itself not become obsolete as well? In pursuit of inalienable freedom and in recognition of a more homogeneous America, should our presidential election not become one person, one vote?
A far more compelling piece of evidence to support the dismantling of the Electoral College is the intrinsic unfairness of proportioning populations to votes. Essentially, some voters in America have a more weighted vote, meaning that they influence the election more. For an individual in a sprawling city in a large state, the sheer scale of the population reduces the impact of their vote. An individual in a rural hamlet in a state with low population density holds a greater vote share than the city dweller, thus affecting the election more so. The College’s compensation is to minimize the small state’s whole impact in the election while maximizing larger states’ impact. In other words, it aims to fix an unjust disparity with another unjust disparity. Every individual in a state should have a distinct say. No disparity would exist between voters, causing no disparity between states.
Further accentuating the mounting reasons to rectify the undemocratic method of electing America has endured is the understanding that voters in swing states have infinitely more power than those in cemented states. In essential swing states like Florida and Ohio, an individual voter is not silenced by a preset inclination in the state electorate. Indeed, the swing state voters are catered to by candidates and contribute more to the election simply because their state is volatile. In concrete states like California and Texas, dissenting votes are worthless. The intense political leaning of the majority of voters creates a futile atmosphere around voting against the current. What’s more, candidates are not imbued with determination to campaign in these states. The amalgamation of individual votes into the electoral system disproportionately affects the weight of a singular vote—in extreme cases, it silences them permanently.
Finally, some will argue that the Electoral College adequately and effectively maintains its original purpose today in protecting localized interests. They say that the College preserves one’s ability to vote for what is compatible with their walk of life rather than another across the Plains. Besides the aforementioned counters to this argument, one crucial clarification must be made. The Senate was instituted to pursue the interests of the state. The House of Representatives was conceived to pursue the interests of the districts within the state. They appease localized demands and wishes. The president upholds and extends and manifests and preserves and consolidates and augments national interests and demands and wishes and virtues. The president should not be elected by an anachronistic system that compensated for a long forgotten fault in America. The People—unweighted, unsilenced—should enjoy the liberty of selecting their leader in a true, just, and democratic fashion. One American, one vote.
By: Ryan Hill