Primarily the Electoral College system in the United States: Effective System for Electing a President – Research Paper Example
When the American public votes for the presidential candi and his Vice President they are in reality voting for what is known as the Electoral College or the presidential electors. Each State has a specific number of electors consistent with the number of Senate and House of Representative delegates. The mass population votes for these presidential electors which are usually based on the two party system currently present in the United States. Since its constitutional creation, the Electoral College system which dates back about 200 years now has been a subject of great debate. Arguments against the Electoral College system have been and continue to be vocally expressed by its critics as an archaic system in need of reform. However is the Electoral College an outdated system in need of change? Should a system that’s not technically broken be fixed?
The Electoral College system is a more effective system for electing a president than a popular vote system would be for various reasons. Primarily the Electoral College system is a system that represents the entire citizens of the United States and not just the ones living in bigger more significant States. To win the majority of the Electoral College means the presidential candidate cannot focus his campaigning efforts only in a few large States (Reed, Lawrence, 2001). Since the number of electors in each state is based on the number of senators which is always two along with the number of House members in Congress small States are guaranteed to be kept in the ‘game’. (Neale, Thomas, 2003). As James Pontuso put it without the Electoral College candidates will most likely ignore rural and less populated areas in the US and focus primarily in voter rich cities with enough media backing (2008). A popular argument remains that it is unfair for a candidate to win a presidential race based on Electoral College results while another candidate actually won more popular votes. “It should be noted at the outset that it is extremely unlikely this could ever happen when the popular vote margin is wide.” (Reed, Lawrence, 2001). The popular difference among the candidates would like be small enough to allow either candidate to rule efficiently.
Another point overlooked by opposers of the Electoral College system is the nation’s
stability. What is indicated by stability is the two-party system that the Electoral College somewhat imposes. In a country as populous as the United States maintaining the two party system is crucial. The two party system prevents political chaos. The two party system requires the two major parties to act in moderation which in return prevents the country from undergoing radical change. A two party system helps voters to decide on a candidate based on their individual belief, concern, values, ethics, principals, etc. Just as it is central to the voters, it is also imperative for the candidate because a two party system provides a structure to organize a successful campaign.
And finally the Electoral College system promotes what is known as a federal system of government. At the very beginning, the Electoral College system was assembled to reflect each state’s choice for president and vice president. As Jeff Jacoby put it in his article “The Brilliance of the Electoral College” the United States is a nation of states and not of self governing citizens - those states have different identities and interests (2008). Reserving political power to the State is in the interest of its citizens. To eliminate the Electoral College system only to be replaced by a popular election for president would topple the essence of the federal structure laid out in the Constitution which in return would result in the nationalization of the central government to the disadvantage of the States (kimberling, William, 2008). American Political tradition has honored each State and its own political and cultural qualities. Tampering with such political traditions is corrupting the foundations of the nation.
With this in mind we acknowledge that the electoral college system might not be perfect at times but it is a system that has worked successfully in the past ensuring the nation peaceful presidential elections. The founding fathers’ ultimate intentions was not to give a power to one single unit be it the people or the government. (Longely, Robert, 2000). Unlimited power has ample room in turning into tyrannical power – and the Electoral College system is set up to prevent this from taking place. Stability of a nation is based on all units working together with the same goal in mind. The Electoral College system materializes this concept brilliantly.
In the last 200 years the Electoral College system has encountered many hurdles and has been subjected to endless criticism. However in a nation as diverse and as populous as the United States the Electoral College system has proved to be efficient and successful. Through this system 50 plus presidential elections have been carried out peacefully and productively. It is not a foolproof system for sure but judging by its history it is to say the least exceptional!
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Neale, T. (2003). The Electoral College: How It Works in Contemporary Presidential
Elections. CRS Report for Congress. Retrieved from
Pontuso, J. (2008). The Electoral College (Keep It, but Reform It). Britannica Blog.
Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/blogs
Reed, L. (2001). Keep the Electoral College. Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Retrieved