The electoral college is a system used in the United States to elect the President and Vice President. Under this system, each state is allocated a certain number of electors based on its representation in Congress. These electors then cast their votes for the Presidential candidate who won the most votes in their state.
However, many argue that the electoral college is a flawed system that should be abolished. Here are a few reasons why:
It is undemocratic
The electoral college system means that a candidate who wins the popular vote may not necessarily win the election. This has happened several times in US history, most recently in the 2016 election when Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but lost the electoral college. This is a violation of the principle of one person, one vote, and undermines the democratic process.
It gives disproportionate power to small states
Under the electoral college system, small states have a disproportionate amount of power compared to their population. This is because each state is allocated a minimum of three electors, regardless of its population. This means that a voter in a small state has more influence over the election than a voter in a larger state.
It leads to an unequal distribution of campaign resources
Presidential campaigns tend to focus their resources on swing states where the race is close and where they can win the most electoral votes. This means that voters in non-swing states are often ignored or overlooked, and their voices are not heard.
It perpetuates racial and socio-economic inequality
The electoral college system was established at a time when slavery was legal in the United States, and it was designed to give slaveholding states more power. Today, the system still perpetuates racial and socio-economic inequality, as voters in predominantly white, affluent states have more power than those in more diverse, lower-income states.
For these reasons, many argue that the electoral college should be abolished in favour of a popular vote system. Under this system, the Presidential candidate who wins the most votes nationwide would win the election. This would ensure that each vote counts equally and would promote fairness and democracy in the electoral process.
So why is the Electoral College still here?
The electoral college has not been abolished yet due to a number of factors, including political polarisation, lack of political will, and constitutional barriers.
First, the issue of the electoral college has become highly politicised, with Republicans and Democrats often taking opposing views on the subject. This makes it difficult to build a consensus around the issue, as politicians may be hesitant to take a position that could alienate their base.
Second, there has been a lack of political will to reform the electoral college system. This may be due in part to the fact that the system has benefited both parties at different times. For example, Republicans have won two Presidential elections in the past two decades despite losing the popular vote, while Democrats won the popular vote in 2016 but lost the electoral college. As a result, some politicians may be hesitant to change a system that has worked in their favour in the past.
Finally, there are constitutional barriers to abolishing the electoral college. The system is enshrined in the US Constitution, and changing it would require a constitutional amendment, which is a difficult and lengthy process. Amendments require approval from two-thirds of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, as well as ratification by three-quarters of the states.
Despite these challenges, there have been efforts to reform or abolish the electoral college over the years. Some states have joined the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which would require member states to award their electoral votes to the candidate who wins the national popular vote, regardless of the outcome in their state. Additionally, several Presidential candidates have called for the abolition of the electoral college, and there has been growing public support for a popular vote system. It remains to be seen whether these efforts will be successful in the long term.