Consider the view that the arguments for having an electoral college to elect the President are no longer valid

Authors Avatar

Consider the view that the arguments for having an electoral college to elect the President are no longer valid

The United States’ constitution was created in 1787 and, whilst creating the document, the Founding Fathers’ opted on a method to indirectly elect the President. The “electoral college” system was born. The Founding Fathers believed that the electorate may, in the future, be easily taken in by the showmanship of extremists and so determined that the popular votes cast would only “influence” electors and not directly elect the President. Each state would have as many electors as they have congressmen (so 2 for each Senator and then so many for however many Representatives) who would cast their ballots in early January (after the national election in November) for a candidate, having been “influenced” by the results of the election day polls. In effect, this system both undermines the integrity of the voters and is undemocratic, effectively allowing the power to fall to a small number of people. Unsurprisingly, especially in the wake of the 2000 election, there have been calls for reform with many citing the Electoral College as a “no longer valid” method of electing the leader of the country.

As I have already mentioned, the original reason for introducing the Electoral College system was to prevent against dictatorship and extremism. In theory, this sounds great and not many can argue against this basic reasoning. However, its execution is woefully wrong as it fully underestimates the electorate assuming they cannot be trusted to make informed decisions. However, this is not the only basic flaw with the system: it is also, in theory at least, incredibly undemocratic. Legally (and constitutionally) the electors are only to be “influenced” by their state’s results on Election Day and therefore should, in theory, be apolitical beings. Fortunately, the vast majority of the time the electors respect the unwritten rule that they should vote “with their state”, however occasionally this is not the case. These so-called “rogue electors” can, for one reason or another, vote against their state thus distorting the results and giving one candidate more Electoral College votes than they should receive according to the popular vote. In 1968, for instance, a North Carolina elector should have voted for Richard Nixon; instead they cast a vote for George Wallace. In the end, Nixon won the state but the case is all the more alarming in 2000: a Washington DC elector should have cast a ballot for Democrat Al Gore; instead they abstained citing the city’s lack of congressional representation. Whilst this may not have made a difference in the election, in such a close race every ECV counted. It is undeniable that this system of electors is open to corruption, is undemocratic and elitist.

Join now!

As mentioned, the Electoral College distorts the results when compared with the popular vote; however this is far, far greater than 1 or 2 altered ECV votes due to rogue electors. The whole system is a great advantage for the two main parties, making life very difficult for minor third parties. Take Ross Perot’s Independent campaign in 1992: nationally he gained almost 20% of the vote, which was a little under half of Clinton’s 40%. Clinton gained 370 ECVs; Perot gained 0. Obviously the very nature of third parties mean they find finding support difficult, possibly due to the two ...

This is a preview of the whole essay

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay


Overall this is a very good essay. Although there is still room for improvement, the main points are well explained and good examples are used to highlight the points being made. Although analysis is quite good the evaluation could be better in places. *****