After a U.S. presidential election in which the Electoral College worked perfectly to enhance the popular vote outcome, a movement is now afoot to dismantle the college.
Instead of trying to amend the Constitution, the argument goes, the nation should opt for the National Popular Vote plan, which asks state legislatures to give their state’s electoral votes to whoever wins the national popular vote, no matter how their own citizens vote. Eight states and Washington, D.C., already have passed the plan.
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It’s a bad idea.
Making this runaround of the Constitution will result in dire consequences for our nation’s ability to choose its top leader fairly and effectively.
Why? Because abolishing the current system will strongly tilt elections in favor of candidates who can win huge electoral margins in the country’s major metropolitan areas.
Some are calling for a “direct democracy” in which an 18-year-old voter in California and an 18-year-old voter in Oklahoma will not be ignored. But abolishing the Electoral College would mean ignoring every rural and small-state voter in our country. If you don’t believe it, just look at the electoral maps and the numbers.
Barack Obama received 3.3 million more votes than Mitt Romney in the Nov. 6 election, but won 3.6 million more votes than Romney in just four cities — Chicago, Philadelphia, New York and Los Angeles. He won those margins without much of a campaign. Now, imagine an Obama candidacy free of the need to appeal to Ohio factory workers, Colorado cattlemen, Iowa hog farmers and Virginia police officers, and you start to get the picture.
If the United States does away with the Electoral College, future presidential elections will go to candidates and parties willing to cater to urban voters and skew the nation’s policies toward big-city interests. Small-town issues and rural values will no longer be their concern.
Cities already are the homes of America’s major media, donor, academic and government centers. A simple, direct democracy will centralize all power — government, business, money, media and votes — in urban areas to the detriment of the rest of the nation.
The Electoral College has, on the other hand, given us competitive and fair elections for more than two centuries. One reason Republicans feel so bitter about the 2012 presidential election is that their party lost when it had a real shot at winning, and they know it. It wasn’t the fault of the Electoral College.
What’s more, supporters of the popular vote plan haven’t stopped to consider the problems inherent in managing such a system. Will we have to create and pay for a new federal agency to verify the accuracy of popular vote totals? Probably.
One can only guess at the other nightmare scenarios that could arise, such as runoff elections and precinct-by-precinct national recounts in close races.
If we want presidential elections to be fair and representative — as well as efficient — we should push to keep the Electoral College in place, not dissolve it.
It’s a balanced way to choose our presidents that has proved its value over time.
Gary Gregg holds the Mitch McConnell Chair in Leadership at the University of Louisville in Kentucky and edited the book “Securing Democracy: Why We Have an Electoral College.”
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Electoral College keeps elections fair
By GARY GREGG
Essay Over The Electoral College. Should We Keep Or Abolish It?
In the United States today, we use the Electoral College to decide who is going to be the next president. The presidency is not necessarily won by popular vote. The founding fathers opted for the Electoral College, because they were afraid of the masses. They wanted the president to be chosen by those who are qualified, well informed, and have the ability to chose a president more efficiently then the so called "mob."
Although I believe the Electoral College needs many changes, it is necessary in order to have a successful government that is fair. Thee main argument against the Electoral College is that the presidency should be won by popular vote alone. It shouldn't be that one candidate could win the popular vote, but lose the election. At first I completely agreed with this, because we do live in a democracy, and I believe that a democracy is a government for the people by the people. This would mean that the mass population decides who is the president, not a hand picked group of men to vote on who they wish, because they do not always have to vote on the candidate in which the state has voted the majority on. Although the Electoral College may take away the presidency from the candidate that won the majority vote, it evens things out across the nation.
The Electoral College is necessary to make every state important in the voting process. If you did not have the Electoral College, those who were running for office would only campaign in the major states, that way they could get the majority of the population. For example the candidate would advertise and campaign in New York, especially New York City, because there is such a vast amount of people who live there, so he would try to assure that he had the votes for this city, and majority of the state, and would not have to worry about Montana. They candidate would then not go to smaller less populated states like Montana, South or North Dakota. He would not worry about the states or cities that had little populations, because are all he needs to worry about is that the majority of the people in the United States vote for him. It would be much easier to win an election by getting more people in more populated cities to vote, and not worrying about the little populations. This in fact...
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