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Second, as it stands the Electoral College diminish voter turnout.
Several times in the past, most notably in the Election of 1888 between Benjamin Harrison and Grover Cleveland, the minority candidate has won the Electoral College and therefore the election.
When it came to voting for president, the framers of the Constitution decided that the states should do the voting, not the people. Remember, there was no consciousness of the United States as a single nation; it was, literally, a union of separate states. So voting for president was to take place by state, so that each state could have its say. The compromise between big and small states was extended to the electoral college, so that each state has as many electors as it has senators and members of the House of Representatives combined. Big states still have the most influence, but small states aren't completely lost in the national vote.
Essay: The Electoral College - Pros and Cons
The electoral college was a compromise on two important issues. The first was how much power the people should have, and the second was how much power small and large states should have.
One way in which a minority president could be elected is if the country were so deeply divided politically that three or more presidential candidates split the electoral votes among them such that no one obtained the necessary majority. This occurred, as noted above, in 1824 and was unsuccessfully attempted in 1948 and again in 1968. Should that happen today, there are two possible resolutions: either one candidate could throw his electoral votes to the support of another (before the meeting of the Electors) or else, absent an absolute majority in the Electoral College, the U.S. House of Representatives would select the president in accordance with the 12th Amendment. Either way, though, the person taking office would not have obtained the absolute majority of the popular vote. Yet it is unclear how a direct election of the president could resolve such a deep national conflict without introducing a presidential run-off election -- a procedure which would add substantially to the time, cost, and effort already devoted to selecting a president and which might well deepen the political divisions while trying to resolve them.
This essay discusses the pros and cons of the electoral college
The original Constitution also didn't take into account the development of political parties. Electors were to vote for two candidates for president. The man with the highest number of votes that was a majority became president, and the man with the second highest number of votes became vice president. In 1800, however, the Democratic-Republican Party nominated Thomas Jefferson for president and Aaron Burr for vice president, and because there was no separate voting for the two offices, the two men tied in the electoral college. The House of Representatives had to decide the issue. Afterwards, the 12th Amendment to the Constitution was passed, changing the system to the one described in , above.
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Pros of the Electoral College Essay - 2721 Words
Recognizing the strong regional interests and loyalties which have played so great a role in American history, proponents argue that the Electoral College system contributes to the cohesiveness of the country be requiring a distribution of popular support to be elected president, without such a mechanism, they point out, president would be selected either through the domination of one populous region over the others or through the domination of large metropolitan areas over the rural ones. Indeed, it is principally because of the Electoral College that presidential nominees are inclined to select vice presidential running mates from a region other than their own. For as things stand now, no one region contains the absolute majority (270) of electoral votes required to elect a president. Thus, there is an incentive for presidential candidates to pull together coalitions of States and regions rather than to exacerbate regional differences. Such a unifying mechanism seems especially prudent in view of the severe regional problems that have typically plagued geographically large nations such as China, India, the Soviet Union, and even, in its time, the Roman Empire.
This unifying mechanism does not, however, come without a small price. And the price is that in very close popular elections, it is possible that the candidate who wins a slight majority of popular votes may not be the one elected president - depending (as in 1888) on whether his popularity is concentrated in a few States or whether it is more evenly distributed across the States. Yet this is less of a problem than it seems since, as a practical matter, the popular difference between the two candidates would likely be so small that either candidate could govern effectively.
Proponents thus believe that the practical value of requiring a distribution of popular support outweighs whatever sentimental value may attach to obtaining a bare majority of popular support. Indeed, they point out that the Electoral College system is designed to work in a rational series of defaults: if, in the first instance, a candidate receives a substantial majority of the popular vote, then that candidate is virtually certain to win enough electoral votes to be elected president; in the event that the popular vote is extremely close, then the election defaults to that candidate with the best distribution of popular votes (as evidenced by obtaining the absolute majority of electoral votes); in the event the country is so divided that no one obtains an absolute majority of electoral votes, then the choice of president defaults to the States in the U.S. House of Representatives. One way or another, then, the winning candidate must demonstrate both a sufficient popular support to govern as well as a sufficient distribution of that support to govern.
Proponents also point out that, far from diminishing minority interests by depressing voter participation, the Electoral College actually enhances the status of minority groups. This is so because the voters of even small minorities in a State may make the difference between winning all of that State's electoral votes or none of that State's electoral votes. And since ethnic minority groups in the United States happen to concentrate in those State with the most electoral votes, they assume an importance to presidential candidates well out of proportion to their number. The same principle applies to other special interest groups such as labor unions, farmers, environmentalists, and so forth.
It is because of this "leverage effect" that the presidency, as an institution, tends to be more sensitive to ethnic minority and other special interest groups than does the Congress as an institution. Changing to a direct election of the president would therefore actually damage minority interests since their votes would be overwhelmed by a national popular majority.
Pros and cons of electoral college essay
Many argue that the Electoral College keeps our country from becoming too centralized at the expense of the states The possibility of electing a minority president Faithless Electors The possibility of depressing voter turnout The failure to accurately reflect the national popular will If there are three candidates for the presidency and no candidate receives a majority of Electoral College votes, the House of Representatives will vote and elect the president.
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