Why do we use an electoral college for Presidential Elections? Like many Americans, this is a question I always ask myself after every one. The past two out of three elections that the Democrats lost, they won the popular vote (Bush 2000, Trump 2016). Which means their candidate received more total votes in the country than the winning candidate who won the Presidential election based on the electoral college. In the case of the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton received nearly 3 million more votes than Donald Trump, but lost the electoral college by nearly 100 electoral votes. I simply do not understand how that should be possible.
Why do we have a system where a candidate can receive more total votes from American voters, but still lose the election via the electoral college. To me, it indicates that certain states’ votes matter more. In states like New York, California, New Hampshire that are ALWAYS blue states, and Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi that are ALWAYS red states, then your individual vote simply does not matter because the outcome of your state is already decided. The last election was a prime example where there were likely many republican voters that truly did not want to vote for Trump, but they lived in a state that always went one way, so what does their individual vote matter at that point. They are not going to change the outcome this year. But, if your vote counted towards a popular vote deciding the presidential election, then I believe a voter would pay even more attention to what the candidates stood for as their vote genuinely matters.
Here are some fundamental Pros and Cons as to why we have an Electoral College:
- Founding Fathers initiated this method as a way to safeguard against uniformed or uneducated voters and put the final decision in the hands of individuals who possessed the knowledge and information necessary.
- To prevent states with larger populations having undue influence.
- Ensure all parts of the country are involved in selecting the President. Avoid candidates from just focusing on the most populated areas. This ensures that the Iowa farmers and Ohio factory workers are still considered over pandering to the metropolitan areas with higher populations.
- Modern technology today allows all voters with equal access to information needed to make an informed decision.
- Candidate’s attention is now solely dedicated to “Swing States”, and therefore only cater to the issues that are prevalent in those states.
- The electoral college ignores the will of the entire country, since 4-5 states end up determining the electoral college each year.
Lastly, every State’s election for Congress and the Senate is determined by the popular vote. It is the cleanest and most clear cut way to determine the winner of any election from Class President to United States Senator. Therefore, why have we created a complex and convoluted method to elect the most important office in our country? Somebody explain this to me.