Winner Takes All

Should We Abolish the Electoral College?

The winner takes all feature of the Electoral College is one that is heavily debated among politicians and voters alike. Winner takes all refers to the candidate who wins the most votes and receives all the state’s electoral votes; he or she will win the presidency. Two states, Nebraska and Maine, do not use this system. Should the winner takes all system be revised?

The Founding Fathers created the Electoral College as a compromise between electing the president based on the votes by Congress only or by popular vote only. Because of the controversy of this system, at least 700 amendments have been proposed to modify or abolish the Electoral College. As of right now, the Electoral College system requires the presidential candidate to have 270 electoral votes to win the presidency. While the Founders had a great idea when it came to why they put this system in place, their reasoning is no longer relevant. 

The Founding Fathers intended to keep the votes out of the hands of the “tyranny of the majority”. Basically, they believed that less populous states deserved equal representation. Another reason for putting the electoral college system in place was because many feared that voters would be uneducated on who they were voting for, thus electing a president whom they had done no research on, nor understood their policies and principles. 

All of these are good reasons to have an electoral system in place; however, these issues have been resolved over time. Modern technology and political parties allow voters to get the information that is necessary to make their voting decisions in ways that could not have been foreseen by the founders of our nation. Members of the electoral college are now chosen by the political parties and they are highly expected to vote for the ideologies their party stands for, no matter what their own opinions entail. 

The winner takes all feature also has an extremely negative impact on third parties. There has only been one third party president in all of our nation’s history. Because of the partisanship of the electoral college, there is little to no representation for third party candidates. The Electoral College is a large disadvantage to third parties, who have almost no chance of winning any state’s electoral votes, let alone having enough votes to elect a president. It simply does not work, especially for the many people who do not identify with the two main parties. They deserve much better representation. 

The Electoral College limits direct democracy, and therefore should be abolished or at least reformed. There are many reasons why it needs to be eliminated, but there are two that are the most prominently pointed out. The first being that the Electoral College gives too much power to the swing states. Placing the results of the election in the hands of a few states is not a good idea. It basically defeats the entire purpose of having the electoral college in the first place. It was created to give the states equal representation, but if we are mainly relying on states like Florida, Wisconsin, and Indiana, then what is the point? 

The second reason that the electoral system should be abolished is because it ignores the will of the people. There are over 300 million people in the U.S. How is it fair that just 538 people decide who will be elected president? When Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in 2016, how is it fair that Donald Trump won the presidency? It is the electoral college’s job to vote based on what the people want, but this isn’t always the case and it creates a very large problem for our democracy. Even President Trump stated that he disagreed with the electoral college, and believes that he would “rather see it where you went with simple votes”. 

The electoral college should be abolished because we have adapted as a country to where we no longer need it, we have given too much power to the swing states,  we have not had enough representation from third parties, and we have allowed it to ignore the will of the people. Many Americans expectantly hope to see a change in the electoral system in the near future. It will truly benefit our nation and allow for better representation of what we the people want for this country.