Ah, the electoral college debate. The Clinton vs Trump election results isn’t the first time Americans have questioned the way we elect a president. But its legitimacy is once again firing on full cylinders.
This petition to change the way the American voting system works is going viral.
Many Americans want to abolish the electoral college entirely, claiming that it skews the reality of results and is no longer a valid way to elect the president of the United States.
Why Did The Founding Fathers Create The Electoral College?
First, they were afraid of putting all the power to elect a president into the hands of the population. Why? Because a tyrant-like politician could sway public opinion with manipulative tactics and rise to power. So basically, an electoral college would act as a buffer between the population and the president, assuring that only someone qualified for the job would be put in office.
Second, they wanted to make sure the smaller states had an equal voice in electing the president. Remember that this was before the information age. It was possible that a highly popular candidate in one region was virtually unheard of in another. So they devised this system: the number of electors that each state gets is equal to the number of House and Senate representatives they have. That gave the smaller states a weighted voice in electing the president.
How Does The Electoral College Work?
Each state gets a number of electors, depending on its population. There are a total of 538 electors. It takes 270 elector votes to win the presidency.
When Americans cast their vote for president, what they’re really doing is telling their electors who they want them to vote for. Almost always (although it’s not required), the elector will pledge to vote for the candidate that their party wants to elect. Example: If the republican party candidate wins the popular vote in Kentucky, the Republican electors will typically then vote for the desired candidate.
Why Do People Want To Get Rid Of It?
It’s rare that this happens, but sometimes a presidential candidate can win the popular vote and still lose the election.
This has happened five times in history:
- 1824: Andrew Jackson won the popular vote, but John Quincy Adams won the presidency.
- 1876: Samul Tilden won the popular vote, but Rutherford B. Hayes was elected (by a difference of 1 electoral vote)!
- 1888: Grover Clevand won the popular vote but only got 168 electoral votes. So Benjamin Harrison, with 233 electoral votes, became president.
- 2000: Al Gore won the popular vote, but George Bush won the election.
And most recently….
- 2016: Hilary Clinton won the popular vote, but Donald Trump became president of the United States.
The Donald Trump Presidency: How The 2016 Election Results Are Reigniting the Debate
With the election of Donald Trump, the 2016 results are reigniting the debate as to whether or not the electoral college is still a feasible and just way to choose the president of the united states.
Data Source: cnn.com, history.com