By Chris Crymes
Photo by Chris Swann
[mkdf_dropcaps type=”normal” color=”Black ” background_color=”White”]A[/mkdf_dropcaps]fter weeks of constant coverage, ballot counts and hand recounts, it seems safe to say the U.S. president-elect is former Vice President Joe Biden.
This election was one of the most hotly debated and closely eyed in recent memory with all sides pushing everyone within voting-age to vote. As of Nov. 16, The Washington Post counted 64.7% of Americans eligible to vote cast their ballots this year, presenting the highest turnout since 1908’s, which saw 65.7% of voters participate. With such a milestone, it does make one reflect on the voting process and the electoral college.
When the electoral college was implemented, there were several reasons for it, ranging from slavery to a lack of public political knowledge. The founding fathers didn’t trust the popular vote because they feared a mob mentality taking over the democratic process. James Madison famously argued, “The purpose of the Constitution is to restrict the majority’s ability to harm the minority,” when supporting the ratification of the electoral college in Article II of the Constitution. They also worried about the possibility of dubious political happenings occurring in Congress or the Senate, so they distrusted solely relying on these institutions to carry out the presidential vote. Five years after our nation’s founding in 1788, Alexander Hamilton wrote in “The Federalist Papers” he feared the possibility of someone running for office with nothing but a talent for “low intrigue and the little arts of popularity.”
This point is absolutely infuriating when looking at the winner of the 2016 election. If a man whose only political experience was telling people “You’re fired” on television can parade himself into the White House while having to go through the electoral college to do so, then what is the point of said electoral college anymore?
Slavery is abolished, and we walk around with countless codices in our pockets. The issue is no longer of an uncountable, uninformed populace running rampant with the vote. The issue is letting the people of this nation have their voices heard in the truest way.
The nation’s electoral college vote is not until Dec. 14, so there is still time to see if there will be any repeat faithless electors leftover from 2016. If we compare the current election to 2016’s, the margins aren’t very different. The only states to switch from a Republican vote to a Democratic one are Arizona, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin. Even with a four-state lead, what happens if electors vote against popularity again?
This possibility of a state’s elector voting against the majority vote is one of the fatal flaws against the electoral college, but that’s not the only one. Let’s combine this to the issue of state population representation. According to the United States Census Bureau, Ohio, in control of 18 electoral college votes, has a population of 11.69 million people. Compare this to California with 55 electoral votes for their 39.51 million residents. For Ohio, that comes to one electoral vote per 649,444 people. For California, one vote per 718,363. Does that seem fair? Should your location decide how much your vote matters? The least voters can ask for is a legitimate equal say in their president as other Americans. We deserve an equal voice, and it seems Americans agree. In a survey earlier this year, Pew Research Center found 58% of adults support amending the Constitution so the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote becomes the president-elect.
If the president was chosen through popular vote, not only would Americans already truly know who their next president is, but they would truly have an equal say in that choice.