Electoral College Debate

History and Debate of Electoral College

Since its creation, the Electoral College has faced debate between those who believe it benefits the electoral process and those who view it as detrimental. The Electoral College debate focuses around various issues, including the relevance of the popular vote, the allocation of voting power between states and how the system affects minority groups.

Supporters of the Electoral College argue that one of the main benefits of the system is that it requires the winning candidate to have a broad appeal throughout the nation. By requiring candidates to appeal to voters throughout the country, the Electoral College prevents candidates from winning based on winning the support of urban areas alone, which would allegedly disenfranchise rural voters. In a similar way, proponents of the Electoral College argue that the current system empowers minority groups because it requires candidates to appeal to minority groups to win enough states to win the election.

Supporters also claim that the current system is in line with the federal character of the US government. This is because the current system gives more voting power to less populous communities, and proponents of this view argue that even the opinions of a sparsely populated area should matter to the federal government. They take the position that the Electoral College provides for greater national stability. By requiring candidates to appeal to a broad collection of voters, new ideas and innovations have to meet with broad-based approval before those who hold those views can gain power in the government.

Those who criticize the Electoral College often do so on the grounds that it makes the popular vote irrelevant and point to four elections, those in 2000, 1888, 1876 and 1824 where the candidate who won a victory through the electoral college did not have a plurality of the total votes cast. This is generally viewed by detractors of the Electoral College as not in line with the principles of a democratic society. Detractors also argue that the present system encourage candidates to appeal only to certain swing states in each election. They argue that instead of finding broad-based appeal, candidates tailor their campaigns to win over swing voters in a handful of states.

The Electoral College Debate Continues

Those who support changing the present system also argue that the Electoral College discourages voter participation in states that are not identified as battleground states. They argue that this is because of party domination in certain states that renders the votes of those not in that party irrelevant to the national election. In this way, detractors of the Electoral College believe that the present system disenfranchises minority groups.

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