Opinions & Editorials

The Electoral College is undemocratic

The Electoral College is an outdated, undemocratic and biased system that should be abolished to better fit a modern world and a modern democracy.

The Electoral College was created by the Founding Fathers in the late 1700s and was meant to be a compromise between those who wanted Congress to choose the president and those who believed it should be up to the people’s vote. They ultimately decided on a group of electors  equal to the total number of representatives in Congress.

There are many things wrong with this system, which is why in recent years there have been many calls to abolish the Electoral College. I completely agree.

Five times in history, presidential candidates have won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College, and therefore lost the presidency. This is a clear sign that this outdated system doesn’t actually represent the people’s interests.

First of all, people vote, not land. When the Electoral College was established, the Founding Fathers had no idea what the United States would grow to be in size — 50 states, 331 million people and over 200 million voters.

As a system that undermines democracy, the Electoral College exists as evidence that the Founding Fathers did not trust the people to choose someone to represent them. But a democracy is all about choice. We have the authority to choose and the right to choose. Isn’t the Electoral College taking away this choice?

A candidate who does not win the popular vote should not be capable of taking office. A candidate who does not represent the majority of the people’s vote should not take office. A candidate who wins based on an outdated system where certain votes count more than others, since it isn’t allocated based on population size, should not take office.

We live in a representative democracy, no? Or at least we’re supposed to be living in one. Currently, we exist in an oligarchy, where the interests of powerful groups of people are represented more than the majority population, and the Electoral College only enforces this system.

The only reason for the Electoral College was to protect “minority interests” from being overpowered by the majority. These “minority interests” were actually the interests of White, slave-owning men. They wanted to protect their own power and their own interests, so the Electoral College was created to protect those interests. 

Today, we all have the right to vote, but the “minority interests” being protected by the Electoral College are still the interests of primarily White populations. So, while the real minority populations are being underrepresented, White men are having their interests protected and represented by a system created to vote in their favor.

Why aren’t we trusted with our own leadership? Why aren’t we trusted with our own choices? If we make mistakes,  aren’t they our mistakes to own? Where’s my representation as a woman? Where is the representation for people of color? For queer people? For the poor?

In the 18th century, the Founding Fathers feared that the people wouldn’t be well-informed enough to choose their own representatives, especially the people living in rural areas who didn’t receive information on candidates. But today, information on candidates is readily available to almost everyone in an instant. 

The Founding Fathers feared “democratic mobs” overrunning the presidency and steering it in the direction they want it to go. Good. That’s what a democracy is for, isn’t it? Isn’t it supposed to go in the direction we want it to go? Isn’t it supposed to be ours? Isn’t it supposed to be “by the people, for the people?” How does the Electoral College represent us as a people? How does it represent our interests?

It doesn’t, and it never has. It should be abolished, and the presidency should be decided by the people, as the presidency is for us, by us. 

This ceaseless age of undemocratic, oligarchic, patriarchal and false representation should come to an end, and it should begin with getting rid of the very system that represents it best: the Electoral College.

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