The United States of America presidential elections are unique as the citizens do not directly vote to choose the president. Instead, the U.S. president is chosen through a process called the Electoral College, where a group of electors cast their votes to determine who wins the election. During the national polls the citizens cast their votes to chose the electors. The electors represent the combined number of senators and house of representatives in each state. Usually, they are 538 electors, while the winner is required to receive at least 270 electors’ votes. The founding fathers formulated the Electoral College system to limit the power of more populous states, prevent the direct election from giving rise to a tyrannical leader, and avoid corruptible national elections (Shi & Tindall, 2016). The Electoral College has served its purpose amidst setbacks and rising controversy over its legitimacy.
Although the electoral votes usually correspond to the national polls, in some unique instances, the president is elected despite a discrepancy between the popular election and Electoral College votes. A notable scenario was the election of 1824, in which John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson battled for the presidential seat. Andrew Jackson managed to win both the popular and Electoral College votes. Nevertheless, the vote was inconclusive since Jackson obtained 99 electoral votes, which was way below the minimum requirements (Shi & Tindall, 2016). Hence, the House of Representatives had to vote to solve the stalemate, and Quincy Adam emerged as the winner (Shi & Tindall, 2016). In the 2016 election, the U.S. experienced another unique case when Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by a landslide but was narrowly defeated in Electoral College votes by Donald Trump, who became the President. Thus, the Electoral College system is a unique way of choosing the president in the U.S. national elections.
Shi, D. E., & Tindall, G. B. (2016). America: A narrative history (9th ed.). WW Norton & Company.