The USA presidential elections are one of the most important political events in the US and the rest of the world. This is due to the notion that two candidates usually have different opinions on the current situation and propositions for future policies. As a result, the method of presidential election plays a pivotal role in determining the political, economic, and demographical future of the country. Even though the electoral college system is a rare method of the presidential election in the world, many people consider the rationale for implementing such policy into the law system. Nevertheless, this system needs crucial rethinking in the 21st century due to the majority of unpredicted elections outcome due to the usage of such a model. By re-examining and comparing the current voting system with the alternative one, the political structure might experience the important “adjusting” process. Moreover, the main argument of this essay does not require changing the electoral college model but understanding the rationale of two competing systems and determining the most appropriate voting policy.
The Traditional “Electoral College” Model
While the vast majority of political institutes in different countries applied the national popular voting system, the USA remains supported the electoral college policy for centuries. The electoral college system was implemented in the 12th Amendment to the Constitution in 1804 and has not significantly changed from that period (The Library of Congress paragraph 11). When analyzing the rationale for integrating this model in the US presidential elections, it is crucial to remember at the same time that at the beginning of the 19th century, the European countries, notably England and France, had much influence on the country’s political life. However, Alexander Hamilton, who was one of the most powerful “republicans” at that time, suggested the idea of adopting such a voting system that would prevent the US elections from external influence on the country’s citizens. Consequently, the “Electoral College” became the only political entity that could legally determine the president during the election process.
More specifically, the system functions on the sophisticated boundary of a federal and local basis so that the government does not have an excessive influence on the state level. First and foremost, the government established the updated number of Electoral college representatives. They might be politically active people or politicians, and the specific ratio should also be updated. In 2020, in 50 states, this ratio was 435 politically active people, who can have any profession or social status, to 100 senators who are government representatives, and three persons were chosen from the name of District Columbia so that the total quantity was 538.
After that, the electoral college is distributed throughout the USA, and its representatives should vote jointly from the state’s honor. The exact number of representatives is calculated by utilizing the total number of the state citizens and its relative part of the US population so that the bigger the state, the more electoral college representatives will vote on its behalf. What is the most notable in this part is that the state’s electoral college, in the vast majority of cases, votes for the only candidate for whom the percentage of state citizens’ votes bypassed 50%. As a result, even if the vote ratio is 53% to 47%, the whole state will vote for the only candidate with 53%. There are only two exceptions where the state’s electoral college votes proportionally so that when the candidates gain 60% and 40% of votes relatively, representatives will collaborate to vote for the candidates with the same percentage.
The Concept of a National Popular Voting System
One of the main characteristics of national popular voting is the relative simplicity of the process, which makes the whole electoral process “clearer.” More specifically, candidates are not obliged to choose a sophisticated strategy of “pointed” influence to obtain 51% in the most competitive regions or states. On the contrary, the electorate is wholly represented by the country’s citizens, so it is critical to achieve the “equilibrium” in satisfying citizens’ demands. From the utility perspective, the presidential voting process is significantly easier to be executed since the specific intermediary, which might be the electoral college, is absent, so the bulletin includes the name of the presidential candidates. Consequently, such policy sets strict boundaries on vote manipulation, which is often the case in the electoral college model.
When comparing the two voting systems, it might seem that they are completely different due to their different outcomes. However, the main difference between them might be the presence in the one and absence in the other of the special intermediary, which is the electoral college in the US voting model. As a result, the main emphasis should be on analyzing its efficiency so that the model will be correctly evaluated.
The main drawback of implementing the electoral college model is that the citizens cannot liberally vote for their wished candidate. Moreover, their votes might be used to support their candidate’s competitor (Cavalli 187). This is since the whole pool of votes will be forwarded to the only candidate who earns more votes in general, so giving the personal vote to a specific candidate might result in supporting another candidate by transmitting the right to vote to the electoral college themselves.
In fact, both approaches to the voting system are valuable due to the possibilities that they disclose to the electorate. On the one hand, the electoral college is a complex system that represents citizens’ wishes in a more structured way. Moreover, they are much harder to be manipulated by third parties, which might positively influence the “clarity” of the election process. On the other hand, the national popular voting system is a powerful alternative to the electoral college since the biggest inconvenience of the traditional system is that it represents political support from the absolute perspective instead of a relative one. As a result, the biggest emphasis of presidential campaigns is put only on the states with the high number of electorate college representatives so that if the candidate bypasses 51 percent, they will have much more chances to be voted since all of their competitors votes turned into their favor.
Finally, the national popular voting system is more up-to-date since, in the 21st century, the electoral college became the target of influence. Even though the US citizens voted for one candidate in some cases, the current system enables another candidate to win in a case when their votes were more “valuable.” This is due to the “pointed” influence on the representative part instead of the whole state electorate, significantly facilitating the presidential campaign.
Cavalli, Carl. The Basics of American Government: Third Edition. 3rd ed., University of North Georgia, 2017.
The Library of Congress. “What Is the Electoral College? | The Presidential Election Process.” The Library of Congress, Web.