Research paper, APA, College, 7 pages, 7 sources
This Electoral College research paper sample explores how the American election system may threaten democracy because of its many vulnerabilities. Apart from highlighting a very interesting topic, the piece also showcases how controversial issues should be approached and how each position should be reasoned. If you have a similar task on the table, you can use the research paper about the Electoral College below as a model to follow. However, if there are some circumstances that prevent you from accomplishing this work single-handedly, you can contact EvolutionWriters customer managers at any moment and request “Write my essay for me.”
How the Electoral College Is a Threat to American Democracy in the 21st Century
The Framers of the Constitution introduced the Electoral College in order to control the process of the presidential election. Nevertheless, the early compromise that gave small states huge influence on legislative and executive powers had today become a threat to American democracy. As a democracy, the US needs to conduct elections in which citizens elect the Head of State freely and fairly without experiencing hindrance between the election winner and their vote. Ellis and Nelson (2020) clarify that each member should have an effective and equal opportunity to cast a vote, and each vote must count as equal. Respectively, allowing electors who vote on behalf of the American people is non-democratic for a nation that perceives itself as the world’s leading democracy. This research paper evaluates the problems associated with the Electoral College in the 21st century.
Why the Electoral College Is a Threat to the 21st Century’s Democracy
The Looser of Popular Vote Can Win the Election
The current composition of the Electoral College deprives democracy of its fundamental principle during presidential polls known as the majority rule (Hudson, 2016). As a result, the loser of the popular vote can be declared the winner of the election. This has occurred at least 4 times in the past 56 presidential elections. Whatever the reason for this injustice, including interests, representations, and rights of small states, the Electoral College process makes an object of ridicule of what is seen by the world as a representative government model and should not stand (Norris, 2019). The process has turned out to be vulnerable, as faithless and independent electors may possibly ignore the will of the American voters. Even though the Founding Fathers felt that the country needed to end the mob rule, the Electoral College process remains incompatible with today’s national ideology that each vote counts (Alexander, 2019).
In the 2000 poll, when the Electoral College failed to provide a clear victor, the presidential contest was settled in Supreme Court rather than the ballot box (Alexander, 2019). It was only by grace and humility demonstrated by Al Gore to concede to George W. Bush that the US avoided spilling into a constitutional crisis. Americans should have learned their lessons 20-years ago to eradicate the flaws that can cost them heavily in future elections (Keyssar, 2020). An anti-democratic president can even seek to cling to power by exploiting the weaknesses in the current archaic system. Certainly, the modern US must not be forced to double down on the reservations of politicians, ideologies, and capital interests that control small states of the 18th century (Ellis et al., 2020).
Consequently, the president of the United States should be elected through popular vote. Every citizen’s vote needs to be counted equally irrespective of where they reside (Norris, 2019). The continual disconnect between the Electoral College vote and the popular vote, as witnessed in 2000 and 2016, would escalate the distrust of the US citizens in the voting process integrity and transparency (Black, 2012). Embracing a national popular vote could stand in the way of politicians who want to subvert people’s will and endanger American democracy (Hudson, 2016).
The Electoral College Distorts the Presidential Campaign
The Electoral College also distorts presidential campaigns by incentivizing parties to disregard over 40 states that they are aware they either cannot lose or cannot win (Ellis et al., 2020). In the recent past, the states that don’t get many TV Ads or campaign visits are primarily populated states, including Texas, Alaska, New York, California, and Minnesota (Alexander, 2019).
Furthermore, the Electoral College system distorts the American presidential campaign by aiding contestants to inflict extra burden to swing states’ parochial needs (Hudson, 2016). If one has to win Florida, every contestant would try to indulge senior citizens, orange-growers, Cuban-Americans, and other groups specific to Florida residents. A similar thing applies to Iowa since it has been a swing state in previous successions and is a key state in the process of presidential nomination (Norris, 2019). For instance, Paul Ryan’s opponents wooed voters to reject his presidential bid by persuading them that his purported plan to transform Medicare would be extremely expensive since many swing states possess the highest rates of the senior population. Pandering huge groups of electorates is not an appealing feature in a democratic country. However, it is much uglier when it is directed to large groups simply because they are concentrated within swing states (Alexander, 2019).
The Electoral College Distorts Governance
The Electoral College distorts governance for the same reasons mentioned above. The first-term Head of State who sought to trade and build a diplomatic relationship with a country like Cuba would be forced to take into consideration the likelihood that it could deny him or her Florida votes and ultimately a second term (Ellis et al., 2020). Conceivably, this is helpful in explaining why Cuba is yet to be expunged from the ‘no-call’ list even though at some moment Washington had stabilized relationships with China, the Soviet Union, and other countries that previously or currently regard themselves as Communists nations (Hudson, 2016).
The Electoral College Misrepresents the ‘One Person, One Vote’ Principle
As the electoral polls are not allocated in accordance with population, the Electoral College misleads the ‘one-person, one-vote’ doctrine (Alexander, 2019). Each state is allocated one electoral vote for every member of its House of Representatives Delegation, and every State similarly gets two electors to represent its two senators. As a result, small states within the College have seen a significant overrepresentation. As the 2010 Census statistics and the novel allocation of House of Representatives show, each resident in Wyoming has a three times greater impact on electoral ballots than a person in California (Keyssar, 2020). If nothing is done more than allocating electoral votes based on inhabitants, it will let the system be considered democratic. However, that cannot be done without modifying the American Constitution since the formula of appointment is rooted in the law as additional incentives that founders believed were needed to attract minor states for endorsement (Hudson, 2016).
The Electoral College Establishes a Likelihood of a 269-269 Tie Vote
The Electoral College process gives room to possible 269-269 tie election. In nearly every past voting, a comparatively credible situation for typical outcome happened (Ellis et al., 2020). However, Electoral College process regulations for handling a tie establish a scenario by which no candidate would be declared the Head of State by Inauguration Day (Norris, 2019).
A presidential poll tie during the 1800 election, for example, created a completely bizarre scenario. This was an era prior to formal tickets, and multiple states did not hold a popular vote in the process of the presidential election (Hudson, 2016). During the 1800 poll, Thomas Jefferson and his running mate Aaron Burr tied, which led to long disputes and 36 ballot rounds in the House of Representatives. The aftermath contributed to the Twelfth Amendment, which transformed the original language of the Framers so that every elector may indicate their preferred candidate for president as well as their vice-president, thus eradicating the probability that any presidential contestant would tie with their running mate. However, that failed to address the serious issues built into the tie situation (Alexander, 2019).
The Electoral College Makes It Easier for Third Parties to Alter the Election Outcome
Even though the current system makes it virtually improbable for third parties to triumph the presidency, the Electoral College may allow a third party to tilt the final result of the entire national ballot (Keyssar, 2020). Such a scenario was evidenced in the 2000 race when the Green Party nominee, Ralph Nader, finished as a third runner in the popular vote with a paltry 2.74% and got merely 1.6% votes in entire Florida (Ellis et al., 2020). However, those votes swapped the state to George W. Bush of the Republicans from the Democrats candidate Al Gore. Due to a ‘winner-takes-all’ system, a single state tilted the national election outcome (Black, 2012).
At best, one halfway-verified situation under which trivial third parties could tilt crucial state or perchance the entire national election has been witnessed (Norris, 2019). An even more unusual scenario was observed when ex-Congressman Virgil Goode of the minor right-wing Constitutional Party prevented Mitt Romney from winning the presidency by earning considerable votes in Virginia. Whereas the Constitution Party does not appear in national elections, Goode scored about 9% when his name was incorporated in Virginia ballots (Ellis et al., 2020). Virginia has been labeled one of the crucial swing states with 13 electoral votes, and this could be the reason a number of left-wing parties aided Goode in obtaining the signatures required to appear on the poll in Virginia (Hudson, 2016).
Undeniably, even in the popular vote system, there is a possibility of tiny parties altering the result (Keyssar, 2020). However, the Electoral College, along with the ‘winner-takes-all’ principle, immensely enhances the leverage. While these scenarios are unpredictable in future polls, the Electoral College process makes such mischiefs a possibility, and they may occur more regularly than people could realize (Alexander, 2019).
Solutions to Problems the Electoral College Poses
A threat to American democracy can only be addressed if the country gets rid of the ideology that the Electoral College is an independent college of electors allowed to vote in their own way (Norris, 2019). The electors are not even needed. Instead of votes, points should be assigned, which go to the victor of that specific state, while independent groups of third-party electors who might distort the popular vote within that state should be removed. In case a state votes in a particular way, those points (electors) would go to the winner automatically. The shortcoming of this commonsense notion is that the amendment of the Constitution would be required (Ellis et al., 2020).
Another alternative would include distributing electors or points proportionally by Congressional district to eliminate the ‘winner-takes-all’ principle (Luis & Guy-Uriel, 2001). This way would be more attractive because it does not take away power from tiny and less populated states. The reform would similarly make sure that presidential runners must campaign in nearly every state, not simply swing states. Virtually each state’s congressional districts are not homogenous and have either Republican or Democrats majorities (Ellis et al., 2020). Democrats have vote-rich districts in Texas while Republicans have California, and through a more representational system, a much wider-based national campaign would be seen from both parties. Above all, this change may be carried out without the need for constitutional amendments since, under the present legislation, state legislatures enjoy the power to apportion electors by Congressional district (Alexander, 2019).
The problems faced by the current voting process make the Electoral College system unquestionably vulnerable in terms of adhering to democratic principles. In particular, public trust in the country’s democratic system is under direct threat when the electoral vote and popular vote for president do not match. Even though it looks like Americans have so far overcome the possible constitutional crisis, the electoral disaster could just be closer. Consequently, it is time for Congress, the Judiciary, the Executive branch, and the citizens in general to consider getting rid of the current electoral vote and adopting the popular vote system in order to prevent the impending constitutional crisis.
Alexander, R. M. (2019). Representation and the Electoral College.
Black, E. (2012). 10 reasons why the Electoral College is a problem. Minn Post. https://www.minnpost.com/eric-black-ink/2012/10/10-reasons-why-electoral-college-problem/
Ellis, R., & In Nelson, M. (2020). Debating reform: Conflicting perspectives on how to fix the American political system.
Hudson, W. E. (2016). American democracy in peril: Eight challenges to America’s future
Keyssar, A. (2020). Why do we still have the Electoral College?
Luis, F.-R., & Guy-Uriel, C. (December 31, 2001). The Electoral College, the Right to Vote, and Our Federalism: A Comment on a Lasting Institution. Florida State University Law Review, 29, 2
Norris, P. (January 01, 2019). Do perceptions of electoral malpractice undermine democratic satisfaction? The US in comparative perspective. International Political Science Review, 40(1), 5-22. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0192512118806783