Evaluate the view that despite criticism’s, the Electoral College is by far the best method of electing the US President. (30) The Electoral College is an institution established by the Founding Fathers to elect the President indirectly. The Electoral College never meets, instead the presidential Electors – whose numbers equals the number of representatives and senators the state has in the United States Congress- meet to cast ballots for the President and Vice President.
Ever since the Electoral College was established the electioneering system has received major criticism for its over-representation of small states.
One could suggest more densely populated states such as California are at a disadvantage when one compares the voter population to Electoral College numbers. Compared to a small state such as Wyoming who receives an Electoral College vote for every 165,000 people, California’s ratio is somewhat marginally different, receiving an Electoral College for every 617,000 people.
Therefore if California were to receive votes on the same basis as Wyoming it would not have 55 Electoral College votes but 205.
So it may appear California is in some way representationally handicapped, at the expense of the Electoral College system.
Therefore how good of a method is the Electoral College if it goes against basic democratic principles by making the vote of one citizen worth more than the vote of another, depending on the population of the state in which they reside. Moreover another major criticism of the Electoral College is the Winner Takes All system.
This simply means a candidate can win the popular vote, but end up losing the election. This again challenges the democratic stance of American politics, as a candidate can be favoured amongst the majority of the population, yet lose the election because of the way in which states are represented within the Electoral College system. This undemocratic mishap has occurred in the past within the 1876, 1888 and 2000 which was arguably the most controversial.
Republican George W. Bush received 50,456,002 popular votes and won 271 electoral votes. His Democratic opponent, Al Gore, won the popular vote with 50,999,897 votes, but won only 266 electoral votes, and therefore lost the election. Voting events of this nature have led many voters and political commentators to believe that the Electoral College does not represent the electorate proportionately and efficiently, and therefore is an ineffective method of electing the U.S President.
Even though the Electoral College receives numerous criticisms for the faults that it possesses, it is favoured amongst smaller states who feel that the system provides them with a more influential voice within the voting system. Small populated states such as Wyoming and Delaware who both tally below 7 Electoral College votes, feel that if the Electoral College were to be abolished the votes of their inhabitants would become almost worthless, swept aside by the size of such states as California and Texas, who are predominantly more populated.
Another benefit of the Electoral College system is that it forces candidates to campaign in a state by state basis rather than focus on the more populated states. By doing so this makes sparsely populated states feel more involved and active within the political process, and therefore could be argued as a good method of electing the President as it promotes a democratic stance within small states.
Yet to suggest that the Electoral College system is the best method of electing a President would be completely open to opinion. Small states within America would argue that it is an effective system as it provides them with influence within the political system. Were as larger states would argue it is an improper form of electing the President as the viewpoints of voters within their states are not as democratically voiced in comparison to small states.
Personally I believe the best method of electing the President would be referring to the popular vote, as it is a clearer and more representational form of voting, in comparison to the Electoral College system.