US Electoral Process Essay
US Electoral Process
One may be surprised to realize that in the elections of 1876, 1888 and 2000, the candidates who won the nationwide popular vote went on to lose the United States Presidential vote. This may cause one to doubt whether the electoral process is indeed democratic. ‘Democracy’ was derived from the Greek word ‘demos’ defined basically as the government in which the supreme power is vested in the people or simply as President Abraham Lincoln defined it; the government of the people, by the people, for the people.
Therefore, if popular candidates are forced by the system to be the losers, the electoral process of the United States undermines democracy. Mayors, Senators and members of the House of Representatives are voted in directly by the people; but the problem arises in the presidential elections where the people vote for the ‘elector’ who has pledged to represent a certain candidate. Each state chooses a number of representatives that are referred to as the Electoral College; the number being stated in the constitution and determined by the population of each state.
A good example is California that has 55 electoral votes while Utah has only five. In many States, if one wins the popular vote, he or she is assigned all the delegates even though he has worn by only one vote. This is ridiculous! However, few states allocate delegates to presidential candidates proportional to the popular vote that they get. This means that a presidential candidate can win in many of the smaller States but get less votes than the winning candidate in the States with more delegates.
Therefore, in the overall count he or she will lose. This explains why Al Gore lost to President George Walker Bush though the former had won the popular vote in the year 2000. When a Gallup poll was conducted later, 83% of those interviewed said that they never accepted Bush as the legitimate president. The other short fall with the process is that while the President and the Vice President rule for four years, Congressmen serve for two years and Senators for six. This means that much money and time is lost in the election period.
The President and the Vice President, just like the other leaders should be voted in directly by the people . The candidate who gets the majority votes becomes the President with his or her running mate becoming the Vice president. The terms of service for all the political leaders should expire after the same duration. This would mean that elections are held on the same day, saving much money used for the purchase ballot materials and the hiring of election officers every time the elections are held. Time used in voting will also be saved, as people will vote for all leaders at the same time.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 20 February 2017
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