When I see how elections in America take place I cannot help but feel that there are fundamental flaws in how they are conducted.
The Electoral College is undemocratic
By definition and definition alone, Democracy is a system in which power is given to the people. However, looking at America, a self proclaimed democratic nation, it is clear that there are some people whose votes hold greater power than others.
Say you’re one of the 1.4 million Americans who live in Hawaii. That’s around 0.4% of the American population. One would expect that out of the 538 seats, Hawaii would get…well 0.4% of them, right?
You’d be wrong.
Hawaii holds 4 of the 538 seats in the Electoral College (0.7%) and before you tell me that these are simply very small margins of error, you need only look at the 2000 American Election, where more people voted for Gore/Lieberman than Bush/Cheney yet the latter came out on top. That wasn’t the first time, or the second time, but the third time that a candidate who won the popular vote still managed to lose.
Let me give you an example. If (and most likely when) the Republicans win in Texas next year (which holds 38 seats) it is still possible for the Republicans not to get 38 seats. This is because we rely on electors (435 from the house + 100 from the senate + 3 electors from DC) to vote for the candidate their state has voted for. So hypothetically, even if 100% percent of the vote was for the Republicans, these electors could choose to ignore the views of the electorate and pledge their votes to the Democrats. Now of course this would not happen but the mere fact it can highlights the erroneous nature of the American voting system. And it’s not like faithless electing hasn’t happened. It has.
Small parties cannot thrive
Look at the Libertarians. A party which gained over a million votes in the last election has not one seat in the Senate or the House to its name. If America wants to conserve its current two party hegemony, it’s certainly doing a good job at it. I think the lack of exposure other parties get in America is pernicious and the promotion of alternative parties that promise new ideas will really bring out the best of Democracy.
Is there an alternative?
3 Comments Add yours
You hit the nail on the head here — it’s not a good system. As far as I understand, the college was created (at least in part) to accommodate the less developed state of communication at the time; sending messages and gathering votes took much longer, so direct election by the people was unfeasible. Obviously, that’s no longer the case, but most people either don’t understand the system or they’re too busy too worry about it, so not many people make a big deal about it — let’s hope we can change that.
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Exactly, I hope it does get changed at some point.