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Opinion: Electoral College might be controversial, but it serves its purpose

Electoral+Colleges+serve+an+important+purpose+during+elections+in+terms+of+votes.++
Photo via Creative Commons
Electoral Colleges serve an important purpose during elections in terms of votes.

There are many decisive topics regarding politics during election season. Still, the Electoral College always seems to be a favorite topic for political pundits to complain about on political TV shows. 

In the Electoral College, each state has as many votes as House representatives, plus three votes go to Washington D.C. – bringing a total of 538 electoral votes. Candidates need a majority of the electoral votes, 270, to win. 

Many people believe that America is a democracy and that the Electoral College should be abolished. But this idea is completely misguided as America is not a democracy, but a democratic republic. This means that Americans vote for the representatives who will vote on their behalf in federal elections via the Electoral College and on legislation brought to Congress. 

America is only a democracy when it comes to local and state elections. Anything on the federal level is part of the republic.

Relying on the national popular vote total to elect a president would create such a large deficit for Republican candidates that it would be almost impossible for them to win.

— William Thurman

Since 2000, there have been two elections in which the candidate who won the popular vote lost the electoral college vote and thus lost the election.

In 2000, Al Gore beat George W. Bush by 500,000 votes in the popular election. But because Bush won Florida, he reached 271 electoral votes and won. Even more recently, in 2016, Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by about 2.9 million popular votes, but Trump had 74 more electoral votes.

This may seem like a failure for the Electoral College and the public, but this is an intended design. If national elections were based on the popular vote, whoever won New York and California would practically be guaranteed to win.

Both these states tend to vote very liberally. So relying on the national popular vote total to elect a president would create such a large deficit for Republican candidates that it would be almost impossible for them to win.

Elections would then hold little value, as two states would essentially run the country, and so votes outside of those states would have very little impact.

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About the Contributor
William Thurman
William Thurman, Club Member
Sophomore William Thurman is a first-year Club Member. He can be found listening to music, watching movies, and studying politics and government. 
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