"I venture to suggest that patriotism is not a short and frenzied outburst

of emotion but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime."
Adlai E. Stevenson, American statesman (1900-1965).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Before I took a political science class in college, I had little understanding of the Electoral College and even less knowledge of how it came to be. The information startled me, and dimmed my bright perception of our founding fathers.

What is your opinion of the Electoral College? Should we keep it? Or should we encourage our representatives to ditch the antiquated system?

I have an opinion, I'll let you voice yours first...


  1. I was a jr. in HS when I first learned of the Electoral College. It sounded foolish to me then and it still does to this day. I have tried to better understand why it came to be and why it still "is"! My son is in seventh grade and he knows there is this and the popular vote. At least the schools are educating the kiddies a little sooner. Back to you STA....

  2. I learned about it in school...I just didn't know how it really worked. And I knew nothing about why it exists.

    I really came to question its effectiveness in 2000. The whole popular vote vs electoral vote really got me. It is my opinion that if someone is the popular winner, then they should be THE winner.

    A little background on the Electoral College:

    (I'm doing this from memory without pulling
    out my poly sci book, so if I have something wrong, please let me know.)

    Basically, the mindset of the "aristocracy" at that time was that the masses (ie us) are not educated enough to directly choose our president. OK, I have to pull out some essays here... Sorry, can't help myself.

    Found it...alright, here is an excerpt from one of my college papers regarding the Electoral College:
    Despite the good achieved with the Constitution and Bill of Rights (ensuring our basic human rights, etc.), the founding fathers still had little faith in the masses. The original intent of the Electoral College was to prevent the “average American” (i.e. uneducated, and therefore easily manipulated) from electing our most important public official. I strongly feel that such an antiquated (and absurdly formatted) institution should be abolished. In a country where the concept of “majority rules” is placed on a pedestal, why should someone hold an office if the majority of Americans did not vote for them to hold it?

    Further, the “Information Age” has allowed voters to have greater access to our elected officials and greater access to quality political information and policy data. As Braunwarth noted, “One of the key conditions for [a participatory democracy] is an open information system to ensure informed decisions.” Thusly, I feel the “average American syndrome” that the founding fathers were concerned with is well over. Therefore, as America edges toward a quasi-participatory democracy (with civic-minded and policy-savvy citizens), I forecast that eliminating the Electoral College will increase voter turnout. By having the popular vote elect our president, the American citizens will overcome their cynicism and disillusionment with our political system and truly feel that their voices and votes count.
    Now, mind you, this was written in 2006 when the Kerry loss was still fresh and the 2000 debacle not such a distant memory. That was also the year that I stated, in this class actually, that my "Dream Team" for 2008 was Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.....I was so close. But I also made the point that it was unlikely to happen, as Americans will be more likely to elect a black man to the White House than a woman--they did, after all, get the right to vote before we did.

    Hmmmm.....back to you JC

  3. I think the education level has increased since the original intention of our founding fathers. Coupled with the information age......I say ditch the Electoral College.
    Thanks for the "briefing"..........


Those who cannot learn from history are condemned to repeat it

~George Santayana

They must have read my mind...

hat tip to abaycircus for finding this gem: