Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Split Electoral College

The election of Donald Trump shocked our world.  No one saw it coming, not even the man himself.  His win raises some very tough questions about our nation and founding fathers. One of the main ideas and points of contention is the electoral college.
Donald Trump won the election not from popular vote but from the electoral college, which is a system as you already may know, takes the popular vote of each state and selects electors who are the ones who actually elect the President.  If a candidate wins a simple majority of the popular votes, they receive all of the electoral votes.  Our founding fathers did this for a few reasons, some perfectly kosher, others not so much.  They did not believe in a direct democracy, they saw it as a system that would eventually collapse in on itself, which is why they set America up as a republic.  It is also why we have the electoral college.  The system was created in part so that the public did not have the ability to elect someone who would be a tyrant or was so unqualified that they would do irreparable harm to our nation. It was also created so that plantation owners in southern states were properly represented because so much of their population was unable to vote because of slavery.
The system did serve its purpose early on as it allowed those in rural areas to have a voice in the nations Presidential election, but as time passed the systems flaws have come ever more apparent.  5 people now have been voted President by the Electoral College who did not win a majority of the popular vote. While 2 of the last 5 Presidential elections have seen the system change the outcome of the race.
First of all, if you live in a party dominated state your vote is marginalized, for example; in a state such as California, Republican voters have become disenfranchised because they know their votes won’t amount to enough to win the massive amount of electoral votes in the state. Not only that, but Democrats in California don’t participate either because they already know the states electors are secured. This not only creates divisions within the state but reduces voter turnout and keeps Americans in states such as this from participating in our elections.  The system also creates a situation where candidates for President only visit a dozen states or so during the entire race, as those are the only states that they know there is a chance of swinging them in to their column.  The system marginalizes voters of both parties preventing their voices from truly being heard.
Many have offered that we should abolish the Electoral College.  The problem is, it won’t solve all of our problems if we do that.  Currently, voters in densely populated areas are marginalized, in a popular vote system, those in rural areas will be marginalized.  Large sections of the country under a popular vote system would never get a chance to talk to or hear the candidates, as so few votes would be up for grabs that they would forget them and not bother to hear their voices.  While the popular vote system seems logical, it has its own problems.
So how do we fix this so that we don’t marginalize anyone? The answer is a split electoral college.  A split electoral college keeps intact what the founding fathers original intentions were with the system while modernizing it into todays world.  It ends the marginalization of voters on any side of the political spectrum and also encourages voter participation instead of voter suppression.  Under this system instead of Democrats receiving all 55 electoral votes in California, the electors would be split based on the popular vote, 35 for Democrats and  20 for Republicans.  It creates an environment where even if you don’t win a majority in the state there is still something to fight for.  It also creates a system where the popular vote is truly heard as it more closely ties the electoral amounts to what the popular vote totals reflect.
The split system would encourage candidates to visit almost every state, red, purple, and blue and all American voices would be heard and feel valued.  At a time when we feel so divided in our nation, we need ideas that help bridge the gaps of understanding. Saying the electoral college is perfectly fine is not facing reality, and saying we should abolish it is equally not looking at it as if anything would really change from what we have today.
If we want to start making America whole again we need to start by making sure voters don’t feel marginalized like they do right now.  It has led to some of the animosity we see and it has turned voters off to a process that should be invigorating to participate in. Push for a split electoral college system and we can begin to rebuild this great nation and continue our founding fathers dreams for this country.

You can contact us directly at politicalpulsesite@gmail.com. We are open to your opinions and welcome questions to our posts.

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