General Question

Cruiser's avatar

Should the Electoral College be done away with?

Asked by Cruiser (40398points) December 29th, 2016

I ask this because of a certain irony in the reason Hamilton rationalized the purpose and intent of the EC…

“the Constitution is designed to ensure “that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.” The point of the Electoral College is to preserve “the sense of the people,” while at the same time ensuring that a president is chosen “by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station…”

I don’t think anyone here at Fluther including me would ever argue Trump is “endowed with the requisite qualifications” to be President…yet he is soon to be.

If you go to the latter statement from Hamilton…

“at the same time ensuring that a president is chosen “by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station…”

an argument can be made that the Electoral College worked by not handing Clinton the win because of her scandal plagued past thusly analyzed her “qualities adapted to the station of President.”

Did the EC do it’s intended job? Or is the EC an antiquated relic from Colonial years and be done away with?

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17 Answers

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

The Electoral College was created with the sole purpose of getting the slave states to agree to ratify the new Constitution and join the union. The non-slave states gave them extra votes for residents (slaves) who were ineligible to vote but were still counted when proportioning votes for the House of Representatives and the President through the EC.

It is an egregious institution and needs to be abolished.

Mariah's avatar

Yes. If there were ever a time for electors to be unfaithful to prevent a demagogue from gaining office, this year was it, and they didn’t do it. Thus the only purpose the EC serves now is to artificially inflate the votes of small midwest states such that the minority can enforce their will on the majority, which makes no goddamn sense. Each person’s vote should be equal.

ragingloli's avatar

The real question is, should the popular vote be done away with?
Since the EC vote is all that matters.

Rarebear's avatar

Of course it should. It makes no sense that an individual in Iowa or Florida should have more say on who becomes President than someone in Texas or California. So now, the candidates campaign where the people are not as opposed to where the people are.

Cruiser's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake Thanks for pointing out that distinction…after all I read about the EC today that was never mentioned. After your answer I found a page that addressed it. And when the EC gave slaves 3/5 of a vote, I read a white Virginia slave owner was our President 32 out of the first 36 years of our new Democracy. I would not be surprised after this last election not only the ACA gets repealed and replaced but so does the EC.

Cruiser's avatar

@ragingloli We still need the general election to determine the vote outcome of each state to determine the EC electors.

Cruiser's avatar

@Rarebear I read about this extensively today. California accounted for 11% of Hillary’s popular vote. That is a massive disparity to most of the other states. But her percentage of the popular vote was only 48%...not even a majority. In the EC California is worth a whopping 20% of the EC votes….another heavy advantage to winning CA. She only won 19 States…that implies that if she won the Presidency with only 38% of the states she is only representing a minority of our country. Still trying to figure out if this is the reason the EC is still around to attempt to equalize the representation of ALL the states and not just a privileged few

ragingloli's avatar

you can just have the state governments have them appointed.

Rarebear's avatar

@Cruiser The “privileged few” of whom you speak live in Iowa, Ohio, and Florida.

filmfann's avatar

No. The Electoral College failed in its designed intent, but that doesn’t mean we should abolish it. Rather, we should have its members better educated of its mission, and requirements.

Cruiser's avatar

@Rarebear That is what I have gleaned from my readings today. What became clearer is Hillary stumped for the popular vote and Trump with laser precision stumped for the electoral college vote. We all know the result. What I find perplexing is Trump took a page out of Barack Obama’s campaign playbook on how to win the Presidency while she herself had the book…and she did not exploit it the way Trump did. I am still stunned by how he won.

Seek's avatar

The obsession with geography is ridiculous.

There is already a government body that gives exactly equal weight to each state regardless of population: the Senate.

There is already a governmental body that gives proportional weight to each state according to population: the House of Representatives.

The President should be chosen by popular vote. Period.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@Cruiser Your assertion that California’s weight is disproportional only holds water if you believe that real estate takes priority over population. It is California’s POPULATION that gives it that muscle – you remember the archaic principle of one man one vote? If economic realities render flyover country ever more devoid of folks with common sense, do you suppose the remedies to the nation’s difficulties will appear from the land of school prayer and “right to work” legislation?

Cruiser's avatar

My apologies @stanleybmanly I did not mean to skew the thought process towards state size and EC Votes. Texas is still bigger and had less EC votes. Yes the number of warm bodies is what drives the EC vote allotments per state. Look at the Upper North east where Hillary pretty much ran the table in those states and for all that real estate barely netted 67 EC votes. One of the implied benefits of the EC is to prevent a regional attack by one aggressive candidate to otherwise win the popular vote by concentrating on one area favorable to their message. What works for Californians clearly does not work for Conservatives like me in suburbia Illinois. Even here in Illinois which was won by Hillary all because of the concentration of Cook County democrats which surrounds Chicago. The rest of our entire state was red yet the EC state votes went to Hillary….hardly representative of 90% if the “real estate” down state farmers and coal miners. Yeah it is imperfect and the EC is still around 200+ years later….yet I still do not quite grasp the real reason why. My guess is the EC protects the voice of every voter whether you live in a concentrated city or vast rural area. This Map shows just how red the Real Estate was in our country this last election.

Pandora's avatar

To answer your question. Yes.

gondwanalon's avatar

I think that the EC is a good idea even in modern times. It allows all of the States in the United States of America to have a reasonable and adequate say in who is elected President. This is not the Dominate States of California and New York.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Yes. It should go the way of the dinosaur.

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