The Electoral College has finally finalized the 2016 US Presidential Election with Donald Trump declared the definitive victor. Anti-Trump forces had hoped the Electors of the Electoral College might realign their votes with the popular vote to pick Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, but they will now have to either accept the new President or seek a recall vote. Where Trump supporters saw recent efforts to influence the outcome of the Electoral College vote as a means to undermine President Trump’s legitimacy, the outcome of the Electoral College vote neither undermines nor reaffirms Mr. Trump’s legitimacy. The Electoral College fiasco only undermines democracy in the US.
Despite winning the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes, a Hillary Clinton victory by the Electoral College would have called into question the legitimacy of a Hillary Clinton Presidency and done far more to undermine America’s democracy. President Donald Trump won based on the long-held rules of all US Elections. Hillary Clinton’s Electoral lose is the product of the Electoral College working. Convincing the Electoral College to upsurge those rules, because a portion of voters do not like the outcome, discredits the legitimacy of US elections. For the most part, the Electoral College is an outdated, unnecessary institution, but the need to protect the rights and interests of minorities from the will of the majority continues to exist.
The power of the Legislative Branch of the United States government is equally divided between the US Senate and the US House of Representatives. The number of US Representatives a State has is based on population; whereas, every State has two Senators. Without the Senate, States with larger populations would garner greater influence in the US Federal government and, perpetually, silence the voice of geopolitical minorities. In other words, the US Congress is designed to ensure those with different views in smaller states have a voice. The American population of today is fairly transient due to the demands of the modern job market, but the need to represent the views and interests of those living in less populated, often less wealthy areas of the country is just as pivotal.
While Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by more than 2%, Donald Trump won thirty of the fifty states, along with 306 Electoral Votes, on Election Day. Without the Electoral College, Hillary Clinton would have decisively won the 2016 Presidential Election. Factoring in the populations of States, however, her victory would have also demonstrated the silencing power of population density. Without the Electoral College, voters in big states like California would have a greater say in all elections than voters in less populated states. Such a system would give states like California permanent control over the election of the US President, which would both undermine democratic representation and discourage voters from voting over time.
On the other hand, the manner in which the Electoral College operates is thoroughly outdated. There is, for example, no need for actual Electors, i.e. those people who are chosen to vote for whoever State voters choose, especially when they do not have a real choice. Giving Electors the power to defy the will of voters would undermine democracy without providing greater representation to minority populations. On the other hand, the fact that most States award all of their Electoral Votes to the candidate, who happened to win the State, undermines the very purpose of having the Electoral College, i.e. greater presentation for less populated areas. The Electoral College should not be based on State victories; candidates should have to win each and every Electoral Vote.
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