Retain Electoral College system
To the editor:
In the wake of the results of the presidential election, there have been many calls to abolish the Electoral College, a system that its opponents call outdated. This letter is intended to address the most common criticism of the Electoral College, and state why the system should remain in force.
The main criticism of the Electoral College is that it is not democratic, which is mainly true. However, the writers of the Constitution had no intention of creating a pure democracy. Many of them were accomplished political theorists who carefully studied different systems of government. They came to the conclusion that democracies simply do not work. It has commonly been described as “wolves and one sheep deciding what should be for dinner.” In other words, it does not stop the majority from oppressing the minority.
The Constitution was designed in part to protect the rights of the minority population. The Electoral College does this by forcing presidential candidates to have nationwide appeal. It prevents them from focusing entirely on their strongest voting blocs, since this strategy would make it impossible to win enough electoral votes. They must build coalitions of voters with many different backgrounds in order to be successful.
This phenomenon can be seen today with the urbanization of the American population. If the president were popularly elected, he would only have to appeal to populations in big metropolitan areas, like New York City and Los Angeles. However, the Electoral College prevents this because winning all the most urbanized states does not provide enough electoral votes to win the presidency.
A common rebuttal of this argument is that presidents still only have to appeal to voters in swing states. However, this is a fallacy. If a candidate ignores states that he considers safely on his side, then he may suffer consequences. This is exactly what happened to Hillary Clinton when she lost Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
In this election, the Electoral College worked exactly like the founders intended. The rural population voted overwhelmingly for Trump, and without this system, their voices would not have been heard. The Electoral College is a system that contributes to diversity of political opinion and provides a voice for marginalized voters, and that is good for America.