Fixing the Electoral College
Every four years, Americans complain about the Electoral College, only to forget all about it once the election is over. And while a single blog post will lead to reform, I’d still like to add my voice to the mix.
51 State Elections
There’s no such thing as a national election in the United States. Instead we have 51 separate elections. Each state (and the District of Columbia) votes for president, and then the 51 elections are weighted by population in an ad hoc congress known as the Electoral College. It’s not the worst system we could think of, but its far from ideal. It leads to situations such as we had in 2000, when Al Gore won a plurality of votes but lost the election in the Electoral College. This debacle and others have cause many people to call for reforms, so far without success.
Winner Take All
The biggest problem with the Electoral College is its “winner take all” approach. It means that two thirds of US states are either too liberal or too conservative to make a difference in the election. This means that candidates focus on just a few “swing states” like Ohio and Florida. It also means that in big states like Texas and California, the voice of the minority party is lost. Finally, by categorizing each state as either a “red state” or a “blue state”, we make our country look much more divided than it really is.
I don’t know what it will take to eliminate the inequity of the Electoral College, but until we do, our presidential elections will never be fair. Do you have any thoughts about what we should do about it? Let me know in the comment section.