Politicians once again are trying to fix what’s not broken.
Earlier this year, Democratic Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen proposed legislation that would abolish the electoral college system. The reasoning came from the 2016 election in which the popular vote did not match the electoral college results, and that the American people should get the president the majority expect, according to The Daily Caller.
However, our country is not ready to take on a pure democracy, and abolishing the electoral college will crumble a chunk of the nation’s foundation.
Coming from an aristocracy, the young United States become the exact opposite of a monarchy through the Articles of Confederation. However, turning to a weak national government and relying on the mercy of the states caused more problems than solutions. With the Constitution, the Founding Fathers decided to make America a democratic republic rather than a sole democracy for an effective government that represents its people without giving people all the power. By establishing a republic, they were able to install a system of checks and balances and bicameral legislation to represent the majority and minority, according to The Heritage Foundation.
The Senate was put in place to “safeguard the minority opinion,” according to the U.S. Senate. Similarly, the electoral college is used as a medium to give power to smaller states in the presidential election. Each state has the same number of electoral college votes as they do representatives in Congress, so no state can have less than three, according to History Central. There are only 538 electoral college members, then, who decide who is president and vice president, and a candidate must win more than 270 votes to win. The Founding Fathers feared that without the electoral college in place, a direct election could lead to a tyranny of the masses, in which the majority opinion of the public would overrun the minority. If we take away the electoral college, we take away the minority’s voice and their rights to representation.
If the college was abolished, presidential candidates wouldn’t feel the need to win over small cities and states. They would focus their efforts on large cities where the majority of votes would be concentrated. Elections would become a population density game, and people living in less populated or rural areas wouldn’t matter much despite the “one person, one vote” notion. Instead of solving the voting problem, abolishing the electoral college would cause more political chaos.
We have a direct say in those we elect to the House of Representatives, the Senate, our governors and mayors. Our voting power is most powerful at local levels, and the American people must use that if they truly wish to make a difference. Representation begins at the local level and works its way up the governmental hierarchy.
The electoral college system has run smoothly for 39 elections, with only five elections having the popular vote losing to the college, according to the U.S. House of Representatives. The process ensures an efficient, definitive and strategic presidential election the majority of the time.
Abolishing the electoral college isn’t for the good of the democracy — it would be a power play from the Democratic party since votes would be concentrated in populous blue states such as California and New York.
Americans have increasingly grown more politically polarized. Each party’s animosity toward one another has grown and people can’t seem to come to terms. A divided America isn’t ready to handle the responsibility of a direct democracy if they can’t collaborate.
Abolishing the electoral college strips a fundamental component of federalism and the voice of the minority, and our nation will become subject to the will of the tyrannical majority.