The Electoral College System

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The Electoral College is one of the most commonly criticized and commonly misunderstood systems in electoral politics today. Criticism about the electoral college can be heard from both sides of the aisle, from both Republicans and Democrats. Some say it distorts the will of the people because it can turn a popular vote winner into an electoral college loser. While others say that it is one of the last remaining pillars of the federalist system that our nation was founded on. In Judith Best’s book, “Choice of the People?” she lays out the arguments for and against the Electoral College system and for or against a national popular vote or “direct election”. One of the major issues that arise when dealing with elections is the competing principles …show more content…
Best lays out seven functions that a method presidential selection should perform. The Electoral College system performs all seven functions, while the direct national election only achieves two of these goals. As a result of this measurement Best declares that the Electoral College system is superior. Another of Best’s criticisms of the direct election plan is that it will lead to fringe third party candidates influencing the election in ways never seen before. Best contends that a direct election system would need to have a popular vote runoff in case the situation arises in which a candidate doesn’t break forty percent of the popular vote. One of the reasons that this is necessary is for legitimacy. How can a President rule if he doesn’t have the will of the people behind him. A President whom sixty percent of the country didn’t vote for would not have a presidential mandate much less the will or trust of the people behind them. Therefore, a run-off election is necessary. However, Best warns that in a run-off election fringe third-party candidates could sell their endorsements to the two candidates in the run-off in exchange for the adoption of specific policy positions or for promises of a position in the cabinet. In addition to this, Best warns that a direct vote election could lead to the general election turning into a “multi-issue public policy opinion poll” (Best 56). The largest issue with this is that we could possibly end up with candidates running from every faction in both major political parties and even more candidates running purely on one issue. This becomes an issue because could quite possibly split the popular vote down to the point where no candidate reaches forty percent. As a result of no candidate reaching forty percent, a run-off election must be held. A common criticism of having a

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