Good Afternoon, readers! Lens of The People is a column dedicated to the capture of the real-life scenarios and events in the local Houston area whilst also giving the thoughts and opinions of the Houston community itself its own voice to speak through.
“The Validity of the Electoral College”
The use of the Electoral College in presidential elections has been called into question a lot over past years, especially after the 2016 elections. Donald Trump was able to win the presidency, despite losing the popular vote, which is to say the majority vote, by over 2 million votes. Even for a country as large as ours, 2 million votes is certainly no small number, and was more than enough to turn many Americans against the idea of the Electoral College as a whole. For if truly in the end, 2 million citizens’ votes went completely disregarded, what does that truly say about our democracy? Which brings me to this week’s question:
Should the Electoral College be used in presidential elections? Is it really fair?
Let’s see what the people have to say:
“I personally do not think that it should be used in the presidential elections, however I believe that it should be used until we can find a better alternative. Although I think that it’s extremely flawed, I think it’s more dangerous, especially with an election this important with the possibility of having someone like Donald Trump is too important of a time to try something new. However, I do think in general that the Electoral College should be done away with, because it was made with elitist intent and does not fit our current time knowing that we now have a far more educated and politically aware population that is far more than capable of making their own decisions regarding who they want for President. Leaving things to the popular vote is also dangerous, as there’s a lot of voter suppression, gerrymandering, etc., that work specifically against minorities. I think that America should be run with checks and balances, which was the original intent of the Electoral College, that has simply been lost to time.” -Angelica Olunkwa
“Well, I believe in the original premise of the Electoral College, because I do believe that there needs to be checks and balances so that the most popular person was the person who deserved it, not just because of their popularity, but because of their actual professional insight. Now, where we are today, we’ve seen that people have used the system to their benefit, so we see an abuse of the Electoral College. We see people who give away their Electoral votes, and that states give their Electoral votes to whoever the popular vote of that state was, which kind of defeats the purpose of the checks and balance, and shifts the narrative as far as what the original intent was and where we are today. So if I had to say today if I feel that the Electoral College is needed, I would say no because it’s being abused, and so that’s why we have to deal with certain people being President that don’t necessarily fit the look or narrative that we expect from a President, but they got it because of the system. So ultimately no, because you can’t win from popular vote anymore and it now means absolutely nothing.” -Wendell King
“I don’t know if it is fair because if one candidate is winning the popular vote, they will still lose if the other candidate receives 270 votes from the Electoral College, then that candidate wins the presidency even if the majority of the United States voted for the other candidate, which really just defeats the purpose of the election to begin with, and really takes away the idea of choice from us as the people.” –Jabriel Green
“I don’t think the Electoral College is really fair as far as deciding something like the presidency, because just like in the 2016 elections, someone can win completely despite being at such a huge discrepancy with the general public. It’s just not really fair to me how all of these people can come out to vote thinking they’ll have made a difference towards life in America just to find out that their choices never mattered in the first place.” Kennedy Temple
Overall, I can legitimately see where the Electoral College may have been a good idea back when it was first conceived in 1787. There was a huge gap in political knowledge between the general public and the actual politicians of that era, so the Electoral College served as a sort of way to fill that gap. However, there are several variables that have severely shifted the tone of that era compared to ours. For one, many people today are very politically active or at the very least informed, and I would say that it’s more frowned upon now than it’s ever been to not be. Furthermore, political conversation and content is easily accessible through television and even social media outlets, such as Facebook and Twitter, which regularly broadcast presidential debates and important proceedings within congress whenever they occur. Therefore, to me it would seem as though we need a new buffer that works in tandem with the popular vote which stops it from being too overwhelming without invalidating it altogether. However, I do believe that the Electoral College is ultimately outdated and frankly the opposite of democracy.
This was Lens of The People, a column dedicated to giving the Houston community a voice and a platform. Stay on the lookout for more, all made possible by The Forward Times!