The Electoral College is the system the United States has used to elect its president since it was established in 1788. However, as time has gone on, the United States has outgrown this archaic system, as it is not democratic and does not accurately represent the population’s interests.
When a candidate can win the popular vote but lose the overall election, it shows a massive gap between what the people want and how the Electoral College chooses a winner.
The Electoral College simply reflects who is able to spend the most money on their campaign, not who has the best policies. Many states are considered “safe states,” meaning that it is unlikely they have an unexpected outcome on election day. This can lead to candidates spending less money and time in each state they deem unworthy of campaigning in.
For example, almost 90% of the money spent on TV ads in the 2020 election was spent in just nine states, according to The New York Times.
This can lead to huge problems, as candidates can ignore the wants and needs of these states during their presidency because they know that they can count on having their vote.
Furthermore, if the candidate one votes for loses in their state, then their individual vote has essentially no impact on a larger, national scale.
Additionally, the Electoral College is an undemocratic institution because a vote in one state is not equal to a vote in another. For example, a presidential vote from Wyoming has the weight of 2.97 votes, whereas a vote from Florida is weighted to only .78 of a normal vote, according to The Conversation.
Florida has a population of 21.48 million, whereas Wyoming has a population under a million. This can lead to massive problems for a democracy, such as less people coming out to vote and the most voted for candidate not winning the election.
A different reason why the Electoral College is undemocratic is because the states that have more electoral votes don’t always have the most voters. For example, Iowa has six electoral votes and Oklahoma has seven, but there were 130,000 more votes in Iowa than in Oklahoma, according to Elect Project.
The best fix to the system would be to transition to the popular vote system, where the candidate who receives the majority of the votes on a national level wins the election.
Moving to a popular vote system would fix most of the problems the Electoral College has, such as a vote in a different state being worth more than one in another. It would also be significantly more suited to representing the nation’s interests.
Furthermore, this system would have a cascading effect because, if it was able to make more people come out to vote, then those people would also vote in their local elections. This would make the United States an even better-working democracy.
There are many reasons why the U.S. should move away from the Electoral College system, and the biggest of those reasons is that it is unrepresentative of a true democracy. A popular vote system is essential for the United States.