As election day looms closer, the long-debated controversy over the Electoral College resurfaces in history classes, news articles, and even everyday conversations. While many argue that the Electoral College is an outdated system that denies and ignores the wants of the people as a whole, this is not at all the goal of the College. This system, set up by the Founding Fathers, was created as a compromise between large and small states so that small states would not feel threatened by the strength, in terms of population and size, of their bigger neighbors. The College provides assurance to the smaller states and their inhabitants that their voices matter in crucial political and governmental events like the federal elections.
The Electoral College also ensures that the voices and opinions of minority groups in the US are represented. John Locke, one of the greatest Enlightenment thinkers, illustrated that in a pure democracy where the majority vote determines all policies and election outcomes, the values of the minorities will forever and always be suppressed. The Electoral College sets up the election so that the people supporting the “minor” candidates can still win delegate votes and influence the election. If the United States had a pure democracy, these “unpopular opinions” would be squashed under an unwavering majority with no way to be expressed.
Tied to this is the concept of election campaigning and the strategies that candidates use to rally and persuade to gain votes. With the Electoral College in place, candidates have a reason to travel and appeal to smaller states and swing states, which could vote either Democrat or Republican depending on the year. In a system of a popular national vote, candidates would largely ignore states like Wisconsin that have smaller populations than states such as California. Rural and suburban areas would fall under as the populous, urban cities and districts would take the spotlight for the candidates’ campaign focuses. Thus, the Electoral College maintains the importance of less populous states such as our own in the federal election.
Given these reasons, it is thus vital to our nation’s unity that we maintain the Electoral College. This system of representation has thus far proved most effective in upholding the values of those whose voices may not be heard in a “popular” democracy.
By Jessica Jiang