The Electoral College Needs to Change, Not Go

Cameron Campbell, Staff Writer

With the upcoming election, some candidates, such as Elizabeth Warren, have made a promise to get rid of the electoral college once elected. This new political trend isn’t only being favored by Democrats, but it’s also favored by President Donald J. Trump. The President has also voiced his possible support for the idea. This new viewpoint likely stems from two Republican presidents being elected in the last 20 years without winning the popular vote. Elections these days are mostly won by heavy campaigning in states known as “swing states,” which are states that typically vote either way. What most people don’t realize is that states today are becoming more ambivalent in their political views, and it wasn’t just Florida and Texas that insured Trump’s victory in the 2016 election.

According to The Washington Post, the main states that Trump campaigned in were Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. “Trump won those states by 0.2, 0.7 and 0.8 percentage points, respectively and by 10,704, 46,765 and 22,177 votes.” These traditional blue states added up to 46 electoral votes that he couldn’t have won the election without. My point is that these states are part of what was called the “blue wall” and weren’t expected to be won by Trump. As more states become less grounded in their political views in the future, very few will be considered an easy win. Who knows, maybe if Clinton did the same to a few red states, she might’ve won.

The solutions to the imperfections of the electoral college lie in a system used by two states, Nebraska and Maine. Nebraska and Maine are the only two states that don’t pool all of their electoral votes into the candidate that won the popular vote. These states use something called the congressional district method. This method splits the state into districts of which are each given one electoral vote. That electoral vote goes to the popular candidate in that district. Also, in these states, there are more electoral votes than there are districts, so the remaining votes go to the overall popular vote of the state. I think this system is best for the country because it not only better represents state interests as a whole, but also the interests of smaller communities as well.

We all know that California is a very strong Democratic state. However, what you might not know is that 39% of this extensive population voted Republican in the 2016 election. These voices were not heard in the final counts because of the “winner-take-all” system used by most states. At the same time, a popular vote would result in highly populated cities such as New York City, Chicago, and San Francisco drowning out the voices of less populated areas.

The fact is that neither our current electoral college or a direct democratic vote can represent the country’s needs as well as the congressional district method can, especially in today’s political climate. America needs to change with the times, but we need to do it in our own way which preserves our status as a Democratic-Republic and represents all American lifestyles.