Electoral College Map With Numbers

Is it time to junk the Electoral College? By formulating such an arcane method of electing the executive, the founding fathers hoped to insulate the presidency from popular emotions while, at the same time, protecting thinly populated states from domination by the great cities. The College works by having the state legislatures pick people to vote for the President. Each state has the number of electors as it has representatives to the congress, both House and Senate. These were to be the most able people of the state…in theory. What quickly evolved was that each party would nominate a slate of electors. The political party that won the state’s popular vote would have their slate of electors get the right to vote for President. A “win” was considered 50% plus one vote This has been the method of electing our Presidents since the founding of the republic. There have been consequences not intended by the founders. They have shaped what kind of party system we have. The structure of elections has determined the ways campaigns are run. They have even affected the way in which our government is organized. The “winner-take-all” system also shapes the campaign. Since only one vote more than the competing party is required, there is no reason to give campaign resources to states where a particular candidate is well ahead or too far behind to compete. The battlegrounds are those states that could go either way. In a tight campaign the votes of small states become critical in putting together an electoral majority. Because a state’s entire electoral vote is determined by which party gets one vote more than the next, there is no advantage in voting for a party that will come short of that goal. Ten percent means no vote at all. It makes sense then that we have two parties because that’s the surest way to win the privilege of casting the electoral vote. While third parties might have influence at the state level, it is almost impossible to have an effect at the Presidential level. A popular-vote election means Presidential candidates no longer visiting small, closely contested states. It reduces their influence. The electoral wars will be waged only in the large cities. The changes don’t stop there. Remember, we now nominate candidates by state primaries. Electing people by a national popular vote would cause those to merge into a national primary. After all, if states no longer elect the President, why should they nominate the candidate? There’s a whole new national campaign. college map college map A popular election of the President would change that. No longer would a national campaign be necessary. A President, political scientists tell us, could be elected in the six largest TV. markets. Campaigns would be waged in the large cities and their suburbs. Rural areas would be completely ignored. That is especially true for Democrats. The parties would spend their resources in those areas where they are already strong. Political professionals know it’s easier to expand the percentage of your vote in places you’re already ahead. That is seen today. Republicans don’t waste their resources in mainly African-American areas. Nor do the Democrats campaign in strong Republican precincts. The process has become longer and more expensive. But, that’s not the end. Would a party want its candidate to be one with only, say, 20% of the vote? Probably not. A national run-off primary will evolve to insure one candidate wins 50%.. Electoral college map with numbers electoral college map with numbers
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Another problem now rears its ugly head…the national election. Recall that the Electoral College and the winner-take-all system forced the parties to campaign state by state. Since only a one-vote majority was required to carry that state, third parties found it impossible to exist. They could never have an influence. Not so with a popular vote election. Here a small party getting fifteen or twenty percent could have a large impact on who is elected. In fact, the vote could be spread among several small political parties. Would the nation be content with the President being elected with, say, 30% of the popular vote? Maybe not. There is a way around the problem. The old One-Party-Democratic-South solved it. It’s called the run-off election. Now there are four possible national campaigns: the first national primary, the run-off national primary, the national election, and the run-off national election. Another effect is one that strikes at the government itself. It’s likely that a multi-party system would evolve with elected officials from many different small ideological groups. How would the government work? Our national government is organized around two parties. Could it accommodate coalitions? There is no way to tell. All of the governments that have multi-party systems are Cabinet governments. There are built in mechanisms for bringing down the government and holding new elections when the governing coalition loses public support. Our constitution has no provision for such a circumstance. It’s possible the popular election of the President would force the U. S. to completely change its government from a Presidential to a Cabinet form. Some people argue that would be a good thing. It would, they say, make the government more responsive. They’re right. But, it would also make it unstable. Our constitution creates government that is slow to respond because the framers wanted ideas to have time for thorough review and debate before they were made into national policy.