In my view, the Electoral College of electing the United States’ president should be done with; instead, the president should be elected directly through the popularity vote by all citizens rather than 538 representatives. Currently, the President of the United States of America is elected indirectly by the people. The American citizens go to polls in each state to elect representatives who constitute the Electoral College that is in turn mandated by the Constitution to elect the new President. There are 538 electoral votes, and for one to win presidency, he has to win 270 of these votes, regardless of how he/she performs in the popularity vote’s outcome (Edwards, 2004).
The main weakness of using Electoral College is that it makes it possible for a less popular candidate to be elected president of United States. It creates a scenario where the minorities have their way as the majorities have their say. The Electoral College has in the past produced four such presidents like George Bush, Benjamin Harrison, Rutherford B. Hayes and John Quincy Adams in the year 2000, 1888, 1876 and 1824 respectively. All these candidates lost the popularity vote which in the absence of the Electoral College would have made them win the presidency. It is, therefore, worth noting that the majority of the United States citizens are governed by the president chosen by the minority. For example, in the year 2000, when George Bush, the Republican candidate, beat his opponent, the Democratic candidate Al Gore by five electoral votes (271 to 266), Al Gore had won the popularity vote by more than half a million votes (50,999,897 compared to George Bush who had (50,456,002) (Shea, 2007).
The system discourages people to independently vote for their preferred candidates in the sense that citizens have to look for the candidate that is more competitive within their states for the electoral vote. This is based on the fact that there are 48 states and hence, independent and unpopular candidates in some states are always at a disadvantage. Some states, like Utah and Massachusetts, are largely ignored in the campaigns as they are considered noncompetitive by some candidates. This makes them feel left out in case the candidate they were not rooting for wins.
When a candidate wins the electoral vote and loses the popularity vote, the effects on the presidency can be bad at times. The public support to the very government is crucial to its performance. The presidency also derives its power from the people’s mandate and hence, if the majority who did not elect the president failed to support him, it would make it hard for him to govern (Shea, 2007). The system could be a recipe for civil protests in the future. The majority who votes for a candidate that loses to the one elected by the minority could rise against him. This was witnessed in the George Bush regime that enjoyed little or no support from those who had not voted for him.
Proposed Election System
I would recommend that United States of America uses the direct voter’s popularity system; the same system is used to elect their representatives.
The direct popularity voter’s system would ensure that the majority of the whole nation has its way as democracy dictates. This way the presidency will have proper mandate from the people and the president will be able to enjoy considerable public support from the majority who voted for him. The system will also encourage citizens to democratically elect their preferred candidates without thinking how these candidates will fare in their respective states and their competitiveness (Edwards, 2004). This is as opposed to when they have to look at the strength of candidates based on their competitiveness within the states and their chances of capturing the electoral vote. It will ensure that candidates will concentrate their campaigns on the whole nation and not the states with many electoral votes, which will help the voters to feel part of the system and part of the campaign. They will feel that they have not been left out as in the case with small states.
The United States have been able to conduct direct popularity voting system over the years. It should use this system alone and do away with the Electoral College system as it is not only expensive and complex but also ignores the wish of the majority at times.