Electoral College, a bygone institution

“For diehard Democrats holding out hope that they won’t have to live through a Trump presidency, there is a last, incredibly long shot for them latch on to — a surprise twist in the Electoral College. Though Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 200,000, Trump has won the minimum of 270 electoral votes necessary to be elected president. As of late Wednesday, he had 290 to Clinton’s 228. According to the Constitution, chosen electors of the Electoral College are the real people who will vote for president, when they meet on Dec. 19 in their respective state capitals. However, there is nothing stopping any of the electors from refusing to support the candidate to whom they were bound or by abstaining … ” – New York Post

As of yesterday, CNN put the popular vote figures at 47.5% Trump and 47.7% Clinton. It’s a small margin but it’s there. Hillary won the popular vote. Yet our “modern day” election system is based on an archaic historic election system rendering the votes “for the people and by the people” obsolete. It’s time to change this.

While the electoral college had its uses back in history, it’s use is questionable now. It does not serve the people. It serves the ruling class. This is not a democracy.

While we can still appeal to electors to change their votes before December 19th when they meet, this is a longshot.

Another longshot, but a worthwhile cause, is abolishing the electoral college once and for all.

Created  in 1787, the Electoral College supersedes the popular vote by organizing votes on a state-by-state basis. Historians say it was created as means to protect slavery (according to WGBH).  Hillary Clinton is the fourth president to lose the White House because of the Electoral College, despite having more votes.In a recent poll by the Metro News, 75 percent of readers said the presidency should be determined by the popular vote.

It would seem difficult to end something long revered as a cornerstone of our country’s history, but its time. And it can be done. The Electoral College is enshrined in the 12th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and therefore requires a constitutional amendment, outlined in Article 5. Congress can propose an amendment with a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate or by a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the state legislatures.It must be ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three-fourths.Finding a majority in a victorious Republican-held government might be a problem, though, but in two years there will be another election and more members could be swapped out.

In 2005, Representative Gene Green from Texas introduced the Every Vote Counts Amendment. The text of it reads  “Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to abolish the electoral college and to provide for the direct popular election of the President and Vice President of the United States.” This is what a government “for the people and by the people” should be. I understand the electoral college has its place in history. Perhaps we could retain it and give them a symbolic vote, but currently our system gives the people only a symbolic vote, ad that is not a democracy.

I personally spent the morning calling and writing to senators and representatives to reconsider the Every Vote Counts amendment, and I will continue pushing this agenda even if it takes another four years.


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