Is Hillary Clinton right Electoral College should be abolished?
- As of Saturday, November 7, media channels like CNN, PBS, Fox News, and Facebook broadcasted that Biden won the election with 290 electoral votes against Trump’s 214 votes.
- Tuesday, December 14, Hillary Clinton tweeted, “I believe we should abolish the Electoral College and select our president by the winner of the popular vote, same as every other office. But while it still exists, I was proud to cast my vote in New York for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.”
- The Electoral College was established in the Constitution under Article 2, Section 1 and was further clarified to be what we know it as today in the 12th Amendment.
- There are 538 electors and a majority of 270 electoral votes are needed for a candidate to win. The states with the most electoral votes are California (55), Texas (38), Florida (29), New York (29).
- The Electoral College was originally established to protect against an uninformed populace and to provide representation for all states.
- All states except Maine and Nebraska have passed laws requiring that their electoral votes go to the winner of the popular vote for the state.
- The minimum number of states required for a candidate to win an election is 11.
- The electoral vote and the popular vote have only been at odds 5 times. Three occurred in the 1800s while the other two have been in the last 20 years.
The electoral college should not be abolished. It plays an important role in ensuring all parts of the American electorate have an equal voice in federal elections. Twenty-nine states have passed laws binding their electors to the popular vote, ensuring people's voices are represented. If the national popular vote decided presidential elections, populous states would have a disproportionately large impact in determining their outcomes. Candidates could focus their campaigns on a few states or even cities, the populations of which are enough to secure them the 50.1% of the vote they need to win and ignore all others. States with much smaller populations would likely never receive campaign stops, which means their residents would have no interaction or input with possible future presidents.
By contrast, Maine, one of the nation's smaller states, played an important role in the 2016 and 2020 elections because it can split its electoral college votes. The 538 votes in the electoral college represent the total number of representatives in the House and Senate. The Senate began as the body that represents the states, which is why Senators were initially appointed. Decisions made by the federal government affect states just as much as people. For this reason, states are part of the electorate, too. They also control their own elections. The national popular vote would take away state sovereignty and, thanks to the 17th Amendment, their voice in federal politics. To protect states' rights and the equity of votes, the electoral college must be preserved.
Hillary Clinton's suggestion to abolish the electoral college is nothing outrageous and should certainly be considered. The electoral college takes the power out of the hands of the ~230 million voting-eligible US citizens and places it in the hands of 538 electors. The Electoral College all but diminishes the power held by non-swing-states in an election. Voters in states like Wyoming have over three times the voting impact than a voter from California. This is discouraging for citizens that would like to involve themselves but simply don't see a point in doing so. This also leads to politicians only catering to the needs of the states they need votes from, rather than the whole nation.
The Electoral College introduces the possibility of an election that does not involve the winner of the popular vote being the victor of the election. There have already been four instances in US history that the elected president was not the winner of the popular vote. Democracy runs on its people; they should be speaking over and above the system put in place.
Having an Electoral College makes it possible for an election to end in a tie or with no winner at all. While this has not occurred since the year 1800, an election can end in a 269 to 269 vote Electoral College tie. The plethora of inconsistencies circling the electoral college showcase why it needs to be done away for good.