The Electoral College, a set of electors empowered to elect the President of the
The founding fathers feared mobocracy. They were of the opinion that a simple majority would not effectively uphold democratic standards in the
The most profound of these characteristics is the exclusion of an influential third party in American politics. Such a failing inhibits democracy in the
The Electoral College eliminates the presence of a powerful third party by the presence of the institution itself, as opposed to a parliamentary system of election. All states, excluding
The disenfranchisement that results from the Electoral College also undermines democracy in the
Supporters of the Electoral College claim that the institution ensures that candidates campaign in the “boon-docks.” This, supporters say, ensures that the views of all Americans are heard and have some semblance of influence. One cannot make this claim, however, considering the absence of an influential third party. To say that due to the Electoral College system the views of all Americans are taken into account assumes that the views of all Americans are in accordance with one of the two major political parties. Such a view, illustrated by the 1992 election, is fallacious. And indeed, that the occurrence of “faithless electors” additionally compromises the view that the system ensures all Americans of a say. Faithless electors are those that cast their state’s Electoral College votes in their own interests, as opposed to the interests of the majority of the state’s voters. On 20 occasions electors have cast an electoral vote for a candidate other than the candidate they have pledged to elect. The presidential election of the
Reform of the Electoral College system is desperately needed. The best solution is to scrap the institution entirely, allowing popular vote to determine the presidency. Such a system would encourage voter participation, allow for an influential third party, and ensure that the election process is entirely democratic. Such reform, however, is hard to come by. Indeed, it is near impossible to do away with the Electoral College. A reform of the system would require a constitutional amendment. To pass such an amendment is a daunting task, especially considering that it would need the support of the smaller states that the Electoral College helps most. Additionally, the Republican and Democratic parties will be reticent to embrace measures of reform as the Electoral College ensures that their power will not be challenged.
Regardless of the difficulties inherent in reforming the dated and ineffective system, reform is imperative. Democracy is compromised in