Sunday, April 14, 2013

If the System is Not Broken, Why fix it?

If the System is Not Broken, Why fix it?
In today’s day in age change is the new trend, whether is it change in technology, Religion or politics. Unlike most debates, in political parties each side has mixed views on this issue. This argument is that the Electoral College is outdated and has run its course in America, therefore making it unnecessary to be part of the election process. People who believe that the Electoral College is outdated feel that it would be best to use the popular vote to elect our President as a replacement.
Those who favor the popular vote rather than the Electoral College will make few cases as to why the Electoral College should be replaced with the popular vote. One case that is made is that the Electoral College fails to elect the correct candidate. Another case is that the popular vote is not taken into consideration when the Electoral College is making their decision. As a final point, by not using the popular vote as a means to elect the President that distances the citizens feeling of involvement in our democratic system.
In the two hundred years-plus of the Electoral College’s extensive history a mistake has only been made once. This happened in the election of 1876 between Rutherford B. Hayes and Samuel J. Tilden. Jackie Hicken states in “10 of the Closest Presidential Elections in United States History” that “…Samuel J. Tilden, Tilden won the popular vote, 4,288,191 to Hayes’s 4,033,497. However, the electoral votes of four states were disputed” (Hicken 1). This quote clearly shows that while we do not have a perfect system it is more than capable of performing the task at hand successfully.
Furthermore, if the President were to be elected through the popular vote this would also raise issues. By this I mean that instead of candidates campaigning through all the states, the candidates would have a stronger focus on the higher populated states like California, Texas and New York. By way of contrast, this is how the Electoral College helps citizens realize that their vote is important because the candidates will continue to campaign through their state persuading them to have their votes. Also, in the Electoral College each state is given a minimum of three Electoral votes so they are not dominated by other regions of the country who have more electoral votes.
With this in mind, the people who favor popular vote say that it is important for every voice to be heard. As a result of having the Electoral College replaced with the popular vote the opposite would happen. By using the popular vote only a limited number of citizens would have their voice heard through the election. This is because as previously stated, the candidates would simply focus their attention on areas with higher population.
Given these points, it is easy to see that although the Electoral College has its faults, it is a better representation and allows citizens to feel that their vote really does have a significant impact as opposed to the popular vote. Clearly, our founding fathers had the country’s best interest in mind while going through the decision process of how a country should be run and how leaders should be elected.

(Opposing View Points 567)
Works Cited:
1.      Hicken, Jackie. "10 of the Closest Presidential Elections in United States History." Deseret News 5 Nov. 2012. Web. 14 Apr. 2013.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Race to the Finish, May the Best Man Win

Race to the Finish, May the Best Man Win
Throughout its extensive history America has an extremely unique Presidential election history. There have been a handful of elections where candidates have won by landslides and in others where they have won by a very slim margin. But there are three elections that stand out in American History as being won by a slim margin, these are the elections of 1796, 1876 and especially the election of 1800. These elections became so significant that an amendment was made.
The first close election occurred in 1796 between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. This election easily demonstrates where the Electoral College quickly and without conflict resolved a very close election. The Electoral College votes tallied 71 to 68 in John Adams’ favor. This is one of the main benefits of having the Electoral College, it typically allows for almost instant clarity when put under dispute. This is because of its black and white nature, by this I mean that rather than having the entire population have the election in question and argue about it there is a rather small group of officials who are able to resolve any issue within the election.
           Rutherford B. Hayes let out a sigh of relief when he beat Samuel J. Tilden by one electoral vote in 1876. Although, Tilden won the popular vote by 254,694 votes Hayes won the electoral votes 185-184. During the election process, four states had their electoral votes in question. Congress delivered the issue to Electoral Commission who decided to place Hayes as President.
    The closest election happened in 1880 when Aaron Burr and Thomas Jefferson earned the same amount of electoral votes. After it was announced that there was a tie each leader of the political parties picked electors, who voted for their party’s candidates. The House of Representatives was called to break the tie which led to the 12th Amendment.
    After these elections the government found it necessary to make an amendment for these circumstances in case they occurred in the future. Cornell University Law School states in “12th Amendment” that “…the person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately” (Cornell University Law School 1). This shows how the 12th Amendment shapes the results of close elections when there is a need to have a conflict resolved. It also prevents the country from having their votes recounted. If there was a need to have votes recounted they would only need to be recounted in specific states where the votes were thought as questionable or thought to be suspicious. If the 12th amendment was not in our constitution it would allow more chaos to come into the election and make it more difficult to establish a clear winner in these tight races.

Works Cited
"12th Amendment." Cornell University Law School, n.d. Web. 09 Apr.
(Miscellaneous 527)