On November ninth, Donald Trump was elected the forty-fifth president of the United States. While he lost the popular vote by over a million votes, he won the electoral vote be a sizable margin. This has prompted widespread unrest in major cities like Philadelphia and San Fransisco. Thousands of students rioted in the name of justice, chanting, “Not my president,” and, “Still with her”. In Washington, Democrat senators want to do something even more drastic: abolish the Electoral College. While the likelihood of this happening is slim, Americans must be made aware that the Electoral College is a necessary system in our Democratic Republic, and cannot be abolished.
One reason many are skeptical of the Electoral College is because they do not understand how it works. The Electoral College is a system, not a place, that was instituted in the Constitution by the Founding Fathers. In Article II of the Constitution, we read:
1: The executive power shall be vested in a president of the United States of America. He shall hold his office during the term of four years, and, together with the vice president, chosen for the same term, be elected, as follows.
2: Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number of senators and representatives to which the state may be entitled in the Congress: but no senator or representative, or person holding an office of trust or profit under the United States, shall be appointed an elector.
3: The electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for two persons, of whom one at least shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves. And they shall make a list of all the persons voted for, and of the number of votes for each; which list they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the president of the Senate. The president of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates, and the votes shall then be counted. The person having the greatest number of votes shall be the president, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such majority, and have an equal number of votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately choose by ballot one of them for president; and if no person have a majority, then from the five highest on the list the said House shall in like manner choose the president. But in choosing the president, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. In every case, after the choice of the president, the person having the greatest number of votes of the electors shall be the vice president. But if there should remain two or more who have equal votes, the Senate shall choose from them by ballot the vice president.
This clearly lines out the role electors play in electing a president. They have the job to balance out the power of each state, and to keep the voters in check, while still relying on a majority vote. Let’s say that the state of Delaware has ten electors, and a population of one hundred. Sixty people vote for Trump, and forty people vote for Clinton. Donald Trump wins all those electoral votes, because he got the majority of the vote. The Electoral College is a winner takes all system, save in one or two states.
Finally, voters must realize that America is a Democratic Republic, not a Democracy. The limits put on government and voters are there to keep the people free. While the people have the general right to choose their leaders, checks and balances that the founders put in place in the Constitution must stay there, and that includes the Electoral College.
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