Elect the U.S. President with the Popular Vote

It's time to elect the President and Vice President of the United States by direct, popular vote.

In addition to being given greater proportionate representation in the Senate, individuals living in states with smaller populations are given more political influence than those people living in larger states. That's simply undemocratic. Electing the President by popular vote might also increase voter turnout and most certainly would extend the power of third party campaigns.

Another stark, modern day example of why the Electoral system no longer works, is that Bush became President in 2000. The majority of the American public were bright enough to see how disastrous his Presidency could be and voted for Gore instead. Along with the Supreme Court, the Electoral College system handed Bush's neoconservative minority a victory. A radical minority cannot be allowed to control the country through the Electoral system again.

But putting partisan politics aside (a popular vote could benefit republicans in future elections also), here is a bit of background on the Electoral College from Wikipedia:


The Electoral College is intended to dilute the votes of population centers that may have different concerns from the majority of the country. The system is designed to require presidential candidates to appeal to many different types of interests, rather than those of a specific region or state. The College enabled the Founding Fathers to deftly incorporate the Connecticut Compromise and three-fifths compromise into the system of choosing the President and Vice President, sparing the convention further acrimony over the issue of state representation.

Proponents of the system counter that the Electoral College requires candidates to garner more widespread support throughout the Union; a popular vote system could elect a person who wins by a large margin in a few states over another person who wins by small margins in most states. The latter candidate, the argument goes, appeals to a broader array of interests than the former and is less likely to be a demagogue or extremist. However, the Electoral College is not guaranteed to favor the latter candidate in that scenario. In fact, given the 2000 allocation of electors, a candidate could win with the support of just the 11 largest states.

Most states use a winner-take-all system, in which the candidate with the most votes in that state receives all of the state's electoral votes. This gives candidates an incentive to pay the most attention to states without a clear favorite, such as Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida. For example, California, Texas, and New York, in spite of having the largest populations, have in recent elections been considered safe for a particular party (Democratic for California & New York; Republican for Texas), and therefore candidates typically devote relatively few resources, in both time and money, to such states.

As well as to give more voting power to citizens of less populated states, the electoral college gives disproportionate power to those state interests as well. This can further correspond with national political control, since most states tend to go either Republican or Democrat, and the less populous states tending toward the former. Democrats often complain for this reason that the electoral college favors the Republican party, by boosting the electoral weight of Republican states.

Our forefathers created the Electoral College system during a very different political climate --- as a compromise for state's rights in the industrial age. The world has changed a lot since then; we have entered the "information age." There is no use for the antiquated Electoral College in our modern, mass communication driven, interconnected world.

The recently disbanded Republican initiative to split electoral votes in California shows us that the Electoral College is also increasingly vulnerable to attack by partisan politics.

As a Californian, I might consider such a initiative if every state, including "red states," were divided in the same way. But trying to siphon off electoral votes in one "blue" state to swing an election is not only an unconstitutional ploy that unfairly benefits the Republican Party, but also destroys the balance of power and equal representation among our "Union's" states'.

The initiative's backers said they just want "votes to count." If they really mean that, why not just do away with the Electoral College altogether and have a true democracy where the popular vote elects the President of the United States?

What is your sense? Should we do away with the Electoral College?