Thursday, November 8, 2012

US Electoral College ensures inclusive democracy

Nov 08, 2012

MR CHO Yan Fatt argued that there cannot be true democracy with the US Electoral College system ("No true democracy with US Electoral College system"; Forum Online, Tuesday).

While is true that the winning candidate in the presidential election may get fewer popular votes, the Electoral College system is respected for its historical roots, and many factors considered then remain relevant today.

[No they haven't.]

The United States is a federal union, with each state having the autonomy to run its own affairs, given the diversity of its society.

The Electoral College system gives greater weight to the smaller states - one of the checks and balances that the US Constitution values, so no big state can dominate the general election.

[Instead, the whole election is just dominated by a few swing states - Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, for example. California with 55 Electors are ignored because they are a "safe" Democrat state. Texas with 38 gets scant attention because it is a safe Republican state. Instead candidates expend their time and resources on the swing states - those states who are likely to be swayed by political ads. The Electoral College system does not prevent that. Instead it may be argued that the system causes this problem.]

In the case of a popular vote system, regions which are sparsely populated would not merit the attention of presidential candidates.

[So how many Presidential candidates make visits to or campaign in Alaska because of the electoral college system? Or Hawaii for that matter?]

However, under the Electoral College system, a candidate would need to get a spread of votes from across the country by developing plurality of support, thus ensuring that the smaller states in the union have a say in the election as well.

[I am so glad the internet does not transmit smells.]

The US founding fathers understood the dangers of direct democracy and struggled to create a system that not only reflected the will of the people, but also respected the minority.

Thus, the Electoral College system encourages moderation, compromise, coherence and inclusiveness of the United States as a nation.

Jonathan Lim

[Mindless regurgitation of textbook answers. Watch this Youtube video for an excellent analysis of the problems of the electoral college system. So "moderation, compromise, coherence and inclusiveness" my ass.

The Electoral College system was put in place because of the time lag in communications in the 18th century, and the vast size of the country required voters to send representatives (Electors) to the Capitol to elect the president.

Technology has improved quite a bit since then.

However if you want to argue that the Electoral College system should be kept because it helps candidates to focus their efforts and energies on just a handful of swing states instead of criss-crossing the nation trying to whip up that "plurality of support"... Ever heard of TV or the Internet?]

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