The electoral college threatens the future of America’s democracy

Alyse Kaminski | Staff Columnist


With less than a week until the election, I can certainly say I have never been so anxious for a political event in all of my 21 years on this planet. I don’t think it would be a stretch to say this is the most nervous I have been for anything ever. 

There are a lot of factors contributing to my nerves. What is the next “October Surprise” that could come and sway undecided voters? This year has been so unpredictable, we know that anything could happen. 

If people were so confident in 2016 that Hillary Clinton would win, I cannot be confident that Joe Biden will, even though there is a part of me that has hope (knock on wood). What if something actually comes of the alleged meddling from Iran and Russia? What if suddenly people start to care about the so-called scandal surrounding Hunter Biden? 

I think, however, the thing that is making me the most nervous is the Electoral College. The fact that for the second presidential election in a row, a candidate could win the popular vote, but lose the election, is honestly scary. It is a threat to how people will continue to view democracy in America. 

I know what you’re thinking. “Alyse, you’re only worried because it’s your preferred candidate that this is more likely to happen to again.” And maybe that is the case. But doesn’t it say something about our voting system if for the last two major elections, the electorate did not really…elect? 

That is probably my main gripe with the electoral college, but there’s plenty more issues I take with it. One being the fact that it makes what should be a simple process confusing for Americans who are a little more apathetic to politics. And I really believe that even if politics does not constantly occupy your mind as it does for me, you should not be discouraged to vote just because you don’t care to understand the system. 

FiveThirtyEight reports that anywhere from 35-60% of eligible voters do not vote in elections. There’s many reasons for this, but I don’t think that it is a stretch to say the Electoral College is one of them. 

The same article from the source introduced Eduardo Martinez who said that if President Trump loses the popular vote but remains in power because of the Electoral College, he will probably never vote again. And honestly, I don’t blame him or anyone else who would feel discouraged. 

According to George Edwards III, a professor at Texas A&M University, the Electoral College was created when the framers of the Constitution were too frustrated and tired to come up with anything else. So not only is it outdated, but the framers were not even too keen on it. 

It is also worth noting that when the Constitution was written, no other country directly elected their leaders. The framers had no guide to base this decision on and they were wary of tyranny. However, it is 2020 and democracy exists widely around the world. There is no need to complicate the system. 

It certainly would be easy for those on the other side of the aisle — conservatives — to argue that if Biden lost the popular vote but won the Electoral College, I would not complain. You know what, maybe that is the case. They could be right; I really want anything that will remove President Trump from office. 

However, I find it really difficult for the GOP to point fingers and say Democrats are being hypocrites after they just finished rushing the lifetime confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett eight days before the election when in 2016 they said that was unconstitutional. 

I don’t mean to create an “Us vs. Them” mentality. We need to start reversing the polarization that has occurred since 2016. It is definitely difficult to do so when there is so much happening each day. So much to worry about. However, I really think a step in the right direction is abolishing the Electoral College. Let’s make all elections in the future fair and equitable. Let’s make sure the people actually get what they want. 

If we really want to strive for a more perfect union, then we need to live in one where the candidate who the people elect becomes the president.