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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Columns

Electoral College system preserves flawed tradition


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The people have spoken, and we have overwhelmingly chosen Donald Trump to be our next president.

But is that really true? A closer look will show that for the second time in 20 years, the U.S. Constitution, not the people, chose our president. While some states are still counting votes, Hillary Clinton is currently winning the popular vote with 63,649,978 votes compared to Donald Trump’s 61,943,670.

If this lead holds, Clinton will join fellow Democrat Al Gore, who was defeated by George W. Bush in 2000.

The Electoral College is a complicated system created in 1787 by the framers of the Constitution. The presidential election is actually a three-part process that includes the Electoral College because our Founding Fathers couldn’t decide between election by the people or election by the government.

It was different back then. After the 12th Amendment, the system became what we know today.

One of the original arguments for the Electoral College was voters’ lack of knowledge in rural areas. People in highly populated areas had access to more information that their rural counterparts, and the framers wanted to make sure that the latter’s voices counted, too.

Yes, we follow the Constitution on a daily basis, adhering to laws and amendments created long ago, but really, do we think we can make an argument for those in the most rural areas?

Of course, people all over the country live in places cut off from the world, but that is by choice. The thousands of communication methods and transportation options available to us now would blow Benjamin Franklin’s mind.

Don’t think we haven’t tried to change either. Over the past 200 years, more than 700 proposals have been introduced in Congress to alter or remove the Electoral College. Yet here we sit, shocked at a system that should have changed long ago.

All 50 states decide their governor by popular vote because it makes sense. You can try to explain it to me 100 ways, but the reality is that we should elect whomever gets the most votes.

What an unorthodox thought.

Opinion editor Frank Campos is a media production senior and can be reached at [email protected]

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