There has been a lot of discussion about the role of the Electoral College in U.S. politics, with many people advocating the popular vote count as the fairer way of selecting the president. At present, and since the beginning of the United States, the Electoral College elects the President. The Presidency is the only post that is not filled by the vote of the people.
The debate on the role of the Electoral College started, in recent times, with the George W. Bush’s win over his democratic rival Al Gore. It became even more heated when Donald Trump won the presidential election, despite losing the popular vote to Hilary Clinton. That latest event made me look into the antecedents of the Electoral College, and what I found amazed and horrified me.
Simply stated, the Electoral College was created by the first governors of the southern states as a way of retaining their control over the country, despite a northern states population growth that would have swung the balance of power northwards.
They managed, enshrined in the creation of the Electoral College, to pass legislation that allowed them to count every slave they owned as two-thirds of a vote. The slaves, of course, had no say in that process, nor could they actually vote.
It worked! The first five presidents of the U.S. were slave-owning plantation owners from the south.
Obviously slaves are not an issue today, in the voting sense, but perpetuating a system that was designed to take advantage of slavery, and designed to be unfair, is hardly a credit to the nation.
It gets worse!
Currently, in most states, the electors sent to the Electoral College, and remember those electors elect the president, are appointed by committees. They are not elected by anyone.
Even worse, once they are appointed, they have no legal obligation to represent the views of those who appointed them. Doubly un-democratic!
The Electoral College system is an embarrassing anachronism to the image and process of U.S. democracy, and it that subverts the democratic election of a president.
It should be abolished immediately, and replaced by the popular vote. Anything in-between, such as individual states having different systems of eligible voters, will not solve the problem, and will be always be subject to gerrymandering!
I am not so naïve as to think that any system cannot be manipulated, but the Electoral College is a disgrace that reflects badly on the United States both home and abroad.