If I had to choose one aspect that demonstrated the public’s apparent dissatisfaction from the 2016 election that did not directly involve the candidate’s platforms or behavior, it would have to be the electoral college. Shouts of ‘not my president’ filling streets, ridiculous Facebook posts decrying the failures of democracy (pro tip – we are not a democracy), and general unrest at the idea of the apparent minority ruining the country due to our antiquated ways were all the rage post-election. I’m not saying that these ideas are wrong… but… these ideas are wrong.
Minority sometimes rules because the Majority tends to forget about the Minority.
Cities are hugely populated areas that contain a very large concentration of people who generally have the same basic point of view on major topics. That’s kind of a ‘duh’ statement – people tend to gather where there are other people who think and act like them, and city governments play to this human behavior. Asheville, NC is known as an “artists’ mecca” and contains a massive arts district (like, the whole city), Nashville, TN is for musicians, but mostly Country Music, Portland, OR is weird. New York, NY has theater and stock trading, Durham, NC loves tobacco, San Francisco, CA is known for its progressive stance on sexuality and gender identity. Like-minded people flock to these areas and are surrounded by those who (for the most part- we’re talking majority here) identify with and support their beliefs, choices and worldview.
Trouble is – none of these areas even remotely understands the issues plaguing the farmers of the Midwest, the poverty in West Virginia, Alabama, or Mississippi (when was the last time you even thought about Mississippi or Alabama?), the evangelical core of the ‘Bible Belt’ or the beliefs of the Mormons in SLC. These people still matter though, and should have their voice heard and understood.
The Electoral College provides Equal Representation for all citizens of the United States.
This idea is the foundation of what we, as a country, were founded on: “If you’re gonna tax us, we’d better be represented.”
Just because there is a greater collection of people in one location over another, does not mean that the greater concentration of groupthink should outweigh the lesser. Have you seen/read The Hunger Games? As cool as that fictional story is, it shows a frighteningly plausible picture of what can happen when a majority ignores, oppresses, and exploits groups of the minority.
The electoral college provides equal representation of every people group in the country, instead of relying on what the gross majority thinks the minority should believe, or what they need.
The Electoral College guarantees that the needs of the small and forgotten are met.
Popular vote doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t – because the popular vote doesn’t represent the needs of the country. The anger over the result of the presidential election is a perfect representation of how ignorant the greater concentrations of people – the cities – are of the needs of rest of the country. There are many small towns that rely on certain industries to survive, and coal is a perfect example of this. I’m not saying that we should continue to pursue dirty fuel sources – we shouldn’t – but running a campaign based on ending coal production without any sort of recourse for those mining towns is a very quick way to lose a significant portion of electoral votes. The ‘enlightened’ city folk are thrilled with the idea of supporting clean energy, but the people who need that coal to eat and live are not.
If the majority ruled absolutely, those that rely on that resource as their sole source of income and survival would be left behind, starving, while ‘progress’ marched on. I don’t know about you, but my idea of progress does not involve the callousness of disregarding and, in a way, condemning any number of people to poverty and undue hardship. Eventually many would probably move on and try to find new ways of coping, but a quick look at Detroit should give some indication of what happens to an area that has it’s main source of livelihood removed.
Just a quick aside – I do think we need to do something about the rampant reliance on fossil fuels, but we need to handle it in a way that takes care of those who need those resources to live.
The Electoral College provides an ‘out’ when things get too bad for the minority.
When things start to get bad for groups that are oppressed, they make their voice known, but without an accurate representation of their needs and desires, that voice has all the impact of a tree falling in the forest. Sure, it’s a huge event with much destruction, and it makes a sound, but if no one hears it, it might as well have not happened at all. People in the cities go on about their lives without a thought for those whose lives have been crushed and destroyed until…
The Electoral College staves off the collapse of the country.
The electoral college, however, makes sure that the needs of those who truly drive the country – the farmers, the miners, the small industrial towns that make our toilet paper and inexpensive yet stylishly classic furniture, are met. Without proper representation of the needs of those groups, we would eventually run out of the goods that help us survive. And even if there was a way to, say, immediately stop production of coal, or oil, or wheat, and the country were to survive, those people would now be a burden on the federal government for sustenance, increasing the tax burden on the people living in the cities. We can be as enlightened and refined as we want, but if the city populations begin paying more and more in taxes, they too would eventually fall, just as those who fell before them.
The electoral college isn’t broken – not even remotely. Regardless of who was elected, it shows that the system works, and that the voice of the majority isn’t the only voice that is heard. No matter who we voted for, we should all stand proud that we as a country don’t just ignore the plight of the small and downtrodden, the lost and the forgotten. The president elect is our president, no matter how sane, lecherous, or uncouth they are, and we should be proud that we have the power to represent the country in its entirety.
Do you disagree with me? Do you feel like this is a load of hogwash? Let me know in the comments below – freedom of speech and conversation is a right that we share in this country and you should be able to express yourself. Just try to keep it civil, please =D