By Tiger Shi
Web Content Contributor
In June of 2019 then-Mayor Pete Buttigieg said that the Electoral College is “undemocratic” and he wishes to abolish it, according to the Hill. In my opinion, the Electoral College was designed to be democratic.
There is a reason why the U.S. is considered a “constitutional republic” rather than a democracy. “Democratic” is a vague term to apply to the U.S. because we are not a direct democracy but a representative democracy: We the people elect members of Congress and senators to make decisions for us.
It is the same concept for the Electoral College, where all 538 presidential electors meet in Dec. to vote to elect the winner of a presidential election. These professionals do the voting for the people, thus justifying the U.S. election system as democratic.
The Electoral College’s integrity was also questioned during the 2016 race. When Donald Trump won the election, Hillary Clinton supporters argued that Clinton won the popular vote to deny her loss. They were correct; Secretary Clinton won the popular vote but lost the electoral, yet the loss was still technically democratic.
This critique of the election system continues to be relevant since the recent presidential election as well. President Biden declared victory on Nov. 7, 2020. Since Nov. until former-President Trump left office, Rudy Giuliani and members of the Trump legal team addressed voter irregularities frequently. The Electoral College verified Biden’s victory in Dec., and that led to efforts to de-certify electoral votes.
The electoral vote is an integral part of the U.S. voting process and constitution. The Founding Fathers who created the Electoral College in the first place set it up like this because they studied the dangers of a 100% direct democracy, which is essentially the “tyranny of majority.” Like French diplomat Alexis de Tocqueville observed, direct democracy would be too powerful, marginalize minority voices and prevent adequate change.
Ultimately, the Electoral College is a way to keep checks and balances between the branches of the U.S. Government. The executive gets elected, the legislative certifies the victory and on Inauguration Day the judicial swears them in.
Everyone in the U.S. has a hand in the three important steps of the voting process: The people vote, electors vote and Congress votes. By definition that is democratic.
Therefore, the Electoral College is worth keeping. Abolishing the voting process would only cause further chaos in how America elects its president and vice president. It sounds great in theory to have a direct democracy, but a representative democracy in a constitutional republic is more realistic.
Featured Image by Andie Mau via Canva