A Failed System

10102508_GFor years I have preached that We The People do not elect the President. It’s only this Presidential Election that the public in general and certain media outlets seem to have figured that out too.

Never have I seen or heard such an outpouring of actual emotion and participation during an election, on both sides, and I have been through Presidents all the way back to Nixon, that I can really remember.

I have a theory as to why that is, but I will save that for another post, I want to concentrate on this Failed System we find ourselves under.

Let’s base this argument on high school elections. In high school you voted for class president, or should have if you were the least bit interested in it.

Now, to make your actual vote, you were given a piece of paper with the names of the nominees on it. You would put an X or check mark beside the name of the person you wanted to be class president. After you did this, you went to a box with a slit in the top and placed your vote in it. The box had a lock on it and someone was with it all the time to make sure nobody tampered with it.

After everybody voted that wanted to, the box was taken, usually to the principles office, where it was opened and the votes counted, usually twice by different people.

The person with the most votes won the office of class president. Simple as that. No muss, no fuss and it was done fairly.

Now, lets jump to the adult version of voting for President.

First there are Delegates picked or voted for, depending on the state you happen to be in. That’s the first vote you place. When you go to the polls to vote for who you think you’re voting for, you’re not. You are actually voting for Delegates, not the actual Presidential Nominee.

Second, the Bound Delegates will post their vote per the popular vote, that’s as close to fair as this whole thing gets. Not only are there Bound Delegates, there are also Un-Bound Delegates that can vote however they choose, despite the popular vote.

For instance, let’s say a state has 12 Delegates, 4 Bound and 8 Un-Bound. The popular vote is heavily in favor of Nominee A. The 4 Bound Delegates have to vote for Nominee A, however, of the Un-Bound Delegates, only 1 voted for Nominee A, the remaining 7 voted for Nominee B.

Because of the Delegate System, Nominee B wins that state, despite the popular vote and accrues those delegate votes. The Republican nominee has to have 1,237 Delegate votes to win the position and go on to the actual campaign for President. I’m not sure how many the Democrats have to have, but it’s more than 1,237.

Some states don’t even let the people vote for the Delegates, they are picked, by whom I don’t know. The Democrats have what is called Super Delegates, they can do pretty much anything they want as far as voting goes and the popular vote has absolutely nothing to do with it. But money does. Think about that for a minute if you’re a Democrat.

Now, at the end of all the preliminary Nominee elections, and there’s only one left standing for each side, they go into a Conference. Here’s where it gets interesting.

During this Conference, there is a final Delegate vote. If there isn’t a consensus on the first vote it goes to a second and a third, and so on until there are enough Delegate Votes. It is possible to introduce a completely new Nominee during the Conference to be considered for President, a person that didn’t do one hour of campaigning. This is called a Contested Conference and if the new person gets the majority of the Delegate votes, that person, whom NOBODY voted for, is elected to go on for the Primary Presidential Election.

OK, so we finally got our two Nominees and they’re out there campaigning their hearts out to try and win your vote, which doesn’t count. Because for the main election, we have the Electoral College.

Below is an explanation of the Electoral College from The Huffington Post. Please read it carefully. The lines in Bold are very important.

What is the Electoral College?

The Electoral College is made up of 538 electors who cast votes to decide the President and Vice-President of the United States. When voters go to the polls on Tuesday, they will be choosing which candidate receives their state’s electors. The candidate who receives a majority of electoral votes (270) wins the Presidency. The number 538 is the sum of the nation’s 435 Representatives, 100 Senators, and 3 electors given to the District of Columbia.

 

How does the Electoral College work?

Every four years, voters go to the polls and select a candidate for President and Vice-President. In all but two states, the candidate who wins the majority of votes in a state wins that state’s electoral votes. In Nebraska and Maine, electoral votes are assigned by proportional representation, meaning that the top vote-getter in those states wins two electoral votes (for the two Senators) while the remaining electoral votes are allocated congressional district by congressional district. These rules make it possible for both candidates to receive electoral votes from Nebraska and Maine, unlike the winner-take-all system in the other 48 states.

 

How are the electors selected?

This process varies from state to state. Usually, political parties nominate electors at their state conventions. Sometimes that process occurs by a vote of the party’s central committee. The electors are usually state-elected officials, party leaders, or people with a strong affiliation with the Presidential candidates.

 

Do electors have to vote for their party’s candidate?

Neither the Constitution nor Federal election laws compel electors to vote for their party’s candidate. That said, twenty-seven states have laws on the books that require electors to vote for their party’s candidate if that candidate gets a majority of the state’s popular vote. In 24 states, no such laws apply, but common practice is for electors to vote for their party’s nominee.

 

What happens if no one gets a majority of Electoral College votes?

If no one gets a majority of electoral votes, the election is thrown to the U.S. House of Representatives. The top three contenders face off with each state casting one vote. Whoever wins a majority of states wins the election. The process is the same for the Vice Presidency, except that the U.S. Senate makes that selection.

 

Can you lose the popular vote and win the electoral college vote?

Yes, a candidate could lose the popular vote and win the electoral college vote. This happened to George W. Bush in 2000, who lost the popular vote to Al Gore by .51% but won the electoral college 271 to 266.

 

When does the Electoral College cast its votes?

Each state’s electors meet on the Monday following the second Wednesday of December. They cast their votes then, and those votes are sent to the President of the Senate who reads them before both houses of Congress on January 6th.

 

Why does the Electoral College matter?

The Electoral College determines the President and Vice-President of the United States. The Electoral College system also distinguishes the United States from other systems where the highest vote-getter automatically wins. This so-called “indirect election” process has been the subject of criticism and attempted reform, though proponents of it maintain that it ensures the rights of smaller states and stands as an important piece of American federalist democracy.

As you can see, even though 27 states have laws that require their Electoral Members to vote by the Popular Vote, 24 do not. That means that the Electoral Members of those states can vote for whomever they choose, despite the popular vote.

Now you tell me how this system is anywhere near fair or how “We The People” elect the President of the United States.

This post was inspired by Jason Cushman, better know as Opinionated Man around WordPress, by a post on his blog. Thanks J, for the inspiration to write this post!

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5 thoughts on “A Failed System

  1. Dermott Hayes

    A failed system, indeed, Tim. As a non-American, I’ve often marvelled how such an undemocratic electoral system as this should be representative of a country that tells the rest of the world it is the model of democracy. If the questionable manipulation of the recent Californian Democratic primary is true, then the problem is much worse than you think.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
      1. unriggingamerica

        Change is possible. We do need to organize. We need to define the problem, develop solutions and then take the reforms to the state legislatures to ratify. That is the procedure set out in the Constitution. Politicians will not reform themselves or the system but, we can, we must, and we will. We are trying to start this discussion. You can find us at unrigging america on wordpress and facebook. Yours would be a valuable voice. Please join us. We need you.

        Liked by 1 person

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