When the Founding Fathers Fail Us

Giuliana Carmen, US News Co-Editor

The electoral college was founded in 1787, as the result of a compromise made because of the opposing beliefs of the delegates at the Constitutional Convention. Those who were for the implementation of the electoral college system feared that voters didn’t possess enough knowledge about each candidate to make a valid and educated decision and that they were not worthy of holding the power of directly deciding who would become president. In my view, this was the beginning of the corruption of democracy in the United States, as a system was created to limit the power of the people and their voices. The creation of this system begs the question: why were some delegates so desperate to suppress the opinions of voters in America?

James Madison feared that if the popular vote was used, mob rule or ochlocracy would run rampant in American politics. Ochlocracy is a system in which citizens succumb to false information and manipulation tactics used by political authority figures, consequently causing misinformed citizens to vote. This is an example of how the electoral college has failed us as Americans; the Founding Fathers’ worst fear became a reality when Donald Trump was elected in 2016. Trump is believed to have made a minimum of 20,000 incorrect claims throughout his presidency, making him a perpetrator of false information, and for all intents and purposes, promoting ochlocracy. Nevertheless, keep in mind that Trump lost the popular vote in 2016 by upwards of 2.5 million votes, the electoral college ironically being his saving grace, allowing him to continue lying and deceiving American citizens for four years. In my opinion, it’s quite ironic that people who identify with the GOP are actually the ones who want to keep this outdated system, as it was built to prevent candidates like their most recent in office.

Furthermore, the electoral college was established on the grounds that enslaved African-Americans only counted for three-fifths of a person, a clause that has now been repealed due to its racism. In a political climate like today’s, I find it of the utmost importance that we work towards fixing the many corrupt systems present in American politics. It’s quite foolish for a country that prides itself on freedom and diversity, to still be using such a corrupt system that was specifically founded on suppression. No real change can ever be created in America until the nefarious systems that were established under alarming pretenses are abolished.

So, what does the future of the electoral college look like? Well, our president-elect Joe Biden is against the elimination of it, but vice-president-elect Kamala Harris is actually open to the possibility, stating “there’s no question that the popular vote has been diminished in terms of making the final decision about who’s the president of the United States, and we need to deal with that.” With the growth of Democrats in Congress and a vice-president-elect who supports the elimination of it, I anticipate the abolition of the electoral college system to occur in the near future. I hope to see America become a country for the people, where every voice can be heard without any outdated systems standing in the way. The Washington Post’s slogan remains true: “democracy dies in darkness”, and as American citizens, we cannot allow this to happen.

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