First appeared in Prescott eNews
By Aron Solomon
In the revered corridors of American democracy, a relic of the past continues to undermine the essence of fair representation and majority rule. The Electoral College, a uniquely American yet absurdly antiquated system, has far outlived its purpose and must be discarded. It is time for the United States to shed the shackles of an outdated electoral mechanism and embrace a system that truly reflects the will of the people — an approach that upholds the fundamental principles of democracy.
Recent years have witnessed the erosion of democratic norms worldwide, and America’s adherence to an Electoral College system only exacerbates this decline. The most glaring flaw lies in the potential for a candidate to secure the presidency without winning the popular vote, a scenario that has transpired five times in our history, most recently in the 2016 election. How can we proclaim ourselves as the epitome of democracy when the voice of the majority can be silenced by an archaic mechanism?
Moreover, the Electoral College perpetuates the disproportionate influence of certain states, leaving many Americans feeling marginalized and disenchanted. Candidates focus their efforts on a handful of “battleground states,” disregarding the concerns of the majority. This disenfranchisement breeds apathy, erodes trust in the electoral process, and undermines the very foundation of a government of, by and for the people.
A system based on the popular vote would grant equal weight to every citizen’s voice and compel candidates to engage with voters across the nation. This revitalization of fundamental democratic participation can and will ensure that all voices are heard and respected.
The divisive nature of the Electoral College fuels polarization and deepens the divisions tearing at the fabric of our society. Its winner-takes-all approach encourages candidates to pander to their base and exploit demographic differences rather than seeking common ground that benefits the entire nation. By transitioning to a genuine popular vote system, we would foster a political environment that values collaboration over confrontation and unity over division. It is imperative to break free from a system that pits Americans against one another and embrace one that unites us in pursuing common goals.
Opponents argue that abolishing the Electoral College would grant disproportionate power to densely populated urban centers, but this contention fails to acknowledge the inherent imbalance in the current system. With a population of 580,000, Wyoming enjoys three electoral votes, while California, with nearly 40 million people, has only 55 electoral votes. It is crucial to rectify this disparity and ensure that the power of every American’s vote holds true equality.
While some may find such a reform challenging or disruptive, history attests to the United States’ ability to enact transformative changes when the principles of democracy are at stake. The abolition of slavery, the extension of voting rights to women and minorities, and the direct election of senators all faced resistance, yet they reshaped our democracy and strengthened it.
We must ignite a national dialogue about the shortcomings of the Electoral College and explore alternative systems, such as a national popular vote or ranked-choice voting. These options hold the promise of a presidency that genuinely reflects the will of the majority, safeguarding the principle of majority rule and ensuring that every vote counts.
There are 500 days until the next presidential election. Silly season, in which completely unviable candidates declare their intention to become the next president, is already in full swing. This is the perfect opportunity to take what could be a final and profound dive into the Electoral College and the most sensible ways to dismantle it.
Abandoning the Electoral College transcends partisan politics; it embodies our unwavering commitment to democratic ideals and creating a system that genuinely represents the will of the people. It is time to break free from the chains of the past and forge a future where the power of every American’s vote resonates equally. By taking this decisive step, the United States will demonstrate its leadership in upholding democracy and inspire others to do the same. Let us be the torchbearers of progress, carrying the flame of genuine democracy into a brighter future.
About Aron Solomon
A Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer, Aron Solomon, JD, is the Chief Legal Analyst for Esquire Digital and the Editor-in-Chief for Today’s Esquire. He has taught entrepreneurship at McGill University and the University of Pennsylvania, and was elected to Fastcase 50, recognizing the top 50 legal innovators in the world. Aron has been featured in Forbes, CBS News, CNBC, USA Today, ESPN, TechCrunch, The Hill, BuzzFeed, Fortune, Venture Beat, The Independent, Fortune China, Yahoo!, ABA Journal, Law.com, The Boston Globe, YouTube, NewsBreak, and many other leading publications.