11/10/16

The Old School Electoral College & The Popular Vote.



The electoral college is outdated. It's unhelpful, and insulting to the American people. From a young age, I was told how important it was to vote. I remember learning about elections in school and the value of my vote was drilled into my head. As soon as I turned 18, I voted in the next election. I take pride in voting. I feel it is my civic duty, and I feel that when you do not vote, like over 40% of the United States population did not, you are forfeiting your right to complain.

When we are told that our votes are so very important - that we can make history with them. That we can change the dialogue - change the composition of our government - we generally take that as truth. We take it at face value.

While it has been learned before, we now are learning all over again, that our votes do not matter just as much as we claim they do - or as we are told they do. In fact, many of us might feel like our votes did not matter at all. I raise my hand with this group.

Let me be clear: Hillary Clinton, won the popular vote. That means that based on sheer votes alone, Hillary brought in more votes than trump. In fact, votes are still being counted. So, when they decided to call the election for trump, what did that say to all the people who voted for Hillary Clinton? More than half of the percent of people who voted in the 2016 election, voted for her. More than half. That's not even counting all the people who did not vote, who do not support trump. Maybe they didn't vote because they felt it was pointless (It's something I'm starting to understand as a thought - although no matter what, I still see voting as a mandatory civic duty). It is discouraging to a population to tell them that their votes matter, when indeed, they do not. Can we call our nation a true democracy? I'm not so sure...

So we know that trump did not win the popular vote. That was won by Hillary Clinton. Yet, despite this, trump is being labeled as the winner. Why? Well we can thank the archaic electoral college for that. Thanks to the electoral college, the winner is up to a number of people meant to represent each state. For every state won, a candidate wins a certain number of electoral college votes. This throws the popular vote out the window. It "matters" - quotes required. Really though - it doesn't. If it did, we would have a different winner in this scenario. More than half of our country wouldn't be filled with fear, panic, anger and hurt. They wouldn't be seething over the fact that their vote didn't seem to matter.

What is the point of the electoral college? Who is it meant to protect exactly. It surely doesn't represent anyone. The number of votes per state, based on population is wildly inaccurate. So what is the point? Why are we called a democracy, yet our votes are not valued like we really have a true say. How can a candidate, meant to represent the entire country, lose the popular vote, yet still be coined the winner? He is not my president. How is that a democracy?

The electoral college came into being in 1877. I don't think anyone would argue that we haven't changed a bit since then. The whole process is old and unnecessary.

There is currently a petition going around that is asking the electoral college to make Hillary Clinton - the winner of the popular vote, the president when they meet on December 19th. In less than twenty-four hours, it has gained over a million signatures. In the time it took me to write this post, it gained over 100,000 signatures alone. We need to send a message. The people are angry (and no donald, we weren't paid to protest you). We want our votes heard. If you value the importance of voting, if you value the idea that we live in a democracy, then I urge you to sign this petition. It matters. It might not feel like it does in these dark days, but believe me - it does.

Edit: Also important and helpful: this article from The Huffington Post which explains in detail the process of the electoral college and how it is meant to serve as a preventative measure against candidates such as trump. I strongly encourage you to read the article, and to follow the suggestions in writing to electorates urging them to cast their vote for Hillary Clinton. Is it really a protest vote if it is to follow what the people have chosen with their votes (via the popular vote?). Are we a real democracy? 

We need to bring about change. We need to be loud - stay loud - and force positive change.

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