Political Views

A few of the things wrong with the American Presidential Election System


Here are a few of my thoughts about the screwed up American Presidential Election system.

The USA Electoral College system makes no sense

I am not sure how many people understand how the electoral college works.  It is actually very complicated but I am not going to go into all the details.  Here are the key things to keep in mind.  Almost (but not states) are winner takes all.   For instance, California has the most votes at 55 and is a winner takes all state.  So the number of electoral college votes is the same if a candidate gets 50.1% or 99.9%.  In a state like California, which will vote Democratic, this has the effect of depressing the vote. Many people feel that their vote will not be needed to push the democratic candidate over the top or to give the republican candidate a chance.  So this results in lower turnout and can affect other important elections or state propositions. 

It is possible as in the case of Gore versus Bush, that one candidate, Gore, could end up with the majority of the popular vote while another candidate, Bush, could end up with the majority of the Electoral vote.  This is nuts.

If there is a tie in the electoral vote, the president is selected by the House of Representatives even if one of the candidates has a clear majority.  The House can choose any of the top three candidates without consideration of the popular vote.

The Primaries drive the two parties to the extremes

Very few people vote in the primaries and they are usually those that feel the most passionately about their positions which are usually to the extreme right or left.  This is forcing greater and greater division in the USA. 

Favorable/Unfavorable polling is too simplistic

Just asking if you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of a candidate does not tell you enough.  I may dislike one candidate but hate another.  I would rather see a scale from 1-10 where 1 is strongly disliked and 10 is strong dislike.  In the current election, I think that one would see Clinton in at a 4 overall and Trump at 2. 

Voting No

I would like to change the voting system so instead of voting for someone, you would have the option of voting against someone.  The effect of voting against someone would be to remove a vote they already got.  It would be possible to end up with a negative number. 

There should be a consistent system of voting across the country

Everyone should have the right to vote by mail at least one month in advance.  We should have a national holiday on the date the presidential election is held.  Polls should be open at least 12 hours.

Presidential Terms should not be concurrent

Presidents should not be able to run for a second term while still in office.  They have too much to do running the country and being in office gives them too strong a platform.

2 thoughts on “A few of the things wrong with the American Presidential Election System

  1. I agree with several of your points. The Electoral System is antiquated. The irony of the Electoral College was that it was established by our Founding Fathers so that if necessary, they could overrule the will of the people. Our Founding Fathers were aristocrats with noble ideas, but they were elitist.

    I also agree that Election Day should be a holiday. I live in a state where many people commute to New York. While our polls are open for more than 12 hours, that is not enough when someone spends 3-4 hours of his day commuting.

    I would like to see a system where we elect the President to one 7 year term. This way he has time to work on an agenda and not have to run for re-election.

    Last, but not least, we need term limits for the Legislative branch of our government. There is something seriously wrong when we have Congressmen and Senators who serve for decades.

    Like

  2. Love this Avram. Could not agree more.

    A few additional thoughts to at least push our broken Republican into a forward direction.

    All elections should be publicly funded with limits on individual spending, Citizens United should be gone forever AND each candidate should be limited on the time they can campaign for a particular role, especially if they are currently in office. Let’s say 6 weeks. (many countries elections happen in less time than that.)

    With a limited amount of time for campaigning, leaders can actually do the work we elect them to do. Today, ALL elected officials are required by their party to raise money 100% of the time. Think about that-how is that possible, when they have been elected to full time roles in our government? The moment they get into office, they are raising money again. This is part of why so many of our systems and infrastructure is broken.

    Voting should be mandatory for All U.S. Citizens. We could start to shift this thinking by giving citizens a tax incentive to VOTE in the first one or two elections, and eventually make it so that all citizens must vote. If people in other countries can stand in line and risk getting killed to have their voices heard, we need to begin to rebuild the public’s confidence and belief that their vote matters.

    Love the idea about a holiday on voting day. AGREE. Gerrymandering GONE-made illegal. Lobbying illegal. We need a governing body over the Supreme Court, make sure that laws are enforced with our leaders TOO, not just citizens. If our leaders find loopholes that allow them to hold onto power longer, and lessens the voice of citizens, closing those loopholes for self-gain should be as bad as insider trading. Preventing citizens from using their voice and voter suppression should be illegal, anti-american and swiftly punished.

    I could write for days on this… Last one… The media is so broken and owned by a very few. News and Public Affairs-the shows that were designed to educate the masses are horrible, PA shows are scarce. The FCC has not done their job in enforcing those obligations for years. When we (as owners) granted a portion of the spectrum to partners, their were very specific programs that the networks are contractually obligated to do. It is a gift to be able to lease out a part of the spectrum. It is a responsibility with obligations that have never been nor should be about ratings. If we are to educate the general public, and focus on ratings, the types of news that the media talks about is very very different. Spectrum licensing always included the responsibility to educate the general public. Head of the FCC should be fired for selling some of the spectrum last year. He does not have the right to sell what citizens own and needs get out.

    Liked by 1 person

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