Oh Election Day. The most important day of our executive quadrennial. I just cannot wait perform my most important civic duty on what will likely be a bone-cold November day on the second day of the American work week during work hours after standing in line for probably over an hour and make my voice heard for our supremely democratic elections where every vote matters (enough prepositional phrases there, bub?).
The United States government is a Federal, Presidential, Constitutional Republic. Meaning, we have a central government (federal) that is headed by a president (presidential) and governed by a constitution (constitutional), all run by elected representatives; by the public, for the public (republic).
America is great at elections. We have the best elections. Believe me. We are the land of democracy, after all. So it only makes sense that this great land uses a most democratic process to democratically elect the leader of the democratic world, and I am so glad that we do.
Speaking of elections, I want to talk about the electoral college (it even has the word "elect" in it! this could not be more perfect!). When we all (and I say all because I know we're all going to vote) tap that touchscreen or archaically poke a hole through a piece of paper (who even?), our vote is tallied up and counted along with every other American to determine who becomes the president of the United States.
I can't even sarcasm anymore.
Our vote actually goes to tell our "electors" in the electoral college from our state how we want them to vote. In every state but Maine and Nebraska, the candidate who gets a plurality of votes gets those electoral votes. The candidate who gets 270 electoral votes wins.
Why does the electoral college exist? Why add this extra layer of "democracy" to the presidential election? The founding fathers were a bit afraid of democracy. It makes sense; they came from the monarchy of England. They also seemed to fear the "tyranny of the majority", where in minority opinions are trounced out by the majority class.
This isn't to say that we don't have a democratic government. So many officials are subject to a direct election. On the other hand, Article III allows for a supreme court justice to be appointed for life, and the only executive officials subject to any type of election are the president and vice president. Now that we have an election that has caused such turmoil, many more people than usual are learning about the democratic process. Some may argue that the electoral college helps to balance an innately unbalanced system where a more populated region could always help elect one party. It can also be argued that the electoral college allows for an even playing field in that candidates cannot (should not..) entirely ignore a state due to its low population. In opposition, I'd actually argue that the low population states are already essentially ignored (cue Wyoming).
I'd just like to see the popular vote at work in our nation. It seems to have made some pretty good decisions in the past (sup Gore?) and I think it would be a good idea to give Americans a little more confidence in their vote. Maybe we wouldn't have such a deplorable turn out rate when compared to other democratic nations. At least the UK voted during Brexit. I would love to live in a world where votes that do not align with a state's majority party still count in the election. Maybe one day our votes will actually matter. I definitely don't think they do right now.