Should the Electoral College be replaced with a parliamentary system?I'd love to hear your views!

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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There was an interesting movement I read about earlier this year for that in states where the electors were not bound by their state constitutions to vote as the people voted, that they would vote cast their electoral votes for the winner of the election as determined by the popular vote.  Since the number of electors that are not bound by their states to vote with their states far exceeds the number of electoral votes required to win the presidency this would effectively end the electoral college system without the need for any governmental institution.  It's an interesting, yet scary idea, that to me proves that if this system needs to be abolished.

Your point about the states where electors aren't bound by the result of the popular vote is an important one, and I'd add that even in states where they were bound by law, a challenge to those laws would probably result in their being ruled unconstitutional. There is nothing, of course, in the Constitution to say that an elector can't cast their vote as they see fit. 

 

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Absolutely yes, the Electoral College should be abolished, and absolutely no, the Parliamentary system should not be implemented.

The U.S. is a Constitutional, Representative Republic. In all other areas of voting, we vote to have our view "represented" in government, and the votes count directly. In the Presidency, our votes are all-but meaningless. Third-party candidates are guaranteed losers -- not because their ideas are better or worse, but entirely purposeless, because the two-party system controls public opinion. Informed voters know that their vote counts for only two things: a barely-perceptible influence on the Electoral College, and public opinion. Uninformed voters get all bent out of shape when their districts and states don't go along with their votes; ever heard the phrase, "But nobody I know is voting for [X]!" I do not care if the Popular Vote works in my favor or not; with the Internet Age, we have the capacity to be informed and the right to have our votes counted.

As far as the Parliamentary System goes, the entire purpose of "Separation of Powers" is to avoid having Congress control the Presidency. Legislative, Executive, Judicial. We don't need to add another layer of crony politics to the already-contentious mix.

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

There was an interesting movement I read about earlier this year for that in states where the electors were not bound by their state constitutions to vote as the people voted, that they would vote cast their electoral votes for the winner of the election as determined by the popular vote.  Since the number of electors that are not bound by their states to vote with their states far exceeds the number of electoral votes required to win the presidency this would effectively end the electoral college system without the need for any governmental institution.  It's an interesting, yet scary idea, that to me proves that if this system needs to be abolished.

rrteacher's profile pic

rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I have said before in response to a related question on here that I would like to see, with respect to the Electoral College system, a proportional system instead of a winner take all system. In my state, unlike Texas, the popular vote is likely to be quite close, but the winner will receive 100% of the electoral votes. I've really come to see this as absurd. As for a parliamentary system, I think what is needed is a revision of some of the rules of Congress (like those that allow for filibusters in the Senate). Of course, the very problems we're complaining about will also likely keep any substantive reforms from taking place. 

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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I think the results of Presidential elections should be based entirely upon the popular vote--the most sensible and obvious option in a true democracy. Several elections over the years would have been overturned. Imagine how different our world might now be had Al Gore--who won the popular vote in the election of 2000--become President instead of George Bush, who initiated two wars and practically led the nation into another depression, leaving the U.S. with a $10 trillion deficit after two terms.

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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As stated, the Electoral College is wholly unrelated to parliamentary government. What you are really asking are two separate questions: (1) Should the US eliminate the Electoral College representative voting system and replace it with a direct, one person-one vote, voting system? (2) Should the US switch from a representative Executive/Legislative governing system to a less representative parliamentary governing system. 

On the first question, I think, absolutely, yes, the representative vote Electoral College voting system ought to be abolished and replaced with a direct one person-one vote voting system. On the second question, I think implementing a parliamentary system would reduce the freedom that Americans covet and pride themselves on. So, on the second question, no, I see no need for a parliamentary system, which are generally predicated on a class divide in social and economic power as exists in England and as used to exist in Canada.

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I agree with the post above that the electoral system and a parliamentary system are really unrelated.  With that being said, I am absolutely in favor of scrapping the electoral college system.  To me, the electoral system was put in place as a safeguard against the uneducated masses.  Whether or not that was their intent is irrelevant, the fact is that despite the idea that the people elect the president the power actually falls with the electors.  During the crazy presidential election that pitted George W. Bush vs. Al Gore there was rampant speculation that in some states the electoral college might not vote with the populace.

I am very much in favor of allowing the popular vote to determine the election.  Beyond the issue pointed out above, if a person flies against the political establishment in a state dominated by one party, their vote is practically null.  For example, I live in Texas.  Mitt Romney will win Texas, guaranteed.  This state is a lock down republican state.  If I chose to vote for President Obama, my vote is practically void.  Sure it will count, but it won't make a difference in the election.  Tens of millions of people's voices in Texas are being unheard because of the electoral college.  In addition, advertising dollars and campaign promises won't be focused on Texas because we are a foregone conclusion.  If the electoral college were lifted, Obama would be battling in Texas for tens of millions of votes instead of conceding them to the Republican candidate.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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If we were to have a parliamentary system, we would not just be getting rid of the Electoral College.  Instead, we would be getting rid of the entire presidential election.  We would simply vote for our members of Congress and the leader (previously selected) of the party that won would be prime minister (or president).

I would actually like to see such a system right now.  The reason for this is that our current system seems to bring too much gridlock.  We are in a very serious predicament right now and our government can’t do anything.  Anything Obama proposes will surely be shot down by the House.  If Romney is elected, the Republicans might not control the Senate and surely won’t have enough votes to break filibusters.  This means we are likely to face more gridlock.  I’d like to see us have a system where the party that gets elected can actually implement its program.  I’d rather see us try the program of a party I don’ t like than to have our current situation where no one’s program actually gets tried.

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