THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE- IT’S TIME TO MOVE ON
The next President of the United States, the successor to William Jefferson Clinton and man who will lead America as the first President of the new millennium is George W. Bush, the Republican governor of Texas, the son of a former President. Or it’s Democratic Vice President Al Gore, President Clinton’s right hand man for the past eight years.
One of these gentlemen is the next leader of the free world.
Who that gentleman is will in all likelihood be determined by the Supreme Court. Which is probably not what our nation’s Founding Fathers had in mind when they designed the Presidential election process.
The 2000 Presidential Election has been nothing short of a fiasco on many levels. Historical in the sense that this has never happened in the United States before, but a fiasco, nonetheless. The popular vote shows Gore as winning the election, however, the popular vote does not determine the next tenant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. That’s the job of the Electoral College. The winner of Florida’s electoral votes, and apparently of the election was Bush. Bush had won Florida’s 25 electoral votes. However, reports of voting irregularities, problems with the “butterfly ballot” and voters allegedly being turned away from the polls, raised concerns as to who the actual winner of the crucial Florida electoral votes was. The popular vote was so close that it required a recount, effectively taking the electoral votes, the election and the Presidency away from Bush.
The 2000 Presidential Election has done nothing if not raise serious questions about our election process. Lack of standardization in the voting process, methods of vote tabulation and the media’s role in determining the outcome of an election have all come under scrutiny. The question raised most often, however, seems to be about the Electoral College, and it’s validity as part of the election process in the 21st Century.
Originally, in our nation’s infancy, the plan was to have Congress elect the President. Despite the fact that the President of the United States might feel indebted to Congress, coupled with the fact that the intricate system of checks and balances placed in the Constitution would be weakened by such a process, this system was the process of choice and received approval on four different occasions (Pierce 39).
There were those who did not agree with this method of choosing a President, and while many felt that the American Democracy was sufficiently mature enough to handle a direct vote, they also felt that the government was still shaky at best.
One of the biggest proponents of the direct vote was future President James Madison, who, despite his concerns over unfairness to the underpopulated southern states, felt that since one of the President’s jobs was to guard the people from the legislature, he should be elected by the people he is guarding. (Pierce 41). It was generally believed, however, that the...