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Michael McConnell

AP English Comp
Persuasion Essay 00
The Popular Vote

The popular vote in American politics has become as useful as a poop flavored lollipop. When

choosing the new leader of our “sovereign” nation, the Americans get encouraged to cast their vote and,

as the old adage goes, “make it count.” Yet, we must pose the question: why do we vote? The Electoral

College holds the true power over the presidency, not the actual American people. Americans should be

able to choose their leaders, not only a select secret few. The popular vote allows American to pick their

candidate and electoral votes lend only a few people the power to elect the president. The situation

seems a little off balance. Does something in this system taste funny to you?

American’s vote for the good of America. The popular vote gives a better consensus to what the

people of a country believe in. Sometimes, as a people, they get disappointed when the man (or woman)

they want does not get elected to office. For instance, the first time Bush was elected, he only won be

electoral votes, not the popular vote. Today many butt-sore American still complain about his

presidency. The New York Times Said

“The Electoral College got a brief spate of attention in 2000, when George Bush became

president even though he lost the popular vote…by more than 500,000 votes. Many

people realized then for the first time that…the president is chosen not by the voters

themselves, but by 538 electors.” ("Making Votes Count" Para 2)

Many Americans didn’t realize they had no power in their government. In grade school we learn that we

vote to allow the ideas of the majority to happen. We learn about Majority Rule–the standard stating that

whoever gets the most votes wins because the people said so. However, once we grow up, an old voting

system invades how we elect offices like the president. The Electoral College acts as a system of votes
that, in the early days of our country, represented what people wanted. The New York Times also is

noted to say, “The main problem with the Electoral College is that it builds into every election the

possibility, which has been a reality three times since the Civil War, that the president will be a candidate

who lost the popular vote.” (“Making Votes Count” Para 3) Back then, mass election stations, where

millions of citizens could cast their ballot, did not exist. Consequently the government made voting

simple and awarded each state a certain number of votes based upon the population and state land size.

Consequently, today the Electoral College voting system has become obsolete. When mass-voting

stations popped up in 1872, the first popular vote was introduced. Before that (since 1789), electoral

votes had been easier to poll the people for president. The popular vote should have helped electoral

votes know how to cast their vote for the people. Today, many American believe the Electoral College

must be abolished. It has served its purpose in history, but today the Electoral College does not work for

the better of the American people. Basically "Every citizen’s vote should count in America, not just the

votes of partisan insiders in the Electoral College. The Electoral College was necessary when

communications were poor, literacy was low and voters lacked information about out-of-state figures,

which is clearly no longer the case." (Rep. Gene Green D-Texas)

We stumble upon an inconvenient truth when we realize the corruption of our politicians. But if

corruption can slide its way into politics, it must also be within the people electing corrupt politicians.

The Electoral College has incentives to vote. These voters have agendas that reflect the corporations

they work for or senatorial favorites. Not to say the average Joe the Plumber doesn’t have another

agenda in mind when he picks his president; however, in our political system today, Joe doesn’t have a

voice. Machiavelli once studied politics and he believed that “each candidate behaved well in the hope

of being judged worthy of election. However, this system was disastrous when the city had become

corrupt. For then it was not the most virtuous but the most powerful that stood for election, and the
weak, even if virtuous, were too frightened to run for office.” (Machiavelli, “Politics”) Politics will

always be corrupt. It does not matter what century a person lives in, politics are a corrupt game of wit

and ego. Why do we vote? Does our vote really matter? The answer to the first question correlates with

the second. No, our vote does not matter; one can infer that it has become unimportant to vote. One can

also speculate that the popular vote just boost the candidate’s ego. “Look at me! I got ‘X’ votes and he

didn’t! Yay!” Yet, those numbers have become a useless data sample. If we abolish the Electoral

College, then maybe the people would have a voice in our government like the heroic glamour we learn

about in our textbooks.

The short and biter truth has become evident: The government doesn’t really give us a say in

how we run our country. They hand pick people to elect our officials for us! Maybe electoral voters have

become pawns of the government agenda to keep military status quota. A possible solution would be to

average out popular vote with electoral votes and see who wins. This compromise would also prevent

recounts, etc. Therefore, we the American people truly would have a say in how our government runs.

The people must move for the Electoral College to be abolished or retired. At the least, we must take

away the college’s power over the presidential election! Or taste the consequences later on!