Guest Author - Stacy Wiegman
The electoral college process has been criticized in recent years because it has affected the outcome of elections. Some have called for it to be eliminated. Here's why it should stay.
I grew up in rural America. Most of the population in our country lives in suburban or urban areas today, and the needs of urban populations are very different from the needs of rural populations.
In urban areas, there are more choices nearby. That's just a fact. There are more options to select from, like hospitals, schools, activities, neighborhoods, and shopping. I'm not saying that's better.
In the rural areas, people are used to having fewer choices of services or having to travel further for some things, like a doctor. But the trade-off is a different way of life. Many of them are farmers or small business owners. My father was a doctor, but he and my mother preferred the small town life for our family. They liked the smaller schools and knowing their neighbors.
And in rural areas, the concerns are different. In the city, drought might concern a homeowner who worries his grass will die or that the price of bread might go up, but a drought to a farmer can mean that he won't make any money this season. That's a huge difference.
On the other hand, we didn't worry so much about crime where I grew up. Not that theft didn't happen, but it wasn't as common, and there were rarely murders. I've lived in the city as an adult, and crime was a very big problem.
Now we get back to the electoral college. If we had purely a popular vote, politicians could campaign in just the urban areas and win. I don't know how coined that very unkind term, "the flyover states," to refer to middle America, but with the exception of some large cities like Chicago and Dallas, national politicians could largely ignore the central states.
And then politicians would be elected solely on urban issues. Since middle America feeds the rest of the country, their issues really are also the urban issues--it's just that the urban areas don't realize that they should care about rural issues.
The electoral college corrects for that. It gives a voice to the smaller populations in this country. At a time in our history when the population was more rural than urban, it still corrected for the problem of representing all voices equally.
The electoral college usually matches the popular vote, but there have been a handful of times when it did not. That doesn't mean it needs to be abolished. In fact, I think it shows just how genius our founders were to think ahead and recognize that the country would change over the centuries. The electoral college is one way in which we keep changing, but still all get heard.