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Prager U: The Electoral College and Why it Matters

Prager U: The Electoral College and Why it Matters

Do you understand what the Electoral College is? Or how it works?

This election cycle brought to the forefront the failure of the American education system to teach the populace basic Constitutional principles, like why we have an Electoral College.

To help clarify, we dug into Prager U’s archives and found a great explainer on why we have the Electoral College and why it’s preferable to the popular vote model.

Do you understand what the Electoral College is? Or how it works? Or why America uses it to elect its presidents instead of just using a straight popular vote? Author, lawyer and Electoral College expert Tara Ross does, and she explains that to understand the Electoral College is to understand American democracy.

Follow Kemberlee on Twitter @kemberleekaye

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The founders did not yet know we would have a party system when they created the electoral college. It was a device to insulate the presidential selection from popular vote. But, in modern times, the electoral college serves several key purposes. First, combined with the winner take all electoral votes system in 48 of the states, it forces the major parties to build broad coalitions (Perot with 18% of the vote against Bush 41 got zero electoral votes), so neither major party would benefit from abolishing it. Second, as it keeps a large majority in a single state like California from being transferred to battleground states, it tends to ensure a president has broad regional support, not just a lot of votes in big cities. It makes voters in small states matter. So, as much talk as there will be about changing it, neither major party should want that to happen. Look at Israel and Italy where there are multiple parties. It breeds instability and allows small minority party leaders to exercise too much power.

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