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The Strengths and Weaknesses of the Electoral College in the United States

The electoral college is the system used to elect the president in the USA. There are several strengths of the system, such as that it ensures candidates campaign in a variety of states not just a few. There are also many weaknesses of the electoral college system; states can become safe seats; the result can be unrepresentative of public wishes and smaller states may have disproportionate levels of influence.

A strength of the Electoral college system is that it promotes candidates campaigning widely. In 2016 Trump campaigned in more states than Hilary, visiting small states such as Maine and Nebraska, this is considered to be one of the reasons for which he won the election. Hence it is evident that the electoral college promotes campaigning in smaller states as the winner visited substantially more states, thus it preserves the voice of smaller states by making their votes important to the elections result.

One weakness of the Electoral College system is that it produces safe seats. States such as California which solidly votes Democrat and Alabama which continuously votes for Republican candidates creates safe seats. In seats that vote the same way continually there is little competition during elections as candidates do not believe they stand a chance at election, such as Hillary Clinton in 2016 who didn’t visit Alabama or Texas during her electoral campaign. Although there are still highly competitive states that are well contested, such as Florida this means that candidates are much more likely to campaign in these swing states than safe states, increasing their influence in elections.

Another weakness of the electoral college system is that it is unrepresentative. In the 2016 election Hillary Clinton won 232 Electoral College Votes losing to Trumps 306 Ecv despite the fact that she won the popular vote by 2.86 million ballots. Hence meaning that the Electoral college system is unrepresentative and does not portray the wishes of the public.

Furthermore, the electoral college is weak as it gives excessive power to smaller states. For example, Wyoming, a state with a small population has 3ECV, which if this proportion of population was used for calculating the number of votes for all states California would have 180 ECV rather than 55. This shows that the fact that minimum number of ECV is 3 for each state gives the smaller states undue influence on the result of the election, this also means that the votes of people in smaller states are worth more than votes in states such as California.

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