The Electoral College is the
foundation of democracy in the United States of America, through this
unconventional means of voting people decide on who which candidate will win
and become President of The United States, while on the surface this process seems
simple, the opposite couldn’t be more true. The reality of the situation is
that there are many American voters who don’t fully understand how it works,
while it may be a bit humorous this is actually a big reason why election
results tend to shock people, and historically Americans have seen the fate of
their presidency hinge on the outcome of one state or even a specific region
within that state. These outcomes have lead many Americans into believing that
this process is broken, obsolete, and too easy for politicians to manipulate.

            The Electoral College isn’t a very complicated system,
each state is given a certain number of votes, and whichever presidential
candidate wins that state wins the number of votes associated with it.
Democratic candidates can expect favorable results in liberal states along the
Pacific Coast, while Republican candidates usually foresee themselves winning
easily in some of the more Conservative states in the mid and southwest. As
explained in chapter 9, the political landscape of the United States is
dominated by two political parties, Republicans and Democrats, thus coining the
term “two party system”, this only adds to the predictability of the Electoral
College and helps politicians prepare for the states they really need to focus
on. Personally, I view the Electoral College as a tally system that is far too
predictable, before any election it is well known what the outcome of certain
states will be, and because of that politicians can focus their attention on
specific states that they need to win. To me this seems unfair to states with
larger populations, because in a country with a population over 300 million, a
region with a population with less than one hundred thousand people shouldn’t
be the deciding factor in any presidential election.

For
example California voters already know that their state will vote for the
democratic candidate, so people here don’t garner as much attention from
politicians as voters in “swing states”(this is a term for states that the
Republican and Democratic candidates will put a lot of effort into winning
because if a state that traditionally votes Republican all of a sudden chooses
the Democratic candidate, or vice-versa, it could potentially alter the outcome
of an election). These swing states have been proven to determine the outcome
of elections, and is where the vast majority of a candidate’s campaign funding
will go towards. Like the concept of the 30 second attack ads, where
politicians will run a commercial stating reasons to not vote for someone while
simultaneously endorsing it, these aren’t created to convince states like
California, Texas, or New York to not vote for someone, they are made for
voters in states like Florida, Nevada, and Pennsylvania where there isn’t a
clear indication of what the state’s political makeup consists of.

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Political
campaigning and the Electoral College go hand in hand, one wouldn’t exist
without the either, and both are the two biggest factors in deciding the
outcome of an election. The funding behind these campaigns is something that
has always intrigued Americans, arguable for better or worse, as noted in
Chapter 10 many Americans are knowledgeable of how much money politicians pour
into these campaigns and how it maintains the two party system as the primary
political options for Americans. As long as this continues, a third party
candidate will never have a chance to win a Presidential Election. This can be
highlighted by the number of third party candidates who have found themselves
in the crosshairs between both Democratic and Republican candidates, but there
is a good reason why both parties want everyone else to stay out of the
election. Look at the most recent election and what happened with Florida, a
well known swing state, a third party candidate collected just enough voted to
hand Donald Trump the electoral college votes in that state, had the third
party voters chose Hillary Clinton, there’s a chance she might have won that
state. It just illustrates why politicians spend so much money campaigning for
votes in swing states, because history has shown that the smallest of
percentages can make all the difference in the end.

Arguably
the most important part of campaigning for electoral college votes is to
connect with voters and convince them that you’re the best possible person to
become the next president. In 2016, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were
locked in a heated battle for these votes, and both went about convincing
voters in two very different fashions. On one hand, Clinton, whose political
experience spanned decades and had already spent some time in the White House,
seemed like she was on the brink of becoming the first female president ever.
Tactically she appealed to mainly liberal ideologists, focusing on bringing out
the younger crowd to the polls like Obama was able to do, and spent a good
amount of time obtaining support from celebrities that vocally oppose Donald
Trump, almost like bullying. Succumbing to her opponents level was a big
mistake on her part, and had she focused on winning conservative states more
than bashing Donald Trump(which isn’t hard to do), she might have actually won.

Her
polar opposite, Donald Trump, didn’t take kindly to these tactics and the
number of celebrities so he colluded with Russians to sabotage her campaign via
the internet( this may be an unpopular opinion but given the information on
this subject it isn’t a difficult conclusion to reach). Regardless, Trump won
over states that had previously voted for Obama by appealing to their blue
collar needs, a well executed plan to give him an advantage in the electoral
college. Looking back, at times during this election it was hard to remember
that it was a competition for Electoral College votes and not a dramatic
television show, but it’s also important to point out that while Clinton and
the majority of liberals were laughing at Donald Trump, he was the one who
tried harder as opposed to Clinton, who tried to ride Obama’s legacy to
victory.

Overall, this plast
election demonstrated a lot of the problems with the electoral college and why
going forward there should be a better system in place to decide elections.
Americans demand political liberty, and the two party system isn’t just holding
that wish back, it’s practically preventing it. Until this changes, presidential
candidates will use most of their resources attacking one another in hopes that
one of the swing states will swing their way, and given the rules they play by
they will only be incentivized to continue this behavior. 

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