The American Presidential Election, Populism and the concept of Electoral College

Dr. Adam Tabriz

The Instrument for igniting imminent Mainstream Movement
Photo by Joshua Woroniecki on Unsplash

Politics in America is more than ever, black and white. It no longer practically stands for personal liberty, as the “we the people” no longer is about all American constituents but about two factions with two collective ambitions. The U.S. vision of Jeffersonian liberty today is as valid as obsolete. That means, as Thomas Jefferson envisioned, all people are no longer entitled to freedom, regardless of what laws might say. And no more laws protect rights, as he declared. The rules are becoming more illegitimate, and people’s freedom of expression is being suppressed, not to mention freedom of rebellion by the people, as Thomas Jefferson asserted two centuries ago.

Although it is hard to pinpoint the precipitation of this neo tyranny, the rise of populism in the world is the subject of cause and effect in the deterioration of unity, as many describe. The postwar globalization movement can be considered the turning point for the rise of populism in the world.

The upsurge of Populism in the United States

Populism is a political movement used to assemble mass actions against ruling powers. Populists allege to speak for ordinary people by forming a stance of “us versus them.” The populist leaders throughout history have effectively used rhetoric that flares up anger, floated conspiracy theories, pushed the distrust of experts, promoted nationalism, and demonized anyone different from them. The populist strongly believes that; if you are not with us or stand for the same values we stand for; then you are definitely against us.

Populism has become a recurring political melody in American statesmanship and has inspired political reform but has also been used to direct the hostilities of angry citizens towards an imaginary monster.

One of the earliest populist political parties in America was the Know-Nothings in 1849, which opposed immigration and Catholics. The first populist movement used the beliefs of white Christian supremacy to seize political power over minority populations.

One of the latest examples of a populist movement in U.S. history is the 2016 election that saw a battle of populist styles in the presidential race. Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont extreme left-wing populism, argued with the Democrats, ran a wildly popular primary race against Hillary Clinton. That was the time when Donald Trump, a Millionaire real estate developer and a right-wing populist, won the presidency in 2016 on the most robust mainstream platform seen in years. Under the slogan “Make America Great Again,” Trump sought to undo any concessions that he felt damaged the United States, restrict immigration, and take an aggressive, isolationist stance against other countries, including confederates.

The Electoral College has always served as the agent of Segregation in the United States.

The Electoral College is an unusual method of electing the president of the United States because it used to select the president indirectly. The Electoral College consists of 538 affiliates, one for each U.S. senator and representative, and three additional electorate members representing the District of Columbia. Each State has several electoral votes equal to the combined total of its congressional delegation. Every state legislature has the freedom to decide the method by which it will pick its electors. Currently, all states hand-pick members of the voting public through a popular vote, even though it is implemented varies from State by State. But that was not at all times the case throughout American history.

The Founding Fathers formed the Electoral College because they feared voters would not know all the candidates in succession for the office. Most people never left their home states in that period, so they were not likely to know other states’ contenders. They did not predict that they failed to foresee the creation of political parties and campaigns, particularly that of the two-party system, as we see today. With a more recent decision, in 2017, the Supreme Court has vacated the possibility of electors voting for people other than the candidate who wins the popular vote in their State. Hence, it is speculated that the system tends to stretch more power to states with higher white populations.

Although today electors pledge to vote faithfully for their party’s nominee, American history has seen some disloyal electors. As a further twist, state legislatures in battleground states might replace state-certified electors with alternative slates of faithless-elector equivalents.

Some states’ residents have more Electoral College power. For instance, while all votes are theoretically counted equally, as we are familiar with the notion of “one person, one vote,” the choices of swing-state voters seem to be more powerful. Thus, it’s safe to assume that Alabama will vote Republican or California will vote Democratic in the election. But the electoral results of swing states of Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan are up in the air, giving their citizens more power to sway over who will be the next president.

A statistical analysis shows that states with predominantly white populations and more racial hostility tend to have more power in the Electoral College. And that people living in rural neighborhoods have a more decisive say under the electoral voting system. It is also fair to assume that a voter in Wyoming has four times the influence on the Electoral College of an adult in Florida.
Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

The Popular Vote is subjected to Discrimination

The Electoral College has racist roots. More than two centuries since its designation to empower southern white voters, the system continues to do what it was initially intended for, even though it is sometimes rationalized to prevent voting without knowing the running candidate.

The popular vote winner in the United States refers to most of the total number or percentage of votes earned by a candidate in all the states. However, the popular option is not used to determine who is elected as the nation’s president. This is because presidential elections are indirect, and the votes cast on the voting day are not given directly for a candidate. Instead, it is done for members of the Electoral College.

The electoral college suppresses the individual voice. Recent polls suggest that half of Republican and Independent voters believe they should amend the Constitution to abolish the electoral system. Today, nearly two-thirds of U.S. citizens prefer to keep the current system, a virtually unchanged figure over the past two years. Among Democrats, 81% believe they should amend the Constitution. There are also various demographic gaps among those who favor or decline to abolish the electoral system.

The Electoral College is the Fuel for the Populist Ideology and vice versa.

The U.S. Constitution farmers founded the electoral system under the assumption that the voters in the college would be better versed and knowledgeable than the average citizen. They also assumed that the country would remain a single-party system. Although that was the case initially for the first thirty years, it changed amid the establishment of the two-party system. The electoral college system was meant to minimize ordinary people’s role in the election and place a higher emphasis on a congress vote; however, with the rise of democratic norms, there became an increasing need for ordinary citizens to have a more significant part in selecting the president. Hence, by developing two political parties, people took over the nomination function from the voters as early as 1796 and as long as voter signs to the newly emancipated citizens by 1832. Then the states embraced the winner-take-all stance to heighten their role in determining the president. And since states gain the political advantage under those laws, they award their constituents to the candidate with the most popular votes at home. The latter effect is to clean all the voters of their voting power in that State who didn’t vote for the top candidate. That, in turn, is the fuel for populist initiative and empowerment.
By Author

The electoral college has served a decisive role in United States politics in favor of the populist movement. One of the most classic examples is the 2016 election when although Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, Donald Trump won the presidential race by securing the majority electoral college. Therefore, it is fair to assume that populism can play a more prominent role under the electoral college voting system. Furthermore, suppose a populist president is not elected for whatever reason. In that case, they will probably concede but instead may try to further fire up his base to rebel in the future electoral win. President Donald Trump is doing just that!

“Today we are living amidst the battle of populists and the meddling of Globalist rhetoric. The time has never seemed more unstable than what we are experiencing today. Free speech has lost its true meaning, as every populist has its own version of fake free speech, while globalists are using interpretive journalism to rationalize their meddling as what the public should perceive and what they should not!”

U.S. President Donald Trump had already stated his intention in September 2020 to not pledge to a peaceful delivery of power if he was not elected. Today two days passed, the final election outcome was announced; his predictions came true. Whether the election result is fraudulent (as claimed by the Trump administration) or not, the populist leader has a different plan. That is investing in future mass movement by his base. And not conceding is a way of sending a message to the right-wing Populace that the war is not even near being over.

Why not get rid of the Electoral College?

The Populace is a potent weapon and more destructive. Populists have realized that power. The proponents of the electoral voting system argue that the popular vote will undermine the rural communities’ voting influence. Once again, as we discussed earlier, although that notion may have been right over two centuries ago, it is not valid in the modern world.

“Art of the free-thinking is universally innate to every individual, but only mastered by a few”

We all agree that every vote should count, as we all hear politicians asking their constituents to vote. We also know by now that the notion that every vote counts is not valid.

The electoral college system, along with the party line fundraising and two-party political system, all boils down to disregard for individual liberty, promotion of populist rhetoric, and the fuel for fascism.

Populism does not recognize left and right because it adapts to the collective ideas of the common Populace. It is propagated by the electoral college system, in turn igniting the Populace is destructive to minority more so individuals.

The 21st-century American presidential election chaos is much not about who wins but about firing up the populist base for elections in the future.

“ The decades of the liberal populist’s discourse slogan merely merit the epitome of neo-elite investment moonshining the socioeconomic globalization beneath the motto of mundane fraternity.”

#politics #populism #electoralcollege #election

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