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  • every four years.

  • It happens again, all trying to convince you that one candidate above all the rest I have the experience has got the right mix of stuff, trying me to lead America.

  • It's great, but no matter what name you're bubbling in, E, you're not actually voting for that person.

  • And that's because of this thing in the U.

  • S.

  • Called the Electoral College.

  • And like many things in politics, you either love it where you really hate it.

  • The Electoral College is the device where each of the states select a certain number of electors equal to their representation in Congress.

  • If you ask the people involved, did you do a brilliant job in 17 87?

  • The designers themselves would say, No, it didn't work.

  • It had to be fixed.

  • We'll get back to that point in a minute, but here's how it works today.

  • Citizens of the state they cast their votes for candidate a candidate, be candidates.

  • See, they're not actually voting directly for the candidates.

  • They're voting for a slate of electors who gathered together and cast their state's votes.

  • Right, But why do we have it at all?

  • Well, if we go back over 200 years, America had 13 states and less than four million people.

  • It was way different.

  • During the Revolutionary War, you had a somewhat informal government.

  • There was no Supreme Court, the presidency.

  • There was not the Congress in no uncertain terms.

  • It was dysfunctional.

  • Theme articles of confederation were not functioning particularly well.

  • That's worse.

  • There is economic problems, possible unrest.

  • Barely a decade old America was pretty much, ah, hot mess.

  • They decided we need to write a brand new constitution from scratch.

  • But there were a ton of issues, and no one could agree what a new government should even look like.

  • Theologian of the president.

  • That was probably the single most difficult issue.

  • Whether you should have a committee, maybe three or four people serving is the chiefs of the executive branch or how they'll be chosen.

  • One plan was to let Congress elect the executive branch.

  • Some liked it.

  • Others didn't and one person who didn't James Wilson.

  • He had an unusual idea of his own.

  • A government led by a single person.

  • The convention goes silent.

  • Everybody is looking very worried one another, because they say we just had a revolution to get rid of the king.

  • Isn't that just going to be a monarch under a new name?

  • Wilson followed that up with an equally unpopular idea, but the people choose the president by popular vote.

  • There were numerous objections, and because national campaign wasn't really a thing yet, no one was convinced the public would even know who to vote for.

  • In the 18th century, you had primitive roads.

  • Transportation was by horseback.

  • Newspapers were primitive.

  • So the question would be, how could somebody in Massachusetts judge a presidential candidate from North Carolina?

  • And even if they were informed, direct popular election?

  • That will just mean the big states are going to elect the president.

  • Others said.

  • Let the state legislatures pick the president.

  • Wilson wanted it all costs to keep that selection out of the hands of Congress out of the hands of states came and said, Okay, if you don't like direct popular election, what would do indirect election And like that?

  • Wilson's plan?

  • It gained some lights, So after months of arguing, they had a plan for brand new government and the Electoral College.

  • The Constitution was signed and everyone went home happy, right?

  • Yeah, there's plenty of private correspondence where figures like James Madison, Alexander Hamilton are saying, This whole document is a compromise.

  • We don't really like it.

  • It's probably not gonna last more than five or 10 years.

  • We'll be back at the drawing board pretty soon.

  • And they were right.

  • The first two elections went okay, but some of the early ones were absolute chaos.

  • Theo Electoral College It was designed to balance the powers of the government and protect the rights of the people.

  • But there are a lot of holes in it.

  • They expected the electors to come together and to deliberate among themselves.

  • They were supposed to be exercising independent political judgment.

  • When you got the growth of political parties very quickly, people began to pledge, saying, If you vote for me, I will vote for the Federalist or I will vote for the Jeffersonian Republican.

  • At that point, they had to go back to the drawing board.

  • And so that Electoral College it's been changed, tweaked, amended and now most states, they have the winner take all system.

  • Early on, they figured out a winner take all system is the one that you want to adopt.

  • If you're going to maximize your state's influence.

  • If you split your votes, then people aren't gonna pay as much attention to you as if you say, Look here, Here's this great big pile of electoral votes.

  • They're all going to go to one candidate or another.

  • Our founders couldn't see the future.

  • And today, the Electoral College.

  • Yeah, it's still controversial, but there are lessons to be learned from its creation.

  • History tends to outrun the plans of even the founding generation.

  • What would they think if they came back and they looked?

  • System.

  • Today it's anybody's guess.

  • The only one that I can say with any confidence that would be James Wilson, he would say, for Heavens say you need a system of direct popular election in this country.

  • I was right, Thea.

  • Other delegates were wrong.

every four years.

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Why the Electoral College Exists | Nat Geo Explores

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/10/24
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