The American Election Process

by blackspanielgallery

There are numerous problems we need to fix in the election process, with the reform needed in both the primary and general election process process.

The election process in the United States is seriously flawed. It is a process where the majority may not determine the President, and this has happened in the past. I first noticed this when Bill Clinton and Al Gore were elected President and Vice President. There were people who refused to acknowledge George W. Bush as President because of the lack of a majority vote. So, while the process is flawed, it has favored both major parties.

A Serious Question

In the case of Bill Clinton and Al Gore we had a tax bill.  It is often taught that the United States came about because of taxation without representation.  The bill split evenly in the Senate, and in such a case the Vice President casts the tie breaking vote.  The bill passed, but by the vote of a Vice President who had not been shown to represent a majority of the people, and signed into law by Bill Clinton.  It would seem, if one accepts the taxation without representation reason for the American Revolution, that there should be some way to prevent the above from occurring.  The answer is to not allow a President to be elected with less than a majority vote.  

Our Current Situation

States are allocated Electoral College votes by a formula that gives those states with large populations more votes, and these are commonly cast as blocks.  If a candidate wins with a slight margin in a group of highly populated states, and loses by a great margin in many smaller states, the candidate can end up with more Electoral College votes even though that candidate is not favored by the majority.  Some really small states become less relevant. 



Super-delegates are party dignitaries and elected officials who are automatically given delegate status at a convention.  This was the source of much attention in the Democratic Party.  The political establishment controlled so many votes it became apparent they would have much to say about the nominee.  Should a candidate have to win enough delegates in primaries to offset political insiders?


The Republican Party had a large field in the beginning of the 2016 election process.  The primary vote was split thin.  One candidate was different, and did well in gathering delegates with more votes than others in the competition, but was it more votes than all of the competitors combined?    


Some primaries do proportion votes, but only in some states, so to get just over half the votes in a state that proportions the delegates is not as important as getting just over half the vote in a winner take all state.  Fairness would require all states do the same thing, but this does not happen.


Candidates must first win a party nomination.  In a primary several years ago my home state voted for a certain candidate from a large field.  He had just under fifty percent of the vote, and led all opposition.  However, using a rule I cannot accept allowed all of the delegates voted for another candidate, and it came out that if no candidate has over fifty percent of the votes the delegates can vote for anyone they like.  Here is another flaw in the system.  There is no runoff in a primary.


Primaries are governed by the political parties.  They should make an effort to remove the problems with the process.


Political Sabotage

This is the real problem, and it must be exposed.  Certain states want the attention of going early in the primary process.  But, in some early voting states a person can change political affiliation for a day and vote in the election for either party.  This can help independents have a voice in the primary process, but often the winner emerges who may be considered a person less likely to be able to win the election.


It appears that some people change their affiliation to sabotage the other party, and vote for the person they fell will lose the general election.  Some would vote for the best candidate in their own party, but abandon the right to do so to destroy the other party.  And, the result is the best candidates receive fewer than expected votes, and weak candidates can actually emerge victorious.


When party jumping happens in those states going early in the process it influences people who just have to follow the leader.  They will vote for the candidate others indicate to be best, and not realize the candidate is weak.  So, we can end up with people who gather delegates because psychologically other people accept the results of a biased election of an early voting state, and the weaker candidate gathers momentum.


Currently, we have to choose between two people with high negative ratings.  While they may have gotten nominated otherwise, the party jumping could have been instrumental in getting us to this point.  


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Updated: 08/04/2016, blackspanielgallery
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blackspanielgallery on 08/06/2016

States gets two senators, and representatives based on population, each representing a portion of the state, so there is proportional representation in the House of Representatives, not the Senate. Voting or President is a matter of winner take all for most states. I believe one or two states tried in the past, but it would only work if all did the same thing. Unless the large population states proportioned their votes, it is pointless.

frankbeswick on 08/06/2016

Have you considered proportional representation?

blackspanielgallery on 08/05/2016

That was one state still using paper. Most elections are computer machines now, and tha problem has been solved. But, we have a long way to go.

Veronica on 08/05/2016

I am fascinated by the US elections but even with a UK A(dvanced ) Level in Politics I find it very difficult to understand. and as for ...the debacle of ... hanging chads as in a previous US election.... .... good grief....
" Step away from US elections !" :)

blackspanielgallery on 08/05/2016

Frank, there are other candidates, but they have little chance. What they can do is pull votes away from one of the two people you have heard of, but have little chance. There is a chance a viable candidate would still enter the race, but time is short. Campaigning by November would be difficult for anyone who first must raise money for advertising.

blackspanielgallery on 08/05/2016

Dustytoes: I did not consider the problem f too many candidates for early voting states, but that is something people who run should be sensible to not jump into a race if there is another more viable candidate, unless they have something of value to bring with them. Many run out of vanity, or hoping to be the next President, and in so doing disrupt the outcome.

frankbeswick on 08/05/2016

No electoral system is perfect, and our UK one is a legitimately described as a mess, so we cannot criticize the USA for your system. The problem, I think, lies not in the system as much as in the fact that there are only two parties capable of mounting a credible campaign, and so many Americans must find themselves liking neither candidate. I am not impressed with either Donald or Hilary, so I would not know how to vote.

Are there presidential candidates other than Republican and Democrats? There was Ross Perot a few years ago.

dustytoes on 08/05/2016

We live in the United States, however it seems that we certainly are not united in many cases. The whole voting process is discouraging. I lived in New Hampshire where we voted first, but I would have liked to have voted later once the field was whittled down some. And as you have said, some people simply vote for the candidate (of the opposing party) who they feel will lose against their choice - but you can do that only in certain states. It's a screwed up mess.

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