A new Gallup poll has shown that majority of Americans are in favor of abolishing Electoral College voting system used for US presidential elections.
According to the survey, 62 percent of Americans have expressed willingness to amend the US Constitution in order to replace the Electoral College system with one based on a popular vote.
Critics of the Electoral College say that it is an inherently undemocratic system and gives certain swing states — where no single candidate or party has overwhelming support in securing that state’s Electoral College votes — disproportionate influence in selecting the president and vice president.
Press TV has interviewed Mark Glenn, a political commentator, to discuss the issue. What follows is the text of the interview:
Press TV: The opponents on the Electoral College believe that the system allows a minority president into office. What is your take on that?
Glenn: Well in effect they are correct in the sense that people in the United States do not directly choose their president; he or she is chosen by members of the Electoral College. However, we have to remember that many Americans -who maybe offering their opinions on this- they do not understand the thinking that went into actually adopting this type of law because the founding fathers of the American system understood this that any people, if they are not well-versed on what is going on in their world, it is very easy to seduce them into choosing leaders that maybe will not act in the interests of the people.
So in the sense they are saying that it is an elitist system that removes the option of choosing a president, in that respect they are correct. However, we do have to remember here the history [of it], there have been only few incidences in 230 years of the United States’ existence where the people chose one president and then the Electoral College chose another. So in effect, if we are going to boil this down to numbers and statistics the fact of the matter is that this contentment that they may harbor towards this system it is only shown up now in maybe two elections that have taken place where the people actually elected one person and the Electoral College chose another.
So in general I believe the system works. Really what is needed to fix the American system is that the American people be more proactive and interested in what is going on in their country. If they were to take a more active role in understanding just what the problems are that the country faces, then they would be wiser in choosing their leaders and then perhaps they would not feel like they are at a mercy of a system that they have no control over.
Press TV: You say that basically the system works and only happened a couple of times but let’s look at one of those times – we are talking about George W. Bush- and do you not think by putting him in office, it changed the fate, not only of the United States but of the world. So even if it is one time, would you say that one time is too many or not?
Glenn: Well, I think you got me on that one. Definitely, you are correct in that. However, I would point out that George Bush, as horrible president as he was, it would not have mattered who had been in there when September 11 happened; we would have seen the identical same policies being adopted. George Bush was, just as many American presidents have been particularly in the last century, they are just puppets controlled by forces that were much more powerful and unfortunately unseen by the majority of the American people. As bad as George Bush, and believe me, one day he will go down in the history books as probably the worst president that the United States have ever had, the fact of is it would not have mattered who had been in office when September 11 happened. The United States would have been at war and a war just as disastrously as we are today. I mean look who we have for president now. Supposedly and ivory league scholar, somebody who is perhaps a little bit more intelligent and cerebral than George Bush but he has basically carried on George Bush’s policy.
So the fact of the matter is that the system itself cannot be fixed until the American people take a more deep-seated and personal interest in what is going on in their country and once they do that, once they start personalizing what is wrong with America, then we will see things change in this country, but not till then.
Press TV: Are we seeing steps in that direction -as we see more and more occupation, demonstration protest taking place in the United States? Do you think this is a beginning of a movement towards that?
Glenn:Well, I would like to think that and I certainly do not doubt that those people on the streets in American cities who are protesting the corporate greed that they are genuine in their sentiments. Everybody is having a tough time -except for the super rich- paying their bills, so I have no doubt that the hunger pains that you see taking place on the streets of America they are real. People are having a tough time paying their bills. However at the same time I am concerned that this movement -much like the various revolutions that have taken place in the Middle East- that the powers that be have grabbed the steering wheel on this thing and are going to make sure that it is driven into a place where they will remain safe by that I mean is that the same system that it was in place before the US economy crashed the way that it has, that it is going to be the same system that is in place a year from now.
So these protesters will be able to vent some of their frustration but I think the system will remain the same. Remember that this is an election year, if some ambitious candidate for president comes along and proposes a radical solution for overhauling the United States’ economy that, of course does not include serious wars that we find ourselves in, but rather just puts some money in the pockets of the average Americans, then the protesters are going to feel that they have accomplished something when in effect all they have done is giving candy to a crying baby.
So as far as whether we are seeing embryonic change taking place in America, as I said, I think the sentiments are real and they are genuine but as to whether or not it is a real movement and whether it will achieve any real change, I think we are going to have to wait and see.