The Iranian


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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


November 15, 2000

Electoral system held up well

Mr. Mirfendereski's defense of the U.S. electoral college system ["Keep it the way it is"] was so elitist that for a few moments I questioned my own faith in the system. Then I had to revert to my university books and see for myself why I was for it. It certainly wasn't because as Mr. Mirfendereski puts it: "the majority party, presently the Democratic Party, will be assured to a greater extent of repeated captures of the White House. There are simply more of them, registered and breeding." Well, excuse us for breeding and populating "your" world!

Electoral college came out of a compromise made in Philadelphia in 1787. Some wanted the Congress to pick the president and some wanted directly voted president, and electoral college was the chosen compromise between the two camps. There was nothing divine about it, and no one said it was to be forever cherished as chaste. However, it was practical, novel and scientific, it was representative of the times and appropriate for a country that was newly born, pragmatic and very forward oriented.

And it has held up well. Mainly because one has to consider that in a country governed by a federal system, such as the Unites States, there is not really one election, but as many elections as there are states; in this case, there 50 states plus D.C., therefore there are 51 elections, each with ITS OWN majority rule. This satisfies those who seek majority rule (within each state only) and those who seek egalitarian state representation.

And by the way, arguing that abolishing the electoral system will ensure perpetual Democratic Party victories leads us to believe that the electoral college system has always acted as a buffer against majority popular votes for more liberal candidates. Not so! Reagan received 51% of votes in 1980 vs. 41% for Carter.

Ramin Tabib


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