When Americans go to the polls in presidential elections they are actually voting for a group of officials who make up the Electoral College. The word “college“ here simply refers to a group of people with a shared task. These people are electors and their job is to choose the President and Vice-President, Thus, the Electoral College meets every four years, a few weeks after Election Day, to carry out that task.
The number of electors from each state is roughly in line with the size of its population. Each state gets as many electors as it has lawmakers in the US Congress (representatives in the House and senators). California has the most electors – 55 – while a handful of sparsely populated states like Wyoming, Alaska and North Dakota (and Washington DC) have the minimum of three.
As of now, there are 538 electors in total. Each elector represents one electoral vote, and a candidate needs to gain a majority of the votes – 270 or more – to win the presidency. Generally, states award all their Electoral College votes to whoever won the poll of ordinary voters in the state. For example, if a candidate wins 50.1% of the vote in Texas, they are awarded all of the state’s 38 electoral votes. Alternatively, a candidate could win by a landslide and still pick up the same number of electoral votes. It’s therefore possible for a candidate to become president by winning a number of tight races in certain states, despite having fewer votes across the country.
The advantages of their electoral process are as follows:
• It provides a clear-cut choice for voters between two main parties.
• It gives rise to single-party governments with continuity with their ideology and propaganda.
• It gives rise to a rational opposition in the legislature.
In theory, the flip side of a strong single-party government is that the opposition is also given enough seats to perform a critical checking role and present itself as a realistic alternative to the government of the day just like the Bicameral Legislatures’ function in the Philippine Government. Also, it promotes a link between constituents and their representatives, as it produces a legislature made up of representatives of geographical areas.
On the other hand, some disadvantages are: It excludes smaller parties from fair representation since there is only two major parties [i.e. Republicans and Democrats], therefore, smaller parties should adhere to the two majors despite not being included in their interests. It excludes women from the legislature.
The most broadly acceptable candidate syndrome also affects the ability of women to be elected to legislative office because they are often less likely to be selected as candidates by male-dominated party structures. It can encourage the development of political parties based on clan, ethnicity or region, which may base their campaigns and policy platforms on conceptions that are attractive to the majority of people in their district or region but exclude or are hostile to others similar to Political Dynasties in the Philippines, there is a tendency that Republicans or Democrats could hold the Presidential table for a long period of time. It leaves a large number of wasted votes which do not go towards the election of any candidate. Also, it may be unresponsive to changes in public opinion especially if the opinions are not included in their party’s interests or the opinion came from their opposing party and there is no technical process to produce a single correct answer independently of political or other considerations.