The electoral college system invites voter apathy. This is because the leading position of almost every voter, on every side, is for government to be more efficient, more accountable, more competent and less corrupt. The harder fact, is that many Americans do not even comprehend how the electoral college elects their leaders. Many even think it is a kind of University (college!) and not the biggest factor of all regarding who the next president will be.
It is also the perception of most people that they must choose between just two candidates; due to the fact only two parties have the money and clout to carry elections. Voters end up in a situation where many just vote for the candidate they hate the least. In every election one can heard it said that “neither choice is very great, but I have to vote against the one I don’t want.” With this ongoing occurrence, many just shrug their shoulders and don’t vote at all. Others may align with extremists, who have little chance of holding any majority, and still others bravely stand by an independent who has near zero chance of winning office.
When it began at the dawn of the nation, the Electoral College made sense. There were no cars, expressways, instant communication, internet, or 24/7 media. It was planned because the infrastructure then was plodding and confusing. Men(only white men) voted for two presidents, and the one who came in first was president. The one who made second became vice president. But then divided political loyalties caused confusion. It was decided, unfortunately, that people must align with a party and vote on party lines. Very quickly just two parties rose to prominence, the Republicans and the Democrats.
Until a third party breaks through this stranglehold on democracy caused by corrupted and overly funded two parties, the real choices of voters is squelched. Also, so long as people think their voices are unheard, they may not have the time, or interest, to vote. Many realize they are not in a “swing” or “battleground” state, so they feel their vote is a waste.
Most people, despite all media coverage to the contrary, are either moderate or more mixed in their views of extreme positions. For example, a woman may be very much pro-life, but if informed, she won’t vote for the candidate who threatens to take away her health care screenings at family planning clinics.
There are men and women who are pro gun rights, but they are not going to vote for the candidate who threatens their, or their parents, Medicare and Medicaid entitlements. There are many veterans who are against funding wars. There are many teachers, unions and public servants who want secure wages, but fewer regulations. Many people who have paid into social security and unemployment for every year they have had income support the system, yet may still be against a safety net for gays, disabled workers or immigrants.
In other words, people often end up having to vote against their own interests. As long as they are forced to align their views for the man or woman they see damaging their lives the least, they will be captive to one of the two prominent parties. They are also mistrustful, knowing the waste of money that corporations and special interests flood into campaigns of both parties.
This is bad enough for informed voters, but what about hard working people who in no possible universe have the time to hear both sides of every argument? How can an average working mother or dad tease out the truth and trustworthiness of any given candidate in a hostile atmosphere of conspiracy theory, corporate funding, pandering, flip flops and just plain lies? The fall back position is to give up.
It is hoped by most people that a mid-level reasonable party will emerge that will provide the long needed third platform to give voters another option. At present, the Electoral College system over-represents some states, and under represents others. It pitches a messy fight between the democrats and the republicans. It is very often the moderate, independent or mixed voter that gets trampled over by elephant stampedes and donkey hoof prints.