After a tantalizing five days after the first Tuesday following the first Monday in the month of November, the divided States of America finally selected their next President-elect, Joseph Biden. This monumental election showcased a number of flaws and lessons to be learned in this American democratic society.
Lesson 1: Our Electoral College is flawed.
In a country that built its foundations on proper representation, why is it that our president is elected in a winner-take-all system? All a candidate has to do is receive the majority of votes in a single state, and that candidate will receive all of that state’s electoral votes. In a state like Texas where Biden received 46 percent of the popular vote and Trump received 52 percent of the popular vote, Trump took all 38 electoral votes. Where nearly half of the Texan population voted for Biden, why did all of its representation go towards Trump? The same goes for California. Trump received more than 30 percent of the popular vote in California; however, all 55 electoral votes went to Biden. The only states that do not follow this system are Nebraska and Maine, where each electoral vote is decided based upon the percentage of the popular vote a candidate receives. In Maine, Trump received 44 percent of the popular vote, and he was awarded one of the state’s four electoral votes. The system we have now is flawed. In the past 46 elections, there have been five times when the popular vote winner did not receive the most electoral votes — most recently in 2016 with Donald Trump. The only way to fix this system is to void the electoral college. The winner of the popular vote would be our next President — simple as that. The system we have now is in need of a major reform.
Lesson 2: Our polls are inaccurate.
In 2016, almost every political analyst had Hillary Clinton as the favorite to win the election. The New York Times had her as the favorite to win by almost 90 percent; however, that is not what happened. Donald Trump had what some would call one of the biggest political upsets in American history, forcing every political analyst to find their errors in the polling data. For the 2020 election, these same political analysts said Biden was heavily favored to win this election. They claimed he was leading in key swing states, such as Florida, North Carolina, and was even Texas. Some called for this to be a huge democratic landslide election with a blue wave across the nation. Instead, Trump was able to take key states, such as Florida, North Carolina, and Texas. While the polls were correct in calling the Biden victory, the election certainly was not a landslide. While the polls have definitely improved with their accuracy since 2016, there is still tons of work to be done.
Lesson 3: The two-party system is limiting.
America’s two party system also needs to be examined. The past two elections have set a record number of votes for a third party candidate. In Indiana alone, Donald Rainwater received almost 12 percent of the vote for governor, the most received in a Hoosier gubernatorial election since 1982. A third party will help fill in the divisive bridge between Republicans and Democrats. The only thing that Republicans and Democrats are able to agree on is keeping the third party candidates out of the running. These other candidates usually are not included in debates and do not receive nearly as much exposure to the public as the other candidates. It is not that people do not like these third party candidates; the problem is that they just do not know about them. Another huge problem for third party candidates is straight-ticket voting. That option on ballots does not even give the third party candidates a chance to be elected.