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How Democracy Works In The United States of America

Updated on May 11, 2015

What Is Democracy? How Does It Apply To The United States?

Democracy is a system of government originating from ancient Athens in Greece following the concept that the governments leaders, decisions, laws should be established by the citizens of the city-state/ province that the people reside within. If the people do not support the leader or state of being that the city-state/ province resides in thy may call for a repeal or reorganize the state it is in; as is the responsibility of a government ran by citizens.

But how would this apply to a nation so large as 318,881,992 people (United States of America July 4th 2014)? And how did they represent that many people? Do they all deserve their own vote? Yes of course, otherwise it wouldn't be a democracy. Then why does the U.S. call itself a democracy if only a small portion of citizens are allowed to vote? More specifically only 538 people called the House of Representatives who follow a system called the electoral college.

What Is The Electoral College?

The Electoral College is basically every U.S. citizens vote distributed among 538 votes that decide who will be the President of the United States of America. But in even simpler terms the system takes votes from the states rather than actual people. But how does this work? The Electoral College of The United States of America in simple terms takes votes at a state level and no matter what the majority vote is the candidate that gets the most votes takes all of the votes of every election-participating citizen and counts the whole state as a fair vote for the candidate. Due to different populations among each state, they are given either more or less value in their vote according to their population size in comparison to other states. For an example, since California has a greater population than Road Island, Road Island takes votes away from California to to evenly distribute the population among each state.

In a more sophisticated way of putting it:

The United States Electoral College is an organization that elects officials such as the President and the Vice President of The United States of America. The Electoral College holds elections every four years for the candidates to run and electors to vote. Electors are chosen by each state in a popular vote. These electors are then representatives of each state's interests in candidates for president and although states have elected them to represent them and vote for their candidate they are not required to do so.

How the Electoral College Works by CGP Grey

Does The U.S. Need The Electoral College Anymore?

The citizens of the modern United States of America may not need the Electoral College system anymore due to the advancements in technology we as a country have developed. As CGP Grey mentioned in the video above, the nation has resources available to them such as fiber optic cables, SMS, radio, Internet, etc. electors may prove to be useless since American citizens have resources available to them to get the latest information about what is happening in our government, what is up for debate, and what each particular candidate is running for. We as a nation, although have earned our representation through bloodshed during the Revolutionary War, no longer need representation because we as citizens have the responsibility and resources to represent ourselves.

Electoral College

This photo was found and imported from via the Internet
This photo was found and imported from via the Internet | Source

Would We Loose Our Voice?

A very large excuse used by many citizens of the United States to why we must keep our system of Presidential Elections (The United States Electoral College) is that we would loose our representation. This would be true if not for the individual state governments established within each state and smaller local governments layered within each region of the states (County Governments, Townships, and School Boards). Our larger central government, which is referred to as the Federal Government, is responsible for larger dilemmas and debates such as national currency, military, health care, social security, and federal taxes. Surprisingly enough to most Americans, it is not the responsibility of the government to handle affairs within our market. This policy is known as the free market or otherwise known as "Lassie Faire" which translates to hands free; meaning the citizens of the U.S. control the overall state of the U.S. economy.

How Would We Vote If Not For The Electoral College?

If the United States Electoral College was disbanded, electors removed from office, and citizens given a presidential popular vote, each and every citizens vote would as equal as the next. Instead of counting states as people and then counting people as states, democracy would work correctly and ultimately fairly in the United States of America.

Surprisingly enough to most citizens of the United States of America, the United States Electoral College has failed United States Citizens three times over the course of dozens upon dozens of elections including the election of George W. Bush (R) v Al Gore (D) resulting in an unfair outcome where a candidate won (George W. Bush) even though the majority of the population voted against him.


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    • JacobCornell profile image

      Jacob Cornell 2 years ago from Sandy Creek

      Were more of a democratic republic where people choose electors and representatives who vote for us, cast our votes, and hope that the electors and representatives respect our decisions.

    • profile image

      mike 2 years ago

      But how is America a democracy if we cant directly vote for president?