"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Monday, November 08, 2021

Camden Robert's Award-Winning National Essay on "What Is Needed to Fix the Electoral College?"

Camden Roberts, a young nineteen-year-old scholar, and resident of Enid, Oklahoma, won a scholarship by writing and winning  nation-wide essay contest on answering the question, "What Is Needed to Fix the Electoral College." 

Camden is a member of Emmanuel Enid and currently works for the Red River Insitute of History as their Director of Operations while attending college.  Camden first heard about the contest and potential scholarship while a senior in high school. His high school guidance counselor at Chisholm High School told him about it. According to Cambden:

"This essay contest stood out to me because I saw it in the election season of 2020, where all over the news I was seeing poll numbers and maps showing which candidate was doing better and where. I kept noticing a pattern of how a majority of blue states had a majority of red counties. I didn’t feel like this was right, that a few cities can decide for an entire state where the electoral votes would go, so I mulled over a plan on how I would address this issue while remaining as fair to everyone’s views as possible."

Cambden will be flown to Washington D.C. to be recognized in Congress for his award-winning essay and then he will spend the week serving as a special intern on Capitol Hill. 

Well done, Camden! We are proud of you!

Here is his essay:

______________________________________________________________________________________

The Electoral College was established in the U.S. Constitution as the election process for the President and Vice President. Support retaining the Electoral College, or propose and support another system to operate in its place.

The Electoral College is a system of electing a leader that is as unique as America itself. However, this does not mean that it is perfect. It has issues that need tending to. I believe that it, like many other aspects of American government, requires further work to become just and fair to all ideas and people.

One issue that I find with the electoral college is that it does not equally represent the voters in a given state. I’ll use the 2016 Presidential election as an example. In the state of Oklahoma, a known Republican stronghold, the Democratic candidate still received nearly one-third of the vote. A percentage that great shouldn’t simply be thrown away because it is not larger. Although the state only has seven electoral votes, one-third (rounded) of the electors would be Democratic in that instance. This occurs in many small-numbered electoral states each election, but the same instance happens in bigger states like California. Trump received one-third of the vote there, yet all 55 votes went to Clinton. That automatically silences an entire third of the state and nullifies their vote.

Another issue with the electoral college is that it tends to favor the popular vote. I do not believe “People vote, not land” for this simple reason; people from the same bit of land majorly vote the same. An agricultural, rural region is projected to vote Republican just as much as an industrialized, densely populated region is projected to vote Democratic. However, when a single Democratic city has the same population as several Republican states, there is not a fair expression of each. Our Founding fathers knew this, and built a government with many checks and balances to prevent it. As quoted by Benjamin Franklin, “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what they are going to have for lunch.” As our population has grown and our nation and politics evolved, the electoral college should not be an exception to change. It is not a popularity contest, and therefore we should not allow it to become such.

To summarize, the electoral college is unfair for it favors a potentially dangerous popular vote while not potentially not providing a level playing field for opposing political ideologies.  I believe a system that takes some power away from the majority while respecting the trends of ideas in different areas is necessary. What I would implement would be an electing process consisting of two main parts. The first would be a standard popular vote, not too different from what is already n place, but the second part is where the change occurs. To keep the popular vote from ruling an entire state, or swaying a nation, the percentages of the popular vote would be averaged out with the percentage of counties in the state that voted for a particular candidate. Then the election process would include the power of the popular vote leveled with the geographical trends of ideas. Then the party elector selected for the electoral college would be chosen based on the averaged percentage of both the popular and geographical votes, not just the majority. To test this new plan, look to New York state in 2016. Clinton ed with nearly 60% of the popular vote, even though she won only 16 of 62 counties. In this new method of electing, a popular margin without a major geographical standing would not alone win an election. It would have flipped the state in 2016, taking away the majority that New York  City imposed on most of the state. Then the Republican and Democratic electors, correlating with their average percentage won, would be cast into the electoral college system.

In conclusion, this new method of electing a President would incorporate more aspects and include more safeguards to ensure a fair process. Everyone gets a voice, but a popular majority will not be able to win as easily. This allows a rural midwestern farming region to rest assured that they will not be overshadowed by a city with millions in the opposing political party. This will provide security to liberty of expression and justice of representation for all while holding true to the philosophies and hopes our Founding Fathers had for this country.


33 comments:

Neil Cameron (One Salient Oversight) said...

I don't see what the problem is in simply removing the electoral college and having the presidency determined by a national vote.

The fact is that there are plenty of conservatives in cities, and there are plenty of progressives in rural areas. A national vote takes into account these people.

This is pretty much how every other country in the Western world operates. The electoral college is an obsolete system that needs to be removed.

Christiane said...

WADE,
As to how the US Constitution has already provided for the needs of less populated states when 'fairness' in government is considered;
I'm sure everyone is familiar with this info, hopefully:

"The Constitution incorporates the result of the Great Compromise, which established representation for the U.S. Senate. Each state was equally represented in the Senate with two representatives, without regard to population. The Founding Fathers considered this principle of such importance[citation needed] that they included a clause in the Constitution to prohibit any state from being deprived of equal representation in the Senate without its permission; see Article V of the United States Constitution. For this reason, "one person, one vote" has never been implemented in the U.S. Senate, in terms of representation by states."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_man,_one_vote#Historical_background

Rex Ray said...

Neil,
YES; away with the electoral college!

Funny but true: “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what they are going to have for lunch.”

CHRISTIANE,
Good point.

Carden Robert must have a high IQ.

Wade,
you must be talking into that ‘machine’ because twice Camden’s name was spelled: “Cambden”

I’d never noticed, but when I ‘copy-paste’; a ‘red-line is under misspelled words.

Neil Cameron (One Salient Oversight) said...

Christine is correct in her assessment of the senate.

In nations with Federal governments, individual states have equal powers granted to them in a separate legislative chamber. In the US, this is the Senate. In Australia, too, this is the senate.

Nevertheless, the Executive should be chosen by popular vote, not via an electoral college. The role of the executive is often over-emphasized in politics, and this is very much the case in the US. The President's powers are limited by legislation; and legislative powers are limited because they can't enforce them (hence the legislative/executive split).

I would seriously suggest that the executive be a group of people rather than a single person. Switzerland has seven members of an executive committee, all of them having equal executive power. This system limits the influence or damage a single executive may have. A similar system should be introduced to the US and to any nation that has a presidential system.

Jen Goddard said...

Neil, The biggest problem with eliminating the electoral college system and implementing a popular vote is stated in the essay. You would simply give power to large cities to rule over small farm communities. Would you like the people of New York City who may have never seen a farm or cattle creating the laws that govern how they are ran and raised? What about the small town farmer deciding the laws of ocean pollution that has never been to the ocean? That is why each region should have a say as to what and who represents them best.

Neil Cameron (One Salient Oversight) said...

Jen,

The problem with argument in the essay is, simply, that it places higher values upon a person from one place, and lowers it from another. It's saying that a person in a rural farm community has more legislative power than a person in a city.

This goes against that most basic of statements that the US holds important: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights".

Now of course I understand the importance of Federalism, though I would also argue that Federalism should eventually evolve into a form of national unitary government over time.

Federalism in the US is represented by the Senate. One of the biggest problems with the Senate is that states have been admitted with small populations. This means that legislative power is handed to those from smaller states, who then control the bigger ones.

But, of course, that's not the issue with this essay. Namely the electoral college, which is aimed at the executive.

Governors of states have executive power in their states. But as a nation, the executive should represent the nation, not states.

So you ask the question "What about the small town farmer deciding the laws of ocean pollution that has never been to the ocean? ". That's not a matter for the electoral college. That's a matter for congress. And because of the Senate, Oklahoma senators have as much power as Hawaii senators in making laws.

Or maybe think of it this way.

Let's say OKlahoma is having an election for Governor and for its legislature. But let's also say that every American in every state also has the ability to vote in the Oklahoma election. So you have a legislative chamber, a lower house, that represents the citizens of Oklahoma. But then we also have an OKlahoma senate voted for by everyone in the US, and which can pass or veto anything from the OK lower house, and even introduce their own legislation.

Sound awful? Well that's how big US states feel about little US states ganging up against them in the federal senate.

The US is heading towards disaster if it doesn't allow proportional representation. And that disaster began the day that George W. Bush became President by winning the electoral college but not the popular vote, and was exacerbated by Donald Trump's winning the electoral college but not the popular vote.

Christiane said...

I believe the following site helps to explain just how complex the issue of fairness in proportionally representative voting can be, depending on which 'solution' is adapted and as always, depending 'upon honor and conscience' of all of the parties involved:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proportional_representation

Debbie Kaufman said...

Neil: I think you should reread the essay as I did not see what you are saying in any of the essay. It's an argument that simply is not there. The electoral vote needs revising, not doing away with it. That would produce a whole other set of problems. I have an interest in the history of our country, and what the Founding Fathers devised was simply genius. It does need tweeking, and I like what Camdon had to offer. There is no better system in the world than our system in America.

Rex Ray said...

Land of the free and home of the brave, is not America under Biden.

https://www.arklatexhomepage.com/news/us-politics/fbi-searches-homes-tied-to-project-veritas-over-diary-probe/

Hannity’s tonight show interviewed James O’keefe. James said someone gave him a copy of the diary of Joe Biden’s daughter who is grown now. James did not publish it or talk about it, but gave it to the police.

Before daylight, the FBI entered his home, and searched it.

Rileydogbarks said...

Thank you for not making a proposal to abolish the electoral college. It is a genius system that holds extremism in a check and balance. I don't expect people from other countries to understand or support it, but it is kept the US towards center over a period of time.

Christiane said...

I do agree that our Constitutional system of 'checks and balances' has helped to ward off extremism. We saw this after Jan 6th, when the Supreme Court held as well as the lower courts, and when the Vice President did his job according to the US Constitution, which he had sworn to uphold.

Sadly, one party has opted for a cult-like loyalty to a personality who will threaten any who are 'disloyal' to him personally with 'being primaried'. This kind of third-world attempt at control by one individual does impact how the system of checks and balances works at the Congressional level,
but the cult 'loyalty' has not totally destroyed the system put in place by the US Constitution,
as members of BOTH parties still cooperate to some extent to take care of the national interests.

What saddens is the impact of the cult of personality on the Church's witness to Our Lord. This has confused and shocked many, many people who now wonder how this happened. For me, finding out that 'prayer' was not important to some Christian people has at least opened my eyes to some possible explanation of what changes may have opened a portal for the entrance of cultic personality loyalty and the additional conspiracy theory following of so many who have in the past pointed to Christ alone.

some thoughts . . . but I'll end on a positive note, this:

May God bless and protect our young people who will take on the current troubles and try to work out ways in which to preserve and protect the US Constitution's brilliant design to maintain a healthy working system of checks and balances so as to prevent extremism from destroying our American freedoms.

Unknown said...

From Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 of the US Constitution.

"Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector."

The People DO NOT select electors, the STATES do. This fact is missed by practically everyone. The States can select electors about any way they want to. Anyone who wants to change the process for the selection of the president are free to go to each State Legislature.

Now if you want to change the Constitution and scrap the whole current system, it is very simple. Convince two-thirds of the US House of Representatives and the United States Senate to sponsor changes and have three-fourths of the State Legislatures approve the changes. Good luck.

As for me, the current Electoral College system has worked pretty well for over 200 years. Keep it the way it is.

Unknown said...

Previous comment by Ken P.

Christiane said...

That 'portal' I mentioned has opened now enough to allow this kind of horror:

https://www.businessinsider.com/gosar-aoc-tweet-shows-gop-threat-to-us-democracy-historian-warns-2021-11

Wade Burleson said...

Debbie Kaufman,

Spot on.

Neil Cameron (One Salient Oversight) said...

If the Electoral College is so great, why doesn't Oklahoma use it to select its governor?

In the 2018 Oklahoma gubernatorial election, Kevin Stitt won 54.3% of the vote, while Drew Edmondson won 42.2%. The result was determined by total votes. No electoral college.

How many other US states elect their governors without the electoral college? Probably none. If the states don't need it, why not the nation?

Christiane said...

FYI for them what needs it:

https://www.archives.gov/electoral-college/about

Rileydogbarks said...

Why is the Electoral College not used on the state level? The same reason you don't use a combine to mow your front yard. Size and scale. The checks and balances on a governor are found in representatives from each county. Those checks and balances are neutered on the federal level without the electoral college electing the Executive Branch.

Christiane said...

The great wisdom of the Constitution's system of 'Checks and Balances' only makes sense when you realize that the Founding Fathers wanted all THREE 'brances of government' to be equal. That was the way, hopefully, that we might prevent the 'takeover' of the whole government by one branch mis-using its powers.

We saw this when the drama of Jan. 6th played out. The courts had said 'no' to demands to un-do the general election because there was no actionable EVIDENCE presented to the courts, this went all the way to the Supreme Court which also said 'NO' to the takeover attempts (lack of evidence).

That the Vice President, even in the face of heavy pressures, including threats on his life ('hang Mike Pence'), did his job according to the US Constitution, also was a break on the attempted coup.

Mob rule was prevented on Jan. 6th BECAUSE the U.S. Constitution was upheld by the rule of law and by the actions of responsible elected officials (the Vice-President did his job and kept his oath to the nation to support the US Constitution).

There are many ways people look at the 'system of checks and balances' but I know that the system, as it was designed by the Founders, ONLY MAKES SENSE when our people 'get it' that one branch of government is not any stronger than the other two branches. These three branches work TOGETHER to prevent the abuse of power and to honor the rule of law. That's what kept Jan. 6th from being a 'coup'.

Rex Ray said...

Judy believes the electoral college is best for several reasons. She’s convinced me, I was wrong.

CHRISTIANE,

Your saying mob rule was prevented on Jan. 6th reminds me of Benjamin Franklin saying “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what they are going to have for lunch.”

Trump was the lamb.

Christiane said...

Hello out there, REX RAY

Here's your 'lamb's' supporters at work on the 6th:


https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.wbur.org%2Fnews%2F2021%2F01%2F06%2Fus-capitol-locked-down-trump-supporters-breach-building&psig=AOvVaw1G_WS1AiseVT1MnYcyP0Rq&ust=1636670620487000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAsQjRxqFwoTCMCE7sDvjvQCFQAAAAAdAAAAABAD

Christiane said...

REX RAY,

the thing I like about photos and films and sound recordings is that folks can SEE and HEAR for themselves who is attacking whom. It is very sad about how many Capitol police were injured by the mob; it is very sad that Ashlee Babbitt was shot and died;
but on Jan 6th, something happened that has never happened before in our country where a sitting president attempted to organize and inspire a 'coup' so that he could keep power. Calling him 'a lamb' is fine with me, if it makes you feel better. He was playing the role of the innocent 'lamb' even before the election was held, when he started saying unless he won, he would not accept the vote count, that he would insist that it would be fraudulent. So we knew what to expect from him.

REX RAY, we all have our own opinions on what happened and on the tragedy of the injuries and loss of life on Jan 6th,
but for me, the fact that we have films and photos and sound recordings from different sources means that our nation's people can DECIDE FOR THEMSELVES what went down during the attack. That's important.

Opinions are one thing, but there is a RECORD of visuals and sound that helps us to SEE and HEAR for OURSELVES. We can each do our own thinking. Very American, this.:)

RB Kuter said...


"REX RAY, we all have our own opinions on what happened and on the tragedy of the injuries and loss of life on Jan 6th,but for me, the fact that we have films and photos and sound recordings from different sources means that our nation's people can DECIDE FOR THEMSELVES what went down during the attack. That's important."



Like the former conditions at the southern border compared to today, comparisons between the January 6 protests and all of the number of riots, pilfered cities, and complete takeovers of downtown areas for months by anarchists during the preceding year make the leftists' disdain over that one January 6 skirmish seem absurd.

All the hub bub over January 6 is laughable. This by those leftists who called the Portland travesty "Woodstock style fun". Give me a break.

Christiane said...

Hello Mr. Kuter,

laughable perhaps might apply to Jason Chandley, the QAnon 'shaman' in face paint and horn head-dress, as Mr. Chandley at least didn't harm anyone;

but some people are dead because of Jan 6th, and today, we find a court that took some of the violence very seriously, this:

"Scott Fairlamb is the first person to be sentenced for assaulting a police officer during the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Fairlamb was sentenced to 41 months in prison on Wednesday."

I expect there will be a LOT of 'hub-bub' over the events of Jan 6th, especially until we know who planned and organized it, where the funds came from to support it, and why the red lights weren't acknowledged and acted on so as to prevent the violence.

A good young man has written an essay hopeful of finding a way forward for more fairness in our nation's voting system;
but you do realize that the nation can't vote well if the events of Jan 6th are kept 'hidden' or 'played down'; voters NEED to know the full truth

and I think even you, Mr. Kuter, maybe especially you, would not laugh at the suffering so many endured on that day as a result of the violence against the Capitol police. You might want to re-think the word 'laughable' because of the seriousness of that violence. Somehow, I don't see you in that light but that speaks well of you in my opinion.

I do agree the 'shaman' costume was funny. But more of a distraction from some of the worst incidents that injured many and killed some eventually.

We will know the truth and the truth will help keep us free. That's important.
We owe that to that young author who wrote the essay and to all our veterans whom we will celebrate tomorrow for their service to help us keep that freedom.

I hope you have a good Veteran's Day, Mr. Kuter.

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

I’ve said it before about you; my mind’s made up; don’t confuse me with the facts.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/brian-sicknick-death-strokes/2021/04/19/36d2d310-617e-11eb-afbe-9a11a127d146_story.html

“Capitol Police officer Brain Sicknick, who engaged rioters, suffered two strokes and died of natural causes, officials say.

Most of the people hurt that day were protestors; including a woman who served in the military that was shot in the throat.

On another note, I got a flu shot from the VA, and spent two days in bed. The first night, I woke Judy up and asked her to help me get out of bed to go to the bathroom. I’m feeling OK now. Plan to check with the VA and see if anyone else has reported problems.

The Leader Newspaper this week had pictures of veterans. I looked a lot better when I was in the Air Force at age 23. One lady in our “Civic Club” called and asked if it was really me.

Christiane said...

Happy Veterans' Day, REX RAY

sorry to hear you got sick from the flu shot, but it passed and you will at least not get a full-blown case of the flu which I wouldn't wish on anyone, ever!

We have a strange world these days with folks talking about 'facts' and 'alternate facts', so no need to listen to me, as you can look at the videos and listen to the sound track and make up your OWN mind about what was happening on Jan 6th.

I just want people to think for themselves as best they can and certain restricted sources are spreading too much mis-information for me to trust our American people to watching on those media sources, you bet. But we are free to make up our own minds and this means that:

'you can fool some of the people some of the time, and you can fool all of the people some of the time;
BUT YOU CAN'T FOOL ALL OF THE PEOPLE ALL OF THE TIME'

(I think Truman said this, but I'm not sure) :)

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

Take a look at this link and tell me what you think.

https://www.voanews.com/a/2020-usa-votes_researchers-more-dozen-extremist-groups-took-part-capitol-riots/6200832.html

Christiane said...

REX RAY,

all these groups were likely involved, that is known;

but now the country needs to know WHO planned and co-ordinated the attack and WHO provided funding for the attack

subpoenas are being given out to many people who will be questioned about their knowledge of Jan 6th,
so we shall see what the net drags in in the way of info

(?)

RB Kuter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RB Kuter said...

Christiane, I do not support any sort of lawlessness or violence but why did we not hear from you, and from the entire leftist side whose politicians were actually in positions of control, when those many cities were being taken over, police and citizens attacked and the poor private business owners whose lives were destroyed by senseless rioting? Total chaos and anarchy for months and the leftist response was "Oh, that is only peaceful protests." Now that same side is making the hullabaloo about the one "protest" on January 6 by their political opponents! Are we supposed to take them, you, seriously? What a joke!

My contention is not against your arguments regarding the ridiculous border crisis and associated human misery resulting from that, nor even to argue over who is responsible for the chaos of January 6. What disturbs me is yours, and that of the entire side of the "left", total lack of acknowledgement of those on your side that commits at least as bad, and usually worse, atrocities in the guise of their leftist political agenda.

That sort of lop-sided rationale is exactly why this nation is so torn and polarized. The fact that our using some sort of "objective" approach is never being applied leads me to conclude that things will never improve and those elected to positions of power will never mount any significant measure to provide remedy. They are simply "talking heads" belching out foul smelling vapor arguing for their own "political", not "sincere compassion-based", purposes.

Christiane said...

I'm an American, Mr. Kuter, not a 'leftist'. And as an American, I hold to honoring the US Constitution and our RULE OF LAW, full stop.

I'm not sure you understand WHY I spoke for the little ones who were taken forcefully from their mothers' arms, other than to say that it was the INTENSITY of the evil involved, in the sense that true evil will attempt to destroy the very heart and soul of a human being until they NO LONGER HAVE ANY HOPE LEFT. But that is not the only reason I spoke against the 'parental separation policy' designed to 'discourage' other immigrants from coming across the border, no.

The OTHER REASON, is that when supporters of the administration 'looked away', they became by proxy involved in that evil, so that the perpetrators of the 'political' scheme knew that these followers were willing to enter into that evil as a means to accomplish a political goal in support of the leadership of a political party. This tells me that real harm was attempted and accomplished not only to the poor and the infants, but to the very hearts and souls of people who were WILLING to let this great evil occur IN OUR LAND, UNDER OUR WATCH, AS A NATION.

So, also by proxy, our national guilt in using the full force and power of our nation to work out on these asylum seekers and their little ones WITH SUCH CRUELTY has opened a portal for the intensity of evil to become tolerated in our land.

Sometimes, we see something so profoundly inhumane as to realize that to take part in it renders us as harmed as the intended victims . . . we are 'changed' and more deeply wounded by the willing 'looking away' than we realize . . . as though 'we were not involved';
but, Mr. Kuter, our whole country WAS involved. And there is a cost for that which I fear we will have to pay going forward, and it is not a 'material' cost, but a deeply spiritual cost: one of honor, one of 'letting go' of a standard we had long ago adopted when we fought against how innocents were harmed by evil.

You, yourself, have stood up against the harm done to the innocent unborn, and have sought a solution through politics. We may both realize that the innocent unborn are deserving of life, although we may disagree on how best to welcome new life so that mothers will feel less pressured to abort under certain conditions which they regard as inconsistent with being able to go forward to bringing the new life to term. I think you also have spoken many, many times for these unborn, and you have grieved their abortions, yes. I think you also can understand that in my own way, I speak for humane treatment of innocent persons in practical and helpful ways that involve the whole-hearted willingness of those who follow Christ to bring about as best we can in this wealthy land that God has blessed with so many resources. My views do support interventions that make it possible for new mothers to cope and care for their newborns. If that is 'socialism', call it what you will. But if we as a people in this nation did even a tiny fraction of what other civilized nations did for their new parents and newborns, we would greatly help increase the welcoming of new life in practical ways . . . I don't call that 'socialism', I call it being 'humane' towards people who are in a vulnerable stage in their lives and don't need harsh and abusive treatment from employers placed on them that indirectly impact on the health and well-being of a new-born infant.

RB Kuter said...

No comment

Okman said...

Absolutely agree with Camden Robert.
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