“Take a picture! It’s a different outfit, not like last years,” said Chantelle, the first queen to speak at the 2nd Annual SJSU Drag Show.
On November 16, the campus group QTIP (Queers Thoughtfully Interrupting Prejudice) put on a show they called “The World of Glitter Glam!” at the Student Union Theater. The group describe themselves as “a safe space to come together in a supportive environment and discuss issues and concerns.”
At the show, Chantelle rocked a red two piece leather jumpsuit, big black heels, and lipstick to match the color of the outfit. He walked around the stage preaching to the 300 seat congregation of shouting and flailing fans.
Students attend the show for many different reasons. Edward, a third year student who frequents the SJSU Pride Center has two goals for the performance. “I’m there to be supportive, and entertained.”
Much of the audience came from the Pride Center. Located on the second floor of the Student Union building, it’s space for students of all genders and orientations to hangout and find resources.
Matt Marin is a mentor for a service hosted by the Pride Center called “Peers in Pride.” The objective is to help “mentees” transition from high school, into a university. He explains what the community means to him.
“Some people have gone through such horrible things, but when they walk through this door confidently, they’re family. No one here has to worry about how they look, talk or who they’re with, they just care that this is a safe place.”
Other LGBTQ groups and functions around campus work out of this center as well.
On the day of the drag show, members of QTIP were setting up costumes and makeup out of the apartment sized room. Everyone was on their feet and working to make sure they could put on the best show they can.
Diego González was one of the coordinators of the event. He was in and out of the greenroom making sure the drag queens looked as amazing as he could. For him, the event is as much about having fun as it is to send a positive message.
“It’s exciting to really allow everyone to show us, and express their gender in these performances!” he said while queens were walking past him to greet fans waiting in line.
Another thing Diego was excited about were the performers coming from the San Jose Youth Space. “We’re looking forward to the new set of queens, and the one’s coming from the Youth Space.”
This off campus center sits in the middle of 1st street, just a few blocks from the Tech Museum. What makes the space unique is its mental health services, such as drop-in counseling, and psychiatry.
“We strive to maintain a welcoming environment by providing Welcome Orientations to all new visitors, and input into our center and services” says the director of programs Cassandra Blume.
One of the many ways that the youth at this center express their input is by participating in events such as the drag show. Everyone involved with the performance have the same collective goal of creating a supportive environment.
As part of accomplishing this feat, QTIP is turning the drag show into a fundraiser. The proceeds will go to fund a project known as the “Unity Tree Statue.”
Chantalle, real name Shriel Deogracias, describes what the group hopes to do with the unity tree, “We want to provide visibility for the community. We hope to ignite a movement of social justice and unity given the current political issues that are going on in our society.”
The tree described by Shriel will be a statue with rainbow leaves placed somewhere on campus. He based the image of the tree on one he saw in his dreams. Ever since that night, he’s been wanting to make his dream a reality. Though his desired goal of having the statue erected during May 2019 may be in parril.
He is having trouble getting the faculty to see his vision all the way through. “The students should have more of a voice during the process of putting up a monument on campus.” said Shriel.
He plans to organize protests on campus to rally allies into voicing their support of the project to faculty. Events such as the drag show also help establish support, as made evident by the active crowd continuing to cheer in the theater.
The room was filled with an audience just as flamboyant as the performers. Standing off to the side of the theater entrance before the show was Coco Minaj. After 4 years of performing drag in Arizona, she brought her talents to San Jose. This will be her second time dancing on this campus. She describes her experience at past shows.
“I get to have fun, I get to be someone else for a little bit. I get to dress up and play with makeup. These are all of the things that I like.”
Staying true to her drag name, Coco danced to a Nicki Minaj song. The crowd clapped along to the beat while they held dollar bills up in the air. In between the flashes of light Coco ran around the theater collecting the tips and stuffing it down her bra. There was not a moment when the audience died down throughout the two hour show.
Going by the name of “Retty Fresas,” one of the performer gave an homage to Selena Quintanilla. They dressed in Selena’s signature purple jumpsuit, bangs and bright red lipstick. The crowd roared and danced along as soon as “Amor Prohibido” came on. The theme of this Tejano classic resonate with the gay community. With lyrics from the song that translate to “all that matters here is our love,” it is a popular song at drag shows.
The crowd roared and rocked the seats as all the performers took a bow at the end of the show. Once the curtain closed, crumpled up dollar bills and various articles of clothing were scattered all over the stage.
“This was the first drag show I’ve been to, and I was blown away,” said Matt.
Over $500 was raised for the Unity Tree project. The statue will cost about $200,000 to create all together. Shriel states that the money will be gathered through fundraisers, and corporate donations.
“There are a lot of companies in the Silicon Valley that are supportive of the lgbt cause and we will be working with them to fund this project.”
Though the queens took off their makeup at the end of the night, the expression of pride cannot, and will not be wiped away.
At San Jose State, students pay mandatory fees. Much of this fee goes toward athletics, and many students are unaware of this.
Sara Biela, a journalism student at the university, was surprised to find out where her fees are going. “I would assume more of it would go to education,” she goes on to say about the fees, “I definitely learned something new today.”
For the 2017/2018 school year, the SSETF came out to $310 a semester. This fee is among the highest in the state. Though only $124 of the fee revenue goes to the “Student Success” category. $132 goes directly toward athletics.
“Investing in athletics may be seen as investing in the image of the school,” says Gabe Cornejo, a senior at the University.
He continues, “Every big school needs a big football team.”
Though athletics receives major funding, it is not the only activity benefiting from student fees. Athletics is categorized under “instructionally related activity.” These activities includes art, media, forensics, etc. On the 2016/2017 Budget Report, all media activities are listed under “Colleges IRA Support.”
Forensics receives the least amount of funding out of the three mentioned.
Tina Lim is the Assistant Director of Forensics Communication Studies. She works with the speech and debate team in the forensics program. Communication is a huge passion of hers because it helps “improve democracy,” as she describes it.
“We can’t have democracy if we can’t disagree,” she proclaims.
She indicates that the student fees are paying for travel. Travel is essential for the team to attend events and tournaments.
“We’ve been averaging about twelve students a year, but this year we have twenty,” Lim says.
The team could apply for more funding if something “fundamental” changes about the program. Though having an excess amount of students is not considered a fundamental change.
The Communication Studies Forensics Program received $29,000 from the student fees in the Fall of 2016.
Marna Genes manages the school’s Academic Affairs Division budget. She says that excess students can be a fundamental change, if it is planned ahead of time. Departments always have the right to request for more funding. Whether a department gets funding or not ultimately depends on where the funds are needed the most.
“Each college has to prioritize their requests.” Genes goes into detail, “In the year that one department requests funds, another one might need it more.”
She illustrates the process of applying for more funding. “We open the door, and allow the Vice Presidents of each unit to request more funding.” “Those request then all go to the Campus Fee Advisory Committee, which is made up of mostly students, as well as faculty reps.”
Genes also explains why many of the fees were grouped together into one category. “In 2012, we decided to consolidate many fees into the Student Success, Excellence, and Technology Fee.”
Though in Faas’ 2016/2017 Annual Budget Report, this fee and Athletic are shown as two separate departments. In the list of revenue sources making up the $28 million budget for Athletics, “SSETF-IRA” is among them.
Earlier this year, the San Jose State Spartans introduced Marie Tuite as their Director of Athletics. As director, she takes on the criticism that students have regarding the athletics department.
“If I was a student that had no engagement in our programs, I might feel the same way,” she starts.
Director Tuite indicates that even students outside of the athletics program are allowed to make use of their space.
“Not only are students allowed to use our facilities, we allow communities like the Boys and Girls Club to use them as well.”
Director Tuite discusses the difficulty they face in connecting with students outside the department. Being that the department is 1.3 miles away from campus, most students do not encounter athletics unless they are actively looking for it. “Perhaps the student critics would take advantage of what the service is, if it was closer to campus.”
Ultimately, Instructionally Related Activities are defined as “those activities and laboratory experiences that are at least partially sponsored by an academic discipline or department and that are.” It is up to the students to make the final judgment regarding the use of the fees.
“I grabbed a hamper full of clothes and everything else that could fit in my car and left,” recalled Sergio Ramirez, a barrel sander in Calistoga.
During the night of October 8, wildfires started to blaze across Northern California. The cause of the fire is still unknown. The deadliest cluster of these fires started on Tubbs Lane. This street sits along an endless stretch of vineyards overlooking wine country.
Gusts of hot and dry wind known as “Diablo wind” came from the northeast. They were as fast as 70 mph. These speeds were almost strong enough to constitute a Category 1 hurricane. The wind propelled the Tubbs fires down toward Santa Rosa, the neighboring city.
Prompted by the congestion of smoke in the air, Sergio grabbed his family, and drove south. Being in a panicked state, he left many of his belongings behind. His family found refuge and comfort at his mother’s house in Fremont, two hours away from his home.
Four days later, thousands of families were evacuated from the surrounding areas. Just like the rest of the families, Sergio didn’t know whether his house, or his work would remain once the fires died down.
Right along the ravaged Tubbs Lane is the oak cooperage that he works at, Nadalie USA.
At the oak cooperage, his daily routine would consists of sanding off char from wine barrels. Him and his co workers make sure that barrels are sustainable enough to hold the wine that gets stored inside.
Sergio, and over 45,000 other workers in the Napa Valley wine industry were in deep troubles when the fires bursted on. Production at Nadalie USA was halted as people began to be evacuated from the area.
Sergio called his boss to ask when, and if, he and his co workers could get back on the job.
“Just watch the news,” his boss replied. So that’s what he did.
Sergio parked himself in front of the television set for hours as he watched in disbelief of the satellite images displaying the state of the neighboring cities.
“All day I was watching the news, just waiting to see if they’d show my house, or my job on there,” he worried.
On the side of the road lay the stumps of ashes and rubble that replaced the tall trees that once flourished. Fremont fire fighter, Matt Chalmers, knew the scene of the fire all too well.
He’s only been in the Fremont fire department for a year. Despite this, he was a first responder sent to the heart of the Tubbs fire. It was his job to stand in front of homes, and fend off the fires that came his way.
“We went down to Coffey Park to put out any embers, and it felt so surreal.” Matt was overwhelmed when he walked over ash remains someone’s home.
The most memorable part of the experience, as Matt describes, were the attitudes that the residence carried. Matt and his crew explored the surrounding area during their down time. Every where they went, they were greeted with warm hugs and gestures from nearby citizens.
During a breakfast in Santa Rosa, the fire crew received much love from the diner patrons.
“We got a standing ovation as we were leaving, and someone even picked up our tab.” Matt recalls, “Some of these people lost their homes, but they all stick together, and have a sense of community.”
A week after the start of the fires, evacuation orders in Calistoga were lifted. Sergio and his family went back home. Nadalie USA, and his house were still in tact. Overall, about 8,900 structures, and 245,000 acres were lost to the fires.
Sergio received unemployment benefits from his employer for the week of work that was lost. He was reimbursed completely. Unfortunately for him and his co workers, returning home did not mean returning to life before the fire.
Many roads from Middletown to Santa Rosa remained closed. These conditions left commuters without an easy route to their jobs at Nadalie USA. The establishment began the process of starting back up. Though the doors were open, many workers were left uninformed of their job status.
Few people happened to be present when employees were let back in. They then called other co workers, wondering why they hadn’t showed up for work.
“We didn’t call or anything when the place opened back up,” said Isidro Guzman, a stave saw operator at Nadalie USA. “My friend called me, then I called Sergio.”
Sergio and the rest of the local employees made it to work the next day. Once they got inside, they found that there was barely any work to be done. Nevertheless, the employees were paid for a full days work.
PG&E turned off gas service to customers in areas affected by the wildfires, including Nadalie USA. Due to the power outage, most of the machinery was not able to be used. This continued for the first week of workers returning to the factory. Those who were able to show up occupied themselves with menial side work.
“We usually make close to 50 barrels a day, but we can’t make anything without the equipment,” said Isidro.
In spite of barrel production being at a standstill, economic impacts may be minimal. Phil Burton, owner of the Calistoga based cooperage Barrel Builders, cites time as the biggest factor for this.
Burton has been working with wine barrels for the past 40 years. From starting as an apprentice cooper, to becoming the sole owner of Barrel Builders, he knows the ins and outs of barrel making.
Barrel Builders isn’t expecting very many shortcomings for this month, according to Burton. Despite the power outage, only a week’s worth of production was lost. They are currently back on schedule, as power was recently restored.
“[The fires] didn’t affect us too badly since we were a little ahead of schedule,” he says. “I’m glad that it didn’t happen a month earlier because we were already behind at that time.”
As far as the oak trees that were burnt down, they should have no trouble rising from the rubble. Fire ecology researcher Professor Will Russell predicts the oak trees will grow back quickly.
“Oak frequently sprout back from underground root structures very quickly after fire” Russell assures.
“Fire is a natural, and essential, part of many California ecosystems. It does not, in fact, damage them, but rather gives the necessary triggers for renewal.”
Along with the fire fighters and barrel builders, the citizens of Calistoga are going through a renewal. Since the end of October, the wildfires were completely gone. What remains above the ash is the determination that will move everyone past the flames that failed to destroy the sense of community.
As opposition to the current administration continues to grow, protests around the country have grown more frequent, or at least more frequently covered by social media. Consequently, this new found exposure allows people to see the ugliest moments of these otherwise peaceful protests. This allows opponents of the movement to vilify the protest as a whole, leaving the protest to become remembered as a failure in the eyes of partisan news outlets. It is such a shame that it only takes one link to render a chain useless.
When participating in a protest, remember that you represent the movement. Should you do something regretful, your action reflects on those who did not. Have respect for your cause, if you bring material for your protest, make sure it is appropriate and sensitive to the issue at hand. Bringing unnecessary attention to yourself could be seen as a mockery of the event if executed improperly.
Public speaking is important, especially when speaking to a crowd with the entirety of social media ready to dissect and analyze every statement you make. Planned speeches leave a huge impact. One of the advantages of having social media at your dispense, is that even your fiercest opponents could watch your speech and be swayed by your passion.
When approaching an issue, it is important to look at them in a non partisan view, political beliefs should not be inherent. Just as all long term issues, we often feel compelled to remain consistent. If we were to remain forever consistent with our views, there will eventually be no room for progression. Protests should come with it strict adherence to the movement, this creates a community, then form assemblies. The protesters go from solely wanting to benefit from the movement, to benefiting the movement as a main priority.
Another form of civil disobedience is boycotting. Cesar Chavez has proved that boycotting is an effective form of protest with his strikes for better working conditions.
With assemblies, more work and planning could go into future demonstrations. Common understandings develop within the group, leading to a less tense attitude toward protesting. Tensions would ease since you would be working with those you are at the very least familiar with. Remaining as calm and civil as possible in the face of your opponent will agonize them more than any physical injuries. The benefits of peacefully assembling will make itself known when your opponents have less ammunition to strike down your cause with. If it wasn’t for protests and rebellion, we would all be in chains. Every successful movement, breaks a link.
you’re not at all a failure, don’t eve say that. You forget that you’re barely 18, you’re barely even started with your life, just because you feel a little unproductive doesn’t mean your a failure. It takes time for perfect people to find the perfect places in life, don’t ever forget that.
You’re perfect, but it takes time to find your perfect place
Guy falls in love with someone he hasn’t told yet.
She’s reading over his shoulder.
Opinions are a great thing. Everyone has them. But what is the best way to convince Opinions are a great thing. Everyone has them. But what is the best way to convince someone that their opinion may be toxic? Through satire.
Satire is the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices. Particularly useful in discussing topical issues.
Shows like Saturday Night Live can make you laugh at the lighthearted and comical portrayal of political figures. But shows like South Park may leave you scratching your head and even disgusted at their portrayal of our culture. Though satire is common throughout all forms of media, not all of it is intended to be humorous.
Some satire can force people to rethink their opinions, and possible their realities. Take this post for example;
The argument here is, since many people of Irish descent don’t complain about their portrayal in mainstream media, other ethnic groups should follow suit. The response is an example of satire through irony and sarcasm, instead of humor. Instead of breaking down the argument through more arguments, I provide an example of another ethnic group protesting for the removal of a racially insensitive image. By using the same language as the original author, the example adds to his argument, while at the same time echoing the idiocy of it.
The response is insensitive toward black people. But by using the same argument as the original Irish post, people will realize how insensitive the entire post is, therefore turning people off to the concept as a whole. Using exaggerations helps those to realize that the satire isn’t too far from the truth.
In their 2007 titled With Apologies To Jesse Jackson, South Park took on the topic of racism. The episode was in response to the recent racial outbursts during a stand-up routine performed by former Seinfeld star, Michael Richards. With racism being a hot button issue in light of this event, creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone ditched the lighthearted approach in favor of a more brash delivery.
The plot of this episode revolved around the character Randy mis guessing a word on the game show Wheel of Fortune. Instead of correctly guessing the word “naggers,” he loses by bringing up the more ominous “n-word.” This slip up causes Randy to be ostracized by the community. He is harassed, threatened and banned from shopping at every store he walks into. Everywhere he would go, people shouted, “Hey there goes that n-word guy!” His son, Stan, was made an outcast as well, as he was trying to justify his dad’s actions to his black friend.
The episode ends with the black friend finally forgiving Stan once he realizes that he will never understand how his black friend must feel whenever the n-word is brought up, no matter the context.
The satire surrounding this episode highlights the effect that insults and buzzwords have on our self-esteem and livelihood. South Park points out that while getting criticized for being a racist might hurt, being the victim of actual racism is even worse. Even though Randy meant no ill will when he used the n-word, words like these still incite a negative reaction from the community that has been historically affected by the word. Kovon and Jill Flowers, who co-founded the organization Abolish the “N” Word, praised this episode, saying it was a good example of how it felt to be called nigger.
The past few years, there has been a resurgence of prank themed videos on social media. The most popular ones revolve around pranks in “the hood.” In these prank videos, the pranksters go into low income neighborhoods and film themselves antagonizing citizens to get a violent reaction out of them. Such pranks are titles as “stepping on shoes prank,” “selling drugs prank,” and “egging cars in the hood.” Almost all of these pranks target black youth, and almost all of them were later proven to be staged, though passed off as authentic.
This led comedian, George Miller, stage name Filthy Frank, to film his own set of pranks, satirizing the original prank videos. In the video, he pranks people by telling them he’s suicidal, yelling racially charged slurs and verbally harassing women. This form of satire is extremely disgusting, bigoted, and offensive. But that’s the point. Miller uses exaggeration to point out how unethical the original prank videos were and how the original pranksters used the premise of the videos being a prank as a shield from potential criticism.
Satire is a beautiful thing. It amplifies the injustices of the world better through humor and irony. It is the easiest way to get opposing sides to consider every point of view. Hopefully it will eventually have all people see the error in their thinking, one meme at time.
From the Roman Empire to the present day, the working class continues to be exploited by the rich and powerful. Though this has always been the case in a capitalist society, the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century has sparked a shift regarding emphases of skill in the common laborer. In addition to the technological renaissance that continues to unfold, the importance of laborers seems to grow more dim as the years fly by. But in order to predict the future purposes of this immense group of workers, we must first examine the history of the working class.
Karl Marx used the term “proletariat” when referring to the working class. In The Communist Manifesto, Marx described them as “a class of labourers, who live only so long as they find work, and who find work only so long as their labour increases capital.” Consequently, this can expose many of them to the exploitations of the ever unpredictable market. Though in the past, skill and education was a huge factor among labourers, as mass production had not yet been adopted.
Before workers slaved over routine craft in factories, they had more opportunities to master skills and become self employed. In the time before the Industrial Revolution, there were three distinct classes of workers: apprentices, journeymen and masters. Apprentices would be taught a trade, journeymen would work for someone while perfecting the trade and masters had been seen as perfecting their trade. The benefits arising from the lack of mass production included, being your own boss, working on your own time, and best of all, individuality. With the absence of large scale markets, manufacturing processes and machinery, this type of self sustaining trade went on for quite some time. Unfortunately for these working class people, the Industrial Revolution began to transpire.
With the implementation of factories, mass production became the work ethic adopted by the working class, many of whom transitioned reluctantly. With factories being able to produce goods at a much faster rate than self employed labourers, the money in running your own business started to die out. Farmers were forced to abandon their farms to search for work in factories. Working in factories as opposed to working at home has many consequences.
You lose your individuality. Imagine, you are surrounded by dozens of other labourers, working on a production line in synchronization for hours on end, without any variety. This may cause a sane person to lose their creativity and motivation. Once the worker starts to realize that they have now become expendable, it can take a toll on their person. These are all negative effects of the evolution of capitalism.
Capitalism is defined as an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state. In plain english, the factories in which mass production takes place are owned by a small group of people, termed bourgeoisie, rather than communally owned by the employees that administer the actual production. This of course can be problematic. Considering mass production has severely impacted the market of individual workers causing them to turn to factories, The bourgeoisie can exploit labor to line their pockets. In essence making the rich richer and the poor poorer.
Examples of this exploitation include child labor, poor working conditions and risk of injury. We have often heard the phrase “sweat shop” and unfortunately, they are still lurking in the dark shadows of the world. A 2014 BBC News investigation uncovered horrible working conditions at factories in China, run by Apple. Undercover video showed employees sleeping on the job, improperly trained and working excessive overtime. Human beings, our brothers and sisters have been turned into robots that are at the disposal of that small group of people that seeks to abuse them for their labor. How could those with all the money in the world ever empathize with those who would give up the entirety of their net worths for a full night of rest. Although, the way technology is advancing, these workers may get their full night’s rest, for the rest of their lives. A new light may be creeping along the horizon, the red shinning light of communist ideology.
According to a 2016 CNBC article, innovator Elon Musk predicts that robots will replace the working class and universal basic income will be implemented in the future. In an interview with WIRED, President Barack Obama has also discussed the idea of basic universal wage. “that’s a debate that we’ll be having over the next 10 or 20 years,” he elaborates. It is definitely a topic that needs further analysis. If universal basic income is implemented, this will be an adoption of Communist ideals, something Karl Marx theorized might happen once capitalism finishes it’s run in our society.
Capitalism would no longer exploit workers, as robots will have taken the jobs occupied by the working class. Elon Musk states that these workers who are out of work would be properly compensated by universal basic income. This statement would follow the component of communism concerning the distribution of wealth. Although it does not adopt the component where the bourgeoisie in the capitalistic society would be no more, as it is assumed that the government would compensate the working class.
This might not be the end of capitalism, or the beginning of communism, but it will be a new era in the ever changing world of politics and economics. The evolution of capitalism may be coming full circle as the working class will no longer be exploited once robots take over the jobs. Unfortunately, those remaining in high power will also remain in high wealth. But this is only the start of the eminent insurgence that will be orchestrated by the future unemployed middle class workforce once class consciousness becomes more widespread. As they are out of work, they will be without a purpose. Hopefully they will take this time to dwell on a new state of mind in order. Hopefully they will work to end this non stop oppression and come to a conclusion on how to stage a changing of the guards. Because the evolution of capitalism also means the evolution of the working class, and hopefully the end of their struggle will spark the beginning of their revolution.
Since the birth of this nation, the electoral college has remained the key structure of our voting system. Recently, the legitimacy of this fundamental arrangement has come into question after the polarizing results of the past presidential election. Many have argued that the electoral college is an ancient system, not adept to accommodate the ever changing political stage of America. Though much has progressed since the founding fathers laid the foundation of which we base our law, the electoral college should be set in stone, as it is necessary for a just democracy.
To fairly judge the electoral college, we must first understand how the system functions. The Congressional Digest simplifies the statement of Article II, Section I, Clause II of the Constitution, the number of electors would equal the number of representatives and senators to which the State may be entitled in the Congress. Most electors are selected through a party convention during the primaries. Electors represent the will of its voters in the district, acting as a proxy. Therefore, when voting for president, in actuality, the vote goes toward your elector.
The electoral college can be interpreted as being a component in representative democracy while the popular vote expresses direct democracy.
When the electoral college was included in the United States Constitution, it’s creators were advocates of strong central government, as well as strong states powers. The electoral college ensured that states had proportionate power to be adequately involved in the election process. William C. Kimberling, Deputy Director FEC National Clearinghouse on Election Administration explains that since minority groups influence electoral votes, “they assume an importance to presidential candidates well out of proportion to their number.”
Many revisions have been implemented to perfect the electoral college, such as the 12th amendment. This revision was a direct response to the conflict regarding the election of 1800. Democratic-Republican nominees Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr tied in an unforeseen deadlock for the presidency. The complexity of the situation was due to the fact that there was no separate ballot for president and vice president. The 12th amendment mended this problem by assigning separate ballots.
Despite the constant alterations, the electoral college is still subjected to relentless criticism. To clarify the authenticity of the system, we must collectively counter the opposing arguments.
A common arguing point looks to the “winner-take-all” states in the country that award every elector to the candidate who wins over the most electors, in lieu of the fact that the candidate did not secure every elector. Essentially the nominee is granted the opposing electors, as well, winning him the full support of the state.
Those who rival against the electoral college pick apart the concept, claiming votes are wasted, considering the majority over shadowing the minority as their votes are stolen.
In his book, Electoral College Reform: Challenges and Possibilities, Gary Bugh justifies this perception, establishing the fact that votes are inevitably going to be lost within any democratic republic. Addressing the analysts directly, he continued, “It is these critics who often argue for a proportional system of allocating electoral votes. Although with a single occupant office there will always be citizens on the losing side, this perspective seeks to minimize this effect and at least allocate the votes per state in a way that is sensitive to the distribution of candidate support with the state.”
An additional argument against our current voting arrangement states that the electoral college is not representative of the people. It should be thrown out and substituted for the popular vote because the only people that should be represented are the ones who decide to vote.
The popular vote system is not entirely representative of the people, which is why our Constitution assigned the electoral college as our voting system.. Voter turnout would turn into a huge concern, supposing we switched systems. For example, the 2017 article How to Bring Home Democratic Voters presents statistics that show only sixty four percent of registered voters in Michigan cast votes for the past presidential election. This leaves a huge margin of people unrepresented if we were to adopt the popular vote system. The electoral college makes certain that no matter how many citizens participate in the voting process, the state would be represented adequately. Just because some people decide not to vote, for whatever reason, does not mean that they should lose the right to be represented.
Campaigning would be another factor taken into consideration. Since most of our citizens are concentrated in states like California, Texas, New York and Florida, one can assume that this is where the most campaign stops would be. One could also assume that these states would be the only campaign stops. Once states are left unrepresented by electors, candidates will feel no need to rally in states with relatively low populations.
Numerous critics have tried to point out that since the popular vote isn’t the primary function of the electoral college, it is not representative of the majority. The founding fathers took this into consideration, but ultimately decided against it, as to not fall into the theory of Majoritarianism, a traditional political philosophy that asserts, a majority of the population is entitled to a certain degree of primacy in society, and has the right to make decisions that affect the society.
Our founding fathers looked past the surface of the sugar coated idea concerning majority rule, knowing that in the inevitable future this concept would peel back the layers of delight to show the tyrannical side that they so brilliantly saw.
Majority rule may be a reasonable solution, but it lacks the ability to age well over time, as man has proved to be manipulative and cunning in his ways to take the rules set into place and exploit the unstable system by any means necessary.
Majority rule is prone to tyranny of the minority. If the majority, even by the slightest margin, has opposing views that threaten the liberty of the minority, they have the ability to continue oppressing the minority with the powers given to them by the popular voting system. The electoral college prevents this by giving the votes to electors in every state. James Madison explains the genius of the representation margins behind the electoral college in Federalist Paper No. 10, “In the first place, it is to be remarked that, however small the republic may be, the representatives must be raised to a certain number, in order to guard against the cabals of a few; and that, however large it may be, they must be limited to a certain number, in order to guard against the confusion of a multitude.”
This system seeks to not only protect minority interests, but to further make them known to the rest of the country.
One of the only issues that both sides of the argument seem to have a problem with are faithless electors. A faithless elector is a member of the United States electoral college who does not vote for the presidential candidate for whom they had pledged to vote for. Both supporters and critics of the electoral have a mutual concern for faithless electors, as there currently is little to no punishment for those who act against the wishes of the citizens they claim to represent. At face value this appears to be an overlooked problem by the creators of the electoral college. Though it is hard to deny the negligence of this weak link in our chain of voting, this link has yet to cause major damage to our democracy.
FairVote.org reports that since the founding of the electoral college, only a mere ninty three electoral votes were changed on the personal initiative of the elector. The report goes on to say “As of the 2016 election, no elector has changed the outcome of an election by voting against his or her party’s designated candidate.”
The Supreme Court has also given states the option to make laws and enforce penalties concerning faithless electors. Over two hundred years since the Constitution was ratified, and faithless electors have yet to be a problem. If they eventually become a problem, states have the power to intervene on faithless electors in order to better suit the interests of the voters.
With all of that information being stated, if you, the reader, are still not persuaded into following my perspective that the electoral college reigns supreme as the go to voting system, that’s fine. We live in a country where we are not forced to agree with everything the government pushes on us, the electoral college included.
Though this entire paper centers around persuading the reader that the electoral college is far superior to the popular vote, ultimately, it is still not a perfect system.
As Alexander Hamilton puts it in Federalist Paper No. 68, “I venture somewhat further, and hesitate not to affirm, that if the manner of it be not perfect, it is at least excellent.”