100%(4)4 out of 4 people found this document helpful
This preview shows page 190 - 191 out of 219 pages.
anything like an electoral college.Direct popular election of the President would not be analogous to proportional representation. A third-party challenger for President who collected 10% or 20% of the nationwide vote probably would get nothing for his or her efforts. There might be apsychological kick to seeing one's name on the list of popular votes recipients, similar to the thrill of seeing one's name on the list of state popular vote-getters, but such a pleasure is a far cry from actually winning or even influencing the election. The fear of allowing a third-party candidate on the list of popular vote-getters might be another manifestation, I suggest, of the colored map syndrome. As television viewers, we are used to perceiving the election in terms of getting one's party color on themap. Winning a state gets a candidate his or her own color on the map, but otherwise it does little per se for the candidate or party. Since Word War II, three candidates other than the Republican or Democratic standard-bearers have won states: Strom Thurmond in 1948, Harry Byrd in 1960, and George Wallace in 1968.Capturing a handful of southern states did little in terms of long-term political significance for any of them. Instituting a direct popular vote for President would be simply using the same procedure that we use to elect our senators, members of Congress, and state governors and using it on a nationwide scale - whoever gets the most popular votes wins. In analyzing whether a direct popular vote would encourage additional candidates,I suggest that there are three broad and overlapping reasons to run for President: (1) to win, (2) to influence, or (3) to enjoy. Forall three, a direct popular vote would not provide much encouragement that is not already available under the current electoral system. First, let me address how a third-party candidate can win the presidency. Professor Hardaway has cogently identified the one aspect of the current electoral system that places a potential obstacle in the way of a third-party challenger's winning the presidency - the fact that even a strong third-party candidate probably would have little chance of winning a House of Representatives vote if the electoral college vote failed to give any candidate a majority. In almost any House vote, one of the two established party candidates would presumably prevail by virtue of holding support among a majority of the House members. Thus the Constitution's provision for a House vote, not the electoral college per se, sets forth an obstacle to a serious third-party challenger's election under one specific set of facts: (1) the challenger must not have received a majority of the electoral vote; (2) the challenger must have received enough of the vote (at least 30% or so) to have a colorable claim to being the popular choice for President; and (3) the challenger's party holds no power to influence the House vote. With a direct popular vote, by contrast, a popular third-party candidate might be able, under the right circumstances, to win the presidency after collecting less than a majority of popular votes. The existence of even minor third-party choices often deprives the