Reflection on the 2012 presidential election by Grantham University Fan Club Co-founder Becky Espinossa

  • Author: Rebbeca Espinossa-Fulgham
  • at 4:33 PM -

presidential election by Grantham University Fan Club Co-founder Becky Espinossa

Hello Grantham U Fan Club fans. I wanted to wait a few days for emotions to level out before I posted my thoughts concerning the recent presidential election. After hearing a lot of misinformation concerning how our presidential elections work, I also wanted to outline my understanding of how the Electoral College works, and why I think our founding fathers found it necessary.

More so than any election in my life, this U.S. presidential election seemed to capture the global interest. The level of debate in the work place was often intense and very emotional. Polarizing arguments from both sides claimed disaster in the economy should the other opponent win. The news was filled with fear and uncertainty on our future.

The night of the election, I called my mother and we talked for over 5 hours while the election results trickled in. My mother is almost 70 years old, so I often find her quiet reflection and input to be uniquely insightful. She has heard almost every party claim and rally cry over her 52 years of dedicated voting. And regardless of which side is elected, our mounting national deficit continues to escalate. At one point in the call, I said, “Mom, Obama has won the election” my mother was silent and didn't respond. I know my mother voted, but she is always polite enough never to announce who she voted for. I suppose she considers it bad form. Instead she started talking about her upcoming vacation plans. I interrupted her and said, “Mom, did you hear what I said? Don’t you have anything to say one way or another about the final outcome?” My mother hesitated and then she made an interesting point. She said that it’s not that the election results didn't affect her, its just that despite her passionate political viewpoint; she ultimately had no control over who won the election. She went on to say, “Becky, the biggest influence in your economic life isn't who wins a presidential election, but you and what you do with this wonderful opportunity you have inherited by being an American citizen.” Wow, I had to stop for a second and think about what she was saying. Her words resonated within me.

I suppose the reality is that our government, regardless of who is in office, only has a certain amount of control in our lives. To be productive, we have to focus first on ourselves, our families and local communities. Ultimately, most of what goes on in politics is outside of our direct control anyway. I think my mother has convinced me that we just have to focus on those things that are truly within our control and do our best to create our own unique opportunities. Any thoughts? I am interested on your take on things.

At work this week, a lot of my co-workers were gathering at coffee breaks and at lunch time to discuss the Electoral College and its impact on the election process. I was surprised at how little my peers actually knew about the subject. So I thought I would attempt to explain briefly what the Electoral College is, and how exactly it works. If you aren't familiar with the Electoral College, it might seem quite odd at first. The Electoral College is an important system that dates back to our first presidential election in Seventeen Hundred Eighty Eight.

From what I gather, most of my friends and co-workers thought they were casting their ballots for their favorite presidential candidate. What they were actually doing is selecting a presidential elector for their state. It became obvious that we have a serious misconception about our American presidential election process. I know it may surprise you, but we really don’t have a true national election. What we have is 51 separate and distinct state and district elections, in which we award the winner various numbers of votes in the Electoral College. Each political party chooses electors for each state. The process of nominating electors varies state to state, but many are nominated during their political party's state political convention. A presidential candidate who achieves an absolute majority of the electoral votes (270), wins. 

In reality, the so-called national popular vote decides nothing. Even though this is true, the individual citizen votes do matter. This is because when a candidate wins the popular vote in an individual state, that candidate's Electoral College representatives are pledged to cast their votes in favor of their candidate. (Even though they have the right to vote their conscious and change their mind before casting their final ballot)

How many electoral votes are there? Well, there are 538 electoral votes in all. The number of electoral votes in a state is based on of the state's population. California, the most populous state, has fifty five electoral votes, while the least populous state, Wyoming, has three. In every state but two, the winner of a state's popular vote receives all of that state's electoral votes.

Everyone that I explained this to always asks why can’t the popular vote be enough to elect the president? Well, our nation’s founding Fathers discussed this at length, and the debate rages on to this very day. I assume they thought we weren't well informed enough to make such an important decision  Currently, an Electoral College reform bill known as the “National Popular Vote Bill” is being proposed that would guarantee the presidency to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and the District of Columbia) … Under the National Popular Vote bill, all of the state's electoral votes would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia."

Although the bill has been introduced in all 50 states, only eight states and Washington, DC. Have requested it be made law. The states that have passed the National Popular Vote bill are California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont, Washington and Washington, DC. Although these states and the district have passed the bill, they don’t have the right to enact them until enough other states pass the bill so that the total number of electoral votes that follow that law reach 270. The current number of electoral votes from states that passed the National Popular Vote bill is 132, slightly less than half of the 270 needed. 

I hope my explanation helps. Let’s be thankful and help build a great country for our local and national posterity!

The views expressed and materials presented represent the personal reflection and editorial comment of Becky Espinossa and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Grantham University Fan Club or Grantham University.


Written by

Becky works in the health sciences industry and spends most of her professional work day in the research and development laboratory working on applied solutions for health and wellness. Becky is an avant supporter of her alma mater Grantham University. In her free time she writes articles for the Grantham University Fan Club site and volunteers at the local Chicago suburb elementary school where her children attend. Her motto is, “Changing the world, one smile at a time!”

1 comment:

  1. Becky, I think your mother is a very wise woman.