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Why the Electoral College Is Bad for AmericaThird Edition$
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George C. Edwards

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780300243888

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300243888.001.0001

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Preserving the Party System

Preserving the Party System

(p.186) Chapter 8 Preserving the Party System
Why the Electoral College Is Bad for America

George C. Edwards III

Yale University Press

This chapter concerns the preservation of the party system as another argument in favor of electoral colleges. This argument asserts that the direct election of the president would fragment and polarize the party system and lead to corrupt deals among political leaders. At the core of the argument is the assumption by most critics of direct election that it would require a runoff between the two candidates receiving the most votes if no candidate receives, say, 40 percent of the vote in the first round of voting. Based on this assumption, advocates of the electoral college allege a number of ills that would befall the party system under direct election of the president. Given this argument, the chapter asks if a runoff would fragment the party system and, more importantly, if a runoff is needed to elect the president directly. Furthermore, the chapter considers how direct election could adversely affect the party system should there be no runoff and what role, if any, the electoral college plays in maintaining it.

Keywords:   party system, runoff, corruption, direct election, two-party systems, polarization

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