UPside down and backwaRd

      40 Comments on UPside down and backwaRd
clinton-concession

The loser–and the winner

For many, the nation has been turned upside down and backward by the election of Donald Trump. While millions celebrated, millions including me were shocked that this modern-day P.T. Barnum (see my 2011 blog post “P.T. Trump”) will be the next president of the United States. What’s especially troubling is that Hillary Clinton lost even though she received 623,000 more votes*.

Social media is now filled with petitions to abolish the Electoral College, our antiquated form of electing presidents, so that the popular vote would determine who wins. But it’ll take far more than signatures and protests.

First, a brief explanation of the Electoral College: In 1787, delegates to the Constitutional Convention decided on a system of indirect election of the president. Some supported a direct election by citizens. Others favored having Congress choose the president. Still others thought that state legislatures should make the choice.

They eventually compromised. “Electors” chosen by each state would vote for the president. This way, ordinary citizens in each state would have a say, but the final decision would be made by people who were “better informed” about the candidates and the issues. Today, the candidate that receives the most popular votes wins all the state’s electoral votes. All states except Nebraska and Maine use this system.

However, it’s now been five times in U.S. history that the winner of the popular vote lost the election because his or her opponent got more electoral votes. It’s happened twice within the last five elections (Bush vs. Gore in 2000 and Trump vs. Clinton in 2016).

Many believe it’s time to change this system. It’s nearly impossible to do so because the required constitutional amendment means a two-thirds vote in both the House and the Senate, and the ratification of three-fourths (38) of the 50 states. There’s no way the current party in power supports this change.

If you were challenged to motivate Americans to demand that our president be elected by popular vote, how could you do it? Beyond petitions, how would you turn this issue into a national priority? Could it happen with a massive public relations campaign? Your thoughts?

* Source: CNN

40 thoughts on “UPside down and backwaRd

  1. A. Murphy

    I think that it is going to take a lot more than just abolishing the electoral college to move this country in the direction of progress and equality. It is difficult to watch the news at times because the difference between the post-apoloclypic books/movies and news is becoming harder and harder to tell apart and the comparisons are becoming ever more apparent. I don’t know if a public relations campaign is what is needed or if an entire revamping of the governmental system is needed, but something has to give at some point.

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  2. ARI OKONOFUA

    I’m still hurt by the fact that Trump won. Instead of complaining, I have taken action and have been one of the people signing several petitions. Additionally, I will participate in the woman’s walk in January and really take an active stand on promoting voting in the black community. Politics is a sensitive topic and one that I have recently found myself addressing as I normally wouldn’t even speak on it.

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  3. Vanessa

    Creating a PR campaign is a good idea, however in order for a campaign of such magnitude be able to have success it has to be structured. This would probably have to be a collaborative effort amongst numerous firms and will need much ground work. There is a number of people across the United States that are unaware of facts about how our system works. Audiences become confused between myths and facts and that is the basis of misinformation stems. It would take some time, but I would create a PR campaign to attempt to reshape the public thoughts and ideas.

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  4. SShak

    Though I do see flaws in the current system in place, I wonder if the debate about changing it would be so largely discussed had things worked in reverse…. Trump won the popular vote but Clinton won the electoral votes. Do not get me wrong, I cannot say the results of the election were those I expected, but Trump won the presidency just as all those before him. Yes, sometimes it takes catastrophic situations to inspire change, but these things take a lot of work and time.

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  5. Aisha B

    Yes I do think that it is possible to spread the message of wanting the popular vote to elect our presidents. The campaign would have to be relatable to the people and after this election, I think the campaigns would be relatable. Reaching out to the disenfranchised or the unheard voices would help push through a PR campaign that’s dedicated to spread the message of the popular vote . This campaign can be seen on tv, billboards , radio, and in public transportations.

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  6. Ashley Pina

    I agree that the electoral college system is outdated, however I don’t believe the system can be changed by a PR campaign. I think it would be great to educate Americans on how the system works and advertise other options that could take the place of the electoral college. I don’t believe that the system will change anytime soon because it is currently working for the party with the power to change it.

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  7. Daniela Gagliano

    This was a very helpful and simple breakdown of how the electoral college vs. popular vote works. A LOT of people don’t understand how the system works, which is confusing and frustrating for both sides. How the system works, tends to get lost over time because what we understand, turns into something we just know and no longer question. But it’s important to know why.

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  8. Carolina calderón

    The election system in the U.S.works totally different from my country (Mexico). I don’t like the college system because is only representing states and not the real number of population’s opinion. I think a PR campaign could help to change the college system, but it will also need the support of the people.

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  9. Stephanie Adomavicius

    I’m still shocked by the outcome of the election and the actions and emotions that it has brought about throughout the country. Students are protesting and staging rallies in Washington , large groups of anti-Trump supporters have gathered in Manhattan ,and throughout the country there have been instances of violence and racial slurs/hatred. Constructing a PR campaign to motivate Americans to demand that our president be elected by popular vote would have to be done tastefully. They key is to not evoke more riots and outrage. I’m honestly not sure if this could be achieved in such a manner.

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  10. Brianna Beaumont

    To be honest, I do not know how to bring about change to the electoral college. I think many people do not know what to do, so then they do petitions and protests , that essentially may do no good. Education is a very important factor in bringing about change. I think the electoral college needs to be updated. Public relations may be way to promote the changes that need to be done. It may be done with a public relations campaign, but it may take more than just that.

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  11. Zhen Zhong

    I think anything’s possible BUT I doubt it’d make Trump supporters happy. To place a weight on each state as the electoral college is a very peculiar practice and should be reformed in some way. I would hope to inform the public (after the heat of the election dies down) and state why it would be advantageous to reform the electoral college to popular vote. However, the fact that only two presidents in history had ever won from electoral college makes it a hard sell.

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  12. Anonymous

    It is definitely a sad time in America. I believe that this can be done with a huge public relations campaign. The people have already began campaigning to remove the electoral colleges by creating social media campaigns, collecting petitions, creating advertisements to support the removal of the electoral college. I also agree that this could method of bringing in a new president be removed. This only harms society discouraging voting all together. This was the biggest presidency to ever be cheated. Hillary should be our president. I am in pure shock.

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  13. Jennifer O'Malley

    I have barely spent more than a day NOT attending a protest since November 8th. I believe whole-heartedly in the need for protest and I take full advantage of my right to do so. I think it’s extremely important that the rest of the world sees that MORE of us did not want this, that those who are frightened and feeling alone right now see that they aren’t and that before Mr. Trump gets into office he is well aware of what the response from hundreds of thousands of us will be if and when he fails us. I am not protesting in hopes of reversing the election. That is impossible and a waste of time. I believe in direct action and prefer to express my opinion with my boots on the ground and not just from behind a screen. I think right now is a perfect time to start trying to convince Americans that our president should be elected by a popular vote. The people didn’t choose the president and from what we have seen so far, people are already feeling the negative effects of Trump’s election. I think that a multi-channel PR campaign and a grassroots effort is the only way to do it. People would have to be inundated with information because so many are uniformed or apathetic. For those that are happy with the results of this ridiculous election, well I’m not quite sure yet how to reach them yet, but I’m always thinking about it. The counter protestors I have dealt with so far are completely uninterested in being educated or understanding why I am there, which is discouraging. But, it’s not discouraging enough for me to give up on contemplating different avenues to reach out.

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  14. Justin McCue

    Education is key in motivating the public in not only this case, but in many other cases of motivation. With any idea or proposal, you have to think of the fact that some people can be uneducated in the general knowledge of your idea. With political regulations, this is definitely a reality, as I know for a fact I am not very politically savvy as well as many others. For people to agree on change, they need to be as educated on the topic or issue as possible, in order to make a rational and meaningful decision and viewpoint. With the change of our election ways however, this is only the first step in a direction of change. There are many other things I am sure that has to be involved in order to even get to the next direction of changing the Electoral College.

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  15. Marielle McCartin

    I believe that popular votes are important but the electoral college is very outdated as well. It will take a lot for the United States to change the use of the electoral college because of its major influence on the past elections, which some people are horrified about and some are very happy. I believe that in order to get the governments attention, there would have to be legitimate political figures who are not in favor of the electoral college.

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  16. Jorge Marrero

    In today’s society, everything is based off of the Internet. Social media takes a huge role in citizen’s today. Petition’s by the American wouldn’t really change anything. People have to get the attention of Congress. It would be extremely hard to change the way we choose our President because the last thing the government needs is chaos of the citizen’s. The American people need to figure out a fair way to grab Congress’ attention and provide a logical solution to fix the problem. Personally, I would try to put together a law or something that validates a presidential candidate. This is a very hard thing to do. I believe that presidential failure would open up the eyes of Congress, but I say it’s almost impossible to do anything to change.

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  17. Nikita Hakels

    A public Relations campaign could change something? Uhmm I doubt. To begin with, everything that has been happening after Trump got elected as president should have been done way before, even if it is a PR campaign. Obviously I can’t say much in this regard being an international student, I am not from this country, but I guess political standards and issues are the same everywhere. I don’t think riots and protest will change anything, all its doing is giving America a bad image. If i had the chance I would rather build awareness and educate people about right and wrong. Well but that’s just me and I believe there is just no point in crying over something that has happened. In this case, OK Trump is president, but now what?

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  18. Michael Esposito

    I think that the lengths people are going to, to change the system speaks volumes about the fact that Donald Trump was elected president. So many people are protesting because those people feel their voice wasn’t heard by the election. I think that if people keep going and protested as hard as they have been continuously, a change will have to be made.

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  19. Diana Ziskin

    The main purpose of the Electoral College wasn’t about the people not being informed, it is about making sure the smaller states are represented in the election. If the results were solely based on the popular vote only, candidates would only campaign in the larger states with large populations such as New York, California and Texas. Small states would be completely neglected during the campaign trail since they had a smaller chance of effecting the outcome. Even though they have less electoral college votes in the smaller populated states, they still have an impact in the election. Without the EC, small states would never be represented in the presidential election, and that wouldn’t be fair. That being said, maybe there is a better way to represent the smaller states than the EC, but an election based on popular vote only, would neglect those who deserve their voice to be heard also. To get the ball rolling on the bettered system, a PR campaign would come in handy, maybe spearheaded by those already in government positions who have a voice and platform.

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  20. Daniella Opabajo

    In order to change our voting system, we will need a strong revolutionary type of movement. The electoral college is something that our founding fathers created and is embedded in our Constitution, therefore it will be almost impossible to change this. In a perfect world, the petitions and protests would make the government officials aware and maybe start a conversation about this change. However, just like there are many people for against the electoral college there are just as many people in support of the electoral college. A good way to start the change would be a strong force in Congress to speak out against it. To gain Congress attention, we could start a PR campaign with someone with political influence from each state, to outline why the electoral college is ineffective and what we can do to change it.

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  21. Victoria Conway

    I believe in strength in numbers. The protesting around the country has been amazing to see. However, I do not know what else can be done to try and have voices heard. I do know that it is up to the people to fight for what they believe in. Protesting, if conducted peacefully, is the perfect outlet to try and fight back. With social media being so crucial in today’s day and age the protesting has gotten plenty of attention. Nonetheless, I do not know if it will be enough to create change…

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  22. Bernie Dennler

    To be honest, I am skeptical of any efforts to replace the electoral college because I do not believe there is incentive for those in power to change the system. Consider the present, Donald Trump and the Republicans appear to have suffered the greatest loss in the popular vote of any electoral college winners. The electoral college will be what makes Trump president. In order to amend the Constitution, we will have to go through the Republican-controlled Congress and state legislatures. Yet, electoral college/populate vote splits have historically benefited Republicans as they did this year. How can we persuade them to change it? I don’t think that we can. The time to replace the electoral college is probably not in the frenzied aftermath of a split. Instead, it’s probably best to wait until Democrats are in power again and launch a public campaign to convince them to take preemptive action to keep this from happening again. Unfortunately, usually by the time the electoral college is on our minds, it’s already too late to fix the problem.

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  23. Adam Engel

    I believe that the electoral college is not a fair way to decide who will be the next president of the United States. The reason why I say this is because popular vote is the only fair way. If everyone picks one party than that one party should win, not the other party. I think that we should make this a national issue and go beyond petition because we are a democracy the decision should be in our hands not the government or the electoral college. If we have the so-called freedom to vote, then why does the state votes decide not us Americans.

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  24. Adam Engel

    I believe that the electoral college is not a fair way to decide who will be the next president of the United States. The reason why I say this is because popular vote is the only fair way. If everyone picks one party than that one party should win, not the other party. I think that we should make this a national issue and go beyond petition because we are a democracy the decision should be in our hands not the government or the electoral college. If we have the so-called freedom to vote, then why does the state votes decide not us Americans.

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  25. Jessica Mohen

    Donald Trump set the vicious tone during this race that we still see through the post-election American unrest. People are rioting and instances of violence have occurred. Walking through the streets of NYC, it’s visible that people are shaken and do not know what to expect from the “loose canon”. If one candidate receives more votes than another, they should be elected (in my opinion). A petition will not change our system of government. During a future presidency, the bill to amend the constitution to abolish the electoral college could be introduced, but the systemic change is not pertinent. Moreover, government officials are reluctant to make changes to the constitution unless they are completely necessary. I doubt this change would ever occur for this reason. The public and officials would need to be convinced that this change was crucial, and the argument would need to be made that the electoral college actually propagates corruption.

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  26. Cam Keough

    I used to be a fan of the electoral college, I thought it was unique that we chose our politicians as a state, not individually. After this election I am no longer a fan and now i truly desire to have the electoral college abolished and the popular vote be the way a candidate is elected. to get this changed however will mean that the country as a whole will have to want this too happen. The best way I see it being done is through education in middle school and high schools. This change would take a long time but if teachers taught the students both the good and the bad of the current system, most students would realize it flaws just like they see flaws in our current health care system, gun laws, and social security. Change doesn’t happen overnight but instead it happens through long term education and accurate knowledge about the system that governs us.

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  27. Josh Solomon

    I hate to be pessimistic but unfortunately there have been many cases in which the loser wins the popular vote and nothing has changed. I do believe this system is antiquated and we need to figure out a more representative system. One thing I do not encourage though is for electors to vote their conscience instead of representing the opinions of the public because that shows even more flaws within this system.

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  28. Michael James

    The rather ominous hinderance with this task is how misinformed our society is. We are undoubtedly cultured, and groomed by many outlets of information to believe and think a certain way. With this being said we have a rather docile society in regards to a potential political awakening. To advocate for change in this election process and ultimately do it on a large scale national level, the people of this country would have to become cynical of the establishment as whole. There are many operations and agendas within our government wether they be internal or external that go unnoticed, however deserve immediate attention of the American Public. When this happens, when the public awakens, then we will see a change. But as long as even fifty percent of this nation believes in the system, and I would say much larger number then that does, we will continue the MO of America which includes electing a president through the electoral college.

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  29. Rian-Ashlei

    It would be essential to find a face for the movement; someone who inspired action. With the amount of effort and work it would take to remove the electoral college, there would need to be a face/representative that consistently reminded people of the importance of doing the work. I think that rallying and unifying face is what has been missing from many movements. Without it the steam/passion for the effort dies out with no one to rally around/organize around or deify in a way. People need someone to represent them; an influencer of the people. I would find that person and launch an “Out with the Old, In with the New,” campaign based on change and true democracy.

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  30. Anna Baxter

    Quite honestly, I have no idea how to change the electoral college, something that has been in place since the beginnings of America. However, to change something, people need to agree that it is an issue. I think that many people don’t really understand the purpose of the electoral college. Without it, more people may feel like their vote counts. However, how do you convince representatives to give up their power? Firstly, people need to unite and decide that this is something that citizens want to change. Secondly, there need to be a lot of petitions and protests that are largely populated. Usually the media is drawn to large protests that are organized. I think that remaining in the media’s eye would heavily influence the seriousness of this cause. Also, changing the electoral college would be a public relations campaign, even if people don’t realize it. There is a message that is being spread on different mediums to the public through other people.

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  31. Justin Chupungco

    In 1787 not many people were informed about politics, and challenges that arose. The electoral college helped establish a form of voting that would have the well-informed pick the better candidate and prevent corruption. However, in times like this year’s election, where the popular candidate lost because of the electoral college system, I think there may need to be some consideration. Many people today are very invested into politics, and as seen by this year’s poll turnout, many are informed and want to vote. After the results of this election, petitions and protests are a good way to attract attention and possibly get state level government talking. I believe that changing the system entirely would be a lot harder than it would be to partially change the system, but no change is easy. Perhaps if the people got attention of government, level by level (local to national), find an appealing, and respected political figure who has the same stance of the people, and find common interest of the people, change to the system can be made. Needless to say, it will be interesting to see what the next four years will hold with Trump as commander in chief.

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  32. Maria Zaldivar

    I grew up in Mexico, a country that only bases it’s presidential election in popular vote, so understanding the role of the electoral college has been a challenge for me. I believe that the people should have the right to choose their representatives without the government interfering, which is kind of the point of a democracy, and I agree that the electoral college is flawed but I am not sure if getting rid of it completely would be the solution. I believe that a method such as the one employed in Main or Nebraska is a good way to start. Then the focus of the government, and the media, should be informing and teaching people about the candidates so that the public can choose the best option based on an informed decision and not just a one sided narrative. Either way, I believe that the election process should be a national concern not only during presidential election cycles.

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  33. Anthony Pugliese

    At the end of the day, Donald Trump will be our president. Needless to say, petitions, riots, marches and havoc etc. will not change anything. If I were to motivate Americans to demand that our president be elected by popular vote, I would do it by educating the public. However, educating the people the pros and cons of election time. I am not politically savvy, but a history lesson on what a popular vote can or cannot do for this country is a valid lesson to be learned. This issue being turned into a priority is hard, because I feel like almost nothing can be changed. Very sad to say, but it is what it is. I feel that this country needs the electoral college to avoid chaos. I appreciate, love and respect the right I have to vote, but I am comfortable knowing I have a knowledgeable and trustworthy electoral college that has brought us to the great country we are today. This is a public relations campaign I would stay away from, because I do not think it could happen. Many may say I sound ignorant or undetermined, but I will always agree with Bert Lance, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” I could be wrong, but is our country really that bad and distressed? It irritates me to see a gigantic and diverse amount of American citizens bash our own country. We are America the beautiful and free, this country is smart and powerful, but tends to be divided. Every citizen needs to come together, by backing up President-elect Trump because if he does well, we all will. Hate Donald Trump or love him, many presidents of the past including Barack Obama have had their faults, lets give Donald Trump a try and shut off the noise of the media. In conclusion, my PR move would be to put an end to this electoral college and vote slander debate. Rather, reach the public by having them understand how Donald Trump will work and be positively effective for our country.

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  34. Katie Spoleti

    This is a hard question to think about because it is almost proposing the impossible. I don’t want to say I’m not optimistic about implementing change in our country’s voting system, however I know it’s extremely difficult to get people to change their ways. I do think that it’s unfair when a candidate loses an election even though the popular votes were in their favor. To influence a nation of people, one needs to appeal to the mindset of every individual. We would need to hone in on a common concern between enough Americans and push that forward. I think that talking about previous incidents where this has happened would definitely be a starting point.

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  35. Tai Davis

    In order to change the system we first need to show congress that Americans see the problem. I think petitions are a good way to start the conversation. I also believe that PSA’s would be helpful in bringing change. If the PSA’s were broadcasted on television and targeted government officials, I believe that would start the conversation. I also believe holding events such as town meetings in all states on the same day would really spark attention. It’s hard to know what will make congress listen or change. Probably a cut in money would evoke the most change. Boycotting may help.

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  36. Adam Palasciano

    Ever since I became interested in politics years ago, I’ve always said how ridiculous it is that the Electoral College still exists today in modern day America. The Electoral College system in this country was created in 1787 in order to protect the elections from the popular vote as many people were then still illiterate and uneducated. In 2016, nearly everyone in America can read and is informed about the politics in this country. For that reason, the electoral college should most definitely be abolished and election results should be based solely on popular vote.

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  37. Arthena Sherwood

    There will need to be a serious “power of the people” kind of movement. Very much like the Civil Rights movement, we will need to really come together and demand a change. Not just a week after the election, but for Trump’s entire four years in office. I laugh to myself as I say this because I cannot believe that he is the president-elect. Also, I would love to see people protest the result this election his entire time in office (a true fantasy). Anyway, If congress chose our president, Trump would not be in office. If the popular vote chose our president, Trump would not be in office. So yes, it’s time for a change.

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  38. Arianna du Manoir

    As history would show us, trying to break and change a system that has been engrained into the country’s culture is no easy task. While it is said that having the electoral college saves the country from corruption, yet it did not do the best job as we can clearly see. I would demand that the citizens should receive the candidate they voted for, since that’s the whole point as to why we vote in the first place.

    The founding fathers had absolutely no idea where the country was going, how advanced it would be and how communities such as the LGBTQ community would grow to have such an impact all around the world. The electoral college as many other things on the constitution are laws that are not created with ill-will, but they are not in tune with how the world is today, therefore I do believe changes must occur.

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  39. Emily DiLaura

    If I had to motivate the public, I would do so through education. It is very easy to grab signs, believe strongly in something, and go protest. It takes much more to educate people on what the system actually is with voting and how changes could be made. I would help to show the public who they should be reaching out to and talking to in order to create the change they wish to see in the electoral system.
    Personally, when dealing with the government, I think it takes more than a PR campaign to create action. It may be a great help in gathering the population behind you, but it would be a true challenge to break through to the people that create the change. Unfortunately, the archaic system does not seem likely to change, but I do hope people continue to speak out for what they believe, just in a civilized and loving manner.

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  40. Amina

    The electoral college was originally created to prevent corruption in America. It would definitely take more than petitions to change that. I think it would take major influential political figures or the majority of the people to cause a scene and grab the attention of the government to voice for a change.

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