A former independent presidential candidate visited TCU Monday to promote FairVote, a program that suggests presidents should be elected by popular vote rather than electoral. John B. Anderson, who ran for president in 1980, said his proposal can fix the current system of elections.
Anderson said when the electoral college was first invented, it was a good concept, but is now outdated and unfair.
“We urge that the people of the United Stated have the right to choose the president,” Anderson said.
Anderson said the framers of the Constitution established the Electoral College because the American people were not well educated and communication was not advanced enough for citizens to cast an educated vote. He said the original Electoral College was a progressional idea in the 18th century.
“Very frankly,” Anderson said, “the framers, the founding fathers were opposed to the people electing this new, powerful office: the president of the United States of America.”
Our society is now capable and educated enough to make an informed vote that will count regardless of the state you vote in, Anderson said.
He said the new system would change elections to where the ratio of votes would reflect the population of the nation, not individual states.
“It would encourage people of large states, I believe, not to think their votes will be totally dismissed,” Anderson said.
Anderson said the initiative will start in Illinois, where major Democrats and Republicans support the program.
Anthony Powell, a junior criminal justice major who lived in Ohio during the 2004 controversy over electoral votes, said Anderson’s speech was thought provoking.
“I can understand why people from small states oppose this idea – because it waters down their votes,” Powell said. “And before I came to listen to this speech, I was against it too. But now, I am open to it and could lean either way.”
Richard Millsap, a political science adjunct at TCU, said he enjoyed listening to Anderson speak.
“He’s great because he’s an independent thinker,” Millsap said. “One of the greatest dangers to our country is tunnel vision, where we see things how they have always been, and not want change. Anderson goes against that.”
Anderson is from Illinois, where he served as a Republican U.S. Representative for 10 terms from 1961 to 1981.
Anderson became an independent shortly before the 1980 election, which included competitors Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter.
Anderson attended the University of Illinois College of Law and Harvard Law school. He also fought in the Army during World War II.