Assessment 1 of 0

GMAT – Section 3: Test 4

Justice June 5, 2015
Verbal (Questions 87 – 89)


Use the following to answer questions 87 through 89.

As it stands, the Electoral College is a poorly understood government mechanism for the election of the president of the United States. Many argue that it is anachronistic and circumvents the true power of the vote; however, there are those who disagree. There have been a handful of instances where a candidate has won the popular vote, yet lost the election, due to the function of the Electoral College. In fairly simple terms, voters in the U.S. don’t directly vote for one candidate or another. Instead, they vote for a representative of sorts, an appointed elector who, if chosen by the voters, will attend the Electoral College and cast his or her vote for the presidential candidate of the party that selects him or her.

If a candidate wins a majority of the popular vote, the election can still go against him, because every state is allotted a certain number of electors equal to the number of senators and representatives that state has. If a candidate wins several states, but not New York, California, and Texas (three of the most highly populated states in the Union), that candidate may very well lose the election. In reality, individual voters don’t select the president; individual states do. With this kind of logic, it would seem that the Electoral College is a method of keeping the vote meaningful for only a select group of people. However, this may not be the case.

The alternative to an electoral college would be a direct, popular vote. In 1977, a constitutional amendment was proposed to abolish the electoral college and replace it with a direct vote, allowing for a candidate to win with as little as 40% of the popular vote. In a direct election, there are no mechanisms for winnowing down presidential candidates; in theory, more than one Democratic or Republican candidate could run, though perhaps only one would receive party backing. In an election with a greater number of serious candidates than the usual two, a majority of votes might be as low as 40%.

While a direct vote may seem to be a stronger representative of democracy, there may arise situations in which it reflects the exact opposite. While the Electoral College may seem like a vestigial organ in government, established by wealthy landowners, it narrows the list of potential candidates and allows for candidates to be vouched for by a political party. Until a new or different solution to the drawbacks for either method is reached, there will likely be little change in the way U.S. citizens select their commanders in chief.

10th Grade ELA – Pre-test Assessment 1