Explaining the Election


Mr. Bernsen teaching a government class

Lilli Carlton, Staff Writer

Have you wondered how either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump could be elected?

ODA’s trusty History Department gave answers about the electoral college and voting process, the election, and why Florida is an important state when it comes to politics.

Why use an electoral college and not use popular vote?

“It really goes back to Article 2 in Constitution,” explains Upper School History Teacher, Mr. Sommers. “It was a compromise between the founders. Federalists did not want common man to determine the President of the U.S., so they came up with the electoral college.”

“The electoral college is a protective mechanism for small states. The states have a dignity and importance in our system—a nation of states and PEOPLE. It’s the same reason the Senate is not proportional to the population because of risks about states ganging up on other states. Wyoming vs Florida, Wyoming has a disproportional determination, but that’s by design,” says Upper School History and Government Teacher, Mr. Bernsen.

So, why vote if the electors decide who’s president?

“They will vote for whom their state directs them to,” says Mr. Bernsen.

Why is Florida important in the election?

“Florida’s a battleground state,” explains Mr. Bernsen. “It’s a swing state. So depending on the election or the candidates, there are a lot of votes up for grabs.

“Florida is the 3rd most populous state in the nation, so it carries a lot of votes,” explains Mr. Sommers. “Florida has such divided views in this election, so voting magnifies importance.”

Let’s say someone strongly dislikes both candidates… should he or she still vote?

“One could see it as whom you dislike least because you are making a decision,” states Mr. Bernsen. “If one would be better overall, vote who you think would be better president. Voting is an august activity—it requires moral confidence. But someone won’t vote; by not voting he or she makes a decision. But by not voting, you’re not being counted.”

“You probably dislike one the least, so vote for that person. Also, people around the world risk their lives to vote; it seems like our duty as citizens to vote,” says Mr. Sommers.

How important are endorsements within one’s political party? Why do they matter?

“One of the founding principals of the country is that ordinary citizens cannot be expected to follow politics as a full time job because everyone has their own job,” explains Mr. Bernsen. “America has a job for elites, and not necessarily the movie stars, that their perspective is known and is important because it might be more information than a citizen, who works another job, knows.”

For you, what is a paramount issue that you think the candidates need to clear up?

“For me, I’d like to see another realistic talk about immigration,” says Mr. Sommers. “Foreign Policy has a lot of question marks, still. And there still needs to be more said regarding the global warming debate.”

“Foreign Policy has been very interesting,” say Dr. Zitani. “I think Hillary Clinton has lots of knowledge in that area, so I guess I would be interested in hearing more of Donald Trump’s views on Foreign Policy.”

Regarding this election: What would you say is the most important issue that ODA students need to think about?

“Student loans would be one that would directly affect you guys,” says Upper School History Teacher Dr. Zitani. “It affects everybody on this campus—everyone, anyway.”

“Looking at national debt, there is lots of concern before you even join the work force,” says Mr. Sommers.



Although the official voting day is November 8th, millions of Americans are voting early for the next President of the United States… Get out and vote now!