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Congressman Hastings has proposed that Congress should abolish the Ele

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Congressman Hastings has proposed that Congress should abolish the Ele  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 14 Oct 2019, 04:15
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New Project RC Butler 2019 - Practice 2 RC Passages Everyday
Passage # 83, Date : 14-MAR-2019
This post is a part of New Project RC Butler 2019. Click here for Details


Congressman Hastings has proposed that Congress should abolish the Electoral College system for electing the president and replace it with a system of direct popular election. The Electoral College system is flawed, he argues, because it runs directly counter to the democratic principle that every citizen’s vote should count equally.

Because of the winner-take-all system in which the candidate who receives the most popular votes in a state receives all of that state’s electoral votes, the citizens who voted for the losing candidate are effectively disenfranchised from the national election, even if their candidate lost the state by only a handful of votes. Moreover, because each state’s number of electors is the same as its number of members of Congress, the citizens of small states get a disproportionately larger vote than citizens of more populous states. In the 1988 election, for example, the combined voting-age population of the six least populous states— Alaska, Delaware, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming—was 3,119,000. These six states held 21 electoral votes among them. Florida, with a voting-age population of 9,614,000, also had 21 electoral votes. Because of inequities of this nature, there have been four presidential elections in which the candidate who won the Electoral College actually lost the popular vote: 1824, 1876, 1888, and 2000.

Congressman Markham has argued that Hastings’s proposed changes are unnecessary and even dangerous. First of all, he argues, the Electoral College system, whatever its flaws, has resulted in a stable democratic government for more than 200 years, which shows that it is doing something right. Second, the winner-take-all system helps create decisive majorities in the Electoral College, thereby reducing the problem of disputed elections that we might see in the event of direct popular elections. Third, the current system of allocating electors helps protect the interests of small states, which would be largely neglected in favor of large states if the Electoral College were based entirely on population. Protecting these states’ rights is essential to upholding the principle of federalism (in which the states and the federal government maintain distinct powers).

When the Electoral College system was first formalized by the Twelfth Amendment in 1804, a direct popular vote would have been impossible to implement, and the Electoral College was probably the best way to approximate the will of the people. Advances in technology and communication, however, now mean that a direct popular vote would be as simple, if not simpler, to administer than the current Electoral College system. Alternative ways to reform the system would be to do away with the winner take-all system of state electors, to base the numbers of electors strictly on state populations, or to have a direct popular election but to weight the votes from different states differently in order to preserve the influence of small states.


1. The passage is primarily concerned with which of the following?

A. Evaluating the merits of the Electoral College system as a means of protecting federalism
B. Examining the impact of the Twelfth Amendment on the history of the American presidency
C. Disputing the validity of the American democratic process
D. Presenting arguments regarding the best way to elect the president of the United States
E. Comparing arguments regarding the nature of democratic processes



2. Which of the following best describes the structure of the passage?

A. It presents a critique of an institution, then provides a defense of that institution, and then offers possible compromises between the two positions.
B. It presents an argument, lists problems with that argument, and then ultimately refutes the argument.
C. It discusses both sides of a controversial topic and then chooses the side with the stronger arguments.
D. It analyzes flaws in a traditional institution and then provides a series of steps to remedy the flaws.
E. It presents two competing viewpoints and then shows the logical errors in both positions.



3. From the information provided in the paragraph, what can be inferred about the election of 1892?

A. Its result was disputed on the grounds that smaller states had a disproportionate influence on the outcome.
B. The winner of the election received more popular votes than his opponent.
C. The winner-take-all system of state electoral votes led to a decisive majority for the winner in the Electoral College.
D. Reforming the Electoral College system was an issue of contention in this election.
E. This election led to the formalization of the Electoral College by the Twelfth Amendment.



4. Hastings’s response to Markham’s argument that the history of the American government “shows that it [the Electoral College] is doing something right” (Highlighted) would most likely be which of the following?

A. Under the current system, each voter in Alaska has proportionately three times as much voting power as each candidate in Florida.
B. We do not know whether or not the American government would have been equally stable had the president been elected by a direct popular election since the beginning.
C. If the candidate who lost the popular election won the presidency four times in 200 years, there is something wrong with the system.
D. Maintaining a strong federal system is less important than upholding the principle that each vote should count equally.
E. A process that maintained the Electoral College but removed the winner-take-all system would substantially reduce the disenfranchisement that occurs under the current system.



5. According to the passage’s presentation of Markham’s sentiments regarding federalism, which of the following systems for electing the president would be most
objectionable to him?


A. An Electoral College system identical to the one currently in use
B. An Electoral College in which each state’s number of electors was based strictly on population, but the winner-take-all system was maintained
C. An Electoral College in which each state’s number of electors was based strictly on that state’s number of members of Congress, but in which the winner-take-all system was replaced by a divided electoral vote proportional to the state’s popular vote
D. A direct popular election in which the votes from citizens of smaller states were given more weight than citizens from larger states
E. A direct popular election



6. Which of the following examples from international politics, if true, would give Markham the most support in his argument against Hastings?

A. A nation in Africa that modeled its government on the American governmental system after achieving independence from a European colonial power recently entered into a civil war that has effectively ended any true democratic processes.
B. The ancient city-state of Athens had a form of direct popular election in the fifth century B.C.E., but this government fell as a result of the Peloponnesian War that Athens fought against Sparta.
C. A South American nation that deposed its long-standing military dictatorship and instituted in its place a democratic government with a president elected through a direct popular election has experienced both economic growth and improved relations with the international community.
D. A nation in Central Europe that recently changed its government from a longstanding parliamentary monarchy to a government led by a popularly elected premier was recently thrown into chaos when the popularly elected premier declared a dictatorship.
E. The system of proportional power sharing by the members of the European Union has resulted in a number of thorny disputes between member states that will probably grow more severe as new nations from Eastern Europe enter the EU.



7. According to the information given in the passage, which of the following statements about Florida and South Dakota is most accurate?

A. Florida is a larger state in area than South Dakota.
B. South Dakota has a larger population than Florida.
C. The ratio of members of Congress to electors in the Electoral College is lower for the state of Florida than it is for South Dakota. D. South Dakota has more members of Congress per voting-age citizen than Florida does.
E. A higher percentage of the voting-age population in South Dakota exercises its constitutional right to vote than is observed among the voting-age population of Florida.



Source: McGraw-Hill's GMAT (5th 1-7)

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Originally posted by SajjadAhmad on 14 Mar 2019, 07:13.
Last edited by SajjadAhmad on 14 Oct 2019, 04:15, edited 1 time in total.
Updated - Complete topic (979).
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Re: Congressman Hastings has proposed that Congress should abolish the Ele  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Mar 2019, 12:39
In question number 3, I chose A, since in paragraph three states that <<because each state’s number of electors is the same as its number of members of Congress, the citizens of small states get a disproportionately larger vote than citizens of more populous states.>>. So I got confused about the answer. Hope you can help me.
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Re: Congressman Hastings has proposed that Congress should abolish the Ele  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Mar 2019, 13:00
In question number 5, I chose C, since the question is asking about the most objectionable issue for the federalism and this answer talks about both points the popular vote and the divided electoral vote.
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Re: Congressman Hastings has proposed that Congress should abolish the Ele  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Mar 2019, 13:29
RaquelR1409

I Hope it helps

Official Explanation


3. From the information provided in the paragraph, what can be inferred about the election of 1892?

Explanation

The passage states: “there have been four presidential elections in which the candidate who won the Electoral College actually lost the popular vote: 1824, 1876, 1888, and 2000.” Logically, therefore, in all of the other elections, the winning candidate won the popular election. The passage does not supply strong support for any of the other answers; note that C is incorrect because the passage states that the system could help create decisive majorities, not that it actually did so in 1892.

ANSWER: B


5. According to the passage’s presentation of Markham’s sentiments regarding federalism, which of the following systems for electing the president would be most objectionable to him?

Explanation

The passage reads: “Third, the current system of allocating electors helps protect the interests of small states, which would be largely neglected in favor of large
states if the Electoral College were based entirely on population. Protecting these states’ rights is essential to upholding the principle of federalism (in which the states and the federal government maintain distinct powers).”
Therefore, any system that reduces the influence of smaller states, or that reduces the influence of states as a whole in the election process, would run counter to Markham’s sentiments regarding federalism. By these criteria, answer E would be the most objectionable, since it both reduces the influence of smaller states and removes the role of states entirely from the electoral process.

ANSWER: E

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Re: Congressman Hastings has proposed that Congress should abolish the Ele  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Mar 2019, 09:00
Can anyone explain Ques -4
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Re: Congressman Hastings has proposed that Congress should abolish the Ele  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Jun 2019, 09:59
aaggarwal191

aaggarwal191 wrote:
Can anyone explain Ques -4

4. Hastings’s response to Markham’s argument that the history of the American government “shows that it [the Electoral College] is doing something right” (Highlighted) would most likely be which of the following?
we have to somehow weaken M's argument that the current system is GOOD.

A. Under the current system, each voter in Alaska has proportionately three times as much voting power as each candidate in Florida.
doesn't refute the argument that the current system is doing fine.


B. We do not know whether or not the American government would have been equally stable had the president been elected by a direct popular election since the beginning.
this would, in fact, strengthen M's argument by raising doubts in the direct popular election

C. If the candidate who lost the popular election won the presidency four times in 200 years, there is something wrong with the system.

Correct.
it will be unfair for the candidate who wins the election and then another guy wins the presidency because he got favored in larger states.
will weaken M's argument


D. Maintaining a strong federal system is less important than upholding the principle that each vote should count equally.
this would again weaken M's argument and if each vote is counted equally then why smaller states are not given special benefits?

E. A process that maintained the Electoral College but removed the winner-take-all system would substantially reduce the disenfranchisement that occurs under the current system
out of scope, we don't care about the process that maintained electoral college or disenfranchisement that occurs under the current system
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Re: Congressman Hastings has proposed that Congress should abolish the Ele  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Sep 2019, 17:00
Wow! What a passage! Some questions just completely threw me off.!
Question 3 asks about year 1892 which is nowhere mentioned in the passage that was tricky.
Question 4 has OA as C but the majority have gone for B. Just way too tricky. It's like a 800 level question :P

Anyway, Must try. Very nicely framed.
Thank you!
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Re: Congressman Hastings has proposed that Congress should abolish the Ele   [#permalink] 17 Sep 2019, 17:00
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