Electoral College Essay By Mike Benke ’04 Second In National Contest

Mike Benke ’04 recently placed second in the 2002 College Essay Contest of the Americanism Education League with his entry titled, Why the Electoral College Best Protects Voters’ Choice. Benke won a $2,500 cash prize in the event.

Benke, who hails from San Diego, is a dual econ-accounting and government major. He also is a McKenna Distinguished Scholar.

The Americanism Educational League, a nonprofit foundation, sponsored the national contest. The contest was open to all undergraduate students and judged by a panel of Southern California economics and business school deans. This year’s essay topics included: benefits of the Electoral College; ways to combat religious terrorism; and why English should remain our national language.

“The Electoral College system is win-win in the sense that the major parties will benefit if they can integrate the ideas of smaller parties into their platforms,” Benke said in summarizing his thesis. “This would allow the smaller parties to obtain more of a voice via the major parties-a voice that they might not have otherwise.”

Benke wrote the essay for Professor Jack Pitney’s American Presidency class. “Mike gave a clear-minded analysis of advantages of the Electoral College which forces candidates to build national coalitions,” Pitney said. “He writes with clarity and precision.”

Adam Kendall ’00 was the last CMC student to place in the national contest. His essay on Social Security reform won third place.