Wednesday, 3 November 2004
|0248 - Oh, and one other note|
I wonder if the likely result of President Bush winning the popular vote will silence the Left's calls for abolishing the electoral college...should Kerry win Ohio, and thus the election, he will have done so despite a worse result in the popular vote than Gore in 2000. The Electoral College will thereby have been the only way he'd have won.
current mood: amused
I said the exact same thing in my LJ. I still think we need to abolish the electoral collage. Should Bush win, I wonder who/what the democrats will blame this time.
The Electoral College is still flawed and outdated, even if changing it won't affect Kerry winning, or even if changing it will undo what would make Kerry win. Fixing the Electoral College, long term, is much, much more important than the outcome of a single election, even one with as much significance as this one. Assuming that everyone on the left holds their political positions only as long as it personally benefits them is shallow and arrogant.
No less shallow and arrogant than the Left's assuming the same of those of us on the other end of the spectrum.
I made no such assmuptions. However, you continue to keep lumping all of "the Left" into a single category and making sweeping statements without even noting the possibility of exceptions. I think my original statement stands, well proven.
I don't think the Electoral College is flawed; it does just what the Founders wanted it to do—act as one of many countervailing powers. Admittedly, things have changed in ways they didn't want (e.g. the rise of what they called "factions," i.e. political parties; we've also broken the Senate by making it popularly elected).
I don't think so either. The Electoral College was designed in the same way as the bicameral legislature was: to balance the effects of population concentration by ensuring that those who lived in less populated areas had a say in the outcome. It showed in the campaign, too: were it a straight popular vote, the candidates wouldn't have spent much time at all in places like Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, or Colorado...those places derisively called "flyover states".
The Electoral College is not broken. That won't prevent some folks from trying to "fix" it.
But with the Electoral College, there were 30 other states that weren't visited by either candidate at all, and their constituents basically ignored because they were assumed to already go to one candidate or another, even if there might have been a significant faction in the state that want to go the other way. So your own argument, that all states, regardless of population, should get representation, seems to suggest that the Electoral College is flawed, at least to some extent.
If memory of American history serves ...
The Electoral College was considered a check against *ignorance*. In the late 18th and early 19th century, communication was not exactly a modern marvel--keep in mind that the Battle of New Orleans happened *after* the signing of the treaty that ended its war. I think the general idea was the same principle as the Senate's selection by state legislatures--a way to avoid 'mob rule' and impulse voting.
Again, the idea of party votes wasn't exactly installed at the writing of the Constitution. It somehow turned out easier, perhaps, to elect a whole party's electors rather than individual ones. And at that point, the electorate would be voting mainly with the party.
What happens these days, tho, is the fact that my vote in Illinois was worth less to either candidate than a homophobic client of my mother's who lives in Iowa. Plus, the electoral vote counting system gives, in a way, an undue bias *toward* smaller states, due to the two senators being counted.
I've seen ways to preserve the idea of the College that allow some concessions to popular votes, but the fate of the issue in Colorado makes me pessimistic.
Re: If memory of American history serves ...
Not to mention the fact that the Electoral College was designed originally to allow the less-populated southern states to have more of a voice than they would based on a popular vote--by allowing those states to count their slaves, at a rate of three-fifths of a person per slave, in their total population, which upped their proportional showing in the Electoral College, while at the same time denying those slaves that were boosting their numbers the right to vote. That way, the slave states could have a voice that represented the number of people--slave or free--in them, without allowing the slaves an actual voice.
Now that everyone who's counted can actually legally vote (assuming they're 18 and not a felon), there seems to be one fewer significant reason for having the proportional-voting system over a popular-vote, one-vote-means-one-vote election of the Presidency.