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The Electoral College is sticking in my craw today..

June 12, 2008

With all the election talk and the b.s. about delegates from MI and FL, etc. etc., I’ve been remembering how retarded I think the electoral college is, and this morning I came across this article from Alternet: Flunk the Electoral College: Getting Rid of the Exploding Cigar of American Politics by Michael Waldman. It’s a very good article, and covers the basics of why we have it, why we can’t get rid of it, and how we might work around it in the future.

Waldman points out this website, that emphasizes that it’s the voice of the PEOPLE that matter, not the dirt in the state: Dirt Don’t Vote.

Additionally, here’s a place where a work around is being worked on:

I’m proud to say, that my home state, NJ, has signed this into law already! (I don’t get to say that too often…so let me gloat for a minute!)

Go check it out. The electoral college is a retarded anachronism started to keep states with slaves from having too much power, and because, well..the general public was/is? not to be trusted. We need to find a way to be rid of it, without having to endure endless senate fillibustering on the part of senators from tiny states.

We need a way to make politicians listen to ALL the people, not just those in certain key swing states; and we need to give NATIONAL voice to peoples scattered throughout the states, but who, together, make up quite a large voice.

PSA over.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. June 12, 2008 5:00 pm

    The major shortcoming of the current system of electing the President is that presidential candidates concentrate their attention on a handful of closely divided “battleground” states. Two-thirds of the visits and money are focused in just six states; 88% on 9 states, and 99% of the money goes to just 16 states. Two-thirds of the states and people are merely spectators to the presidential election. Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or worry about the voter concerns in states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. The reason for this is the winner-take-all rule under which all of a state’s electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who gets the most votes in each separate state.

    Another shortcoming of the current system is that a candidate can win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide.

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC). The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes—that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    The bill would make every vote politically relevant in a presidential election. It would make every vote equal.

    The National Popular Vote bill has been approved by 18 legislative chambers (one house in Colorado, Arkansas, Maine, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Washington, and two houses in Maryland, Illinois, Hawaii, California, and Vermont). It has been enacted into law in Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland. These states have 50 (19%) of the 270 electoral votes needed to bring this legislation into effect.

    To help with the National Popular Vote bill . . .

    You can check the status of the bill in your state at http://www.NationalPopularVote.com/pages/statesactivity.php

    If it’s still in play in your state, let your legislator(s) know what you think. If you need help to identify and/or contact your state representatives, senators, and/or governor about National Popular Vote, you can search by your zip code using online sites such as http://www.congress.org/congressorg/home .

    Sign up to get email updates – http://www.NationalPopularVote.com/pages/getemailupdates.php

    Help get the word out and show your support.
    Tell a friend- http://www.NationalPopularVote.com/pages/tellafriend.php
    Distribute literature at political, civic, or other meeting, convention, or conference.
    Post on discussion groups.
    Write letters to editors, OpEds, and/or blog.
    Please include a link to the National Popular Vote web site by including something like “See http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

    Responses to many common misinformed critiques are at http://nationalpopularvote.com/pages/faq.php

    Up-to-date information and materials are at http://www.NationalPopularVote.com/pages/explanation.php

  2. June 12, 2008 5:48 pm

    “The electoral college is a retarded anachronism started to keep states with slaves from having too much power, and because, well..the general public was/is? not to be trusted.”

    There are many reasons I love this blog and by extension that means you too sister- such a line is but one.

  3. June 12, 2008 7:51 pm

    I am so with you on this one.

  4. June 13, 2008 7:31 am

    From the Federalist Papers:

    “It was desirable that the sense of the people should operate in the choice of the person to whom so important a trust was to be confided. This end will be answered by committing the right of making it, not to any preestablished body, but to men chosen by the people for the special purpose, and at the particular conjuncture.

    “It was equally desirable, that the immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice. A small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations.”

    The problem with the electoral college, in my view, is that it has becomes a surrogate for the popular vote, and not a deliberating assembly that might consider anyone qualified for the chief magistracy. George Washington never “ran” for the presidency, and wouldn’t have, but thank goodness he was tapped by the job by special representatives of the people charged with finding a suitable president.

    The problem with picking the president by popular vote is that there is a certain cost to campaigning to three hundred million citizens. In fact, it costs tens of millions of dollars. So, who provides that money to our candidates? And what do they expect in return?

  5. June 13, 2008 9:05 am

    Rick – Excellent points.

    I guess candidates will need to find a way to spend their money more wisely…and figure out exactly what their message is and needs to be, and to whom they are directing it.

    Lots of people make money off of campaigns (I’m thinking advertisers here), as well as spend money on campaigns. So there is sure to be resistence to this kind of reform from all kinds of corners. Good old money taking care of itself again.

    I’m not concerned for money, in particular though, I’m concerned for people. And in this day and age, with the technology we have available, there is no “good enough” reason to keep the electoral college, except that it’s too hard to get rid of.

    We all know that reform is needed in this area. What exactly it should look like – from a reasonable place to start point of view, I’d say that the link I posted above looks like a reasonable place to start.

    Our political atmosphere in this country needs something to shake up the status quo.

  6. June 14, 2008 1:43 pm

    The Electoral College system had been obsolete since before the Civil War, when the franchise expanded beyond the propertied few. Direct national popular vote is the only justifiable system.

  7. June 15, 2008 7:02 pm

    I posit that it’s not the EC that’s obsolete, necessarily, but the winner-take all system most states use. Nebraska and Maine use a different system, where each congressional district sends one elector, and then the winner of the entire state gains the two “senatorial” electors. This would get you about 90% of the benefits of a national popular vote without getting into the following situation:

    What I’m scared of a situation like in 2000, where the popular vote is so close that every single ballot in the country will need to be counted again. It would turn into a national nightmare if we ever had that scenario. Recounting one district, or even one state, ought to be doable, but not an entire country.

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