Sunday, October 31, 2004

Electoral College and the WP

I haven't fisked anything decent in a while, so here goes.

The Washington Post has an op-ed up from a professor somewhere (I assume because he's smarter than me.)

The most popular idea to replace it -- a national direct election -- has the obvious appeal of honoring our modern-day commitment to the principle of one person, one vote. We would no longer risk the distortion of majority sentiment by a disproportionate allocation of state electors.

But a national direct election would also mean giving up a number of advantages that thoughtful commentators attribute to the electoral college system as it currently operates.

Firstly, the "thoughtful commentators" he is referring to are the Founding Fathers. Secondly, I don't know where he comes up with any "modern-day commitment" to majority rules.

I've made this argument before; if majority ruled, a more stringent AWB would be in place. As the author points out in another segment of this tripe, labeled commentary, Gore would be president. Both of these facts lead me to believe that if the majority ruled, I would be punished fiscally, constitutionally and any other way "the majority" could devise.

The winner-take-all system everywhere but Maine and Nebraska, which is based on state law and not on the Constitution, bolsters the two-party system, which many think the basis for our long history of relative political stability.

Well asshead tells an out and out lie here. The system(s) are based on state law because that is what the Constitution says. So it is entirely based on the Constitution. If Vermont says you can only be a candidate for the House if you have the requisite number of varicose veins that's fine. Of course I'm ignoring equal protection, numerous amendments, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

But the professor is smarter than those stupid dead white men, isn't he?

For all of these reasons, it may be attractive to replace our current process with another system of indirect election that simply changes the makeup of the electoral college.

If I voted for what was "attractive," Cindy Crawford would be president. But let's hear out his arguments.

Currently, each state gets a number of electors equivalent to the number of its members of the House, plus two for its senators.
It is the latter allocation that most significantly causes the overweighting of the small states' votes. Giving each state a number of electors equivalent to its House delegation would still overrepresent the less populated states, but not as dramatically.

The Constitution had a very good reason for giving each state 2 Senators and giving them the equivalent two electoral votes. So that people in California and New York could not run the country into the ground. They had different examples, i.e. the Confederacy of States, the rule of King George, etc.; but the rationale holds true.

If you rob Rhode Island of two electoral votes, you are disenfranchising them (note: the actual word is disfranchise, but I have given in to post 2000 political rhetoric.) If the Constitution guarantees that to them, they get it. This asshole is recommending voter intimidation on a federal level.

The second step of a desirable con- stitutional amendment would be to require states to choose their electors through statewide popular votes. This would finally give explicit recognition to the proposition that participating in presidential elections, even if run by the states, is a privilege of national citizenship.

Don't ask me about the dash; it is in the text. If the argument here is that the popular vote should decide all of a state's electors, that already happens in 90% of states. If he is arguing that the votes should be divided on the basis of the popular vote, that contradicts the very intent of the Constitutional framework.

A third step would be to impose the winner-take-all "unit rule" as a national standard, thus protecting the two-party system and the incentive that our current system embodies for consensus-building and governing from the middle.

Well, I'm just not a fan of "governing from the middle." It remind me of Clinton.

Finally, a new amendment should provide that, in elections thrown to Congress, each state delegation would vote as a whole, as it does now, but that the vote of each state would be weighted according to the size of its House delegation. In other words, we should not abandon a fair weighting of the states just at the point that the electoral college fails to produce an outcome.

This is essentially no different than a popular vote. This egghead is a little too nuanced for his own good. This is the idea that reform, no matter what it is, is a good thing. Being progressive is a good thing, because that means change and any change must me good. Horseshit.

I total, all you need to know is in the second to last paragraph:

Had this system been in place from 1960 to 2000, it would have changed the outcome of only one election -- the election of George W. Bush over Al Gore. Instead of losing 271 to 266, Gore would have won 224 to 211, which would have accorded with the popular vote.

So he was a Gore voter. 'Nuff said.

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