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College Dropouts

I just got into an argument about politics. (Gee, what else is new?) The person I was arguing happened to drop a reference to Al Gore’s Howlin’ Howard Dean-esque speech earlier this week, and tossed off a casual reference to how “Gore won the popular vote in 2000” and “should have won Florida” and “Bush was appointed.” I also saw a bumper sticker last week that said “Let’s not elect him in 2004 either.” These two incidents got me to thinking.

It’s become a cliché of the left that “Bush stole the election” in 2000 and “Gore won the popular vote, so he should have been elected.” I’m not going to re-fight the election of 2000 (except to note, for balance, that Bush won nearly all of the recounts held after the Supreme Court ruling, and if Gore had just won his home state of Tennessee the Florida results would’ve been moot), but I am going to bring up a single point.

One key element of the Great 2000 Election Fiasco was the Electoral College. And despite numerous shouts of condemnation and calls for change, I have yet to see a single serious proposal for changing that system.

That’s right. No matter how unfair, how undemocratic, how elitist the Electoral College system is, NOT ONE PERSON has put forth a serious proposal for changing or dismantling it.

And now that the next general election is less than six months away, there is absolutely no time for such a change. The Electoral College is established in the United States Constitution (See Article II, Section I), and it would take an amendment to that Constitution (See Article V for the amending process) to change it. Yet I have not heard of a single Congressman, Senator, or State Legislature taking Step One towards passing such an amendment.

Folks, you’ve had almost three and a half YEARS towards fixing the “problem” with the system, and you’ve done dog-squat. I don’t want to hear a single whine about the “unfairness” of the Electoral College system and how it “ought to be decided by the popular vote.” You had your chance to start changing it, and you didn’t. Suck it up and live with it. Find something new to whine about, because you've worn this one out.

J.


Comments (7)

The reason it hasn't been p... (Below threshold)

The reason it hasn't been proposed is that any reform would require a Constitutional amendment. Then 3/5ths of the states would have to agree to let California and New York decide elections. There no chance whatsoever that the smaller states would give up this political leverage.

So, despite all the bluster, it was always a pipe dream to reform the voting and it was dropped.

48 out of the 50 States, an... (Below threshold)
SarahW:

48 out of the 50 States, and DC, award electoral votes on a winner-takes-all basis.

But it doesn't HAVE to be done that way. Nebraska and Maine have at-large electors for some of their electoral votes, and split the remainder among the district winners.

People could have been screaming for proportional allocation of electors, but that didn't materialize, either.

Whoa Boy! Elitist and undem... (Below threshold)

Whoa Boy! Elitist and undemocratic, hardly. To exclude a large minority any voice in the national executive branch of the government would be more undemocratic. The people who reside in sparsely populated States in this country perform a vital service that requires sparse populations. There are no farms and ranches run in the middle of New York City. I suggest you spend a little time reading the Federalist Papers for more insight into the reasoning behind the Electoral College. It did not solely revolve around the concept of "educated gentleman farmers" running the show like Lords. Modern life has given us many more reasons to continue it; without it we would have Coastal campaigns, Coastal elections and Coastal candidates only.

None of the accusations lev... (Below threshold)
Alex:

None of the accusations leveled against either Gore or Bush regarding the 2000 election are true. The real case was which votes should be counted, and the scandal was over invalid absentee ballots, unclear ballot cards, and chads. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of not recounting the votes.

So the reform must be in voting methods, not the electoral college. Reforming the electoral college will still leave us with hanging chads and Supreme Court decisions.

It's a shame that some people have to be resistant to computerized voting. It would be much more reliable -- programming could allow you to confirm your vote before continuing, making it clear for whom you've just voted. The vote would then be valid and not be judged by how well a hole was punched or how good the voter's eyesight was. That vote would be counted and sorted automatically within seconds, as opposed to being read by a committee that has to decide. Computers can work 24/7 and do not suffer from fatigue.

Good thoughts, Kevin, but I think you're blaming the wrong process.

...er...Jay. Sorry. <... (Below threshold)
Alex:

...er...Jay. Sorry.

[memo to self: don't read blogs at 4 A.M.]

Jay's not blaming the elect... (Below threshold)

Jay's not blaming the electoral college -- he's responding to what should be the logical conclusion of the "Gore got more votes so he should have won" complaint from the Left.

SarahW's point about the winner-take-all system is well taken, and obviously doesn't require a national constitutional amendment.

The thing about computerized voting is the question of a paper trail. Here in Georgia there isn't one. In other states legislators are acting to require one. From what I've seen -- here with an ascendant GOP and a Dem secretary of state -- there doesn't seem to have been any problem so far, but it's almost certain there will be a ruckus raised at some point, especially if Republicans complete their takeover of the legislature. The McKinney fringe will undoubtedly start spreading conspiracy theories.

In fact, the fringe Lefties on the Internet have already elevated Diebold, which makes electronic voting systems, to the level of Halliburton in their corporate demonicon.

If it weren't for the Elect... (Below threshold)
quasimod:

If it weren't for the Electoral College, American politics would be completely dominated by the Hollywood elite.

Just think about it.




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