Skip to comments.Abolish the Electoral College
Posted on 08/28/2004 11:34:36 PM PDT by Former Military Chick
When Republican delegates nominate their presidential candidate this week, they will be doing it in a city where residents who support George Bush have, for all practical purposes, already been disenfranchised. Barring a tsunami of a sweep, heavily Democratic New York will send its electoral votes to John Kerry and both parties have already written New York off as a surefire blue state. The Electoral College makes Republicans in New York, and Democrats in Utah, superfluous. It also makes members of the majority party in those states feel less than crucial. It's hard to tell New York City children that every vote is equally important - it's winner take all here, and whether Senator Kerry beats the president by one New York vote or one million, he will still walk away with all 31 of the state's electoral votes.
The Electoral College got a brief spate of attention in 2000, when George Bush became president even though he lost the popular vote to Al Gore by more than 500,000 votes. Many people realized then for the first time that we have a system in which the president is chosen not by the voters themselves, but by 538 electors. It's a ridiculous setup, which thwarts the will of the majority, distorts presidential campaigning and has the potential to produce a true constitutional crisis. There should be a bipartisan movement for direct election of the president.
The main problem with the Electoral College is that it builds into every election the possibility, which has been a reality three times since the Civil War, that the president will be a candidate who lost the popular vote. This shocks people in other nations who have been taught to look upon the United States as the world's oldest democracy. The Electoral College also heavily favors small states. The fact that every one gets three automatic electors - one for each senator and a House member - means states that by population might be entitled to only one or two electoral votes wind up with three, four or five.
The majority does not rule and every vote is not equal - those are reasons enough for scrapping the system. But there are other consequences as well. This election has been making clear how the Electoral College distorts presidential campaigns. A few swing states take on oversized importance, leading the candidates to focus their attention, money and promises on a small slice of the electorate. We are hearing far more this year about the issue of storing hazardous waste at Yucca Mountain, an important one for Nevada's 2.2 million residents, than about securing ports against terrorism, a vital concern for 19.2 million New Yorkers. The political concerns of Cuban-Americans, who are concentrated in the swing state of Florida, are of enormous interest to the candidates. The interests of people from Puerto Rico scarcely come up at all, since they are mainly settled in areas already conceded as Kerry territory. The emphasis on swing states removes the incentive for a large part of the population to follow the campaign, or even to vote.
Those are the problems we have already experienced. The arcane rules governing the Electoral College have the potential to create havoc if things go wrong. Electors are not required to vote for the candidates they are pledged to, and if the vote is close in the Electoral College, a losing candidate might well be able to persuade a small number of electors to switch sides. Because there are an even number of electors - one for every senator and House member of the states, and three for the District of Columbia - the Electoral College vote can end in a tie. There are several plausible situations in which a 269-269 tie could occur this year. In the case of a tie, the election goes to the House of Representatives, where each state delegation gets one vote - one for Wyoming's 500,000 residents and one for California's 35.5 million.
The Electoral College's supporters argue that it plays an important role in balancing relations among the states, and protecting the interests of small states. A few years ago, this page was moved by these concerns to support the Electoral College. But we were wrong. The small states are already significantly overrepresented in the Senate, which more than looks out for their interests. And there is no interest higher than making every vote count.
Making Votes Count: Editorials in this series remain online at nytimes.com/makingvotescount.
Well, my friends at the "slimes" fail to realize that this is a Constitutional Republic" and not a European style democracy.
New York is not ever going to pick our president of these 50 states. It ain't gonna happen.
Stop repeating this stupid story every four years, ya hear!
And US Senators need to be elected by the state Assembly's like they were 100 years ago.
The original design by our founding dads of Senators being answerable to the power structure of each state makes more sense than appeals to base populist instincts they must now make.
Ah, I just love the smell of desperation in the morning.
>>As it stands if the NYT likes something I'm against it.<<
That little slogan should be put on a sampler. Those little pillows our grandmothers created.
Bumper stickers would be equally great.
Yes, I think Hill said this about 4 years ago. But perhaps she is like OJ she is really doing something and we cannot see it.
Yeah, I'm sure port security is at the top of the list of concerns of the average resident of Syracuse.
This is, and always will be a ridiculous idea.
The elctorial system simply reflects the desire of the majority of congressional districts within a state, then of states within the country. It prevents mob rule. Of course, not all electors get thier way. If three districts out of twenty in one state voted for greens, and the rest for blues..the state goes to the blue. It is, after all, a republic, not a straight democracy.
It's the same reason that the number three guy in succesion to the president is the speaker of the house. He is closer to the people, by choice, than any individual in congress. He is chosen by majority election within the house. A house that clearly represents each district of the US.
Funny they would use the Civil War as a history marker here. Abolish the Electoral College and we will have another Civil War.
A state like wyoming shouldn't have 2 Senators either even if they are GOP.
If you don't agree with me then you don't agree with abolishing the EC !
NY Times vs. the Constitution BUMP
Let's do away with state lines while we are at it. No need to give every state (including Rhode Island and Alaska) 2 Senators. Why do we need 50 governors'? With the federal courts dictating laws to the states, let's just get the whole shebang overwith...
Spread it around.
Small wonder the New York Slimes endorses this sort of change. It would cement their anti-American Leftist stranglehold on the Presidency.
The Slimes wants to abolish the EC for one reason only, and it's not because "every vote would count", it's because Al Gore fell victim to the EC. If this country did away with the EC, it will only allow this country to move quickly toward Socialism, whereby all the urban areas would control the policymaking. The EC was put into place for a purpose, each state has two Senators, and the Founding Fathers realized all this. Liberals have never been fans of equality.
We keep forgetting, but we do not actually cast a vote for the candidate. We cast a vote for the electors.
We never have actually voted for the person. Ever.
As a side note Ca would have been originaly 2 states but all the population was up north with the gold rush and new states were by default non-slave states.
The south would not have allowed it.
Without the Electoral College, New York City would be able to use massive vote fraud to increase its influence over the election. With the Electoral College, once a candidate has a comfortable margin in a particular state (perhaps 5%+) there is no incentive to increase that margin by pandering to the extremes within that state.