Skip to comments.Bush by 537; Gore by 537,179 (Gigglefest Alert: Ex-CBS Newer Says Abolish Electoral College!)
Posted on 11/16/2001 1:22:44 PM PST by Timesink
November 16, 2001
Bush by 537; Gore by 537,179
By MARTIN PLISSNER
ASHINGTON -- Now that a group of major news organizations has concluded that it was not the Supreme Court that imposed President Bush upon the nation, it's important to note that the voters didn't decide it that way, either. It does not take eight months of research with the University of Chicago to know that the current leader of the free (or at least the antiterrorist) world got half a million fewer votes last year than his opponent.
Let it be stipulated at the outset that under the law of the land George W. Bush is the country's duly elected head of state. And maybe, given the alternative and the nature of the times, that is just as well. Still, do we really need more elections, in years to come, in which people are still arguing a year later about whether the president's margin in a single state was 537 votes (the official result in Florida) or 225 when the Federal Election Commission says he trailed nationally by 537,179?
Getting rid of the Electoral College ought not to be a partisan issue. The most serious effort to abolish it, in 1969, was led by Richard Nixon. He had won the popular vote the year before by half a million votes, but a switch in three states of barely a tenth of those votes might have enabled George Wallace to pick the winner.
Backed by a Republican White House, the Democratic House of Representatives passed, 338 to 70, a constitutional amendment calling for the direct election of the president by popular vote. The threat of a filibuster by members from small states and the South blocked it in the Senate.
There is no reason to think that retiring this historical anachronism would over time give an edge to either party, but it would certainly equalize the role of all voters in exercising their most important civic responsibility. It would also add some weight to the grumpy judgments this country issues when national majorities are set aside in places like Yugoslavia.
Defenders of the Electoral College (try explaining it to a teenage child, as some of us had to do last year) argue that if you just added up the total vote, as you do for every other office in the land, presidential campaigns would focus entirely on the big states while people in places like South Dakota and Delaware would get no attention at all. Yet last year New York and Texas got little attention from the presidential candidates. Had it been the popular vote that decided the election, as Mr. Bush himself has pointed out, he would have run a different campaign. Though there was no way he could have lost Texas or won New York, he would have worked hard to get out every vote in his own state and to shave Al Gore's vote in his best state.
Mr. Bush's strategists were ridiculed last year when he spent time and money in California, which he had little chance of winning, and in terms of strategy this decision deserved the ridicule. If his time and money had been spent in, say, Florida, we might not still be pawing over undervotes and overvotes in Palm Beach and Duval Counties. But the fact is that a man who wants to be president of the United States should not turn his back on 11 million California voters, and we should not have a system that makes it prudent for him to do so.
Electing our leaders every four years ought not to be a parlor game in which campaign commanders (and network know-it-alls) block out red states for one side and blue states for the other and then put all their chips on the "battleground states" in gray. Whether you're a Democrat in Utah or Texas, or a Republican in Rhode Island or New York, your vote ought to count as much as anyone's in Florida, Pennsylvania or Wisconsin. There's been enough talk about fixing the voting machines. It's time to fix the Electoral College.
Martin Plissner, former executive political director of CBS News, is the author of "The Control Room: How Television Calls the Shots in Presidential Elections."
What, the idiots want us recounting chads in every precinct in the U.S.A. for four years next time? Pure insanity.
If they abolished the Electoral College then I'd adopt the Democrats modus operendi and stuff ballot boxes, too. It'd be a nightmare.
Texas Democrat precincts and Pennsylvania precincts led the way, with 120% and 105% of respective registered voters voting in the last election. I say we go for 350,000 voters in the next election, and blast the myth of the apathic to smithereens.
I meant let's go for 350 million voters in the next election.
They wailing and gnashing of teeth continues. And I'm loving every minute of it.
My question to the liberals is "if the Electoral College is non-democratic and should be abolished, should not any Constitutional Amendment doing so also abolish the US Senate?" After all Montana has two Senators and less than a million citizens whereas California at least ten times the number of citizens and only two Senators - can anything be less democratic?
But I think we should keep the rules of the Constitution.
Air brush figures, by air brains.
I'm sorry my recollection is so hazy on this. Maybe someone else on the threads recalls the specifics?
Eddie01 "actually I like the US Constitution just the way it is"