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"
So, apparently any state with 51% for GORE was decided but any state with over 50% for bush was still 'too close to call'
Dan "Boy is our face red" Rather knew damn well what he was up to...
Ain't it the truth, Plissner. Ain't it the truth.
Never abolish the electoral college! It's the only fair system!
That's all I have to say.
Now a worthwhile reform would be to simply assign the electoral votes automatically and abolish the office of "elector" as a person. We should not have to worry about electors being "flipped" as many Freepers did.
"Rural Cleansing" means the destruction of the "old-fashion" values on which the country was founded.
maybe THIS is the problem , marty
On the Electoral College; On Reeligibility of the President
By an anonymous writer "REPUBLICUS," appearing in The Kentucky Gazette on March 1, 1788.
. . I go now to Art. 2, Sec. 1, which vest the supreme continental executive power in a president-in order to the choice of whom, the legislative body of each state is empowered to point out to their constituents some mode of choice, or (to save trouble) may choose themselves, a certain number of electors, who shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot, for two persons, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves. Or in other words, they shall vote for two, one or both of whom they know nothing of. An extraordinary refinement this, on the plain simple business of election; and of which the grand convention have certainly the honor of being the first inventors; and that for an officer too, of so much importance as a president - invested with legislative and executive powers; who is to be commander in chief of the army, navy, militia, etc.; grant reprieves and pardons; have a temporary negative on all bills and resolves; convene and adjourn both houses of congress; be supreme conservator of laws; commission all officers; make treaties; and who is to continue four years, and is only removable on conviction of treason or bribery, and triable only by the senate, who are to be his own council, whose interest in every instance runs parallel with his own, and who are neither the officers of the people, nor accountable to them.
Is it then become necessary, that a free people should first resign their right of suffrage into other hands besides their own, and then, secondly, that they to whom they resign it should be compelled to choose men, whose persons, characters, manners, or principles they know nothing of? And, after all (excepting some such change as is not likely to happen twice in the same century) to intrust Congress with the final decision at last? Is it necessary, is it rational, that the sacred rights of mankind should thus dwindle down to Electors of electors, and those again electors of other electors? This seems to be degrading them even below the prophetical curse denounced by the good old patriarch, on the offspring of his degenerate son: "servant of servants". . .
Again I would ask (considering how prone mankind are to engross power, and then to abuse it) is it not probable, at least possible, that the president who is to be vested with all this demiomnipotence - who is not chosen by the community; and who consequently, as to them, is irresponsible and independent-that he, I say, by a few artful and dependent emissaries in Congress, may not only perpetuate his own personal administration, but also make it hereditary? By the same means, he may render his suspensive power over the laws as operative and permanent as that of G. the 3d over the acts of the British parliament; and under the modest title of president, may exercise the combined authority of legislation and execution, in a latitude yet unthought of. Upon his being invested with those powers a second or third time, he may acquire such enormous influence-as, added to his uncontrollable power over the army, navy, and militia; together with his private interest in the officers of all these different departments, who are all to be appointed by himself, and so his creatures, in the true political sense of the word; and more especially when added to all this, he has the power of forming treaties and alliances, and calling them to his assistance-that he may, I say, under all these advantages and almost irresistible temptations, on some pretended pique, haughtily and contemptuously, turn our poor lower house (the only shadow of liberty we shall have left) out of doors, and give us law at the bayonet's point. Or, may not the senate, who are nearly in the same situation, with respect to the people, from similar motives and by similar means, erect themselves easily into an oligarchy, towards which they have already attempted so large a stride? To one of which channels, or rather to a confluence of both, we seem to be fast gliding away; and the moment we arrive at it-farewell liberty. . . .
To conclude, I can think of but one source of right to government, or any branch of it-and that is THE PEOPLE. They, and only they, have a right to determine whether they will make laws, or execute them, or do both in a collective body, or by a delegated authority. Delegation is a positive actual investiture. Therefore if any people are subjected to an authority which they have not thus actually chosen-even though they may have tamely submitted to it-yet it is not their legitimate government. They are wholly passive, and as far as they are so, are in a state of slavery. Thank heaven we are not yet arrived at that state. And while we continue to have sense enough to discover and detect, and virtue en(>ugh to detest and oppose every attempt, either of force or fraud, either from without or within, to bring us into it, we never will.
Let us therefore continue united in the cause of rational liberty. Let unity and liberty be our mark as well as our motto. For only such an union can secure our freedom; and division will inevitably destroy it. Thus a mountain of sand may peace meal [sic] be removed by the feeble hands of a child; but if consolidated into a rock, it mocks the united efforts of mankind, and can only fall in a general wreck of nature.
The Mode of Electing the President
From the New York Packet
Friday, March 14, 1788.
Author: Alexander Hamilton
To the People of the State of New York:
THE mode of appointment of the Chief Magistrate of the United States is almost the only part of the system, of any consequence, which has escaped without severe censure, or which has received the slightest mark of approbation from its opponents. The most plausible of these, who has appeared in print, has even deigned to admit that the election of the President is pretty well guarded. I venture somewhat further, and hesitate not to affirm, that if the manner of it be not perfect, it is at least excellent. It unites in an eminent degree all the advantages, the union of which was to be wished for.
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.
It was also peculiarly desirable to afford as little opportunity as possible to tumult and disorder. This evil was not least to be dreaded in the election of a magistrate, who was to have so important an agency in the administration of the government as the President of the United States. But the precautions which have been so happily concerted in the system under consideration, promise an effectual security against this mischief. The choice of SEVERAL, to form an intermediate body of electors, will be much less apt to convulse the community with any extraordinary or violent movements, than the choice of ONE who was himself to be the final object of the public wishes. And as the electors, chosen in each State, are to assemble and vote in the State in which they are chosen, this detached and divided situation will expose them much less to heats and ferments, which might be communicated from them to the people, than if they were all to be convened at one time, in one place.
Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption. These most deadly adversaries of republican government might naturally have been expected to make their approaches from more than one quarter, but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils. How could they better gratify this, than by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the Union? But the convention have guarded against all danger of this sort, with the most provident and judicious attention. They have not made the appointment of the President to depend on any preexisting bodies of men, who might be tampered with beforehand to prostitute their votes; but they have referred it in the first instance to an immediate act of the people of America, to be exerted in the choice of persons for the temporary and sole purpose of making the appointment. And they have excluded from eligibility to this trust, all those who from situation might be suspected of too great devotion to the President in office. No senator, representative, or other person holding a place of trust or profit under the United States, can be of the numbers of the electors. Thus without corrupting the body of the people, the immediate agents in the election will at least enter upon the task free from any sinister bias. Their transient existence, and their detached situation, already taken notice of, afford a satisfactory prospect of their continuing so, to the conclusion of it. The business of corruption, when it is to embrace so considerable a number of men, requires time as well as means. Nor would it be found easy suddenly to embark them, dispersed as they would be over thirteen States, in any combinations founded upon motives, which though they could not properly be denominated corrupt, might yet be of a nature to mislead them from their duty.
Another and no less important desideratum was, that the Executive should be independent for his continuance in office on all but the people themselves. He might otherwise be tempted to sacrifice his duty to his complaisance for those whose favor was necessary to the duration of his official consequence. This advantage will also be secured, by making his re-election to depend on a special body of representatives, deputed by the society for the single purpose of making the important choice.
All these advantages will happily combine in the plan devised by the convention; which is, that the people of each State shall choose a number of persons as electors, equal to the number of senators and representatives of such State in the national government, who shall assemble within the State, and vote for some fit person as President. Their votes, thus given, are to be transmitted to the seat of the national government, and the person who may happen to have a majority of the whole number of votes will be the President. But as a majority of the votes might not always happen to centre in one man, and as it might be unsafe to permit less than a majority to be conclusive, it is provided that, in such a contingency, the House of Representatives shall select out of the candidates who shall have the five highest number of votes, the man who in their opinion may be best qualified for the office.
The process of election affords a moral certainty, that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications. Talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity, may alone suffice to elevate a man to the first honors in a single State; but it will require other talents, and a different kind of merit, to establish him in the esteem and confidence of the whole Union, or of so considerable a portion of it as would be necessary to make him a successful candidate for the distinguished office of President of the United States. It will not be too strong to say, that there will be a constant probability of seeing the station filled by characters pre-eminent for ability and virtue. And this will be thought no inconsiderable recommendation of the Constitution, by those who are able to estimate the share which the executive in every government must necessarily have in its good or ill administration. Though we cannot acquiesce in the political heresy of the poet who says: ``For forms of government let fools contest That which is best administered is best,'' yet we may safely pronounce, that the true test of a good government is its aptitude and tendency to produce a good administration.
The Vice-President is to be chosen in the same manner with the President; with this difference, that the Senate is to do, in respect to the former, what is to be done by the House of Representatives, in respect to the latter.
The appointment of an extraordinary person, as Vice-President, has been objected to as superfluous, if not mischievous. It has been alleged, that it would have been preferable to have authorized the Senate to elect out of their own body an officer answering that description. But two considerations seem to justify the ideas of the convention in this respect. One is, that to secure at all times the possibility of a definite resolution of the body, it is necessary that the President should have only a casting vote. And to take the senator of any State from his seat as senator, to place him in that of President of the Senate, would be to exchange, in regard to the State from which he came, a constant for a contingent vote. The other consideration is, that as the Vice-President may occasionally become a substitute for the President, in the supreme executive magistracy, all the reasons which recommend the mode of election prescribed for the one, apply with great if not with equal force to the manner of appointing the other. It is remarkable that in this, as in most other instances, the objection which is made would lie against the constitution of this State. We have a Lieutenant-Governor, chosen by the people at large, who presides in the Senate, and is the constitutional substitute for the Governor, in casualties similar to those which would authorize the Vice-President to exercise the authorities and discharge the duties of the President.
What else would have gotten people involved in the process?The next election I imagine will have one of the highest turnouts that we have seen since WWII.
It will also be one of the hardest jobs conservative activists will ever have because uninformed ignorant voters who don't even speak or read Engish will be flocking to the polls.
So speculation about whether or not it would be a good thing is completely worthless. It's like saying that if I could just reduce the gravitational constant by 20%, I would be able to slam-dunk a basketball. It's true, but irrelevant.
I, myself, like the Constitution the way it is. I think having an overrepresentation of sparsely populated smaller states is a stabilizing influence on our country and ensures that more traditional rural values have a place in our national debates. But saying so is like saying that I like the fact that the sky is blue. It is what it is.
And the rest of the States would have been irrelevant, proving our point.
And what if between the election and the day the electoral college met that the Pres and V.P. elect were killed? Or it was disclosed that they had sold themselves to our enemy and fooled the electorate? The real people electors are a backup, and I think we need to keep them.
It's worked for 212 years, and we shouldn't discard it lightly. And I still think fraud would be far more prevalent if we didn't have this system.
I am still sure we won the legal popular vote, meaning one vote per eligible voter, minus felons, minus dead people, minus no shows that a Democrat stuffed a ballot for, minus noncitizens, plus armed forces voting that was interfered with.
If you read the fine print of the media recount in Florida, you find that the only blacks disenfranchised were Republican black voters, and that Republicans cast far more ballots that were disqualified than Democrats
because they had "double votes", meaning the partisans grabbed handfuls of ballots and ran a thin rod through the Gore hole. If already a Gore vote, no problem. If a vote for anyone else, like Bush, then it was disqualified. If the ballot had no vote, the voter feeling neither candidate was appealing, then all of a sudden, it becomes a Gore vote.
I have gobs of information on all the fraud in a lot of other states. No, it would be a Democrat free for all fraud fest if we abolished the Electoral College.
Actually it only takes 13 states to block a constitutional ammendment. You were incorrect about a 2/3 majority of the states. Ratification requires approval by 3/4 of the states or 38 out of 50.