Saturday, October 27, 2007

No Need To Check

My father-in-law, a lifelong Democrat, asked me today whether I thought the electoral college system should be scrapped. This is an opportunity to demonstrate media manipulation and bias in favor of the Democrats.

I haven’t followed a word of it recently. I remember after the 2000 election Hillary Clinton suggested that the system was outmoded and needed to be scrapped, but I have never run the numbers or read the back-and-forth debate on it. In the abstract, I don’t know where I stand on whether this would be a good thing for the Republic in the long run. In general, I believe changes like this are subject to the Law of Unintended Consequences, and should be held at arms length for quite awhile before acting.

But in the short run, I don’t have to read up on it and run the numbers. If Stuart is bringing it up, then the Boston Globe/Newsweek/Major Network political shows have been carrying it, and they have been carrying it because some Democrat has brought it up and – can you imagine - it benefits the Democrats. That is why it is coming up as an “interesting discussion.” I mean heck, it’s just an intellectual discussion, right? Don’t Republicans want to have an intellectual discussion?

Off the top of my head, the Republicans and Democrats would both be able to put states into play that are currently so strongly for one or the other as to not attract campaigning. Maybe that’s a wash. Abandoning the electoral college would seem to give advantage to areas of denser population, as a candidate could get more exposure and news coverage by stopping in New York than in Anderson, TN. That would be an advantage to Democrats in a national election, I suppose. But as I said, I don’t know. I just know that if it is coming up, it favors the Democrats.

Stuart is not a stupid man by any means. He has an engineering degree from Stevens Institute, and a lifetime of experience as a business owner, father, practicing Catholic, householder, and reader. But that lifetime of trusting the mainstream media as reliable, generally evenhanded sources of news now makes him exploitable by the Democrats. I don’t recall that when conservatives come up with ideas for discussion, such as flat taxes, term limits, or death taxes, they were considered quite such interesting intellectual discussions. If someone wants to show me the Time magazine cover about one of those I’ll retract the statement.

I don’t mind so much when politicians are cynical opportunists. I don’t expect the spirit of Frank Merriwell and Chip Hilton, graciously declining an unfair advantage over a competitor. I do mind when politicians are merely cynical opportunists.

So tell me folks, who brought this idea up, and what major MSM outlet is flogging it?


Anonymous said...

It's news to me, but then usually all I read is our local rag, not the major metro daily (I only take the Sunday edition); oh! and a bunch of blogs--Instapundit, Powerline, Blue Crab Boulevard, Opinion Journal, Maggie's Farm, all of which haven't mentioned it that I've noticed,

So, anyway, I live in Oregon, which with no electoral college would have next-to-zip reason for national candidates to show up--not enough votes to be significant, though of course the Portland area is a maybe.

If the Electoral College is eliminated, then perhaps we should redraw state lines to equalize the populations after each census.

I'm with you, except that I think this idea should be held at arm's length with both hands around it's throat.

Anonymous said...

Since Gore lost the Electoral College vote but won the popular vote in 2000, Democrats have been pushing this. It isn't as if it suddenly appeared after a 6-7 year gap. While the idea may have fallen off the radar screen, it never went away.

The Electoral College definitely favors areas with smaller populations. This was the intent of the framers of the Constitution. Think about reducing the tyranny of the majority.

If the Electoral College is done away with, then there is a vote nationwide. While in 2000, there was demand for a recount in only one state, think what would happen if there were a close election. Think Kennedy-Nixon in 1960, Nixon-Humphrey in 1968, in addition to Gore-Bush in 2000. There would be a demand for a recount not just in one state, but in ALL the states. Think of the mess that would result.

By breaking up the size of the voting unit, the Electoral College helps smooth out the voting process. On the other hand, I can see why some Democrats would be opposed to that.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Gringo, excellent point.

I have learned the source: Hillary Clinton continues to call for it, and The Nation, Mother Jones, and Newsweek's Jonathan Alter have all commented on it.

Just as predicted.

Anonymous said...

As we all know, W lost the popular vote but won the electoral college vote. The last time that happened was in 1960.

The electoral college is A Good Idea. It's part of the Federal design of the government, and means that the states, not the people, elect the president.

On the other hand, some states award electoral college votes by district, rather than by the whole state. A proposal to do this has come up in the People's Soviet of Mexifornia. Of course, the leftists declare the idea DOA; those of other political bents keep picking it up.

Interesting stuff. More at

Woody said...

If the popular vote was all that counted, Bush would have campaigned heavily in California and New York rather than conceding all of those votes to the Democrats and Gore. Also, think of the conservative voters in California who didn't bother going to the polls knowing that there was nothing to be gained by that. We saw some of that in play when the major media announced Florida for Gore an hour before the polls in the Republican panhandle had closed.

The Republicans play and win by the rules, while the Democrats want to change the rules, sometimes after the game is over.

I think it's funny that the Democrats tried to get Colorado to apportion their electoral votes by district (so that they could get the inner city electoral votes), but they opposed the same proposal in California, where they want to take it all. Who would have guessed that they are hyprcrites?

I prefer the electoral college so that the smaller states are represented better--i.e., each one gets two votes representing their Senators and the remaining votes based upon their House representatives. That was a compromise reached in creating the Constitution. Of course, some liberal judge can say "it's not fair" and try to change it.

Remember, it's not the voters who select the President but it is the States.