Thursday, October 28, 2004

Electoral College Should be Disbanded - Disenfranchised voters in non-"battleground" states

I agree with my father on this point. He sent along a nice, no reply to email message with the following commentary.

"On the Election - 28Oct04 Rove's rule: when you're explaining, you're losing. Which is why Karl Rove likes attack ads. ''The political candidate who jumps to conclusions without having the facts is not a person you want as commander in chief.'' - GWB, on the campaign trail 27Oct04. GWB was speaking to Kerry's attack that GWB should have secured 380 tons of now-missing high explosives in Iraq, when Kerry' spokesman admit that it is unknown *when* the explosives disappeared. GWB also said that Kerry was denigrating the performance of the troops (by putting forward the idea that the explosives should have been secured). Kerry said that GWB was hiding behind the troops rather than leading them, 'He (GWB) didn't do his job.' GWB's statement was live on each of several newscasts last night, and during NewsHour an on-screen reader printed the quote-text for those who may otherwise have missed it. (PBS has to be Republican enemy #1.) They also carried Kerry's reply. Like the carrier landing, ''Mission Accomplished,'' (which had Michael Dukakis, tank commander, written all over it) someone on the political side of the Bush campaign should have known not to argue the presence or absence of facts. GWB didn't have the facts on WMDs. This is the same mistake made in Cheney's attacks, that a Kerry victory would make the country less safe from terrorist attack (proposing the terrorist WMD scenario). 911 occurred on the Bush/Cheney watch. ''We're horrible, but the other guys might be worse.'' If GWB loses, I'm not sure that he will, I think that the major mistake the Repubican team made was to restrict the President to appearances before cheerleaders. They didn't have to do that. GWB is better than that, and even if he wasn't good at first he would have gotten better over time. He didn't need that kind of ''help.'' Whatever it did for GWB's ego and confidence, it made him appear like he wasn't up to the challenge, that he was weak. Kerry continually scored points off this. The Republicans seemed not to notice. They never changed their audience vetting tactic. If Kerry loses, I'm not sure that he will, I think it will because he failed to capitalize on Republican gaffes. ''A President who is afraid to face a critical audience, This is the leader who is going to win the war on terror?'' He could have forced the President on the defensive sooner. See: Rove's rule. -- On presidential voting reform Eliminate the electoral college and go with the popular vote. Because there are only a handful of states in play in the electoral college, it disenfranchises major portions of the electorate. No presidential candidate cares what a voter in a ''safe'' Republican or Democratic state thinks. Their votes don't count. If candidates were elected by popular vote, then candidates would campaign (or send surrogates) to turn out the vote in states currently considered ''safe.'' No voter could afford to be neglected. Since a candidate can't pander to every voter's whim, they would have to run on platforms that appealed to the majority of voters. A candidate, because he had to run everwhere, couldn't run on corn-to-alcohol in Nebraska and lower gasoline prices in New England. [If the fact checkers were doing their job. It takes more oil to produce corn than the alcohol returns in fuel, 2 gallons of alcohol equal one gallon of gas, alcohol has half the BTU content. Since only Nebraska is in play in the electoral college race, New England's objection to gasahol gets no consideration, New England is mostly Democratic in presidental politics.] Now, because of the electoral college, a ''safe'' state's candidate getting 100% of that state's vote counts for no more than the same candidate getting 50.01% of the vote. That missmatch disenfranchises 49.99% of the voters in that state. Once the tipping point for their candidate is reached they have no more support to give. Over 50.01%? sorry, your vote has no ability to elect your candidate. The argument can be made that where candidates run, turnout increases. And forcing candidates to run everywhere could produce candidates more in the mainstream of voter opinion. But the real reason that the electoral college should be eliminated is that direct voting makes all voters equal."

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