Blog: It's Time for the Electoral College to Matriculate

The Electoral College has long outlived it usefulness.

I find it absolutely delicious to think that there is a real possibility that President Obama will continue his Presidency by not winning the popular vote but winning the Electoral College. Take that you neo cons and conservatives who championed it when George W. Bush won the same way. At the time I thought it stunk to think that the Electoral College decided an election that was clearly won by the other candidate. History would have been so different. Our reaction to 9/11 would have been so different. The economic meltdown would have been so not there and…

Yeah you can’t go there because that’s not what happened but what happened is as bad as any disaster film could have made it.  So the Dems know how it feels. Now quite possibly the GOP will get that same feeling. Only they won’t be able to stand it! They will blow up the Electoral College so fast and with fierce ferocity. No way no how is this outrage ever going to happen again!! The President will be elected by all the people in the all the states all the time forever!  

GOOD!!! That’s what I’ve wanted my whole adult life. It wasn’t really until President W. Bush that it became so apparent that you could elect a President without all of the people of the country ultimately deciding the outcome. Karl Rove played this like a master especially in 2004. Ohio elected the President that year specifically southwest Ohio and its known population of homophobes. He manipulated their fears and did so pretty much at the very last moment to secure the election for his boss or more so probably for himself and his own satisfaction. I know it had to be one of those because he didn’t do it for the good of the country. We got four more years of W and the nation nearly self-destructed.  

But this time if it happens and if it is President Obama who wins it will be because Rove has been outfoxed at his own game. I still believe that Obama will win outright but I won’t be surprised if he doesn’t. Now the GOP will see that two can play that game and they will take their chances at a general election I’m sure. 

Without an electoral college who ever does become President I posit will be a better President. First of all, every four years any persons who would want to seek the highest office would have to at least make the attempt to reach ALL of the people in EVERY state. That would be good for all of those seeking the Presidency and for all of us. They would see the enormity of their job and how profound it is being the leader of this free and spectacular nation. Maybe some of them would stay at home and nurse their global bank accounts.

With the Electoral College and because of now how the game is played, just a few states get the candidates’ time and effort and that’s just plain wrong. Candidates should at least feel compelled to visit Alaska, Hawaii and every state and territory in between and beyond.  Imagine if some candidate would try to do that. Make a big deal that they will visit every state and territory. Meet all of America. If some candidate did that it would have a lasting and positive effect on them. It might make all the candidate try to do it. Then the candidates would be truly exposed to the compound diversity of not just our people but the range of the environs as they traveled from state to state. 

Joyce and I have lived in several parts of our country and we have driven across the entire nation from coast to coast. I have driven out from Indianapolis during the summer and the winter. As you’re doing that and you don’t see all the differences in the topography and various climates of our nation your car will let you know the disparity.  My one trip I didn’t think that I would make it out here with all the car trouble I kept having. That poor little Escort wasn’t accustomed to mountains and the temperature extremes that you meet as you travel across each state. 

There has never been a nation like this. If candidates were forced to deal with the totality of the nation’s profound diversity it would follow that the person who becomes President would be a much more informed President about the electorate that she or he would serve. A President would know by their own witness that we are profoundly diverse and would want to constantly remind us of what we have in common. That common conviction became very clear to those who fought and lived through World War II. The President would that have an overarching understanding that maintaining and preserving the one thing he swears allegiance to the US Constitution. Corny? As corny as a Disney cartoon from the thirties but oh so true and so powerful a constant sense that men have given their lives again and again to maintain it. That belief that holds us together also allows us to also maintain our great multiplicity. The Electoral College plays favorites. A popular election would be inclusive and would affirm that most revered connection that holds us together. Liberty for all. Somehow. 

With the candidates traveling all over and seeing the uniqueness of the nation it might spark national tourism.  Traveling to another state can be a radically different experience for you. It is often like visiting another nation except here you can travel from state to state and you don’t need special papers (unless perhaps going through Arizona). While the scenery keeps changing often so do the people and with them another layer of diversity that can make the mind whirl as to how each state and region have learned to cope with their weather and resources or lack of them or abundance of them. See the Alaska episode of Modern Marvels on H2.

That’s what every President should know and as long as we have an electoral college they will never have to know everyone’s circumstance. They will never have to find a reason for us all to work together. They will never have to find a common thread. They will never know what it means to be truly free everywhere unless they see it for themselves. My greatest hope is that regardless of who wins or the manner of how they win, we will free ourselves of this narrower of our liberty called the Electoral College and release the populace to decide its own fate every four years. Everybody everywhere should have an equal say.

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Tom Griffith October 25, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Marie, there is talk of eliminating the Electoral College after every national election, and has been (to my observation) since the first election in which I could vote after I turned 21, in 1968. Politicians will occasionally pay lip service to supporting the idea of its elimination, but then say how hard it is to amend the Constitution, etc., so it doesn't happen. The real reason it continues to exist is that it allows political parties and candidates to save money by focusing it on states where there is a serious chance of a close popular vote. For example, we won't see much of President Obama or Mitt Romney in California, because they and their campaigns both know that this state is so heavily Democratic that a Republican candidate for President has no hope of winning the Electoral College votes from California. And, the Democrats know that they have California's Electoral College votes wrapped up. It's a lot more economically efficient to keep the Electoral College than to do away it. It's that simple---it may not be moral, but it is reality. Tom Griffith
Marie Fairman October 26, 2012 at 04:33 AM
Thank you so much for comment Tom. I would agree with you except for this scenario. The GOP have been obsessively focused in trying to discredit the President with birther, education passes, he's a non-American comment after comment that will assure that President Obama a one-term President. The use of the Electoral College again with a vigorous effort to suppress the vote where appropriate and making it harder to actually vote is all part of this disgusting plan. If it doesn't work they will blow up the EC. Why?Because after two elections where the EC was their sure ally the Dems can play the game as well and the President's lead in Ohio proves just that as well with several other battleground states. If Romney wins I would agree that noting will change but the EC with get a hard look by both parites. But they are already running an irrational and untruthful campaign and if doesn't work and the President wins by means of the EC the GOP will go ballistic and the target they acquire will be this antiquated and completely immoral Electoral College. Not because its the right thing to do but because it didn't work. Their irrational hatred of this man will have a moral outcome that is good. Besides four more years of our President the EC will be toast. I am counting on it. I agree with everything you say. Especially about the tens of states, not just California, that are virtually ignored by every candidate and party. I make that statement in the blog. Thanks again.
David Whittaker October 26, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Yet Tom's point is inescapable: the economics of a national campaign - TV ad time being enormously costly, even at the discounts that campaigns get - seem to rule out much hope of national candidates ever being able to connect nationally on a meaningful level. I just can't imagine how that could be possible today. At the beginning of any discussions about the value - or not - of preserving the Electoral College, we at least should be making sure we all understand WHY it was created and what is intended to accomplish. Here's Joshua Spivak's (Sr. Fellow at Hugh Carey Institute for Gov't Reform at Wagner College) take on it: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-spivak-electoral-college-20121025,0,3633209.story
Marie Fairman October 27, 2012 at 12:22 AM
Further I believe more than I ever have that we are going to be able to connect with each other in ways we can't imagine yet. Social Media is in its infancy. Connecting with the whole nation will not be impossible nor will it be impossible for any of us to connect with them. A President like Obama will allow that virtual world to be created. The GOP would not.


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