Thursday, November 11, 2004

More on the Electoral College

I got a very interesting comment on my last post about abolishing the EC. While I'm always happy to have comments, especially dissent, I have to say that his logic seems very... illogical. The gist of what he says is that it isn't antiquated because the Founders were smart when they set it up. Of course, that discounts the already mentioned 12th Amendment when they realized they hadn't thought it through all the way. In 1800, Aaron Burr was almost our third president because it was the first time a presidential candidate, Jefferson, had run on a party platform with a running mate. Burr and Jefferson got the same number of votes in the EC and it had to be sent to the House to decide. Many of Burr's political allies were encouraging him to lobby Congressmen to swing the election his way. Jefferson ended up with the nod only because Alexander Hamilton, their chief Federalist rival, urged Jefferson's election. Aaron Burr shot Hamilton not long after that. My commenter also seems to think I hate the electoral college because it gives too much representation to the small states. Actually, I think the EC is stupid because it gives too much importance to states that can't get their act together like Florida and Ohio. Since the largest states are pretty much already spoken for (California, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania are blue, Texas and Georgia are red) the election will always come down to a handful of swing states. That gives their votes more weight, which obviously contradicts the one man, one vote edict that we are supposed to cherish in our democracy. If we can count the votes for American Idol in one night, we should be able to elect a president using a popular vote system. Having said all of this, I have to admit that we don't actually live in a democracy. We live in a Republic. We don't live by the rule of the people, we elect people to rule us. So I'm not going to get all idealistic about this. I know full well that a Republican Congress is not going to amend the constitution to abolish the EC. But, I still would like to go on the record to say I don't like the EC, and that's exactly why my fuck the south electoral strategy would actually work. Political parties can ignore whole sections of the country and still get elected. That doesn't make you president of the United States, it makes you president of the South and Midwest. Also, I would like to point out that until people raised a big stink and amended the Constitution in the 20th Century, we didn't actually elect senators and the people in Washington D.C. didn't get to vote for the president. As foresightful as the Founders were, they didn't think of every thing, which is why we've amended our Constitution 27 times. If we find something is not working we should fix it.

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