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Friday, 04 December, 2020

The Electoral College Works

Date: 01 December, 2004

By: Chief

Imaget never fails. Every time a general election is held and whatever side loses the White House the losing team, if you can call them that, starts howling up a storm that our election process for electing the president and vice president is:

Well after the 2000 general election and the disastrous series of litigation which followed the losing team, the Democrats, were really caterwauling about changing our electoral process for the two executive offices. But nothing ever became of it.

Now after this latest election and King George the Bush got the nod for another four year, all expenses paid, no rent, plus salary and benefits term at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the Democrats are now livid with rage and looking forward to make some huge changes to our voting system.

Do not misunderstand me, I am no fan — at all — of the current monarch. Indeed I have no use for either the Democratic or the Republican party. They are both as crooked as a dog's hind leg as far as I am concerned.

What bothers me is that the Democrats want to get rid of our method of electing a president and vice president. They want to disband the electoral college.

Without doubt the Democratic parties intention is, by Constitutional Amendment, to replace the current electoral college system with a direct vote system. Just like we use for electing congressmen and senators. I have a problem with their intention.

The way it shakes out is something like this — if the Democrats get their way and the college is abolished and replaced by a direct vote system, then, using the 2004 general population as a guide, it would only take ten states to decide who is going to sit in the Oval Office.

Our country's population is approximately 295 million people. The ten states which could decide an election are California, Texas, New York, Flori-duh, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. That is it. Between those 10 states reside over 50 percent of our country's total population. The rest of the union, the other 40 states, need not apply. Those ten could decide it all. And decide what the rest of us have to put up with.

If for no other reason that should be enough to put the Ki-bosh on any thought of a Constitutional Amendment to replace the electoral college with a direct vote system. However, do not hold your breath.

The political animals of both parties want nothing more than power. Pure and simple. With power comes control. With control comes more power. It is a vicious circle where only the political party — currently — in power wins. Hence, who do you think the politicians are going to cater to? A state with a small population such as Wyoming or my state of New Mexico? Or a state with a large population such as any of the 10 mentioned earlier in this story?

The beauty of the electoral college is that while it does not level the playing field it does (a) provide the means for all states to participate and (b) the members of the college are basically free to vote for whomever they believe will do the best job for the country. That is something in-and-of-itself which I am sure produces peptic ulcers to the major players of both main political parties. Independence? They can not stand it.

Representative Zoe Lofgren of California thinks it is outright wrong for densely populated states not to be in the drivers' seats during a general election. She compared the number of electoral votes for Wyoming which is 3 votes to its total population which is around 500,000 and the number of electoral votes for California which is 55 to its total population which is 35 plus million. Her claim is that Wyoming gets 1 elector for every 165,000 people while poor little California gets 1 elector for every 635,000 people. It does look lopsided until you understand how each state gets 'X' number of electors.

The number of electors is based upon the number of total representatives, Congressmen and senators. By federal law that number has been capped at 435 representatives. The number of senators is Constitutionally fixed at 2 per state. Therefore if little ol' Zoe Lofgren feels put out that California just isn't being "fairly" represented within the confines of the college, all she needs to do is introduce a bill which would increase the number of representatives in Congress. But stating that Wyoming has four times the electoral voting power of California sounds better. She is ignorant.

The clincher though is the mere fact that while Wyoming does have 3 electoral votes California, on the other hand, has 55. Thus Lofgren's point is without merit, moot and completely pointless. So typical of a politician.

We the People should have a very careful, lengthly and deliberate debate when someone in a position of power, such as Lofgren, suggests amending our Constitution. In over 200 years the Constitution has been amended only 27 times. Not too bad, if you ask me. Discussing amending the Constitution because of a lost election — emotion — is not just a bad idea it is, to be sure, a terrible one. One which is fraught with danger as well. Not for the political parties or the politicians, but for We the People. It is the citizen who will end up shouldering the burden of an emotionally based amendment. Not some big-wig. They are insulated. They are protected from reality, if you will.

Our system of electing a president and vice president has served us well for over 200 years. For an elected politician to voice a proposed amendment for something that has worked and continues to work — just as designed by the founders leads one to suspect that monkey business is alive and well and living on Capitol Hill.

I submit that we keep the college and toss the politicians.

[Ed. note: This story has been updated.]

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