A vehicle for venting on philosophy, religion, and the general state of things. Proprietor: C. W. Powell

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

I Am Thankful for the Electoral College

This election and the last one show the wisdom of our nations fathers and founders, especially in the invention of the electoral college.   There is more polarization between the large populations states and the small states than there has been in recent memory.  Kerry's lead in states like New York and California is huge, while Bush seems secure in such states as Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, and Tennessee.

Why not just count the votes and award the election to the one who gets the most votes?  Because this gives an overwhelming advantage to the large populations states.  Suppose 10 million people vote in New York, and Kerry wins by, say, 6 million to 4 million.  He wins by 2 million votes.  In Colorado Bush wins by 350,000 to 200,000, a margin of 150,000.  Likewise Bush wins by 15,000 in Wyoming, 180,000 in Nebraska, and 250,000 in Tennesee.  The 2,000,000 Kerry margin in New York overwhelms the Bush margin of 595,000 in the four other states.

I saw four Kerry ads on TV last night in a space of about 20 minutes.  Do you think that Colorado would ever see ads for the candidates, let alone see the candidates themselves, if the election would be decided simply by the popular vote?  No way.

Kerry would be ahead 1, 405,000 votes in these five states, but only lead in electoral votes 31-28.  There is no question that the power of the Democratic Party is in the populous states of the Industrial midwest and the East and West coasts.   If the presidential election were to be decided by popular votes, it would only pay to campaign in about 10-15 of the largest states, and ignore the rest of the country.  There would be a huge shift of power to the Democratic party.

The electoral college was designed to safeguard federalism, rather than the rule of the mob.  The college was greatly weakened when the election of senators was removed from the state legislators and placed in popular votes statewide, but it still admirably fulfills its designed function: that every state, large and small, be represented in some way in the presidency.  Every state gets to be heard.  It is a good thing.


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