Archive for June 11th, 2008

The Captain Stages A College Protest

Monday nite Barack Obama was down the street from my home at a private event at the Renaissance, and he spent Tuesday morning pretending to be a nurse at the hospital closest to me.  The purpose of his Monday nite visit was fundraising, and the purpose of the hospital stop was to show his concern with working Americans.  However, both events point to a much larger purpose.  The Democrats have decided to make winning in Missouri a priority.

This was not the case during the last election cycle.  Despite the fact that Missouri has the best track record over the last 100 years for picking Presidents, the Democrats effectively ended their Missouri campaign in September 2004, two months before the election.  Predictably, Missouri went solidly Republican that year.

Despite my love for Missouri, I still have a hard time believing that the state plays such a critical role in selecting the President.  Less than 2% of the population in America lives in the Show-Me State, yet we will probably end up seeing more Presidential television adds per capita than California, Texas, and New York combined.

Thanks to the Electoral College, only a small portion of our nation is currently able to select the President.  While the Electoral College system has always been flawed, it never seemed like a big deal until 2000.  The last two Presidential elections were decided by a very narrow margin, and this looks to be the case again in 2008.  Now more than ever it seems ridiculous to me that we use a winner take all approach to voting for President.  Using the winner take all approach has virtually assured that conservatives in California and New York and liberals in Texas will never be able to select a President.

This approach has also led to one of the most dreadful creations in modern politics:  The Electoral Map.  These maps have allowed the news media to summarize entire portions of America by assigning them a color.  Texas is red.  California is blue.  These are now treated as facts.

Yesterday CNN released the first of many Electoral College Maps to come.

According to the map, only twelve states will decide the outcome of the election this year.  And according to CNN, the race looks neck and neck, with only five months to go!  While this is ridiculous, it’s not quite as ridiculous as the map created by Fox News in May

With only six months to go, McCain is in the lead!

The primary process really highlighted the flaws of the winner take all system.  The Democratic primaries assigned delegates based on popular vote, which was the main reason Obama was eventually able to win the nomination.  Barack minimized his losses in states won by Clinton, and maximized his gains in the States that he carried.  Hilary’s plans largely revolved around winning as many states as possible on Super Tuesday, basically a winner take all strategy.  It did not work.

The Electoral College system is allowing McCain and Obama to ignore large portions of the country this election and focus on a handful of states:  Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Missouri, and a few others.  Besides begin grossly unfair to several states, this seems like an archaic way to select our national leader.

Depending on the outcome of this election, I think 2009 maybe a prime opportunity to start a realistic conversation about amending the Constitution.  Replacing the Electoral College with a popular vote for President seems like something a majority of American could get behind, if for no other reason than to get rid of Red and Blue Electoral Map.


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