Thursday, October 28, 2004

In Support of the Electoral College 

In light of the "popular vote vs. electoral college" vote discussions that have been rampant for the past four years, I wanted to clearly come out in support of teh electoral college. First, since the Seventeenth Ammendment to the Constitution empowered the electorate with direct vote for Senators, this is one of the few remaining vestiges of States' representation in the Federal government remaining in the Constitution. The vast majority of complaints of unfunded Federal mandates on the States can be laid at the foot of this Ammendment, since both houses of Congress answer to the gimme-gimme electorate and noone answers to the States' interests. Second, direct election of the President places too much power into a few high-density population areas. To demonstrate, let's look at the 14 most populous urban areas (NYC, LA, Chicago, DC, San Francisco, Boston, Detroit, Houston, Atlanta, Miami, Seattle, Minneapolis, Cleveland and San Diego). Together they represent 97.6M Americans, or roughly 2/3 of the US population. What this means is if a politicial can appeal to just these 14 places sufficiently to pull in 60% of teh vote he only needs to gather 45% of the 183.8M votes in the rest of the country to top the 50% mark. If he panders a little harder to these 14 cities, say maybe to the tune of 65%, it cuts his required base in the rest of the country to only 42%. Some states already experience this on a smaller scale. For example, look at the 2000 results by county for Illinois and you'll find that Bush carried almost every district except in the Chicago area. In California, LA and San Fran largely rule the State's EV (with a little opposition from more conservative San Diego). But that's OK, because it is at the State level. Direct vote for President would be just one more move away from a true Republic of united States to a large-scale Democracy with the States having no more role and significance than a county.

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