Sunday, August 29, 2004

Stupid, Stupid Editorial

I wouldn't have believed that the NYT could sink to such depths had I not read this piece of idiocy with my own eyes: abolish the Electoral College? Do the fools on the Times' editorial staff not know what the term "federalism" means? Is the "States" in "United States" a foreign word to them? Has any of them ever read the Federalist Papers?

When Republican delegates nominate their presidential candidate this week, they will be doing it in a city where residents who support George Bush have, for all practical purposes, already been disenfranchised. Barring a tsunami of a sweep, heavily Democratic New York will send its electoral votes to John Kerry and both parties have already written New York off as a surefire blue state. The Electoral College makes Republicans in New York, and Democrats in Utah, superfluous. It also makes members of the majority party in those states feel less than crucial. It's hard to tell New York City children that every vote is equally important - it's winner take all here, and whether Senator Kerry beats the president by one New York vote or one million, he will still walk away with all 31 of the state's electoral votes.

The Electoral College got a brief spate of attention in 2000, when George Bush became president even though he lost the popular vote to Al Gore by more than 500,000 votes. Many people realized then for the first time that we have a system in which the president is chosen not by the voters themselves, but by 538 electors. It's a ridiculous setup, which thwarts the will of the majority, distorts presidential campaigning and has the potential to produce a true constitutional crisis. There should be a bipartisan movement for direct election of the president.

The main problem with the Electoral College is that it builds into every election the possibility, which has been a reality three times since the Civil War, that the president will be a candidate who lost the popular vote. This shocks people in other nations who have been taught to look upon the United States as the world's oldest democracy. The Electoral College also heavily favors small states. The fact that every one gets three automatic electors - one for each senator and a House member - means states that by population might be entitled to only one or two electoral votes wind up with three, four or five.

The majority does not rule and every vote is not equal - those are reasons enough for scrapping the system.
What a moronic comment: of course the majority does not rule in America. The United States is a republic, not an Athenian democracy, and long may it remain so. Just because the Electoral College means that Kerry can't swan his way to victory by catering to the coastal populations alone doesn't mean that it ought to be abolished, and how does it help to "make every vote count" by essentially nullifying the electoral weight of the less populous states?

This ridiculous, shameless partisan puff-piece of an editorial only goes to show how uncommitted so many on the left have become to the principles on which America is founded, in their eagerness to win political power at all costs. Disgusting.