How are we feeling about the Electoral College?

Back on my post about recent polls, I agreed with Phillip that what matters is NOT these national popular-vote numbers we’re seeing, but how the candidates are stacking up in the battleground states. Then, I asked:

Taking that to another level — while Phillip and I agree that the state-by-state is what matters, can we agree that the state-by-state is what SHOULD matter?

That one was a tough question to get folks to agree on in November 2000, but right now, when we don’t know how this one is going to come out, how are we feeling about that old Electoral College?

So how about it. Without knowing yet how the popular vote comes out — and it could go either way at this point — how do YOU feel about the Electoral College? Good? Bad? Indifferent?

Personally, I think it’s a fine thing. It forces a candidate to have appeal across the country, rather than just in a few population centers. At least, it’s fine in the abstract.

17 thoughts on “How are we feeling about the Electoral College?

  1. Lee Muller

    I like the Electoral College.
    I also prefer having US Senators elected by the state legislatures, to stop foreign-funded populists like Obama.
    I also would like to see a return to Congressional districts by common constituencies, not by racial and party gerrymandering.
    Most of all, I we need honest elections that stop the illegal voting by Democrats which I have observed as a poll worker.

  2. bud

    The electoral college was the biggest remaining mistake the founding fathers made. Perhaps it made some sense in 1800 but it’s a complete anachronism now. It will only be seriously challenged when the GOP losses an election the way Gore did in 2000. Until then we’re stuck with it.
    Actually Brad, you have it exactly backwards. The EC means the candidates do NOT have to have appeal “all across the country” They will only have to campaign in key areas of about 13-15 states. The others are already decided and candidates don’t waste time there. SC is one of those states. We won’t see Obama, Biden, McSame or Palin at all this fall thanks to the electorial college.

  3. WWB

    Mr. Muller,
    You have got to be one frustrated person. None of what you would like is going to happen and you know it.
    As for as honest elections are concerned, if you were a poll worker and you saw someone voting illegally, why didn’t you challenge their ballot rather than just complain about it? In fact if you were a poll worker and failed to challenge a ballot you knew was fraudulent, you failed to do your job.
    Finally, where do you get this bull about foreign money supporting US Senatorial candidates? What is your evidence?
    Go Obama!!!

  4. WWB

    I am not an expert at reading polling information, but it does appear that Obama is leading in the Electoral College, that is, if the election were held today.

  5. Norm Ivey

    Maine and Nebraska allow their Electoral College electors to split their vote. Two votes go to the popular vote winner. The rest go to the winner of each Congressional District. Their systems preserve the protections of the Electoral College and still allows the minority vote to have a say. Neither state has ever actually split their vote, but they could.

  6. Tim

    I think the Electoral College is outdated, and despite the fact that it is based on the size of a state’s congressional representation, it tends to devalue the votes of some Americans at the expense of others. It’s not just small states that are ignored either. New York and California are virtually ignored by both parties because they are solidly Democratic, just as South Carolina is ignored because we are blood red. So just as people argue that states like Iowa, New Hampshire and, yes, South Carolina hold inordinate influence over the nomination process, the general election is too often “decided” by Ohio and a couple thousand old people and functional illiterates in Florida.
    If we feel some need to keep some great distance between the great unwashed popular vote and the White House, why not change the electoral college so that votes are awarded by congressional district? There’s no constitutional bar to such a system since a couple of states already have bucked the winner take all model.
    I’ve done no research or deep thinking on this issue, and it may be entirely unworkable because of the gerrymandering that has become only worse and easier in recent years. But it would seem to put a little more of the map and a few more voters in play, no?

  7. Brad Warthen

    bud, my point was that the EC at least requires that you win a few states. As things stand now, a candidate could lose 49-51 almost everywhere in the country, then win on the basis of a moderately stronger showing in California, New York and Florida — theoretically, at least. The EC requires broader electoral a than appeal than that.

  8. Randy E

    EC, government of the people by the people?
    The national polls mean squat. In 2004 the Yankees outscored the Red Sox 38 to 29 after 6 games yet the series was tied. The Sox won despite being outscored 42-38.
    If Obama slips by in Pennsylvania and Ohio, it’s over.

  9. Robert

    The only problem I have with the Electoral College is that at present it allows the Democrats and Republicans a duopoly as there is no serious challenger yet. Although I’m voting for Barr, I believe we’ll need another war or depression before the American people wake up and get rid of these 2 leeches.
    BTW Bud, one could argue that the votes Perot received in ’92 came mostly from 41, therefore it could be argued that the GOP has had its own recent issues with it. Turnabout is fair play, I suppose.
    Also, I absolutely agree with Lee that repealing the 17th Amendment (which required direct elections for U.S. Senators) would be a healthy move for our republic.

  10. bud

    Brad, your logic is absurd. Apparently what you’re saying is some people, by virtue of where they live, are more valuable than other people. That’s not democracy that’s a form of tyranny. Why shouldn’t everyone’s vote count the same regardless of where they live?
    Let’s take the extreme example to illustrate how dangerous this system is. It is theoretically possible for a person to be elected by winning just 12 votes, even if the other candidate wins 100 million. If just one person votes in CA, TX, NY, FL, PA, OH, MI, IL, NC, GA, NJ and MA that would give that candidate an electoral college majority. (The voter turnout has no bearing on the number of electoral votes a candidate recieves only the population based on the latest census). And in all the other states huge turnouts went unanimously for his opponent.
    This is the extreme example but in at least 3 elections the candidate with the most votes failed to become president.
    This system isn’t democracy or a republic in any meaningful sense it’s a crap shoot. Since Brad opposes video poker he should be able to clearly see how the people’s choice is not honored using this outdated system.

  11. martin

    dump the EC, dump bicameral govt. dump the presidency. We desperately need a parliament system. The Greens and Libertarians and anybody else could be represented and have to/be able to work with the Republicans and Democrats to come up with consensus and maybe just get along for the sake of the country, at least a little better than what we have been doing since the Contract ON America. Which pretty much did just that.

  12. Randy E

    bud, here’s something I saw in South Carolina’s alternative universe, Connecticut. Hanging on a bridge over I-84 was a sign that read “Impeach Bush-Cheney. COME ON! Nixon did worse.” The votes there don’t count either – McCain won’t even fly over the state the next two months…except maybe to see his war monger buddy, Lie-berman.

  13. p.m.

    Right, martin. With a parliament, we could catch up to Britain and eat lots of kidney pie. Should we devote big bucks to a useless monarchy, too?
    Here’s hoping the Electoral College moves up in the polls and gets a good bowl game. The EC has protected us from the madding horde for two centuries. May it continue unencumbered.

  14. Lee Muller

    Even the NY Times has reported the fact that Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, and Momar Kadaffi are supporting Obama. That’s like Hitler supporting a candidate in 1944.
    Obama, with an undistinguished record at Columbia U, worked a $15,000 a year community organizer, funded by a foundation financed by Nigeria and Muslims. That’s a fact. The records are public and I have examined some.
    Obama then got in Harvard Law School and went there without any money or student loans. How? Radical lawyer Percy Sutton says he arranged admission, and Kahlid Monsour, a Black Muslim with ties to Saudi Arabia, provided the money.

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