Saturday, October 30, 2004

An argument for the Electoral College (And assorted nonsense)

Yes, you read that right.

I figured the electoral college has a fair chance of becoming the national pariah again in a few days, so here's an argument for it:

Many people have made the claim that the Electoral college "prevents the small states from becoming disenfranchised by the large states". Poppycock! It does no such thing. Maybe at one time it did, but no longer.

However, an updated version that's actually relevant to the world we live in would go like this: in America, the majority of the population is concentrated into metropolitan areas. States might not be disenfranchised by a non-electoral college, but rural areas would be.

Now, why should a person in a rural area have their vote "count" more than one in an urban area?

They shouldn't. The problem is the winner-take-all system. A candidate who can run solely on "urban" issues at the expense of "rural" issues might, in theory, get elected. Of course, this sort of pandering happens anyway...

The "winner take all" system also, in fact, means that certain states become irrelevant (in contravention to the argument put forth in defense of the electoral college above) and that votes in "big states" actually "count" more under certain circumstances than votes in "small states".

For example, one person's vote in California could- in theory- swing 110 electoral votes. In other words, about 2/5ths the total number of electoral votes required to get elected President of the United States. One voter in Wyoming, in contrast, is only going to swing 6 votes. Of course, without proportional representation that means the small states go back to "counting more" once again.

As far as states being irrelevant: the only thing that matters for a state is whether it is safe to say the state will vote one way or another consistently or whether it will not do so. The ones that do not do so are given massively disproportionate attention in the campaigns while the others are virtually ignored. Simply compare the amount of time spent in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Ohio, and Florida with the amount of time spent in California, New York, Texas, Wyoming, and North Dakota.

(Edit: Some random additional throw-ins)

Commentary on the news corpse and their utter refusal to point out that the administration is grasping for straws. Photographic evidence the explosives were around for a while is "evenly balanced" by some guy saying "I think we took that stuff off and stashed it somewhere... dunno really, but it's entirely possible we might have done that. But maybe we didn't."

The Daily Howler has some meta-commentary.

Also: Don't forget targetting of minorities with voter suppression! (Assuming that's a legit flyer, of course)

Finally, Wonkette delievers the goods on Osama Bin Laden. It seems we should be referring to ourselves in third person here. And making penis jokes.

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