Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

A word in favor of the electoral college

Posted by Charles II on October 31, 2012

The storm on the East Coast gives one more reason why the Electoral College is a good idea. Very likely many people in that region will be unable to vote due to the storm. That will be especially true in the poorest towns and rural areas. If there were no Electoral College, the Eastern Seaboard would have a lessened influence on the choice of the next president–and that would be wrong. The same would be true if a hurricane slammed Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas just before an election.

But because presidents are elected by the Electoral College and not by popular vote, the influence of the Eastern Seaboard will not be diminished by the storm.

There is at least one other benefit of an Electoral College system. If the popular vote is close, there would be a temptation to stuff the ballot box across the nation–especially where the cheater is strong. But with an Electoral College, that wouldn’t work. Very specific ballot boxes would have to be stuffed… and that would increase the chances of catching the cheater.

There’s no question that the power of the smaller states has to be diminished. The system is so rigged, with gerrymandered House districts and excessive Senatorial power to small states, that the division of power established by the current Electoral College is another slap in the face to the majority of Americans.

The Electoral College: the worst possible system, except for the alternative.

Nate Silver thinks I’m wrong, that the effect on the popular vote margin is likely to be 0.2-0.3%. But that could be the difference between a victory and not, especially since many votes may have to be counted by hand, as one town is reportedly (Maddow) planning to do–meaning those votes could come in late.

Rachel Maddow tore Romney a new one over his pledging not to hold campaign events, then holding a “Storm-Related Event” in which everything was the same as the Romney Victory Rally which was canceled, except where Romney did a photo op collecting canned goods. As Maddow noted, the Red Cross says it does not want people to donate things, they want money:

Some donations, though well-intentioned, have hidden costs and pose many complications.
These include such items as clothing, furniture, toys and canned goods or small, individual donations of items of any sort. The Red Cross can’t accept these unsolicited, spontaneous donations
because: [etc.]

So, if we’re lucky, Romney’s donations will end up at the soup kitchen Paul Ryan invaded for his photo-op. They’re not going to help anyone along the storm-ravaged East Coast, at least not if they’re given to the Red Cross.

The statement does not appear on the main ARC web pages, so it’s not clear to me whether it’s general policy. But it certainly does not make sense to collect bags of soup and blankets when what’s needed is food and shelter for thousands.

5 Responses to “A word in favor of the electoral college”

  1. Wege said

    Good analysis and good insights into the Electoral College, but this isn’t going to be that close. When it comes right down to it, a lot of Christians are going to find it impossible to actually vote for a Mormon, especially one who — no matter which network you watch — is a compulsive liar. Romney’s lies speak directly to the distrust Christians have for Mormons.

    • Charles II said

      It’s going to be close, ‘Wege. While I agree with you that some Christians are going to choke on the idea of voting for a Mormon, the Mormons have done a very good job of selling themselves as a sect of Christians. They do, after all, use the Bible… as a text documenting a failed Savior. They do, after all, acknowledge Jesus as (a) Son of God. Billy Graham says it’s OK (now, not before).

      For low information voters, Mormons are Christians. And you would not believe how low information many Americans are. Yesterday, two people near and dear to me, college educated etc. were telling me that Hurricane Sandy is a sign. I said, How can it be a sign if this pattern of weather has been predicted by scientists for twenty five years? They did not know that global warming = volatile weather.

      • Mark Gisleson said

        The Graham endorsement disappointed me. Billy was a suck up to power, but this strikes me as proof that his racist son Franklin now controls that empire. I think they still have a large operation here in the Twin Cities but mostly I love how they had to scrub their website of the anti-Mormon statements Graham has made.

  2. Phoenix Woman said

    Here’s the relevant passage from ARC’s site: “Unfortunately, due to logistical constraints the Red Cross does not accept or solicit individual donations or collections of items. Items such as collected food, used clothing and shoes must be sorted, cleaned, repackaged and transported which impedes the valuable resources of money, time, and personnel.”

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