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'Electing a President': Exclusive Excerpt From New Electoral College Graphic Novel

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/06/27/electing-president-exclusive-excerpt-new-electoral-college-graphic-novel

Excellent! More actual things we can do to effect change! Thank you.

Based on what I see here, I have zero interest in this book. While it’s fashionable to blame the failings of our democracy on the electoral college, the EC has little to do with what’s wrong with our democracy. Fixing it will leave the system broken and undemocratic.

For example, in 2016, if the EC didn’t exist, we would have gotten Clinton. In 2020, it may make the difference between Biden and Trump. Can you see the problem? “Fixing” the EC simply means we get a different horrible person – whom few want – elected.

The problems occur far before the EC even has a chance to affect the outcome. We have an extra-Constitutional system controlled by two political parties who are unconstrained. They make up the rules. They decide who gets to run. They count the votes. They decide what questions can be asked of their candidates. There is no recourse to their decisions. And none of their power is Constitutionally-derived.

Fixing the EC may give some illusion of greater democracy, but it’s fundamentally meaningless. It leaves our choices fully in the control of the elites. We only get to make a choice between corporate-approved candidates. How, for example, will “fixing” the EC give us better choices?

It’s possible the book goes into some of these matters. If so, good. But I see no evidence of that here.

What matters is how the major parties gained control over the entire electoral process and how their control can be eliminated. (Why, for example, did the League of Women Voters lose control of the debates?) Leaving the parties in control of the electoral apparatus accomplishes nothing of significance.

(Moreover – and I probably shouldn’t say this here, but the EC, while admittedly anti-democratic, can have positive effects. The people of large population states, for example, have little interest in the TPP. It doesn’t directly affect their lives much. But that’s not true of much of the rest of the country. Trump won, and Clinton lost, because he understood that, and she didn’t care. Russia had nothing to do with it. There is a notion of “tyranny of the majority” and the EC partially corrects for it. You can’t just ignore the interests of smaller state voters. As Churchill said, democracy is absolutely the worse form of government – except for every other form that’s been tried. The EC can be regarded, not as a primitive concession to the powerful, but as a corrective for the power of a too-powerful and too easily manipulated – majority. It forces candidates to spend more money and time in “fly-over” country. Eliminating the EC will make it simpler, easier and cheaper to buy elections.)

Because of current state-by-state statewide winner-take-all laws for Electoral College votes, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution . . .

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in 2015 was correct when he said
“The nation as a whole is not going to elect the next president,”
“The presidential election will not be decided by all states, but rather just 12 of them.

Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind.

With the end of the primaries, without the National Popular Vote bill in effect, the political relevance of 70% of all Americans was finished for the presidential election.

In the 2016 general election campaign
Over half (57%) of the campaign events were held in just 4 states (Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio).

Virtually all (94%) of the campaign events were in just 12 states (containing only 30% of the country’s population).

In the 2012 general election campaign

38 states (including 24 of the 27 smallest states) had no campaign events, and minuscule or no spending for TV ads.

More than 99% of presidential campaign attention (ad spending and visits) was invested on voters in just the only ten competitive states.

Two-thirds (176 of 253) of the general-election campaign events, and a similar fraction of campaign expenditures, were in just four states (Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and Iowa).

In the 2008 campaign, candidates concentrated over 2/3rds of their campaign events and ad money in just 6 states, and 98% in just 15 states. Over half (57%) of the events were in just 4 states (OH, FL, PA, and VA).

In 2004, candidates concentrated over 2/3rds of their money and campaign visits in 5 states; over 80% in 9 states; and over 99% of their money in 16 states.

You might have trouble believing this, but a majority of US citizens are not political extremists an a majority of people in the US did, in fact, prefer Hillary Clinton.

You’re right. I don’t believe it. In 2016, 40% of the electorate stayed home. On the 60% that voted, slightly more than half voted for Clinton. So nearly 70% of the electorate either voted against her or didn’t want her enough to vote for her.

You might reply that most of those who stayed home, “preferred her.” But frankly, that means nothing. I’d “prefer” heart failure to kidney failure. (Generally speaking, it’s a cleaner way to die.) That doesn’t mean I want either condition.

Regardless, you come nowhere near touching my point. The two-party system failed the people of our country by nominating inferior candidates.

As an aside, I have no clue what your remark “… are not political extremists” is about.

By the way, I voted for Clinton in 2016. More accurately, I voted against Trump. I certainly didn’t want Clinton as President. So I’m not sure that even the 30% of the electorate that voted for her is a good measure of how many people “wanted” her, even provided they did “prefer” her.

It’s worse in 2020. Biden is worse than Clinton and Trump is worse than we imagined.

Why in the world are you defending this obviously broken system?