Saturday, March 11, 2017

Electoral College

I've been reading articles by the late Gore Vidal as published in Nation magazine.  He remarked that Benjamin Franklin's take on the Constitution (when he said, "you have a republic, if you can keep it" his meaning was he wasn't betting it would last long).  Then, he projected Franklin's take on the Electoral College as a system that would nuture the worst sort of corruption.

And so it is today.  I'm among those who recognize that it's somewhat pointless to bemoan the Electoral College because the same anti-majoritarian number work against ammending the constitution.  Combine that with political polarization, and it looks pretty hopeless.

But perhaps I should reaffirm that the case should always be made.  What's wrong with one person one vote across the entire country?  Is that really the most representative of The People's choice for the President?  Isn't that what a democratic republic should be like?  Why must we stick with a system whose origin was strongly anti-democratic: the preservation of slavery and the preservation of elite rule?

At some point, if and when the cross-state political polarization has declined somewhat, now possibly if Trump brings the country back to some sort of common ground, for starters what a horrible President Trump was.  When we get to that point, if we get to that point, and suppose the GOP is way flushed out of congress and the excutive, then perhaps we might be able to positive ammend the constitution on this point.

A few more thoughts on the Electoral College.  Beyond the wierdness of the weighting of the importance of votes being heavily skewed toward smallest states, and of the importance of small margins of vote percentages in large states, and more, the Electoral College also negates the effect of statewide turnout.  Having everyone turnout in a particular state essentially makes no difference, the state gets the same number of Electoral College votes either way.

The effect of this is to give a license for statewide voter suppression of minorities.  If you can ensure only that only particular elites are able to vote, you get the elite vote.  In this case, the political elite who mostly controls state governments, the GOP.

How long it will take for all this to crumble and fade, with the collapse and abandonment of the GOP, is uncertain.  And by that, I mean human society might collapse first from the effects of global heating or nuclear war before that.  The GOP has their hands on the machinery of power, with at least one widespread and well organized group--evangelical christians--on their side.  And sufficient control of the machinery of opinion--Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, to keep it running on fumes for quite awhile.  Here's hope that people in the future remember that when I was first trying to get a job, in 1979, it was surprisingly easy to start on a wonderful career which has been good to me ever since.  That was what it was like before the Reagan Revolution.  My mother born in 1915 made major moves from city to city just on whim every 14 years, never worried about finding a new job in a new city.  That's what it should be like.

No comments:

Post a Comment