An Election, Apparently!

I am in Colorado, and–judging by my experience watching the morning news while exercising in my hotel’s workout room–there is going to be a presidential election!

At least half the ads were bashing Obama or bashing Romney. In California, where I live, we don’t have any ads for the election. That’s because our outmoded electoral college system restricts the election to those half a dozen states that are up for grabs. Since California is solidly for Obama, there is no election campaign here. And no ads.

Don’t get me wrong, I could do without the ads. Of the eight or ten different ads I saw, none contained information worth the price of a walnut. (Some were quite obviously misleading.)

I can do without the ads, but I wouldn’t mind a campaign. Or more to the point, I wouldn’t mind a sense that my vote was actually worth something to the candidates. That they were vying for my affections, rather than simply wooing Coloradans and Ohioans and Michiganders and Virginians.

Is there any reason to keep the electoral college? I know the argument that it keeps the small states significant. But really, it doesn’t. What it does is disenfranchise over half the country. It’s gone from an antiquated and useless system to one that is actually undermining our democracy.

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5 Responses to “An Election, Apparently!”

  1. Clay Knick Says:

    I’ll trade you the commercials. Here in VA we see the same one over & over again in 15 minutes and all of them are dumb. Both parties think we are stupid. What a mess. The whole process stinks to high heaven. Neither party has any good ideas it seems to me and both candidates are about as boring as you can get.
    I wish I felt otherwise, I really do.

  2. James Says:

    I’m surprised that after watching these commercials, you’d point to the Electoral College as undermining our democracy. No — it’s the ads!

  3. naperville man Says:

    1. don’t blame the fact that California is not contested on the Electoral College. It’s not contested because it has far more liberals than conservatives, very few of either decide where to live on the basis of their Electoral College impact.
    2. if you want California to be contested, you’ll have to change California culture so that it will attract and produce more conservatives…but…
    3. count your blessings: in both 2000 and 2004 the presidential elections could have been changed by as few as ONE STATE voting for the other guy.
    4. the electoral college is not about small state/big state. It’s about urban v. rural worldviews. get rid of it and the urban centers have all the power. Goodbye san joaquin values. America becomes Detroit once we lose the Electoral College.

    • timstafford Says:

      Your argument seems entirely specious to me. The states in play are not particularly rural–Ohio? Florida? I can’t see a single reason to retain the Electoral College.

      • naperville man Says:

        Oh my….
        You are quite right, neither Florida nor Ohio can be considered truly rural states. I skipped a few steps, so allow me to explain.
        The only reason Ohio and Florida are important now is because almost all of the rural states are firmly Republican, thus making this election potentially close. The states where the urban-worldview holds sway are firmly Democratic. The battleground states are all interesting mixes of these two worldviews.
        If you get rid of the electoral college, none of the rural base is important anymore and this years small-population battleground states like Nevada, Iowa, Colorado and New Hampshire will be forever unimportant, as will the small states with firmly San Joaquin values: Alaska, Kansas, Dakotas, etc. Every future election will only be played out in the large urban areas, that’s a simple cost calculation.
        So, if you get rid of the electoral college every future election is a contest to persuade urban populations how to vote, which is a contest Democrats win, which means one party rule, like in California. Which is certainly why you favor abolishing the EC and I don’t.

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