Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Let's elect our Presidents

[This started as a response to Mike Bock's fine post below.]

An end to blatant computerized micro-Gerrymandering would be a major and a much needed reform. Unfortunately it is hard to imagine how to gain enough support from the guys in those "safe" districts to pass it. It seems to me we should - at the very least - set some sort of minimum population district that cannot be subdivided for congressional districts.

Another much needed reform is the abolishment of the archaic Electoral College. The Electoral College has resulted in a bunch of minority Presidents and four that did not even achieve a plurality (Junior Bush, Benjamin Harrison, Rutherford Hayes, and John Quincy Adams). The EC has to be held partially responsible for the deadliest war in US history, the War Between the States, that resulted most immediately from the Electoral College choosing a President who was not even on the ballot in the Southern states and who garnered less than forty percent of the vote -- only a little higher approval from the voters than Bush currently enjoys. Though Lincoln's popular vote was pitiful, he won the Electoral College in a 60% landslide. However great a man Lincoln turned out to be, that just ain't right. No wonder my ancesters were fighting mad.

Now The Electoral Collge has allowed the travesty of the 2000 election.

My Republican readers will holler at this, but I firmly believe that had Vice President Gore been selected by the EC as a "loser" President in 2000 the Republican Congress would have mounted a serious effort at abolishing the Electoral College. Just one more of the myriad reasons to believe the world would be a better place today had Gore become President - even if he had come in the back door like Bush did.

The folks at Fair Vote have the suggestion that I would like to see implemented - direct election with instant run-off. I 'd like to see instant run-off instituted in all elections. The idea of simple plurality vote in an election allows the majority's last choice to be occasionally elected when choices one-and-two-or-more split the vote sufficiently. There need to be run-off elections, absolutely. Unfortunately run-off elections usually garner less attention and fewer voters. They cost a lot of money for the state and for the candidates. But an automatic run-off in which voters indicate second choices insures the same voters decide the election at virtually no extra cost and no extra time and expense for the voter as well.

Both of these glitches in our current system - Gerrymandering and winner-take-all Electoral College elections -- as well as the corrupting influence of money in our current electoral process, are stifling to voter participation and make apathetic cynics of our citizens. Why should we Democrats in Georgia or Republicans in Massachusetts get excited about voting for President when we know from the get-go that the other party will get 100% of the Electoral College vote from our state. I believe those two reforms would greatly reinvigorate our democracy.

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