PLEASUREBUSINESSVODAVN AWARDS 2014

Electoral College: Threat or Menace?


My high school — an very strange place that helped make me what I am today — has a website and a discussion group, to which I contribute on a fairly regular basis. Here's something I wrote today in response to one of my more right-wing "classmates":

 Andy writes:

For those of us attentive through our U.S. civics and history
classes, we learned that our great country is NOT a democracy, but a
republic.  Our founding fathers had very strong reservations on a
majority selecting our executive branch leaders, and as such, wisely
established the Electoral College system.  "Provisions for the
mechanics of presidential elections were established by Article Two,
Section One, of the United States Constitution. The 12th Amendment
provided that each Elector vote separately for president and vice
president." (A document we may all do well to reread.)

States, represented by their Electoral College members, elect the
President and Vice-president. Samuel Adams' (not the beer guy)
writings provide profound insight into the effective compromise
between equal state representation in selecting executive branch
leaders and representation based on population. The number of members
each state permits to have sitting on the Electoral College is equal
to two Senators and the state's number of representatives to
Congress.  His well founded concern was that large states (e.g, New
York and California today), by plurality rule, would lord over
smaller states.

Mark responds:

While I'm not in a position to talk about the political relationship between large and small states when the 12th Amendment was passed (1804), in the 21st century, with mass transportation, mass media and the Internet, there are no discernable issues of national importance that would militate for smaller states having equal electoral power with larger ones. I would also point out that small states Hawaii, with 1.26 million people, West Virginia, with 1.8 million, and Rhode Island, with a little over 1 million people as the last census, are more populous than Montana (927,000), and Delaware, with roughly 830,000 as of the last census, is still more populous than South Dakota (roughly 771,000), Alaska (roughly 655,000), North Dakota (roughly 634,000) and Wyoming (roughly 507,000). Land mass means little in the 21st century. Beyond that, there is nothing more "republican" (if you'll pardon the expression) about the Electoral College than there is about direct election (the way all congressional representatives are elected). The Electoral College is outmoded, pure and simple.

Andy writes:

Both sides battled well in what was an ugly campaign on both sides –
with enough mud slinging, if directed at the New Orleans levies,
would have to have rendered hurricane Katrina harmless.

Mark responds:

Well, aside from Kerry having "seen the light" about Vietnam and testified so in Congress, and being a somewhat stiff public speaker, there was little wrong with him as a candidate (compared to those others who were running at the time of the Dem convention)(Of course, Howard Dean would have been better than all of them, but, well ...). That didn't stop the Republican-funded "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" from lying about Kerry's military service, and the army of (Republican) talk show hosts "carrying water for the Republican Party" (Rush Limbaugh's words) in putting down Kerry at every opportunity. Democrats, on the other hand, knew the Iraq war was a fraud, knew the economy was tanking, knew the number of actual poor were rising, knew that roughly 1/6 of the population had no health insurance, and knew that Bush had failed to fulfill his contracted-for military service -- all provably true -- and therefore had no need to spread lies about Bush; his own record condemned him. Ergo, the "mudslinging" came from one direction only: Republican to Democrat. Trying to tar both sides with that epithet is dishonest.

Andy writes:

However, as heretical to a liberal mind, George Bush out maneuvered
John Kerry.  Kerry was not cheated or robbed; nor did Kerry throw the
race or simply roll over in defeat. He was beaten honestly, fair and
square.

Mark responds:

Horseshit. If you want the facts, spend a little time examining Ken Blackwell's actions as Ohio Secretary of State. He tossed out legitimate Democratic voter registrations because they arrived on the wrong weight card stock, and assigned too few voting booths to poorer areas, causing extremely long lines for the very people who could least afford to take off from work to vote. Moreover, three Ohio poll workers were convicted last year of tampering with ballots during the election recount of certain "random" districts in order to prevent a state-wide recount, which very possibly would have produced a winning margin for Kerry.

Not all of us are politically ignorant, Andy.
 







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