What about this electoral college, anyway?

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I have been giving this electoral college thing some thought, lately, as I suspect many of us have. I have read that some feel that the founding fathers were brilliant for coming up with the system. I cannot agree. Someone said that we donBt want our Presidents chosen by New York and California, and that the electoral college sort of levels the playing field between the states. Well, friends, if most of the people live in New York and California, then so be it. Why would we want to level the playing field between the states? It is not the states that matter, it is the PEOPLE. Why should my vote get more consideration if I live in Iowa than if I live in California? One person, one vote seems inherently fair to me, regardless of where that person lives.

In addition to being more fair, doing away with the electoral college very likely would give us more representative election results. Democrats in largely Republican states, and vice versa, would be more likely to get out and vote because their vote would actually count for something. This would result in a much more accurate measure of the will of the people, donBt you think?

-- Laura Jensen (lauraj@seedlaw.com), November 10, 2000


"Well, friends, if most of the people live in New York and California, then so be it. Why would we want to level the playing field between the states? It is not the states that matter, it is the PEOPLE"

Sorry, Laura. Your thinking doesn't add up to the end result you probably want. States are made up of people. Electoral votes are determined by population and distributed in such a way as to lesson the effect of population density. If you want urbanites passing laws for farmers then maybe we should go back to the Feudal system. Because the Dems lose an election they thought they should win, lets just do away with what has worked for 224 years? Please. Don't you think there is enough division?

Besides, all the votes haven't been counted yet.

-- JimR (jroberts1@cas.org), November 10, 2000.

My point, exactly. People are people. If theyBre dense, theyBre dense. (No pun intended. ; ) ) Why should their vote count any less because they live in a populated area? Why should farmers get special consideration in electing a president just because there are fewer of us? Was some affirmative action bill in favor of farmers passed without my hearing about it?

-- Laura Jensen (lauraj@seedlaw.com), November 10, 2000.

Yes, I agree. Absolutely. One vote should count no more or less than any other. What state you hail from should have no bearing on how influential your vote is.

Another aspect is the time zone. I am from California, which everyone knows accounts for a serious chunk of the population, but because of our time zone I am used to having the race all but called before our polls are even closed! Nothing you can do about that, though. But it was kind of fun this year because for the first time we FELT as if our votes meant something.

-- Leslie A. (lesliea@home.com), November 10, 2000.

tTe way you folks are talking actually scares me a bit. The only reason this country has hung on for as long as it has is because of the checks and balances put in place by the founders...start chipping away at this and the end result won't be nice...and, why would you want urbanites deciding who has the right to bare arms, etc...you are talking dangerously. Time to put pride aside, and think about practicallity...besides, it really doesn't matter which one of these bozos get in. Things won't change that much in 4 years unless we start tinkering with the constitution to get the results we wanted. It goes beyond personal preference...sooner or later we have to start thinking as a country again and stop with all this division...what'll it take? Another war??

-- JimR (jroberts1@cas.org), November 10, 2000.

Jim, I agree. We need more cohesiveness and less of this national fighting going on. Politicians love to market to us and get us all stirred up over issues that they know will push our buttons (abortion, birth control, etc) so they can get us busy while they go cut deals with Wall Street, NAFTA, etc. when we aren't looking. Then we end up going at each other's throats.

Laura, I am still wrestling with the Electoral College concept. I have to remind myself that our country is a Republic, not a Democracy. We elect people who are supposed to REPRESENT us. Government is pretty complex and we can't all know everything about every issue. The problem, as I see it, is these folks don't REPRESENT us anymore...they represent the special interest groups. To me, the important issue is campaign finance reform.

How many of you know who your Electors are in the College?? ??? Can you imagine how bizarre it would be if special interest groups started lobbying the ELECTORS? One reason I still like the concept somewhat is that it keeps it a little cleaner (I hope)

-- sheepish (rborgo@gte.nt), November 10, 2000.

Sheepish, exactly! We have been manipulated by these power hungry, egotistical individuals and used so they may achieve their personal goal of power and position. Think about what type of person would want to be president. Know many CEOs? I know a couple...not nice people. Will stop at nothing to achieve. There hasn't been a "nice guy" in the White house since Jimmy Carter, well, maybe Reagan, but he was a nice old guy because he didn't know what was going on. Please don't be fooled by the Dems "senstitive" to the needs of minorities, gays and women approach or the Republicans "move back to morals and character" approach. I ask you if Democrats are so concerned about minorities, why is there now a move among mostly Dems (since at this time they stand to gain the most) to do away with the Electoral College which leaves rural dwellers and farmers, both MINORITIES, without a voice in the government? See through the politics and stick together. Don't be manipulated and aroused by these guys...neither of them is worth it. It is the republic/country that must sustain not these guys or any other politician...they are supposed to be working for us and the country, not themselves

-- JimR (jroberts1@cas.org), November 10, 2000.

Sheepish, as normal you wnet to the heart of the matter and nailed it cold.

-- JLS (stalkingbull007@AOL.com), November 10, 2000.

Well let'\s talk about wh\y th\e urbanites sh\ouldn'\t control th\e entire nation. Wh\y do you th\ink th\e founding\ fath\ers orig\inally eng\ineered th\e system th\at way? Th\is is an interesting\ Question. Please ig\nore all th\ese slash\es as my keyboard is up to it'\s old tricks. I g\uess i will h\ave to g\et down to th\e computer store.

I was watch\ing\ th\e news th\e oth\er nig\h\t and th\ere was a news story reg\arding\ th\e real story of th\e 2000 election. Th\at story is th\e vast divide between urbanites and th\e remainder of th\e country. In th\is News story on NBC th\e sh\owed a map of all th\e areas in th\e US that voted for Bush\ and all th\e areas th\at voted for G\ore. Do you realize th\at more th\an 3/4 of th\e counties in California voted for Bush? Do you also realize th\at th\e actual land are won by G\ore was probably not much\ big\g\er th\an California itself? We h\ave a real crisis g\oing on h\ere folks! Wh\y do th\ink th\is divide exists? Th\is is a real h\omesteading\ question.

Th\is situation h\as been brewing\ for some time. Th\is is my view of it, wh\ich\ I realize from th\e outset will be extremely controversial. Pleas understand th\at unfortunately th\e very nature of th\is question is controversial. I is my opinion th\at wh\en people become crowded into Cities th\ey lose th\eir perspective on th\e value of life and also th\eir respect for it. Th\e very nature of Urban society replaces th\e th\ing\s of th\e natural world with\ a manmade extremely h\uman controlled environment wh\ich\ makes th\is averag\e citizen believe th\at th\ey are G\odlike in th\eir power. With\out th\e natural environment around th\em to declare the Glory of G\od, th\ey become convinced of th\eir own power and most assuredly beg\in to self destruct. Th\is can be seen in every city with\ g\ang\ warfare, looting, murder, and yes voting\ for and increasing\ liberal attitude of noth\ing\'\s wrong\ and everyth\ing's right.

In addition to this there are also other issues that affect this wide gap between country and city. People in the city have gotten so far from their food sources they are incapable of recognizing just how important to their well being the source of their food is. Ultimately this has become a real issue in voting as most city dwellers don't understand the real issues surrounding their food. Most city dwellers consider themselves to be on quite a higher developmental plain than those who live in the country. I have seen this attitude first hand on many occasions. As I have family members on the fast track in the Silicon Valley.

The thought line is: I hate it where I'm at but here I can get prestege and retirement income, and lots of income. An example is my brother who I love dearly. He honestly doesn't particularly like it all, but he has a wife whom I also love dearly who likes things, and not just any things, new things. She can't for the life of her understand why my brother would want to drive anything but a new car. It is the prestege of the thing that is important. i've gotten kind of used to being the trailer trash of the family, because I have a different attitude toward stuff. To them it's important to work in that crowded lifestyle to get that big retirement so that someday down the line they can rest, and enjoy life. Of course no one tells them that by that time they may not have the energy or inclination to do all those things their putting off all their lives. In the mean time most of them will vote to do everything they can to build themselves up and make it harder and harder for the country dweller.

Do I sound like I have a chip on my shoulder? Well in a way I guess I do. Not toward individuals, but toward the lifestyle that creates this mess. When I think of whether or not I want an electoral college, I think about Downtown LA and whether I want them to be able to tell me in Oklahoma what to do. The answer is no! Ideally the west coast seceds from the Union and so does the Northeast and leaves the rest of us alone. Then they can go self destruct on their own and figure out how to feed themselves, while we go on our merry way toward a better life. Then we'll set up strict border patrol to keep us from getting infected.

I'\ll say7 th\is, I will fight hard to keep the electoral college, because I didn't move away from that rathole just so that they can pick every president for me. California is one of the most beautiful states in the Union but it has been ruined by urbanites, with no regard for oth\ers.

Little Bit Farm

-- Little bit Farm (littlebit@calinet.com), November 10, 2000.

People are people, right. Wrong,people in the big cities do not share the values of the homesteader. If you would like to live in a country where you truly don't have any say what so ever instead of one where people complain that they don't but actually do have a small say due in part to our existing electoral process, then abolish the college. If you want homesteaders lifestyle and a say in elections, then be grateful for what we have.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (jayblair678@yahoo.com), November 10, 2000.

There is a compromise path. .

Maine and Nebraska decided to apportion their electoral votes instead of the winner-take-all scenario. This was done through their state constitutions. There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that dictates how a state divides up their electors. So, instead of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which will NEVER pass, leave it to the individual states as to whether they want to amend their constitutions like Maine and Nebraska. That way, states still retain the power to determine the president as was originally intended. But the apportion vs. winner-take-all scenario can be determined on a state by state basis. .

One other change I've heard that makes sense in the 21st century. Closes the polls at 10:00 PM on the east coast. 9:00 PM in the Central states. 8:00 P.M. in the Mountain states and 7:00 P.M. on the Pacific coast. In other words, with the exception of Hawaii, have all the polls close at once. That would shut up the major news networks and keeping people on the east coast from jumping on the phones, telling the west coast how to vote.


-- Craig (CMiller@ssd.com), November 10, 2000.

Without the electoral college, all candidates have to do is campaign on issues affecting huge populations in the big cities. If we homesteaders agreed with the lifestyles and values of the big cities, i guess we would live there. LOOK at the states carried by Bush and see what they have in common, look at the cities and who they voted for.....a commentator on MSNBC put it quite nicely i think....the folks in and around the cities NEED (or think they need) all kinds of government assistance and intervention from zoning to bonds to build stadiums..these folks vote for Democrats....folks in the far suburbs and country rely more on their own initiative and resent government intervention..they voted for republicans...take away the Electoral college and you are left with popular vote which would be by default, the voice ONLY of the big city folks..there are many more of "them" than there are of "us"....Be very careful when you advocate tossing out the foundation of our government as designed by folks accustomed to tyranny,deceit, and one-sided pompous rhetoric.

-- Lesley (martchas@gateway.net), November 10, 2000.

Little Bit, i REALLY like the ideal you put forth in your post. I look at what this nation stands for anymore...I look at the huge, heaving, diabolical travesty we call our government; our leaders...I understand the motives (special interests...agendas) that propel many of our leaders and their decisions forward...I see those calling good evil, and evil good. I think that there is little hope for this nation, alot of Christians say, "If my people...who are called by my name...will humble themselves and pray...I will heal their land". Why isn't God healing our land? Is the problem with God, or the people? Is there a true seeking, perservering torwards what is just, pure, fair and good? Little Bit; i love diversity. i used to live in Wichita, where we had friends of every color, creed, lifestyle and orientation. I am not an isolationist, so to say. But when I can clearly see the direction the nation is heading into...your ideal sounds really good.

-- Beth Weber (talmidim88@hotmail.com), November 10, 2000.

Little bit- thanks for the breakdown of the vote in Cal. I hadn't gotten that far yet. Another interesting point is the 35% voter turnout in California. Out side of this apathetic state, Bush won the popular vote by approx. 1 million people. We need to remeber that the shapers of the constitution wanted a weak federal govt. and strong states rights. Do away with the electoral college and we will have just the opposite( even more so than today). A handful of highly populous, mostly urban states would be very powerful with the rest of us left scrambling for scraps.

-- llama7 (mmoetc@yahoo.com), November 10, 2000.

Wow, what a Can OB Worms! Lots of food for thought. I guess the only result I really want is an election that is actually an election, you know, one that ends in a timely manner. Oh yeah, real candidates would be nice, too, but with the current information overload and intense media hype and scrutiny, I doubt that anyone truly worthwhile will ever step up to the plate again in the top two parties. Unfortunately, those seem to be the only parties that can really make a showing. IBm thinking that campaign finance reform with all campaign money divided evenly between ALL candidates might be a good thing. (Probably some serious oversimplification here, but it sounds good to me.)

IBm still not sold on the electoral college, but itBs true that the vast ignorance I see around me in the city with regard to sustainable and environmentally friendly (and healthy) agriculture is quite frightening. Forget about bearing arms B what about bearing hormone- laden milk and fecal bacteria-laden chicken and antibiotic-laden pork and pesticide-infused, genetically engineered produce? Then you can buy another chemical to wash the stuff off before you eat it, like thatBs going to help. Yech! ItBs amazing what they donBt know and donBt want to know! (But IBm teaching them anyway, frequently in the lunch room. Hee, hee!) But I digress.

My point is that I can see where people who know the land need stronger representation. I canBt help wondering, though, whether there isnBt a more appropriate way to address this situation than unfairly weighting the votes of individuals. Maybe more education about just what it is that theyBre eating.

Interesting note above about CaliforniaBs abysmal turnout. Do you suppose that it might have been a bit higher if California going Democratic had not been a foregone conclusion? I bet a lot more non- Democrats would have made the effort to vote if not for that electoral college buffer.

-- Laura Jensen (lauraj@seedlaw.com), November 10, 2000.

I've been thinking about this quite a bit and there is one thing that I haven't heard anyone address....if we went with popular vote on everything we would end up with a much less representative system than we have. We would end up having "two" parties who contend that they are different from each other and NO other parties, because people would only be concerned with voting for the person who represented the least threat to their views and NOT for anyone who represented most of their views at all. It would quickly deteriorate into a single party platform like in communist countries.

I'm not making as good of a case for my thoughts as I should because I am hurrying and at work, but you are quick enough to infer what I am not covering.

-- Doreen (animalwaitress@excite.com), November 10, 2000.

Hi llama7, Here is a quote to support your statement: "I support the Electoral College,'' said Rusty Hills, Michigan GOP chairman. ``If you went to a popular system, these candidates would never leave Texas, New York, Florida and California.''

-- JLS (stalkingbull007@AOL.com), November 10, 2000.

Laura - I haven't read all of the above (too little time) but I DO believe the electoral college makes some sense. Bear in mind that we are are a republic, not a democracy. If you think the electoral college is unfair, what do you think of the fact the our senators are not apportioned according to population? And what do you think of the fact that the majority of democRATS (oops - hit the caps button!) are urban gimme girls and welfare rats, while the hard-working among us are more to the rural side? I'll help anyone in need, and have many times. I just don't want Algore and his minions telling me I have to give him MY MONEY so he can decide who deserves it! GL!

-- Brad (homefixer@SacoRiver.net), November 10, 2000.

What I was trying to say there is that I for instance, voted for Howard Phillips because I knew the W would take Texas. It freed me up to vote my conscience and express my desire for a change. I will bet there are many people who voted third party to express their wishes for change and support for other than the two main candidates. This should send messages to all politicians....if there were only Tweedle dee and Tweedle Dum with the popular vote being the deciding factor, I would have had to vote against Gore. There are may who voted for Nader that if they had to have only the popular vote be the decinding factor, they would have voted for Gore. If I had been in a stte that was going to be close I would have had to vote for Bush at any rate. The other folks would almost of a necessity have had to vote for Gore. This would leave thir parties and political dissatisfaction on the part of the people with no outlet for expression at all. This way we can send a message to the politicians. If it were popular only our recourse would be narrowed tremendously.

If the dems insist on pushing for the popular vote to be the deciding factor, I and many other millions of people who voted thir party will demand a completely new election. Ya see where that thinking will lead us? Not good....not good at all.

-- Doreen (animalwaitress@excite.com), November 10, 2000.

Brad you said it!!! WE ARE NOT A DEMOCRACY. We are a REPUBLIC. I wonder why our government has been sacrificing our young people around the world all these years in the name of Democracy. My problem is ,is that I am strong willed and opinionated and I want to live in a Democracy where MY opinion has full worth.

-- Del (dgrinolds@gvtel.com), November 10, 2000.

Doreen, EXCELLENT observation. I had not even thought of those repercussions. You've really been thinking! I was thinking about voting for GW, but voted Libertarian instead at the last minute. But, like you, if I thought that the totals of all the country would be added, I would have had to stay with one of the two. And on the same thought, have you all seen that Hillary has said that changing the electoral college was going to be one of her first priorities? mmmmmm

-- Annie (mistletoe@earthlink.net), November 10, 2000.

I want you to consider that maybe the reason this country is so great is both the land and the people. I think that the land needs some representation too and I think in a way the electoral college helps to do this. Also without the electoral college we would be talking about a national recount not just florida. If the original election is tainted I hate to think about what all would be going on behind closed doors in a recount. I still think that if it had been any state other that florida with Jeb as govenor most would not be having the problem they are in accepting the results. I have said on another thread and believe I am right (so of course I am) that to know who won in florida we will have to wait until the cut off for absentee ballots has been reached which will be the 17th.

I think Gore was right in taking back his concession until the votes have all been counted but when they have been enough is enough. I don't want our elections being decided by lawyers because what ever happens with this election I really believe it will be fairer than if we start letting them determine the outcome. gail

-- gail missouri ozarks (gef123@hotmail.com), November 10, 2000.

One observation from my youth. I grew up in California and spent part of my adult years there as well. I lived in NORTHERN California. It is a different state no matter what the maps say. We had less people and were more concerned about the land. Guess what? All those urbanites in the south decided on what we should do with out land and water because there were more of them. They regularly put propositions on the ballot that forced us to send our water down south to them. They told us what we could and could not do with our land etc. About every election year, those of us in the north wanted to split the state in two. This is what will happen to the entire country if the Electoral College is eleminated. I had the good sense to leave California and I sure do not want them telling me how to live. My morals and standards and values are too different and someday, they will be in serious trouble and I do not want to be dragged along. I feel the same about other large urban areas of the country.

-- Cheryl (bramblecottage@hotmail.com), November 10, 2000.

I'll never forget what a sad day it was 8 years ago. By watching it all, I knew the time had come that we were outnumbered. The yuppies were growing in numbers and we were loosing. They were born just a little after most of us were. They are in the paper chase game, we are more down to earth. The stock market is their God, and our God has never changed and never will. There grew a vast difference in just a short time.

I think the notion that states separating the electorial votes is good. More of a nation as a whole. 8 years ago our county here voted Rep. but all our votes went to the Dems. Just because the canidate gets more of the votes in a state dosen't mean he gets the WHOLE state. And like what was said, 3/4 of Calif. is allot. I have been watching CNN for 2 days, and it is not about 'WE THE PEOPLE' anymore. We really are separated by RICH, and NOT RICH.

-- Cindy in Ky (solidrockranch@msn.com), November 10, 2000.

I agree that it was a sad day eight yearss ago, but I think you are polarizing people even more by pitting them against each other with age and this whole urban rural thing. I do recognize that there are differences, but lamentations about how right one is because they are rural or a little bit older only polarizes the people even more. I think right is right and there isn't any reason to point fingers just argue your stance and observations and see if they make sense to others.

This whole election thing is much more sad than eight years ago. However it would seem obvious that it is a direct repercussion of the event of eight years ago.

-- Doreen (animalwaitress@excite.com), November 12, 2000.

Is there anyone out there that would make everyone happy? Beam me up Scotty!

-- hillbilly (internethillbilly@hotmail.com), November 12, 2000.

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