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Sunday, January 02, 2005


Week 2: Response to Sidial

My, how quickly your argument has descended into a) non sequitors, b) repeating what I say but suggesting it’s evidence for your argument, and c) defending the EC’s unfair favoritism of small states without explaining why that is good for the country or even good for those states. At the risk of being kicked off your blog (or you just disliking me personally), it’s going to be impossible for me to not ridicule your pizza party analogy… right now:

The anchovies stand for what now, abortion rights is it? And whether the person who doesn’t like anchovies can eat an entire pizza symbolizes that they have a large number of electoral votes, right? Or does it mean that the person is actually several small states banded together like individual pieces of mozzarella cheese melt together with themselves and the taste of subsequently removed anchovies? Are you simply implying that Sen. Kerry is an acquired taste, like anchovies? I couldn’t help myself. I’m sorry. Your analogy makes no sense.

Back to the serious issues at hand…. You wrote: “The only two people in the entire country to be voted on by the entire country are the President and the Vice President. They should be more the representative of the ENTIRE country, instead of a select few areas.” I couldn’t agree more, but that’s my argument, and you have no right to it. I define the “entire country” as every eligible voter in all 50 states. The system you advocate favors a select few areas, which are the dozen or so swing states in any given election.

Speaking of the president being decided in a select few areas…. I'm sorry you didn't understand the point I was making about Ohio, so I'll make it again. I was saying that many liberals and Democrats in this country seem to be upset specifically with Ohioans who voted for Bush, or at so-called “Red States” in general, which to me is a divisive way of thinking. Nonetheless, due to the EC, the election did ultimately come down to the result in Ohio. You’re correct, a direct system would not have prevented any fraud that may have happened in Ohio. But the point is that people wouldn’t be upset specifically with Ohioans (or because their vote in California or Wyoming didn’t mean anything); people would feel that the majority’s will resulted in the outcome, and hence the direct system would reduce divisiveness and encourage unity. Why, in your estimation, does it make less sense to have the election decided largely, although by no means entirely, in the major population centers all across the country as opposed to in an arbitrarily selected few areas, which in 2004 were various places in Ohio?

Your first link doesn’t address the 1960 or 2000 results. The second link addresses 2000, but concludes that it was okay on the basis that 30 of the 50 states voted for Bush, therefore he should have won the election. This argument is basically that electoral votes should be apportioned one to each state (like when the House determines a winner when a majority of EVs are not reached) so that whoever wins a greater number of states wins overall. The author writes: “To decide the election purely on the basis of the popular vote would place many of these small states at the mercy of the more populated urban areas, thus issues of a local importance would likely be ignored.” Therefore, the minority (defined, apparently, as small states and nothing more) should win on the basis that if they didn’t, their issues would likely be ignored, unlike what would happen to the issues important to large population centers if they lost. That is illogical.

In a popular vote system, the minority has a chance to give their input. In fact, their input is better registered under a direct system, because EV outcomes tend to distort the outcome of an election by making it look like the winner won by a much greater percentage than (s)he actually did in the popular vote. But, if the voters for a particular candidate are in the minority, their candidate doesn’t win. In your system, you say the minority can overrule the majority? What determines when they should do that? Why is the current weighting the correct weighting? Why can’t you explain why it makes more sense to unfairly weight small states than it would to unfairly weight rural votes? The latter makes ten times more sense to me, although anything times zero is still zero.

I ask you again, what is it about small states that make their interests more important than those of all other states? What is it that bands the small states together to create a critical, unified interest that the majority would just as soon bury? And, why is it in the interest of small states to support the EC, when under a direct system they, on the whole, would receive far more attention from the candidates in terms of visits and advertising? The sole aspect of your original argument that you are still defending is that small states require special rights when voting for president. Yet, you have not clearly put forth a single reason why this is the case. You’ll see when the smallest states ratify the pending Amendment (assuming the major parties will let it get that far) that this is because there simply is no such reason.

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