Friday, June 20, 2008

Taking Barack Obama to College

The Politico's Harry Siegel shares how Barack Obama could win the popular vote and lose somewhat handily in the electoral college, thereby losing the General Election:

Here’s the scenario: Obama racks up huge margins among the increasingly
affluent, highly educated and liberal coastal states, while a significant
increase in turnout among black voters allows him to compete — but not to win —
in the South. Meanwhile, McCain wins solidly Republican states such as Texas and
Georgia by significantly smaller margins than Bush’s in 2004 and ekes out narrow
victories in places such as North Carolina, which Bush won by 12 points but
Rasmussen presently shows as a tossup, and Indiana, which Bush won by 21 points
but McCain presently leads by just 11.

One possible result: Even as the national mood moves left, the 2004 map
largely holds. Obama’s 32 new electoral votes from Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado
and Virginia are offset by 21 new electoral votes for McCain in Michigan and New
Hampshire — and despite a 2- or 3-point popular vote victory for Obama, America
wakes up on Jan. 20 to a President McCain.


Of course, this is precisely what the electoral college is designed to do-to ensure that all portions of the country are represented in the choice for president and that the votes of Georgia, Texas, Tennessee, and even Idaho and Wyoming carry weight and can't be written off. Put more simply, the State-by-State electoral system insures that you can't win the presidency merely by carrying large cities, you must carry portions of the country that are at least somewhat representative of all walks and all places of American life.

For all of the talk from our friends on the Left about diversity, expect them to moan for weeks, even months, after the election if John McCain wins a sizable electoral majority and loses the popular vote. Once again we will hear the chorus coming from big-city liberal Democrats that the electoral college needs to be abolished. We will hear that it is not representative of the people (in New York, Philadelphia, Miami, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles). When people in Middle America begin to clamor that their collective votes be respected and that it is their States' sovereign right to vote for whom they choose, we will doubtless hear that the electoral college, and even the very Constitution of the United States itself is racist-all because the constitutional system will not have caused Barack Obama to prevail.

The hypocrisy in all of this is manifold, however. A friend of mine involved in Democratic politics told me that prior to the 2000 Election, the Gore people were preparing for a possible clamour to arise in the election result. Some of their internal numbers showed them that it was possible for George W. Bush to win the popular vote but Al Gore to win in the electoral college. The Vice President was quietly preparing to wrap himself in the mantle of the Constitution and insist that the process be respected. When the reverse happened, all Hell broke lose.

I would fully expect Barack Obama to wrap himself in a constitutional security blanket if he won in the electoral college and lost the popular vote. I also strongly believe that he would have every right to do so.

I believe very strongly in the electoral college because over the years we have managed to whittle away at a Constitution that was designed to protect States' rights and local control, and the college is one of the last true vestages of real States' rights that we have in our present political system. It must be preserved at all costs, and we must be willing to accept the outcomes of presidential elections where the college is a factor.

So today I want to issue a challenge to my friends on the Left who support Barack Obama. If we wake up on Wednesday, November 5th and Barack Obama has lost the popular vote, but he has clearly won the vote in enough States to win the election in the electoral college, I am fully prepared under that scenario to acknowledge Barack Obama as the President-Elect of the United States-fair and square. Will you be willing to do the same if the situation is reversed and John McCain has won the electoral college?

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3 Comments:

At Sunday, June 22, 2008 10:26:00 PM, Blogger Steven said...

Rather than ensure that smaller states are not ignored, the Electoral College accomplishes the opposite. With polling data ever more accurate, within limits, the only votes that count are in the "battleground" states. A vote for Bush in Hawaii or for Kerry in California was virtually meaningless. Florida, Ohio and a couple of other states mattered. Under a popular vote system, which we insist upon for new democracies, Obama would have an incentive to seek votes in Wyoming; McCain in Illinois. The system we have now would embarrass a banana republic. How can we justify continuing a system designed for 13 states for a nation of 50? Cities, or rather metropolitan areas, are the critical governmental unit. States no longer are logical, i.e. Virgina, the SW section has nothing in common with the DC burbs. Is it really a democracy when California with about 50 times the population of Wyoming only counts about 17 times as much in selecting President?

 
At Sunday, June 22, 2008 10:32:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

Steven;
What the EC insures is that States can unite together and vote as a bloc IF THE PEOPLE OF THOSE STATES CHOOSE.

States are States...not mere administrative units, and they should be treated as sovereign, which the EC does.

 
At Sunday, June 22, 2008 10:37:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

Note: The United States of America are not, nor were they ever intended to be, a democracy.

We do not pledge allegiance "to the democracy for which it stands."

The Constitution does not "guarantee to every State in this Union a democratic form of government."

 

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