Tuesday, November 06, 2012

The Electoral College

Every election year we get the same rant about doing away with the Electoral College system for electing presidents, but usually it’s about the fear that one candidate will win the popular vote and the other will become president by winning the Electoral College vote count and democracy will have been subverted, the nation will run aground and national governance will fail completely.

Actually that has happened, but it happened following an uncontested election, after Obama was elected with a clear majority of both popular and Electoral College votes. After the several times when the election was decided contrary to the popular vote, our national government functioned pretty much as usual.

Anyway, Alex Pareene, who stands out as particularly idiotic in a stable of writers noted for inanity and silliness at Salon.com, has a new and uniquely unintelligent argument against the Electoral College which revolves around the “swing state” theory. He argues that the evil of the system is that it leaves to election decision up to “swing states” which are “completely incompetent and mostly run by horrible assholes.”

He goes on to say that this election has three such states, and of those three states he writes that, “Ohio is a depressing place already, as is much of the post-industrial Midwest, and this attention is not making them any happier. Florida is full of lunatics and run by criminals. Virginia might elect George Allen again.”

And there you have it. This is what passes for political discussion these days, pretty much on a level with, "Don't vote for Joe Blow because he's an asshole." Namely, not even particularly imaginative as a form of ad hominem attack. I particularly like his description of Florida. I wonder where Alex Pareene lives, and how we might describe his home state.

There may be reasons to get rid of the Electoral College, but the claim that the people of Florida are “incompetent assholes” is not one of them.

1 comment:

  1. Bruce1:33 PM

    This guy is a total idiot. He also has some things factually wrong.

    And Jayhawk, please explain the Obama part of the second paragraph.

    The second half is true. The government functioned normally and has smooth transistions, etc. The reasons that they used in creating the Electoral College 230ish years ago are still valid today. And it still works well, only 4 of 56 elections has a popular vote winner lost to the elctoral winner.

    The argument that a candidate would spend most of the time in populist staes and ignore the rural areas has been replaced by candidates spending more time in very close, electoral rich states, and ignoring states wher ethey have a clear advantage. So there is a similiar arguement but for different reasons.

    I could go on, and there is a lot more to debate on that, but to say the writer of the linked article is an idiot there can be no debate.