Quote of the Day

“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!” ~ Patrick Henry

Popular Vote for Election of President

Three Arguments Against the Electoral College

  • The risk of so-called “faithless” Electors,
  • The possible role of the Electoral College in depressing voter turnout, and
  • Its failure to accurately reflect the national popular will.

The risk of so-called “faithless” Electors.

A “faithless Elector” is one who is pledged to vote for his party’s candidate for president but nevertheless votes for another candidate. There have been 7 such Electors in this century. Faithless Electors have never changed the outcome of an election, simply because their purpose is to make a statement rather than make a difference.

Its possible role in depressing voter turnout.

Their argument is that, since each State is entitled to the same number of electoral votes regardless of its voter turnout, there is no incentive in the States to encourage voter participation. While this argument has a certain surface plausibility, it fails to account for the fact that presidential elections do not occur in a vacuum. States also conduct other elections (for U.S. Senators, U.S. Representatives, State Governors, State legislators, and a host of local officials) in which these same incentives and disincentives are likely to operate, if at all, with an even greater force. It is hard to imagine what counter-incentive would be created by eliminating the Electoral College.

Its failure to accurately reflect the national popular will

First, the distribution of Electoral votes in the College tends to over-represent people in rural States. This is because the number of Electors for each State is determined by the number of members it has in the House (which more or less reflects the State’s population size) plus the number of members it has in the Senate (which is always two regardless of the State’s population).

A second way in which the Electoral College fails to accurately reflect the national popular will stems primarily from the winner-take-all mechanism whereby the presidential candidate who wins the most popular votes in the State wins all the Electoral votes of that State. One effect of this mechanism is to make it extremely difficult for third party or independent candidates ever to make much of a showing in the Electoral College.

In response to these arguments, proponents of the Electoral College point out that is was never intended to reflect the national popular will.

As for the first issue, that the Electoral College over-represents rural populations, proponents respond that the United State Senate – with two seats per State regardless of its population – over-represents rural populations far more dramatically. But since there have been no serious proposals to abolish the United States Senate on these grounds, why should such an argument be used to abolish the lesser case of the Electoral College?

The second issue of the Electoral College’s role in reinforcing a two party system, proponents, as we shall see, find this to be a positive virtue.

***

Four Arguments in Favor of the Electoral College

Proponents of the Electoral College system normally defend it on the philosophical grounds that it:

  • Contributes to the cohesiveness of the country by requiring a distribution of popular support to be elected president
  • Enhances the status of minority interests,
  • Contributes to the political stability of the nation by encouraging a two-party system, and
  • Maintains a federal system of government and representation.

Contributes to the cohesiveness of the country be requiring a distribution of popular support to be elected president.

Without such a mechanism the president would be selected either through the domination of one populous region over the others or through the domination of large metropolitan areas over the rural ones. Indeed, it is principally because of the Electoral College that presidential nominees are inclined to select vice presidential running mates from a region other than their own.

Enhances the status of minority groups.

This is so because the voters of even small minorities in a State may make the difference between winning all of that State’s electoral votes or none of that State’s electoral votes. And since ethnic minority groups in the United States happen to concentrate in those States with the most electoral votes, they assume an importance to presidential candidates well out of proportion to their number. The same principle applies to other special interest groups such as labor unions, farmers, environmentalists, and so forth.

Contributes to the political stability of the nation by encouraging a two party system.

There can be no doubt that the Electoral College has encouraged and helps to maintain a two party system in the United States. This is true simply because it is extremely difficult for a new or minor party to win enough popular votes in enough States to have a chance of winning the presidency.

In addition to protecting the presidency from impassioned but transitory third party movements, the practical effect of the Electoral College (along with the single-member district system of representation in the Congress) is to virtually force third party movements into one of the two major political parties. Conversely, the major parties have every incentive to absorb minor party movements in their continual attempt to win popular majorities in the States. Thus we end up with two large, pragmatic political parties which tend to the center of public opinion rather than dozens of smaller political parties catering to divergent and sometimes extremist views.

A direct popular election of the president would likely have the opposite effect. For in a direct popular election, there would be every incentive for a multitude of minor parties to form in an attempt to prevent whatever popular majority might be necessary to elect a president.

Maintains a federal system of government and representation.

Their reasoning is that in a formal federal structure, important political powers are reserved to the component States. In the United States, for example, the House of Representatives was designed to represent the States according to the size of their population. The States are even responsible for drawing the district lines for their House seats. The Senate was designed to represent each State equally regardless of its population. And the Electoral College was designed to represent each State’s choice for the presidency (with the number of each State’s electoral votes being the number of its Senators plus the number of its Representatives). To abolish the Electoral College in favor of a nationwide popular election for president would strike at the very heart of the federal structure laid out in our Constitution and would lead to the nationalization of our central government – to the detriment of the States.

The fact is, they argue, that the original design of our federal system of government was thoroughly and wisely debated by the Founding Fathers.  State viewpoints, they decided, are more important than political minority viewpoints.  And the collective opinion of the individual State populations is more important than the opinion of the national population taken as a whole. Nor should we tamper with the careful balance of power between the national and State governments which the Founding Fathers intended and which is reflected in the Electoral college. To do so would fundamentally alter the nature of our government and might well bring about consequences that even the reformers would come to regret.

Conclusion

The Electoral College has performed its function for over 200 years (and in over 50 presidential elections) by ensuring that the President of the United States has both sufficient popular support to govern and that his popular support is sufficiently distributed throughout the country to enable him to govern effectively.

The fact that the Electoral College was originally designed to solve one set of problems but today serves to solve an entirely different set of problems is a tribute to the genius of the Founding Fathers.

To read this entire article please visit:

http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/electoral_college/electoral_college.html

How the National Popular Vote Works

The following is a letter written in 2011 to our Representatives in opposition to HB 3517 as testimony to be added to the public record.

Dear Representatives,

HB 3517 enacts Interstate Compact for Agreement among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote.

Please accept this as testimony for the hearing being held on Wednesday, March 16th, 3pm, Room 50.

This bill proposes to alter the Electoral College and eliminate the voting rights and powers of the individual states by effectively nationalizing the system. Electors would not vote as directed by their state constituents but instead cast their ballots by what was directed by national popular vote.

Why would our legislators abdicate Oregon’s vote over to highly populated states who do not understand who we are, where we stand and what we envision for ourselves in the future?

Under the system proposed by this bill a minority of the states, including California, New York , Florida , Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan, would direct the outcome of the election.

This is reckless legislation and would jeopardize the balance of power!

I resided in California, the most populace state, for almost 35 years and left five years ago to return to Oregon because of the decline in the overall quality of life. California is overregulated and overpriced, crime rate is high, the school system is a mess, and the state budget a financial nightmare. Who are they to have an overwhelming influence on the outcome of a federal election?

In comparison Oregon ranks 27th in population, we have many rural areas, farming communities, coastal towns, and counties with below average income levels. Oregon is blessed with open lands, crystal clear waterways, the fertile soils of the Willamette Valley, and a magnificent coastline.

As legislators you need to answer these questions:

1. Considering Oregon is a state with a low population what would motivate a registered voter of the state to cast a ballot when the national population’s opinion as a whole will override our collective opinion?

2. Why would any presidential candidate bother to visit Oregon if all they have to win is the popular vote of a few states?

3. What do you think the odds are that future presidential candidates will draft their platforms and agendas to win over the few states where the majority of the population resides?

Do NOT pass HB 3517.

Quote of the Day

When the leaders choose to make themselves bidders at an auction of popularity, their talents, in the construction of the state, will be of no service. They will become flatterers instead of legislators; the instruments, not the guides, of the people.
Edmund Burke

Read more: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/e/edmund_burke_5.html#ixzz1JIFaIkxO

O, America ~ by Celtic Woman

For Those of You That Wanted Change . . . Here it Is

After two years of Obama and his administration…
January 2009
TODAY
% chg
Source
Avg. retail price/gallon gas in U.S.
$1.83
$3.104
69.6%
1
Crude oil, European Brent (barrel)
$43.48
$99.02
127.7%
2
Crude oil, West TX Inter. (barrel)
$38.74
$91.38
135.9%
2
Gold: London (per troy oz.)
$853.25
$1,369.50
60.5%
2
Corn, No.2 yellow, Central IL
$3.56
$6.33
78.1%
2
Soybeans, No. 1 yellow, IL
$9.66
$13.75
42.3%
2
Sugar, cane, raw, world, lb. fob
$13.37
$35.39
164.7%
2
Unemployment rate, non-farm, overall
7.6%
9.4%
23.7%
3
Unemployment rate, blacks
12.6%
15.8%
25.4%
3
Number of unemployed
11,616,000
14,485,000
24.7%
3
Number of fed. employees, ex. military (curr = 12/10 prelim)
2,779,000
2,840,000
2.2%
3
Real median household income (2008 v 2009)
$50,112
$49,777
-0.7%
4
Number of food stamp recipients (curr = 10/10)
31,983,716
43,200,878
35.1%
5
Number of unemployment benefit recipients (curr = 12/10)
7,526,598
9,193,838
22.2%
6
Number of long-term unemployed
2,600,000
6,400,000
146.2%
3
Poverty rate, individuals (2008 v 2009)
13.2%
14.3%
8.3%
4
People in poverty in U.S. (2008 v 2009)
39,800,000
43,600,000
9.5%
4
U.S. rank in Economic Freedom World Rankings
5
9
n/a
10
Present Situation Index (curr = 12/10)
29.9
23.5
-21.4%
11
Failed banks (curr = 2010 + 2011 to date)
140
164
17.1%
12
U.S. dollar versus Japanese yen exchange rate
89.76
82.03
-8.6%
2
U.S. money supply, M1, in billions (curr = 12/10 prelim)
1,575.1
1,865.7
18.4%
13
U.S. money supply, M2, in billions (curr = 12/10 prelim)
8,310.9
8,852.3
6.5%
13
National debt, in trillions
$10.627
$14.052
32.2%
14
Just take this last item:  In the last two years we have accumulated national debt at a rate more than 27 times as fast as during the rest of our entire nation’s history.  Over 27 times as fast.  Metaphorically speaking, if you are driving in the right lane doing 65 MPH and a car rockets past you in the left lane. 27 times faster, it would be doing  7,555 MPH!
Sources:
(1) U.S. Energy Information Administration; (2) Wall Street Journal; (3) Bureau of Labor Statistics; (4) Census Bureau; (5) USDA; (6) U.S. Dept. of Labor; (7) FHFA; (8) Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller; (9) RealtyTrac; (10) Heritage Foundation and WSJ; (11) The Conference Board; (12) FDIC; (13) Federal Reserve; (14) U.S. Treasury