... A Sour Apple Tree

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Location: Huntington, WV, United States

I'm a 37 year-old guy from Huntington, WV.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Lloyd Bentsen for President, Michael Dukakis for Vice President

With Sunday's passing of former Del. Margaret Leach, I am reminded of her great work as an advocate for Huntington, Marshall University, and the underprivileged while she was in the legislature.

My most lasting memory of Leach, however, was from when, in 1988, she gave a warning of problems to come.

For the 1988 election she was chosen as one of 6 Democratic electors in the event that Michael Dukakis won the vote in West Virginia. Dukakis did indeed win WV, but handily lost the election to George Bush.

As the time came to cast her largely ceremonial vote, Leach started doing some research on the flaws of the electoral college, including the fact that the person who wins the national popular vote is not necessarily going to win the election and the fact that in many states, including WV at the time, electors are not legally obliged to vote for their sworn candidate.

Ever the wise woman, Leach decided to use her vote as a platform to illustrate the absurdness of the system. When casting her ballot, she flipped the ticket, so to speak, and voted for Veep nominee Lloyd Bentsen for President and Dukakis for Vice President.

Well, just a few years later, had it not been for some crafty Jim Crow-esque maneuvering by Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, we would have had two consecutive elections where the guy with the minority of the popular vote would have won the big enchilada.

Thanks, Del. Leach, for trying to teach us all a lesson. I am sorry that we did not learn the lesson in your lifetime, but hopefully we will, one day, heed your warning and install a presidential election method that makes some cotton-pickin' sense.


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Blogger joreko said...

The major shortcoming of the current system of electing the President arises from the winner-take-all rule (currently used by 48 of 50 states) under which all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who gets the most votes in the state. If the partisan divide in a state is not initially closer than about 46%-54%, no amount of campaigning during a brief presidential campaign is realistically going to reverse the outcome in the state. As a result, presidential candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or worry about the concerns in voters of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. Instead, candidates concentrate their attention on a handful of closely divided “battleground” states. As a result, 88% of the money and visits (and attention) is focused on just 9 states. Fully 99% of the money goes to just 16 states. More than two-thirds of the country is left out.

Another shortcoming of the current system is that a candidate can win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide.

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC). The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes—that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill is enacted in a group of states possessing 270 or more electoral votes, all of the electoral votes from those states would be awarded, as a bloc, to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

The National Popular Vote bill has 366 legislative sponsors in 47 states. It has been signed into law in Maryland. Since its introduction in February 2006, the bill has passed by 12 legislative houses (one house in Colorado, Arkansas, New Jersey, and North Carolina, and two houses in Maryland, Illinois, Hawaii, and California).

See www.NationalPopularVote.com

Wednesday, December 26, 2007  
Blogger Carl Burton said...

Your National Popular Vote bill will make my vote worth even less then it is worth now. I live in a part of California where their aren’t a lot of illegal immigrants like in the southern part of our state. But every illegal immigrant is counted in the census for the make up of the Electoral College and the House of Representatives.

I want Congress to stop awarding states with high illegal immigrants with more Representatives when making up the House of Representatives and the Electoral College. I want my vote to count as much as the next American citizen; not more and not less.

Thursday, December 27, 2007  

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