After much reflection, reading, pondering, imagining, and just I guess wishful thinking, I have finally come up with an idea. We are in the year 2011, and it might be time to update our out dated methods of governing ourselves. I think we should start by the foundation of any government, who will be in charge. Historically there have been many different methods of choosing a leader to govern thyself. The range being by divine right of birth into a specific family, to military occupation, and even to voting in one way or another. Comparing the pros and cons of monarchies, communism, fascism, dictatorships, republics and true democracies I would have to say that an honest to goodness representative democracy is the only fair way to govern. I have lived in the United States for half my life and Canada the other half. Both considered democracies, yet both are not truly representative of an each vote counts democracy. Since I live in the good ole USA, I will use it as a basis for what we can change in our voting process. We take a great deal of pride that we are a democracy to such an extent that we believe we should be the proprietors of democracy around the world. Some actually believe its our job or role in the world to spread democracy throughout. If that is the case, then lets at least fix our first. In our current system we as a republic are made up of states and we vote in our states and then our state electorate grants our states electoral vote to the candidate that we vote for.
After reading that quick and crude description of our electoral college, you might be thinking that sounds a little like a democracy doesn’t it? Well, yes and no, it is technically a democracy in that people are voting, and then people get elected. It is as much of a democracy as lets say the Chicago Cubs are a baseball team. They look like a baseball team, they have fans (sort of), a stadium, uniforms, hot dogs in their ballparks. Yet they have absolutely no chance of winning a championship, meaning they have no chance of being the ultimate shining example of baseball to the world. The reason why the Chicago Cubs have no chance is the same reason that we don’t truly have a democracy, there are obvious flaws that the whole organization has that nobody wants to address. I don’t have the time or patience to address the Chicago Cubs at this time, so I will start with something simpler to explain, our vote. In a democracy you would assume that every vote should count, hence what any 4th grader would think if you would ask them the difference between a democracy and lets say a monarchy. Yet in a republic that is run like ours that is not the case, I am sure you all know this already and just don’t care but for the few out there that don’t know this, here is an explanation of the obvious flaw.
You live in California and you are a Republican, odds are your vote will not count at all to elect the leader of our country. The reason why is which ever candidate wins that state receives all the electoral votes that California has to give, and California is historically, traditionally, and in reality dominated by people who vote for Democrats in presidential elections. For some unusual reason they have a tendency to vote for Republican governors though, go figure, I guess its a liberals right to change their minds since they are so open-minded. Either way, the same can be said for Texas, where you better be a major pro-life, gun carrying, moose shooting, kick ass John Wayne descendant Democrat if you plan on winning its electoral votes. So if you are a democrat in Texas your vote doesn’t count whatsoever in the presidential election. Every election I hear about people talking about turnouts for elections and how they try to increase it, yet they never connect the dots to realize maybe people would be more inclined to vote in every single part of the country if they thought their vote counted. We have such a flawed system that you can actually win and become The President of The United States of America (i just love that title), yet not win the majority of the votes in your country. How often does that happen you might ask, well lets see:
1824 – Andrew Jackson had the majority vote against John Quincy Adams yet John Quincy Adams was given the presidency.
1876 – Democrat Samuel Tilden had 250,000 more popular votes and Republican Rutherford B. Hayes was given the presidency.
1888 – Democrat Grover Cleveland won a slim popular vote against Republican Benjamin Harrison, yet Harrison won the presidency.
There are other examples but in the most modern example was in 2000, Democrat Al Gore won the popular vote by 543,000 or so votes over Republican George W. Bush yet he did not win (technically).
The point here is not to point out that it seems that Democrats seem to be the ones constantly losing elections in our current system, but that how is it in a democracy that every vote does not count and the majority does not rule? Pundits and naysayers to this concept would argue that we are a Republic, and our states need representation. Yet nobody ever thought of actually awarding a representative electoral college vote based on the state election results instead of all or nothing. So lets say California has 55 electoral votes to give, lets say a republican candidate wins 30% of the vote in California. Common sense states that maybe they should award 30% of the electoral college votes to the Republican candidate, and vice versa in Texas and so forth. It seems Americans get so fired up about a variety of topics in their daily lives, yet they are too busy to make a change in an outdated electoral method which does not represent our democratic preachings. Additionally, did anyone ask themselves why Montana has 3 electoral votes and California has 55. Is that number saying that Montana has 1/18th the population of California? For all of you math challenged 55/3 is 18.33, that is where I get that fraction from. Lets take a look, in 2006 Montana had a population of approximately 945,000 and California had a population of 36,458,000 people. So mathematically California has a population approximately 38.5 times the size of Montana, yet only 18 times the electoral impact on the election. To be truly representative of population shouldn’t California have more or Montana have less?
There are a myriad of questions arise when you look at our false-hooded democracy, so in our new government system I propose we have a simple majority wins the popular vote presidency. Its simple, more people would vote because they would feel their vote would matter and it would be truly representative of our population. While we are at it, maybe we should change one more thing to ensure the people are heard and not special interests. Maybe we should give every candidate the same amount of time and money to campaign, instead of a presidential campaign costing in excess of hundreds of millions of dollars. They have their debates, town halls, rallies, speeches, interviews, but no ads. No television ads to be exact, no negative attack ads on television, if they have a beef with the other candidate they have to air it out on the only nationally televised event they get, their debate. Not only would that be great theater, but I think more people would watch, more people would listen and care. Especially since they know their vote will count no matter where they live. There is much to discuss and do in our new government system for the 21st century, this little foray into simple ramblings by a simple man has only been a small part of the change we need. I realize this isn’t the sexiest or exciting read but without a change to the foundation of our democracy and soon we just might end up with a two party republic forever, where you don’t get a real choice for real candidates but you get to vote for the lesser of two evils, and who wants that. I guess we do, if we don’t take the time to sincerely discuss with the American people on how to change it. I say we get right on that, right after the football season is over, American Idol and Dancing with the Stars is over and crowns its new champion, then we can… Wait, maybe we should wait till after March Madness, can’t miss that, and I heard that Nancy Grace is doing a special on the Casey Anthony trial. Now that I think of it, lets just put it off indefinitely until I can completely focus on the details of such mundane things like the future of our republic, oh ya and pass the chips all these Doritos commercials are making me hungry.