Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Gaming the Electorial System

Gaming the System ~ using the rules, policies and procedures of a system against itself for purposes outside what these rules were intended for. ~ Wikitruth
Any system that can be gamed is inherently flawed. Gaming the tax code means the poor pay more than the rich. Gaming education makes for rigged tests because good results are more important than teaching students. Current efforts to game the Electoral College in California points to the flaws in our system of electing presidents.

Republicans are circulating an initiative in California to change the winner-take-all system to allocating electoral votes by congressional district. The intended effect is to shift some 20 electoral votes in this solidly Democratic state to the Republican presidential candidate. Democrats in Texas are trying to do the same thing for the opposite reason. These are transparent efforts to rig election laws to favor one party over another.

Proponents say this change will force candidates to visit and spend money in the state. That misses the whole point of holding elections. The reason for elections is not to make my state a tourist attraction for presidential candidates. We hold elections to find out who the majority of Americans want to lead the country.

The Electoral College is an anachronism from a time when the founding fathers didn't full trust the democracy they had created and wanted a group of learned men as a buffer between the electing rabble and the final decision of who is president. It is a deeply flawed system. It is easily gamed by candidates who run regionally focused campaigns. It is completely possible for one man to get only 40% of the popular vote yet win an Electoral College majority (it happened in 1860). It is possible for Electors to overrule the voters and choose someone else over the person elected by the voters - indeed that was what the founding fathers intended.

The Electoral College ought to be scrapped for a natural majority vote. That won't happen. The flaws are precisely why the College is loved by candidates and especially consultants. It can be rigged and manipulated. It divides the nation into identifiable chunks, some of which can be courted while others are ignored. This flawed system resulted in George Bush's election in 2000. We shall have further reasons to regret this system in the future.

1 comment:

PoliShifter said...

We need real election campgain reform but I don't see it happening for the very reasons you discussed.

Elections have become all about mone and tourism. Conventions bring in money. We rate candidates based on how much money they are able to raise. States are currently falling all over themsevles to be "first".

This whole nonsense about trying to rig the electoral votes, I don't think it will happen.

If anything, then we should make the presidency a popular vote.