A recent article in the Huffington Post (via the Richmond Times-Dispatch) states that the Commonwealth of Virgina (commonwealth? hmmmm, sounds socialist…) wants to divide up their electoral votes by congressional district, rather than giving them all to whoever wins the popular vote overall. Or rather a Senate subcommittee decided this with no recommendation. They do not feel it is fair for someone to win all of the electoral votes when they only win in a portion of the state.
Now, I probably don’t have to tell you that this is a Republican thing, and that it is no coincidence they are doing this now. Nobody was trying to award Al Gore or John Kerry a few extra electoral votes from Virginia, but now that the recent tides have turned, of course they want to change the rules. Every party, when they lose an election, moans about the rules of the election. When Gore won the popular vote in 2000 but lost the electoral college the Democrats were engaged in the same kind of tactics.
But you know what? This is actually a good idea. Why should a state with a markedly disparate population be forced to agree on something like a president? Why don’t they do it by congressional district? Everywhere. Except congressional redistricting is such a rampant problem that this wouldn’t really be fair either. Whichever party is in power loves to corruptly use this tool to ensure that they will continue to win elections, so it would be too easy to manipulate.
Do you know what they can’t redraw the lines on every few years? Cities and towns. Why don’t they just redo the electoral college so that the points are allocated per city and town? Of course, some town and cities are bigger than others, so they would need more electoral votes than the smaller ones, similar to the way California gets more than Vermont right now. But that could be worked out. And with more electoral votes coming in (they would need tens of thousands to win now) it would keep the media far busier on election night. The media would love this! They could get the votes town by town, instead of having to wait for a whole state to report! And people hate waiting! This is a win-win!
Oh, but some cities have some very conservative neighborhoods and some very liberal ones. Is it fair to have those votes all lumped together? Perhaps they could divide up the electoral votes by neighborhood, so that not all of one cities’ votes go to the same candidate. That would be more fair.
Although, what is a neighborhood? Who defines it? Who decides that? Politicians? No way. Seems shady. Suddenly we would have “neighborhood redistricting” and that would just be a headache for everyone. No, we need to go even smaller. Maybe by household. Oh, to heck with it, how about by person?! What if each individual person were to get one electoral vote? And what if it counted as much as every other individual electoral vote?
Actually, that’s not a bad idea. Hear me out. Yes, we would need to count over 300 million electoral votes, and I’m not sure how many votes Gollum/Smeagol would get, or if he would have to divide his vote in half, but this system would be far fairer than the one we have in place currently, in which 2/3 of Virginia gets to vote for one guy, only to see their vote go to the other guy simply because the other 1/3 of Virgina is crammed full of opposite thinking jerk people.
And so, in this slippery slope world that we live in, what these Republican lawmakers have essentially suggested to us is the end of the electoral college. And while I don’t think it would specifically do their party any favors at this point, it seems like a common sense good idea to me.