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Election '08

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Has the Electoral College Become Obsolete?

In 2000 Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the Presidential election. Since then many have said that the Electoral College system was the problem. Most States (48) have a winner-take-all system of awarding the Electoral votes for their States in national elections. Nebraska and Maine do not follow the winner-takes-all rule. In those States, there can be a split of electoral votes among candidates through the State's system for proportional allocation of votes. The NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) website explains their system of proportional voting like this: “For example, Maine has four electoral votes and two Congressional districts. It awards one electoral vote per Congressional district and two by the state-wide, "at-large" vote. It is possible for Candidate A to win the first district and receive one electoral vote, Candidate B to win the second district and receive one electoral vote, and Candidate C, who finished a close second in both the first and second districts, to win the two at-large electoral votes. Although this is a possible scenario, it has not actually occurred in recent elections.”

In California, Republicans are currently trying to qualify an initiative for the ballot to convert California to a proportional voting State in order to split the electoral votes in the richest prize in the national election. With over 10% of the nation’s Electoral votes, California can either make or break an election. While some would argue that this would make the election fairer, they fail to point out that neither the Republicans nor the Democrats are pushing for ballot measures in all 48 States that follow the winner-take-all method to change their policy. California is being targeted because it has historically voted Democrat and by changing the system in California alone the Republicans could win a virtually permanent advantage in the Electoral College. The likely resulting shift of 22 Electoral votes would be the equivalent of giving the Republicans an additional Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wyoming. Splitting the Electoral votes in only California without splitting the other States would give them the equivalent to a seven State bump in Electoral votes.

So what is the solution? Do we continue to allow national elections to take place where the winner loses or should we ask all 50 States to decide if they want to abandon winner-take-all or something in between? It seems the logical answer is that, in the interest of fairness, it should be all or nothing with changing the Electoral College system. If you pick and choose which States change then you are giving an unfair advantage to one party over another based on the voting tendencies of the rest of the States who still use the winner-take-all system of allocating Electoral votes. On the flip side, if we went to a proportional system in all 50 States where votes were awarded based on Congressional Districts, Independent candidates would almost surely begin to have better showings in the national elections. This would lessen the stranglehold that the two major parties have on national politics and more than likely serve the American people more effectively.

For now there is not likely to be wholesale change in the Electoral College so voters have to be wary of any movements to manipulate the Electoral College by trying to change the system in only certain States. If either major political party is serious about changing the Electoral College system to better serve the American people they have the resources to push for ballot measures in all 48 States not currently using proportional allocation. To blame it on the lack of ability to have a single ballot petition for a national referendum on the matter is a deceptive argument meant to mislead the voters. Pushing for change in only Electoral vote rich States that have historically gone to their opponents is a transparent attempt to manipulate the outcome of national elections.

Troy Wilson-Ripsom - Staff Writer | Give your feedback on this article. | Visit Troy's blog at | Visit Troy's MySpace page at

Lackluster Appeal

As I sit here this rainy, dreary, evening. I feel compelled to write. I do not know about anyone else, but it seems as if we are in some sort of bizarre political nightmare. We have a President, who is, essentially, isolated from the rest of the World. We also have a war, which is costing the nation billions by the hour, a war, that even the most hardened conservative, is beginning to concede is not winnable, in the traditional sense of the word.

At the same time, we have people running for the office, in which the current President holds, who are quite frankly, less qualified for the office, than the person who is in there now. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a Progressive; I grew up in a union family. My father retired from G.M. with 31 years under his belt. I have never voted Republican in my life. However, I have not forgotten my Christian roots and upbringing. This is why I feel so conflicted about the Democrats and their agenda.

The Democrats want socialized Healthcare. I personally feel this is a tragic mistake, and I feel it will bankrupt our Nation. The quality of the healthcare will suffer as well. My feeling is we could have Healthcare for the poor. I feel that people that make less than thirty thousand a year or less should be entitled to Healthcare. Except in some very isolated instances, usually someone who is making more than thirty thousand a year are covered under some sort of Healthcare plan. I recently heard of a plan, that congress was trying to push through, that offered free health care to the children of those making up to sixty thousand a year. Sorry, that is where I disagree. If you are, making sixty thousand a year and you cannot afford to get healthcare for your kids. You need to either quit living beyond your means, or cut out a drug habit. Before anyone screams, I am writing this as someone who does not have any health insurance. Having said this, I believe I am much more qualified to speak about this subject, than the Political hacks and goons in Washington D.C., who have more money, than common sense.

The lack of appeal to the presidential forerunners is this. First, you have a black man, whose biggest claim to fame is, being the mayor of city of Chicago and a senator. Other than this, he did some managing of Church programs in the Chicago area. He is big on flash, lacking badly in substance. Second, you have a woman, who claims she has quite a bit of experience. She is running on the liberated woman ticket, she also appeals to lesbians, Birds of a feather, flock together, I always say. I just wonder if anyone has forgotten about her husband. It is because of his blatant incompetence, that we are in the mess we are now, and we want to elect his wife. Has the world gone mad? Thirdly, We have the trial lawyer, who claims to be the defender of the poor. All the while, he is collecting the earnings from the sub-prime lenders, of whom he is associated. Not only this, But I really have a tough time taking someone serious who uses his wife’s cancer and his son’s death as a campaign fund raiser and election winning strategy.

On the right, things are not much better. We have a man who’s biggest claim to fame was being a Mormon missionary. He says his sons are serving their country by trying to get their dad elected President. Again, I ask, has the world gone mad? This same man has flip-flopped on enough issues to make John Kerry seasick. Then we have the one, who claims to have been at ground zero in New York as long as the rescue workers were, which of course, was proven to be a blatant lie, not only by the evil liberal media, but by the rescue workers themselves and by his own records. Not to mention his own daughter supports another Democrat candidate. Not to mention his many failed marriages, I will avoid that train wreck. I will not even get into discussing the driver of the “Straight Talk Express”. I mean, I really wonder, whose idea it was to walk a Baghdad street, with half the military with him? Who was the idiot that thought that was a great idea? Last I heard he was shining George W. Bush’s……Shoes. I know, some of you are saying, “What about Fred?” one bad actor in the White House was enough, thank you. Fred is not much better. Have you read about his time as a lobbyist?

In closing, I wrote this article because I feel that the people that both parties are offering to us are just terrible. What ever happened to the Statesmen with integrity? It seems today that we are getting the bottom of the barrel. The people in Washington DC figure you and I, the average American really does not really care who is elected. In some cases, that is true and it is a true sad state of affairs.

In the name of Liberty,

-Chuck Adkins

Chuck Adkins – Detroit Populist Times | Give your feedback on this article. | Visit Chuck's blog at

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