FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Lost in the Electoral College

Two of the last six elections where the popular vote did not go to the victor, Gore’s and Clinton’s—rather Bernie’s. This time the popular vote as of 10 a.m., with Clinton about 200,000 ahead of Donald Trump. But note the .07% to “other” (perhaps write-in for Sanders), 3% for the Libertarian (Gary Johnson), 2% for the Green Party (Jill Stein). PLUS, those who balloted but did not vote for president, or those who, in effect, walked with their feet, that is, chose not to go to the polling place. So the numbers grow larger.

And still there is no hue and cry for reform of indirect election. Nor of the weight given to state boundaries where each state, regardless of its population, gets two extra votes. So few of us understand this imbalance. As a Civil War “historian” (the author of three novels
about Lincoln, young and old) I know about the power of the small states (in population, disregarding slaves) Southern states, yet garnering a hefty per cent of additional population for each slave (three-fifths of a person, i.e., 60%), whereby either Southern or
Southern-leaning presidents were likely to be chosen; and hence, guaranteeing appointees to the Supreme Court with opinions/values representing slavery and its extention into the territories. Only the Civil War which took Southern senators and representatives—and presidents! Namely Abraham Lincoln—could amend the U.S. constitution to eradicate slavery.

Once order was achieved and the states which had been in rebellion were restored into the UNION (a word rarely used before the Civil War—the more common word was States, as though they were NOT a unified body)—only then did quasi–slavery get to rear its ugly head. Had Lincoln not been murdered, “reconstruction” (as though a building had been severely damaged and now was under repair) would have been much smoother and fairer, than under Andrew Johnson. See Lincoln’s last speech after the surrender of Lee at Appomattox, where he did not gloat, but described a way to bring Louisiana back into conformity with the union—much to the disappointment of his listeners beyond the White House portico. One of whom was John Wilkes Booth, who was heard to say, words to the effect of That’s it—now I’ll get him! What galled Booth was citizenship for former slaves, which meant voting rights, just like any White Man!

Today we see that heritage, and how those two extra persons in the Electoral College, who are the ones who choose the president (not us), in a close election weigh in and alter to public’s choice.

[Footnote: take a look at the procedures to amend the Constitution: where the very factor you wish to remedy (the weight given to a state now matter how few people live in it) remains a significant hurdle. It’s like withholding medication from a sick person. No inoculation for you, no bone-setter, no midwife, no hospice, no healing hand.]

Tony Wolk is a professor at Portland State and a novelist. 

More articles by:
June 21, 2018
Ron Jacobs
Divest From the Business of Incarceration
W. T. Whitney
Angola in Louisiana: Proving Ground for Racialized Capitalism
Susan Babbitt
Assange and Truth: the Deeper (Harder) Issue
Kenn Orphan
Humanity vs. the Rule of Law
Mateo Pimentel
Why on Earth a Country of Laws and Borders?
Michael T. Klare
The Pentagon’s Provocative Encirclement of China
Howard Lisnoff
The Outrageous Level of Intolerance is Happening Everywhere!
Vijay Prashad
The People of India Stand With Palestine
RS Ahthion
Internment Camps for Child Migrants
Binoy Kampmark
Rocking the G7: Trump Stomps His Allies
Raouf Halaby
Give It Up, Ya Mahmoud
Lawrence Wittner
Getting Ready for Nuclear War
Patrick Cockburn
Kurdish Women Protest After Being Told by Turkish-Backed Militias to Wear the Hijab
Dean Baker
When Both Men and Women Drop Out of the Labor Force, Why Do Economists Only Ask About Men?
Bruce Lerro
Big Brother Facebook: Drawing Down the Iron Curtain on Yankeedom
June 20, 2018
Henry Giroux
Trump’s War on Children is an act of State Terrorism
Bill Hackwell
Unprecedented Cruelty Against Immigrants and Their Children
Paul Atwood
“What? You Think We’re So Innocent?”
Nicola Perugini
The Palestinian Tipping Point
K.J. Noh
Destiny and Daring: South Korean President Moon Jae-In’s Impossible Journey Towards Peace
Gary Leupp
Jeff Sessions and St. Paul’s Clear and Wise Commands
M. G. Piety
On Speaking Small Truths to Power
Dave Lindorff
Some Straight Talk for Younger People on Social Security (and Medicare too)
George Wuerthner
The Public Value of Forests as Carbon Reserves
CJ Hopkins
Confession of a Putin-Nazi Denialist
David Schultz
Less Than Fundamental:  the Myth of Voting Rights in America
Rohullah Naderi
The West’s Over-Publicized Development Achievements in Afghanistan 
Dan Bacher
California Lacks Real Marine Protection as Offshore Drilling Expands in State Waters
Lori Hanson – Miguel Gomez
The Students of Nicaragua’s April Uprising
Russell Mokhiber
Are Corporations Behind Frivolous Lawsuits Against Corporations?
Michael Welton
Infusing Civil Society With Hope for a Better World
June 19, 2018
Ann Robertson - Bill Leumer
We Can Thank Top Union Officials for Trump
Lawrence Davidson
The Republican Party Falls Apart, the Democrats Get Stuck
Sheldon Richman
Trump, North Korea, and Iran
Richard Rubenstein
Trump the (Shakespearean) Fool: a New Look at the Dynamics of Trumpism
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
Protect Immigrant Rights; End the Crises That Drive Migration
Gary Leupp
Norway: Just Withdraw From NATO
Kristine Mattis
Nerd Culture, Adultolescence, and the Abdication of Social Priorities
Mike Garrity
The Forest Service Should Not be Above the Law
Colin Todhunter
Pro-GMO Activism And Smears Masquerade As Journalism: From Seralini To Jairam Ramesh, Aruna Rodrigues Puts The Record Straight
Doug Rawlings
Does the Burns/Novick Vietnam Documentary Deserve an Emmy?
Kenneth Surin
2018 Electioneering in Appalachian Virginia
Nino Pagliccia
Chrystia Freeland Fails to See the Emerging Multipolar World
John Forte
Stuart Hall and Us
June 18, 2018
Paul Street
Denuclearize the United States? An Unthinkable Thought
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail