|Copyright © 2004, John
|Alternative News &
South Georgia 1st Edition Page one
Who Elects the
by John R. Taylor
There has been
much talk about how our President is elected of late, and it is true
that Al Gore received more popular votes, (the votes you and I cast),
than did George Bush. Rutherford B. Hayes and Benjamin Harrison were
also elected even though they did not receive the most popular votes. It
is also true that Bill Clinton never received more than 46% of the votes
in either of the two elections for President that he won, and that means
that at least 54% of the voters voted for someone else. It is
nevertheless those votes that do, at least indirectly, decide the
original Constitution, before it was amended, only the members of the
House of Representatives were elected by popular vote. The Senate was
elected by the state legislatures and the President and Vice President
by the Electoral College. The Constitution was later amended to allow
the Senators to be elected by popular vote of their state. As in most
state offices, Senators and members of the House must receive a majority
of votes to be elected. If there are more than two candidates and no one
candidate receives more than 50% of the votes then the two leading
candidates have a runoff. This way no candidate can be elected to office
without receiving more than 50% of the votes. But this is not true of
the Presidency. He, or she when this becomes applicable, is elected by a
majority of electoral votes. These electoral votes are cast by electors
who are pledged to their candidate. When you cast a vote for a
presidential candidate you are actually voting for the elector who is
pledged to that candidate.
Their names are listed on the ballet. There is one electoral vote
for each congressional district and one for each senate seat. In
each state whoever gets the most popular votes gets all of the
electoral votes for that state, except Maine and Nebraska who divide
their electoral votes by congressional district.
Because of this system a third party candidate actually lessens the
chances of the major party candidate that he most agrees with. In
the Clinton elections the vast majority of those who voted for Ross
Perot would have voted for President Bush or Bob Dole in a runoff.
Because there is no runoff, Perot helped Clinton get elected. In the
upcoming election, Ralph Nader will no doubt take votes away from
John Kerry. Though Nader's liberal political philosophy is much more
aligned to Kerry's, he will actually help Bush by taking votes away
Electoral College also creates a disparity in the value of a vote.
We all like to think that our vote is worth as much as anyone
else's, however they really aren't. Because most states use a winner
take all system for awarding their electoral votes it doesn't'
matter if a candidate gets 99% of the popular vote in a particular
state or 51%. If a candidate wins several states by a large margin
but loses several others by a small margin he could quite easily
loose the election and have the largest total of popular votes. If
you are a Kerry supporter and you live in a state which Kerry is
going to win big your vote doesn't' really count. The same can be
said of a state like Georgia for Bush.
The value of a vote form
state to state is also unequal. Because small states get electoral
votes that equal their entire congressional delegation the number of
popular votes that represent one electoral vote is vastly different
form state to state. From example an electoral vote in North Dakota
represents only about half the popular votes as an electoral vote in
What is the answer? The
simplest fix is to scrap the Electoral College altogether and have
the President elected by popular vote. This would require amending
the Constitution and the small states will never allow that to
happen because they would be giving away their advantage. Another
alterative is legislation that requires all states to divide their
electoral votes by percentages. Here again the small states would be
vehemently opposed to this because they now can use their block of
electoral votes to apply disproportional influence in presidential
What should not happen
is that a few states decide to divide up their electoral votes for
political reasons. This could result in not only having a president
elected with fewer popular votes, but it is conceivable that the
winner by electoral votes could loss the popular vote by a landside.
It is unlikely that
anything will change at all, but if there is a groundswell of
discontent at the present system, something might get done.
Although I have
not watch the gruesome video of the murder of the Americans
and other westerners by what has come to called Islamic
fundamentalist, I have seen the pictures of the poor victims
and their captors, and my blood has boiled. It is perhaps a
very good thing that I am not the one with the authority and
power to decide what this nation is going to do about it,
far if I were my first gut reaction would be to announce
that we would retaliate at a ratio of 7000 to one. If you
kill an American we will kill 7000 of you. If our Joint
Chiefs or our so‑called Muslim allies could present an
alternate plan which would assure that the murders would
stop we would consider it, but otherwise we would have
bombers in the air the day of the murders.
this may not be the right response, but it may be
is really are we at war. More than one of the talking
heads on television, be they politicians, expert analyst
or what have you, have made comparisons to our actions
in Iraq and Afghanistan to our actions in World War II.
They point to our record of wining a war and then
building democracy. But have these actions since
September 11, 2001 been a real war? The answer is no.
They perhaps are best described as police actions. What
is the difference? Well on December 7, 1941 the United
States did not launch an investigation into who the
Japanese pilots were who dropped the bombs and torpedoes
on Pearl Harbor. They declared war on Japan and all the
nations allied with it. And it was near unconditional
time we dropped atomic bombs on two Japanese cities,
Germany and Japan were in utter ruins. All their
major cities were bombed out rubble, their armies
and navies had been wiped out and many of the
citizens had been killed. That was war.
the war those nations were rebuilt with the hard
work and resources of the American people. That was
the right thing to do, but it could not have been
done had our former enemies not been totally
are to succeed in our present endeavor at national
security, we must first recognize who our enemy is.
We have defeated the Taliban. The Saddam Hussein
regime is no more. Many al-Qaida leaders have been
killed or captured. But these are only parts of our
the entity which is our true enemy. Defeating them
would be like sinking a Japanese battleship or
capturing a German army division in World War II.
nation, and in this culture, we hold freedom of
religion as one of our dearest rights. It is
altogether fitting and right that we do this, but
if a group has as its purpose to not only take away
that right but to also utterly destroy us, then it
behooves us to recognize that group is our enemy,
even if that group calls itself a religion. On Sept.
11, 2001 they danced in the street for joy in Egypt
when they heard that thousands of Americans had been
killed. This in an Islamic country which is called
moderate, and is supposed to be our friend. Almost
all for the murdering hijackers on Sept. 11 were
Saudis, another Islamic country that is supposed to
be our ally. If Islam is not our enemy, let their
leaders announce it. Let them renounce terrorism.
Let them stop protecting and facilitating murders.
Let them stop preaching hate and violence.
Until they do this, and I donít believe they
will, we must recognize that Islam itself is our
enemy. Thought out history Islam has done its
proselyting by the sword. It does not seem to
have changed its ways.
This editorial does not necessarily reflect the
views of Views & News. If you have an opposing
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Nov 8, 2004 Edition page 2
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