No, The Presidential Election Process Does Not Have a Legitimacy Crisis

Ms. Katy Collin in an article in the Washington Post goes on to state how the electoral college is not fair and disenfranchises millions because it gives certain voters a disproportionate amount of say in the process of choosing a president while the voice of other voters are given much less weight.

One of the most poignant examples she cites (correctly, might I add) is Wyoming, which has less than 600,000 people but has three electoral votes as laid out in the constitution. She states that a vote cast in Wyoming is actually weighted 3.6 times heavier in the election than a voter in California because of the huge population discrepancy. A state cannot have less than three electoral votes, regardless of the size of the population.

She also goes on to state that other overseas territories of the U.S. (Puerto Rico, Guam – for example) have no say in choosing the presidency. So because of these reasons, according to Ms. Collin, the electoral college should be scraped or revamped to better represent an urbanized, modern society.

Her arguments are fine and her conclusion is solid except that the system she is describing does not describe the federal system enshrined in the constitution. She starts her argument from the standpoint that we are one nation, so therefore every vote should count the same. But we are not a nation of provinces under a unitary system. We are a federal system. We are a nation of states. These states have reserved powers granted to them in the 10th amendment to the constitution. This is the way the founding fathers wanted it. The electoral college system, while not flawless, gives a strong voice to the 50 different constituencies in the United States –  those of each state. You think the people of LA are the same as the people of Wyoming? Of course not. California still has an overwhelming say in the running of the country due to the fact of its economic power and population. But Wyoming is also a state. It has two senators. It has 1 representative. It has its own constituency, and it deserves its voice in Congress and in the presidential election.

Each vote in California counts in choosing who California wants to be the president. In that way, each vote is fair and each vote in California is the same. If a Californian wants to see that their vote has “more impact” in the election, there is an easy way for them to achieve that: move to Wyoming. And if the population of Wyoming ever gets too big, the census bureau will re-apportion those votes more evenly.

In regards to the overseas territories. Puerto Rico certainly has an opportunity to have a say in the presidential election. They could have become a state and thus qualified for being part of the electoral college, but they have chosen not to do so. Is it fair? Maybe not. Perhaps these territories could also be granted some say in the electoral college like DC was back in the 1960s.

This is the system we have. For the most part it works.  It only seems to not work when we start with the fallacy that every vote across the nation should count the same. It should count the same but only within the state.  Every vote in California should count the same as every other vote in California. Likewise in Wyoming and everywhere else.

Remember, it’s not a popularity contest. It never has been. And that’s the way the founders wanted it. Power is supposed to be distributed on a geographical basis. We should be happy that it is.

Everyone is as Smart as the Polls. And That’s Pretty Dumb.

I get a kick out of so-called experts calling the U.S. presidential election while we are still in August, nearly a month away from the first debate, with an already unprecedented, topsy-turvy primary season behind us.

I heard someone say basically this yesterday: “Oh, look at the polls! Clinton is going to win. It’s over.”

I suppose that same person would also predict a Cubs World Series victory if they looked at the current MLB standings. But people who understand that nothing is taken for granted when talking about the Cubs will also understand that we have no idea who will win the presidential election. At least not yet.

It was just a month ago that Trump’s campaign was riding high in the polls with a post-convention bounce which vaulted him ahead of the Democratic challenger. Clinton got her bounce, then Trump’s mouth seemed to self-implode again, causing leaks in his shoddy-planned campaign wall.

But does anyone really think they know what’s going to happen next? Really, in this year? You can’t predict this stuff. Not any year, and especially not this year. The odds-makers still have to settle on a number, and they currently give Clinton nearly a 4-1 chance to be president, but my goodness, let’s wait and see. Here’s a few things which need to be settled first.

  1. In my mind, the debates will be begin to tell the tale and start to settle the field a little. It’s one thing hearing daily sound bites from the campaign trail, but it’s a completely different beast when you see the candidates stand next to each other, go at each other, and see who can punch out a little momentum. I’ll start checking the polls after this. I think it will mean much more.
  2. Will Trump’s “softer” approach make a difference to voters? He’s been consciously reaching out to black voters. I read an interesting article yesterday written by a Latino as to why Latinos should vote for Trump. This might all be too little too late to overcome the bombastic mistakes he’s made because of his inability to censor himself. But we shall see.
  3. Clinton is not having an easy go of it. She is continually dogged with questions about her past, most recently about the Clinton foundation and whether influence was being peddled.  The Republicans really must be kicking themselves because Clinton feels like the most inept Democratic presidential candidate in decades. She seems very beatable if there wasn’t a Republican challenger beating himself.
  4. Wikileaks. More threats from Jullian Assange regarding Clinton-related documents to be released before the election. Who knows what’s in the documents and if he will actually do what he says. But he no doubt is causing a lot of consternation inside the Democratic campaign machine.
  5. The economy. It continues to struggle – the most recent quarter at an anemic 1% GDP growth.
  6. People are not happy. I can’t think of anyone on either side of the political spectrum who is happy right now. And there may be a ground-swell of “sweep out the existing regime” which might yet catch Clinton in its crossfire.
  7. A major event. I certainly hope this one doesn’t happen, but a major terrorist attack, whether in the US or one of the US allies, could affect perceptions of voters before the election.
  8. Trump himself. He remains predictably unpredictable. He was a clear underdog in the Republican primary and it still remains unclear how he will finish this thing out. He’s proved before that he shouldn’t be underestimated.

There are 8 reasons why I think it’s much too early to be calling the election for Clinton. There is so much time which remains and way to many things can happen. It will be, I believe, one of the most entertaining and gripping presidential campaigns in history. So sit back and enjoy the ride.