Friday, October 03, 2008

AmGov 101, or The Ignorant American.

So there's a discussion brewing at The Munchkin Wrangler about the Electoral College and the Popular Vote, and it has once again reminded me of how woefully uneducated the average American is as to just how the country they live in works.

Here's a question: Where in the Constitution does it specify how you get to vote for the President?

If you answered "It doesn't." then, Hooray! Brownie points for you!

That's right, nowhere in the Constitution is there any mention of a popular vote for the office of the President. It does specify that the several States send electors, but there is no mention of primaries or parties or popular elections or any of the folderol we have come to take for granted as part of the electoral process. This election cycle, New York could decide to sell lottery tickets to determine who their electors will be, and Mississippi could draw names from a hat and Idaho could send the cousins of the Mayor of B.F.E., and it would be perfectly Constitutional.

We live in a Republic made up of the several States. You are a citizen of the State in which you reside. The States vote for the President of the Union. That they ask your opinion as to who it should be is a bonus, not a bylaw.

12 comments:

Divemedic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Snarl said...

Here's one of the best writeups of the benefits of the electoral college that I've found, by Ender's Game author Orson Scott Card. Note that it's from the 2000 recount, so the examples are geared towards that, but the concepts are no less applicable.

Anonymous said...

Which is why I still think that senators should be appointed not elected.

They are there to represent the state gov interests.

Your rep are there to represent, us the great unwashed.

Saladman said...

Which is why I still think that senators should be appointed not elected.

They are there to represent the state gov interests.

Your rep are there to represent, us the great unwashed.


I've heard this sentiment even from a couple of retiring senators. Just structurally, its a way to give states a veto power over federal spending and mandates.

I don't see a way to make it happen, though. Democratic reforms are hard to roll back, for better or for worse.

DirtCrashr said...

*We* are run by a Democrat Politburo protected by a wall of Gerrymander, our leaders don't need and don't bother to ask us our inconsequential leetle opinions - they know better - they're the Insane Clown Trotskyite Posse of Pelosi, Feinstein and Boxer...
Somebody please invade and liberate us!

Unix-Jedi said...

nowhere in the Constitution is there any mention of a popular vote for the office of the President.

C'mon, Tam, you know better.

It's right after the right for 12 year old girls to get an abortion and right before the penumbra they hid Jimmy Hoffa under.
Geez. You sound like those nutcases who keep citing "Congress shall not" this and "Congress shall not that" and "infringed" like that's in there somewhere.

Aaron said...

I have to agree that popular elections for Senators was a not so great idea.

Just like I still like the electoral college.

If the Pres was elected by popular vote, then the only people the candidates would give a flying one about would be the residents of big cities. People like me who live in a state with only two 'large' cities, with a combined pop of less than a million, would matter so little as to be ignored.

The electoral college was intended to incorporate protections for small states (hence the two votes for Senators) as well as give more sway to larger populations.

No wonder the damn socialists want to get rid of it, they own the big cities.

alcibiades said...

It is my dream that one day a state will divvy up its electoral votes via a pie-eating contest.

John B said...

That's the way to the Zoo!
That's the way to the Zoo!
The Monkey House is nearly full!
But there's room enough for you!
Take a bus to Regent's Park!
Make haste before it shuts!
I will come on Monday!
And bring you lots of nuts!


That Monkey house Tam?

Tam said...

"It is my dream that one day a state will divvy up its electoral votes via a pie-eating contest."

...and really, would the results be any more silly?

HTRN said...

Pie eating contests?

Don't be ridiculous.

Rock-Paper-Scissors contest is the way to go.

Ted said...

Unix-Jedi said 'You sound like those nutcases who keep citing "Congress shall not" this and "Congress shall not that" and "infringed" like that's in there somewhere.'

Not sure why that made me think about the scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail where the knights talk to Our Lord:

God: What are you doing now?

King Arthur: Averting our eyes, oh Lord.

God: Well, don't. It's just like those miserable psalms, always so depressing. Now knock it off!

Probably a funny take-off of the 2000 Florida vote in there somewhere ...