Dementee did a drive by on this horrifically stupid idea handed down from on high by the Wienerati of Portland Avenue yesterday. Given the absolute abject stupidity of the proposal, I felt that it needed a more thorough fisking.
Actually, not so much a fisking as a series of off color observations and general taunting punctuated by one very compelling reason to run away from the stupidity espoused here.
This country could form a more perfect union by accepting a novel idea: that the president of the United States should be elected by the people of the United States.
[Focusing eyes on distant object to uncross them]
That's not the way it's done, of course, and, given the Constitution's enshrinement of the Electoral College, things aren't likely to change.
'Enshrinement"? Why do I get the feeling that the Strib Wienerati wouldn't use that same proto-sarcastic phrasing to describe the Equal Protection Clause?
To quit the college would take approval of two-thirds of both houses of Congress and three-quarters of state legislatures, so fuggedaboudit.
Ah yes - we've seen this before: the "Article V is just soooooooo demanding, so let's find an easier way to circumvent the whole 'government of, by and for the people' thing." But let's put that aside for the moment. That the Wienerati believe that the best way to assert the rights of the people is to circumvent their input should surprise nobody. No, this is almost worse:
I'm sorry if I seem a little touchy about this, but there's something rather pathetic about a bunch of WASPs like the Strib Editorial club using that word. I'm part Sicilian, and I never use that word (unless I'm quoting Donnie Brasco - which I rarely do since I only saw part of it on HBO like 7 years ago). Memo to Jim Boyd et al.: you are a bunch of poseurs. You might think using some East Coast ethnic colloquialism makes you "cool" or "hip" or "witty"; that it might appeal to the "young folk"; but actually it makes you sound like a bunch of pathetic WASPs who desperately want to sound less WASPy.
Tell you what: if you promise to stop using faux Italo-speak because you just watched the Sopranos the night before, I promise never to use high-minded WASP editorialist nonsense babble like "This country could form a more perfect union by accepting a novel idea: that the president of the United States should be elected by the people of the United States."
Let's move on.
But now comes a gaggle of bipartisan reformers with a cheeky idea worth considering.
"Cheeky" as in "ass".
What if legislatures, one by one, entered their states into an interstate compact under which members would agree to award their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote?
There will be chaos. I'll explain why in a moment.
The compact would kick in only when enough states had joined it to elect a president -- that is, when a majority of the 538 electoral votes were assembled. As few as 11 states could ensure that the candidate with the most popular votes nationally would win the presidency.
And that last sentence ought to scare the shit out of anybody who has more than two brain cells to rub together because of the endless parade of horribles it brings to mind.
As a result, the Constitution and the Electoral College would stay intact, but the college's fangs would be removed.
It's the F-ING ELECTORAL COLLEGE!
OK wieners, if this is such a great idea, riddle me this: how, exactly, would this Brave New System handle close elections (like the one in 2000; I'd also wager there are a lot of other members of the Wienerati who would characterize the 2004 election as "close" also)? Most, if not all states have procedures in place in which a candidate can call for and receive a recount if the initial vote totals are inside a certain percentage. There are also provisions that kick in an automatic recount if the election is very close.
Under this proposal, where the compacting states "give" their electoral votes to the popular vote "winner," that popular vote is the combined total of all of the states. A vote in California becomes fungible (look it up, Mr. Boyd) with a vote from Maine.
In the event that the presidential election is decided by less than a percentage point or so, under this brain-dead stinking piece of shit of an excuse for an idea YOU WOULD HAVE TO RECOUNT ALL THE VOTES IN EVERY SINGLE STATE! Remember Florida? Multiply that by 50. You couldn't just recount the "close" states since the the electors would go to the winner of the national popular vote.
That the Electoral College has "worked" in all but one election since 1888 isn't a good enough reason to stay with the status quo.
But a hypothetical quadruple amputee invalid octogenarian apparently is a good enough reason to keep the status quo when the context switches to voter IDs. (At least that's what the memo from the DNC told you to say, right Jim?)
But that's another post for another day.
Now that Minnesota is a battleground getting lots of attention, it's a lot to ask the Legislature to do the right thing and endorse the new compact. But it really should. So should other states -- both red and blue -- join, for the sake of a better democracy.
Ah yes - a "better" democracy. One in which a long line at the polling place is characterized as "disenfranchisement," but making it easy for some drooling assholes to vote for their favorite candidate 5 or 6 times under several different fictional names is "protecting the sacred right to vote."
UPDATE: Bobo has his own message for the Portland Avenue Pinheads.