Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Electoral College

As a country, America should always strive to be better. Actually, most of the time, America needs to strive just to stay good. However, changing a Presidential Election system that has worked better than every other system on earth would not be an improvement.

The direct election of our President and/or higher voter turnout would probably give us worse government than we currently have. Countries with pure democratic elections of their President or Prime Minister are all more corrupt than America. Countries with higher voter turnout than America, and most countries do have higher voter turnout, all have worse leaders than America. I don’t think this is purely a coincidence. There is a correlation between direct elections, high voter turnout, and bad government.

With the Electoral College, there is no reason to cheat in most states. The outcome in California, New York, Texas, etc., is all predetermined. Cheating is constrained to the few competitive States where the outcome is uncertain. With less reason to cheat, fewer opportunities to cheat, and a greater focus on the States where cheating is suspected, the cheating can be identified, sometimes prevented, and usually fixed. However, without the Electoral College, cheating would happen up and down every state. It would be impossible to identify and correct all of the corruption.

We will never know with certainty who won the 2000 Presidential election. However, we do know it was a photo finish and it was so close that both candidates had a legitimate claim to the Presidency. Without the Electoral College, a legitimate President would not have been possible. President Clinton never won a majority of the popular vote, but he had the support of the majority of the population because of the Electoral College system, and for the most part President Clinton had a successful Presidency.

The Electoral College is a moderating force. Government, in my lifetime at least, has been very centrist. Johnson, Nixon and Carter moved the country a little to the left. Kennedy, Reagan, and Bush II a little to the right. Eisenhower, Ford, Bush I, and Clinton maintained the status quo.

Sure, I would like better government. I would also like a model wife, perfectly obedient children, and a higher paying job. However, I’m not about to get rid of my wife, my children, or my job, because when I compare my wife, my children, and my job to other wives, children, and jobs, I realize I already have it pretty darn good.

Our Presidential election system is not perfect, but it is the best in the world. Changing it would be a mistake. Other countries should copy us.

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