Joe Marshall’s column (“Electoral College A Potential Pandora’s
Box”, Collegian, July 7) contains terribly flawed arguments and a
highly biased look at the next election. His assertion that “the
possibility of this particular technicality deciding the outcome of
two consecutive elections is proof of the electoral college’s
obsolescence” is illogical. I strongly doubt that if Senator Kerry
loses the popular vote but wins in the electoral college, we will
hear a peep from Mr. Marshall. Mr. Marshall accuses Congress of
having rushed several states into existence some 110 years ago,
possibly prematurely for the sake of their electoral votes. Even if
true, how does this bear on the present issue? All have been
“adequately” populous for a long time, and thus this aspect of
Marshall’s “argument” is irrelevant. Much more scary is Mr.
Marshall’s question about whether the majority of Americans would
accept a repeat of the outcome of the 2000 election as legitimate.
Is he seriously questioning whether or not the majority of
Americans would defy the constitution, the ruling law of the land?
Or would he promote a coup d’etat? Scary stuff.
More troubling is Mr. Marshall’s implied assertion that
representation based on anything other than population is unfair.
No doubt, then, Mr. Marshall would also espouse the radical notion
of the abolition of the U.S. Senate, and our conversion to a
unicameral legislature. Our country is the United States; our
founders recognized our diversity and sought to protect that
diversity and prevent the populous states from dictating to the
less populous states. The electoral college is a brilliant
arrangement that preserves the importance of the less populous
states. Without it, less populous states (including Colorado) would
be ignored both during and between elections; candidates would only
mine votes where they are most densely concentrated. No candidate
would visit Albuquerque, Helena, or Denver for that matter in the
hopes of harvesting a few hundred more votes, which would be
insignificant if we elected Presidents based on a popular vote.
However, because a few hundred votes can make the difference in the
winner-take-all system called the electoral college,
small-population states do count.
Despite his being a history major, Mr. Marshall’s column is
sorely lacking in perspective. This is not a time of “unprecedented
ideological division”-far from it. Only a few years ago, Bill
Clinton was an enormously polarizing figure, with much of the
country despising his poor judgment, weather vane politics, and
unprecedented lack of morality. And then there was that minor
ideological division called the civil war–but maybe Mr. Marshall
hasn’t yet covered that in his studies.
Mr. Marshall also tries to create the impression of a current
populist uprising on the left, citing “hundreds of thousands of
individual contributions totaling less than $1000 each”. In fact,
according to the Washington Post, 64% of donors in 2002 giving $200
or less to federal candidates gave to Republicans, not Democrats.
In contrast, 92% of those giving $1 million or more contributed to
Democrats. By this measure, the Democratic party is floated mostly
by rich trial lawyers and left-wing Hollywood elites (including
George “I-hate-President-Bush” Soros, and Barbra
“I-hate-John-Ashcroft” Streisand), whereas the little guys and gals
are giving primarily to Republican candidates.
The electoral college was a intelligent creation that helps
balance the power structure within the country. If Mr. Marshall
does not like the electoral college, perhaps he would be more
comfortable with a system whereby each county receives one vote for
president in a winner-take-all arrangement. Of course, in that
system, George Bush would have defeated Al Gore by a 4 to 1