Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Electoral College Sham

Massachusetts maintains a governmental balance of sorts with a consistently Democratic legislature and, more often than not, a Republican governor who is moderate by today's national Republican party standards.
The current version of this phenomenon is Republican governor Charlie Baker, who, like many Republicans trying to maintain support at home with two eyes on a national stage, has been doing something of a dance around the issue of the Trump phenomenon- not voting for either Trump or Clinton.
But he has extended the tortured logic this week in his expressed support for the electoral college:
"If we really played this game on a popular vote only, literally half the states in the United States would be disenfranchised, and no one would campaign there, and no one would care. I think that would be a huge problem."
Baker's claim, an echo of other Republicans is a classic case of drawing a conclusion based on partisan advantage, but reaching for a plausibly sounding principle.
This fails in a few ways. First, only people have a right to vote and can be disenfranchised, not states. In fact, Republican voters in Baker's home state of Massachusetts have felt disenfranchised for decades by the electoral college, which he, as a Republican voter in other election years, conveniently ignores. So that argument makes no sense.
Second, Baker conflates being disenfranchised- losing the ability to vote or to have a vote count- with having a campaign pay attention to voters by visiting the state, which is two different things. And, of course, the presidential candidates ignore Baker's home state of Massachusetts in the general election as they often flock to neighboring New Hampshire, so -ahem- he must be more concerned about other states than he is about Massachusetts.
No, Baker is more likely excited about the prospect of America being ready for a sane candidate as early as the next cycle, someone who even Democrats perceive to be a reasonable person with appropriate background and temperament, and yes, someone who has a chance to win under the existing structure of the electoral college.

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