An obligatory "what if" story involving the electoral college has gone up on most of the major news sites over the past few days. The most popular version seems to be a scenario where President Obama wins the electoral vote, but loses the popular vote to Mitt Romney. In a perfect world, the worry over continuing close votes would set the stage for some type of serious discussion about the need for eliminating the archaic system of electing a President based on the total and size of the states who cast their majorities for that person.
But this is America in the twenty-first century, and we don't like to deal with any emergencies until the tide is rushing in our front doors or the clown car has just flown off the cliff.
In 2000 when Texas Governor George Bush was running for President against Vice-Presidnt Al Gore, the Bush people had concerns that an extremely close election might leave them winning the popular vote and Gore taking the electoral vote - and thus winning the election. To that end, they reportedly had a team of lawyers standing by to challenge the "unfairness" of the electoral college. And, of course the Republican rabble would be whipped into a frenzy to demand the elimination of the electoral college from American presidential politics.
The result, sadly, was exactly the opposite of what they predicted. Bush's lawyers had to regroup and rush to Florida to challenge all recounts and to argue about the highly questionable Florida results before the U.S. Supreme Court. George Bush won Florida by around 500 shady votes, thanks to a 5-4 decision of the Supreme Court - and he won the electoral college vote while losing the popular vote. Bush was pleased at his "legitimate" victory, and the yahoos stayed penned up in their yards because the "right" man had won.
Now the upcoming election appears to tightening with each passing day, and the prognosticators are again talking about the electoral college. The most common scenario (as mentioned above) seems to be a Romney win of the popular vote, and the President winning the electoral vote, with Romney piling up huge pluralities in the
But if that happens those Republican voters who were alright with the electoral college in 2000 are likely to be of a different mind this time around - especially if they feel their man was cheated by an arcane system that favored a Kenyan with big ears and a questionable birth certificate. And when the morons get mad, there could be hell to pay. Not only might they not be supportive of someone who doesn't meet their high levels of religious hatred and skin tone tests, they might actually work to obstruct his efforts to govern and move the country forward.
Like the spoiled school yard bullies that they actually are.
Regardless of who wins the Presidency next Tuesday, it is well past time to put an end to the electoral college - and if we ever again are fortunate enough to elect a Congress that is functional, drafting an Amendment to that effect and submitting it to the states for approval should be one of its highest priorities.
America has matured over the past two centuries. We are old enough to vote without using an intermediary system to shape our votes, and we are also old enough to own our mistakes.