When this grueling, interminable presidential campaign ends next week, I will be down on my knees expressing gratitude that the long slog is over. Regardless of the winner.
As a cable-news junky, I can no longer bring myself to watch the insulting hyperbole that the political hacks would mislead us into believing true. Bush supporters would have you think Kerry is a traitor who shot himself in Vietnam in order to earn medals. Kerry backers want you to look at Bush as a butcher, worse than Hitler.
Then it occurred to me... wait a minute. All Americans are not inundated with the idiotic presidential campaigns to the extent we are in this state. Michigan is considered one of about ten political swing states. As a swing state, Republicans and Democrats are each capable of receiving the most presidential votes in Michigan and thus is a major campaign target. Though I live in a swing state, I dont feel like dancing because George W. Bush and John Kerry are in our faces constantly - lying, threatening and bullying us to vote for them.
To add insult to injury, about half of American votes will not count in our ridiculous Electoral College voting system. As always, the 2004 presidential election process will give the entire bloc of each states votes to only one candidate. In the 2000 election, Bush received almost as many votes as Gore in Michigan, yet
Bush received zero elec-toral votes (Gore got them all). In that same election, Gore received only 527 less votes at the polls than Bush in Florida, yet Gore received no electoral votes for his efforts. Does that seem like democracy in action to you?
Despite the unfairness of the system, it is nonsense to conclude that Bush is an illegitimate president because he didnt have as many popular votes as Al Gore in 2000. All aspiring candidates, if they have more than a pea brain, work the system that is currently in place - winning the most electoral votes. Three other past presidential candidates failed to win the popular vote, yet ended up in the White House. In fact, if I had to pick the results of the 2004 election today (ten days prior), I believe Bush will win the popular vote and Kerry the electoral. Lets not even talk about the possible political fallout, though, if I am correct.
Regardless of who wins this year, we need to use a simple, nationwide popular vote as the measure for winning U.S. presidential elections in the future. Awarding all votes for each state to the winner of the respective state makes no sense. We are supposed to be voting for the President of the United States, not the president of Michigan, Iowa, or Missouri. That is what governors are for. Winning the most votes nationwide, regardless of state, is fairer and closer to the heart of what any true democracy deserves.
Almost a year ago, the powerful Iraqi Ayatollah al-Sistani demanded that Iraqis be allowed to elect their officials by popular vote. The U.S. government had been pushing for indirect elections in Iraq via a caucus-style not unlike the U.S. electoral process. After Sistanis demand, President Bush backed down and Iraqis have been promised democratic elections by popular vote, beginning in January 2005. Is it too much for Americans to ask for an election process, equally democratic as the Iraqi model?
A little publicized initiative in Colorado may be the answer. Voters in that state will decide on November 2 if their electoral votes will be split based on the popular vote, not winner-takes-all for the Electoral College. The beauty of the Colorado plan is that the endless process for approving a Constitutional amendment on elections would be bypassed if each state adopted a similar measure.
Michigan should join Colorado and every other state to end our voting system that effectively disenfranchises millions of voters. A fringe benefit for me is that each state would then become a swing state and some of the attack ads would be diverted back to Texas and Massachusetts where they were launched.