Friday, September 28, 2007

There They Go Again!

I read that in the runup to our Iraq invasion in '03, the President met with France's then head of state, Mr. Chirac. Pulling out all the stops to persuade the French to join us, Mr. Bush referred to obscure biblical passages in the Book of Ezekiel, where one can read about Gog and Magog, Armageddon and the Second Coming of the Messiah. Chirac didn't understand a word of all this and decided to contact a French theologian for a better understanding. We know the results. The French never did buy in to the Bush case for war. Still, there's a question left hanging: Did Bush himself believe the Bible esoterica? Or was this just a desperate play for support, hoping the "Christian" French would decide that they, too, had heard biblical voices from the dust?

I throw out a question, hoping everybody answers "sure": Does everyone understand how the Electoral College works? I was surprised to learn recently that not all states treat their electoral votes in exactly the same way. In 48 states, the "winner take all" principle applies. All electoral votes go to the greatest vote getter, even if that candidate fails to get a majority of all votes.
But two states do it differently, though darned if I can recall WHICH two. In this other arrangement candidates can get electoral votes by being top dog in a Congressional (House)district within the state even if the rest of the state is lost. Under this system, a state with an even number of votes could even have the electoral be divided equally.
With me so far? Here's what's happening now. The largest pot of electoral votes is found, no surprise, in California, for some time a "Blue" (Democratic) state. The Golden State is not one of the two mentioned above, being a "winner take all" state for presidential elections. But the Republican Party is proposing to change California to a state with the other system described above.
Can you see the net effect here? Without a "Red" (GOP leaning) state or combination of states to make a similar change at the same time, this amounts to simply grabbing electoral votes by changing the rules for a SINGLE state, since there are likely to be several of California's 50 plus congressional districts that vote Republican for president even if the majority is still Democratic.
That's wrong. Changing the Electoral College from state-based to congressional district based should be done for the entire country, or for none of it. I wouldn't start to sweat about this just yet, though.California is notorious for sending tough issues directly to the voters to decide, and every election features a number of direct vote proposals that can get pretty complicated. But this proposal, I have to say, is not even CLOSE to being either complex, or fair. You CA voters should vote "NO" when and if this proposal comes around.


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