As described in this New York Times editorial, a “sneaky Republican initiative” in California is really a wolf wearing sheep’s clothing. It essentially says that California’s electoral votes for President should be split among candidates based on the percentage of votes each candidate gets. It claims to be seeking a more equitable arrangement than the current system of all votes going to one candidate — even if that candidate, for example, gets only one more vote than his or her opponent.
I agree with the Republican’s sentiment. But I also agree with the Times’ position. I would very much like to see a shift in how the electoral college works — a shift very similar to what is being proposed. However, I would want it only if it were done nationwide, not just in California. By being selective, it allows for Republican’s to get more electoral votes in a state usually won by Democrats while taking no such risks in reverse in states usually won by Republicans.
Let’s be clear. If this sort of system was in play nationwide back in 2000, or if the Electoral College was abandoned altogether in favor of a direct popular vote, Bush never would have become president. I doubt this is what the proponents of this California initiative have in mind. Don’t be fooled by the phony rhetoric. There is nothing fair about this proposal.
Regional primaries: another good idea. Speaking of revising how presidential elections work: I’d also welcome a change in the primary election format. Currently, every state seems to be racing to be among the first in the nation to hold their primary, so that the state will be “important” in determining who gets the nomination. The result is a front-loaded system which forces candidates to bounce around the country like a pinball in an arcade game — and which awards the nomination to a candidate before the voters have really had a chance to see how the candidate stands up to the rigors of a primary season. A far better solution would be to divide the country into five groups of ten states each, with each group containing states that are geographically near each other while maintaining an approximately equal number of combined electoral votes. We would then hold 5 regional primaries, one for each of the 5 groups, each held a month apart. The order of the primaries would vary with every election, so that over 5 elections, each group would get one shot at being the first primary of the season.