We Need to Change the Way We Elect Our President
by Anthony Stasi
Feb 12, 2015 | 5622 views | 0 0 comments | 103 103 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Gallup released a poll last week that listed the 10 most conservative and 10 most liberal states in the country. Nothing shocking in that Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana are in the conservative column as Massachusetts, Vermont, and New York are in the most liberal column.

The poll shows a graphic of each state with the typical red, blue, or gray colors. In this case gray just means that the particular state has an average number of liberals and conservatives. An example of a gray state in this case is Indiana.

The title of the report may as well have been “The 20 Least Relevant States in Any Presidential Election.” States that are heavily left or right are not really players in presidential elections anymore. There is a way around this, and the time has come to change how we vote in national elections.

A few years ago, Pennsylvania considered using a district plan in the 2012 presidential race. This means that the 20 congressional districts (electoral votes) would have been scored separately. In other words, winning Pennsylvania’s popular vote would not mean getting all 20 electoral votes.

Instead, winning the vote in a district would have given Mitt Romney or Barack Obama that one district’s electoral vote. It would have meant that each district would be weighed independently of the state, instead of being lumped into one state at the end of Election Day.

Pennsylvania voted the idea down. The plan may seem like sour grapes from a party that is tired of losing the vote in swing states, but it is not.

Consider that Texas almost always votes Republican in presidential races. Yet, Texas’ 16th District in El Paso is quite liberal. In a one-by-one district plan, El Paso’s electoral votes would help a Democratic candidate.

The district plan means that candidates would still compete for the same 435 electoral votes. The margin to win would not change either. It just means that, for example, Staten Island’s 11th District gets to be heard, just like El Paso gets to be heard.

This plan would not require constitutional tinkering, so there would be no Supreme Court worries on the horizon. It would make at least 20 states less ignorable. Why is that a bad thing?

In the current system, people in minority parties in particular states are virtually irrelevant. Because of this, election turnouts are lower as well.

We are a year away from the next presidential contest, but imagine how interesting it would be to have a district plan. It is simpler, and it would give us a more honest picture of what the voters feel.

Guessing on 2016

Although we are far from the next national election, we are not far from the nomination process. So in a cold gray February, a few thoughts:

The Democratic nominee will not be Hillary Clinton. People drop out of races for all kinds of reasons, and there is the very real possibility that Clinton does not get to the finish line.

President Obama’s endorsement is going to be gigantic to whoever wants the Oval Office, and in the back of his mind, he would rather throw his support behind someone like Elizabeth Warren or Andrew Cuomo.

With Mitt Romney not running in 2016, the party is left with a vacuum. Absent Romney, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (should he run) would be the best option for the GOP.

Jindal would be the best choice for the GOP, because he brings the intelligence of a Romney without the “northeast liberal” label, and being of Indian-American ethnicity - while it does not say anything about his ability to govern - gives the party a realistic chance to reach some non-traditional GOP voters.

And recent scowls from the New York Times are sure to give him some conservative love. There has never been a Bush known to lose a GOP nomination, however, so there is always that.

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