Electoral Smectoral.. Reform Needed
It's way past time for the Electoral College system to be revised, but not for the reasons you think...
I've been puzzling and studying over this since the divisive 2000 election and keep coming to the same conclusion. The Electoral College system needs to be revised. In a graphic on Real Clear Politics website dated today (10/29/04), it shows the current electoral breakdown four days before the 2004 election.
It strikes me as extremely ridiculous that Bush could win so many states in the 2000 election and perhaps in the 2004 election and still have the Electoral College totals so close. NO WONDER the rhetoric is so virulent from both the Bush and Kerry camps. The Bush camp sees their candidate carrying 70% of the actual states but, if the polls are correct (they're not), being in a desperate scrape for electoral votes. The Kerry camp, on the other hand, sees that their candidate, at most will only carry 15 states (30%) and realize that he does not have the favor of most of the states, so they seize on every scrap and iota of unproved news they can find to try and curry favor.
I think it would be much wiser and more democratic for us to keep the current electoral college system in place BUT add a formula for the number of states carried as well. I think this would recognize the significance and autonomy of statehood in our incredible nation, as well as preventing those states with larger populations and thus more electoral votes, to sway elections. It's easy to see that people with a certain world view or perspective gravitate toward certain parts of the country. This formula would require a presidential candidate to focus on all states, and not just those that they may be able to sway on the East or West coasts.
One idea of the formula would be EV (electoral votes) +5 for statehood. Whichever candidate wins the EV for that state receives that state's electoral votes +5. It's extremely fair (who wouldn't want to recognize the importance and governance of the states?), and we already have a model for it: the US Congress! You see, in Congress, every state has a number of representatives in the House based on that state's population (the Electoral College is also population-based). The Senate is composed of 2 senators from each state, regardless of size (where my proposal comes in... allowing a +5 to the EV). These two balance themselves out, ensuring that ALL states matter, and not just those with the larger populations (and sometimes similar political perspectives).
But I bet the Kerry-ites would prefer to continue seeking the approval of a few rather than appealing to ALL the states.