Saturday, October 25, 2008

Attention Please

New Yorker Gail Collins laments the way her state is largely ignored by the presidential campaigns.

Here we are just a little more than a week away from one of the most important elections in modern history, and most of us are beside the point, our states long since written off as hopelessly red or blue.

The reason for this is......

As we all know, in America the president is actually chosen by an Electoral College of 538 members......The electors are chosen by the states, winner take all. The only exceptions are Maine and Nebraska, which divvy their electors up more or less according to the popular vote.

This leaves Gail feeling neglected.

I want attention! I want to get Republican robo-calls during the dinner hour, telling me that Barack Obama is a terrorist. I want to have college students from other states coming to my door with helpful leaflets. I want volunteers offering to drive me to the polls. Or sitting at my feet, admiring the way I fill out my absentee ballot. I want to hear political ads every time I turn on the television. I want the love!

I think the only way to break out of the pattern Gail bemoans would be for voters to pull a surprise on election day, to go against the polls and give the state to the other candidate, or at least make it closer than expected. As she said, the odds of that happening are pretty long.

Speaking as a resident of a state that is not only considered a Republican presidential lock but generally not worth much trouble for a measly 3 electoral votes, I agree in principal with Gail that the Electoral College needs changing to a proportional setup. However, the annoyance wrought by the advocates of both sides of the ballot issues here gives me enough of a taste of what voters in contested states are going through that I'm willing to see the bright side of not getting the attention of the big boys.

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