If you live in Kentucky, why bother to vote for President next month? Thanks to our antiquated and anti-democratic electoral college, America this time out has but eight “battleground states” and Kentucky is not one of them. Within these eight golden prizes, there are but 30 counties that matter.
Kentucky alone has four times that many counties, but their voters won’t be wooed, cajoled or even bought. We are invisible.
You won’t see President Barack Obama, Vice-President Joe Biden, Governor Mitt Romney or Congressman Paul Ryan in the Bluegrass State unless they’re making a play for Ohio’s electoral votes from a Northern Kentucky pulpit, gobbling up the local news channels seen in Cincinnati.
Yes, you will note that both President Obama and Governor Romney will be in New York and California quite a bit – at fund-raising events. Both these states are firmly in Obama’s column. But that is where the money is. So any input these candidates receive will be from filthy rich voters who can pay, say, $50,000 for a plate of chicken. The advice the candidates receive will not be from cab drivers, students and factory workers. It will be from Wall Street bankers and Hollywood starlets, some as dumb as rocks. With their wealth, the donors will buy access – make no mistake.
Contenders for the next four years in the White House will depend on the common sense advice and yearnings from those lucky voters living in 30 counties in eight states. Folks in Pikeville, San Antonio, Atlanta, Nashville and Louisville won’t be heard. Lay the blame where it belongs: the Electoral College is the culprit.
The Electoral College gives each state one vote per congress member plus one for each United States senator. This fails to reflect the national popular will, vastly over-representing rural states. For example, in 1988, the voting age population in the seven least populous states was 3,119,000. These states yielded 21 electoral votes, the same as Florida, which had a voting age population of 9,614,000 – thus Floridians had one-third the voting weight of their counterparts in these seven states, thanks to “winner takes all.”
Further, the Electoral College makes it difficult if not impossible for Third Party or Independent Presidential candidates to have a chance. Mathematically, such outsiders could snag as much as 25 percent of the popular vote, yet receive no electoral votes.
When you vote for President, you are simultaneously electing the electors who actually elect the President. Some fear “faithless electors” who, for good or ill, might betray trust and vote their conscience or be susceptible to bribery.
But nobody seems to care enough to challenge The Status Quo – so what do we Kentuckians whose votes won’t matter to do? Here’s my perspective.
I won’t be voting for Obama.
Mr. Hope and Change smashed Hope and Change and never made the bus.
Just the facts, ma’am: Our President blames Bush for all ills, yet accelerated massive electronic surveillance of our citizenry, maintains military trials of civilians and gutted due process, failed to close Gitmo, and doubled-down on dreaded drone strikes that, while targeting “insurgents,” concomitantly take with them innocent civilians, women and children who are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Our Commander-In-Chief calls Afghanistan “the good war,” profoundly idiotic and insensitive beyond imagination. An Orwellian landscape.
We’re adding a trillion dollars a year to the national debt and unemployment seems fixed at over eight percent – which in no way reflects the under-employed and those who, discouraged to even submit yet another job application, have dropped out of the hunt (10.2 percent may be closer to reality).
As a good friend wryly observed, “Should Obama be elected, what a mess he will inherit!”
Since Romney will win Kentucky in a walk and Obama in no way deserves re-election, consider voting for a third party and at least making a small statement. Thanks to the Electoral College, that’s the realpolitik.
We are granted the right to vote to delude us into thinking we have a stake in what goes on, and that’s about it, folks. Like food stamps are intended – not because government is benevolent but anxious to avoid uprisings by a hungry citizenry – the “right to vote” is an illusion in our Presidential contest next month. Neither candidate need vie for the support of Kentuckians, need learn our special needs, need know the desires of our hearts, need have concern for our future. Polls put us firmly in the Romney camp. The popular vote is just a popularity contest.
Worse still, it is a popularity contest that won’t produce a winner.
Remember, Al Gore “won” in 2000.
But anyway, I’m Carl Brown and that’s just my own damn perspective. If you don’t like it, reconsider. Just remember that when you vote next month, you delude yourself into thinking that it really matters.