Byline: The Register-Guard
The Electoral College becomes harder to like when it starts seeming more like a fraternity that invites only a few of the coolest guys to pledge. It's seeming that way now as states like Oregon fade toward irrelevancy in the presidential campaign, while both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney move closer to qualifying for residency in Ohio. The Electoral College, valued in principle as a bastion of federalism, is functioning in practice as a means of making a few swing states surrogates for the entire country.
In the Electoral College system, each state has as many electors as it has U.S. senators and U.S. House members: Oregon, for instance, has seven electors. All seven will support the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote in Oregon on Nov. 6.
The all-or-nothing system means that Obama need not invest time or money to pad his comfortable lead in Oregon. Any resources Romney pours into Oregon are wasted because improving his vote total would not affect the Electoral College result unless he can win - and his chances of winning are better elsewhere.
Most states are like Oregon - either Obama or Romney is leading by margins unlikely to change by Election Day. …