Electoral College-Flunking Out?

The Nation, March 19, 2001 | Go to article overview

Electoral College-Flunking Out?


DeKalb, Ill.

* Thanks for Lani Guinier's superb critique of the election horror, "Making Every Vote Count" [Dec. 4]. Corporocratic America will never allow genuine democracy in this Republic.

Steve Mitchell

New York City

* Lani Guinier is right on the mark. We knew she was right when President Clinton bumbled her nomination in 1993. It was, perhaps, his biggest blunder. Given what happened in Florida, we now know what the problem was: Guinier was ahead of her (and our) time. George W. Bush won the election by suppressing votes. Suppressing the vote is an aspect of fascism. It is anathema to democracy, even as imperfect a democracy as ours. Fred J. Berg

Miami

* Lani Guinier's article is 100 percent convincing. Every Nation reader should be solidly in the corner for total election reform. That includes instant-runoff voting (IRV), proportional representation, state-of-the-art electronic voting equipment, weekend voting and the elimination of the Electoral College.

Speaking of the Electoral College: We have our fourth graduate with Dubya--the first since 1888. How does a person graduate? By losing the election! It's the worst college in America and needs to be closed down by the enactment of a Twenty-eighth Amendment to the Constitution. In our political adventure novel, The Oakland Statement, published New Year's Day 2000, we predicted that Oakland, California, would be the first major city to initiate IRV, and the citizens did it on November 7. We also predicted that Al Gore would lose the presidency, and that happened on December 12.

As we outlined the new amendment in our novel: All citizens shall have the absolute right to the most equitable methods of a representative electoral system. The specific language of the amendment is put forth in legal detail.

As Guinier said, "We must not let this once-in-a-generation moment pass." We strongly believe that if this does not happen, our democracy will implode in the elite corporate boardrooms. Barry Goldwater was condemned in 1964 for his famous quote, "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice." He was correct.

We believe that if the people are not given the absolute right to the most equitable methods of a representative electoral system, then, as the Declaration of Independence says, "Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive to these ends...it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it." Our interpretation of this founding revolutionary document grants citizens the power to take "extraordinary action" in order to save the democracy.

We challenge all Nation readers to focus on what Guinier calls a "national conversation," which must end with the enactment of the Twenty-eighth Amendment to the Constitution.

Frederick Ellis and Carl Frederick

Grand Forks, N.D.

* Lani Guinier made some good points about abolishing the Electoral College, but I have to take offense at her math. Wake me up if I'm wrong, but I thought representation was determined on the basis of a census and not on the voter participation in a given state. Wyoming has three electoral votes. With a population of roughly 450,000, each electoral vote could be said to represent roughly 150,000 people--a factor of two more than Guinier claimed. Her point, however, was to mark the disparity between states like Wyoming and Florida--where roughly 13 million people have 25 electoral votes. In Florida each electoral vote represents 520,000 people. Jon Jackson

Brecksville, Ohio

* Lani Guinier's argument declaring the Electoral College as immorally conceived because it promoted slavery is incorrect. The Electoral College was intended first and foremost to temper the "passions" of the citizens eligible to vote. Considering the electoral map of the 2000 election, it appears that without the Electoral College, much weight would be placed on the opinions of those living on the nation's coasts and northern urban areas. …

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