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December 23, 2004
Democrats To Push For End To Electoral College

After the 2004 elections, the Democrats looked at the voting pattern across the United States in the presidential election. Even worse than the state-by-state breakdown, the county map showing the level of support for John Kerry demonstrated the balkanization of the Democrats into the main urban areas, primarily on the coasts. Unsurprisingly, Democrats have lost enthusiasm for the Electoral College as they see less and less likelihood of holding onto anything but the large cities in the future, and Dianne Feinstein announced today that she will propose its demise:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Wednesday that when Congress returns in January, she will propose a constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College and replace it with a one-person, one-vote system for electing the nation's president and vice president.

In introducing the amendment, the Democrat from San Francisco is joining Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, who last month introduced a similar proposal in the House, which she said she would reintroduce in the 109th Congress that convenes on Jan. 3.

The two California lawmakers say the current system makes most Americans election bystanders, pointing toward the recent campaign in which President Bush and his Democratic rival, Sen. John Kerry, focused almost all their time, energy and campaign funds on a handful of undecided states in search of their electoral votes.

What Feinstein and Lofgren resent was the absence of the presidential candidates in California, which never gave much indication of any chance for George Bush to win. Despite the pair's assertions that only a handful of states got any attention, though, the two candidates spent the last few days of the campaign moving through a dozen states or more each, from high-population states such as Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania to smaller states such as Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, New Mexico, and others. Even if they didn't visit any one particular state, voters across the country could hardly miss the moment-to-moment coverage in the networks, cable outlets, Internet wire services, and blogs.

The argument that California votes for electors have less impact than in North Dakota is ludicrous. First, California has 55 electoral votes because of the size of its population. Second, Feinstein isn't unhappy about the way the vote went in California; she wants the excess votes to essentially spill over into other states to dilute their voice in the election. The same exact argument could be made to eliminate the Senate with much better logic. After all, a single vote in North Dakota for Senate comprises 1 in 310,000 -- while the single vote for a Senator in California comprises 1 in 11 million. Does Feinstein also propose eliminating the upper chamber in order to address this gross misrepresentation?

All Feinstein and Lofgren (and the perpetually clueless Lincoln Chaffee, representing Rhode Islanders who should be shaking their heads tonight) propose is a switch between those states and the big four or five: California, New York, Florida, Texas, and maybe Ohio or Pennsylvania. Ten percent of the states would determine the presidency, and probably produce all of the viable candidates for the office. Not coincidentally, Democrats do better in most of these states than anywhere else in the country. This isn't about direct democracy -- which the founding fathers deliberately avoided in order to give all the states a voice in the federal government.

Let me put it another way. If the Democrats are so concerned about direct election, why don't they arrange their presidential primaries in the same manner? Until they hold all of their primary elections and caucuses on one day and name the biggest vote-getter the winner, the Democrats are just blowing smoke about a commitment to democracy. They're just desperate now that they can no longer compete under the system they ran for decades.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 23, 2004 10:27 PM

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» The Left Admits Defeat? from Joust The Facts
Obliquely, to be sure, but Dianne Feinstein is introducing a bill to amend the Constitution, abolishing the Electoral College, and changing to direct election of President and Vice President. [Read More]

Tracked on December 24, 2004 6:06 AM

» In defense of the Electoral College from INCITE
Senator Diane Feinstein (D-Moon) and Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-Bat) have announced plans to push a constitutional amendment in 2005 to abolish the electoral college, instead replacing it by a straight popular-vote system. [Read More]

Tracked on December 24, 2004 10:41 AM

» Dissing the electoral college from Media Lies
Captain Ed blogs about attacks on the electoral college today. Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Wednesday that when Congress returns in January, she will propose a constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College and replace it with a one-person,... [Read More]

Tracked on December 24, 2004 9:37 PM

» The Roth Report for December 24th from Wes Roth
The Roth Report for Friday, December 24, 2004: Boy with new heart goes home for Christmas... Tehran Times: U.S. trying to produce fake nuclear documents implicating Iran... Captain's Quarters: Democrats To Push for End of Electoral College... NOR... [Read More]

Tracked on December 24, 2004 11:37 PM

» Why Instant Runoff Voting Is A Bad Idea from Thirty Second Thoughts
...The beauty of the electoral college is that it tempers the volatile political mood swings of the electorate, ensures that moderates (on both sides of the aisle) control the political system, and encourages compromise across the political divide. O... [Read More]

Tracked on December 26, 2004 6:13 AM

» If you can't win, change the rules from AmberGnat
If there is one thing you can say about Democrats, they have not an ounce of compunction over destroying any U.S. custom, practice, or institution that interferes with their mission of jamming their agenda down the throats of unwilling Americans.... [Read More]

Tracked on December 26, 2004 8:29 PM

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