The Sublette County Journal
Volume 5, Number 12 - 11/16/00
brought to you online by Pinedale Online
This ongoing dispute over the Presidential Election between George Bush and Al Gore is starting to get a little scary. There's something disquieting about it that I can't quite put my finger on.
In many other countries, the transfer of power is never peaceful, or easy. At least in my lifetime, transferring power in the United States has been like clockwork. Not this time.
Part of my uneasiness comes from delay after delay of when the Florida results will be completed. Recount after recount has served to push the final outcome further and further back. Now the lawyers have taken over, and who knows what the outcome will be.
The latest I've heard is that the Florida results will be certified after the overseas ballots are counted, sometime this weekend. Let's hope so.
Regardless of the Florida outcome, one of the candidates is going to be the loser. Let's hope he's statesman enough to concede gracefully and let the country move on.
Along these lines, I can't remember receiving as much negative feedback over an editorial as I have over last week's in which I said Gore deserves the Presidency because he won the popular vote. (For the record, I voted for Bush!)
Several people disagreed vigorously with me. Most argued that the Electoral College system gives small states like Wyoming some say in whom becomes President. The argument continues that if the President was elected based on the popular vote, than just the Northeast and California would chose the President. The candidates would have no reason to campaign in the low-populated states in the West and Midwest.
This is a good point, but not enough of one to sway my opinion. First, the candidates don't spend much time campaigning in Wyoming now, with the current Electoral College system. Second, Wyoming's three electoral votes would only count in a very close election like this year's. But, our 200,000 popular votes would also be significant in this year's very close popular vote.
Third, under the Electoral College system, the vote for President from a small town newspaper editor in California helps decide how that state's 54 Electoral votes are cast. My vote helps decide how Wyoming's paltry three Electoral votes are cast. Thus, his vote for president counts 18 times as much as mine! (3 X 18 = 54, get it?) This is not fair!
Fourth, the one person in Pinedale who voted for Mr. Gore should be upset because his or her vote doesn't count in the overall picture since Wyoming is a 'winner take all' state for Electoral votes.
Finally, I think there is something sacred about the principle of one man, one vote. If the majority of Americans believe Mr. Gore should be President, then he should be. It doesn't matter to me where they live. Majority is majority.
Remember, U.S. Senators were originally chosen by a vote of State Legislatures. The Constitution had to be amended to allow the popular vote election of Senators that is in place now.
Certainly, there may be an argument for the Electoral College in that it helps protect small states like Wyoming from the tyranny of large states like New York. But Wyoming is already protected in the Constitution through its two U.S. Senators (same number as New York) and the process it takes to amend the Constitution (3/4 of the states). In the end, what is good for Wyoming may not be good for the country.
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