How's that for a catchy title?
Interesting opposing viewpoints in The Charlotte Observer this morning.
EJ Dionne proposes saving Democracy by doing away with the Electoral College. He starts:
"The individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the president of the United States."
That is not some reactionary piece of propaganda denying your right to choose the next president. It is one of the more memorable sentences from the Supreme Court's decision in Bush v. Gore, the 2000 case that put the current occupant in the White House for his first term.
The American way of electing the president is antiquated, impractical and dangerous. It is odd indeed that in 2000, a nation devoted to bringing democracy to the world gave power to the man who actually received 543,895 fewer votes than his opponent.
Everyone's favorite whining wingnut, David Broder thinks that putting the responsibility of choosing the nation's president into the peoples' hands is dangerous. How is it dangerous?
The sincerity and stubborn persistence of Bayh and the others notwithstanding, this is a questionable proposition. No one knows what the abandonment of a federal principle -- voting by states for the highest officer in the land -- would mean for American politics and government.
The two-party system that is the underpinning of our form of representative government is supported by the Electoral College, which gives each party a reliable base of support and forces both to compete fiercely for swing voters in the places where they are of roughly equal strength. That mix of stability and uncertainty is the formula for a healthy politics, and changing the formula should not be done casually.
A direct election scheme almost certainly would boost the astronomical cost of presidential campaigns. It would likely offer new temptation for self-financed millionaire candidates to run as independents, knowing that their major-party opponents would no longer have any assurance of electoral advantage.
Bulloney, Broder. Pull your head out of your hind end and see the light of day.
What do you think? Do we still need the Electoral College or is it an antiquated idea that has seen better days?