In other sane and fair democracies with elected presidents, the whole county votes and the candidate supported by the most people becomes the president.
Sadly “sane” and “fair” are two words that should never be used to describe America’s system for electing presidents. Since we still use the arcane electoral college system, this year states with just 18 percent of the population will be deciding who our next leader is for the other 72 percent.
As we get closer to the election the number of true swing states that will decide the presidency is getting smaller and smaller. Election watchers agree that the election appears to currently hinge on just eight swing states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. Some also include North Carolina and/or Michigan, but it is very hard to picture a scenario where either would actually be decisive instead of merely winnable in a wave election.
These eight swing states have a combined population of roughly 56.6 million, but as a result of partisan patterns, historical compromises and a terribly designed election college system, they will basically be the only 56.6 million Americans who will matter this November. The other 255 million will for the most part be ignored and almost no effort will be made to try to win their vote.
This is good deal for those lucky few swing states that want to keep in place the bad policies which needlessly subsidize specific regional industries (think Iowa and corn ethanol). But it’s a horrible way to run a country.
The fact that America tries to hold itself up as the leader of the democratic world, but still hasn’t adopted a truly democratic way of electing our nation’s highest leader should be a national disgrace. The very real possibility that our system could result in the candidate with the second-most votes actually gaining control of the country for four years should be seen as a real constitutional and democratic crisis.
The mere fact that we have allowed this idiotic set-up to remain in place for so long should not be an excuse for allowing it to continue.