Many journalists don’t understand the Electoral College

Forget about the Rooskies, plastic straws and gender-based pronouns. The latest boogieman/boogie-womyn/boogie-etc for the Democrats is the Electoral College.

That’s of course the system where each state gets electoral votes in rough proportion to its population. The electoral votes are then cast in accordance with state law for presidential candidates. A candidate needs 270 to win the presidency.

In almost all states, it’s winner-take-all. Whichever candidate wins the most votes in a state gets all that state’s electoral votes.

This winner-take-all system chosen by the states can produce a president who did not win the most votes nationwide. This happens if one candidate wins by large margins in some states while the other candidate wins by small margins in other states. This happened in 2016 when Hillary Clinton won landslides in some states, but Donald Trump won narrowly in others.

The Electoral College is the system enshrined in the Constitution (remember that?) by the founders. They rejected a system of electing presidents through a nationwide vote. They wanted sovereign states united by a federal government. It’s called Federalism, and it has served us well.

But the Electoral College is under attack by Democrats ever since Trump won with 304 votes to Clinton’s 227. State sovereignty is out of fashion with the Dems except on certain favored issues like illegal immigration.

Aware that they could never get a Constitutional amendment passed to abolish the Electoral College, the Dems are instead scheming to nullify it with a pact among the states. Their scheme is probably a violation of the Constitutional prohibition (ah, that pesky Constitution again!) on interstate compacts, but we won’t know that for sure until the Supreme Court says so.

Federalism in general is a good thing to debate, as the Founders did. But some of the partisan attacks on the Electoral College are simply wrong on the facts. To wit:

It is not true that the Electoral College favors small states, as some journalists contend. Electoral College votes are in proportion to state population, aside from a small error introduced by allowing each state a vote corresponding to its two senators (another aspect of Federalism). Montana, Delaware and Wyoming each has only three votes and Rhode Island has four, while California has 55, New York has 29 and Texas has 36.

It also is not true that the Electoral College necessarily favors Republicans, as some journalists have wrongly claimed. What it may favor are the voters in states where the vote is close. Hillary won Maryland and its 10 votes by a landslide, while Trump won Wisconsin and its matching 10 votes by a sliver. An argument can be made, therefore, that each Wisconsin vote was more important than each Maryland vote in the sense that more of the Maryland votes were unneeded “excess” ones.

But a similar result obtains if we were to elect the president with a nationwide popular vote. All the votes for the winner in excess of the votes received by the losing candidate plus one vote, are unneeded “excess” votes.

In any event, the party affiliation of the voters has no bearing on this phenomenon. It can go either way, and in any given election it does. For example, Trump won Texas by a landslide, but still earned only 36 Electoral College votes — the same as if he’d won it by a single vote. A large number of Texas votes for Trump therefore wound up unneeded “excess” ones.

And finally, it is not true that the Electoral College somehow favors conservative rural voters at the expense of progressive urban ones as some liberal media outlets claim. To the contrary, an urban vote counts for exactly the same as a rural one. In California, the vote of a San Franciscan counts the same as the vote of a farmer in the Central Valley. The vote of a Floridian counts the same whether he’s in a Miami condo or a panhandle orange grove.

It’s true that in 2016 each of those California votes wound up less important than each Florida vote. But that’s not because the Florida votes were rural and the California votes were urban. It’s because the vote in Florida was close while the vote in California was not.

The lesson for voters who want their votes to be important is this. Make your state purple, not red or blue. Candidates don’t waste time campaigning in California or Texas, because those states are already in the bag. But they do campaign in Ohio and Florida, because those states can go either way.

Your state can be purple by being receptive to candidates from the other tribe. A purple state is a close state, and the votes in a close state are important.

To be fair, I think most journalists don’t intend to deceive in their reporting on the effects of the Electoral College (though I think the Dem politicians do, because it gins up their base).

Rather, I think many journalists simply lack the care and acumen to translate the Electoral College system into the Electoral College consequences. That’s unfortunate.

(Published Aug 11, 2019 in the Aspen Times at https://www.aspentimes.com/opinion/glenn-k-beaton-many-journalists-dont-understand-the-electoral-college/ )

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Facebook should be regulated as a public utility

My column two weeks ago was entitled “Democrats are no longer hypocrites.” For posting that column, Facebook suspended me from posting privileges for 24 hours.

You might ask, as I did, why?

In my column, I noted that in the old days Democrats hypocritically held themselves out as the party of love and compassion while they opposed the Civil Rights Act, while their KKK members lynched blacks and Jews, while they rioted at their own national convention in 1968, while they promoted unlimited abortion that has killed half of black fetuses in the last generation — about 20 million of them — and while they pursued a war in Vietnam that killed over a million people

All of that is factual.

But the Dems no longer hold themselves out as the party of love and compassion. They instead hold themselves out as takers. They candidly admit — nay, they boast — that they will take money from those who earn it and give it to those who vote for them. Continue reading

Democrats are no longer hypocritical

For a long time, Dems held themselves out as the party of love and compassion.  That was always a stretch. 

After all, it was the Dems who defended slavery against the Republican party of Abraham Lincoln; it was the Dems who were behind racial segregation in the South; it was the Dems who opposed civil rights laws; and it was the Dems who bombed government buildings and attacked policemen during civil unrest in the 60’s.

It was the Dems of the Ku Klux Klan who lynched blacks and occasionally Jews, and persecuted Catholics; it was the Dems who rioted at their own national convention in 1968; and it was the Dems who advocated, and still advocate, unlimited abortion on demand, thereby killing half the black fetuses in the country – about 20 million of them.
It was the Dems who got us into the Vietnam War, resulting in over 58,000 American deaths and over a million other deaths.   

Yet until recently the Dems hypocritically professed to be that party of love and compassion.  Their proof was this: They wanted to give more free stuff to more people.

That has changed.  Yes, the Dems still want to give more free stuff to more people in the hope of buying their votes. But now it’s not out of a sanctimonious show of love and compassion.  It’s instead out of anger. It’s class warfare. Continue reading

In understanding the universe, we’re like dogs playing the shell game

Dogs can’t understand a simple shell game. Try it.

Let the dog watch as you put two cups on the floor. Under one, put a clean toy (not a treat or a dirty toy because the dog can smell them out). As the dog watches, slowly switch the positions of the two cups.

Then ask, “Where’s your toy?”

The dog will choose the wrong cup. That’s simply because the wrong cup is now in the location where he last saw the toy. He’s unable to grasp the fact that when you switched the positions of the cups, you also switched the positions of their contents. Dog brains are limited.

Human brains also are limited. Humans are unable to grasp some concepts, no matter how hard we think, experiment and data-gather. The following examples may fall into that category. Continue reading

Aspen lefties mourn Paradise Lost but celebrate Utopia Found

I’m talking about an ice cream parlor. Yes, people who wouldn’t know John Milton from Milton Berle are in hellish agony over the decision by a landlord not to renew the lease on a local ice cream and cookie shop called Paradise Bakery.

The landlord was apparently offered a better deal by a clothing boutique.

This, say the lefties, proves again that capitalism is bad. First, capitalists come for the ice cream parlors and replace them with more profitable clothing boutiques. Next, they’ll come for the clothing boutiques and replace them with more profitable ice cream parlors.

Responding to people’s ever-changing tastes by selling them what they want to buy is just so immoral, huh?

So the social justice warriors are bombarding the newspapers with letters, vilifying the landlord and generally signalling simultaneously their love of self and food.

Enter our old tennis instructor cum new mayor who’s never met a problem too trivial for a ham-handed government solution. He demanded a meeting with the evil landlord. This is how things work in the socialist utopia of Aspen these days. Continue reading

What about the adoption option?

Americans abort over half a million fetuses a year. A single organization with the ironic name of Planned Parenthood prevents parenthood in this way several hundred thousand times a year.

Compared to the rest of the world, our abortion laws are lax. Only about 30% of countries allow abortion simply because a woman wants one. The abortion laws of Finland, Germany, France and several other European countries are more stringent than American law.

Some fetuses survive abortions, and are intentionally killed on the operating table. Hard data on this is difficult to obtain, of course, but in the macabre clinic of abortionist Kermit Gosnell it apparently happened fairly often.

A disproportionate number of aborted fetuses are racial minorities. Nearly as many black fetuses are aborted as are born. Altogether, 19 million black fetuses have been aborted in the United States since Roe v. Wade — about triple the number of Jews murdered in the Holocaust. Continue reading

Should Notre Dame include a mosque?

Just days after Notre Dame was nearly incinerated, wealthy French families pledged close to a billion dollars to restore that magnificent monument to European Christianity — several times the anticipated cost of the restoration.

French secularists who’ve been at war against religion since at least Voltaire were furious. First, the yellow-vested thugs protested that the money would be better spent on them, er, I mean on social justice. And anyway, how dare wealthy families be wealthy, and how dare they remind us of it by parting with some of their wealth, and how dare they do so voluntarily?

Then, even worse, the establishment weighed in. French President Emmanuel Macron declared that the historic Catholic church should be rebuilt “consistent with our modern, diverse nation.”

Architects — a profession devoted to foisting buildings that constitute a form onto a public that wishes their form would honestly follow their function — knew what Macron meant. They promptly suggested adding an Islamic minaret. Continue reading