There is a movement afoot to make us more like Germany. Specifically, the movement is to do away with the electoral college and select the president with a straight national majority vote. Massachusetts is the latest state to jump aboard the band wagon built from years of whining (mainly by liberals who think elections they lost were “unfair”). Hawaii, New Jersey, Illinois, Maryland, and Washington have also passed the National Popular Vote. This is a terrible idea, and without question contrary to the intentions of the founding fathers. Hell, why don’t we just get rid of the Senate while we’re at it?
I know. You think it sounds like a good idea. You can admit it. Well, you’re not alone. According the National Popular Vote website, approximately 70% of the American population supports changing the electoral college. Of course, the 70% probably all graduated from public schools (just kidding…sort of). Look, we have the electoral college for a reason, and it functions the way it functions for a reason. I think a lesson on government is in order, and its going to be the quick and dirty version.
The United States is a federation (not the wrestling kind). In other words, it’s a sovereign state, made up of what are largely self-governing states. The power of the federal government is specifically limited to its enumerated powers, with the majority of the governing to be left to the states (well, that’s what the dusty old Constitution says anyway). Now, when the United States was founded, it had thirteen sovereign states. Each of those states agreed to become a part of the United States because they benefited from doing so.
America is also a representative democracy, in which we elect representatives to run the government and represent the interests of their constituents. Smaller states were understandably concerned that larger, more populous states would control the federal government simply because they had more people, and therefore, more representatives. In an effort to have our cake and eat it too, the founders created two houses of Congress. One house, the House of Representatives, consists of 435 representatives. The number of representatives each state sends to the House is based on the state’s population. Thus, California has more representatives than Rhode Island. The second house of Congress, the Senate, was created to give every state an equal voice. As such, each state has two Senators.
Why does this matter to the electoral college? Well, because how we set up the electoral college is based on the same rationale as Congress. Each state has a certain number of electors (which are based upon the total number of Representatives and Senators in that state). In other words, the more people in your state, the more electors you have. The electors then formally cast their ballots for the President and Vice President. All of the electors in the state cast their votes for the candidate selected by the majority of the state’s population. The candidate who receives 270 electors wins.
History lesson over. There is a movement throughout the country to change the way we do the electoral college thing. The movement isn’t to do away with the electoral college per se, but instead to force state electors to vote for the candidate that receives a national majority instead of a state majority. This is, simply put, a horrifically stupid idea. Once again, there is a reason for why the electoral college was set up the way it was. A straight national majority vote would only result in an election dominated by urban areas in populous states, and basically get the president elected by California, Texas, Florida, and New York every time. The rest of us can stay home.
I find this to be another one of those definitional issues. The United States of America is a federalist country, it’s not something else. Those that argue the electoral college needs to be, for all practical purposes, trashed, base it on the fact that only a few swing states matter during an election. This may be true, but that’s only because the other states’ populations generally vote for a certain party…it’s not because one state is simply more populous than another. Our current system still allows for small states to matter, which it’s supposed to. If we change the system, why not just get rid of the states, and go all NCAA Division I football and create five regional conferences. Then whatever candidate gets three electoral votes wins.
But it appears that I’m just a quiet voice in the wilderness, since all of you who slept through fifth grade civics class appear to be in the significant majority.
In an effort to make sure that only criminals and his private security force can easily obtain fire arms, Chicago Mayor Daley vows to fight for his gun ban.
“As a city we must continue to stand up ..and fight for a ban on assault weapons .. as well as a crackdown on gun shops,” Daley said. “We are a country of laws not a nation of guns.”
The sheer amount of irony in that last sentence just made me spit coffee all over my computer screen. While we may be a “nation of laws,” Chicago certainly isn’t…since it’s deemed itself a sanctuary city for the harboring of illegal immigrants. And while I can’t speak to whether we are a “nation of guns,” I can say that, after the number of shootings in Chicago lately, The Second City certainly appears to have its share.
I can hear it now…”activist judges…radicals in robes…blah, blah, blah.” The Supreme Court this morning ruled that Chicago’s gun ban, the strictest in the nation, is unconstitutional. Many, including myself, considered this to be inevitable following the Supremes striking down Washington D.C.’s gun ban. The only issue was whether the Second Amendment would be applied to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment, like every other right set forth in the Bill of Rights has been. While a no-brainer after the Washington D.C. case created the necessary precedent, the vote was nonetheless 5-4.
I’m sure Mayor Daley is in his office right now, with his bottle of Jameson’s and tears streaming down his cheeks. He loved his gun ban. I’ve never been real sure why–maybe a deal with the mob. In recent years though, his position has become simply unsupportable given the number of shootings that have been occurring on the city’s outskirts daily. If the thugs have the guns, why can’t we?
Gangs are over-running neighborhoods in the city and shooting anything and everything that moves. That might be o.k. if Chicago was suffering from a bear problem; but when the bears are actually six year-olds playing outside at noon…or 2 a.m. (parents?), it usually turns out badly. It might also be o.k. if the nanny-state was actually good at protecting its citizens, instead of simply cleaning up the mess. Of course, the cops know who the gang-bangers are, but they aren’t allowed to go crack some heads like they used to do. Now, maybe the law-abiding citizens can defend themselves…or at least create the illusion of doing so.
Now if the Supreme Court would just rule that Illinois’ ban on me buying fun fireworks is unconstitutional due to it depriving me of happiness, I wouldn’t have to spend my entire Fourth of July figuring out how many snappers I had to tie together to blow up a styrofoam cup.
More pandering. I can at least accept it from a state like California, which has its own illegal immigration problems. If Councilman Reyes thinks Arizona should sink into the quagmire that is California’s budget nightmare, then so be it. But to have to listen to a Kennedy issue edicts on Arizona policy from behind a walled compound in the northeast makes me vomit in my mouth a little. Instead, the Kennedys should simply continue campaigning on global warming while objecting to a wind farm being placed within their line of sight.
Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D.-R.I.) said last week that Mexican President Felipe Calderon had been “right on” in criticizing Arizona’s new immigration enforcement law…“Well, he’s right on,” Kennedy told CNSNews.com. “I mean, it violates the spirit of our own Constitution.
Well, I’m convinced. I’m not sure what the “spirit of our Constitution” is, but I’m quite certain it doesn’t include people residing here illegally. Rep. Kennedy then does what a liberal does best, completely ignore the statute in question, and brings up some completely irrelevant history:
“So, you know, we had a tragic history in this country,” said Kennedy. “The most shameful parts of our history were when we had our slave trade, when we, when we, the Trail of Tears–what we did to our Native Americans. And, you know, the proudest moments in our history are when we had the Civil Rights Act, when we moved forward on integration and expanding the opportunities for all of our citizens.
Don’t forget about the internment of the Japanese-American citizens during World War II. That was racial profiling at its best. Rep. Kennedy, I’m failing to see the similarities between approaching those suspected of being here illegally and the slave trade. In fact, I’ll go one step further and say there’s absolutely no similarity between the two.
“So, this idea of, you know, racial profiling, takes us backwards and really goes to the worst character of our nation and it’s, it’s demeaning to our country that we would move in that direction,” said Kennedy. “It’s beneath us as a people.”
Is it too much to ask of our elected representatives to actually read something before offering an opinion on it. The statute says, very specifically, that racial profiling may not be used as a basis for questioning someone. “It’s beneath us as a people” to enforce our own laws? A more appropriate statement would be: it’s beneath us as a people to fall for a liberal’s crying racism at every possible moment simply to gain votes.
The issue isn’t when an individual should receive Miranda rights, but who should receive them. American citizens, who are entitled to Constitutional Rights, should receive Miranda warnings. That includes American citizens who are terrorists; See Timothy McVeigh and Faisal Shahzad. The flip side are those who are not American citizens. They should not receive Miranda rights (or a trial in American courts).
This is such a simple issue that one has to wonder why the Administration’s proposed fix is figuring out how to effectively decrease the rights of American citizens by expanding a narrowly-tailored exception to Miranda.