That hip, cool Electoral College | VailDaily.com
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That hip, cool Electoral College

Matt Zalaznick
Vail CO, Colorado

Presidential races are no different than junior high school elections ” they’re basically popularity contests.

Sure, we ditzy Americans will vote for the candidate who gives out the most candy or who promises to ban homework.

And polls are unreliable because Americans are notorious for changing their mind every 15 seconds ” one day the Atkins diet is the end-all, be-all of weight-loss and the next day it’s a culinary death sentence; one day Britney Spears is a pop goddess, in the morning she’s the village idiot.

Isn’t a ballot just another opinion survey?

That’s why picking the president can’t be entrusted to such a flaky populace. Good thing there’s an Electoral College full of electors to make the final decision about who will rule us numbskulls.

If you’re hooked on popular votes watch American Idol ” it’s well known America never picks the most talented or qualified contestant.

Somehow, despite being elected directly by us clowns, Colorado lawmakers had the wisdom to squelch any changes to the Electoral College and save us from mob rule.

By the way, we’re the mob.

A Colorado House committee killed a dangerous plan to give all the state’s electoral votes to the winner of the popular election. That system would have elected Al Gore in 2000 but it leaned too perilously in the direction of direct election.

We need the electors to save us from ourselves because you never know when we fad-crazy and groveling ballot-casters are really going to mess up. Imagine if, once the popular votes were counted, we’d elected Howard Dean or Dr. McDreamy or Harry Potter. The electors could always save the day by swooping into their College, seizing the reins of democracy from the masses and switching their votes to Jeb Bush or Mitt Romney or even Hillary Clinton.

The Electors are far from archaic. They were conceived in a fragile, 18th-century republic and, despite the passage of hundreds of years, the fighting of wars, the freeing of slaves, the arrival of tens of millions of immigrants, the Electoral College is as hip, relevant and progressive as Google.

Why, it is the epitome of flexibility, adaptability ” so what if you can’t access the Electoral College from your Blackberry or iPhone.

As a Democratic voter in a traditionally Republican state, I’m proud that my vote isn’t reflected in the score that matters. When the results are shown on TV, it’s the electoral votes that are the important number. They’re bigger than a basketball score, but just as easy to decipher: 285-104.

The popular vote is that quaint afterthought, those long numbers with commas that don’t look like a sports score. You have to stare at the screen for a few minutes to figure out who’s winning. What a waste of time.

Without the electors, presidential candidates would be forced to spend most of their time looking for votes where most of the people are ” depraved places like Northern California and New York City.

Thankfully, the electors ensure those who would be commander-in-chief will pander to fringe elements way out in the boonies ” because that’s where all the innovation is taking place and the forward thinking is being done, after all.

Oh, those sinful cities ” where homosexuals win support for civil unions, teenagers have access to family planning, museums thrive and city councils and police forces are racially integrated ” will never have influence equal to their size and ingenuity as long as the electors are around to make sure the votes from the countryside have more power than they deserve.

That’s why we can thank the right for so adamantly guarding this groundbreaking institution. As long as the electors are on guard, the mainstream ” though it dominates the rest of the culture ” will never taint presidential politics.

Assistant Managing Editor Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 748-2926, or mzalaznick@vaildaily.com.


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