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Flunking Out of Electoral College

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The Los Angeles Times reported today (March 9) that, "In survey after survey of Republcans, Giuliani is leaving his rivals in the dust with double-digit leads. And in key swing states, pollsters have found he would beat the Democratic front-runner, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York. Even some leading social conservatives are putting aside their differences over abortion and gay rights to join Team Giuliani."

In 2004, I sent the following letter to Ms. Clinton:

"I write a column for the weekly New York Press, and I have a question for you. I recall that when you were elected to the Senate, in the wake of the debacle in Florida that led to Bush being in the White House, you promised to do your best to get rid of the Electoral College system. Were you able to get anything going along those lines? If so, what transpired? And if not, what were the obstacles? I would very much appreciate hearing from you."

Of course, I never received a reply.

The Electoral College system was originally designed in part to cater to slavery and to the disenfranchisement of women. But what if there were no Electoral College? There would be no red and blue states. There would be no battleground states that could go either way. There would not have been an American invasion of Iraq, Al Gore would have been elected president in 2000 and run for re-election in 2004, when the Democrats would have warned that a vote for Ralph Nader was a vote for Rudy Giuliani. In the 2000 election, there were 50,999,897 votes for Gore, as opposed to 50,456,002 votes for George Bush. In Florida, Bush won by just 537 votes.

Among the articles in the media about the Electoral College then, there was one in USA Today and another in TheSpoof.com. Below are excerpts from each. Which story is from which publication? I report, you decide.

1. "Even as President Bush accepted the Republican nomination Thursday and the final chapter of the campaign began, strategists in both camps were preparing for an unprecedented situation when it ends. An Electoral College tie. Shifts in electoral votes and the realities of an evenly divided nation mean there is a credible case that the final tally in Bush vs. Kerry could be 269-269--an outcome that would throw the election to the House of Representatives....

"The Constitution outlines what follows in case of a tie, which has happened only once, in 1800. The newly elected House of Representatives chooses the president from the top three finishers; each state has one vote. The newly elected Senate chooses the vice president; each senator has a vote....This time, the process presumably would favor Bush. Republicans control 30 of the 50 state delegations in the House; the GOP almost certainly will keep control in the November elections. Republicans now have 51 seats. But if Democrats regain an edge in the Senate--which is conceivable--the choice for vice president could get interesting. A George W. Bush-John Edwards administration?"

2. "All 538 electors of the U.S. Electoral College unanimously vetoed a permanent recess of the U.S. Electoral College and ban on all Electoral College methods of carrying out national elections today. Earlier this month the landslide referendum on ending the system led to support for a bill in Congress. The executive branch then subsequently signed that bill. The Electoral College's actions taken to undo the ban come as a major setback to thousands of politicians and mllions of citizens who campaigned in favor of a ban....Detractors purportedly include up to 75% of the United States population."

Hillary Clinton was able to fly into the senate on the wings of Rudy Giuliani's prostate cancer. Since Bush was re-elected in 2004, then it would be karmic irony in the 2008 presidential election if Clinton wins the popular vote but the Electoral College goes for Giuliani.