OK, so last time I said I would be following up my string of complaints with a string of solutions and the keen eyed among you will notice that they aren’t up yet. A lot of that has had to do with the outcome of the past election and the variety of responses to it.
For the record, none of what I’m about to say is directed at any candidate or their immediate staff. It has more to do with tribes of supporters who have sprung up around them, some professional media, some amateur folks who just happen to have very loud voices. This is also not an efficiency article. It’s a commentary regarding current events that relate to my recent series of efficiency articles, a context piece, if you will.
If you’re a political animal you’ll have seen a ton of articles, editorials, disconnected rants and the like with titles like “Why 2016 proves that the Electoral College is Broken” or “15 Reasons why 2016 shows that we still need the Electoral College.” It’s a veritable glut of opinion on this venerable institution and it can be a lot to take in. At least it seems that way at first. However, all these articles etc. that I’ve read have three things in common so you can save yourself some time when it comes to reading them.
First, they retread a lot of the same ground, seriously, just massive amounts. On one hand, fair enough, each side has their talking points and there really is only so many things you can say about the process while keeping it easily digestible to the public. On the other hand, it does seem to feel like there were a handful of early, well considered, think pieces that came out for each view and then a slew of borderline plagiaristic work. Seriously, writers, writing an article in this vein is like doing a cover of a famous song. You’re probably not going to be Johnny Cash covering Hurt. You’re more likely to be Fred Durst covering Behind Blue Eyes. Make it better than the original or do something else.
Second, you can tell exactly what the stance of the article will be from its source, and you would not have been able to before. What I mean, of course, is that the Trump camp and the assorted websites, news outlets and periodicals that support him are running pieces supporting the Electoral College. Meanwhile, their opponents are running pieces pointing out how the College is flawed. Funny that, I wasn’t aware that opposition to the Electoral College was a core Democratic/Green position or that President Elect Trump’s people were so devoted to this specific bit of tradition. Of course, I didn’t that’s because…
Third, all these pieces came out after the election. Once again fair enough, sort of, what sort of raging asshole attacks the foundation of our democracy before the election, like say, starting on Halloween? Well for one, the kind of asshole who doesn’t base his opinion on the system on whether his horse wins or not. But, I’m not an insider. I’m not as invested in this as these people, I mean aside from being an American citizen and living here with the consequences of the process.
Still, one could give them the benefit of the doubt and say that the best time to complain about the system is when its upfront in people’s minds and that of course the opposition would want, you know, oppose, but it doesn’t feel that way, does it? I find it hard to read pieces from either side without thinking, “yeah, but if the numbers were reversed, what would you be saying?”
I guess I’d feel better if I saw a single Dem saying, “OK, this time the popular votes and the electoral college went different ways, again, but I still believe 100% in the system and what it stands for.” Or someone at Breitbart or Fox saying, “While I’m happy with the outcome it’s becoming abundantly clear that we need to take a good long look at how this system works.” It would make individual pieces feel more like actual pieces by individuals backed up by convictions and not regurgitated bullet points of the party line, turning a legitimate and important discussion into the schoolyard bickering of a side that refuses that accept they lost and a side that needs to legitimize a win without a mandate.
Anyway, I’ve been taking some time keeping track of this discussion to decide if it’s worth addressing any of their points in a follow up article, but in general I am fairly satisfied with what I have said up until this point. So, here’s my two cents on the current state of the discussion and the solutions article is coming very soon, I promise.