Every four years I write an article about how our election process for president is antiquated and needs to change. This year I have many more people agreeing with me. Our presidential elections are too long, too expensive and this year – too nasty.
This year it costs 1 billion dollars to elect a president. Just think what we could do with a billion dollars. That’s way too much money to spend on an election. We still have too many companies and individuals wanting to “pay to play” so the winner can reward them later.
For the second time in this century one candidate won the Electoral College vote and the other the popular vote. Donald Trump had a clear majority of the Electoral College vote despite receiving about 2 million fewer popular votes than Hillary Clinton. It’s interesting that some politicians said, “The people have spoken.”
Let’s look at the “people”.
About 58 percent of the eligible voters cast ballots for president. That means that about 42 percent of the electorate did not vote. The United States has one of the lowest voter turnouts among the democratic nations of the world.
We can understand the low turn out for this election because both candidates had a low credibility rating. Most presidential election in this and the 20th Century had about a 60 percent turnout of the electorate.
Neither candidate got more than 50 percent of the vote: Clinton stood at 47.7 percent and Trump at 47.5 percent. What is more upsetting is: 27.5 percent of all eligible voters supported Clinton and the 26.7 percent supported Trump. Only a fourth of the electorate chose the president elect. There has to be a better way.
In the U.S., only 63.1 percent of eligible voters are even registered. Yet once registered, most of them, 88 percent, go to the polls. Who comprises this Nonvoters Party? They are mostly young people, poor people, and people of color. Most nonvoters work at Walmart, fast-food restaurants, hotels, and poultry factories. A significant number of them don’t have health insurance. Most of them rent their apartments and some lost their homes to foreclosure.
What would happen if that the non-voting 42 percent would vote? They could control the election.
The elections would be shorter and less costly if we got rid of the Electoral College. With national television we could conduct a series of debates that would narrow the candidates down and allow the people to vote through some type of monitored voting system. With modern day television the reason for the Electoral College is not the same as it was when it was founded.
The last time Congress tried to do away with the Electoral College was during the 91st Congress (1969–1971). H. J. Res. 681 proposed the direct election of a President and Vice President, requiring a run off when no candidate received more than 40 percent of the vote. The resolution passed the House in 1969, but failed to pass the Senate. It’s time we try again.
Another disturbing aspect of this last election was the spreading of fake news. Fake headline and fake news stories were more available at the end of the election than true stories from honest news reporters.
The following are examples of fake news:
1) Donald Trump won the popular vote in the US election by 700,000 votes.
2) An FBI agent suspected in Clinton’s email leaks found dead in an apparent murder-suicide.
3) Pope Francis backed Trump for the White House.
4) ISIS Leader Calls for American Muslim Voters to Support Hillary Clinton.
Most fake new items were anti Clinton. Did that have an effect on the outcome? Whether it did or not, we should be looking at the issues, not the false rumors.
We need some election reforms that are just and fair for everyone.
Posted on Fri, December 2, 2016
by The Lafourche Gazette