Monday, December 21, 2009

Why Al Gore lost the Electoral College Vote.

Al Gore lost the 2000 Presidential Election, because he won California – here’s the math:

NAME--------- (EC) POP2000 -- Pop/EC
CALIFORNIA (54) 33,871,648 -- 627,253

WYOMING (3) 493,782
NORTH DAKOTA (3) 642,200
SOUTH DAKOTA (3) 754,844
MONTANA (3) 902,195
ALASKA (3) 626,932
NEW HAMPSHIRE (4) 1,235,786
IDAHO (4) 1,293,953
NEVADA (4) 1,998,257
NEBRASKA (5) 1,711,263
WEST VIRGINIA (5) 1,808,344
UTAH (5) 2,233,169
ARKANSAS (6) 2,673,400
KANSAS (6) 2,688,418
Sum of 13 EC Votes = Calif. = 54 Pop=19,062,543 Pop/EC = 353,010
Population Difference EC= 0 Pop=(14,809,105) Pop/EC =(274,243)

Therefore, Al Gore had to convince 50% of Californians (or 16,935,824 voters) to vote for him, while G. W. Bush only had to convince 9,531,272 citizens in the thirteen states listed in this table, to vote for him; a difference of 7,404,552 voters. Imagine how different things would have been if only 1% of that difference - or 74,046 - had voted in Florida.

QUESTION: How did this system, which has worked so well for almost 200 years, become so totally distorted?

ANSWER: Congressional meddling and unintended consequences - consider the following:

The Electoral College, as most school children learn, is defined in Article I, section II, Part 3 of the US Constitution, and provides that voters in each State cast their votes for “electors” who are pledged to elect a Presidential Candidate. The Electors subsequently meet and vote to elect the President and Vice President. The number of Electors is equal to the number of Congress (members of Senate plus the House of Representatives) from each State. {Many the goof-ball journalists forget are a few important facts.}. This is the way our Federal System of shared political power was created; to wit:
- the House was to be directly elected by the people (i.e., you and me),
- the Senate was appointed by the States (which was also erroneously changed (in my opinion) by the 17th Amendment), and
- the President was elected as a blend of both methods, culminating in the Electoral College.

KEY POINT: Membership in the House of Representatives was originally to have been proportional to a “head count” of 30,000 (primarily white men while later provisions and constitutional amendments created universal suffrage for all citizens). In order to compute the number of Congressional Districts in each State, a Decennial Census was required. HOWEVER, regardless of the population, each State MUST HAVE at lease one member in the House Currently, only ALASKA, DELAWARE, MONTANA, NORTH DAKOTA, SOUTH DAKOTA, and VERMONT have a single House Representative (who is elected on a statewide basis). Tax Bills must originate in the House, and "No Taxation without Representation".

This means that the number of members in the House of Representatives grew based on an expanding American population from 59 members in 1789, to 435 members by the 1920 census.

Thinking that they were "geniuses", in 1929 the number of House Seats was fixed at 435 members with PL 62-5. The Congress also resorted to using the “method of equal proportion” to allocate the available seats based on the Census data and thus only 385 seat (435 - 50 states) are available for allocation. This produces a distortion (also known as a “statistically standard deviation”) between the number of seats and the population within each State that they represent. Consider the data presented above:

NAME------------- EC ---- POP 2000 --- Pop/EC
CALIFORNIA ------54 --- 33,871,648 --- 627,253
ARKANSAS ---------6 ---- 2,673,400 --- 445,567
You will note a swing in EC representation of +140% (WOW!!!) Therefore it takes more voters in California than it does in Arkansas in order to obtain the same number of electoral votes – thus Gore’s win in California was achieved at the cost of "wasted votes".

KEY POINT: The problem is that the population of the United States has continued to grow: from 1.8 Million in 1789, to 13 Million in 1929, and to 249 Million in 1990. Thus each House seat represents a disproportionate share of the expanding population; and the apparent imbalance between the “popular vote” and the number of Elector College vote is the unintended result.

It is ironic that Alexander Hamilton identified this issue, in his proposition that State Governments be abolished in favor of a true National Government - Hamilton didn't win that fight, but his analysis - while about 200 years too early - seems to be spot on.

We must return to the original basis and intent of the US Constitution by making membership in the US House of Representatives DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL to the population of each States. This can be easily achieved by allowing the population of the smallest populated State (i.e., WYOMING with only 493,782 citizens) to be the Population Divisor used to allocate representation.

Consider (based on 2000 Census Data), when dividend into the Total U.S. Population of 280,849,847 by the “least populated State Divisor” of 493,782 would equal 569 members of the US House of Representatives, or an increase of 134 seats. When you take a moment to consider that over the past 100 years, this is an average of 13 seats per Decennial Census period – does it seem to be unreasonable?

EXAMPLE: If this methodology had been in place during the 2000 Election Cycle, then the results of the previous example would have been:
State ---------------------2000 EC -- Corrected EC -- Incr./Decrease
California ------------------- 54 --------- 71 ----------------- +17
Group of 13 States (above) - 54 --------- 65 ---------------- +11
Net Change +6 for Gore

When this methodology is extended to the entire country, Gore would have won the Electoral College by 9 votes - still a close election, but much more proportional to the popular vote. Funny how the world turns, eh? I wonder if Alex Hamilton is having a good laugh.

When suggested informally, the primary objections to this plan have been:
(a) more members of Congress will increase the cost of government, and
(b) the House Chamber is too small to seat the addition of any new members.

To first objection, I would answer that representation is the price of our democracy, and that it is better served by increasing the accountability of our government through proportional representation, rather than concentrating power in the hands of a small, "elitist club".

The second objection is more tangible. History indicates that the US Capital Building was previously enlarged (to its present size) in the middle 1800’s and that construction even continued during the Civil War (as a statement of unity and commitment to the future of the Nation). How can we say that the American Spirit is limited to the size of a building? While enlarging the House Chamber will doubtlessly spoil the overall geometric symmetry of the building, expending the east end of the House Chamber along the south face will preserve the architectural aesthetic of the frontal western facade. Given the gravity of this proposal, I would strongly (also) recommend planning enough space for more than 1,000 House Members which will allow for reasonable growth into the 22nd Century (our next 200 years!!!).

Conclusion: I urge you to amend PL 62-5 to return to a more proportional membership of the US House of Representatives. This issue is VERY IMPORTANT to smaller States (like NEW JERSEY) which are losing population and therefore our proportional influence over Federal Government, lease we become subservient to the larger States, as it was during the Articles of Confederation in the later 1780's.


READERS NOTE: I'm away for the Holidays;
I wish for everyone a Joyful, and Healthy 2010 - Bon annee por vous!

Health, Wealth and Happiness (Gesundheit, Wohlstand und Zufriedenheit)
[Sante', Richesse et Bonheur] {Salud, Riqueza y Felicidad}

No comments:

Post a Comment