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Hatin On Proportional Representation

One Man’s Opinion : Now how the Electors are divided is up to the state. Currently 48 states do it the old fashioned democratic way — winner takes all. That means the winner of the popular vote in the state wins all of the electoral votes.

Sounds like some  GOP Folk is hating on some Greens and their desire for proportional representation. About a year ago I wrote a post on proportional representation titled Why Wisconsin Must Lead. The argument was for an IRV based system called STV in which electors would be apportioned based on the popular vote.

First, it seems GOP Folk is using the word democracy rather loosely. It was not until 1824 that voters actually got to select the president. There are certainly some on the right who’d argue that the Electoral College by its republican virtures is undemocratic by definition.  The EC was pushed by the republican founders out of their complete distrust for the popular will of the people.

The fact that the majority of states have a winner take all has nothing to do with respect for democracy. It has every thing to do with gaming the system and maintaining party control. That would be akin to saying that the primary object of gerrymandering is the popular will of the people.

What GOP Folk really means when he says “popular vote’ is a plurality of the popular will which is rarely the majority.  With such reasoning we are to believe that Clinton’s 43% in 1992, is some grand statement of America’s popular will. At least at its core the electoral college aims for a proportional if not majoritarian approach to the popular will.

While distrust of slaves, peasants, poor, uneducated, and those without property were motivating factors for the electoral college, it is its proportional nature which allows it form a national conscience.  Proportional representation is as the word implies an attempt to represent different segments of the population. The aim of proportional representation in the end shares more in common with electoral college than a winner take all.

I don’t think anyone really believes the “EC Question” can be solved by changing the constitution.  However,  the constitution in no way limits a state in apportioning the electoral college in the way it sees fit. What is so wrong with 5:4:1 anyway,

What are those you ask? Well that would be the warm and fuzzy determination of elections. For example: If Wisconsin split 50:40:10 the Electoral Votes would be divided 5:4:1 for the respective parties.

It seems to me in the end that is much more representative of the popular will of the voters than McCain or Obama taking all the electoral votes. While one can argue the winner take all may help a particular political party it is much more difficult to argue it reflects the democratic will of a state.