Wednesday, January 23, 2013

How to Separate the Electoral College Even More from the Popular Vote

Plans are afoot in Michigan (and elsewhere) to change how the State awards its electoral votes in presidential elections by dropping the winner-take-all system for one based on the winner of each of the state's congressional districts.

According to the plan, for the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, Michigan would award 14 of its 16 electoral votes according to the U.S. House district lines drawn by Republicans in 2011 to favor Republican candidates. (As evidenced by the fact that almost twice as many Michigan citizens voted for Democratic candidates as for Republicans, but the Republicans won more of the races.)

Governor Rick Snyder has signaled he is willing to consider this major change in how electoral votes are allocated in Presidential elections.  He told The Associated Press for a story looking at Republican efforts to drop the winner-take-all system in states that have reliably gone for the Democratic presidential nominee in recent elections that he "could go either way."

Here's an example of what the change could mean: According to an analysis by Daily Kos, in 2012, Republican Mitt Romney would have won nine of the districts and President Barack Obama the other five, so Mr. Romney would have pulled nine electoral votes to seven for Mr. Obama, who won the state by 9.5 percentage points.

So, it's clear that the proposal to allot electoral votes by congressional district would run counter to the popular vote in a significant way.

If Synder hopes to be a Governor for ALL the people of Michigan, he'll quash this blatantly Republican-serving plan to do away with the winner-take-all system.  But, unless he hears strong protests from Involved Voters, I think he's likely to go with the flow and support the plan of fellow Republicans.

Update: For a satirical look at this topic, watch Stephen Colbert here:

President Obama's Inaugural Address

I listened to the President's Second Inaugural Address live and then watched and listened with colleagues at a get-together to celebrate our success in the 2012 campaign.  If there ever was a 20 minute speech worth multiple listens this is it:

For an analysis of where the majority of voters stand on some of the areas the President highlighted during the address - climate change, marriage equality, voting rights, immigration and gun violence, you can take a look at this blog post:

One thing I took away from the President's address is that "we, the people" need to get to work to make  our law-makers responsive to us, and to do what we can to ensure that everyone in America can realize the promise of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Ignore the "US government is spending too much" hype

Involved voters have reason to ignore Senator Mich McConnell, Alan Simpson and Ersine Bowles when they say the real problem is spending.

Check out these recent blog posts in which Kevin Drum at Mother Jones and Samuel Knight at the Washington Monthly's Political Animal expose them for the ideologues they are.

Drum provides the data and states:
The facts are pretty clear. Spending isn't our big problem. The recession spike of 2008 aside, it's about the same as it was 30 years ago. But instead of paying for that spending, we've repeatedly cut taxes, which are now at their lowest level in half a century. Tax revenue will go up as the economy improves, but even five years from now it will still be lower than it was when Reagan took office. 
So what's our real problem? That's simple: America is getting older and healthcare costs are rising. That means we'll need to spend more money in the future on Social Security and Medicare. There's simply no way around that unless we're willing to immiserate our elderly, and that's not going to happen.

According to Knight:
Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles - co-founders of the corporate lobby Campaign to Fix the Debt ... argue that the national debt is a reason to gut the welfare state. ... 
But they and their disciples couldn’t be more wrong. The U.S. government has no “spending problem” from a macroeconomist’s point of view. Of course, the country can’t indefinitely continue to borrow more than it earns, but the idea that we must somehow tackle debt by cutting spending — and do it right now — is voodoo economics of the highest order.
For spending to be an immediate problem, it would have to be problematic.
Yet interest rates are rock bottom and aren’t expected to rise anytime soon, and demand for U.S. Treasury bonds remains high.
Thus, government spending appears to be having no averse effect on financial markets, which, according to Treasury yields, actually seem to think that lending the U.S. government money is a wise idea. The debt “crisis” is only caused by a “spending problem” when one considers government spending to be an issue from an ideological standpoint.

Tell your friends and family how bogus the "spending problem/debt crisis" talk is.  Contact your US Senator and Representative.   Tell them that increasing revenue (especially through taxes on the super-rich) needs to continue to be on the table.  And back up the President when he goes to bat for the middle class and those who are in danger of falling out of it.