Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Pushing for Insignificance

Some people just can't let things go.
Hawaii state legislators are pushing for Senate Bill 2898 SD1, a bill that will allot Hawaii's electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote instead of the popular vote in Hawaii. In other words, this will allow everyone else in the nation to decide how Hawaiians vote. At first glance, this makes absolutely no sense. Why would a state want to decrease the impact of its voters? Looking deeper into the decision - which would reveal that this is just more whining from the sore losers of the 2000 election - it makes even less sense. The bill would make this scenario possible. Say in November every man, woman, and child (over 18 of course) votes for hometown favorite Barack Obama, but the rest of the nation votes for good ol' boy John McCain. This bill would ignore the vote of every resident and cast Hawaii's vote for McCain.

Let's do a little political math. Hawaii has a popuation of about 1.2 million people. The US has a population of 300 million. So Hawaii represents about .4% of the population and therefore the popular vote. On the other hand, Hawaii has 4 electoral votes out of a national total of 538. That gives Hawaii about .74% of the electoral vote - still a small percentage but it's almost twice that of the popular vote. So passing this bill would essentially cut the significance of Hawaii's voters in half.

Some people might honestly feel that the election should be a pure "whoever gets the most votes wins" deal. This, of course, totally ignores the needs of smaller states whose interests would be completely swallowed by the larger states, making every election essentially decided by New York, California, Texas, and Florida which together represents almost a third of the nation's population.

But this bill is not about fundamental electoral philosophy. This bill is being pushed by those in the state that just can't get over the fact that George Bush won the election in 2000 without winning the popular vote. It's a frustrating phenomenon, for sure, when your guy doesn't win, but it is not a good reason for basically saying, "I'll pick whoever everyone else picks" instead of making your own informed vote.

Please, let the past go. Bush won, by the book, by the rules, fair and square in a system that was designed to give not just people a vote, but groups of people a vote. Get over it. Don't jeapodize the future of Hawaii by clinging to hate and bitterness toward an administration that is on its way down and, more importantly, OUT. At the end of Bill Clinton's second term, there were those in the government that toyed with the idea of changing the US policy of limiting a president to just 2 terms. After the last 8 years I think most are supremely glad that that didn't happen. The method of electing and changing our nation's leaders is founded on principles that empowers the people whom these leaders serve. Changes should be made to this method to preserve that power and not to enable partisan pouting.


CP said...

You had my attention until you brought up all that MATH. Now, I'm just confused.
- Hawaii public school graduate

ray said...

my dear public school grad,
how can math confuse you? Hawaii spends more per student than the national average and has one of the strongest teacher's unions in the nation? That just doesn't add up.

Scott said...

I love it when people who don'e even know what the Federalist Papers are, let alone how and why our election laws are the way that they are, start tinkering with the rules of elections.