Politics and Culture in the Comic Zone

Daniel Rigney

Daniel Rigney
New Texas, USA
August 01
free-range writer
In this writing workshop and citizen's blog I'm exploring various short forms, often from a satiric angle. My interests include politics, culture and the human comedy; old and new media; social theory and urban life; the commercialization, corporatization and tabloidization of everything; sustainability; Unitarianism (UU); coffee; and writing (sorry, I mean providing content). Turtle stamp is from Tandy Leather. Interested in republishing a piece? Contact drigney3@gmail.com.


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NOVEMBER 4, 2012 8:16PM

One Square Mile, One Vote

Rate: 4 Flag

Satire by Daniel Rigney

Should the United States ditch its traditional electoral college system and decide the outcomes of national elections based entirely on popular vote counts?

We’ve had this debate for centuries now without reaching consensus. The very question itself divides us – urban against rural, north against south, time zone against time zone.

Maybe it’s time to consider a third method of political representation. Let’s call it the “fair vote” option. In fairness, and out of  respect for the land on which we stand and have our being, let every square mile in the country have an equal say in the outcome of our national elections! 

Let’s adopt a system in which the majority of human voters in any given square mile determine that square mile’s single electoral vote. Thus if the land mass of the United States encompasses more than 3.5 million square miles (as it does), then this new land-based electoral college will comprise more than 3.5 million deciders.

The fair vote option has the moral virtue of being gerrymander-proof.  Once we establish an objectively-based spatial land grid, using the most advanced surveying instruments at hand, we can define our electoral units with the precision of a mathematical algorithm, untouched by human hands or human error.

In the event that we should someday add or subtract dirt from the national land mass -- e.g, by annexing Siberia (the future “West Alaska”?) -- we can simply expand or contract the number of national square-mile electors accordingly.  This solution creates no particular ethical problem so long as we adjust the spatial grid in accord with the fair and judicious principle of “one square mile, one vote.”

If global warming eventually reduces our land mass (mainly in coastal urban areas), voters need only move to dry land to restore their franchise. Redistricting problem solved.

If square miles could vote, contentious elections might result in more decisive and less quarrelsome outcomes. Under the “one mile, one vote” rule, for instance, the fiercely contested 2000 presidential race between George W. Bush and Albert Gore would have gone lopsidedly to the Bush-Cheney side, and we would have been spared the national torment of an election result decided by five of the nine members of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Calculating the total square mileage of Bush states v. Gore states in 2000, and assigning one elector to each square mile, we discover that Bush and Cheney would have won the presidential election by an electoral ratio of more than 10 to 1.

See for yourself. If electors representing every square mile had voted in 2000, the outcome of the presidential election might have looked something like this. National crisis averted.

Let us then avoid the perils of deciding elections by popular vote. Let us choose instead to elect our national leaders in a way that favors regions with vast and sparsely-populated land, or what columnist Gail Collins calls the "empty spaces," in their ongoing political tug-of-war with the "crowded places." 

One square mile, one vote. It's like the electoral college we already have, but even more unDemocratic.


*This message was approved by Citizens for Southern and Western (but not Pacific) Values.



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I get the idea and it is marvelous. Really shows what we are up against.
Seems to me that plan is already in place with the Electoral College -- not to mention the Senate. Thus the old saw that sheep in Utah have more representation in Washington than citizens on the coasts. Those of us who know a little of our history know two Senators per state was part of the "bride price" to get Southern states into the fold.

In hindsight, I say we should have let them secede rather than fight the Civil War -- I'd wager most, if not all, of them would have been begging to get back in the Union within five years. Instead, their ignorance and intransigence has left them beggar states ever since. And irony of ironies, those remain among the states most adamantly and vociferously opposed to the Federal govt.

In the words of Lear, "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child!"
Thank you both, Zanelle and Tom, for getting this one. Yes, this is a parody of our current electoral system and Senate, and yes, this sort of electoral system will work against progressives more often than it works in our favor. And Tom, thanks for helping fill in my background on the history of it all.
Did Professor Irwin Corey write this one? Or Professor Rigney? My head is swimming - somebody get me an Aspirin or an Abacus, Please! Look, at this point - I'm lucky to find my Polling Place - talk to you Tuesday! R
People in NYC don't deserve to vote when caribou are so under-represented in Alaska.
"...the moral virtue of being gerrymander-proof..." true but as you later point out with tongue firmly in cheek, Bubbah and Thelma Lue and their inbred cousins from Cow Plop west Texas have a quicker choice that carries more weight than the entire population of Rhode Island. Of course the real advantage goes to corporate America where as in Texas "Money talks and BS walks." The purchase of land is then equal to the purchase of votes and after the boys on wall street buy up every rural acre in the country we could eliminate the expense and charade of popular elections all together. R&R ;-)
Marilyn, ONF and jmac, thanks for comments! Professor Corey sends his best regards from the other side.

Jmac, watch for my possible forthcoming posts "One Blunderbuss, One Vote," published by the Cowplop Heritage Society, and "One Dollar, One Vote," from Citizens United.