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.