Press Talk: Don't bite the hand that feeds ya

By Lou Brancaccio, Columbian editor

Published:

 
photoLou Brancaccio is The Columbian’s editor. Reach him at 360-735-4505 or lou.brancaccio@columbian.com. Twitter: http://twitter.com/lounews.

Yo, all you Electoral College supporters:

Huh?

Let me say that again.

Huh?

Last week I made the case against electing a president through the Electoral College. My point was pretty simple. In the vast majority of states -- let's see if I can be politically correct here -- your vote doesn't mean jack. Why?

Well, for example, right here in Washington, if 49 percent vote for Romney, when they ship the vote total to HQ (that would be D.C.), that 49 percent turns into 0 percent of electoral votes.

And that will happen in this election. Obama will get all the electoral votes in our state.

Second, we can elect a president even if he doesn't have the most votes.

Now, electing a president by popular vote -- so the right person actually becomes president -- is so logical and obvious I didn't expect much kickback.

Who was I kidding? Myself, I guess.

My conservative blogging buddy Lew Waters was one of the first out of the box defending this indefensible position.

Lew said the Electoral College is there to protect all of us from the "tyranny of the majority." Lew went on to say that it appeared the founding fathers "did not trust the people to do their homework."

Odd that my buddy Lew has been clamoring for a public vote on light rail, yet he supports no public vote to elect the president. Hey, Lew, don't we have to protect light rail from the "tyranny of the majority"? :-)

Vancouver City Councilman Larry Smith was in full throat supporting Lew on this Electoral College stuff.

"Lew, on point!"

Now, I can see why some entrenched politicians like keeping the people's vote at a minimum. But Lew and Larry are pretty odd bedfellows.

And I have to admit many of those who favor the Electoral College shenanigans are very bright people. Even some friends of mine.

Jack Quealy from Chicago writes, "The system works, leave it alone."

Sorry, Jack, it doesn't work. Because I happen to believe in the people's vote, I believe that the people's vote should count.

Now, supporters of the Electoral College say, "Hey, we only got it wrong a few times, where the guy with the most votes didn't become president."

I say again: Huh?

It's OK to get the wrong guy in as president even once? Let alone three times?

For me, the entire argument in favor of the Electoral College is nonsensical.

How bad could it get? This YouTube video -- I'll provide the link on our website -- shows it is possible for the president to be elected by the Electoral College by only getting 22 percent of the popular vote.

It's not likely, of course, but how can anyone be in favor of a system which could allow that?

One of my favorite '60s songs was "Power Play" by Steppenwolf.

"What gives you the right? Hey you.

To stand there and tell me what to do

Tell me who gave you the power?

To stop me from livin' like I do.

Remember if you plan to stay

Those who give can take away.

Don't bite the hand that feeds you."If those in power continue to take away our rights -- like voting for president -- it could come back to bite them.

Lou Brancaccio is The Columbian's editor. Reach him at 360-735-4505, lou.brancaccio@columbian.com or Twitter: http://twitter.com/lounews.