Morton Marcus: Silent majority and the Electoral College
Thursday, November 17, 2016 9:37 AM
INDIANAPOLIS – Suddenly, on Nov. 9, the majority in the United States woke up to find it has been silent too long. In fact, it realized, it might not be a majority at all. The combined Republican and Libertarian vote was 50.59%. From what I know, many of the Libertarian votes were from Republicans who were embarrassed to be known as Republicans this year. The 48.76% who voted Democratic or Green believed strongly in their causes and could not understand how others could believe otherwise. But they were not the majority.
Now, instead of taking to the streets, this silent minority needs to be heard. Now, if it wishes to be successful in the political arena, it must recognize the urgency of political action. This means ending the corruption of gerrymandering by political parties and restructuring the Electoral College.
Gerrymandering is the practice of state legislators drawing district lines to protect their seats and their party in the General Assembly. Here in Indiana, through a study committee report, we have made a good start toward taking extreme partisanship out of the process. But that effort must continue and be intensified next year.
What’s wrong with the Electoral College is what ails so many citizens. As it stands today, the candidate who gets the most votes in a state also gets ALL of the electoral votes of that state. If you live in a Red state, there is little reason to vote if you are of a different color. The same applies to voting in a Blue state.
The Electoral College is part of the U.S. Constitution. But it can be changed by action of legislatures in the individual states without a Constitutional amendment. Maine and Nebraska have done that. Let’s see if Indiana can do likewise.
The sensible change is to assign Indiana’s 11 electoral votes according to the popular vote. Trump won 57.2% of the popular vote and would get 6.3 electoral votes. Clinton, with 37.9% of the popular votes gets 4.2 electoral votes and the remaining 0.5 electoral votes goes to Johnson, the Libertarian.
“What?” you say. “How do you divide the electors into parts?” That’s no problem. There is no need for electors as such, there need be only certification of electoral votes which can be carried to Washington by couriers we call electors. This system has been proposed for years. It puts priority on the popular vote while maintaining the virtues of Electoral College (to be discussed in a later column).
Can the silent minority stop being alternately depressed and outraged about losing an election? Can they stop holding pity parties and recognize an end to gerrymandering and restructuring the Electoral College are the imperatives of our times.
Donald Trump will be our new president. He wants to “drain the swamp.” Let’s help him by putting an end to gerrymandering and reforming the Electoral College, starting here in Indiana.
Mr. Marcus is an economist, writer, and speaker who may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.