21 October 2008

Why Your Vote Matters (Even In States Where the Electoral College Result Isn't In Doubt)

If folks thought that all the wailing and gnashing in the aftermath of Democratic losses in 2000 and 2004 were bad, wait until Sen. Obama somehow manages not to be acclaimed as The One on November 4th.

The groundwork for whining about the Electoral College is already being laid, and I've noticed that The One with the obscene amount of campaign cash (hey, most of it is probably legal, so no complaining) is spending plenty of money in the Los Angeles TV market, a market that he most certainly will win, within a state that won't even be close.

So why spend the money (other than he has more money than he can possibly spend before the end of the election, no matter how profligate his campaign gets)? I believe the Democrats not only want to win in the Electoral College (obviously), but they also want a decisive popular vote victory, or if they lose in the Electoral College, they still want to garner a 1-2% advantage in the popular vote.

Why is this important? The Democrats are addicted to whine, they are whine-os, and they're still pissed off by Gore's slim popular vote win that didn't translate to victory in the Electoral College (though the opposite would have been true if 60,000 Ohioans had switched from Bush to Kerry in 2004, and I bet they wouldn't have complained about Kerry losing the popular by a couple million votes while winning the White House).

They need either a landslide, or at least a talking point for the next four years about the unfairness and inherent racism of the Electoral College (racist, because it favors rural votes over urban votes, also racist because everything that doesn't go Obama's way is a result of racism).

So even if you live in one of the many non-battleground states, your vote for President will count in how McCain or Obama's presidency is perceived and spoken about. It matters more for McCain than Obama, though. McCain has to both win the Electoral College and popular vote, if he wins a narrow victory in the Electoral College while losing the popular vote, I hate to imagine what the NYT, MSNBCs and Politicos of the world will be like. They'll be vicious cesspools of McCain and GOP hatred regardless of the popular vote differential, but I think the public will accord their rantings a little more legitimacy if McCain wins the EC but not the popular vote.

So, while I am loathe to do so, I'll hold my nose and vote for McCain/Palin, not because I like him, his maverick ways, or his government first reflex towards solving problems. I'm voting for him, even in solidly blue California, cause in every scenario, the popular vote is going to matter.

It may not matter in terms of who governs, but it will matter as far as the 'mandate' they have, and how they'll be treated by the media and on the internet. I don't want a victorious McCain hamstringed by constant sniping that he's didn't win a 'legitimate' result, and I don't want a victorious Obama to think he has a broad mandate to sweep in a new and wonderful more socially democratic United States. If Obama wins, hopefully the margin won't be huge, and the Dems won't pick up too many seats, otherwise it'll be a rocky few years.

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