Saturday, August 09, 2008

Nate Silver and the Electoral College

Nate Silver makes predictions. He started by putting baseball under a statistical microscope with startling relults. He eats poll numbers for breakfast and never met a statistic he didn't check. His blog is one of two I check daily as I follow the presidential campaign. Here he talks with Keith Olberman on MSNBC.


S said...

While I appreciate his efforts, I'd much prefer to have every vote in every state politically relevant and equal in presidential elections, support the National Popular Vote bill.

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC). The bill would take effect only when enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

The National Popular Vote bill has been approved by 21 legislative chambers (one house in CO, AR, ME, NC, and WA, and two houses in MD, IL, HI, CA, MA, NJ, RI, and VT). It has been enacted into law in Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland. These states have 50 (19%) of the 270 electoral votes needed to bring this legislation into effect.



Hoots said...

Thanks for bring up the Electoral College. Those who prate about the wisdom of the founding fathers suffer selective amnesia when this topic is mentioned. No one seems to like the system... except when their candidate will benefit. I'm reminded of that old lawyer rule that if your client is innocent, argue the facts, but if he is guilty then argue the law. Better yet, Churchill's remark that Democracy is the world's worst form of government, except for all the others.

I found some links for those wanting to venture into those waters. Your reference to National Popular Vote is a good place to start. Two others are Reform Options
for the Electoral College
at The Center for Voting and Democracy and a symposium report from the University of Virginia's Center for Politics.

This last link has a good narrative of the tawdry history of the Electoral College with all its warts and stains.

None of these discussions seems to notice that somewhere since Americans began voting a couple of changes have come about that proved to be far more significant than whether the Electoral College was perfect. I'm thinking of women and blacks getting the right to vote, not to mention the abolition of slavery itself. Somehow we seem to have muddled through.

After reading the summary at that last link I came to realize how very great Al Gore was to cede the 2000 election as he did. In the history of presidential politics his refusal to get into a dog fight will mark him as one of our country's most honorable men. And his subsequent Nobel recognition will always underscore that legacy.