Why I Am not Voting

As a New Yorker, I know that my state is a lock, so I’m going to maximize my vote by not using it.

I support Barack Obama for the Presidency, but hope he loses the popular vote. As much as I want the President to complete a second term in office, any loss in legitimacy would be offset by the prospects of replacing the Electoral College (EC) with a national popular vote.

Until now, the EC has disproportionately benefited smaller and more rural states, which tend to be Republican. Only if the American right feels cheated by the electoral system, can we begin to have a meaningful discussion about reforming it.

Americans across the political spectrum are in favor of replacing the EC with a popular vote, but this sentiment does not carry over to our elected leaders. Whereas Democratic officials have publicly expressed support for selecting the President through the popular vote, Republican lawmakers have been fully aware that this would eliminate the disproportionate power given by the EC to their states.

If President Obama were to capture at least 270 electoral votes, but lose the popular vote, all that could change. It would send the American right into such a tizzy that instead of focusing on voter suppression, birth certificates and secret religious convictions, they may turn their ire at the electoral system that elevated the man they so dislike, once again, to the highest office in the land.

This will undoubtedly decrease Barack Obama’s legitimacy as President, should he win, but this is the man that since day one of his Presidency has been deemed illegitimate as their leader and as an American by significant portions of the American right. No electoral mandate will be enough to win these people over. Should conservatives feel that they have lost something as a result of the EC, then, and only then can we begin to reform our electoral process to achieve a popular vote.

I’ve already gone into detail about how and why we should effectively dismantle the current Electoral College system (it doesn’t even require altering the Constitution). Had my vote been from Ohio, I’d be out on the streets, banging my drum. Unfortunately, my vote is from NY – it will not matter – and that is a shame. This is about convincing all (enough) Americans that the popular vote is a good idea.

I know promoting this sort of behavior is risky. It assumes that Obama will win the EC. It assumes he will take Ohio and other key swing states. It assumes that the loss in legitimacy would not make Obama a 4-year lame duck. If, in the end, Romney gets the minimum 270 electoral votes and also wins the popular vote by one vote, I will punch myself in the face and stop blogging.

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6 thoughts on “Why I Am not Voting

  1. Well, Bush got quite a bit done in his second term, and he didn’t even win the electoral vote… I think Obama’s ability to do things if he’s re-elected will again depend entirely on the make up of congress.
    It would be quite something to hear about it from the right wing media every day for the next four years, though. Ugh.

    1. (What was I thinking when I wrote this? Of course I meant Bush’s first term… My excuse is that I had not slept for a few days and the years and decades were melting together…)

      1. Well it seems Congress is a little bluer now. Dems picked up two seats. Also, I think the Pres and the Senate have, in general, a larger mandate then now than before. I’m actually more hopeful now than four years ago. there’s no need to worry about re-election for Obama so I think he has more leverage. s long as he acts before becoming a lame duck. But expect that word (lame duck) to be a constant republican talking point very early in his second term. I have a feeling they will, once again, do everything they can, to stand in his way.

  2. You got your wish! And the added bonus of what can only be described as a complete mind-f**k of having Rove decry the EC…. this is why I love politics!
    Someone told me that you weren’t voting and I was about ready to fly over there an personally slap you all the way to the Embassy and force you to fill out an absentee ballot…. But now that I’ve read the argument, I completely agree!
    4 more years, an economic upswing and a couple of supreme court nominations… throw in electoral reform and you might just have the making of a truly epic presidency (although, personally, for me that mark was already achieved with Obamacare. I still think that people haven’t quite realized yet what a monumental move that was)!

    1. No worries Fede. The calculative part of me wanted Romney to get the popular vote, but as long as the Electoral College drum keeps being beat, i am happy. I’m not hopeful that it’s going to disappear any time soon, but as long as we begin to have a more meaningful discussion.

      As far as the second term, I’m a bit more hopeful than before even bc now Obama does not have to worry about re-election. Fewer constraints. But he has about a year or two before the lame duck cries start coming in from across the aisle.

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