Editorials

Electoral College works most of the time — or does it?

Pages lead a Senate procession carrying two boxes holding Electoral College votes through Statuary Hall to the House Chamber on Capitol Hill on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, for the counting of the votes in the presidential election. A tally of the U.S. Electoral College vote affirmed President Barack Obama's re-election. (AP)
Pages lead a Senate procession carrying two boxes holding Electoral College votes through Statuary Hall to the House Chamber on Capitol Hill on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, for the counting of the votes in the presidential election. A tally of the U.S. Electoral College vote affirmed President Barack Obama's re-election. (AP) AP

In the culinary world there is a dining trend toward small plates: appetizers, tapas, sliders, sides and the growing assortment of finger foods.

But today I am launching FFT: Food For Thought — some bite-sized opinions I’ll offer up just to get the conversation going on a topic. Or, by offering additional thoughts on a recent opinion that we’re not quite finished with at the table of ideas.

For example, after reading Judge Stephen Trott’s piece Sunday on the formation and execution of the Electoral College, I’ve decided it’s not a perfect system, but it allows one more check and balance to our spinning-wheel form of government. Which is to say, nothing happens easily, alone, or in isolation. To become law, bills have to win over both chambers in Congress and then be signed by the president.

To win the presidency ought to be a little complicated, too. Though the popular vote seems like a good and fair way to elect someone — that only works for me when we are talking about elections within a local or state jurisdiction. When it comes to electing a president involving 50 states — some of which dwarf others in population — the EC affords a bit of leveling. That said, I could be persuaded to think about awarding a state’s EC votes on a proportional basis, though, as is done in Nebraska and Maine. If a state has 10, and one candidate gets 60 percent of the vote — the EC votes ought to be distributed thusly: 6 for the 60 percent of the popular vote and 4 for the balance.

What do you think?

. . .Later this week I want to discuss something that a reader shared with me about the U.S. Supreme Court. Even though we are short one justice at the moment, why are a bunch of people who study the Constitution so much so often coming up with such polarizing interpretations?

“For some time, I have been bothered by the 4-4 votes in the SCOTUS. Not that eight reasonable people can't have a split opinion, but it bothers me that I know ahead of time how each of the eight will vote on certain issues. And this was before the (Ruth Bader) Ginsburg outburst. Do we have two branches of government, not three? I would love to have someone address that.”

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