Friday, November 18, 2016

The Electoral College, NFL Referees and the Harry Potter Solution

By Bob Ferris

I had a thought while watching football this week: Why cannot the Electoral College do their voting a little like NFL referees moderate a game?  I come to this line of reasoning because there have been so, so many political fouls in this election that the Electoral College should be able to throw a few penalty flags.  How so?

Maybe Red State Republicans should get a penalty flag for voter suppression in their states.  What would be the call?  Perhaps this would be Roughing the Constitution.  And since it was open and notorious let’s take a million votes from the Republicans in Red States as a penalty.  Seems fair.

That is not to say that the Democrats were without sins.  There probably should be flag thrown for how the DNC dealt with Bernie.  Let’s call that one Process Interference and penalize them a million votes spread across the Democratic side in the Blues States.

There was also the whole Hillary e-mail thing which really was handled poorly.  That might be viewed as Intentional Floundering.   But then we have the second FBI Director Comey announcement which clearly was Unsportsmanlike Communication after the play.  So we have offsetting penalties.

Dr. Jill Stein and LT General Flynn (Trump's candidate for National Security Adviser) dining with Vladimir Putin at the dinner celebrating the 10th Anniversary of RT (Russia Today) the Russian state-owned TV network.
Then there is the whole "Russian" thing from the DNC hacks and WikiLeaks to paid internet trolls and the likelihood of hidden Russian financial ties to the Trump Empire.  This one is hard to categorize as it seems a hybrid of too many men on the field and fans coming down from the stands and acting like players during a goal-line stance.  So here the flag flies for Illegal Intrusion.

Then there is all the fake news.  Which seemed to have been more widely shared on social networks like Facebook than real news.  This functioned much like a cadre of folks blowing air-horns every time the opposing team tried to call a play.  In the NFL this can draw a Delay of Game flag with the Electoral College this should result in a Political Interference flag.  Thrown and thrown again.

Stir into this mix penalty flags for bald-faced lying and flying yellow for un-American behavior and you start to understand that our election process, while always messy has unlikely been this stained from so many quarters in recent memory.  I can on some level understand the need for the Electoral College and can get over the disproportional per capita representation both in the Senate and less so in the House, but you cannot have those leveling factors and allow these other manipulations to stand or not be accounted for somehow in the resulting Electoral College voting when we are for the second time in this generation represented by someone who did not win the popular vote and most voted against.  And this understanding does not absolutely depend on whether or not you see us as a democracy, republic or some hybrid of the two.

I hope that the Electoral College collectively incorporates some of the above in their decisions.  Yes that would be an abnormal occurrence and would take some courage, but then they should have a strong inkling about this being about their own future as well as the future of this country.  Hopefully this body will make the right decision based upon fairness and a love of our country.  My sense is that while some will have unhappy faces if they do, most Americans would applaud a corrective decision.  And if you need some inspiration about how that would feel watch the below and the compare that to the mood in America now.

1 comment:

  1. Bob, your electoral college ideas sound like the speculation games we used to play in poli-sci classes at college. Alas, who makes these judgment calls? it could be such a baroque scramble after every close election that the winner doesn't take the oath until many months later. Truth is, the small states and most Republican states don't want EC reform. It slants towards the rural vote, and puts a nice lady's veil (or 18th century periwig) over the sort of vote repression that happened this year in key states. Imagine if Kennedy had beaten Nixon in 1960 by two million votes (as was widely predicted) but lost the EC. Alas, that two million (and growing) margin is now simply Mrs. Clinton's consolation prize. She can have poignant talks with Al Gore about it.