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Forum: Reform the Electoral College

Updated: February 17, 2013 6:41AM



In a recent SouthtownStar column, St. Xavier University professor Robert Shapiro praised our Electoral College, contending that it is representative and allows for “diversity.”

I disagree. Because of this weird system, a Democratic voter in Texas or a Republican in Illinois knows his vote is worthless in a presidential race. Ten “swing states” choose the president while voters in the other 40 are mere bystanders.

Rather than a candidate getting all of a state’s electoral votes by winning that state, electoral votes should be apportioned in each state on the basis of the popular vote. For example, if a presidential candidate in Illinois wins 60 percent of the popular vote he should get 11 electoral votes. The loser would get the other eight.

Maine, to its credit, recognized the defects of our current system and now gives an electoral vote to the winner of the popular vote in each congressional district.

Apportionment would also ensure that both presidential candidates campaigned in all 50 states.

We would eliminate the absurdity of a candidate wining the presidential election even though he received fewer votes than his opponent, as happened in 1888 when Grover Cleveland won the popular vote by more than 95,000 but lost the election to Benjamin Harrison, who won the electoral vote by 233 to 168. I submit that such a result is not “representative” nor does it assure “diversity of ideas.”

C.J. Koehler

Homer Glen

A long-awaited day

On Jan. 11, President Barack Obama announced that the United States will end the longest war in the history of America when about 66,000 troops end combat operations next year in Afghanistan.

As expected, certain uber-hawk elements of the Republican Party are screaming that we haven’t completed the “mission,” but when pressed on exactly what that is in Afghanistan they become tongue-tied.

More than 2,700 Americans have been killed in Afghanistan and another 7,000 seriously wounded. President Obama already ended the Iraq war and now stands on the threshold of ending the war in Afghanistan, liberating the United States from two wars started by the Bush/Cheney administration.

Because of all the talk on pending gun control regulations, the Afghanistan war has fallen off the radar screen of the mainstream media, but to the thousands of veterans of both Iraq and Afghanistan the announcement is a major milestone.

More than 4,700 young Americans were killed in Iraq and roughly 70,000 were seriously wounded — in a war started under false pretenses that Saddam Hussein had chemical and/or biological weapons and the ability to make a nuclear bomb.

There is no reason to remain in Afghanistan, and Obama has had the guts to say it is time to leave. The war there has cost American taxpayers more than $553 billion, and the Iraq war cost more than $1 trillion.

Bill Corcoran

Chicago



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