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TNR: Does the Electoral College Favor Dean?

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dkf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 04:11 AM
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TNR: Does the Electoral College Favor Dean?


Today's edition of Roll Call reports that a group of Republican pollsters believes Howard Dean represents a serious threat to George W. Bush. Interestingly, the pollsters make two of the points we've been flogging here for the past several months: 1) Dean is the one guy capable of exciting the Democratic base without alienating moderates--since the substance of most of his policy positions is pretty moderate. 2) Dean's appeal has less to do with specific policies than with his personal charisma and apparent plainspoken-ness. The way we see it, this fact leaves Dean a ton of room to moderate himself on substance without alienating his more liberal supporters.

One interesting point the pollsters bring up that we hadn't even considered is that Dean may actually be well-suited to pick up the marginal electoral-college states a Democrat needs to win the presidency. The article cites Nevada and West Virginia in particular--the former because Dean could focus his anti-Bush vitriol on the administration's plans to turn the state into a nuclear waste dump, and the latter because Dean's moderate position on gun control could bring blue-collar voters back into the Democratic fold. (Al Gore narrowly lost the traditionally Democratic state in 2000 thanks to defections among these voters.)

What's truly amazing is that Nevada and West Virginia are (theoretically) the only two states Bush carried in 2000 that Dean would need to carry in order to win the electoral college. Meanwhile, it doesn't seem like much of a stretch to think Dean would hold his own in the states Gore won. After all, the winning margin in many of the states Gore carried only narrowly--Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, even Florida--was depressed because of defections to Nader or broader liberal dissatisfaction with Gore. Dean's aggressive criticism of the president should only help him here.

Maybe the broader point is that in red/blue America, a reasonably competent Democratic nominee starts with close to 250 electoral college votes. If he can just slice off a couple more here and there, he can make a pretty compelling run for the White House.

posted 1:30 p.m.

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La_Serpiente Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 04:38 AM
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1. That's a really good question
I don't think the Electoral College is the Democrats friend. Look at Al Gore.

The Electoral College is a byproduct of slavery and should be abolished. It also gives too much power to small states when it should be equal support.
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whirlygigspin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 05:11 AM
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2. wonderful article
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Padraig18 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 05:26 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. I agree
Edited on Tue Oct-07-03 05:26 AM by Padraig18
The problem with abolishing it will be persuading small states like Montana, Wyoming, Hew Hampshire, etc. to votes 'yes' on the constitutional amendment that abolishing it will require; they will, quite literally, be voting against their own self-interest.
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morgan2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 06:04 AM
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5. electoral college
The electoral college doesn't favor large or small states at all. What is wrong with it is it gives more influence to the so called swing states. Presidents dont have to work at all in states that they securely have behind them. They have to pander to the specific needs of swing states in an attempt to win them. Each vote is not counted equaly, those in tight races count more because of the all or nothing nature of the electoral college. Although two states, I forget which, will split up their electoral votes It still has the same sort of effect on a smaller scale. Sorry that was written in jibberish, but you get the point.
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CoffeePlease1947 Donating Member (621 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 06:02 AM
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4. Dean cannot win Nevada and West Virginia
He pushed to have Nuclear waste dumped in Neveda. People there are pretty upset about that.

West Virginia he cannot win for two reasons. 1) His gay unions bill. 2) The Democratic Governor was caught in an affair and his career is over. So the Democrats don't really have anyone to support them. Byrd was a member of Klan, and Rockerfellers are not too popular either.

Afraid Nevada and West Virginia are out of the picture for Dean. He needs to get more electoral votes someplace and I don't where that would be.

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dofus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 06:24 AM
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6. If the President could only be elected
by a majority (although I'd settle for a plurality above 40%) of the POPULAR vote, then every single vote actually would count. The current system with the electoral college really means that only a few thousand votes really count and those only count in the states which are not already a foregone conclusion for one or the other candidate.
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