John Laird 40 states ignored during 2012 presidential campaign

first_imgJohn Laird is editorial page editor at The Columbian. Email: [email protected] Laird will retire on Friday, Aug. 2, to be replaced by Greg Jayne. Email: [email protected] Our nation’s Founding Fathers knew what they were doing when they created the Electoral College. Their noble, intended purpose was to keep heavily populated states from running roughshod over small states while selecting what would become the world’s most powerful leader.Unintended consequences have rendered their original intent obsolete. And this year, a second unintended consequence has emerged, one that likely would infuriate the Founding Fathers who wanted elections to be decided by the people, and not manipulated by the political parties.Before exploring that newer unintended consequence, here’s an update on the first one, presidential campaigns that become too narrowly focused: Last year, after each was nominated for president, Barack Obama campaigned in only eight states, and Mitt Romney did so in only 10. Forty states were ignored, which I’m guessing also would’ve outraged the Founding Fathers.Of the 253 campaign appearances by Obama, Romney, Joe Biden and Paul Ryan after they were nominated, more than two-thirds of the events occurred in just four states (Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and Iowa.) That’s according to, a good source of information about letting voters, not electors, decide the presidency. The website also explains why the 40 states were ignored: “Neither candidate has any reason to pay attention to the concerns of voters in states where they are comfortably ahead or hopelessly behind.” These are states such as Washington, where all 12 electoral votes went to Obama.The Electoral College concept blemishes no other election (of candidates) in our nation, and how anyone could defend it mystifies those of us who believe every vote should count equally. One alternative, the National Popular Vote campaign, is not as un-American as critics claim. Its proposed change “would ensure that every vote, in every state, will matter in every presidential election.” Who could reject that?last_img

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