Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What insanity would possess a person in a small state to support DE HB 198? It is The abolishes Federalism and insures Delawareans don't matter Act or at least that is what it would be called if we applied truth to labeling.

The Act would disenfranchise Delaware Voters by insuring that regardless who they vote to support in a Presidential election, their electoral votes would go to whomever has the plurality vote in the country not even the majority is required to over ride the wishes of the people of the state. Recounts are not required to be complete in the legislation; it takes a snapshot 6 days before the appointment of the electors.

One has to wonder about the Constitutionality of the measure. It would not allow voters to select the electors, but institute a plebiscite on election day. It allows the voters of other states to bind the voters of our state. It binds the electors to vote a certain way (which has been challenged in other settings) regardless of the intentions of the people who voted in the state.

Imagine if 60% of this state voted for Joe Biden and President Obama but the electors had to vote for John McCain and Sarah Palin. The right of the people to vote for their own Senator to be VP would be gone. Your voice as a state would be eliminated.

In a practical sense, it would be the states handing over their identity and the concept of federalism. We would no longer have the 50 states and D.C. voting as the United States of America. We would have the Republic of America. The states would no longer matter in the Presidential election. This continues the assault which we already see on state primaries. Instead of having to campaign in the states, we now have huge Super Tuesday votes. This has decreased voter contact with the candidates and outrageously increased the cost of the Presidential election. Public financing reform is dead in the primaries and special interests are more influential (this by the very people who promised the opposite.) The two Bushes campaigned in Delaware and so did the Obama-Biden ticket. Do you think that would happen in a national plebiscite? State issues would matter a lot less. The elections would further fall into national media ads and manipulation.

Even more objectionable to me is the fact that it would not take a majority vote to over ride our voice. The vote of the people could be divided into the smallest of factions and their would be no mechanism to have a run off. The current system blunts a divided vote by requiring support all across the country. This would risk minority factionalism. 60% of our state could vote one way and be forced to support a 25% candidate. It would make us Britain. Even most parliamentary governments do not undermine legitimacy by tossing the vote to a small plurality candidate with no input to build a coalition. The current toss into the House of Representatives does that. Such a scenario would lead to unbelievable gridlock and disunity.

This bill is unAmerican in the sense that it is contrary to our traditions and structure. It needs to die in committee today.