Sunday, November 25, 2012

The End of Thanksgiving

As my four days off of work come to an end, I think back on how much I enjoyed this holiday.  Then I think about the conversation I had with a high school student last Wednesday.  He was angry with his history teacher for saying that the Thanksgiving story was made up.  Apparently the pilgrims never had a Thanksgiving dinner with Native Americans (I wish we could still call them indians).  If you think rationally about the story, it does seem a bit far fetched.  This really shakes my faith in holiday narratives.  I guess that even if Thanksgiving is fake, I at least have something to be thankful for: Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and Cupid.

Friday, November 9, 2012

California > Florida + Ohio

Why didn't California get more attention during the election? It's the most powerful state in the most powerful country in the history of the world.  We heard much about the swing states: Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Iowa, Nevada, Wisconsin, Colorado, North Carolina and even puny New Hampshire.

Look at how many times the candidates visited each of these states (in order):

State# of Campaign VisitsVisit was for Fundraising
Ohio1487
Florida11516
Virginia987
Iowa680
Nevada562
New Hampshire482
California4536

REALLY, New Hampshire's 4 electoral votes are worth more visits than California's 55?  Of course the real reason they come to California was for our money.  Only 9 visits to California were not related to fundraising.

If the 55 electoral votes from California were split into Obama's California and Romney's California, it would be two powerful states with 33 and 22 electoral votes respectively.  Florida has 29 and Ohio has 18 electoral votes.  Both states are a New Hampshire (4 electoral votes) size smaller then California's split states!

WAIT!!!  You might think this is just a Republican ploy to get more electoral votes.  Problem is that the swing in 44 electoral votes (-22 for Democrats and +22 for Republicans) would not have changed the results in any of the elections over the last 50 years (I got tired of looking after 1960).

2012 Obama wins by at least 68
2008 Obama wins by 192
2004 Bush wins anyways
2000 Bush wins anyways
1996 Clinton wins by 220
1992 Clinton wins by 202
Republicans took the state in 1968, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988 so Democrats would have benefited
1964 Johnson wins by 434
1960 Kennedy would have picked up extra votes

What Exactly am I Proposing?

End the winner-takes-all allocation of electoral votes in California, switching to a proportional allocation.

Some might argue that this deviates from the original intention of the founding fathers.  They wanted to avoid the problems of selecting a president by popular vote.  The reality is that what we have today is pretty close to selecting by popular vote.  The only difference is some of the problems outlined above.  Either way, the U.S. Constitution grants the states the rights to determine how to allocate their electoral votes, so this would be totally constitutional.  This is a state's rights issue, not a national one.

So why do it?


Reason #1: Focus Attention on California During the Campaign

Did you find yourself scratching your head about debating over coal or automobile manufacturing?  These might be important issues, but what about California's issues?

Reason #2: Increase Voter Participation

California had about 51% turnout for registered voters while the swing states had 78%.  Fewer Californians registered to vote (77% of eligible voters) compared to swing states (84%).  The difference is around 5 million fewer Californian voters.  Talk about voter suppression.  The first time my son voted, he was excited until he realized that his vote didn't matter.  I'm sure the 5 million feel the same way.

Reason #3: Keep California in the Game

Due to the later time zone, sometimes the election is decided before the polls in California even close.  The news showed long lines at the polls.  When I voted, there was no line.  I would love to see Californians rushing to the polls, engaged in the election.

So what can you do about it?

Sign this petition: http://signon.org/sign/no-more-winner-takes?source=c.em.mt&r_by=5906874

FAQ


Why use signon.org?  Aren't they a liberal organization?  signon.org is associated with moveon.org which is considered liberal, but the intent and strategy is to be non-partisan.  It was used by a couple of high school girls to petition the Presidential Debate Commission for female moderators.  It worked for them, maybe it will work for us.  If there is a better petition organization, then by all means lets use it.  There are already many like-minded, fair voting organizations that might be better suited to align with.

Do I have to give my email to moveon.org when I sign the petition?  A good strategy is to have multiple email addresses for various purposes.  I created a unique email address specifically for this cause: nomorewinnertakesall@gmail.com.  It's already been spammed by moveon.org.  Let me know if yours gets spammed.

Sources of Information:

http://www.politico.com/2012-election/map/#/President/2012/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_and_territories_by_population
http://www.politico.com/2012-election/swing-state/
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/2012-presidential-campaign-visits/
http://www.270towin.com/states/California
http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/scores.html#1992
http://elections.gmu.edu/Turnout_2012P.html

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

No more winner-takes-all electorate


Dear Friends and Family,

I'm sending this to you since I think you might be sympathetic to my "cause".  Sorry if this seems like spam but I tried to be selective in who I sent this to (no church member lists).

I decided to take personal action while I'm still motivated.  I'm tired of my vote not counting in California since I am a political minority.  55 electors is too big a chunk to hand over to one party, so I think it should be split up.  Why should Ohio or Florida have so much sway?

That's why I created a petition to The California State House, The California State Senate, and Governor Jerry Brown, which says:

"My state should no longer use a winner-takes-all assignment of electors but should instead use a proportional elector allocation for national elections."

Will you sign this petition? Click here:

http://signon.org/sign/no-more-winner-takes?source=c.em.mt&r_by=5906874

Hopefully you can share with your networks.

Thanks!

Ron Carter

P.S. I saw an interview on C-Span on how moveon.org has become a strong political force, so I decided to use their petition generation to push my cause.  Fight fire with fire.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Obama 2.0

I decided to blog my feelings on the election while my emotions are fresh.  You can skip to the last paragraph if you are glad President Obama was re-elected.

First, I'm deeply disappointed that we won't get to see what Mitt Romney could have done.  Mr. Turn Around won't get his chance.

Second, I'm going to have a hard time forgiving President Obama's campaign for the way they slandered Mitt Romney.  I know it is all in the name of politics, but I never forgave George Bush Sr. for using the same politics against Ronald Reagan in the primary.  As a consequence, I never trusted George Bush Sr. since I felt he would say and do anything to get power.  That's how I feel about President Obama.

Third, since I brought up the trust issue, Obama has to earn my trust.  Accumulating over $5 trillion in additional debt his first term destroyed my trust.  He can earn my trust by doing what Bill Clinton did his second term: end with a budget surplus.  Clinton started his second term with about $5 trillion in debt and ended with about $5.6 trillion.  If President Obama can keep our current $16 trillion dollar debt from surpassing $17 trillion by 2016, then he will have earned my trust.  President Obama can invade whatever country he wants, send drones wherever he wants, give free health care and food stamps to the whole world; as long as he doesn't borrow a nickle to do it.

Fourth, I decided to throw in a positive emotional response.  In 2008, I was proud that our country elected a black man to be our president.  It was a historic event.  I'm happy for the blacks in this country who put a lot of hope in President Obama.  Tonight cemented the fact that in spite of a bad record and a much more qualified candidate, we can act post-racial.  I also hope that the President is a role model for millions of black youths, showing them how to be a successful black man: devoted husband and father, a professional, etc. (etc = only his good qualities).  (If you don't like me being civil, then you can read what Thomas Sowell wrote about Barack Obama becoming the first black president here).