Saturday, October 09, 2004

American Democracy (2)

OK, Part 1 needs to be read first.

So, we've established that votes in the American Presidential elections do not have equal valancey.

We've seen there are two ostensible causes:

1) The difference in distribution of congressional seats in the House of Representatives.

2) Constitutional weighting given small states by the addition of 2 electoral college votes for simply being a state, regardless of population.

These causes are in fact, at heart, the same. That is, the reification of the statehood of the states. Obviously, if democratical values were to be followed electoral boundaries would follow population, and so the distributional anomolies seen in apportionment could be remedied by changing the shape and size of constitutencies. That the boundaries of the states must remain constant means that shifts in other variables cannot be adequately accounted for.

The fact is, it is the states who are meant to be electing the President, not the people directly. That was a part of the constitutional package to satisfy the local and diverse political élites drawing it up.

This is how Al Gore could lose last time, despite having the majority of the popular vote.

This reification of states is, though, just one distorting factor.


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