From Texas congressman Ron Paul with my comments in brackets:
"A presidential campaign in a purely democratic system would look very strange indeed, as any rational candidate would focus only on a few big population centers.
[This does not follow. It may have been true before TV, but the addresses to populated centers reach rural America, too. It also assumes the population centers can be swayed by one candidate over another enough so that their composition can be changed. None of this year's rhetoric, largely damnation, distortion, and outright lying, seems to have done this. The population centers were hardly ignored by the candidates.]
A candidate receiving a large percentage of the popular vote in California, Texas, Florida, and New York, for example, could win the presidency with very little support in dozens of other states.
[ That's equally true of the electoral college.]
Moreover, a popular vote system would only intensify political pandering, as national candidates would face even greater pressure than today to take empty, middle-of-the-road, poll-tested, mainstream positions.
[Er, there was no lack of political pandering and empty, middle-of-the-road, poll-tested, maistream positions.]
Direct democracy in national politics would further dilute regional differences of opinion on issues, further narrow voter choices, and further emasculate political courage.
[This strikes me as absolutely meaningless political babble.]
Those who call for the abolition of the electoral college are hostile to liberty.
Not surprisingly, most advocates of abolition are statist elites concentrated largely on the east and west coasts.
[This doesn't make sense. States with large population centers should prefer the electoral college so that the large minorities in those states don't count. It might be interesting if B.com had a poll on the home page regarding which form of election is preferred and whether they come from a blue state (largely east and west coasts) or a red.]
These political, economic, academic, media, and legal elites overwhelmingly favor a strong centralized federal government, and express contempt for the federalist concept of states’ rights.
[I don't know what this opinion is based on. The nation is more unified because of the strong centralized government, which is what we have, isn't it? States' rights are fine as long as they don't supercede national rights. That's how we got all that civil rights and equal employment stuff passed.]
They believe in omnipotent federal power, with states acting as mere glorified federal counties carrying out commands from Washington.
[So maybe we shouldn't farg around with any more Constitutional amendments adding to Washington's accursed omnipotence. And what the heck does this have to do with electoral vs. popular voting?]
No Fan of Ron Paul
By the way, congress has 2 houses as a reasonable compromise. The senate gives equal representation to states, and the House makes representation proportional to population. If it had not been for the compromise of adopting BOTH houses we wouldn't have a country. The electoral college takes that compromise into the method electing the president. But the president is a single person. His/her actions are based on one mind and do not reflect the split personality of congress. So his/her election is not inherently better through the electoral college. Congress gets the last word anyway (usually), so that the 2 forms of representation affect this last word no matter how the president is elected.
<small>[ 11-09-2004, 07:19 PM: Message edited by: shostakovich ]</small>