Despite the protests and petitions and the fact that Hillary Clinton got almost 3 million more votes, Donald Trump—as expected—got the nod from the Electoral College to be President of the United States. Nothing new here. Move along. But I have a question...
What exactly is the point of having "electors"? They're not really elected, and they don't really elect. They're selected by their respective political parties to serve in the interest of those parties and, in turn, are expected to select the presidential candidate those parties nominated. They change nothing and do nothing but act as a rubber stamp for a magic number that is already decided before they show up to do their thing, and, as such, they perpetuate not democracy but a mockery of democracy, i.e. demockracy.
Opinion polls over the last thirty years show that a majority of Americans believe the presidency should be decided by popular vote. Yet, despite the approximately 700 attempts throughout American history to change the process, the politicians we do elect by popular vote haven't delivered. We can explore the details of why that happens or consider the merits and machinations of amending the Constitution and related laws, but it's a fact of our collective political life that we engage in this futility over and over, and nothing changes. Isn't that the definition of insanity?
WHO NEEDS 'EM?
As long as we are stuck with this out-of-whack, antiquated, anti-democratic, imbalanced, weighted-ballot-by-state system, let's just cut the deadwood and have computers (or robots, for those needing the comfort of a humanoid physicality) automatically cast electoral votes after election results are certified. We don't even have to change federal election laws; they don't require that electors be human! And if human electors can't or won't exercise some measure of judgment, discretion and common sense, who needs 'em?
Automation happens all the time to workers, irrespective of the quality of their work, the profits and wealth they create, and the economy they keep afloat with the ducats their labor earns. Nor has it mattered how hard they worked, how dependable or loyal they were, or what would happen to the families, schools, merchants, and communities they supported. Why, then, should human electors—whose "work" is to affirm a predetermined outcome once every four years—be exempt from the dreaded pink slip?
GAMES PEOPLE PLAY
Let's stop this charade. Let's stop putting a human happy face on a process most voting-age citizens don't want. Let's relegate human electors to the dustbin of history to be replaced by the ones and zeroes of impersonal but just as effective automatons programmed only by and for the two major parties, because, c'mon, we all know third parties and independents haven't a snowball's chance in hell the way things are now.
Let's just sit back, relax, accept the inevitable, and, but for a mumble of discontent now and then, passively watch the next election as an unfriendly foreign state hacks that too. Who cares? It won't make one damn bit of difference anyway as long as we don't have a popular vote and paper ballots and runoff elections and proportional representation and guaranteed voting rights and all the other things we need to be the kind of country we've bullshitted ourselves and much of the world into believing we are.
Automate the EC. At least it's a little more honest.
© Kathy Wilkes
Images courtesy of Pixabay.com. CC0 Public Domain.