By Senators Request

I always encourage constituents to contact their representatives. In an editorial by State Senator Brandon Shaffer, he asked for his constituents to “engage in a dialog” with him on issues in the upcoming legislative session. Here’s one, don’t waste time playing games with the Electoral College (EC). It was attempted in 2004 with a ballot initiative that would split up the EC votes by statewide popular vote, and lost. It’s been tried behind voter’s backs in the Senate, throwing all of our EC votes behind the national popular vote, and lost. Senator Shaffer co-sponsored this and even voted to keep it off the ballot.

Are his constituents clamoring for this change? Or does he give more of his considerations to Majority Leader Ken Gordon, who usually spearheads this pointless, and yearly, exercise?

California is considering changing how their EC votes are split up, in this case by congressional district. To be consistent, Senators Gordon and Shaffer should throw all of their support behind this, why do I get the feeling they wont? Does it not benefit them or their party? What’s good for the goose and all that, right?

It doesn’t matter if California’s idea isn’t the same as what’s been tried here. Two other states, Nebraska and Maine, already apportion their EC votes by congressional district, how many do it the way our Senates tried? (Answer zero). We should all do it the same way, whether that’s abolishing the Electoral College, or some other idea. Cherry picking states for political gain, no matter who’s doing it, is not acceptable. But more to the point, why does Senator Shaffer continually beat this drum and who’s asking for it? Who does he really represent?

Senator Shaffer said he hopes he’s proven he’s “always ready and willing to listen to constituents.” I know, I’m nobody, but this is an important issue, all that’s been proven to me is that he has staffers who can throw out talking points. I know everyone has staffers and they are required, but we didn’t vote for them. If their words are representative of his words, and if his votes on the tough issues, not the feel-good issues he often raises in his editorials, kowtow more to the senior leaders in his party instead of his constituents, then he shouldn’t get any of our future votes.

Predicting Elections

As I stated in an earlier post, I like to handicap and predict Presidential elections. Until the field is narrowed, it’s still too early to do much more than guess. Also, state referendums have a tendency to bring out a certain electorate, and make some others sit it out. There’s one in particular that isn’t actually during the general election that could have huge implications on who is the next president, regardless of who the candidates are.

First off, there are plenty of other websites that do this, with maps and trends, but also some wishful thinking. Last time around they did a pretty good job and I expect them to repeat that, I called 49 out of 50 states. There’s also at least one website that allows you to gamble on the election, Intrade, and currently they have the Democrat winning 288-243 in Electoral votes, some votes were too close to call. By my own numbers, I currently have the Democrat winning 284-254, but with several too close to call, or “in play”. Those would be Iowa, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, and Ohio. Intrade has the percentages very close on these states as well.

Here’s where my numbers and Intrade’s differ: Iowa, Colorado, and New Mexico I put in the Dem column (21 votes). Nevada and Ohio I put in the Rep column (25 votes). Intrade goes the other way on those, except for Iowa, which is currently a statistical dead heat. Once again, the state that could decide it all, and has been trending Democrat in the last few months is…….drum roll….. Ohio. Adding or subtracting those 20 Electoral votes makes all the difference in hitting the magic number needed to win.

Now here’s the kicker: There is a possibility of a ballot measure in California to split up the Electoral votes by congressional district. This would go to the voters in June ’08 during a probable very low turnout primary election, since the Presidential primary for California has been moved up to February ’08. How it would work is that 2 Electoral Votes would go to the statewide winner, and the rest ( 53) would be given to whoever won each congressional district. For example, in a 60% to 40% election, it would be a 32-21 split, currently it’s a winner-take-all whopping 55 Electoral votes. The most in the country, and usually a guaranteed 55 votes for the Democrats.

So with my numbers, the final tally would be Rep= 275 Dem= 263, Intrade’s would be Dem= 267 Rep= 264 with Iowa providing the missing 7 votes and the tiebreaker. I’ll dig deeper into this possible ballot issue in a future story, including Colorado’s attempts to change how we hand out our Electoral votes and where our local representatives weigh in on this. In review,they wanted to split up our Electoral votes in a somewhat similar way, or base it on the national popular vote, but I’ll bet money they sure don’t want this California idea to come anywhere close to reality. More political double standards.