Getting serious

Two letters caught my attention, one a reapportionment scheme and one bemoaning our two-party-dominated political system and the Constitution’s perceived flaws.

Why just two major parties? It is in our DNA. The USA was born in a revolution (two opponents). The winner rules. There is no participation trophy for revolution. Proportional representation used in most of the world’s democracies has its problems. We are better served than Italy with near continuous instability since WWII; Spain nearly a year without a government; Israel’s Knesset virtually controlled by a minuscule party. Even Germany recently faced the inability to form a government. All because small fringe parties are awarded seats proportionally in their governments.

Why do small states have a proportionally larger share in government and the Electoral College? That was the deal made to get the small states on board when the Constitution was written. By the way, it was states, not colonies, that made the “more perfect Union”. If you think the Constitution will be amended to remove the small-state privileges, don’t hold your breath. The Electoral College exists partly because the Founding Fathers would not risk mob rule in elections. They had manipulated the mob before the revolution. It also assures small states a voice in national elections. In 1790 six contiguous states (MA, NY, PA, VA, MD) could easily outvote the rest. Today 14 of 50 can do it. Clinton’s popular majority was made in two states, CA and NY. Is this better?

Allotting the States’ electoral votes could be done differently. I looked at two schemes. One allots one electoral vote per congressional district won, one vote for winning most districts, and one for winning the popular vote. Another allots electoral votes proportionally according to popular vote percentages, rounding results, and allotting votes to minor parties if their percentage wins better than a half vote without awarding more electors than allowed. How did this work out for 2016? Neither Trump nor Clinton wins a majority. In this case, the Constitution sends the election the House of Representatives to be decided on a majority vote, one per state, by Congressional delegations. Since the Republicans control 32 delegations and 26 are the majority, President Trump wins.

Alan Cohick, are you serious? Congressional districts are to be relatively equal in population, contiguous, and reasonably compact. The Constitution gives the state legislatures the power to determine how districts are drawn within the above parameters. The state Supreme Court overstepped its bounds. This case should be before the U.S. Supreme Court.

William C. Dincher

Williamsport

Submitted by Virtual Newsroom

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