The Electoral College Isn’t Broken

In my post yesterday, I provided some steps to make elections more fair in this country, hopefully leading to a democracy that feels more representative of the actual voters in this country. One of the items I considered discussing, but ultimately decided against, was the Electoral College method for selecting our president. I personally think there isn’t an issue with the Electoral College in and of itself. The only time it seems to matter is when a president is elected without having one the popular vote, as was the case with Donald Trump in November.

Nevertheless, there has been a multi-state movement to change the way that we select our president in this country. The National Popular Vote is a compact between multiple states – one that won’t go into affect until after enough states sign on – that will award each state’s electoral votes based on the national popular vote. If such a compact was in place for the last election, Hillary Clinton would have won the presidency because some of the states that she technically lost (according to the popular vote in that state) would have had to vote for her because of what the national popular vote ended up being. Continue reading “The Electoral College Isn’t Broken”

Stuff’s Broken, Yo!

I wrote the following on Facebook yesterday after writing the recent Ranking the Presidents series:

Writing just over 6,000 words recently about our presidents made me realize that our country still hasn’t really figured out our own governance. We swing wildly back and forth between extremes, or different versions of the extreme, and some perfectly capable leaders end up being neutered by forces inside and outside their personal control.

I’m not saying that we should give President Trump a chance or anything, I would just be cautious about trying to find the next person right now by looking as far left as possible. Sometimes, the most success is found by a person in the middle that can work with both sides of the political aisle.

Or we’re all doomed to this black/white, right/left cycle for perpetuity and we have reached the end of this Republic. Guess we’ll find out.

It prompted a quick back and forth discussion with a friend about how we have ended up in this position we are in and how we could possibly resolve it. He and I both had some great thoughts about a solid way forward, and despite it feeling awfully hopeless sometimes – especially for those currently in the minority party right now – there are a couple of things that can and should change for the better to restore a bit of luster to politics in the country. Granted, a lot of these changes will be hard and won’t happen overnight, but that doesn’t mean that we should just throw up our hands and stop resisting.

Continue reading “Stuff’s Broken, Yo!”

Ranking the Presidents – Part 4

This part of the list should be the cream of the crop, and for the most part it is. It includes all four presidents featured on Mount Rushmore (though they aren’t the top 4 presidents) and the bulk of presidents from the 20th century (it helps when one of the guys served for 12 years). Unlike the previous entries in this series, these guys will be presented in my personal order, though there is plenty of room for discussion based on personal taste (or distaste, as is the case with Thomas Jefferson and my younger sister).

Below are my personal rankings of the Top 10 presidents in U.S. history, starting with the man that is held personally responsible for our country in the first place:

10. Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809) – Thomas Jefferson was the man principally responsible for the drafting of the Declaration of Independence. But even that was not enough for him to be immediately elected president, something that seems to have irritated him. He finally became president in 1801, completed the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, and generally spearheaded the young country forward. He should be commended for keeping us out of the European wars so early in our country’s life, but he should also be held accountable for causing some of the early political divisiveness of our country, bringing about the political parties that George Washington had warned about. Continue reading “Ranking the Presidents – Part 4”

Ranking the Presidents – Part 3

In Part 3, we are finally getting to some presidents that did some real things. Unlike those in Part 1 and Part 2, the accomplishments in this group tend to be more good than bad. This group of ten can split into a couple of groups, with one outlier that doesn’t really fit. We have four “modern” Presidents, three “Founding Father” types, a couple of War of 1812 hero-types, and one guy that served around the turn of the 20th Century until he was assassinated.

Here, grouped by era, are presidents 11-20:

Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) – My dad’s favorite president, Reagan followed Jimmy Carter into the White House and immediately began to make a positive impression. The former actor and California governor was popular, and had been trying to be president since the ’70s. He told folks to tear down walls, which led to the collapse of the Soviet Union a few years later. He overhauled the tax code in 1986, reducing the tax burden for millions of Americans and left office with the nation feeling prosperous and peaceful. For all the good that Reagan did as president – and going toe to toe with the Soviets should be praised – he also failed to say anything about the AIDS crisis despite being a “compassionate conservative” and allowed for members of his National Security team to fund Contras in South America illegally.

Continue reading “Ranking the Presidents – Part 3”