With pollsters and pundits calling the election too close to call, I’ll go out on a limb here and made a prediction. Mitt Romney is going to get more votes than Barack Obama. Nevertheless, Mitt Romney will not be our next President, due to a loss in the electoral college. Republicans will go berserk, crying foul, fraud and dirty tricks. Democrats will privately gloat, the memory of the 2000 election debacle seared into their beings. The value of stability will rise above all, and President Obama will be sworn into a second term. But this country will be left bitter, scarred and more polarized than ever. What to do? After 2 elections in the last 20 years in which the popular choice got defeated, this country must rise up as one voice to rid ourselves of the electoral college once and for all.
As a daily talk radio host, I’ve got a pretty good feel for what the public is thinking. Even here in metropolitan New York, President Obama is not popular. Today, the Democratic New York Daily News endorsed Romney. Voters who support Obama are largely keeping their opinions to themselves. On the other hand, Romney voters are loud and belligerent, angry at Obama and convinced this country is on a dire path to destruction unless Romney is elected. In Texas, much of the South and the Midwest, Romney can count on landslide majorities of the popular vote. Hurricane Sandy will depress the turnout significantly in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, three states that Obama is counting on for big leads. When you add up all the votes, Romney will score higher. But Obama will win in Ohio, and that will give him the edge in the electoral college. He will win the White House again.
The stakes of staying with the electoral college have gotten way too high. What if Al Gore had taken his rightful place in 2000? No war in Iraq, that’s for sure. All those lives saved; all that money saved too. Think where we might be now if we had not denied climate change for the last 12 years. Perhaps Sandy would not be such an unmitigated catastrophe. In 2012, are the stakes any less crucial?
Despite my own support of President Obama, I’m not happy to be predict that he will win on a technicality, on the constitutional anachronism of the electoral college. I happen to believe in the will of the people. A democratically elected leader is the best person to lead a nation, even if I didn’t vote for the guy. I know all the traditional, historical reasons why people still think the electoral college should stand. But they pale in comparison to the essential democratic value of one person/ one vote. If Mitt Romney wins the popular vote, he should be President.
Back in 2000, the pathetic ineptitude of Florida’s hanging chads should have been a sideshow to the real result: Al Gore won by 500,000 votes. Case closed. But Al Gore was too good a sport- he conceded to the status quo. Since then, a small movement has arisen to require states to vote all their electoral college votes to the winner of the national popular vote, as a way of circumventing the electoral college. But Americans know that is the wrong approach. A change to the Constitution needs to happen straight, not sideways.
Remember, Al Gore would have won the presidency if he had taken his home state of Tennessee. What are the chances Mitt Romney will win Massachusetts?
Mitt Romney is the kind of good sport Al Gore was. I can see him conceding to the system, because he is the kind of guy who plays by the rules. But you can be sure the Republicans will not take this lying down. They aren’t wimps like the Democrats. Here is my other prediction- if Mitt Romney wins but loses, the electoral college will be dismembered once and for all. And good riddance.