I was reading the conclusion of a book on climate change, The Great Warming, and came across this line by author Brian Fagan. He writes: “In an earlier book, I described industrial society as a huge supertanker that takes many miles to stop and maneuvers slowly. I accused our society of being oblivious and inattentive, of ignoring the climatic danger signals that lie ahead.”
This post is not about that threat to our society, although one could devote endless posts on that subject. Rather, this is about the outdated system of governance that we have to operate our 21st century society. For starters let us look at the method used to elect our president- the Electoral College. Each state is allotted 2 senators and therefore given 2 electoral votes. Additionally, each state is given one more electoral vote for each representative in Congress. These are assigned per 700,000 citizens.
However, a state like Wyoming is given 3 electoral votes even though the entire state has only 580,000 people. Likewise, Vermont. Mathematically, Wyoming receives one electoral vote per 192,000 people. Hell, it has no city larger than 55,000! On the other end of the scale, California is awarded one electoral vote for every 700,000 citizens. This ratio holds true for the top dozen most populous states. The two Dakotas and Alaska round out the bottom 5 states whose electoral vote averages 230,000 people. Thirteen other states, at the top, average one vote per 650,000 people.
One man, one vote! Not.
The map of the 2012 Presidential election displays this voting anomaly. Note the massive RED west of the Mississippi which belies the fact that the BLUE state vote was 332 over RED 206.
President Obama won 26 states; Romney 24, yet that mathematical ratio is not represented in the 336:206 Electoral College vote. Here’s a map with a more significant representation of the 2012 vote:
The 3-D image clearly shows the urban clustering in the United States while indicating the vast areas of sparse population west of the Mississippi.
The question arises: are we still an agrarian society? Our Founding Fathers believed so and set up our system of governance based on that reality of the times. A few of them believed that we would always remain agrarian. So much for that ‘wisdom.’
Alas, we are left with the fact that we have a governing system terribly outdated. Can we live with it? What is the trend? More urban or more agrarian? How will it ever be changed?
The answers are beyond my pay level.