Tue | Nov 30, 2021

Abolish Electoral College, says former Ohio governor

Published:Wednesday | November 4, 2020 | 12:19 AMJanet Silvera/Senior Gleaner Writer
Trump
Trump

COLUMBUS, Ohio:

Former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland has called for the abolition of the United States Electoral College system, calling it an archaic holdover of the slave-economy era.

Strickland cited the election of Republicans George W. Bush, in 2000, and Donald Trump, four years ago, as the “two most preventable tragic events” that have resulted from the Electoral College.

Citing the response to the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, he lambasted Bush, who lost the popular vote but became president, for plunging the US into a “war in Iraq that has had terrible consequences”.

“The tremendous loss of life; the high cost of war, the creation of ISIS, we are dealing with circumstances today that I believe are the direct results of the Bush administration’s decision to go to war with Iraq,” he told a group of international observers on Tuesday.

The Trump presidency was blamed by Strickland for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 230,000 in the US and infected nine million and counting. Trump also lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton.

Strickland, who was the 68th governor of Ohio, served from 2007 to 2011, insists that the winner of the popular vote ought to be the one sworn in as president.

“I think it would be a fairer system to say that every vote counts equally to every other vote when we elect our president,” he stated.

Describing the Electoral College model as untenable, he explained that smaller states tend to have a disproportionate influence over their counterparts with larger populations.

Strickland said that the Electoral College was founded as a means to get the support of the slave-owning Southern states. The populations of the North and the South were historically roughly equal before the system was ratified, but the North forged an agreement with the South that blacks could not be counted as full humans.

“To our great shame, a compromise was agreed upon that allowed an African American slave to be counted as 3/5ths of a person. So when the decisions were made as to how many representatives, Congress members came from that state, it was a way to get the South to agree and the Electoral College was established, using those calculations,” Strickland said.

A three-fifths majority would be needed for a constitutional amendment, after which individual states would vote, said Strickland.

But he predicted that that would be a “long, difficult process that probably would never happen because the Congress members and the senators from these smaller states would be unlikely to vote in a way that would diminish their power”.

janet.silvera@gleanerjm.com