SixFifty

lessons from America

The distorted lens

And I’m not talking the media for once.  It’s always gratifying seeing other people blog about the the pitfalls of the ‘winner-takes-all’ system, or at least pick up and supporting what political anoraks like me and my much more learned brethren on 538 are saying.  Exhibit A is this from the Guardian’s technology blog:

FiveThirtyEight.com has lots of maps – including the remarkable result from 1984, when Reagan got 525/538 of the “electoral college” votes while getting 60% of the votes, and the amazing one from 1972, when Nixon got 62% of the votes cast but 520 “electoral college” votes. And then there’s 2000, when.. oh no, let’s not. Which goes to show how the first-past-the-post system, as used in the US states – and here, since you mention it – can distort things.”

It’s also highly unusual but very welcome to find specific mention of the electoral reform campaign on the back page rather than the inside / comment pages of newspapers. But here Martin Samuels, the Times’ chief football correspondent, makes an insightful connection between politics and sport.  I’m going come back to this article – exhibit B as it were – in another post shortly.

Advertisements

October 22, 2008 Posted by | lessons from America, systems | , | Leave a comment

States that split matter

So we have McCain pulling out of actively campaigning in Michigan.  And some of his staff and resources from that state are believed to have gone not just to the well-known swing states but to Maine as well. DemConWatch notes:

“Yesterday Matt wrote about how McCain is going to focus on winning one of Maine’s Electoral votes by sinking more money into the state. The other state that awards Electoral Votes by district is Nebraska and the Obama campaign isn’t conceding. Today the Obama campaign announced that they will open a second office in Omaha. Nebraska’s 2nd congressional district, which includes Omaha and its suburbs, is considered by some to be a “battleground district“.”

Maybe we will have more states, especially the smaller ones, in future following Maine and Nebraska’s lead and dividing their electoral college votes by district; if only to get a piece of the election action. The old statewide winner takes all system maybe isn’t the best suited any more.  There’s also a decent case for looking more closely at the National Popular Vote scheme that has been proposed, and backed by a number of states.

October 4, 2008 Posted by | 50 State strategy | , , , , | 2 Comments