No, it’s not my 2009 Humanitarian Bowl dream match up.
Republicans are giving Iowa Senate Democrats a lot of guff over proposed legislation that would allow us to join a compact of states trying to short-circuit the Electoral College.
The bill would seek to hand Iowa’s 7 electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote, regardless of whether that same candidate wins Iowa’s vote. The change wouldn’t kick in until legislatures in a critical mass of states approve it.
Many Democrats like the idea, sensing that it’s their presidential nominees who are most likely to end up like Al Gore, popular vote winners but Electoral College losers. They voted 8-7 to send the bill out of the Senate State Government Committee Monday. Two Democrats, including Sen. Wally Horn, D-Cedar Rapids, joined the GOP in voting no.
Republicans charge that the change would make Iowa far less relevant in presidential general elections. Under the current structure, Iowa’s seven, soon to be six, electoral votes matter as candidates try to piece together a winning combination to reach 270.
The GOP has dubbed the bill the “Iowa Voter Irrelevancy Act” Senate Republicans, led by Sen. Paul McKinley, R-Chariton, say Iowans should be outraged:
“Democrats must really want voters in urban centers like Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, Miami or Boston having more say in the process than the voters in our communities all over the state,” said McKinley. “During last year’s election, groups like ACORN were out meddling with voter registrations and tampering with our elections. Do we really want to give them more opportunity to steal our legitimate right to determine who becomes our country’s president?”
Founding Fathers vs. Acorn. Good stuff.
That said, I think the Electoral College has outlived its usefulness. We don’t need an archaic mechanism to protect the nation from the ill whim of the rabble. The popular vote should count, period.
I know that may mean fewer tarmac rallies at The Eastern Iowa Airport every fourth September, but so be it. I’m a small state guy who loves politics, but I’m not sure the country is best served by the current system. I know many will disagree.
But here’s something we can agree on, I think this bill is a really bad idea. It’s an ill-advised end-run around the U.S. Constitution. This is not how you change the constitutional ground rules in America.
If you think the Electoral College has to go, you push for a constitutional amendment ending it. Yeah, that’s much tougher than passing this goofy bill, but it should be tough. That’s why the document endures, because people can’t take a scissors to it anytime they want.
It’s a good, healthy debate to have, but this is not the way to have it. I hope committee passage is as far as it goes.
And with all the major problems facing Iowa, why are our legislators messing around with this issue now? This is the sort of partisan issue that burns time and political capital. Shelve it.