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Paul

January 5, 2012 - 2:01am

We in the GLOW region (Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties) might be in the State of New York, but really, we’re in a vast stretch of territory that extends across the country known as ‘the heartland’.  Although what constitutes this part of the country is very loose, it usually extends from the Rocky Mountains to the uppermidwest and into Central New York and Pennsylvania.  While we share a state and upstate/downstate fairness and cooperation is important to the smooth operation of state government for all of it’s citizens, one could argue that the voters in places like Batavia, LeRoy,Oakfield and even Buffalo and Rochester and it's suburbs have much more in common with people in places like Butler, Pennsylvania (where I volunteered for then Senator Obama’s Presidential campaign in 2008) and the area around Cleveland, Ohio (where I have visited many times) than mid-town Manhattan.  I think that lumping us all together for the purpose of counting electoral votes is absurd given our vast differences with them and commonalities with other locations.

Yet, despite having similar populations, Presidential campaigns spend well into the millions of dollars to win over crucial enclaves in Northeastern Ohio and Western Pennslyvania while completely ignoring our region.  The reason for this?  The Electoral College, a ridiculous and antiquated system put into place hundreds of years ago that has now outgrown it’s purpose, the nation is now spread out in terms of regional balance, and the constant attention paid to swing states over non-swing states does a disservice to the voters in those non-swing states and the smaller swing states.  Here’s an excellent and jaw dropping example, in the State of New Hampshire, which has 4 electoral votes, the Obama and McCain campaign spent roughly 15 million dollars to contest the state while in New York, which had 33 electoral votes, they both spent less than 500 thousand dollars.  If a state with less than ten percent of the total electoral votes of another has campaign expenditures well exceeding 500% of the larger state isn’t ridiculous, I’m not sure what is.

This damages the critical notion that Presidential elections give the President a mandate to govern the entire country.  One could easily argue that the President really only has a mandate from the states of Ohio, Pennslyvania and Florida, since winning 2 out of those 3 states is seen as being absolutely essential to winning for a nominee of either party, while the votes of tens of millions of people from places like Batavia across the country aren’t really that relevant.

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