The Electoral Vote in the US: How It Works.

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The US Presidential Elections is one of the most complicated forms of democratic elections in the western world. Since the signing of the US Constitution, which led to the country’s establishment in 1787, the President is elected based on a system that fosters equality among states, known as the Electoral Vote. There, the voters elect their president through a set of electoral votes, a process that is much different than the popular vote, which is the more universally chosen approach to electing the leader of a country. Even the election of the political parties to rule the country- either solo or with a coalition- a practice that has been used to elect their chancellor in Germany since 1949, is considered a popular vote as the people vote for which party should rule the country.

However, people in the United States are pushing for the abolishment of the electoral vote and replacing it with a popular vote system for several reasons. Two of which include its antiquity and the change in demographics. Originally designed to favor smaller states, the shift in population towards metropolises along the coastal regions and the Great Lakes Region has made the system quite ineffective, especially when dealing with swing states- states that alternate votes between a Republican and a Democrat pending on voter preference. Furthermore, with a candidate winning the electoral vote but not the popular vote, the system seems to be unfairly favoring regions with a minority population that are sometimes ill-informed of how the system works.

This was the case with the latest elections in 2016, when Donald Trump won solely by electoral vote but lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton, as seen in the map below. Even interesting is the fact that even though the elections in November have passed, there is one more hurdle for Mr. Trump to jump through, which is to occur in December, according to law.

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Results of the 2016 US Presidential Elections based on the Electoral Vote. Source: JFG via Wikipedia

Confusing isn’t it?  🙂

The Electoral College is a complicated system which is best served with a quiz. Have a look at the following questions below- all of which are true and false- and decide what you think. Click on the results once you have completed the quiz and if you are still not so sure about it, check out the links below.  You’ll be surprised at how the system works. This quiz is for all involved- from people learning about American culture and politics to those who deny the fact that there is no other process other than the Presidential Elections. There are enough people in both camps to go around. 😉

In either case, enjoy and feel free to use it in your class or in any discussion to learn more about this unique system America has to elect its leader of the country.

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Link:  Electoral College via wiki;  Electoral Voters

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Don’t Swaggartize Our Facebook Posts With Your Politics!

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To begin my commentary, I would like to start off with an excerpt from the book of Proverbs 28:25-6:

A greedy man stirs up dissention, but he who trusts in the Lord will prosper. He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe.

 

One should perhaps add in the book of Proverbs that one who blindly follows a liar with a potential of interrupting conversations for political promotion is more of a fool than those who are self-righteous and believes not in Jesus but his own tuition.  Since the nominations of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton for US president (even though Jill Stein and Gary Johnson should also be added to the mix), the era of poli-bashing has taken hold on the American landscape. At the family table, fathers and sons are fighting from different political poles, putting others in the middle, like it happened during the Cold War with a divided Germany. Locals in different countries are asking us American expatriates what we think of Donald Trump (which many of us have compared him to Adolf Hitler). Friends are unfriending or even blocking others on facebook because of political opinions, which I think is pathetic and shows me what the late Günter Grass once stated: “If you have 500 friends on facebook, you really have no friends.”

 

Point taken!

 

But there is another trend in social networking which has become an annoying trend: A friend posts a comment about an event on facebook only to have a person on his/her friends list market politics and bash the candidate with his own post, when the story posted on facebook is anything BUT relevant.  Take this example that I experienced  most recently:

 

I post a commentary about me switching bike dealers after they overpriced us (family and me) for bike repairs and inspections, which included overcharging for the repairs on my end but not charging for the inspection on my daughter’s bike when we ordered a part, but giving us the “Oh by the way, you have to pay for the part AND the inspection.” treatment, when the part arrived- in other words, withholding information without informing the customer in advance!   This is in addition to bad service we (as a family) had been receiving prior to that. We basically posted by saying “Have a nice life, your competitor is around the corner!”

 

In response, one of the people in my network had the cheek to market politics by saying:

 

And that’s how capitalism works!! The customers decide who survives and who fails. Now imagine it was a government entity that treated you like that. What is your recourse, especially if you have no other option than to deal with them (i.e. DMV). I’m sure your complaints about one or more government union employees would be handled in a timely and efficient manner… 

 

 

Furious, I had to reply in a fashion similar to Walter Sobjeck in the Big Lebowski which went along these lines:

 

 

You’re a child who loves to enter a cinema in the middle of a religious film, not knowing which actors are playing Jesus Christ, Pontius Pilate, Joseph, Mary and the Three Wise Men, let alone when Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead!

 

In response, another conservative replied with this comment:

 

The government is ALWAYS the issue….they set the prices for everything….you should have gotten into healthcare a few years ago….the money is already spent.

 

And my response:

 

 The government is NOT the issue here. We’re talking about the Geoff Schaffer approach to customer service, which is always making the customer happy (no matter what) and if so, they will come back. This bike shop was a family owned business until they expanded in 2010. Since then, they’ve thrown away the concept of honesty and family friendliest and have started doing the Trump approach which is customer selection- a blow to winning any customers.

 

(The name Geoff Schaffer was used as a replacement of the manager of a restaurant in Iowa whom I worked for during the summer breaks from college,  because of privacy reasons, by the way.)

 

Not to worry though, many people in my network have dealt with similar issues, regardless of which political side they are on. But the point is that the intrusion of personal posts for political gain to provoke a political argument can be best compared to the preaching of televangelist Jimmy Swaggart, whose religious commercialization influenced the lives of many Americans and Evangelicals during the 1970s and 80s. In fact, as a child growing up in Minnesota, I can remember his TV shows and commercials dominating the airwaves, even though we had four key channels, including public television, with every fourth household having cable TV.  His preaching from that bygone era can be seen today, like in this video below:

 

 

Many people loved him, yet there were many who thought he was as annoying as the people who have intruded on people’s privacy on facebook, to a point where his defamation flocking would await him, like in this infamous “I’ve sinned….” sermon:

 

His confession revealed two things that are worth noting in this article:

 

  1. The value of the sermon or lecture spoken unto by one person has to equal one’s actions. One cannot have a double standard like Mr. Swaggart has, but also one’s lecture or sermon has to include hands-on experiences.

 

  1. If one enforces onto others, then one has a problem in life which cannot be dealt with alone but through help.

 

The second one has nothing to do with politics and who is at fault but one where a person’s life is not what it should. Sometimes these people are hanging on to the nostalgia that had existed 30-40 years ago and cannot adapt to the changes that we are facing even as we speak. There are some who have missed one train too many in their lives and are struggling to salvage what is left of their lives. This includes pivotal years where decisions made can have an impact on a person’s life (that is a separate article for next time).  And there are some people whose children have disappointed them in their development- some justified and some not. Their attempts of molding them into their liking fails and they become the black sheep in the family. The same applies to friends and peers, whom they knew in high school but have become strangers since then.

 

All of them have one thing in mind, they have at one time in their lives listened or watch a Jimmy Swaggart sermon and learned a great deal about getting involved in other people’s lives by invading them and impose their ideas . And even though Swaggart has produced some great sermons, the people are following the directions the wrong way.

 

Yes, people like you!

 

I could point my fingers at Swaggart for his religious “morals”, but it would be the same as deferring responsibility for all the personal problems in life onto Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.  But Swaggart’s rhetoric and tactics have given some people the wrong idea of getting others involved- preach on the outside while hiding from the real problems on the inside.  Sometimes too much of a good thing is not good at all, especially when infringing on topics with their own political agenda, almost all of which are irrelevant.

 

So knock it off! Think before posting your political comments on other’s facebook posts. Because one day, you may receive a comment by saying:

 

You’re out of your element!

 

 

And if Jimmy Swaggart is still preaching these days, let us hope he preaches about respecting people’s rights and preferences over politics before the US Presidential Elections. After all he has taught us on how to swaggartize others, he owes us that sermon at least. Only then will he be forgiven of all his sins.

 

Amen!

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