If My Uncle Were My Aunt . . .

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: Apr 22, 2008 12:13 PM
Bill Clinton points out correctly that under a Republican "winner take all" system, Hillary would actually be ahead of Barack.  Then again, as the old saying goes, "If my uncle had [female anatomy], he'd be my aunt."  Under the system as it currently stands, she's losing.

But it's nice to see a Democrat like the former President express some appreciation for the Republican nominating system, which, as the linked piece points out, resembles the electoral college -- especially when his wife has called for the Electoral College's abolition.

Among other things, aside from really quirky years like 2000, the electoral college system has the merit of providing a victor with a "clear and convincing" win, at least in electoral votes (if not the popular one).  Changing to a "popular vote" system (as so many Democrats have advocated) not only would mean that much of the campaigning would be restricted to the populous areas on the coast -- it would also mean that very often a president-elect would be denied the decisive margin of victory that's infinitely helpful in unifying the country after a bitter campaign.

Note that John McCain is now enjoying the unifying effect produced in the Republican primary this year by his clear win in the delegate count (as opposed to popular vote count).

And actually, Bill Clinton should appreciate the benefits of the "electoral college effect" more than anyone.  Thanks to the Electoral College, the country was able to focus on the fact that he was the clear winner in electoral votes -- despite the fact that twice over, he was unable to muster more than a plurality of the popular vote.