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These lunches and dinners with Republicans President Obama is having are a shallow, cynical ploy to garner points for crossing the political divide. It is a transparent bit of public relations crisis management, obviously designed to make the White House look convivial with “reasonable” Republicans.

Such meetings need not have been publicized, if substance trumped image, and they clearly could have been held before the sequester disaster. It’s unfortunate that White House communications operatives are sinking to the same level of insincerity as Congress has become so well known for to date.

As a retired public relationships professional, I’m embarrassed to see such amateur and transparent communications tactics taking the place of real substantial political dialog and a sprit of patriotic cooperation between the White House and Congress.

— federal financing for national elections
— reform or end zone the distorting Electoral College
— initiate term limits for President (one 6-year term); two terms for Congress and Senate
— align retirement and medical benefits of Congress with private sector
— require Senators and Congressmen to live and work full time in D.C.

Back from 10 days traveling the beautifully rugged interior of Spain, party politics in the U.S. looks smaller and smaller, through the prism of a distant culture. It’s hard to say there is much to admire in either the Republican or Democratic parties these days, and even less in splinter groups. My feeling is that general apathy towards party politics is growing in the U.S., or at least it ought to be. Our obsolete Electoral College system of electing Presidents pretty much assures that a multiple party system, that might offer some hope for the disenfranchised electorate, has no chance of developing. Party politics needs to be reinvented in time to save our democracy, with vision, transparency and wisdom, rather than stale rhetoric, insider deals and narrow-minded moral parochialism, as its pillars. Meanwhile, I’m not going to the “party” — any of them.

Here’s a lift from the Wikipedia entry for the undemocratic Electoral College system of indirectly electing our U.S. Presidents and VPs. I’d like to know what “rights of smaller states” the electoral College is supposedly protecting, other than giving them geographically outsized electoral weight, instead of counting voters, like you and I. Does geography deserve more influence on selecting our top leaders than the votes of people?

“The existence of the Electoral College is a subject of controversy. A 2001 Gallup article noted that “a majority of Americans have continually expressed support for the notion of an official amendment of the U.S. Constitution that would allow for direct election of the president” since one of the first-ever public polls on the matter in 1944, and Gallup found no significant change in 2004. Critics argue that the Electoral College is archaic, inherently undemocratic and gives certain swing states disproportionate influence in selecting the President and Vice President. Proponents argue that the Electoral College is an important, distinguishing feature of federalism in the United States and that it protects the rights of smaller states.”

For more information, also look in Wikipedia under National Popular Vote, and tell your legislators you’d like your vote for President to count equally with that of all other U.S. voters. By the way, the Electoral College system also disenfranchises citizens in U.S. territories from voting for President. If you look further, you’ll see the Electoral College was originally passed to allow slaves in southern states to count for 3/5th of a vote, and also then effectively disenfranchised women. The EC is a blight on our Republic!

It’s been exactly a decade since the outmoded Electoral College system of electing our Presidents, with the aid of the Supreme Court, handed the Presidency of the U.S. to a man who lost the popular vote in the nation by the population of Milwaukee. It was a close election all right, and the finger on the scale of history tipped the balance away from the people’s choice.

It’s happened three times before in our history, and it will happen again, and again, until the Electoral College is eliminated or marginalized. The electoral college was a political compromise made in the founding days of the republic, when it was feared that the common man, in the days before mass media, could not know enough about the candidates to make an informed choice. So now, in all but two states, electors unknown to the people cast all of each state’s electoral votes for the winner of the popular votes in that state, throwing out all votes cast for the opposition, and in effect dumbing down the national electoral votes, so they do not necessarily reflect the overall popular will. How dumb is that?

March 2023

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