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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 6, 2007 / 18 Nissan, 5767

Save the electoral college

By Paul Greenberg


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | How strange: Legislators here in Arkansas, or at least those in this state's House of Representatives, have just voted for a bill that would cast the state's six electoral votes for whichever presidential candidate won the nation's popular vote.


That's right: This state's delegates to the Electoral College would no longer follow the wishes of Arkansas voters. Instead, they'd go with whichever candidate got the most popular votes nationwide.


Can this bill be constitutional? Can a state legislature reverse the result of a federal presidential election within its borders? And why would the state's own legislature take away Arkansas' right to vote for a president, and just go with the rest of the country willy-nilly?


Arkansas doesn't ordinarily play a large part in presidential campaigns as it is. After all, larger states have a lot more electoral votes to cast than a small one like Arkansas. But why sacrifice what little influence a small state has? It's a mystery.


Yet this is happening all over the country, as states are asked to join an interstate compact pledging to support the winner of the national popular vote. If successful, this movement would render the Electoral College meaningless.


It's all being done in the name of One Person, One Vote! Nice slogan. But it's no substitute for serious thought about the Electoral College and the role it plays in the complex American constitutional system.


The Electoral College is part of a delicate set of constitutional checks and balances. Change one part and the whole mechanism could be thrown off. The current electoral system means that a presidential campaign has to be waged nationally by large, well-organized parties — usually two — rather than by a bunch of competing individual candidates. Or by a dozen or so small parties slugging it out to see which one can win a bare plurality.


With the Electoral College in place, the winner has got to get enough votes in enough states to claim a majority of the electors — not just a popular plurality. That means organizing large, national parties, which is how the country's two-party system came about. Take away the Electoral College, and you take away a prominent inducement for having a two-party system.


The idea of electing the president of the United States by popular vote may sound unexceptionable in theory — One Person, One Vote! — but in practice it could be full of unintended consequences. The most troubling: What would happen to the two-party system? Right now, each party must achieve consensus in order to nominate a candidate who can appeal to the broad middle of the country, and so gain a majority of the Electoral College.


But if a presidential candidate needs only a thin plurality of the popular vote, splinter parties and extremist candidates would be encouraged. They'd no longer need a majority of the Electoral College to win, just more popular votes than the candidate with the next closest number of votes. Does anyone in this country envy the way the French elect their president — by popular vote in multi-party elections?


Look what happened in France's last national election in 2002: Between them, the three leading candidates barely managed to poll half the vote. What happened to the other half? Did it just disappear, like growth in the French economy? No, it was divided among the remaining 13 — count 'em, thirteen — presidential candidates. (All it takes is 500 signatures from elected officials to get on the presidential ballot in France.)


A record number of the usually highly engaged French voters abstained from the presidential race — 28 percent. And a bumper crop of splinter parties on the left — Greens, Trotsykites, Communists, the usual French proliferation — kept the favored Socialist out of the run-off. Instead, the second round of voting pitted a less-than-popular conservative against a right-wing radical, and the French were stuck with a choice between two unpalatable candidates, neither of whom could be said to represent any kind of national consensus. It was as if a presidential election in this country had been determined by the Ralph Naders and Pat Buchanans.


Inspector Clouseau could doubtless deliver a perfectly logical Gallic defense of such a system: Une personne, une voix! But to those who know their Burke and, yes, their Tocqueville, a better word for electing a president this way is wacky. Also, dangerous.


If just the popular vote counted, every close presidential election might prove as messy as the one in 2000, with the vote totals in every state as hotly contested as those in Florida were that confused year.


Edmund Burke tried to tell us: "The Constitution of a State is not a problem of arithmetic." Rather, it is a way to take into account the many dimensions of an electorate and forge a consensus that is greater than all its parts. That's where the Electoral College comes in. It may be an antique piece of clockwork, but it performs a valuable function within all the gears and levels of our constitutional system. It needs to be saved, not sacrificed to an empty slogan.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

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© 2006 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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