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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
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Opinion page editor Rick Holmes and other writers blog about national politics and issues. Holmes & Co. is a Blog for Independent Minds, a place for a free-flowing discussion of policy, news and opinion. This blog is the online cousin of the Opinion ...
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Opinion page editor Rick Holmes and other writers blog about national politics and issues. Holmes & Co. is a Blog for Independent Minds, a place for a free-flowing discussion of policy, news and opinion. This blog is the online cousin of the Opinion section of the MetroWest Daily News in Framingham, Mass. As such, our focus starts there and spreads to include Massachusetts, the nation and the world. Since successful blogs create communities of readers and writers, we hope the \x34& Co.\x34 will also come to include you.
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By Tom Driscoll
Jan. 25, 2013 11:10 a.m.







I think it was our colleague Don Brophy who noted his reservation about The President’s Inaugural Address the other day, complaining that talk of equality posed us with the question as to whether the equality we sought was an equality of opportunity or an equality of result. He was pleased that the well respected historian Jon Meacham had posited something to that effect at least as a question. For my own part, I’d say I’ve always thought this caution was a good one. We cannot dictate results. Our system is premised on freedom to pursue happiness.We guarantee nothing about attaining it.

The discussion should not stop there there, though. When we regard the results, be it in education, employment and income disparity or the results of the latest election we ought to keep our eyes out for skew in the results. Then we have to ask ourselves honestly what factors account for the result —innate fault or disparity in the playing field.

A couple of results come to mind that have me apondering.

The first statistic that struck me odd was noted in one of our discussions the other day, that while Republicans retained significant control the House (as The Speaker is quick to point out) the actual total of votes cast across the country in House elections significantly favored Democrats. How could this be? There are of course two sides the answer. Since the last census there has been the requiste redistricting going on and it is frankly impossible for political preference to not weigh in with some amount of gerrymander. It’s human nature. There’s also the fact that the turnout in districts that were sure locks for GOP might have been lower based upon the Mitt factor. There were a lot of the party faithful who just weren’t that enthused for the top of the ticket.

The next little study comes along in the case of the Virginia State Senate. This past week the evenly divided body chose Inauguration Day, when a noted Democrat and Civil Rights leader was known to be away from town attending the ceremonies, to vote upon measures that would award the state’s Electoral College votes by Congressional District. The measure passed 20 votes to 19. Of course one might be a fan of this idea of awarding by district. The argument goes that voters in decidedly red or blue states might be more engaged if they thought they had a chance of at least turning their own home district a different color. I’ll note I’ve even floated the idea myself in our own state.



But let’s take a look at what the result would be, should this approach become the ruling method for awarding Electoral College votes. In Virginia, where President Obama won both the popular vote and the full slate of Electoral College delegates, Romney would have actually been awarded a majority of delegates.And as it turns out that pattern would hold across the entire country. That’s what the map is about. Looking at the election returns across the entire country and awarding delegates by district, Mitt Romney would have won the presidency. The President’s five million vote margin in the popular vote would have been —well, an anomaly—just a statistical skew in the result.

As the saying goes, go figure

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