March 04, 2006

The Peril of Direct Election

The New Yorker recently ran a puff piece on a new proposal for the direct election of the President of the US. It astonishes me how such a piece ignores the greatest problem with the system, the increased influence that corrupt urban political jurisdictions will gain in the proposed system and the increased incentives for everybody to cheat.

Corrupt city administrations that engage in vote stealing often don't much matter for federal elections. they uniformly go one party legitimately so they don't change the party balance in the Congress. They are located in states that vote reliably for one party or the other and thus don't affect the Electoral College. Thus, they've been left to fester, a problem for the gubernatorial races and local administration but an electoral nullity. With direct election, this all changes.

Every stolen vote becomes a stolen vote that matters. Every election glitch that causes votes to be lost becomes a crisis for the system. And if even one state decides to monkeywrench the thing, the whole system might come crashing down.

It's a disaster in a 50 state federation.

Posted by TMLutas at March 4, 2006 10:38 PM