Liberal Column: Working within the system


Election night has come and gone. Everyone (hopefully) has voted. Most people know the results. However, there are plenty of contested elections and discontent. It makes me wonder, when we cast our ballot and do what we can within our republican system, do we even believe in the system?

In America, we have a very specific form of government with certain rules. One commonly argued rule is the electoral college, with its allocation of electors disproportionate to the actual populations of each state. However, even if it seems wrong for someone to win an election with less than 50 percent of the popular vote, the candidates run according to the rules, and we vote according to the rules. If we do not like them, we can change them. This is what our ordered society looks like.

However, it seems that everyone forgets that every election. For example, there is outrage from many Republicans – even the president himself on Twitter – when, for Florida’s senatorial election, Sen. Nelson requests a recount after the initial results in Florida put Gov. Scott less than 0.5 percentage points above him.

While there may be disappointment in not receiving a quick victory, if Gov. Scott did not actually receive those votes – as errors can happen – then he should not be elected. Even if he is the better choice, we must abide by the system, not just call the recount process “miraculously … finding Democrat votes,” as the president has said on Twitter.

However, it seems that no one, especially many Republicans, has become used to accepting disappointing losses. For example, in North Carolina, Republicans have become notorious for drawing their districts to disadvantage Democrats and over-represent Republicans.

While redistricting in 2016, Rep. Lewis admitted that “I propose that we draw the maps to give a partisan advantage to 10 Republicans and three Democrats, because I do not believe it’s possible to draw a map with 11 Republicans and two Democrats.” And they succeeded.

In the U.S. House election in North Carolina, Republicans only won about 50 percent of the vote but received 75 percent of the seats. Not only is this strategy unconstitutional, but this kind of gerrymandering also shows a simple inability to accept one’s losses and play fairly. In America, if we want better and more virtuous politics, we should play by the rules and demand that our representatives do the same, not gerrymander or use other anti-American tactics.

Neither party should need to use these shady tactics to win. If a politician is really so unpopular to need to use them, he should lose.

We are blessed with a relatively consistent and stable political system. Politicians can work within it, using their advantages. Democrats have strong support in large metropolitan areas and among the young while Republicans do well with older voters and are not genocidal maniacs. Work with it.