Kent Bush: Running against the Electoral College
Your vote counts. You can look back and find ample evidence of how history was changed by one person stopping to vote on their way home after a horrible day at work or even though the weather was awful. If they had driven past the voting booth and gone straight home, the election would have been decided the other way.
These aren’t cute anecdotes from 1976. A couple of weeks ago in Andover, two people made the difference in an election in which more than 3,000 votes were cast. So we can agree that your vote counts - unless we are talking about the presidential election in Kansas. They awarded Kansas’ electoral votes to Mitt Romney while the GOP candidate's father was still governor of Michigan five decades ago. (Here's an interesting fact: The electoral votes go to Sarah Palin in 2016. I can't tell you how I know. I just know.) That's why you should vote for me for president on Nov. 6.
Kansans have voted for a Bush for president four times already. Let's make it a handful. I can't win. But together, we can make a point.
The Electoral College is an idea that favors the few states with less predictable voters. It was intended to maintain federalism by insuring that all states had a minimum level of representation when it comes to picking a president.
The actual impact is to make a person’s vote in Wyoming worth more than one in California or Texas. Since Wyoming receives the minimum of three electoral votes, that state gets more electoral votes per person than larger states.
The Electoral College also makes states like Kansas and Oklahoma irrelevant to presidential candidates because they consistently support one party’s candidate.
Irrelevance is bad on many levels. But in this case, it is an economic disadvantage. You won't see Barack Obama ads saying Mitt Romney killed a woman here. We will hear nothing from Romney about Barack Obama being a socialist with a fake birth certificate.
Television and radio stations and newspapers across the state are cheated out of millions of dollars every four years thanks primarily to this misguided concept. Since everyone knows all six Kansas electoral votes are going to Romney, there is no need to run an ad here.
It doesn’t matter if Romney wins by one vote or receives 99 percent of the vote, he will receive six Electoral College votes.
The current system also makes it possible, though not likely, that the person who receives the most votes may not win. If that possibility exists, the system is flawed. If every vote truly counted, the candidates would have to campaign in all 50 states and not just the Electoral College creation of "swing states." This is not a national election. The candidates tailor platforms to please Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and a few other states where the outcome is not already known.
Kansas doesn't even matter. We need to force them to count our votes. If Romney gets 85 percent of the vote here or merely 50.1 percent, he receives the same benefit. Under a truly democratic vote count, he would have a reason to make sure the Kansas vote total was as high as it could possibly be.
How do we make this point? Write me in as president.
Some of you probably still have your "Vote Bush" signs in your garage. Get those back out now. My middle name is even Walker. That alone should pick me up a few votes. Sure it seems funny now to be Kent Walker Bush, but you should have been a political science student at Oklahoma State University when George H.W. Bush was in office. My “Presidents of the United States” professor could barely finish a class without giggling about it. No, I don’t really think that me finishing third in a precinct or two in Kansas will make the next Congress feel like there is a mandate to change the voting system in the country.
But your vote is basically wasted anyway, so you might as well waste it making a point. Vote Kent W. Bush in 2012! A vote for me tells people that you wasted your vote because you are tired of wasting your vote. It’s like fighting fire with fire. I don’t know how it works, but it does. So get out there and waste your vote for a good reason this year.
Kent Bush is the Augusta (Kan.) Gazette publisher, a columnist and blogger for the GateHouse Media Network. He can be contacted at email@example.com.