Being Kind In Politics Can Be In Our Future

Being Kind Is An Early Lesson

What does it mean to be kind? When have you been encouraged to be kind? Where and to whom? And, especially, why?

Certainly, most of us were taught the golden rule: Do unto others what you would want them to do unto you.It is a guide and a reminder that, though unspoken, kindness matters. The simple message and prompting is to be kinder – always – to everyone – because it matters.

Georg H. W. Bush Treasured Kindness

We have lost a president this past Friday, November 30th, who relied on those words for much of his presidency. He was an energetic, fun-loving individual who understood his place in history, our place in the world, and the role kindness had for all of us.

120518 George H. W. Bush

Frank Bruni’s opinion piece in The New York Times, George H. W. Bush’s Uncommon Grace, begins with: Kinder. Gentler.They are words Bush used in his inaugural address. Bush reminded us then:

America is never wholly herself unless she is engaged in high moral principle. We as a people have such purpose today. It is to make kinder the face of the nation and gentler the face of the world.

Being kind was not merely a word to trip off the tongue, as parents often do, to remind us to straighten up, be respectful, and mind our manners. Rather, George was ever mindful of the word’s power as he held our American shiptogether through the storms of the collapse of the U.S.S.R and the demolition of the Berlin wall. He brought people and nations together because of his sense of decency and empathetic demeanor.

Faith Karimi of CNN wrote of, The letter George H. W. Bush left for Clinton is a lesson in grace. The letter, addressed to Bill Clinton and left on his desk as the presidency was transferred to the new president stated:

I wish you great happiness here. …You will be our President when you read this note. I wish you well. I wish your family well. Your success now is our country’s success. I am rooting for you.

The transference of presidential power from one individual to another has always served as a moment of pride, showing how well we do so without rancor or abuse. Again, being kind matters. Respect matters. Caring for the nation and its people matters.

George H. W. Bush will be missed.

We Don’t Treat Presidential Candidates With Kindness

Did we treat President Bush with kindness? Did we treat, then Vice-President Bush, with kindness as he pursued the presidency?

A lot of people voted for him for a second term but a faltering national economic picture persuaded more to vote for Bill Clinton. His popular vote tally was a mere 5.4% less than Clinton’s. It seemed to be a close race, though Ross Perot siphoned off 18.9% of the popular votes.

The Electoral College results, though, painted a different picture. It appears that the Electoral College delivered a lop-sided result and encouraged our dismay with the process. Here are some facts:

  • Though Ross Perot captured almost half of the popular votes Bush did, he received no electoral votes!
  • Though Bush’s popular vote tally was within a 5.4% (37.7% to 43.3%) of Clinton’s, he received less than half the electoral votesthat Clinton did.

Our Voting System Fails The Kindness Test

Is our voting system being kind to our candidates? Is it kind to our voting citizens?

Consider the winner-takes-all approach we use in presidential elections. It means that whichever candidate wins a state’s plurality of votes will also get all of the state’s electoral votes. Given this crippling effect, consider this:

Suppressed votes (due to winner-takes-all) in 1992 that were cast for Clinton equaled 11,232,796 votes. Votes cast for Bush that were suppressed equaled 26,352,125 votes.

Did you notice that Bush suffered more than twice the vote suppression (different than votersuppression) than did Clinton?

Before you rush to assume the Electoral College is at fault, please realize that none of the above is due to the Electoral College! The Electoral College worked as it was designed to do but we, unkindly, stripped out more than 55% of the votes cast.

We were not kind. We could have done better.

Blame the lack of kindness entirely on the winner-takes-all problem we still try to preserve!

The National Popular Vote bill does not address the winner-takes-all problem. Rather, it throws up a distracting, ridiculous, radical, and dangerous alternative. It’s not kind.

Equal Voice Voting Restores Kindness

Equal Voice Voting remedies the situation. By addressing the presidential election on a state-by-state basis, removing the winner-takes-all aspect, Equal Voice Voting would have been far kinder to all of the candidates in the election of 1992. (See The Equal Voice Voting formula)

Let’s look at the results:

Remember that 5.4% popular vote disparity I mentioned earlier between Clinton and Bush? If Equal Voice Voting had been used instead, the electoral vote disparity would have been 5.57%. Further, Perot, having won over 19 million votes, would have captured 84 electoral votes (15.6%). Yes, we would have been kinder to Perot as well.

I realize that looking at numbers is daunting but they tell a story. The story in this blog is that the election results that removed Bush from office could have been closer to the truth. It could have reflected how voters truly voted. It could have, if we were kinder.

Tell others, especially your state legislators, we must, as George H. W. Bush admonished, “Keep America moving forward.” Let’s make it our mission to make everyone’s vote count when we select our president. Let’s not hide (suppress) votes to elicit a false narrative. Let’s remove the winner-takes-all approach, be transparent, and use Equal Voice Voting instead.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *