Healthy Politics Is About Being Heard

A Demand To Be Heard

During this past week we’ve witnessed the anger and agony from those who suffer from not being heard. Deborah Bloom, reporting in The Washington Post, noted:

Painful. Gut-wrenching. Heartbreaking. Unbearable.

That’s how women described listening to Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, where Christine Blasey Ford testified that Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her when they were both in high school.

The hearings became painfully and politically partisan. A quest for truth was maligned by what could only be called a majority mob rule. Neither side felt they were being heard and respected. Being discounted in this way generates fear for all concerned. It also stokes a passion for revenge and retaliation. This atmosphere is not healthy. We must not loose sight of why it emerges: All people must be heard!

McKay Coppins, in The Atlantic (Jeff Flake Explains Himself), wrote about how Republican Senator Jeff Flake sought a cooler response. He slowed the vitriol as he heard and responded to what he witnessed. Senator Flake said to Coppins:

We can’t just have the committee acting like this. The majority and minority parties and their staffs just don’t work well together. There’s no trust.

A Lesson In Governance

While the headlines and breaking news items rightfully catch our attention, we are confronted with the importance of the minority voice(s) in our midst. Our democracy was founded on the idea that we don’t govern just by majority rule. Theoretically, this nation listens to those who may be in the minority. We respect them and what they say. They are heard.

We must remember this lesson when we consider capturing our nation’s sentiment when selecting a president. While it is enticing to think all we need is a popular vote result, it causes us to skip past the minority sentiment and ignores the fact that our country is a republic of states, not simply one nation.

A Constitutional Republic

A popular vote approach essentially erases the state lines. The one nation concept would look like this:

100318 One Nation

Notice that there are no state boundaries. States have disappeared. Our nation, however, is a Constitutional Republic. That means our 50 states are relatively independent in their respective governance, though one federal government serves them all. Our United States is a collection of individual states, hence its name.

Large States Versus Small States

Some states are more populated than others. That’s natural. Yet it generates a population comparison of large states versus small states. Majorities and minorities (population-wise) emerge. Unique and independent state voices emerge.

This is why our Founding Fathers created the Electoral College to capture the popular vote, on a state-by-state basis, as well as the separate and equal state voices. All must be heard — the people and the individual states — when we elect our president. The Electoral College is a mechanism that allows states with smaller populations to not be totally dominated by those with larger populations. The Electoral College allows the minority voting voice to be heard.

Where We Live

Large population majorities congregate in a few states leaving many small minority states underrepresented by a simple popular vote. Consider this population comparison:

100318 State Populations

Half of the nation’s citizens reside in the green states shown here. Another third of the nation live in the yellow states. That leaves 25 states, half of the nation’s states, (and much more if you consider landmass) contributing only one-sixth of the population — one-sixth of the voting voice!

If only a popular vote is considered, the states shown in gray would be a minority voice. These states would not be heard, as they should be, when our nation’s presidency is contested.

Imagine a presidential campaign bent on capturing only a popular vote plurality. Where would it be focused? It’s easier to ignore the 25 states in gray and spend time and money capturing votes in more concentrated areas. Again, the gray states would not be heard nor would they much matter.

Everyone Must Be Heard

Everyone wants to be heard. It’s part of being human. Nobody likes to be overwhelmed, subject to the powers of larger and more dominant influences. We have recently witnessed how power can be abused so some are not heard. On a personal level, such discounting creates unwarranted trauma.

The Founding Fathers recognized the need to let minorities be heard. They recognized that majority rule is in close kinship, at times, with mob rule. Our diversity of states and regions and people need to fairly weigh in, without fear of domination, when we elect our president.

A Lesson Delivered – Was It Heard?

The minority vote is further suppressed because of the winner-takes-all approach (not a part of the Electoral College) we use in presidential elections. If you vote among the minority in your state, your presidential ballot is not counted. It is not reflected in the Electoral College results. Your voting voice is not heard!

Equal Voice Voting is founded on the tenets that every vote counts on a state-by-state basis and that every state matters. It’s critical that we ensure minorities are heard. A popular vote approach cannot provide this consideration. It invites future presidential campaigns to forget who and what we really are: A Constitutional Republic!

We have witnessed a national upheaval from sexually abused victims who demand to be heard. They have long been silenced, ignored, and disrespected. We have witnessed an outpouring of rebuke due to their traumatic experiences.

The nation always needs to let minorities have their voting voice. Let’s allow the Electoral College do as it was intended by using Equal Voice Voting. We can make every vote count and every state matter!