The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, November 04, 1996, Page 5, Image 5

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Unseasonably early
It’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas
What do Barry Manilow, Andy
Williams and the Beach Boys all
have in common? They’re at my
house. Singing. Yes, singing their
little hearts out, which is what they’ll
be doing from
now until
Christmas. And
it won’t just be
G, Thke Six,
Kenny and Dolly
—they’ll all be
at my aunt’s
house starts somewhere between the
end of midterms and Halloween.
This year, she’s early. Last Sunday,
she started putting up the Thanksgiv
ing decorations while playing “An
Andy Williams Christmas—live in
concert” She was at the concert.
Which leads me to wonder why she
needed the CD as well. Perhaps I
can paint a more vivid picture for
Imagine a peaceful fall afternoon,
the smell of crisp leaves wafting in
on the fall air, the bright sun beaming
down on autumn’s colors in all their
glory. Suddenly, Barry Manilow
breaks into “Holly Jolly Christmas”
in all its big-band glory. And you
thought Halloween was scary.
Bunny, my aunt, is one of those
people who should have been a
cheerleader in high school because
she’s fun, peppy and just plain cute.
She has three kids in college, one in
junior high and one in elementary
school. That’s five kids—and she
still gets carded when we go out. It’s
humiliating because after the waiter
has carded her, he’s so embarrassed,
he looks at me and thinks, “Well, this
chic looks even older than the first
one — why bother?”
Bunny isn’t my aunt’s real name
— her real name is so long and hard
to pronounce, my family just must
have given up on it years ago. In my
family, we believe that people grow
up to become what their names
mean. Aunt Bunny is just that—a
cute, although not furry, little person.
The only thing not funny about Aunt
Bunny is the fact that she thinks
Barry Manilow is a babe.
Yeah, we’re praying for her, too.
She claims that she has to start
playing Christmas albums so early
because even if she played four every
day until Christmas, she won’t have
gone through them all. It’s true. She
has at least 100 Christmas albums:
the entire Beach Boys Christmas
collection, plus quite a few people I
didn’t even know had made Christ
mas alburns. People who shouldn’t
have made Christmas albums.
I suppose that my aunt’s childlike
wonder at holiday time and her
enthusiasm concerning life in general
are part of what keeps her looking so
young. A life of laughter and love
couldn’t possibly hurt any of us, so
I’ll put that on my list of New Year’s
resolutions. I do not, however, want
anyone to start calling me anything
nauseating like “Honey” or “Candy.”
There’s a lesson here for all of us,
however. This holiday season, while
the turkey is roasting in the oven, or
you’re sitting around watching “The
Grinch Who Stole Christmas,” take
some time to do something maybe
you think you’re too old to do. Jump
in the leaves with your folks, or have
a potato-sack race. Or do what we
have to do every Christmas. Do “The
Bunny Hop.”
Hollimon is a senior broadcast
ing major and a Daily Nebraskan
Imagine a peaceful fall afternoon, the
smell of crisp leaves wafting in on the fall
air, the bright sun beaming down on
autumn's colors in all their glory.
Suddenly, Barry Manilow breaks into
\'Holly Jolly Christmas' in all its big-band
glory. And you thought Halloween was
Winner takes all
Electoral College defeats democratic process
Tomorrow we vote for the last
president of this century. And
hopefully you’ll be heading to the
local polling place to make your
voice heard. I will. It’s just a shame
that when it’s all
said and done,
our vote won’t
count as much as
we think it does.
All thanks to the
We might
be misled into
believing that the
Electoral College doesn’t really play
a big role in the presidential elec
tions, but actually it’s the reason why
your vote is weakened. It’s not a
symbolic institution, but a real threat
to how we determine who sits in the
Oval Office. The Electoral College is
inequitable to those who are running
for president, and it shifts the focus
of those candidates away from “the
People” to 270 electoral votes — two
reasons enough to dismantle this
According to the Office of the
Federal Register, the “Electoral
College was established by the
founding fathers as a compromise
between election of the president by
Congress and election by popular
vote.” Today’s college consists of
538 electors, and each state’s
allotment of electors is equal to the
number of House members the state
is entitled plus two Senators (Ne
braska has 5 votes). A majority of
270 is required to win the presidency
—and it’s a winner-takes-all system.
Our predecessors had the wisdom
to recognize that the populace was
not always informed of national
issues, nor was there an effective
means of disseminating such
information. This is no longer true in
modem America, and the Electoral
College, along with voter disenchant
ment and apathy, is now primed for
creating a catastrophe.
The Scenario (in 2000 or 2004):
A third party is now part of the
political system. The third-party
candidate might be an “outsider” or a
member of the established parties.
Regardless, the polls, which do play
a role in today’s political arena,
indicate that the three are running
Candidate one is leading with 38
percent, candidate two with 32
percent and candidate three with 25
percent. On Election Day, the
remaining undecideds will either not
vote or split their votes evenly among
the three. Obviously no one candi
date has a majority of the popular
vote. But candidate one wins because
she has the requisite 270 electoral
votes. In essence, candidate one was
not the choice of 62 percent of those
who voted. That’s not a mandate of
the people.
Not only that, but checking the
distribution of the electoral votes,
one would only need to win 11 of the
most populous states to become
president. The 1990 Census indicates
that the 11 most populous states have
a total population of 140 million. If
70 million of them were registered
voters, it’s possible that 26 million
votes (under a three-candidate
system) is all one needs to become
president. That’s not a mandate of
the people.
With this winner-take-all system,
it’s even worse if examined on the
state level. If President Clinton wins
51 percent of the popular vote
Tuesday in California, he gets all 54
electoral votes — even if former Sen.
Bob Dole has 49 percent of the
popular vote. That means 49 percent
of voting Californians didn’t have a
voice. If Clinton wins 51 percent of
the popular vote in each state (of the
11 most populous), he’s president
again — even if Dole clears 49
percent. That’s not a mandate of the
Why, I’d only need to win a slight
majority of California, Texas, New
York and Ohio, and I’d be halfway to
the White House. Simply inequitable.
What’s worse, and a lot of people
are astonishingly unaware of this, if
there is no majority winner of the
electoral votes, then it’s up to the
House of Representatives to choose.
So rather than a country deciding
who sits in the Oval Office, it’s 435
members of the House. That’s not a
mandate of the people.
Abolish the Electoral College to
prevent this from happening. Or if
that ’s too much of a leap, then the
country needs to use a progressive
system like those in Nebraska or
Maine. In Nebraska, two electors are
chosen for the statewide popular
winner, but the rest are selected by
the popular vote in each congres- ^
sional district. So it’s possible to split
the vote here.
Lastly, the Electoral College
doesn’t favor small states like
Nebraska because it shifts the
candidates’ focus. When was the last
time a candidate really campaigned
here (besides a quick stopover)? Or
in South Dakota? Or in Wyoming?
Why don’t they? Truthfully, our vote
doesn’t “count.” Five electoral votes
doesn’t mean much in a 538 vote pot.
But 800,000 votes would mean a lot
to a close popular vote (which occurs
more often than not).
A candidate doesn’t need to
devote four days to Nebraska, but I
want to hear what they have to say
about their vision for our country.
In this election, Dole campaigned
for almost a week in California,
because of the state’s 54 electoral
votes. Granted, in a popular-vote
system, he’d still be there trying to
get as many votes as possible. But, in
a close race, those Californians
would have a voice, instead of being
left out in the cold.
Proponents of the Electoral
College say it’s just a symbolic
event. I agree, it’s a symbolic event
in December when the electors arrive
to place their state’s vote. But on
Nov. 5th this year, and on the first
Itiesday after the first Monday in
November every four years, the
Electoral College plays a deleterious
Remember, we should be voting
for the president of the United States,
not the president of the states that
provided the 270 needed electoral
Nguyen is a senior biochemistry
and phOosophy major and a Daily
Nebraskan columnist
i .... ’ •
It’s not a symbolic institution, but a real
threat to how we determine who sits in
the Oval Office.”