Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Playing Games with Electoral College Numbers -- Why Are They "Red States"

The recount is officially over in Ohio. Or maybe not. Looks like Bush still wins.

The final electoral vote tally:

Bush 286 Kerry 252

If Kerry had won Ohio:

Kerry 272 Bush 266

In my November 30th blog, I wrote:

"I haven't done the math, or seen the math, but it won't take too long, and I'll try to do it this week -- If you kept the Electoral College "winner take all" formula, but eliminated the 2 additional votes that states like Wyoming and South Dakota get for "their Senators," the electoral college vote would be really close and nobody would be talking about Bush mandates."

This is another way of saying that the Constitution favors small states, favors areas of low population density. Giving each state 2 additional electoral votes (just for Senators) favors small states at the expense of big ones. It favors the Red States.

Bush had 286 Electoral Votes, based on winning 31 states. That means he gets credit for the number of electoral votes equal to all of the U.S. Representatives in those States (224) plus all the Senators in those states (62). Kerry won 19 states. That means he gets credit for all of the Representatives (211) plus all of the Senators (38).

The electoral vote, without adding Senators, and without adding the District of Columbia (3 electoral votes for Kerry)

Bush 224 Kerry 211.

If this was the law, the election would be much closer than it is. Instead of looking to win the election by trying to get a recount in Ohio (18 representatives --our 7th largest state), Kerry could have won by trying to get a recount in any state with 7 representatives or more. 24 states have 7 representatives or more. Kerry's odds of finding a state where he could have won a recount would have been higher.

Once you start playing games like this with Electoral College numbers, there is no end to the fun you can have. I will haul some more of these out in the next blog site entry or two. My big dilemma in printing the results is (i) everybody knows that you have to be a huge nerd to be playing with Electoral College numbers at 3 in the morning, and (ii) no matter how hard I try to manipulate the numbers, I cannot manufacture a win for my boy John Kerry.


Why are they Red States, when in every other country the liberal party is considered the Red Party? What ever happened to "better dead than Red?"

A lot of ink flowed on this topic during the election, and a lot of it spoke about the nature of graphics on television. I have this thought, and it came to me while I was rewriting my "The Civil War Must Be Refought In Every Generation" entry.

Once the map colors were settled in as Red and Blue, one would think that the liberal Northeast would be the Red States. However, the old South did not want to be known as the Blue States, since that would confuse the readers of "The Blue And The Grey." I guess there are worse things than being a commie after all.


Finished reading "The Plot Against America" by Phillip Roth, a dystopia about the election of Charles Lindbergh as President of the United States in 1940. More in future blogs.