On Tuesday, I will proudly march the half block over to my polling place and exercise my rights as a U.S. citizen. But in New York, does my vote really count?
Hillary Clinton is ahead in New York by more than 20 points, and her winning the state’s 29 electoral votes is a foregone conclusion. No Democratic presidential candidate has lost the state since Ronald Reagan’s victory in 1984.
Meanwhile, did you know Sen. Chuck Schumer is running for re-election? OK, now can you name his opponent? If you said Wendy Long, claim your civics prize at the No Chance Saloon. Have you seen Long’s TV ads? No one has. She lost the 2012 Senate race to Kirsten Gillibrand by a mere 43 points, and this year’s trouncing by Schumer should be equally embarrassing. So, that vote doesn’t really count either.
Meanwhile in Idaho, Republican Sen. Mike Crapo (that’s his real name) is ahead of Democratic opponent Jerry Sturgill by more than 30 points. Crapo received 71 percent of the vote in 2010, and is looking to match that this year. Idaho hasn’t elected a Democratic senator since the 1980s, and that’s not changing anytime soon. So basically, they’re in the same boat as us.
Frustrating, isn’t it? But wait — there is a way to make your vote count. Move! Your vote in Florida or Ohio could actually help sway this election. But for your vote to be meaningful, should you really have to relocate to Cleveland?
There’s an obvious solution, brought up every four years, then forgotten. What if we switched presidential elections to a simple national majority, eliminating the Electoral College? The increased power of the vote in New York, California and Illinois would instantly make the results more progressive. Urban issues such as public transportation would become more important.
Smaller states are strongly against this solution, for obvious reasons. Politicians would spend less time, if any, in states such as Wyoming, with its sparse population of some 586,000 (by comparison, 2.6 million live in Brooklyn). Instead, they would concentrate on the major population centers of the nation.
But isn’t that the way it should be?
Playwright Mike Vogel is the author of the new comedy “Senior Moment.”