Making Electoral College worse
A commentary opposed scrapping the Electoral College in favor of the direct popular election of the president ("Modest tweak to reform the Electoral College," Monday). As an alternative, the commentary called for awarding electoral votes by congressional district rather than the current winner-take-all by state system we have.
As bad as our system is, this proposed solution would be far worse.
Congressional districts are not some fair set of boundaries that are drawn in heaven. They are highly partisan, gerrymandered, and unfair. They are drawn to ensure that the results of elections are never in doubt.
After the Pennsylvania General Assembly redrew the district boundaries in 2012, Democratic congressional candidates got 75,000 more votes than Republican candidates statewide. Despite this, Republicans held 13 seats, and Democrats only five. This happened in state after state.
Under the commentary's proposal, even though President Obama won by five million votes nationally in 2012, Mitt Romney would have been elected president. In other words, the proposal would have the effect of fixing the presidential race so that it is no longer competitive. Republicans would win every time. This seems to be antidemocratic and far worse than the current system or a direct popular vote.
|Daylin Leach, state senator (D., Montgomery and Delaware Counties), King of Prussia, firstname.lastname@example.org
Can't ignore gerrymandering
It is disingenuous for a commentary to suggest the allocation of Electoral College votes by congressional district, without mentioning the partisan political gerrymandering that has mangled the district boundaries in Pennsylvania and most other states. Basing Electoral College votes on congressional districts would increase the stakes and provide even more incentive for redistricting abuses.
Pennsylvania legislators in both parties have sponsored bills to make redistricting the responsibility of an independent commission, for which active politicians and lobbyists would be ineligible. The bills are dead for this session but are expected to reappear in January. Action must begin in the 2017-18 session to change the redistricting process ahead of the 2020 census.
|Bob Warner, Philadelphia
Praying for president-elect
As a New York state senator and president of the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization, I would like to congratulate Donald Trump on his victory.
Our pastors and churches applaud his pro-life and traditional values, his promise to appoint people to the U.S. Supreme Court who have conservative values, and his promise to allow pastors to speak about matters of faith without the fear of retaliation or retribution by our government.
It is uplifting to see his efforts to unify this nation by inviting people who disagree with him and who outwardly opposed his candidacy to meet with him, allowing people from all walks of life to be heard. Our ministers and churches will pray that the Lord will bless him with the wisdom and fortitude to serve nobly and faithfully as the president of the United States of America and that he will treat the needs of our children, senior citizens, veterans, immigrants, poor, and needy families with compassion.
|Rev. Ruben Diaz, state senator (D., Bronx), Albany, N.Y.
Calling out Trump supporters
To the Donald Trump supporters who have been silent about their support for the president-elect, and to those who have trumpeted their support, we the people of the United States of America implore you to take a stand against bigotry, hate, and intolerance. It's not political correctness - it's human decency.
If you support Trump and are not racist, stand up for black lives. If you support Trump and are not misogynist, stand up for women. If you support Trump and are Christian, stand up for Muslims and people of other religions. If you support Trump and support immigrants, stand up for Hispanics and other peoples who have come to our country in search of a better life. If you support Trump and you support gay rights, take a stand.
Take a stand for just one of these groups, more if you can. Humanity needs us all.
|Whitney Schott, Jenkintown
Why pollsters got it wrong
As a physicist with a degree in applied mathematics, it was no surprise that so many of the polls were wrong in this election.
First, human beings are inherently nonlinear and are governed in part by emotion, which enables their creativity and was necessary for their evolutionary survival. Humans must learn rational thinking. Thus, predicting human behavior is more of a pseudoscience - we neither behave as robots nor always do as we're told by the media and our "leaders."
Second, I can attest to the agonizingly slow and painful process of being queried by a pollster.
Third, because of the incessant and almost hysterical reporting on Donald Trump, many supporters simply didn't intimate their preference for fear of being condemned or attacked until entering the relative security of the voting booth.
We witnessed a classic case of confirmation bias among the polling "experts," many of whom don't have degrees in mathematics but are paid handsomely to inject their pseudointellectual bias into their analyses.
The saddest result of this election debacle is that a large portion of Americans don't trust the media, our government, or polling experts, which does not bode well for the future.
|Michael Pravica, Henderson, Nev., email@example.com
Sessions would be a bad pick
Sen. Jeff Sessions as Donald Trump's nominee for attorney general ("Session may face a fight," Nov. 18)? Another racist in the administration - check his failed nomination to the federal bench - and to the position charged with enforcing federal antidiscrimination laws. Another hint of what "great again" means to the president-elect. A perfect expression of Trump's values, but a mockery of America's.
|Stephen Ulan, Wynnewood
In 1937, President Roosevelt nominated U.S. Sen. Hugo Black of Alabama to the U.S. Supreme Court. For a brief period during the 1920s, Black was a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
In 1953, President Eisenhower nominated California Gov. Earl Warren to be chief justice of the Supreme Court. In 1942, when Warren was California's attorney general, he forcefully advocated for the internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans.
Despite their checkered pasts, Black and Warren are remembered as liberals who helped give American law a sharp push to the left.
Let's hope Sen. Jeff Sessions, despite his prior racist comments, is willing to be as open- and fair-minded as Black and Warren.
|Paul L. Newman, Merion Station
McConnell changes his tune
I was moved by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's pleas to move on and "accept the results of the election." By moved, I mean sickened and revolted. This is the same McConnell who, eight years ago, when faced with the election of Barack Obama winning both a majority and the Electoral College vote, pledged to make him a one-term president and block every initiative. What is different now? The party in power. It would seem elections are only valid when your party wins.
So, we move on and "accept results" only when Republicans win? Their hypocrisy and cravenness is staggering.
|James Davis, Conshohocken