Issues with the electoral college

One of the biggest storylines from the last presidential election is how Hillary Clinton lost the presidency even though she had almost 3 million more votes than Donald Trump. This is because of the electoral college system we use to declare candidates is deeply flawed.

The most glaring and publicized issue is the danger that the winner of the popular vote will not win the presidency. Since electoral votes are the only votes that count, once they have achieved a majority of them, all other votes do not matter.

This problem is compounded by the fact that there are bad actors involved in the legislative process who take advantage of this in the form of “gerrymandering”.

As Briana mentioned, this is the blatant redrawing of congressional districts in order to achieve a particular political outcome. Sometimes this is subtle, other times, not so much:

Detail of Michigan Congressional maps approved by Republican-led Legislature in 2011.

(Photo courtesy of https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2019/01/20/michigan-gerrymandering-deal-focused-redrawing-specific-districts/2631237002/)

The above map was a plan that GOP majority lawmakers drew up in Michigan in 2011. As you can see, it makes no sense. In fact, the bias was so blatant that they were successfully sued in court and now it will be redrawn to truly reflect the population there.

While the electoral college makes sense, there will have to be more of an effort to limit the powers of bad actors to suppress voting rights like this.

 

Taxes and the Race for 2020

With a new presidential election just around the corner, many potential candidates are beginning to outline their policies, or at least throw some ideas out there to see if they stick. Healthcare and education are big talking points this early on, but one issue always seems to float to the top: taxes.

And why wouldn’t it? It’s an easy way for politicians to tell their voters “I’m going to save you money”, which is something everyone can get behind. However, taxes are already confusing, which makes them even more so when politicians begin discussing potential changes to tax laws.

I’m not even sure how a few of the proposed tax plans would even work. For example, I like Senator Elizabeth Warren’s proposed annual federal wealth tax of 2% on $50 million or more and 3% on $1 billion and up. However, it is constitutionally questionable as it is a “direct” tax and that is “not levied in proportion to the population of each state” (“Elizabeth Warren wants a ‘wealth tax.’ It might backfire.”)

With the US federal budget deficit rising by 17% in FY 2018 (up $113 billion from FY 2017) and seems to be only rising, it will be interesting to see if this affects how people will vote in 2020. (“US budget deficit expands to $779 billion in fiscal 2018 as spending surges”)

1st Post (MATH 444)

Hey everyone! Hope you all are enjoying this Saturday. I’ve never been very good at math, but I did do well in a probability and statistics class recently, so maybe that’s changed.