Election Night ... when politics become a sporting event
And so here we are, my favorite night of the year, Election Night, when it all becomes ... wait for it ... a sporting event.
Sports and politics, often a messy mixture, bear the same traits this one night a year. Rhetoric becomes irrelevant as the great unwritten script reveals itself on the scoreboard. Ah, yes. The scoreboard. The final numbers. They always reveal the truth. Winners and losers.
And when the scoreboards have spoken, acceptance/concession speeches follow as politicians sound like winning and losing coaches, issuing bromides and clichés with varying levels of humility or haughtiness.
It's the one night a year when politics succumb to clarity. We see all the ads, bombarding our computer, phone and television screens. We wonder: What is truth? What is not? What is opinion? What is fact? What is left to interpretation? Then around 10 p.m. Tuesday night, the scoreboard removes all doubt. Nothing else left to interpretation.
I've always found it amusing that scoreboards are sacrosanct on non-presidential election years. You get more votes: You win. You get fewer votes: You lose. Simple. Like points in a football game. There is no subjectivity.
And it's for this reason that nobody has ever made me a compelling argument as to why the Electoral College hasn't outlived its usefulness. If the scoreboard elects mayors, governors and senators, why does it not necessarily elect the president?
Time Magazine addressed the issue after the 2016 election, suggesting the framers chose the Electoral College as a means to "balance the interests of high population and low population states." The same article cited the founding era argument that "Americans across a vast continent would lack sufficient information to choose directly and intelligently among leading presidential candidates."
I've been taught that the Constitution is supposed to evolve. Certainly, we do not lack information here in the roaring 2000s. I'd also argue that suggesting someone's vote in California (more Electoral College votes) bears more significance than someone's vote in Montana betrays the old "all men are created equal" thing.
I mean, we all go to the voting booth today and cast our votes and they all count the same. In two years, we all to the voting booth and cast our votes and they don't all count the same.
Now does anyone else find this, you know, perplexing? Worth further discussion?
Or maybe better phrased: Further intelligent discussion? Because I've got to say that most discourses on the wisdom, or lack thereof, of the Electoral College since the 2016 election degenerate into Pro-Trump vs. Anti-Trump, which has all the substance of two dopes in a bar arguing Yankees-Red Sox.
Trump won! Clinton lost! Get over it! Sour grapes!
Hard to argue that, yes, Trump won. By the rules in place. The issue, however, is why Oliver from Ohio has a vote that bears more significance than Darcy from Delaware. I mean, Oliver and Darcy are equals Tuesday night, 2018. But not Tuesday night, 2020. I don't get it.
Sports have their subjective warts, too. It's one of the reasons I've always hated boxing and figure skating. The only sports where the whims of judges obviate the scoreboard. Nobody truly knows who wins and who loses until the judges, who bear the opinions and predispositions of humanity, speak from on high. Kind of the same thing with the presidential election: The objectivity of earning the most votes gets lost in the morass of the Electoral College's inherent imbalance.
I'd be curious to hear pro-Electoral College arguments that reflect the current times. I fear we'll hear more of the same drivel, though.
But at least we have Tuesday night. If you need me, I'll be home with a Johnnie Walker Black watching results, reveling in the objectivity of it all. I hope your lives aren't too busy and you get out to vote. Your vote counts just as much as somebody in Florida on Tuesday. Let's enjoy it while we can.
This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro
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