New York Gritty has temporarily escaped to Florida, and the first thing one notices beside the bright, healing sunshine are the gleaming white teeth of Mitt Romney.
You can’t turn on your TV here without seeing the Mittster’s perfect smile, perfect hair and perfect family, with round-the-clock ads telling you how Mr. Perfect has been married to the same perfect wife for 42 perfect years in the perfect nation he loves so much and wants to make even more perfect.
I haven’t seen a single, solitary ad for any of Romney’s GOP opponents, but even though the Florida primary isn’t until January 31, Mitt isn’t taking any chances.
You won’t be seeing any of these ads in New York, now or in the future. But don’t be too grateful. Simply put, it’s because New York doesn’t matter. Not to Romney, not to Santorum, and not to Obama either.
As opposed to Floridians, who will soon be haunted by the relentless presence of Mitt, Newt, Ron, Rick and Rick as they try to down a Moons Over My Hammy breakfast at Denny’s, shop for groceries at Publix or take their kids to Disneyworld, the only time New Yorkers will see Presidential candidates is when they swoop in to grab some fast cash from the Wall Street moneyboys at $30,000 per plate dinners, then quickly leave town.
Why is this? Because in NY, the state’s vote for President is a foregone conclusion. Down here in Florida, it’s a totally different story. A handful of elderly, confused Palm Beach residents decided the 2000 Presidential election, but something like that could never happen in NY in our lifetimes.
Obama will easily carry NY, just as he did in 2008, just as Kerry did and Gore before him and Clinton before him. Despite the noble cry that every vote counts, your vote really doesn’t. Whether you are liberal or conservative, Obama will win the state’s 31 electoral votes going away, whether you show up or not.
What’s wrong with this picture? In 2000, those hanging chads and Supreme Court shenanigans shouldn’t have mattered. Gore won the national popular vote by a fairly comfortable margin. In 1960, shady vote-counting orchestrated by Kennedy surrogate Mayor Richard Daley in Chicago may have stolen the Presidency for JFK.
Whatever your political leanings, it shouldn’t come to this. Our Electoral College system, set up by the Founding Fathers at a time when the states were better equipped to count votes, is antiquated.
This system not only sets the stage for the questionable results mentioned above, but guarantees that after the primaries candidates have no reason to visit, advertise, organize, campaign or care about the voting concerns of the majority of states where they are either clearly ahead or hopelessly behind. The winner- take-all Electoral College scenario assures this.
In 2008, both candidates concentrated nearly 70% of their campaign events and cash on just six states.
Why shouldn’t we elect a president by a truly democratic, popular vote? Many of those who object say candidates would then feel no need to visit smaller states, concentrating their efforts on the big population states.
But the way things are set up now the opposite occurs. This year candidates will virtually ignore our three biggest states, New York, California and Texas, because their votes are so predictable. The 40% or so of those in NY or California who vote Republican and the 40% in Texas who vote Democratic might as well stay home.
Meanwhile, the 2012 Presidential election may again be a close call, with the election conceivably coming down to a handful of votes in one or two states. But one thing is certain, fellow New Yorkers:
They won’t be our votes.
(Big Nick’s–a tiny throwback with a 10 pound menu: click on Food page above)