Electoral College leaves out SelmaPublished 6:12pm Wednesday, November 7, 2012
To understand how and why the Electoral College works is not important. What is important is that for an entire night, the country was fixated on the race to 270 electoral votes; a race that came to a climatic end when President Obama had won the state of Ohio.
Ohio, a state with just 18 electoral votes, became the center of the political universe the past few weeks as it became increasingly clear it could be the final blow in a re-election campaign for Obama or a win for Republican challenger Gov. Mitt Romney.
But while the Electoral College is there for a reason — a reason very few could ever comprehend — it technically eliminates most of the country from playing any role whatsoever in who is elected as the President of the United States.
Does this sound like a little bit of sour grapes from a state, an area, that saw neither of the candidates this election cycle visit? Yes, and for good reason.
In 2008, not only was Selma a stop on the campaign trail for both then U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, but also for then U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, the two candidates battling it out for the Democratic presidential nomination.
In fact, Selma also saw U.S. Sen. John McCain, a Republican senator for crying out loud, who would be the Republican nominee for president.
These three came to Selma, a stop we believe is a must for anyone — Republican or Democrat — vying for the nation’s top office.
It is in Selma where blood was spilled for the right to vote, a place that is central to the passage of the key Voting Rights Act.
Unfortunately, in 2012 Alabama became a place that saw very few stops from any of the key candidates and players — and those stops were primarily planned for fundraising trips.
Alabama — regardless if the state will likely never support another Democratic candidate for president — deserves better from both parties. Selma deserves to be on the list of must-visits for those who want to lead, whether they are Republican or Democrat.
The Electoral College is a system that is tried and true. It is a system that we have used from the creation of our nation and it is one that we will likely continue to use moving forward. But, it is a system that leaves out most of the country and areas like Selma from meeting with the candidates face-to-face. The candidates may have traveled all around the country, but let’s be honest — there is not another Selma. The issues we face here are unique to our area and only someone who has been here would be aware of them.