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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Kent Bush: Make Kansas relevant in elections

  • Official write-in campaign for President (in Kansas) has become so popular that the USA Today decided it was time to fight back on behalf of the Electoral College.
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  • Apparently my official write-in campaign for President (in Kansas) has become so popular that the USA Today decided it was time to fight back on behalf of the Electoral College. The nation's newspaper ran a column that was worthy of any 8th grade civics student but lacked the reasoning to impress any of the cute girls in the class.
    Considering the introductions to my columns are longer than 90 percent of the stories in their cute little newspaper, I think it is clear who has the best ideas.
    And speaking of cute little newspapers, I love their recent redesign.
    How is that big blue dot working out for you? Oh, and featuring the date as the largest type on the page, that really answers the question most USA Today readers are asking, "What is today's date?"
    In their column asking for slight changes to the Electoral College, they used a five-point argument – one of which was valid.
    The first and best point was the concern over what happens if a recount is needed. A Florida-style recount that spanned the nation would be impractical at best. That problem is easily addressed by either of two methods. Either you keep electoral votes but change the manner in which they are awarded or you limit recounts to congressional districts and then only when certain standards are met.
    You could award votes like Maine and Nebraska where the overall winner of the state gets the two electoral votes for the Senate seats and the House districts award an electoral vote based on the outcome of the votes in that district – as the USA Today piece mentioned – or you award the seats proportionally to the percentage of votes received.
    Also, recounts would only be allowed when fraud or errors were proven. If we are using decent voting machines, a race being close is not reason enough to hold a recount.
    The next point worried that a President would be elected with a small plurality of the vote. The author said that with more candidates involved, the winning candidate might only receive 30 percent of the vote.
    How easy is this to solve?
    A national primary would identify candidates that met a threshold for support to move into the general election. Santa Claus and I would have an equal shot at Mitt Romney and Barack Obama in the primary.
    If candidates had to qualify to be on the primary ballot and then only those receiving at least a quarter of the overall vote moved on to the General Election in November, the problem would be solved. It would be much less difficult than the huge national primary system employed by the two major parties now and much less controllable by each party's establishment.
    Page 2 of 3 - The next two points were equally bad so I will address them together. The author expressed concern about a "glut of attack ads" and a lack of grassroots movements.
    This guy must be writing this column from an underground bunker in one of the swing states. How could there be more attack ads. That's the only kind of ad produced now. The difference is, people in Kansas and other ideologically slanted states would get to see them.
    And there hasn't been a grassroots movement outside of a swing state in decades.
    The author is worried about adding what is already there and losing what doesn't exist.
    His final point is that the candidate's message would be a national message, ignoring farmers in the Midwest and other demographic groups.
    Currently, the messages are tailored only to twelve swing states.
    Obama will receive more votes in California and New York than all of the swing states combined, but his message won't be intended to sway one voter in New York or California. He has those states in hand. His message is to independent voters in Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, Virginia and other swing states.
    Romney hasn't spent one second on his campaign jet wondering about how his policies will be received in Kansas. He knows that when Kansas voters go to the polls, any Republican will beat any Democrat. John McCain won with 57 percent of the vote in a year when he was losing the election in a landslide.
    If our votes meant something, Paul Ryan might hold a rally in Wichita. Joe Biden might appear in Topeka during a Midwest tour.
    As it is now, they just fly over between swing state stops.
    That is the direct result of the Electoral College.
    I don't know about you, but I think we can do better. I don't care if you fix or abolish the Electoral College, but I know we can do better.
    Writing in your vote for Bush-Natvig on Nov. 6 – or in early voting – will send a message that you are ready to see that change take place.
    We have a major announcement – and not like the ones that that Romney and Obama campaign email us about all day every day or the ones Donald Trump dreams up.
    Trump tries to extort the President with $5 million. The campaigns ask you to send $5 to help make a difference in the election. Right.
    That $5 won't make a bit of difference to either of the campaigns.
    Here is what you need to do.
    Take that $5 and bring it with you to our watch party at Dairy Queen in Augusta from 8-9:30 on Nov. 6. That $5 will buy almost any frozen treat you like and with Dairy Queen offering fountain drinks at half price and samples of some of their other products, you will be able to enjoy some good company and tasty treats while we watch the election results roll in.
    Page 3 of 3 - So write in Bush-Natvig on your ballot that day and come celebrate with us that night.
    It is a small step, but if it is a first step in making Kansas relevant in national elections again, isn't it worth it?
    Kent Bush is the Augusta Gazette Publisher. He can be contacted at publisher@augustagazette.com.
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