The letter writer from Lakeville thinks the founding fathers’ decision to institute the Electoral College was genius (“Its genius is in balancing power,” Readers Write, Nov. 4). The pandemic has allowed me do more reading. One book of interest was on George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, their friendship and roles in the revolution and founding of our country. The book explains two of the constitutional compromises deemed necessary to persuade the slave states to ratify the Constitution. First, the U.S. census would count African slaves as 3/5 of a person when determining the number of U.S. representatives for each state. There was some thought of using the popular vote to elect the president, but it was decided that the slave states would never approve. Their slaves would not be allowed to vote in a general election but would increase the slave states’ votes using the Electoral College system.
I don’t think I would consider these two compromises “genius.” The real problem is not with the Electoral College but with the “winner take all” concept in each state. If each states’ electoral votes were apportioned per each states popular vote, the small states would still have the advantage of the two senatorial ballots. The current “winner take all” system has the effect of disenfranchising substantial voters. I am sure there are Republican voters in California and New York who must feel why even bother to vote for president, like Democratic voters elsewhere. The current system also sets up the red state/blue state conflicts, creating unnecessary divides in our country. Unfortunately, the current system is so entrenched I don’t see a path to change.
Lawrence Kloiber, Minneapolis
• • •
The last two elections haven’t shown us that the Electoral College needs to go or that the system is flawed. It has shown us that we are for all intents and purposes two separate countries sharing one landmass and government. We come together in times of crisis, i.e. 9/11, but otherwise are 330 million people split right down the middle on how we think the country should be run.
Politicians — all politicians — need to remember this when they put forth their policies: fully half of the country will disagree with them, so they need to govern accordingly, doing what is best for all of the country, not continue to push for their own far-left or far-right agendas. The middle needs to rule the day, every day.
This is still the greatest country on Earth. If you want socialism, there are places for that. Move. If you want religious conservatism, there are places for that as well. Bye. If you want logic and common sense to dictate policy, if you want people to set aside their own personal beliefs to do what is best for everyone, this is the place for you. That’s how this country became great. That is the only way it will stay great. Anything less will ensure its destruction.
John Morgan, Burnsville
• • •
What do the presidential elections of 2000, 2016 and 2020 tell us? It’s time to amend the U.S. Constitution and retire the Electoral College. We need to end the self-induced agony of a system that is outdated and, instead, elect our presidents with a direct vote. It’s too hard to pass an amendment? Just look at the women of the late 19th and early 20th centuries whose bravery and determination passed the 19th Amendment to allow women to vote. Let’s follow in their inspiring footsteps and make another invaluable improvement to how we conduct our elections. Let’s end the tyranny of the Electoral College and enable every single American’s vote to count equally, regardless of where that voter lives.
Eric and Lisa Berglund, Maple Grove
Neither brave nor persuasive
I was disheartened to see another round of “unfriend”ings on Facebook and the Twitter equivalent as the blue sweep Democrats were hoping for slipped into gray Tuesday night. Propelled by fear and anger, white liberals affirmed their opposition to voters driven by fear and anger, declaring that if you voted for President Donald Trump, you were no longer part of their life. As if this line in the sand were an act of sacrifice, of bravery. As if it shows solidarity with their marginalized friends everywhere.
If Black people gave up on white people as quickly as white liberals give up on Trump voters, white liberals wouldn’t have any Black friends to impress with their intolerance.
I doubt there is a white American who hasn’t done or said something ignorant or offensive to or in the presence of a Black person. I was raised in a multiracial neighborhood with an education in racial injustice by a civil rights veteran father, and I know I have done it. Racist conditioning is to some degree unavoidable. If Black folks had written us off instead of educating us, forgiving us or even just tolerating us and hoping we would come around, would we have learned anything? Or would we have reacted as humans do, with defensiveness and resentment and a doubling down on our own righteousness and innocence?
Our country has been privileged beyond comprehension by the unearned patience of African-Americans, Native Americans and immigrants of color, but it is an unfair weight for then to carry. It is time for white voters to shoulder more of the burden. It is not the job of Black, Indigenous or people of color to reach out to the reachable Trump voter, the soft-core racist. That person is more likely to listen to their white Facebook friend, Twitter follower or co-worker anyway. Derek Black, the godson of David Duke and a white nationalist youth leader, was turned by a fellow college student who invited Black to join his multiracial, multifaith weekly dinners and the other attendees who were willing to break bread and talk with an outed white supremacist.
People voted Trump for many different reasons, but if you are a white person whose colleague seemed compelled to do so through racist, sexist or xenophobic beliefs, engaging with that person is a constructive step toward collectively acknowledging and making amends for our violent, racist past; to actually reducing the threats your BIPOC friends face; and to moving the United States away from another Democrat/autocrat standoff four years from now. Black people have died while trying to prove their humanity to white people. White people can at the very least put ourselves into an awkward conversation. It may not generate likes or retweets; it may even raise the ire of some of our liberal friends, but it may also be what works.
Zoe Benston, Minneapolis
Landlords also have bills to pay
In Friday’s paper, an article mentioned properties owned by Jared Kushner and managed by Westminster Management as having filed eviction paperwork with county courthouses (“Kushner-owned company poised to evict hundreds as moratoriums expire,” Nov. 6). What are they supposed to do when renters have not paid rent? Trying to make landlords out as bad people and the problem to housing woes is not a fair portrayal. Specifically pointing out one outfit when the article even states “landlords around the country” are doing so is not very fair either, whether one likes Kushner or not.
Low wages, unemployment and a lack of affordable housing (as well as COVID-19) that leads to renters unable to pay rent is a societal issue, not a problem landlords need to be stuck with. Property owners have bills to pay as well, such as ever-increasing insurance and property tax bills, maintenance, as well as a mortgage for many. None of those cost have been forgiven, only delayed at best. So, when a tenant does not pay rent, it comes out of the owner’s pocket. There are many small mom-and-pop landlords who are not rich and cannot afford to have someone staying in their property without paying rent.
Society, with the help of government, needs to solve the problem of where people live who have a hard time affording it. Do not blame or shame owners and managers who are following the law. Christopher Bradshaw, Columbus
We want to hear from you. Send us your thoughts here.