Obama won't be president

Published 7:00 pm Wednesday, June 4, 2008

By Staff
Many of you have wondered about my prognosis in last week's column that Barack Obama would probably not win the presidency, although he has all but wrapped up the Democratic nomination. The reasoning is based on the fact that we do not have a direct election of the president in this country. The person who gets the most votes does not necessarily win the White House.
Our Electoral College system is archaic, antiquated and undemocratic. Most Americans are not aware of the fact that the person who gets the most votes does not win in our American process. Whoever gets the most votes is each state gets all the electoral votes in that state. Each state's electoral number is equal to the state's number of congressmen and senators and these electors elect the president.
Under the Electoral College system, about forty of the fifty states tend to be either Democratic or Republican in historical tendency. Alabama and the other Deep South states are some of those predetermined forty. We are a Republican state. Conversely, New York, California and Massachusetts are Democratic states. These forty states are pretty much in the barn, so to speak.  We will be ignored in the fall because the book is written on us, at it is for New York and California. Thus, it all boils down to about ten swing states.
Some of the swing states, like West Virginia and Colorado, are smaller. Therefore, the three large pivotal swing states, which will elect the president, are Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. These three states have already shown their hand. They have voted. The book is written. Hillary Clinton defeated Obama by landslide proportions in all three states in the Democratic contest. The so-called Reagan Democrats in these three must-win states did not and probably will not vote for Obama. He lost Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida among Democratic voters by double digit margins, despite massively outspending Clinton by more than three to one. The facts speak for themselves. The national polling figures are meaningless at this time as well as in late October. As stated, it does not matter who gets the most votes. In America, it is the Electoral College that counts and it boils down to Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
I believe that Hillary will be the compromise choice. You will see the most diverse ticket in American history, the first African American and the first female at the same time.  
It remains to be seen if indeed Obama acquiesces to Hillary, but she is his best shot at carrying those three pivotal swing states. A newcomer would not be heavy enough. The choice of a Pennsylvanian like Senator Bob Casey or Gov. Ed Rendell would help carry that state, but Obama still loses Ohio and Florida. This is a fun and interesting presidential year.
Steve Flowers is political columnist who's column appears in Alabama newspapers. He served 16 years in the State Legislature. He may be reached at www.steveflowers.us.