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Do you think Kansas will have any influence on the presidential race?

Asked at Borders, 700 N.H. on December 9, 2007

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Photo of Amy Reinert

“It’s hard to move Kansas. It’s pretty locked into a red line of thinking. But that being said, I think it’s hard not to be fed with the state of things regardless of your party line.”

Photo of Tyler Stroud

“I don’t think we’re going to have too much of an effect. Everyone is already counting us as a Republican state. It’s pretty discouraging in terms of voting.”

Photo of Christee Thoman

“No. None at all. As a matter of fact, I think we need to get rid of the electoral college all together. As long as it’s around, our vote won’t ever really count.”

Photo of Kevin McKernan

“I think it will be red as usual. I don’t see us having any other sort of impact.”


Oracle_of_Rhode 10 years, 5 months ago

The rightist corporate holier-than-thou cabal has a headlock on the state, so we matter not. Plus we have peanuts for electoral votes. Our Governor could make a great veep candidate for Obama, however.

We need direct democracy in this country.

labmonkey 10 years, 5 months ago

It would be nice if we had a primary so we could have a say.

Fishman 10 years, 5 months ago

I agree with Christy. Get rid of the electoral college. Why in this day and age someone can end up as president in a country like this with less of the popular vote is beyond me. It's no wonder some people don't care about voting when they know they live in a state that is pretty much decided. Let the people have their say. And while we're at it lets make voting mandatory. Is that too much to ask once every four years?

jonas 10 years, 5 months ago

"And while we're at it lets make voting mandatory."

God no! As it is, even with people who care enough to get involved in the system, look at all the misperceptions and incorrect beliefs that can get tossed around. Add in all the people who would be conscripted into voting, who don't care enough now to go for an hour long trip to elect leaders, and you would add in millions upon millions of people who would just pick a name or something with no inkling of what was actually behind it. Let the intentionally uninvolved stay home.

But I agree, get rid of the electoral college. It's purpose is mostly irrelevant in this age, I think.

davidnta 10 years, 5 months ago

Fishman, I definately agree with your philosophy, but I don't think people should be force to vote if they don't want to, instead, I think people should be encouraged to do so. We should make election day a national holiday where people don't have to work so all they have to do that day is vote. Also, I think voting places need to be open longer, there's a chance for you to vote throughout the entire day.

jumpin_catfish 10 years, 5 months ago

Forced voting! Are you libos nuts! What kind of whacko would even dream of such of an idea let alone express it! Just how you going to go about forcing folks to vote fishman ummm!

bigreed 10 years, 5 months ago

right_thinker, What % of the population would you guess is in NY and CA? Do you think they just randomly gave more votes to New Yorkers because they like their accent?

Of the 296.4 million people in America, 12% live in California and almost 7% live in New York. 55/538 electors come from California, or 10.8%. 31/538 (5.8%) electors come from New York.

Both states are actually under-represented while the smaller red states are over-represented.

This is how Al Gore can receive 550,000 more votes than George Bush and still lose the 2000 election.

gyroduck 10 years, 5 months ago

Anybody no what happened to the "last call" article? It has seemed to have disappeared. Makes me wonder if this post will disappear also.

Flap Doodle 10 years, 5 months ago

"I didn't like the results, so it's time to change the system." Does that pretty much sum it up?

yourworstnightmare 10 years, 5 months ago

Before one is able to vote, a test of knowledge of our constitution, system of government, world history, and geography should be passed.

At the voting booth, the electronic voting machine could first administer the test. If the candidate passes the test (say, 16 out if 20 correct answers), the machine would unlock and allow the citizen to vote.

For example: What powers are not granted to the president in the constitution: 1) Assembly of a cabinet. 2) Veto. 3) Declaration of war. 5) Civilian control of the military.

What section of the constitution describes the Executive Branch? 1) Article 1 2) Article 2 3) Article 3 4) 4th amendment 5) 2nd amendment

Fishman 10 years, 5 months ago

Actually I'm not a liberal. I voted for Bush first time around, and Kerry was the first Democrat I ever voted for last time around. Even though I voted for Bush the first time around, I didn't feel he should have been president. Just didn't seem right. It was obvious he didn't win Florida. I am married to someone from a democratic country in South America. Their belief is that it is a privilege to vote, therefore they've made it mandatory. I am there about two months a year, and am sad to say they seem to be much more knowledgable about their choices of candidates than we are. I find that ridiculous. People are way more involved there. They also have mandatory service for the polling stations, much like we have jury duty. You are expected as a citizen to be of service to your country. It's really not that bad of an idea if you think about it. Yes, they aren't as modern as we are, but as they are slowly moving forward, it seems as though we are slowly moving backwards. It's just a thought is all it is. I do think if they did away with the electoral college we'd have more people vote. That may all that it would take to change some elections here.

canyon_wren 10 years, 5 months ago

I may not grasp all the advantages/pitfalls of the electoral college, but personally believe that what Solomon says is right--that the Electoral College helps to protect the states with smaller populations from being "smothered," so to speak, by those mega-states. I believe that moderate states like Kansas and those in other more rural sections of the country provide a balance to the sometimes irrational perspectives of the populations on the two Coasts. The coming election year is going to be VERY interesting.

gyroduck 10 years, 5 months ago


Sounds great... But it goes against the principles of Freedom in another important document called "The Declaration of Independece" which is the real energy and spirit behind the Constitution of the United States of America. Perhaps you should read it sometime since you apparently have not. - 106k -

yourworstnightmare 10 years, 5 months ago

An intellectual means-test for voting makes so much sense. Everyone would be free to vote, but voting would require that they seek an education and become informed about that on which they are voting.

Therefore, only the well-educated and informed would be making the important decisions and the dipsticks would sit it out, much like they do now anyway.

yourworstnightmare 10 years, 5 months ago

Look, it only makes sense to let the well-educated make all of the important decisions. Not race, not skin color, not gender, not religious belief.

Rather, "content of character", intellect, should be the deciding factor as to whether or not someone can vote.

Anyone, regardless of other life circumstances, can pursue an education. Thus, we should let those who choose to be educated and informed make the decisions.

The ignorant and uninformed can sit it out, like most do now anyway.

canyon_wren 10 years, 5 months ago

yourworstnightmare--you are REALLY scary! I am so glad our country isn't run the way you envision!!

canyon_wren 10 years, 5 months ago

yourworstnightmare--some of the brightest and/or most highly educated people (ovbiously not necessarily the same thing!) in our country have contributed to some pretty bad situations. Also, there are MANY people who either are "uneducated" by your standards or don't "test well"--that is, they might not remember the correct answers to whatever test you think they should have to pass--but who probably have a better grasp of the workings of the government than you may have.

I agree that people should be better informed about how our government works, and am appalled at the number of kids making it through school with such a sketchy idea of that, but restricting the opportunity for voting is not the answer!

jonas 10 years, 5 months ago

"The 'ignorant and uninformed' I personally know utterly despise Bush."

Maybe your predisposed to not see ignorance when people don't despise Bush.

Mkh 10 years, 5 months ago

Yes, they will have 6 votes in the electorial college. But perhaps more importantly, Kansas has a chance to contribute delegates toward the nomination of Ron Paul in the GOP primaries! All registered Republicans can vote in the caucus Feb. 9th! Those of you not registered for some reason, or are not registered Republican, have until 15 days before the caucus to do so.

Mkh 10 years, 5 months ago

snap_pop_no_crackle (Anonymous) says:

"Vote for RuPaul!"

I have no doubts you will.

Logan5 10 years, 5 months ago

To help parents with the costs of schooling, I have introduced H.R. 1056, the Family Education Freedom Act, in Congress. This bill would allow parents a tax credit of up to $5,000 (adjustable after 2007 for inflation) per student per year for the cost of attendance at an elementary and/or secondary school. This includes private, parochial, religious, and home schools. --Ron Paul


So if I want to send my kid to a Muslim school sponsored by Al Qaeda where their only text book is the Koran, that's okay with Ron and he will pay for it with taxpayer money.

Mkh 10 years, 5 months ago

I hope that wasn't intended to be a serious question Logan.

Godot 10 years, 5 months ago

Depends on whether Sebelius is tapped for VP. If she is, she will take every opportunity to highlight everything she hates about Kansas and how helpless and exasperated she felt as an enlightened Democrat leader held hostage to the knuckle-dragging conservative legislature. Then we will see, "Kansas as bigoted as you think" stickers side by side with "Hillary/Kathy" ones on Democrat bumpers nationwide.

yourworstnightmare 10 years, 5 months ago

The only arguments posited against mine that only the educated and informed should be allowed to vote have been: 1) Supposedly educated people do dumb things; and 2) It is not nice.

To the first I say that I agree. The intellectual force behind the neocon nation-building enterprise had it all wrong. Trouble is, the uninformed and uneducated voters could not see their position as wrong and handed power to them.

To the second I say: everyone has the opportunity for an education and to educate themselves. It is a choice. Being a choice, it can and should serve as a discriminating factor in determining who will control this country.

beatrice 10 years, 5 months ago

No, Kansas won't have an influence on the presidential race. Arizona won't matter either. And we should all be glad. Can you imagine being in Iowa or Ohio, being subjected to political ads and phone solicitations for several months already and knowing that you have another year's worth coming? Yikes. No thank you. I'll be happy acting locally and for a the national picture worrying more about congressional seats.

I love how people called fisherman names for his liberal thought, only to find out he voted for Bush.

beatrice 10 years, 5 months ago

nightmare: should there be an exam before you are allowed to vote? Just because a person attends school, even if that school is Yale, it doesn't necessarily mean he is "educated." Is it the education itself that interests you, or the intelligence of the individual?

Would the candidates also have to take the test? That could have proven interesting in the last couple of elections.

yourworstnightmare 10 years, 5 months ago

Degrees, diplomas, certificates should not matter. Only a demonstration, a test, of being educated and informed. As we all know, a formal education does not guarantee that one is educated or informed. The Yale example is a good one.

canyon_wren 10 years, 5 months ago

Good comments, beatrice--especially your last one. That is kind of in the same category as having teachers take the "exit exams" for graduation from high school--probably with similar results!

yourworstnightmare--in theory, I agree with you that it would be wonderful if only educated--let's use the better term, "informed"--people could vote, as so much voting is done based upon so little information. (On the other hand, so much is based upon what we are given through the media--which are generally biased in one direction or the other).

But the idea of allowing just certain people to vote goes against most everything our founding fathers wanted for us. I guess the only alternative is to insist that our schools do a better job of informing our young people and teaching them to be a bit more skeptical and discriminating about what they are fed by the media.

canyon_wren 10 years, 5 months ago

To actually answer the question, I don't think Kansas alone will have much influence, but combined with all the "blue" states, I think they will have a significant impact. I can't see states in that category voting for Hillary, and I can't see the South voting for Obama OR Hillary. It will be a real sideshow, I am sure!

gccs14r 10 years, 5 months ago

We should have a runoff system. All the names get put on a common ballot on the second Tuesday of August during the election year, and the top two from that selection go on the ballot for the General Election on the second Tuesday of November. Simple.

Rick Davis 10 years, 5 months ago

Lab Monkey,

Kansas will be holding Democratic and Republican Caucuses this year. The Democratic Caucus will be held on Feb 5th and locations are to be announced soon. The Republican Caucus will be held on Feb. 9th at 10am and will be located at South Junior High School. It is too bad that not enough Kansans know about the caucuses but, hopefully that will change as we get closer to the dates.

ndmoderate 10 years, 5 months ago

"With all due respect to the people of Iowa and New Hampshire, who the hell do these people think they are? Are their children smarter?"

Ag, as an Iowan until I turned 22, I can tell you that Iowa's children are absolutely smarter......ha ha ha ha

Just messin' with you!

But seriously folks, I like Ag's lottery idea.

KS 10 years, 5 months ago

If you do away with the electoral college, Kansans will have absolutely no reason to go vote. If left to the popular vote, the populated states will determine who will win. The electoral college is the result of some pretty smart thinking that helps all Americans, not just those in the big cities. Doing away with it is a horrible idea.

jonas 10 years, 5 months ago

"Solomon (Anonymous) says:

The Electoral College is designed expressly to minimize the influence of large, populous states over the smaller states. We should never abandon the Electoral College."

I understand the point, but if you compare this phenomenon to the one that dictates that only four or five states (it seems, probably not quite accurate) have the influence to change an election in any practical sense, and the fact that huge swathes of voters have no real purpose in an election, if they are against the prevailing political flow of the region, the issue becomes less cut and dry, at least in my opinion.

Ceallach 10 years, 5 months ago

It's possible. Influence covers a lot of territory. Will the nation seek and follow Kansas voters, probably not, hopefully not. We and they, should seek enough information about candidates to vote our conscience and not vote according to what someone else said about someone else's opinion of another person's perception of them.

We should also acquaint ourselves with a deeper understanding of the electoral college before thinking it should be trashed. I agree with above poster, be careful what you wish for . . . without the college most of the country will have no hope of influencing the election. We need to use any influence we have in our own state, since as the state goes, so go its electoral votes.

sdinges 10 years, 5 months ago

I would like to encourage everyone to participate in the primaries this year. This is one way we can have an impact on the presidential race. If we do not vote and make these successful, we may lose the opportunity to do so in the future. Despite the fact that Kansas goes red just about every year, we haven't had a Republican primary here for 20 years.

By making our primaries successful with our participation, we encourage candidates - particularly Republican candidates - to pay closer attention to Kansas, rather than just accepting our party's and our voters' support as a pre-decided given.

This year, we count. Let's make sure we continue to have a real voice.

antney 10 years, 5 months ago

The pictured comments above sound pretty hopeless.

We live in the best democracy in the world and everyone takes it for granted. People think you just show up on election day and call it good. In order to make our votes count, we must do more than just show up. We have the ability to support our candidates, disagree with them, engage in open political dialog without fear and even run for office should we want to.

Kansas will make an impact to the Presidential race if we all make our voices heard early in the game. Get out there and research your candidates, go to their websites, donate money, or join a local support group for your favorite candiate. Participate in the primaires.

Kansas Democratic primaries this year is caucus style which means the candidate with they most heads to show up on election day, gets the nomination. Mark your calendars Feb 5th.

If you're looking for a candidate to break the red/blue divide, put your bets on Barack Obama.

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