Courier-Gazette Letters to the Editor, March 7

Mar 07, 2019

Ed note: The following exchange of letters between St. George resident Nicholas Lapham and State Sen. David Miramant, D-Camden, was submitted by Lapham.

Exchange of views on the Electoral College

Good morning, Dave,

I am writing, perhaps too late, to take issue with your sponsorship of a bill to do away with the Electoral College in favor of the National Popular Vote State Compact.

First and foremost, I don’t presume that ,I or any state legislator, has deliberated and debated the methods of electing a president more deeply and intelligently than did our Founding Fathers, and certainly not as keenly and eloquently as Alexander Hamilton did in his support of the this method in The Federalist #68. “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.”

Of course, many feel as you, i.e., that the system is broken due to the results of the last presidential election in 2016. On the other hand, I believe that those results prove just the opposite, that the system worked precisely as intended, to prevent the "tyranny of the majority" from heavily populated urban populations dictating the outcome of national elections.

The Founders very presciently determined that the system of federalism they created would best mitigate and modulate wide differences between small, predominantly rural states and larger states, as well as the vagaries of partisan political parties as they morphed from one set of beliefs to another over time.

As it stands now, I believe Maine is one of two states that splits its Electoral College votes in half, between the "winner take all" formula in the other 48 states, and the winner of each congressional district. Not only does this seem to be the fairest method of allocating Electoral College votes, it promotes active and healthy presidential campaigning throughout the entire state in order to capture a unanimous state vote.

While I feel that the so-called battleground states too often get a disproportionate focus from presidential candidates and campaigns, resulting in the continuation of costly and wasteful policies like ethanol subsidies to Iowa corn farmers, I accept that the composition of battleground states may change over time, as the populations in those states change due to demographic and/or socioeconomic trends. (It’s perhaps less likely that the demographic and socioeconomic compositions of large metropolitan-urban centers will change, which now predominantly favors Democrats at all levels of political office, which understandably would lead them to seek changes to the current Electoral College system)

And, finally, why in the world, would any rational citizen-voter-taxpayer in Maine want to surrender the over-representation which Maine, and other small states derive from the Electoral College? (As you know, Maine currently accounts for .4 percent of national population; with its four electoral votes, Maine accounts for 0.7 percent of Electoral College votes.) Maine was "in play" during the 2016 presidential election, with benefits accruing to all Mainers, whether Democratic, Republican or unaffiliated.

I think perhaps the greatest wisdom of our Founding Fathers was their realization and acceptance that certain elements in the body politic would change and evolve over time, e.g., demographics and political orientation, while other elements would remain fixed, e.g., the fundamental oppositional nature of there being at least two sides to any given political issue of the day.

Thank you for your consideration of another view to yours on this critical issue.

Nick Lapham

Hi Nick,

I always appreciate a thoughtful perspective about an issue. I will keep it in mind as we move forward, although I really feel that the reasons for establishing the Electoral College no longer apply. I think what keeps this nation thriving is the ability to evolve with the times. It seems this is one of those issues that needs to evolve. Let's see what the discussion brings this time.

David Miramant

Community turns out to support recovery house

On March 2, the greater Rockland community enjoyed pancakes cooked by Kerry Altiero of Café Miranda, and John and Andrea Gamage, the uncle and aunt of Ryan Gamage, whom the event honored. Ryan’s partner, Liz Thompson, his mother, Patti Nichols, and many other members of his family helped make the event a huge success. Chip and Cindy Kava, Ned Bachus, Amanda Dwelley and many others worked hard to keep everyone happy. Curtis Meats and Wiggins Meat Market donated bacon and sausage, which were delicious. I want to thank all those others, too many to be named in this letter, all those who came to show their support by coming to eat, listen and talk.

This breakfast was confirmation that together, our community is stronger than any drug, and that our community stands firmly behind actions needed to heal families, friends and neighbors from the effects of addiction.

The Mid-Coast Recovery Coalition, the parent organization for The Friends House, the men’s recovery residence in Rockland, has established the goal of raising $50,000 in donations to support stairway renovations that would allow 12 men to benefit by living in this safe, sober and supportive house for their recovery. Currently, because of fire code issues, only four men may live there now. By raising these funds, MCRC will be able to help about 100 men rejoin our communities over the next four years, able to support their families and strengthen our community.

Donations can be made by credit card via MCRC’s web site (midcoastrecovery.org) or by sending checks to MCRC, 411 Main St., Suite 205, Rockland, ME 04841.

For questions or comments, visit MCRC’s website or send an email to info@midcoastrecovery.org.

Ira Mandel

President, Mid-Coast Recovery Coalition

Rockland

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