Politics in America


Be Careful What You Wish For

Some Thoughts on the Upcoming Election

By James Grandone
Guest Columnist

   I’ve spent many years being involved in campaign management and have managed, created campaign strategies or been press secretary for 13 campaigns ranging from presidential and congressional to local tax referendums with an 85 percent win rate. So, I think I would share some thoughts on the upcoming election. And while I am proscribed from endorsing any candidates in this newspaper’s column, I can present facts from which you can derive your own opinion.

Jim Grandone

   This year, the presidential campaign seems to focus on likeability, that elusive term that can only be measured by approval ratings.

   As far as likability, neither Trump nor Clinton were exactly loved in 2016. According to the Washington Post in 2016, Trump’s 61 percent unfavorable score was the worst in presidential polling history, while Clinton’s 52 percent unfavorable was the second worst.

   In this year’s election, according to Gallup’s July survey, Trump’s approval rating is 41 percent. In the most recent Gallup poll in May, Biden’s approval rating stood at 53 percent.

   In terms of qualifications, you have Trump who has been President for more than three years and Biden who served in Congress and as Vice President for many more years. One could conclude Biden has the advantage and he may well win the popular vote in a landslide. But that may not be enough to become the 46th President of the United States.

   In fact, a handful of states this year including, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida and Pennsylvania, hold the fate of both candidates, according to Dan Balz with the Washington Post. The Electoral College, a relic from the 18th Century, will decide who will be president and the race is close. Some would call that a Tyranny of the Minority.

   Should we do away with the Electoral College? Several national organizations are fighting to do just that this year. What if Biden wins the popular vote in a landslide and loses in the Electoral College?

   Democracy is good, but we are reminded that the Tyranny of the Majority is also quite real. In fact, to win a majority for president, it would only require a handful of big states, such as California, Florida, New York, Illinois and Texas, to elect the president without the electoral college and they are heavily Democratic. What about the rest of the states? Would winning only require campaigns in the top five states? How would that affect national policy? Would politicians pander to those states at the expense of the other 45? Nothing is simple in politics.

   There’s an old saying in politics and life, “Be careful what you wish for.”


Jim Grandone is a long-time resident of Edwardsville, Ill. He was the architect of the 'East County...If You Only Knew' marketing campaign promoting the Metro East to businesses in St. Louis in the 1990s. Grandone holds a BA in political science from the University of Illinois at Springfield and was a Coro Fellow and serves on a variety of boards. He lives in Leclaire with his wife, Mary.


(Reprinted with permission. This article originally ran in the Edwardsville Intelligencer)
Posted on RP News, Aug 17, 2020