When asked who we are planning on supporting in the presidential election, our standard response is to avoid this query. It's a trick question premised on a mass delusion according to which people believe that one politician is better than another. We're pretty sure that the next president will be the worst in history, regardless of who wins.
Perhaps less importantly, we know our votes count for almost nothing. Less than nothing, really. The costs incurred in voting--risking jury duty by registering to vote, having to trek to an out of the way public building we'd otherwise never know existed, standing in lines around people who we do not especially enjoy being around, witnessing the self-congratulatory grins of people who believe that they've performed some great democratic duty by voting for one scoundrel or another--are great. The rewards are few. They don't even serve lunch or whiskey at polling places anymore, we're told.
In New York State, where the DealBreaker editors live and work, voting in presidential elections has been folly for decades. The majority of New York's voters will cast their ballot for whoever the Democratic party nominates. A vote cast either for or against this nominee is just wasted. It would be far more efficient if we would all agree not to vote on election day and just allow Hillary Clinton to cast the one deciding vote in favor of Obama. (Presumably she can be trusted to vote in the desired direction.)
The certainty of outcome means that it's not just the individual votes of New Yorkers that are wasted. Our huge amount of votes in the Electoral College--thirty one last time we checked--are also largely wasted. Politicians of both parties ignore New Yorkers, as well as voters in dozens of other states whose outcome is well-known before the election. Despite it's large amount of electoral college representatives, New York is unable to secure the kind of promises and political largesse that the so-called "swing states" receive.
It seems a shame that this great political asset of electoral college votes should go to waste. Wouldn't it be better to allow New York to find a way to use the votes in a more profitable way? As usual, the deeper problem here seems to be that New York lacks a market for the assets it cannot use. Perhaps New York should be allowed to sell-off its electoral college votes to the highest bidder. True this would disenfranchise New Yorkers but, as we said, the politicians ignore us anyway. At least if, say, Florida and Ohio were bidding for our electoral college spots we'd recoup some value.
We imagine electoral college votes would work like shares in a limited partnership, with a limited group of accepted transferees. So General Motors would be prohibited from buying votes but Michigan would not. You'd probably want the sales to be conducted according to blind auctions, so that political considerations--such as a governor hoping to get a cabinet seat--do not interfere with the transfers. Other details will have to be worked out.
Now many readers will probably be shocked at this proposal. It depends, we admit, on our assessment that too much value is placed on who gets elected president. That mass delusion about one politician being an improvement over another is hard to shake. We'd be far better off, however, if we asked not what these candidates can do for our country but what these elections can do for us.