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Freddy the Pig and the Electoral College: Readers Respond | Press "Enter" to skip to content

Freddy the Pig and the Electoral College: Readers Respond

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To the Editor:

In his review of Jesse Wegman’s “Let the People Pick the President” (March 22), Josh Chafetz argues that “the Electoral College as we have it now should go.” Although his case appears to endorse the democratic approach to selecting a president — let the majority decide — he fails to see the probable detriment in letting the voters decide. With a strictly popular vote process, an avalanche of political parties will undoubtedly run candidates for the White House. For example, rather than one Democrat and one Republican opposing each other, you will see countless candidates running for the highest office in our land (2016 candidates would include Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, Mitt Romney). No single candidate in either party could possibly amass 50 percent of the popular vote in a state primary. Convention delegates would represent possibly dozens of candidates, with no one able to secure a majority.

Countries such as Italy, France and Israel have systems where no political party candidate can ever win an election outright, leading to very tenuous coalitions. We cannot afford to have fractured presidential campaigns, where a possible “winner” holds 25 percent of the total popular vote.

The Electoral College as we have it now ensures that a president has wide and deep support from the American populace — let’s keep it that way.

Gary S. Laveman
New York

To the Editor:

“It’s hard to imagine a political institution less suited to a 21st-century liberal democracy than the Electoral College,” Josh Chafetz writes in his review. Actually it’s easy: One need look no further than the United States Senate, which treats, for instance, every single Wyoming voter as equal to almost four Californians.

Ben Givan
Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

To the Editor:

It may be of interest to readers of John Kaag’s “Sick Souls, Healthy Minds: How William James Can Save Your Life” (March 22) that James is considered by most psychologists as the great-grandfather of cognitive behavior therapy. He counseled “action, and not just philosophizing,” and “the power of positive thinking.” His pragmatism and unwillingness to avoid the unpleasantries of life shaped decades of thinking among empirically minded practitioners of psychotherapy. All of us who work every day to alleviate the emotional suffering of our clients owe James a great debt!

Barry Lubetkin
New York

The writer is the director of
the Institute for Behavior
Therapy and past president of the
American Board of Behavioral Psychology.

To the Editor:

It is thrilling to find out that an author whom I admire, Adam Hochschild, is a fan of “Freddy the Pig,” as he mentioned in his March 15 By the Book interview. I grew up on the series and devoured each one of his new adventure tales — but always thought I was alone in my adoration. Now I know I was in good company.

Stephen Schlesinger
New York

To the Editor:

In her By the Book interview (March 22), Emily St. John Mandel praises David Frum, “a prominent conservative who’s morally outraged by the current administration and is willing to go on record about it, which is vanishingly rare in the current landscape.” Rarer than should be the case, perhaps, but hardly rare. For example, I suggest Mandel peruse the website of National Review. She might occasionally read anything written by George Will — easy to find — and peruse the new Dispatch, an online journal founded by the prominent conservatives Jonah Goldberg and Steve Hayes. Try too the editorial pages of The Wall Street Journal, not at all monolithic and often critical of the administration. For that matter, check out Bret Stephens’s column in this very paper.

Erik M. Jensen
Cleveland


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