At Greg's place today, I returned to the idea of lazy mendacity, in particular the latest ripped-out-of-context conservative talking point. It also works, however, as an excuse for a reference to the classic "pronoun trouble" riff in "Rabbit Seasoning." It does raise the more complex question of whether "that" counts as a pronoun, but I think it does in this context, doesn't it?
Anyway, the one I want you to read is over at PP, where I talk about the idea that only a handful of people in a handful of states determine the presidential election. My argument is that you can see it that way -- and I see why campaign operatives do -- but it's more of a myth, albeit a clever myth, than some sort of great truth about the electoral college. I can add something else: if there was simple national plurality vote presidential election, you would still have only a (relative) handful of swing voters. So it's really not, when you think about it closely, really an electoral college thing. It's not even a first-past-the-post thing; a p.r. system would of course make someone's choice between, say, the Republican Party and an actual Tea Party candidate meaningful (in a sense) because it would be more likely to have a marginal effect on the number of seats those two parties would hold, but it still would have for all practical purposes the same chance of actually deciding the election.