That used to seem like a long time. There is something about having children and working in a newspaper that has made the last couple of decades pass really fast.
Can you believe it has been ten years since America elected Barack Obama President? It was a far simpler time when America expected dignity and class from the nation's leader. Having a vision of a better America and being able to articulate it in adult terms mattered a decade ago.
We've gone from a country beginning to believe it had left racism in the past to a country where overt racism is a tool to win fringe voters and try to sway a mid-term election.
I can't believe it has been six years since I ran against Barack Obama. I wasn't really running against Obama. He was the first Democrat I ever supported for President. Honestly, if I hadn't run myself, I would have probably been able to support him over Romney again. I never bought into Romney's vision and message. He seemed like a mannequin with a conservative candy coating. I always figured his conservative shell would crack under pressure. Watching his interactions with President Donald Trump has proven that to be true. Even Romney's daughter gave up her maiden name to please the Trump branch of the Republican Party so she could hold onto her role as the Chair of the Republican National Committee.
I still remember filling out the paperwork to become an official write-in candidate in Kansas. I had to have a running mate so my good friend who drove for me when we chased storms seemed like a great choice.
After we signed up, we decided we should really have a party so people could get behind our cause. We knew we would have a watch party on election night and my birthday was the next day so we decided to call our party the Birthday Party. We only had one plank in our platform. We weren't running against Obama and Romney. We weren't even running against Rosanne Barr or Santa Claus - two popular write-in candidates.
We were running to point out the flaws of the Electoral College.
One vote in Wyoming or Montana can be worth as much as 20 votes in California, Texas or New York.
The winner take all nature of Electoral College votes in most states can devalue votes of the losing party. Oklahoma has seven electoral votes. If Mitt Romney won 90 percent of the vote, he got all seven of them. If he won 50.1 percent of the vote, he would still get all seven. If you think that system makes sense, I would love to sell you my 2002 Silverado because comparative values and fairness obviously aren't important to you.
I pointed out that any system that allowed a candidate to win the White House without a majority of the votes is an inherently bad system.
A better system - if you are convinced a simple popular vote isn't good enough - would be to make each congressional district an electoral vote and give the two for each senator to the candidate who wins the state. That takes the electoral votes to a more local level and still gives micro-population states like the Dakotas, Wyoming and Montana extra consideration to keep the federation of states ideals in place.
Obama went on to beat Romney in a landslide. I received 48 votes after writing 12 columns to make my case.
We had a good time at the Birthday Party/Watch Party. We had it at one of the nicest Dairy Queen restaurants in America.
Then, four years later, Republicans gave up reality for a reality star. Not only did Trump get nominated, but he also won the election due to those very problems with the Electoral College. The 48 votes I received in 2012 were big, but the "I told you so" I laid claim to in 2016 was even bigger.
Oklahoma doesn't allow write-in candidates so I won't be able to run again in the foreseeable future.
The 2012 election was fun and educational for me and for the civic groups and classrooms who hosted Electoral College discussions because we ran.
Plus, I still hold the record for the most official votes for President by a Birthday Party candidate.