Columns - 2004

    The Electoral Yeshiva

    By Doug Brook
    Deep South Jewish Voice Columnist

    Once again, it is election season across the land. You probably noticed this thanks to all the campaign commercials squeezed in between the pre-Christmas sale commercials, the pre-pre-Christmas sale commercials, the post-pre-Christmas clearance commercials, and repeat episodes of Northern Exposure.

    If you don't watch television, listen to the radio, or go into stores, you might have noticed this thanks to the campaign posters cropping up in your neighbors' lawns between pumpkins, wreaths, pumpkin wreaths, mangers, and Rangers with pine needles all over them.

    California, always stuck three hours behind the rest of the nation on election day (and stuck farther behind in so many other ways on so many other days), got an early jump this past year. Of course, this is in the election of the Austrio-Kennedian Governator in a special referendum.

    Before you laugh too much at California, though, remember that the rest of the country is a Constitutional amendment away from having a Commandernator-in-Chief.

    What was so special about the referendum? Among other things it taught dozens of reporters nationwide about referendums. For example, several of them learned how many r's are in referendum.

    Of course, every four years we elect a new president. Everyone across the country votes, then waits for Florida to tell us who the winner is. Or isn't. We all elect him. Not just the people who voted for the winner, presumed winner, preferred winner, or Ralph Nader. All of us.

    And each presidential election is affected not merely be the actual number of votes cast for each candidate nationwide. It is influenced by another Made in America exclusive: Electoral Votes (tm).

    In voting for a president, your vote is counted with all others on a state level to determine how the Electoral Voters will vote on behalf of your state.

    This is kind of like how some Jews go to services without a relative clue what's going on, but the rabbi is there to pray for you because, after all, you didn't snore during the sermon.

    But electoral voters aren't too bright.

    First of all, they're voting more than once. This is, of course, illegal outside of Chicago. It's on record where and how they're doing it, so they're easily apprehended.

    Second of all, they are seemingly incapable of independent thought. Not only do they vote for who they're told to, but they don't seem smart enough to vote along a representational split of their state's votes. All of a state's electoral voters vote for the same person.

    These are the people who actually cast the final votes for the leader of the free, midsize, and luxury world. But, remember, this is better than determining elections via polling samples.

    This entire electoral cacophony is under the umbrella of something that, in the circles of our little villages, is called the Electoral Yeshiva (tm).

    The Electoral what? Yes, you read right, though you might not have read about it before. They (tm) say that the Jewish vote has a significant impact, so why not?

    Before today, I can guarantee that nobody in the world has understood what the Electoral Yeshiva is. You will be among the first, lucky few.

    To fully understand what the Electoral Yeshiva is, let's make sure we know what it isn't.

    The Electoral Yeshiva is not a school where Jews go to study electricity, electrolysis, or electrons.

    The Electoral Yeshiva is not a school where Jews go to learn how to make decisions about anything, including whether their sons should be doctors or lawyers, or who they should marry.

    The Electoral Yeshiva is not a place where you choose what elective courses to take toward your college degree.

    The Electoral Yeshiva is not located in Chad, does not consist of people named Chad, or in any other way associated with dangling bits of paper empowered to elect leaders of the free, pickup, or SUV world.

    The Electoral Yeshiva is not a medical school where doctors learn how to perform elective surgery. Nor is it a place that recommends or performs elective procedures on patients, or impatience.

    The Electoral Yeshiva is not your father's Oldsmobile. Or your mother's. We won't say anything about your in-laws.

    The Electoral Yeshiva is not the Yeshiva you will sometimes see listed in the basketball scores in the Sunday newspaper.

    The Electoral Yeshiva is not to be confused with the similarly named school where Jews invented the original Erector Set.

    The Electoral Yeshiva is not to be confused with the Electural Yeshiva, where Jews learn how to deliver lectures for the Electoral Yeshiva.

    The Electoral Yeshiva is not responsible for anyone getting elected whom you didn't like.

    The Electoral Yeshiva is not responsible for anyone getting elected whom you did like.

    So, what exactly is the Electoral Yeshiva? Hey, you explain the Electoral College to me. Then we can talk.

    Doug Brook (tm) is a technical publications program manager in Silicon Valley whose mother refuses to tell him who she voted for. But she loves it when you ask her, so go right ahead. For more information, past columns, other writing, and other current events, visit his website at

    Copyright Doug Brook. All rights reserved.