Thoughts on a visual comm nightmare

We’re all familiar with the red and blue electoral college maps that appear in news reports about this time every four years. In 2000–the year that the Supreme Court elected W–the final map looked like this:

Keep in mind that the final electoral vote count was 271 for Bush and 266 for Gore, about as close to dead even as it could have been. (Gore won the popular vote, as well as a proper recount, but those are other issues altogether.)

The problem these maps present then–for Democrats at least–is that they represent a near 50/50 split as an apparent red state landslide. Obviously, using a map with individual states scaled to represent their physical size and not their population size (the basis of how many electoral votes the state gets) is the culprit. The bigger issue relates somewhat to a tenet of Spiral of Silence theory which holds that when people perceive the masses as moving some direction, they tend to move in the same direction. Consequently, I believe electoral college maps are part of the reason that many people believe the country is made up overwhelmingly of Republicans.

So my question–and I’m looking squarely at the DNC and media outlets such as Huffington Post and MSNBC–is, why in the hell hasn’t someone figured out a better way to visually represent an electoral map by showing each state sized proportionally to its population instead of its area? Can the DNC not afford a copy of InDesign and a freelance graphic designer?