In other words, why do we need to connect the battery positive to the negative to get electron flow? As far as I know, voltage difference is what drives current flow.
From what I understand, there's a surplus of negative charge (electrons) in the positive end of a battery (weird I know, but I guess they do it for mathematical reasons). Between the positive and negative ends of the battery is some kind of wall that prevents the electrons from diffusing, so they have to go the long way (through a wire to the other end of the battery) to diffuse and reach the receiver atoms/molecules.
So why not just have the surplus of electrons on one end go to ground to equalize (e.g. 5 volts to 0 volts should produce current)? Why does it have to be the other end of the battery? I'm sure there's atoms/molecules in the ground that could accept the extra electrons (receivers atoms/molecules for the donors in the battery).