Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 11-01-2004, 07:38 PM
ltfire ltfire is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: E 161 St. and River Ave.
Posts: 1,765
Why no POTUS popular vote.

I read a lengthy explanation on the Electoral College, and my question is, still, why? Why isnít the President elected by popular vote? And, why only that office? Was there such dishonesty in past elections, that this way of voting made it more honest? I try, but, I just don't get it.
  #2  
Old 11-01-2004, 07:40 PM
SandyHook SandyHook is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Shadow of the Sierras
Posts: 2,132
At the time it was thought that the great unwashed masses were not mentally capable of the effort. The Electorial College was, in theory, a council of wise elders. They were elected to do the thinking for us. Roughly speaking.
  #3  
Old 11-01-2004, 07:52 PM
BobT BobT is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: The Golden State
Posts: 10,565
Sorry, you must have missed the previous one thousand or so threads on this topic.

The electoral college system has ALWAYS been the method of choosing the president in the U.S.

As far back as 1787. It was slightly tweaked after the 1800 election, but the procedures have not varied much since then.
  #4  
Old 11-01-2004, 08:20 PM
yabob yabob is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 7,788
I'm sure it's someplace in the zillions of threads, but ...

Remember that the US government was concieved as a Federal system with a lot of power remaining with the states. As the system was set up, it was up to the states to pick electors any way they wanted to, which appeased states apprehensive of a central government. As it turned out, what the states did after the first few presidencies was simply allow their citizens to elect the electors in some fashion, eventually devolving into voting on boards of electors pledged to a given party's candidate. A couple states DO have means of splitting their electoral vote by allowing the election of mixed electors.

A document cpncerning the historical basis and evolution (warning - pdf):

http://www.fec.gov/pdf/eleccoll.pdf
  #5  
Old 11-01-2004, 08:30 PM
friedo friedo is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Brooklyn
Posts: 23,425
Quote:
Originally Posted by SandyHook
At the time it was thought that the great unwashed masses were not mentally capable of the effort. The Electorial College was, in theory, a council of wise elders. They were elected to do the thinking for us. Roughly speaking.
This is a commonly given explanation and it is also false. There was no concern for the "great unwashed masses" because it was never expected that there would be any popular vote for the office at all. In fact, the popular vote for Electors was not common until the mid-19th century, and even then it wasn't universal. Electors were chosen by state legislatures.

The EC, like most of the Constitution, was designed as a compromise between those who wanted the President elected directly by the House of Representatives (as in a parliamentary system), those who wanted him chosen by the Senate, and those who wanted him elected by the state governments. The College got Congress out of the question, and gave the less populous states a slight edge that they didn't have in the fully proportional House, thereby generally satisfying most everyone.
  #6  
Old 11-01-2004, 08:58 PM
aahala aahala is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 1,781
I wonder whether the OP is asking why the constitution was originally setup that way, or why we haven't yet changed the constitution.

US Senators were not directly elected by the people in any state until 1900 or so and were not required to be until the 17th amendment was adopted in 1913.
  #7  
Old 11-01-2004, 09:11 PM
Chicago Faucet Chicago Faucet is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 834
Simply put, we are the United States Of America. We vote as States, much like Lodge members vote on who the next President of the Lyons Club is going to be.

Even simpler put, it is the method on how to hold an Election in the US, as dictated by our Constitution.

It also minimizes, notice I did not say eliminates, weird mathematical anomalies.

The exception is that some States have the option to split their Electoral Votes based on the popular vote of that State. I don't think that this has ever happened, though. Why are some States different than others? Each State has its own Constitution. The mechanics of an Election are left to the individual States, therefore, you have different methods of voting, etc.

Another wild card is that it is the Electors that cast the vote the the Electoral College. There is nothing prohibiting them from casting their Electoral Vote for the losing Candidate, but it will ensure their political career is at an end.
  #8  
Old 11-01-2004, 09:21 PM
Crafter_Man Crafter_Man is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Ohio
Posts: 10,448
Quote:
Originally Posted by ltfire
And, why only that office? ...I try, but, I just don't get it.
When you think about it, U.S. citizens do not directly vote on very many things. The president and vice president are elected by the EC. Supreme Court justices are nominated by the president, then approved by Congress. All federal laws are voted on by Congress, not you. And the president appoints his cabinet.

You directly vote for your senators and representatives, plus a few other state and local offices & positions (state judges, sheriff, etc.) And on occasion youíll vote for a law or referendum. Other than that, you leave it up to others to make the Big DecisionsTM. This is the way it was designed. And quite frankly, it's a good design...
  #9  
Old 11-01-2004, 10:28 PM
asc165 asc165 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crafter_Man
When you think about it, U.S. citizens do not directly vote on very many things. . . This is the way it was designed. And quite frankly, it's a good design...
Contary to poular belief, we are a Representative Republic, not a Democracy. Indeed a good design
  #10  
Old 11-01-2004, 11:02 PM
Opus1 Opus1 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Tucson, AZ, USA
Posts: 1,242
Quote:
Originally Posted by asc165
Contary to poular belief, we are a Representative Republic, not a Democracy. Indeed a good design
Please define Democracy in a way that does not exclude every single nation in the world.
  #11  
Old 11-02-2004, 12:50 AM
Cisco Cisco is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 17,208
Quote:
Originally Posted by Opus1
Please define Democracy in a way that does not exclude every single nation in the world.
AFAIK there currently aren't any democratic nations.
  #12  
Old 11-02-2004, 02:31 AM
Walloon Walloon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: America's Dairyland
Posts: 12,780
According to Merriam-Webster, there is more than one definition of democracy:
Quote:
1 a : government by the people; especially : rule of the majority b : a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections
  #13  
Old 11-02-2004, 02:55 AM
Mathochist Mathochist is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: New Orleans, LA
Posts: 3,031
Quote:
Originally Posted by ltfire
I read a lengthy explanation on the Electoral College, and my question is, still, why? Why isnít the President elected by popular vote? And, why only that office? Was there such dishonesty in past elections, that this way of voting made it more honest? I try, but, I just don't get it.
It actually increases the power of a voter in most elections.

Consider what would happen if there were a direct popular plurality vote. The easiest way for a candidate to build a plurality would be to appeal to the issues facing urban and near-urban voters. The issues important in states which are predominantly rural would get no attention whatsoever since they just don't matter as much as where the population density "per issue" is higher. As much as I'd like this election to be decided by New York and Los Angeles, it's not a great idea in general.

As an analogy, consider the 1960 World Series: The Yankees got over twice as many runs as the Pirates (55-27), but mostly in three blowouts (16-3, 10-0, 12-0). The important thing is not getting the most points, but getting them consistently across a number of games (states). In fact, this is almost exactly how Cleveland (Grover) lost in 1888: losing the five largest games by close margins even though he got more points (votes) overall.
  #14  
Old 11-03-2004, 01:37 AM
Excalibre Excalibre is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Michigan
Posts: 7,585
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathochist
It actually increases the power of a voter in most elections.
Please explain this statement. I've heard it before, and I've never understood what people meant. Maybe with your mathematical skills you can clear this up, but it seems like if there's one decision to make, and it's divided among a certain number of people, then the total amount of "power" to be allocated is not variable. So for every voter in Ohio or Florida that it empowers, there's more in California and New York that have little to no influence on the election.

So it's not like it increases each voter's power. It only increases the power of the people specially protected by it - in our country, the rural people.
  #15  
Old 11-03-2004, 01:43 AM
Mathochist Mathochist is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: New Orleans, LA
Posts: 3,031
What I mean is that it works to ensure that all issues must be considered. Really the best resource is the work of Alan Natapoff.
  #16  
Old 11-03-2004, 10:05 AM
Ellis Dee Ellis Dee is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: New England
Posts: 13,368
Quote:
Originally Posted by Excalibre
Please explain this statement. I've heard it before, and I've never understood what people meant. Maybe with your mathematical skills you can clear this up, but it seems like if there's one decision to make, and it's divided among a certain number of people, then the total amount of "power" to be allocated is not variable. So for every voter in Ohio or Florida that it empowers, there's more in California and New York that have little to no influence on the election.

So it's not like it increases each voter's power. It only increases the power of the people specially protected by it - in our country, the rural people.
No, it increases everyone's power, mathematically speaking.

Imagine that there's 100 million voters, all voting for the national office. How much does your vote count?

Now imagine that the 50 states are equally populous, with 2 million voters per state. Each state holds its own election for the POTUS, giving the winner of the state election the full backing of the state. Now how much power do you have? 50 times as much as the single, popular vote.

Now imagine each state is broken into 100 districts of 20,000 voters each. Each district holds its own election for POTUS, and the popular winner gets the full backing of the district in the state election. Now how much power do you have?

In the first example, what are the odds that your one vote will affect the outcome amidst 100 million other votes? Zero.

In the second example, what are the odds that your one vote will affect the outcome amidst 2 million other votes? Vanishingly small.

In the third example, what are the odds that your one vote will affect the outcome amidst 20 thousand other votes? Very small, but not disregardable. And if you turn this election of 20,000 by virtue of your vote, it can have major impact on the state's election, which in turn can have a major impact on the national election. You have nowhere near that kind of power in a nationwide popular vote.

That's the mechanism by which the EC mathematically increases the voting power of every single voter. Now, in the real world, with states having varied populations, there are other factors that affect voting power. That is a completely separate issue. It would be interesting to see a calculation that could determine whether the devaluing of a popuolous-state voter's power is offset by the Natapoff effect.

I'm such a fan of the EC that I'd like to see states implement a district-based EC for the state votes. That would give me some real power.
  #17  
Old 11-03-2004, 10:22 AM
Ellis Dee Ellis Dee is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: New England
Posts: 13,368
Quote:
I'm such a fan of the EC that I'd like to see states implement a district-based EC for the state votes. That would give me some real power.
The more I think about this concept, the more I like it. I also like the fact that urban area votes are devalued by the EC.

Let's say my district EC were in effect. That would mean that I could conceivably do my own campaigning in my congressional district and have a tangible effect. If I convinced 500 voters to change their mind in a statewide election, it doesn't much matter. Those same 500 voters in a district could turn the tide, and if that entire district voted as a bloc in the state election, that would mean that I had real power. And I like the concept of citizen being able to avail themselevs of real power.

But then I think, wow, how much easier would it be to campaign in this scenario if I lived in a large city? Imagine being able to knock on 500 doors without even leaving your building? As opposed to a campaigner in Montana who might require several tanks of gas to accomplish the same feat. The word of mouth effect is greatly exaggerated in urban settings, where a single citizen can reach so many more voters without spending any money, as opposed to rural locations where money is required for travel. Thus, voters in urban areas have more actual power -- defined as the ability to influence elections -- than those in rural settings. Many more people would hear my voice at Times Square than a desolate cornfield, and if mine were a convincing voice...

In that sense, it is good that the EC gives a power boost to the less populous states. It curtails the advantage that activist citizens in urban areas have over activist citizens in rural areas. Even if your only activist tactic is to put a sign in your yard, how many more people will see that sign in a densely populated area?
  #18  
Old 11-03-2004, 11:51 AM
Chronos Chronos is online now
Charter Member
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 73,162
Quote:
I'm such a fan of the EC that I'd like to see states implement a district-based EC for the state votes. That would give me some real power.
Why not take it to the logical extreme? Have 18 levels of "Electoral College", with each taking votes from the three divisions below it. In other words, place all the people at the leaves of a trinary branching tree, with each branch voting according to the majority of its sub-branches.

Of course, this depends on the definition of "power" as "the chance that a particular individual would decide the election", which is not necessarily the most useful definition. Suppose, for instance, that I agree 100% with Candidate A's policies. Even if I don't vote at all, if Candidate A gets elected, then all of the policies I want will be put into place. In that case, it could be argued that I have a great deal of power, since what I want to happen does happen. But by this definition, power is a zero-sum game.

And even if one does accept the "swaying the election" definition of power, is it something desireable? For one vote to swing the election requires that the margin be a single vote. To say that the Electoral College increases power is to say that it increases the chance of a single-vote margin. After all of the hair-pulling we saw in Florida in 2000 over a margin of a few hundred votes, would we really want a single vote margin?
__________________
Time travels in divers paces with divers persons.
--As You Like It, III:ii:328
Check out my dice in the Marketplace
  #19  
Old 11-04-2004, 06:42 PM
Ellis Dee Ellis Dee is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: New England
Posts: 13,368
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos
Why not take it to the logical extreme? Have 18 levels of "Electoral College", with each taking votes from the three divisions below it. In other words, place all the people at the leaves of a trinary branching tree, with each branch voting according to the majority of its sub-branches.
I'm not completely following this paragraph, although I'm pretty sure it is a textbook example of a strawman argument.
Quote:
Of course, this depends on the definition of "power" as "the chance that a particular individual would decide the election", which is not necessarily the most useful definition. Suppose, for instance, that I agree 100% with Candidate A's policies. Even if I don't vote at all, if Candidate A gets elected, then all of the policies I want will be put into place. In that case, it could be argued that I have a great deal of power, since what I want to happen does happen. But by this definition, power is a zero-sum game.
Elections also happen to be zero-sum games, so I don't really consider that a drawback.
Quote:
And even if one does accept the "swaying the election" definition of power, is it something desireable? For one vote to swing the election requires that the margin be a single vote. To say that the Electoral College increases power is to say that it increases the chance of a single-vote margin. After all of the hair-pulling we saw in Florida in 2000 over a margin of a few hundred votes, would we really want a single vote margin?
That is exactly what Natapoff demonstrates; the EC does indeed increase the chance of a single-vote margin, and this effectively increases individual voting power. Personally, I am all for that. The more power in the hands of voters the better as ar as I'm concerned. Clearly you do not like the idea, but that's cool. The current system is squarely in the middle of the systems we'd ideally have. Thus, it's a fair compromise. Not necessarily a fair compromise for the citizens of the US as a whole, but a fair compromise for me and you.
  #20  
Old 11-04-2004, 08:39 PM
Tripler Tripler is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: JSOTF SDMB, OL-LANL
Posts: 6,991
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathochist
It actually increases the power of a voter in most elections.

Consider what would happen if there were a direct popular plurality vote. The easiest way for a candidate to build a plurality would be to appeal to the issues facing urban and near-urban voters. The issues important in states which are predominantly rural would get no attention whatsoever since they just don't matter as much as where the population density "per issue" is higher. As much as I'd like this election to be decided by New York and Los Angeles, it's not a great idea in general.
Wow. I never thought of it in that light. . . Thank you!

I thank you for putting it in such context. That simple arguement, coupled with the fact that the population's voters votes go towards a state electure of EC members puts a lot of things in good perspective. Especially for a guy like myself who'se bounced from state to state and has a "feeble but able" grasp of grassroots politics.

Mathochist, thank you!

Tripler
None of it will matter when me and my progeny overthrow the world's governments, but, historical knowledge is good.
  #21  
Old 11-04-2004, 08:42 PM
Tripler Tripler is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: JSOTF SDMB, OL-LANL
Posts: 6,991
I'll have to follow up with an assupmtion, Mathochist,

Given your argument on popular votes versus Electoral College votes, I'm going to assume that you would be against 'proportional' College votes where the EC votes of a state would be split according to that state's popular votes.

Case in point, in that if I just have to focus on certain parts of certain states, that I'd win those EC votes, validating your post.

Tripler
Am I right, or am I missing something?
  #22  
Old 11-04-2004, 11:44 PM
Bob55 Bob55 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 1,179
I figured one reason for the EC was to give a bit more power to the least-populus states. Basically every state is guaranteed at least 3 electors (2 senators and 1 representative) regardless of size - the state could have 1 person or 50 million people. Lets say you have 2 states, one with 100,000 people and one with 1 million people. If we don't have an electoral college, voters in the less-populated state will have a slim to none chance of having any real say in anything. But lets say that each state is given 2 senators (which negate one another) but 1 Representative per 500,000 people. The smaller state, only having 100,000 is still guaranteed to have at least 1 representative, while the heavily-populated state only gets 2 representatives. This means the smaller state now has 3 votes for the President (2 senators, 1 representative) and the large state gets 4 votes for President.

Whether or not a state is actually below the population needed per representative anymore is doubtful, but it probably had an impact when we were first settling the nation.

A second reason might be another means of checks and balances - you have to elect electors to vote for you, if something crazy happens like massive voter fraud or the President turns out to be a martian the electors still have a choise as to how they will vote.

Thirdly, we're a Representative Republic (as stated above), not a Democracy, so the EC fits more in line with this model.

The EC helps prevent voter fraud from having as much of an impact on the election - if 10,000 votes were illegally cast in Texas, no problem the state went to Bush. But in a direct election of the President these votes count.

The EC also forces candidates to campaign all over, not just in New York, Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, and LA. This election was only won with 60 million votes, there are probably 60 million people in America's top 30 cities.


Finally, it was probably harder to count millions of votes up in the past and is just easier to reduce the states to smaller numbers; any recounts required can be done at the state/local level instead of nationally.
  #23  
Old 11-05-2004, 02:30 AM
Mathochist Mathochist is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: New Orleans, LA
Posts: 3,031
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripler
I thank you for putting it in such context. That simple arguement, coupled with the fact that the population's voters votes go towards a state electure of EC members puts a lot of things in good perspective. Especially for a guy like myself who'se bounced from state to state and has a "feeble but able" grasp of grassroots politics.

Mathochist, thank you!
You're very welcome.

If I can now get on my little soapbox, this sort of thing is the real kernel of the "mathematical" approach to an issue: analogies and test cases build to a rough idea of what's going on. The best proofs are those with simplest stated rough ideas. If someone really wants the details they're available, but the essential reasoning is very common-sense. This is what we should spend more time teaching at the high school level.
  #24  
Old 11-05-2004, 08:46 AM
Gary Robson Gary Robson is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Montana, U.S.A.
Posts: 9,449
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicago Faucet
Another wild card is that it is the Electors that cast the vote the the Electoral College. There is nothing prohibiting them from casting their Electoral Vote for the losing Candidate, but it will ensure their political career is at an end.
This varies on a state-by-state basis. I don't have a cite at the moment, but an "election fact" popped up on the TV screen Tuesday night said that 38 states have laws requiring their electors to vote for whomever got the most popular votes in that state.
__________________
---
Yes, I have joined the ranks of former moderators. Being a mod was eating my life. Now I'm a member just like you. Except smarter and better looking.
  #25  
Old 11-05-2004, 10:05 AM
ShibbOleth ShibbOleth is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Schlaraffenland
Posts: 20,611
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cisco
AFAIK there currently aren't any democratic nations.
Um, Switzerland.
  #26  
Old 11-05-2004, 10:08 AM
ShibbOleth ShibbOleth is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Schlaraffenland
Posts: 20,611
A side question:

Since the winner is usually declared as soon as the votes are tallied, does the Electoral College have any value other than symbolic? Do they actually get together and vote? Maybe a nice dinner and a few toasts?
  #27  
Old 11-05-2004, 10:41 AM
Walloon Walloon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: America's Dairyland
Posts: 12,780
A list of the 27 (not 38) states in which electors are bound by party pledges or state laws to cast their vote for a specific candidate. As the National Archives says, "The Supreme Court has not specifically ruled on the question of whether pledges and penalties for failure to vote as pledged may be enforced under the Constitution. No elector has ever been prosecuted for failing to vote as pledged."

The electors meet to vote in their state capitals on the first Monday after the first Tuesday in December, which in 2004 is Monday, December 13. Key dates in the electoral process.

The National Archives Electoral College home page.
  #28  
Old 11-05-2004, 12:51 PM
jsmith jsmith is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShibbOleth
Um, Switzerland.
Not to get to far off topic, but I don't think Switzerland is a democracy, it is a Federal Republic according to the CIA.

http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/...k/geos/sz.html

Interesting to note, here is there assement of the government from of the US:
Constitution-based federal republic; strong democratic tradition

They also don't define any country has a true Democracy, but many countries have forms of it.
  #29  
Old 11-05-2004, 12:54 PM
jsmith jsmith is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 169
Please excuse the spelling errors Meant to hit preview instead of submit.
  #30  
Old 11-05-2004, 01:24 PM
BobT BobT is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: The Golden State
Posts: 10,565
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShibbOleth
A side question:

Since the winner is usually declared as soon as the votes are tallied, does the Electoral College have any value other than symbolic? Do they actually get together and vote? Maybe a nice dinner and a few toasts?

Walloon explained it below, but the electors are really living people who go to their respective state capitals (or wherever they go in DC) and fill out ballots and sign their names to them.

It's all an open process. You can go to your state capital and watch if you choose. It's not frivolous at all.
  #31  
Old 11-05-2004, 01:27 PM
bostonpete bostonpete is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by asc165
Contary to poular belief, we are a Representative Republic, not a Democracy. Indeed a good design
This is an academic point and one that's not even correct -- it's something high school teachers tell their students to try to confuse them as far as I can tell. The U.S. *is* a democracy -- just not a direct democracy.

The system is sometimes called an indirect democracy, but it satisfies the definition of a democracy (see Walloon's post) every bit as much as a direct democracy.
  #32  
Old 11-05-2004, 02:22 PM
Mathochist Mathochist is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: New Orleans, LA
Posts: 3,031
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShibbOleth
A side question:

Since the winner is usually declared as soon as the votes are tallied, does the Electoral College have any value other than symbolic? Do they actually get together and vote? Maybe a nice dinner and a few toasts?
The Electoral College is the real vote, but since there have only been a handful of so-called "faithless electors" in history, the numbers that come oout election night are almost always what happens. Still, it's not impossible that there are a large number of electors like Richie Robb in WV who may decide that they cannot in good conscience as a Republican cast their electoral vote for George W. Bush. Not bloody likely, but theoretically possible.
  #33  
Old 11-05-2004, 04:31 PM
ShibbOleth ShibbOleth is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Schlaraffenland
Posts: 20,611
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsmith
Not to get to far off topic, but I don't think Switzerland is a democracy, it is a Federal Republic according to the CIA.

http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/...k/geos/sz.html

Interesting to note, here is there assement of the government from of the US:
Constitution-based federal republic; strong democratic tradition

They also don't define any country has a true Democracy, but many countries have forms of it.
Republics and democracies are not mutually exclusive.

Quote:
from Dictionary.com
Democracy: 1. Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.
2. A political or social unit that has such a government.
3. The common people, considered as the primary source of political power.
4. Majority rule.
5. The principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community.

Republic: 1.a. A political order whose head of state is not a monarch and in modern times is usually a president.
b. A nation that has such a political order.
2.a. A political order in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who are entitled to vote for officers and representatives responsible to them.
b. A nation that has such a political order.
The United States is a democratic republic that is normally representative in nature, although occasionally votes directly (see recent referenda/propositions as direct examples).

Switzerland is a democratic republic (actual name is Confoederatio Helvetica) that has a mix of direct democracy and representative government.
  #34  
Old 11-05-2004, 05:12 PM
jsmith jsmith is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShibbOleth
Republics and democracies are not mutually exclusive.



The United States is a democratic republic that is normally representative in nature, although occasionally votes directly (see recent referenda/propositions as direct examples).

Switzerland is a democratic republic (actual name is Confoederatio Helvetica) that has a mix of direct democracy and representative government.
Hmmm, seems we have a disagreement on the definition of Democracy. According to Wikipedia:
A democracy was a form of government under which the power to alter the basic laws and forms of government lies with the voting citizenry, referred to as "the people", and all decisions are made by "the people". (bolding mine)

I am not saying this is the absolute definition of the word Democracy. It is my understanding of the word. I really don't care if we call the US a Republic, Democratic Republic, indirect Democracy, Representative Democracy, or even a Democracy. Besides a few measures (as you stated) I believe that I vote for several persons to represent me in government.

I thought by the previous statement you made "Um, Switzerland." you were stating the Switzerland had such a system where all decisions were made by all the people. My bad.

Well, sorry for the misunderstanding and I hope it is ok if we agree to disagree.
  #35  
Old 11-06-2004, 05:29 PM
Ellis Dee Ellis Dee is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: New England
Posts: 13,368
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShibbOleth, from Dictionary.com
Democracy: 1. Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.
2. A political or social unit that has such a government.
3. The common people, considered as the primary source of political power.
4. Majority rule.
5. The principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community.

Republic: 1.a. A political order whose head of state is not a monarch and in modern times is usually a president.
b. A nation that has such a political order.
2.a. A political order in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who are entitled to vote for officers and representatives responsible to them.
b. A nation that has such a political order.
What stands out to me is #4: Majority rule. The US is not, and should never be, a nation governed by the "tyranny of the majority". This is why the founding fathers set us up to be a republic instead of a democracy. This is why even today we are still a republic, and not a democracy. We do not believe that popular opinion automatically equals the right choice.
  #36  
Old 11-06-2004, 05:54 PM
Mathochist Mathochist is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: New Orleans, LA
Posts: 3,031
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellis Dee
We do not believe that popular opinion automatically equals the right choice.
How very, very true.
  #37  
Old 11-06-2004, 07:34 PM
Dr. Rieux Dr. Rieux is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Yuma, AZ
Posts: 4,114
Quote:
Originally Posted by asc165
Contary to poular belief, we are a Representative Republic, not a Democracy. Indeed a good design
Actually we are a Representative Democracy and a Republic.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:48 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright © 2017 Sun-Times Media, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017