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  #101  
Old 01-03-2018, 07:29 PM
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I dont see how a state deciding that its EVs in an arbitrary, non-democratic manner affects the powers of other states. Its a matter of the residents of that state losing the franchise.
If state Y simply copies state X, then there is an effective transfer of power. The final behavior is exactly as if state X had all of the combined EVs and state Y had none.

And that is exactly the same sense that the NPVIC is a transfer of power. In a narrow sense, it's just another weird version of EV apportionment. The agreement itself is superfluous: it's just a convenient way of referring to the scheme. It could be done without any explicit agreement at all, just ordinary state law describing the EV apportionment rules.

But it's nevertheless true that the NPVIC is functionally equivalent to a transfer of power, and so maybe that's enough for Congress to get involved.
  #102  
Old 01-03-2018, 07:39 PM
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I dont see how a state deciding that its EVs in an arbitrary, non-democratic manner affects the powers of other states. Its a matter of the residents of that state losing the franchise.
Taking it a little further--where on this spectrum do you think it turns from an arbitrary EV scheme that doesn't require Congress into one that does?:
1) State Y copies state X.
2) State Y votes based on the combined popular vote of states X+Y.
3) Same as 2), but X has a symmetrical law as well.
4) Same as 3), but the laws also include a clause saying they only take effect if their counterpart has a symmetric law.
5) Same as 4), but with several states in play.
6) Same as 4), but with enough states to decide the election.
7) Same as 6), but based on the overall popular vote, not the popular vote of states in the compact.
  #103  
Old 01-03-2018, 07:42 PM
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Oh, and it would be possible, in a parliamentary system, for one party to receive over 50% of the popular vote, but for another party to end up controlling over 50% of the seats ... I don't know if it's ever actually happened....
I indicated there were at least three Australian examples above but lowballed myself.

There have been 7 instances in Aust Federal elections where the party with the most popular votes didn't form government (most were extremely close), about 15% of our national elections since Federation.
29 May 1954 election
9 December 1961 election
25 October 1969 election
11 July 1987 election
24 March 1990 election
3 October 1998 election

In none of these results was the government formed by a post election coalition.
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  #104  
Old 01-03-2018, 07:57 PM
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Taking it a little further--where on this spectrum do you think it turns from an arbitrary EV scheme that doesn't require Congress into one that does?:
1) State Y copies state X.
2) State Y votes based on the combined popular vote of states X+Y.
3) Same as 2), but X has a symmetrical law as well.
4) Same as 3), but the laws also include a clause saying they only take effect if their counterpart has a symmetric law.
5) Same as 4), but with several states in play.
6) Same as 4), but with enough states to decide the election.
7) Same as 6), but based on the overall popular vote, not the popular vote of states in the compact.
My brain just exploded.

To be very honest, Im not sure where the line is drawn. But it is crystal clear to me that NPVIC is undoubtably over the line.
  #105  
Old 01-03-2018, 08:02 PM
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To be very honest, Im not sure where the line is drawn. But it is crystal clear to me that NPVIC is undoubtably over the line.
Fair enough. As I said, I don't necessarily disagree. But I can't identify a threshold either. So who knows?
  #106  
Old 01-03-2018, 09:15 PM
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My brain just exploded.

To be very honest, I’m not sure where the line is drawn. But it is crystal clear to me that NPVIC is undoubtably over the line.
To be honest, I don't think we're ever going to find out in our lifetimes. It's an interesting intellectual exercise, but I can't see how you get enough EC votes from enough states to make it work.

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  #107  
Old 01-03-2018, 11:01 PM
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Set aside partisan politics and consider a hypothetical. One candidate gets 60% of the vote, the other 38%. A priori, which would you guess would be the "better" President, the one less likely to push stupid wars or stupid tax cuts? I guess the voters may be smarter than they often seem; the "good guy" probably got more votes. Maybe.

Now consider the same scenario, but the popular vote is almost a toss-up: 48.5% to 48.0%. This was the margin in 2000. Was that extra 0.5% because Gore was the better man? Bush would never have gotten 48.5% with Gore only 48% because from the noise of such a 48.5-48 score, the wisdom of the masses will surely shine through?

Or when the score is so close, is it more like a coin toss. Certainly there are many recent close non-Presidential elections where most of us would wish the loser had gotten a few more votes.

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Look, the EC overruling the popular vote has already given us GWB and Trump, the two worst Presidents since the antebellum era. How many more of these episodes can we take? We're well beyond 'slight but nonzero' chance of disastrous outcomes of the present system.
Is it far-fetched to imagine that Bush had won the 48.5 to 48 popular vote? And that Gore won the EC? If that were the case would you still support NPVIC so strongly? Do you really think the electoral college was the underlying reason the two elections failed, or was the EC vote just another coin-toss in a noisy process?

It may not be a coincidence that the GOP won these EC contests, but probably not for the reason often claimed. The GOP has a 5 to 3 advantage among the 3-vote states (the smallest states, the over-represented states), but the Democrats have a 4 to 1 advantage among the 4-vote states. This is just about a "wash."

The real problem for Dems is the huge number of wasted Dem votes in NY and CA. But, IIRC, Nate Silver's simulations indicate that a <popular GOP, electoral Dem> split wasn't so unlikely in 2016. And if/when Texas wisens up, the NPVIC supporters may live to rue.

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Actually, you need an answer for why this scheme has any chance of surviving the compact clause. If states spend all this time enacting this compact, and it a court throws it out, we have a potentially very fucked up presidential election on our hands, with the chance that two people have equal claims to the presidency. That isnt a good thing.
Thank you! A voice of reason. Other Dopers are also commenting on the several ways that litigation or unfaithful electors could cause trouble.

If Alabama signs the Compact and its votes turn out to be decisive, do any of you imagine they'd let the Democrat win, instead of finding grounds to annul the Compact in their state? If so, can I interest you in buying the Brooklyn Bridge?
  #108  
Old 01-03-2018, 11:49 PM
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Now consider the same scenario, but the popular vote is almost a toss-up: 48.5% to 48.0%. This was the margin in 2000. Was that extra 0.5% because Gore was the better man? Bush would never have gotten 48.5% with Gore only 48% because from the noise of such a 48.5-48 score, the wisdom of the masses will surely shine through?
Of the many bad arguments that the pro-EC crowd trot out, there is one legitimate one: we have never held a popular vote in the US. So all this 48.5/48% stuff is nonsense, really, because people vote strategically. Turnout is suppressed in non-swing states. Candidates bias their campaigning. And so on.

Don't you think it would be nice to actually hold a popular vote to see if the EC is doing its job?

Maybe some elections are a coin toss. Fine. I'd still like to see the results of that coin toss without an extra layer of nonsense on top.

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Other Dopers are also commenting on the several ways that litigation or unfaithful electors could cause trouble.
Good! If the NPVIC works, then so be it--it's an effective end run around the EC. If it fails, then it throws into harsh light the utter failure of the EC, with all its flaws--flaws that exist even without the compact. Faithless electors can already throw the election. If this happened under the NPVIC, there would be that much additional motivation to do things properly, with a constitutional amendment (which would most likely look like the NPVIC anyway, since that's the easiest retrofit).
  #109  
Old 01-04-2018, 12:19 AM
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That's absurd. Just one state doing this, or a handful, achieves nothing and only weakens a state's power. The whole point to the compact is that it's all-or-nothing; it behaves as the current system until a threshold is met, and then it behaves as a true popular vote. There is never any intermediate system that's worse than either approach.
Then it really has nothing to do with the believe that the popular vote winner should get the state's EVs? Like I said, if a state felt strongly about it they would do it unilaterally.
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  #110  
Old 01-04-2018, 12:35 AM
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Then it really has nothing to do with the believe that the popular vote winner should get the state's EVs?
Correct. The whole point of the compact is that the EVs of an individual state are (or should be) irrelevant--in fact, that's the root of the anti-democracy in the current system.

A partial system would bias things even more than now, which is already bad.

But lumping a bundle of states together, and voting as a bloc, fixes this bias--it makes everyone's vote equal, even for people outside the bloc.

Phrasing it as some sort of moral argument ("if they were serious") misses the point. The goal is to have a system which behaves identically to a real popular vote. A partial implementation works against this goal.
  #111  
Old 01-04-2018, 07:31 AM
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Actually, you need an answer for why this scheme has any chance of surviving the compact clause.
There is no procedure for stopping it is why. You mention a court throwing it out, but which court and on what basis? Please be reminded that the Constitution explicitly provides for the states choosing their own electors. Against whom would an injunction be filed, what would it require, and who would have standing to file it? What bill could Congress enact to stop it? You got nothin' but splutter.

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I don’t see how a state deciding that it’s EVs in an arbitrary, non-democratic manner affects the powers of other states. It’s a matter of the residents of that state losing the franchise.
That makes no sense, sorry.

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  #112  
Old 01-04-2018, 08:01 AM
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Dr. Strangelove, I'd say that it becomes a compact (and thus requiring Congressional approval) at step 4 of your list: That's where the states are coordinating their actions, rather than independently acting in a way that happens to be in concert.
  #113  
Old 01-04-2018, 08:36 AM
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There is no procedure for stopping it is why. You mention a court throwing it out, but which court and on what basis? Please be reminded that the Constitution explicitly provides for the states choosing their own electors. Against whom would an injunction be filed, what would it require, and who would have standing to file it? What bill could Congress enact to stop it? You got nothin' but splutter.

That makes no sense, sorry.
And thus we reach the point in the debate in which ElvisL1ves adopts the well-worn NRA debating tactic of reading a single part of the Constitution that is convenient for the argument they wish to make, and denying that any other part of the Constitution even exists. Then, they accuse anyone who points out other clauses that contradict the one-sided argument of being silly, extreme, and unfairly aggravated with blood coming out of their... whatever.

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  #114  
Old 01-04-2018, 09:10 AM
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There is no procedure for stopping it is why. You mention a court throwing it out, but which court and on what basis?
That's an excellent point. Someone should start a thread to discuss that since it's been completely ignored in this one.
  #115  
Old 01-04-2018, 09:12 AM
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The lack of anything resembling a factual answer there, even hidden inside all the splutter, should be enough to close the matter. But it probably won't be, will it?
  #116  
Old 01-04-2018, 09:13 AM
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That's an excellent point. Someone should start a thread to discuss that since it's been completely ignored in this one.
When you can figure out how a court could declare part of the Constitution to be unconstitutional, please let us know.
  #117  
Old 01-04-2018, 09:25 AM
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I really don't understand. Why is a pact needed at all? Yes I realize that politically it's hard to sell to a given state unless they know it will work, but functionally I don't see how it matters.

If any state adopts the rule unilaterally that its EV go to the nationwide popular vote winner what happens? Assuming there are only two candidates getting any EVs, the change by one state cannot make it less likely that the popular vote winner wins enough EVs. If that's the objective, no pact is needed at all.

Also I cannot construct any scenario in which a "pact" exists and some state defaults to give its EVs to the candidate who won that state's popular vote that gives the EV victory to loser of the popular vote unless the current system also does.
  #118  
Old 01-04-2018, 09:40 AM
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The lack of anything resembling a factual answer there, even hidden inside all the splutter, should be enough to close the matter. But it probably won't be, will it?
Next debate tactic coming up: tweets that call everyone else in this thread weak and sad!
  #119  
Old 01-04-2018, 09:48 AM
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I really don't understand. Why is a pact needed at all? Yes I realize that politically it's hard to sell to a given state unless they know it will work, but functionally I don't see how it matters.

If any state adopts the rule unilaterally that its EV go to the nationwide popular vote winner what happens? Assuming there are only two candidates getting any EVs, the change by one state cannot make it less likely that the popular vote winner wins enough EVs. If that's the objective, no pact is needed at all.

Also I cannot construct any scenario in which a "pact" exists and some state defaults to give its EVs to the candidate who won that state's popular vote that gives the EV victory to loser of the popular vote unless the current system also does.
Another thing to keep in mind: All the states that have signed up so far are strongly Democratic leaning (see my earlier analysis), and they might as well have an arrangement that says "all Electors will automatically be awarded to the Democratic Candidate". If, by some chance, we had a Republican "win" the popular vote and a Democrat win the EV, those states would drop out of the compact faster than rats jumping off a sinking ship.
  #120  
Old 01-04-2018, 09:53 AM
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Next debate tactic coming up: tweets that call everyone else in this thread weak and sad!
It's already started. See Post 113.

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If, by some chance, we had a Republican "win" the popular vote and a Democrat win the EV, those states would drop out of the compact faster than rats jumping off a sinking ship.
Projection much?

If the arrangement were to be suspended, that leaves us no less democratic than we are now.
  #121  
Old 01-04-2018, 10:38 AM
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It's already started. See Post 113.
Im pretty sure you didnt read my posts correctly.
  #122  
Old 01-04-2018, 11:25 AM
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Projection much?

If the arrangement were to be suspended, that leaves us no less democratic than we are now.
Miss the point much? The states that signed on for this didn't do so out of some great sense of "democracy". They did it to give the Democrats a better chance of winning. Anyone who thinks CA and NY would put all their EV eggs in the Republican basket in the case of a Republican getting more total votes and a Democrat more electoral votes should look at a couple bridges that can be found in both of those states. I hear they're for sale.

Last edited by John Mace; 01-04-2018 at 11:25 AM.
  #123  
Old 01-04-2018, 11:29 AM
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Miss the point much? The states that signed on for this didn't do so out of some great sense of "democracy". They did it to give the Democrats a better chance of winning. Anyone who thinks CA and NY would put all their EV eggs in the Republican basket in the case of a Republican getting more total votes and a Democrat more electoral votes should look at a couple bridges that can be found in both of those states. I hear they're for sale.
Whatever the motive, doing the right thing is still better than not doing the right thing. Having the winner be the one who gets the popular vote is more just and fair for individual Americans than the electoral college, and thus it's the right thing to do, IMO, even if the motives are partisan.
  #124  
Old 01-04-2018, 11:55 AM
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The states that signed on for this didn't do so out of some great sense of "democracy".
And yet they acted exactly as if they did. Imagine that, huh?

Can you even conceive of actual, real humans recognizing and considering something larger than themselves?

There's no need for the scorning quote marks around democracy. Improving and strengthening our democracy is exactly what this is all about.
  #125  
Old 01-04-2018, 12:02 PM
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Both, of course. We want an actual nationwide popular vote for President, and the easiest way to get that is through this compact. State-by-state legislation wouldn't allow the federal government to hold a national election, and I'm not sure where you get the idea that it would: That would take a constitutional amendment, which is really difficult.
State-by-state legislation WOULD allow the states to ratify an amendment allowing the federal government to hold a nation-wide popular election.

Currently, the states chose how their electors will be distributed. None of these NPVIC laws have been challenged in state courts. Why? Because no one can yet claim an injury from the enforcement/use of these laws. Once a state actually uses their NPVIC law/compact/agreement to alter the way its electors must vote, someone will claim an injury, and the case will end up before that state's Supreme Court. If ten states have passed NPVIC laws, then ten states are facing possible State Supreme Court challenges. Which they may, or may not, lose. NPVIC seems to be a huge political, and legal, morass.

Plus there will be challenges before the U.S. Supremes.

A constitutional amendment would be the surest way to create a nationwide popular vote for POTUS. And that is what you actually wish to do.
  #126  
Old 01-04-2018, 02:14 PM
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Is it far-fetched to imagine that Bush had won the 48.5 to 48 popular vote? And that Gore won the EC? If that were the case would you still support NPVIC so strongly? Do you really think the electoral college was the underlying reason the two elections failed, or was the EC vote just another coin-toss in a noisy process?

It may not be a coincidence that the GOP won these EC contests, but probably not for the reason often claimed. The GOP has a 5 to 3 advantage among the 3-vote states (the smallest states, the over-represented states), but the Democrats have a 4 to 1 advantage among the 4-vote states. This is just about a "wash."

The real problem for Dems is the huge number of wasted Dem votes in NY and CA. But, IIRC, Nate Silver's simulations indicate that a <popular GOP, electoral Dem> split wasn't so unlikely in 2016. And if/when Texas wisens up, the NPVIC supporters may live to rue.
I still remember watching the returns on the 2004 election. For a while, Ohio was too close to call and it looked like it could possibly be a reversal of 2000: Bush winning the popular vote and losing the electoral vote, the result clinched by a narrow loss in one state. I was actually hoping for that exact outcome, because if that had happened, I think there would have been broad bipartisan support for scrapping the EC.
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  #127  
Old 01-04-2018, 02:35 PM
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Dr. Strangelove, I'd say that it becomes a compact (and thus requiring Congressional approval) at step 4 of your list: That's where the states are coordinating their actions, rather than independently acting in a way that happens to be in concert.
I guess I'm not seeing it. Aren't they still "independently acting in a way that happens to be in concert"? There is still no need for some big contract that everyone signs saying they'll do XYZ. They just enact their own individual laws that say do X if Y, else Z. It does take in "outside information" (did the other states actually enact the law?), but that was already happening (what was the popular vote in those states?).

Besides--even if that step does somehow establish as a compact, functionally speaking, that doesn't necessarily mean Article I Section 10 applies.
  #128  
Old 01-04-2018, 02:51 PM
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The states that signed on for this didn't do so out of some great sense of "democracy".
Even if true--so what? The way to make any group effort happen is by appealing to the selfish interests of individuals.

And anyway, I don't personally have any great sense that a popular vote is the perfect means of selecting candidates. But the EC is an unbelievably defective system. And a popular vote is reasonable and easy to understand, widely used for other political positions, so it makes an excellent alternative.

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Anyone who thinks CA and NY would put all their EV eggs in the Republican basket in the case of a Republican getting more total votes and a Democrat more electoral votes should look at a couple bridges that can be found in both of those states.
I find this to be just conspiracy-talk. It would be the law of the land. Faithless electors are already a potential problem, and yet in practice not so much. CA and NY don't have any control anyway; the electors still cast the vote.

Just massively increase the elector defection penalty if you're so worried. Stick 'em in prison for life if they vote contrary to the law. And make that part of the law too, so everyone's on the same page.
  #129  
Old 01-04-2018, 02:52 PM
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I guess I'm not seeing it. Aren't they still "independently acting in a way that happens to be in concert"? There is still no need for some big contract that everyone signs saying they'll do XYZ. They just enact their own individual laws that say do X if Y, else Z. It does take in "outside information" (did the other states actually enact the law?), but that was already happening (what was the popular vote in those states?).

Besides--even if that step does somehow establish as a compact, functionally speaking, that doesn't necessarily mean Article I Section 10 applies.
If you read the compact, it explicitly says it doesn't take effect until "X" number of states join. You're right that they don't need this, but that's not the way this is playing out, and it might be necessary to have that stipulation for any single state to pass it. Otherwise, wouldn't it come into effect immediately?
  #130  
Old 01-04-2018, 03:00 PM
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If you read the compact, it explicitly says it doesn't take effect until "X" number of states join. You're right that they don't need this, but that's not the way this is playing out, and it might be necessary to have that stipulation for any single state to pass it. Otherwise, wouldn't it come into effect immediately?
Right. I was just laying out some variants on a spectrum to see where people thought a presumably legal (if silly) law would turn into one that needed Congress. I don't claim to have an answer, but to me the individual steps all look pretty innocuous.

To be more precise, the NPVIC says this about taking effect:
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This agreement shall take effect when states cumulatively possessing a majority of the electoral votes have enacted this agreement in substantially the same form and the enactments by such states have taken effect in each state.
  #131  
Old 01-04-2018, 03:53 PM
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I guess I'm not seeing it. Aren't they still "independently acting in a way that happens to be in concert"? There is still no need for some big contract that everyone signs saying they'll do XYZ. They just enact their own individual laws that say do X if Y, else Z. It does take in "outside information" (did the other states actually enact the law?), but that was already happening (what was the popular vote in those states?).

Besides--even if that step does somehow establish as a compact, functionally speaking, that doesn't necessarily mean Article I Section 10 applies.
I would prefer that if such a compact goes through, that it does in fact get a blessing from congress, specifically so that it is binding on the states that sign up for it.

John Mace is not wrong that, given holding to a non-binding compact vs electing the preferred party, many states would be very tempted to back out of the compact and vote for their party. I don't hold his level of pessimism that they would, and in fact, if red states actually did sign onto the compact, then the blues would have an even greater reason to hold to their agreement.

Of course, if it is none but blue states signed on, and it wasn't binding, then it would not be in the blue states to hold up their end of a bargain that is not being held up on the other side.

And, that's where I see congress needing to step in anyway, for a compact that compels a state to act in a certain way. What is georgia really going to do to Idaho if they don't keep up their end of a compact? They really can do nothing. It would require actions from the federal govt to ensure that states held to it.

In any case, getting congress to agree to give their blessing to such a compact would be much easier than a constitutional amendment.
  #132  
Old 01-04-2018, 03:58 PM
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And yet they acted exactly as if they did. Imagine that, huh?

Can you even conceive of actual, real humans recognizing and considering something larger than themselves?
Yes, I can. Too bad that none of them are Republicans.
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Old 01-04-2018, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Dr. Strangelove View Post
Even if true--so what? The way to make any group effort happen is by appealing to the selfish interests of individuals.
The so what is what followed, and you quoted below. They would be inclined to exit the pact just as they entered it if the tide went against their interests.

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I find this to be just conspiracy-talk. It would be the law of the land.
I don't see what makes it a "conspiracy", but this particular law of the land could be easily voted to be "not the law of the land". CA is a one-party state, so heavily Democratic that the legislators would be thrown out if they allowed a Republican into the WH over a Democrat who won the electoral vote. Do you not remember how the whole Senator replacement process got changed in MA depending on which party had the governorship? It would be the same thing.

This compact should be called the National Lets Elect a Democrat to the White House Compact. Why do you think only the more heavily Democratic leaning states have endorsed it? Please see post #70.

This is not to say that Democrats are bad or evil. This is the way of politics.
  #134  
Old 01-04-2018, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Dr. Strangelove View Post
I guess I'm not seeing it. Aren't they still "independently acting in a way that happens to be in concert"? There is still no need for some big contract that everyone signs saying they'll do XYZ. They just enact their own individual laws that say do X if Y, else Z. It does take in "outside information" (did the other states actually enact the law?), but that was already happening (what was the popular vote in those states?).
I was chuckling as I read this because it reminded me of the schoolyard tactic of Joe saying, Im just going to punch the air in front of me and walk forward, and if you get in the way, its your own fault! And how teachers, if they saw that happening, would see through that in a second and say, Joe, if you hit Bobby youre going to go to detention!

The idea that a group of states would sign up to the same ground rules for this compact, but not actually be part of the compact, is as unconvincing as Joes But Im just punching the air! silliness.
  #135  
Old 01-04-2018, 04:25 PM
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Whatever the motive, doing the right thing is still better than not doing the right thing. Having the winner be the one who gets the popular vote is more just and fair for individual Americans than the electoral college, and thus it's the right thing to do, IMO, even if the motives are partisan.
In this case, I would disagree. I'm with the folks who say this would tear the country apart if it were put into effect. I believe it would be like nothing we've seen since the Civil War. I usually laugh at secession activities, but I wouldn't be surprise if some stated actually voted to secede from the Union if an election were turned based on this Compact.

But then, I'm not under the illusion that justice requires the president to be elected by popular vote. Does the existence of The US Senate make us an unjust country?

Last edited by John Mace; 01-04-2018 at 04:26 PM.
  #136  
Old 01-04-2018, 04:30 PM
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Would looking how most of your global peers do it be that much of a kick in the patoot?
Most of those that I'm familiar with use some sort of parliamentary system, where the leader of the majority party/coalition in a unicameral legislature is Prime Minister.

I'm not sure what the U.S. can gain by looking at those systems, even if one assumes their superiority (a fair assumption - I can't help but notice that the American separation of powers hasn't been widely imitated by younger democracies), because the U.S. can't get there from here without throwing away their current system and starting over.
  #137  
Old 01-04-2018, 04:33 PM
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Does the existence of The US Senate make us an unjust country?
Yes. Next question?
  #138  
Old 01-04-2018, 04:34 PM
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Does the existence of The US Senate make us an unjust country?
Less just than it would be if all US citizens had equal representation in the US senate, rather than some having orders of magnitude more than others, based on state size.

I am not really seeing what the aversion to democracy is. Sometimes, the most democratic representation of govt may not be practical, and compromises need to be made, but when those compromises mean that the majority of the country is not represented, it's a bug, not a feature.
  #139  
Old 01-04-2018, 04:40 PM
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Yes. Next question?
Why do you hate America?

BTW, just to show that Republicans are partisan about this whole issue, too, look at the latest Gallup poll on the Electoral College. Very interesting:

Quote:
Americans' support for keeping the Electoral College system for electing presidents has increased sharply. Weeks after the 2016 election, 47% of Americans say they want to keep the Electoral College, while 49% say they want to amend the Constitution to allow for a popular vote for president.

<snip>

This year [2016], for the first time in the 49 years Gallup has asked about it, less than half of Americans want to replace the Electoral College with a popular vote system.

<snip>

The reason for this shift in opinion is clear: In the aftermath of this year's election, the percentage of Republicans wanting to replace the Electoral College with the popular vote has fallen significantly.
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I am not really seeing what the aversion to democracy is.
That assumes that democracy can only have one form. The states formed a union with the stipulation that in one legislature, each state would be represented equally. That is not undemocratic. But one reason to support a non-popular vote method for electing the president is a desire to preserve the union, which I think would be threatened if we scrapped the EC altogether.

Last edited by John Mace; 01-04-2018 at 04:43 PM.
  #140  
Old 01-04-2018, 04:54 PM
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people claim without the EC the candidates would ignore small states. I don't recall Trump or Clinton spending a lot of time in N. Dakoka, Montana, Idaho, etc . I don't recall anyone going to those states in recent elections.
  #141  
Old 01-04-2018, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Ravenman View Post
I was chuckling as I read this because it reminded me of the schoolyard tactic of Joe saying, Im just going to punch the air in front of me and walk forward, and if you get in the way, its your own fault! And how teachers, if they saw that happening, would see through that in a second and say, Joe, if you hit Bobby youre going to go to detention!
I don't disagree--there is certainly a whole "if it quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck" aspect to the whole thing. My point to Chronos though was just that the specific addition of "only takes effect if other states do it" doesn't seem fundamentally different from the other constraints. So where on the spectrum from Joe just walking normally to Joe punching the air does teacher get involved?
  #142  
Old 01-04-2018, 04:55 PM
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That assumes that democracy can only have one form. The states formed a union with the stipulation that in one legislature, each state would be represented equally. That is not undemocratic. But one reason to support a non-popular vote method for electing the president is a desire to preserve the union, which I think would be threatened if we scrapped the EC altogether.
A democracy that ignores the majority and is beholden to the minority is not really a democracy.

Yeah, I get that there are words on papers that were signed long, long ago that sets up these bugs, but these are things we should be ironing out, not celebrating.

Let's put it this way, the president can be elected with less than 25% of the popular vote, the senate can be as much as 70% popular vote towards the minority party, and if the house is well gerrymandered, then it can be at least 66% (or more if they are clever enough) in favor of the party that gets fewer votes.

I realize that these are extremes, and it is unlikely that they will get to quite those levels, but at the same time, many of the anti-popular vote arguments rest on even less likely scenarios to break them.

So, if the government represents less than 33% of the people, and the majority of the people are not represented, how well preserved do you think the union will be?

Would you still consider this a feature, or a legacy bug that needs to be removed from our country's operating system?
  #143  
Old 01-04-2018, 05:04 PM
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Is it far-fetched to imagine that Bush had won the 48.5 to 48 popular vote?
No. You can imagine anything you want, of course, but it was a sufficiently live possibility in the days before the election that Team Bush was already trying to line up Gore electors amenable to the argument that the popular vote winner should be THE winner.
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And that Gore won the EC? If that were the case would you still support NPVIC so strongly?
1) What does that have to do with anything? Would my being a hypocrite undermine the validity of my argument?
2) As a matter of fact, I'm sure most Dems would have, like me, said, "sure we won this one by the EC, but we may lose the next one the same way. Let's fix it so it doesn't happen again either way." Because we're mostly rational about stuff like that. Whereas since Bush's win, Republicans' devotion to the EC has been almost religious in nature. And if things had been reversed, the GOP would have felt the same way about the popular vote. That's how they are.

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Do you really think the electoral college was the underlying reason the two elections failed, or was the EC vote just another coin-toss in a noisy process?
In 2000, a coin toss. In 2016, the EC did it.
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It may not be a coincidence that the GOP won these EC contests, but probably not for the reason often claimed. The GOP has a 5 to 3 advantage among the 3-vote states (the smallest states, the over-represented states), but the Democrats have a 4 to 1 advantage among the 4-vote states. This is just about a "wash."
Is anyone making that claim about 2016? All I've heard has been about tipping big states by extremely thin margins.
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The real problem for Dems is the huge number of wasted Dem votes in NY and CA.
Bingo. I'm a small-d democrat, and I believe there should be no such thing as a wasted vote.
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But, IIRC, Nate Silver's simulations indicate that a <popular GOP, electoral Dem> split wasn't so unlikely in 2016. And if/when Texas wisens up, the NPVIC supporters may live to rue.
So? We should have a system where the winner of the popular vote is President, just as is true for Senator, Representative, Governor, state legislature, mayor, city council, etc. If we have a system where the popular vote winner is President no matter what, and the GOP candidate wins the popular vote, then good on him/her. That person ought to be President. I may rue that somehow a Republican won the popular vote, but I won't rue that we bypassed the EC.

Democracy ought to be straightforward: most votes wins. Some EC pinball shot shouldn't have the ability to undermine the will of the people.

Last edited by RTFirefly; 01-04-2018 at 05:06 PM.
  #144  
Old 01-04-2018, 05:11 PM
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I don't see what makes it a "conspiracy", but this particular law of the land could be easily voted to be "not the law of the land".
And in that case the compact would stop taking effect. Big deal; we're back to the current system.

The conspiracy would be that somehow CA and NY would get all these states to sign on, and then as soon as it looks like there might be a Republican win, conspire with the electors to get them to vote contrary to law (and their own ethics).

But then, we have that same exact risk today. And in practice, it's not a problem because there are enough inducements (ethical if nothing else) to make the system work.

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Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
Do you not remember how the whole Senator replacement process got changed in MA depending on which party had the governorship? It would be the same thing.
Again, fine. Some state pulls some legal but shady tactics and the compact goes out of effect. You seem to have some greater risk in mind, like where there is a split vote within the compact because one state didn't follow the rules.

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Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
This compact should be called the National Lets Elect a Democrat to the White House Compact. Why do you think only the more heavily Democratic leaning states have endorsed it? Please see post #70.
You can call it whatever you like, but it behaves exactly like a popular vote. And that is in fact the goal.

Any bias towards one party would be short term at best. Candidates would adjust their positioning slightly and we'd have the same rough 50/50 split as today. That's just natural in a first-past-the-post system (another topic completely...). The difference is that the candidates would have to start paying attention to the entire country instead of just a few swing states.
  #145  
Old 01-04-2018, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
A democracy that ignores the majority and is beholden to the minority is not really a democracy.

Yeah, I get that there are words on papers that were signed long, long ago that sets up these bugs, but these are things we should be ironing out, not celebrating.

Let's put it this way, the president can be elected with less than 25% of the popular vote, the senate can be as much as 70% popular vote towards the minority party, and if the house is well gerrymandered, then it can be at least 66% (or more if they are clever enough) in favor of the party that gets fewer votes.

I realize that these are extremes, and it is unlikely that they will get to quite those levels, but at the same time, many of the anti-popular vote arguments rest on even less likely scenarios to break them.

So, if the government represents less than 33% of the people, and the majority of the people are not represented, how well preserved do you think the union will be?

Would you still consider this a feature, or a legacy bug that needs to be removed from our country's operating system?
Democracy does not have to mean majority rule and certainly not on every issue. While I personally favor some form of the EC, if the US passed an amendment changing the system to popular vote, I'd be OK with that. I think that would have little chance of tearing the country apart, but largely because the amendment process itself is, by your definition, not democratic. That is to say, you need to have more than just 50% +1 vote on your side to change it. That is the feature that needs to be preserved. If we got there by some end-run like this Compact, I'm not so sanguine. BTW, I was probably unclear on that above, and I apologize. I don't think the president being popularly elected would, per se, end the Union. I think it might very well do so if done improperly-- without a super-majority buy-in, as is needed for the amendment process.

Bottom like, though, as much as I revere democracy and majority rule, I'm OK with putting some limits on the former in order to avoid political implosion and possible self-destruction.

Last edited by John Mace; 01-04-2018 at 05:20 PM.
  #146  
Old 01-04-2018, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Bijou Drains View Post
people claim without the EC the candidates would ignore small states. I don't recall Trump or Clinton spending a lot of time in N. Dakoka, Montana, Idaho, etc . I don't recall anyone going to those states in recent elections.
Or, you know, even the big states. Out of 399 general campaign events in 2016, how many happened in California? 1. Just a single one, 0.25% of the total events, for a state with 12% of the total US population.

The Democrats are not the only victims of course. Republicans in CA get shafted too. And for that matter, Texas, with a healthy 9% of the US population, also got a single visit. On the other hand, Florida, with 6%, got 71 visits.

Everyone--Democrats and Republicans alike--not in a swing state, gets shafted.

So when pro-EC people says that a popular vote would cause candidates to ignore region X, I laugh because it would be virtually impossible to get worse than it is today. Also, the usual claim ("candidates would ignore rural areas and focus on cities") is especially bogus because to whatever extent it's true, it's already true, because every state has both cities and rural areas--and within a state the popular vote holds. The EC doesn't fix that aspect in the slightest.
  #147  
Old 01-04-2018, 05:35 PM
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And in that case the compact would stop taking effect. Big deal; we're back to the current system.

The conspiracy would be that somehow CA and NY would get all these states to sign on, and then as soon as it looks like there might be a Republican win, conspire with the electors to get them to vote contrary to law (and their own ethics).

But then, we have that same exact risk today. And in practice, it's not a problem because there are enough inducements (ethical if nothing else) to make the system work.



Again, fine. Some state pulls some legal but shady tactics and the compact goes out of effect. You seem to have some greater risk in mind, like where there is a split vote within the compact because one state didn't follow the rules.



You can call it whatever you like, but it behaves exactly like a popular vote. And that is in fact the goal.

Any bias towards one party would be short term at best. Candidates would adjust their positioning slightly and we'd have the same rough 50/50 split as today. That's just natural in a first-past-the-post system (another topic completely...). The difference is that the candidates would have to start paying attention to the entire country instead of just a few swing states.
I think we may be talking past each other. I'm just going to straighten out one thing, and then agree to disagree.

On the issue of NY and CA, I did not mean to imply that they were trying to trick the other states into joining the Compact. I only singled them out because they were the largest states, and could have the biggest impact by withdrawing. It's conceivable that a very smaller state could withdraw without impacting the result. And I specifically included CA because it's my state, and I've lived here for 40 years and I know it pretty well.
  #148  
Old 01-04-2018, 05:48 PM
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In this case, I would disagree. I'm with the folks who say this would tear the country apart if it were put into effect. I believe it would be like nothing we've seen since the Civil War. I usually laugh at secession activities, but I wouldn't be surprise if some stated actually voted to secede from the Union if an election were turned based on this Compact.

But then, I'm not under the illusion that justice requires the president to be elected by popular vote. Does the existence of The US Senate make us an unjust country?
Justice isn't a black/white concept, IMO. Some things are more or less just. IMO, the electoral college is a less just means of electing presidents than a national popular vote, including via the method suggested in this thread.
  #149  
Old 01-04-2018, 06:14 PM
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Justice isn't a black/white concept, IMO. Some things are more or less just. IMO, the electoral college is a less just means of electing presidents than a national popular vote, including via the method suggested in this thread.
Sure, Justice is not black and white. I can agree to that to some extent. Things are either just or unjust, but some injustices are greater than others. Why, though, is the popular vote for president more just than the current system? What informs your opinion?

Is a parliamentary system such as the UK's less just than a system like the US? In that system, citizens don't even cast a vote for the executive. The selection process is left to the legislative branch.
  #150  
Old 01-04-2018, 07:01 PM
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It's about strengthening and improving our democracy, John. That's a fundamental precept, not subject to explanation. If you haven't seen that by now, after all this discussion, is that due to something more than obstinate both-sides-ism?

Last edited by ElvisL1ves; 01-04-2018 at 07:02 PM.
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