Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #151  
Old 01-04-2018, 07:36 PM
iiandyiiii's Avatar
iiandyiiii is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 34,990
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
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.
I don't know enough about the parliamentary system to make that judgment.

But comparing the two possible systems in the US, it's very clear to me that ensuring every American has the exact same voting power and influence is more just than a system in which some Americans have significantly more or less voting power and influence than others. And I don't see any benefits in the electoral college system that make up for that glaring injustice.
__________________
My new novel Spindown
  #152  
Old 01-04-2018, 08:52 PM
septimus's Avatar
septimus is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: The Land of Smiles
Posts: 19,396
First of all Color me elitist or hypocritic, but I wanted Hillary to become President NOT because she got more votes than Trump but because she would put the country on a better saner path.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldGuy View Post
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.
Yes, if we want outrageous counterexamples we might start with FOUR candidates, with defectors throwing the election to the House but where the guy with the highest traditional EC count scored well in the Compact states, but their Compact puts him into 4th place. (The House picks from among the highest THREE candidates.)

But this far-fetched scenario is not what concerns me. I'm dismayed by the contrast between two scenarios, if the Compact is in effect:
(1) The R's win the pop, D's the traditional elec-col. R becomes President.
(2) The D's win the pop, R's the traditional elec-col. The R's defect or litigate and R becomes President.
Basically I expect the R's to win, under the Compact, if they win EITHER the pop vote or the traditional elec-college. (Interchange D and R if you prefer a counterfactual view of American politics.)
  #153  
Old 01-04-2018, 09:01 PM
John Mace's Avatar
John Mace is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: South Bay
Posts: 85,197
Quote:
Originally Posted by iiandyiiii View Post
I don't know enough about the parliamentary system to make that judgment.

But comparing the two possible systems in the US, it's very clear to me that ensuring every American has the exact same voting power and influence is more just than a system in which some Americans have significantly more or less voting power and influence than others. And I don't see any benefits in the electoral college system that make up for that glaring injustice.
That's a good angle that I hadn't thought of, but it would seem to me that it only means the parliamentary system might be unjust in a different way. Or, one can argue that if you voted for a minority party that ends up not being part of the government that gets formed, you get no vote at all towards picking the PM.

But primarily I'm interested in iiandyiiii's reasoning that straying from the popular vote puts you in less just territory. Is this always the case, or is there something about the presidency that makes it particularly prone to this problem.
  #154  
Old 01-04-2018, 09:55 PM
Dr. Strangelove's Avatar
Dr. Strangelove is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 7,813
Quote:
Originally Posted by OldGuy View Post
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.
Increased likelihood of matching the popular vote is not the objective. Having a popular vote is the objective.

Mismatched EC/popular results for close races actually the smallest problem in my mind. The more serious problem is that candidates can completely ignore huge swaths of the country. This is not theoretical stuff; it's what actually happens under the current system.

What does a candidate do with a state like Texas that's already secure, and then promises to match the popular vote? They still get ignored! Because flipping a vote in Florida is worth the same as flipping a vote in Texas as far as the popular vote is concerned, plus you get the benefit of the Florida EVs. So, just like today, candidates would spend all their time in Florida or wherever and no time in Texas, California, and New York. So that approach is entirely a net loss for anyone that tried it.

I don't support the popular vote because it's somehow more purely democratic. I support it because the EC is defective with respect to encouraging candidates to gather support from the whole US instead of a few key places.
  #155  
Old 01-04-2018, 10:41 PM
UltraVires is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Bridgeport, WV, US
Posts: 15,782
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Strangelove View Post
Increased likelihood of matching the popular vote is not the objective. Having a popular vote is the objective.

Mismatched EC/popular results for close races actually the smallest problem in my mind. The more serious problem is that candidates can completely ignore huge swaths of the country. This is not theoretical stuff; it's what actually happens under the current system.

What does a candidate do with a state like Texas that's already secure, and then promises to match the popular vote? They still get ignored! Because flipping a vote in Florida is worth the same as flipping a vote in Texas as far as the popular vote is concerned, plus you get the benefit of the Florida EVs. So, just like today, candidates would spend all their time in Florida or wherever and no time in Texas, California, and New York. So that approach is entirely a net loss for anyone that tried it.

I don't support the popular vote because it's somehow more purely democratic. I support it because the EC is defective with respect to encouraging candidates to gather support from the whole US instead of a few key places.
I'm not following this at all. The EC indeed encourages a candidate to get support from wide swaths of the country instead of just a few key places.

Take the 2000 election: Gore wins the national popular vote 48.5% to 48%. That's a coin flip. However, Bush wins 30 states to Gore's 20 states. That is significant and shows a wider and broader base of support.

You've seen the maps: Gore support was clustered in a few key areas whereas you could drive coast to coast while driving through all Bush counties.

Putting aside partisan politics, when the vote is close, isn't the broad base of support worth more? I could see the argument if you have a 60%-40% election where the 60% candidate loses. Then we could seriously talk about disenfranchisement. But when the election is razor thin, basically statistical noise, the broad base of support, IMHO, is an important factor to determine who should govern a large and diverse country.

Now, the 2016 election wasn't as close, but 2 to 3 percentage points is still very small. A national popular vote would forever disenfranchise over 30 states and the President would only represent the coastal urban areas. That is a recipe for disunion and dissatisfaction.
  #156  
Old 01-04-2018, 11:06 PM
Dr. Strangelove's Avatar
Dr. Strangelove is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 7,813
Quote:
Originally Posted by UltraVires View Post
You've seen the maps: Gore support was clustered in a few key areas whereas you could drive coast to coast while driving through all Bush counties.
An absurd metric. Who cares about the geographical distribution of votes? It's nonsense; like looking at who got the most votes from sea level voters vs. 5,000 feet.

Take a look at this map. It shows the number of campaign events in the 2016 election. You can see that the majority of the country--both rural and urban, red state and blue state--was ignored to a large degree. It's all about the swing states.

This is a proxy, of course--campaign events don't matter all that much by themselves. But they're a very good indication of where the candidates think they have the greatest influence. And that isn't California or Texas, despite their high population. A number of states got zero visits.

You say a popular vote would disenfranchise 30 states, but that's nonsense, because a vote in Wyoming is worth the same as one in California. A candidate will show up as long as there's some reasonable population density.

Only 12 states on that map got more than 3 visits. The remaining 38 states include both the top 3 most populated states and most of the least-populated states. That's what I call disenfranchisement.

What about the rural/urban divide, you say? Doesn't abandoning the EC mean candidates will ignore places with low population density? Yes, but no more than what's already the case. No one visited Podunk, Iowa with 10 people. They went to the cities.

Maybe you can explain what you mean by "broader base of support" without bringing geography or other bizarre metrics into play.
  #157  
Old 01-05-2018, 01:05 AM
Lord Feldon's Avatar
Lord Feldon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Central Ohio
Posts: 6,498
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Strangelove View Post
What about the rural/urban divide, you say? Doesn't abandoning the EC mean candidates will ignore places with low population density? Yes, but no more than what's already the case. No one visited Podunk, Iowa with 10 people. They went to the cities.
Unfortunately, a lot of opponents of the electoral college get caught up in this issue as well. I've heard from a lot of Democrats who think the reason Trump won the electoral college is that it's biased toward "small states." And it is, but that doesn't mean a lot in our current partisan divide. I'm pretty sure Donald Trump would have won even if every state had an exactly proportional number of electoral votes. In fact, Hillary Clinton may even have gotten a very tiny boost from the small state bias. She lost the aggregate popular vote of the ten smallest states by pretty big margin, but won their combined electoral votes by something like one vote. Whereas Trump lost the combined vote of the ten largest states but got a pretty massive percentage (75% or something like that) of their electoral votes.

The main absurdity of the system is the bloc voting used by 48 states and DC (which leads to a 50k vote margin in Florida being worth almost ten times a 50k vote margin in Wyoming). And that isn't actually in the Constitution, but all of the solutions that fix that but retain the EC are pretty imperfect as well, and it probably wouldn't be easier to fix either.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 01-05-2018 at 01:08 AM.
  #158  
Old 01-05-2018, 08:12 AM
ElvisL1ves is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: The land of the mouse
Posts: 50,109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Feldon View Post
the reason Trump won the electoral college is that it's biased toward "small states." And it is, but that doesn't mean a lot in our current partisan divide.
When every last EV counts, as it did once again in 2016, yes, it does mean a lot. When it results in overruling democracy, it means a hell of a lot.

The small-state issue is really a rural/urban issue, meaning rural people (stereotype them all you like) and their interests have outsized influence. That's nothing new; and hasn't been since that was understood at the Constitutional Convention to be the price of keeping the slave states in the Union. You even see that pattern in electoral maps today.

UltraVires: We have a government of/by/for We the People. Not dirt. Glad to help clear that up for ya.
  #159  
Old 01-05-2018, 08:14 AM
k9bfriender is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 11,270
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
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.
I do not consider the amendment process to be undemocratic. It is not undemocratic for it to require a supermajority in order to change the status quo, especially on something as fundamental as the constitution. So, by my "definition", that process is not 'not democratic'.

What I do consider undemocratic is when the minority is able to change the status quo. When the minority is able to pass legislation and make policies that the majority of the voters are against.

The current set up allows low population states along with gerrymandered districts to put into power people who will change things, even if they only represent a small minority of the voter's interests.

The senate was a compromise needed in order to get the smaller states on board, but at that time, the difference in state size was not nearly what it is today. That compromise is being more and more in the small states interest against that of the states where people live.

Personally, if I were Soros, rather than paying homeless people to go illegally vote in california and alabama, I'd be bussing them up to north dakota, south dakota, or minnesota, where the vote counts far more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Strangelove View Post
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.
I don't know the exact numbers, but I wouldn't be surprised if Ohio got most of the campaign visits. Seems they were here at least once a week throughout the campaign. I would not mind sharing the candidates with other states.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
That's a good angle that I hadn't thought of, but it would seem to me that it only means the parliamentary system might be unjust in a different way. Or, one can argue that if you voted for a minority party that ends up not being part of the government that gets formed, you get no vote at all towards picking the PM.

But primarily I'm interested in iiandyiiii's reasoning that straying from the popular vote puts you in less just territory. Is this always the case, or is there something about the presidency that makes it particularly prone to this problem.
Not iiandyiiii, but representing the interests of the majority of the voters is more just than ignoring the majority of voters in favor of the minority.
  #160  
Old 01-05-2018, 08:36 AM
John Mace's Avatar
John Mace is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: South Bay
Posts: 85,197
The Compact isn't exactly clear about what it means to "win" the popular vote. Does a plurality win, or does it have to be a clear majority? In the current system, if no candidate gets a majority of the EV vote, the election goes to the House. With the increased likelihood of faithless electors, I think this Compact will increase the probability of an election going to the House (if we can suspend all reality for a moment and pretend that this Compact could pass). As noted above, then each state gets an equal vote, with no weighting for population.

But what should happen with this Compact if the votes come out: 45% - 40% - 15%? Does the 45% candidate "win"?

Some of you are probably too young to remember, but it wasn't that long ago that we had a 43.4% - 42.7% - 13.5% election (1968). And let's not forget 1992, which was 43.0% - 37.4% - 18.9%.

Last edited by John Mace; 01-05-2018 at 08:39 AM.
  #161  
Old 01-05-2018, 08:39 AM
iiandyiiii's Avatar
iiandyiiii is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 34,990
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
That's a good angle that I hadn't thought of, but it would seem to me that it only means the parliamentary system might be unjust in a different way. Or, one can argue that if you voted for a minority party that ends up not being part of the government that gets formed, you get no vote at all towards picking the PM.

But primarily I'm interested in iiandyiiii's reasoning that straying from the popular vote puts you in less just territory. Is this always the case, or is there something about the presidency that makes it particularly prone to this problem.
I don't know if it's always the case -- maybe in a parliamentary system there are other factors that make up for this particular "less just" characteristic. For example: a hypothetical system in which everyone gets an equal vote, but the candidates must be a certain ethnicity and gender, would be less just IMO than a system in which everyone gets a vote, but the influence of each vote is based on factors like geography (like the EC) and not always equal, but candidates are not restricted by ethnicity or gender.

When I look at the EC and compare it to a hypothetical national popular vote system for the US, I don't see any benefits that make up for this less just characteristic. If I understand their reasoning correctly, the framers were concerned that without an EC, presidential candidates would ignore vast swaths of the country and only focus on high population areas. Modern politics and the EC has proven that presidential candidates still ignore vast swaths of the country, including many or most of the largest cities, and that strikes me as even worse than focusing on big cities at the expense of rural areas, which might occur with a national popular vote.
  #162  
Old 01-05-2018, 08:42 AM
k9bfriender is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 11,270
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
The Compact isn't exactly clear about what it means to "win" the popular vote. Does a plurality win, or does it have to be a clear majority? In the current system, if no candidate gets a majority of the EV vote, the election goes to the House. With the increased likelihood of faithless electors, I think this Compact will increase the probability of an election going to the House (if we can suspend all reality for a moment and pretend that this Compact could pass). As noted above, then each state gets an equal vote, with no weighting for population.

But what should happen with this Compact if the votes come out: 45% - 40% - 15%? Does the 45% candidate "win"?

Some of you are probably too young to remember, but it wasn't that long ago that we had a 43.4% - 42.7% - 13.5% election (1968). And let's not forget 1992, which was 43.0% - 37.4% - 18.9%.
I believe the compact would indicate the winner of the plurality, as it has been rare for a president to actually win a majority. Your examples are times when the vote was extra split by a more robust than usual third party, but most of the time, the winner still has less than 50%.
  #163  
Old 01-05-2018, 08:45 AM
ElvisL1ves is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: The land of the mouse
Posts: 50,109
It has to mean a plurality. How else are you going to have a winner?
  #164  
Old 01-05-2018, 09:25 AM
Falchion is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 1,120
Quote:
Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
I believe the compact would indicate the winner of the plurality, as it has been rare for a president to actually win a majority. Your examples are times when the vote was extra split by a more robust than usual third party, but most of the time, the winner still has less than 50%.
If this chart is right, a president has received a majority of the popular vote in 30 of the 49 elections since 1824. And in 18 of the 26 elections between 1916 and 2016. It's hardly "rare" (although, of course, the person elected president has had more people vote for someone else in 4 of the last 7 elections, so maybe it's becoming more common).
  #165  
Old 01-05-2018, 09:44 AM
septimus's Avatar
septimus is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: The Land of Smiles
Posts: 19,396
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElvisL1ves View Post
It has to mean a plurality. How else are you going to have a winner?
Yes. Note that in the only case that matters one side wins the pop vote, the other the traditional e.c. the election is very close and the vote winner will almost certainly NOT get a majority.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The present system favors campaigning in swing states and, for different reasons, in Iowa and New Hampshire specifically (both swing states). I view this as a feature not a bug. For one thing, it almost forces the D's to reach out to Middle America rather than focusing primarily on urban centers. And, by addressing voters in 50-50 regions, dialog is possible, in contrast to the echo chambers on the coasts or in the lopsidest states of Flyover land.
  #166  
Old 01-05-2018, 09:47 AM
k9bfriender is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 11,270
Quote:
Originally Posted by Falchion View Post
If this chart is right, a president has received a majority of the popular vote in 30 of the 49 elections since 1824. And in 18 of the 26 elections between 1916 and 2016. It's hardly "rare" (although, of course, the person elected president has had more people vote for someone else in 4 of the last 7 elections, so maybe it's becoming more common).
Thanks for the link, I was thinking that it was a bit more common than that. In my voting lifetime, Obama is the only president to win the initial election by a majority. (Of course, in my voting life, republicans have only initially won the presidency while losing the popular vote.)

An interesting note, if you sort by margin, then trump comes in right behind quincy adams and hayes on winning with the most popular vote against him.
  #167  
Old 01-05-2018, 03:43 PM
Bijou Drains is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 9,411
Iowa and New Hampshire are "middle America", I guess they may have up to a few dozen black folks.
  #168  
Old 01-05-2018, 03:50 PM
Dr. Strangelove's Avatar
Dr. Strangelove is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 7,813
Quote:
Originally Posted by septimus View Post
The present system favors campaigning in swing states and, for different reasons, in Iowa and New Hampshire specifically (both swing states). I view this as a feature not a bug. For one thing, it almost forces the D's to reach out to Middle America rather than focusing primarily on urban centers.
The second part of your statement doesn't follow at all from the first.

Being a swing state has nothing to do with Middle America or Flyover country or rural areas or anything else. Florida isn't Middle America. And Kansas definitely is.

Swing states got that way, essentially, by luck--just the right mix of demographic factors that led to a 50/50 split. Maybe the population is relatively red-leaning but there's a higher mix of cities. Maybe it's relatively blue-leaning but they had fewer cities. Whatever--it's sheer happenstance. It's like gerrymandering, except that the boundaries got locked in centuries ago and we're just stuck with the artificial boundaries.

Why was Colorado a swing state but not Kansas? It's not because the demographics are all that different. Colorado just happened to have a few factors that nudged it toward a split vote. Probably Boulder is a tad bigger than Wichita, relatively speaking. It doesn't matter. The factors are arbitrary and irrelevant for the people that live on the boundary, except that it meant people 100 feet to the West had their votes count and 100 feet to the East did not.

Focusing on swing states doesn't make "dialog possible"; on the contrary, it makes reasoned discussion of nationwide issues virtually impossible, by ignoring huge swaths of the population and focusing on a few randomly-selected locations and the local issues that come with them.
  #169  
Old 01-05-2018, 04:01 PM
enalzi is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 8,017
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
The Compact isn't exactly clear about what it means to "win" the popular vote.
Quote:
THE CHIEF ELECTION OFFICIAL OF EACH MEMBER STATE SHALL DESIGNATE THE PRESIDENTIAL SLATE WITH THE LARGEST NATIONAL POPULAR VOTE TOTAL AS THE "NATIONAL POPULAR VOTE WINNER."
Pretty clear to me.
  #170  
Old 01-05-2018, 04:31 PM
HurricaneDitka is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 13,983
Quote:
Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
Thanks for the link, I was thinking that it was a bit more common than that. In my voting lifetime, Obama is the only president to win the initial election by a majority. (Of course, in my voting life, republicans have only initially won the presidency while losing the popular vote.) ...
Why the emphasis on "initial" / "initially"? From my perspective, it looks like you're just trying really hard to exclude Bush's 3-million-vote victory over Kerry in 2004, but is there some other reason for the focus?

Last edited by HurricaneDitka; 01-05-2018 at 04:33 PM.
  #171  
Old 01-05-2018, 04:46 PM
k9bfriender is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 11,270
Quote:
Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
Why the emphasis on "initial" / "initially"? From my perspective, it looks like you're just trying really hard to exclude Bush's 3-million-vote victory over Kerry in 2004, but is there some other reason for the focus?
Because incumbency is a different beast than your first run. I may not have worder things as well as I liked, but my reasoning was to not count incumbency.
  #172  
Old 01-05-2018, 05:07 PM
John Mace's Avatar
John Mace is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: South Bay
Posts: 85,197
Quote:
Originally Posted by enalzi View Post
Pretty clear to me.
OK, thanks. I may have been relying too much on the wikipedia article linked to in the OP, and didn't see that in it.
  #173  
Old 01-05-2018, 05:10 PM
HurricaneDitka is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 13,983
Quote:
Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
Because incumbency is a different beast than your first run. I may not have worder things as well as I liked, but my reasoning was to not count incumbency.
Thanks, that's a reasonable answer. I appreciate the clarification.
  #174  
Old 01-05-2018, 05:50 PM
Lord Feldon's Avatar
Lord Feldon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Central Ohio
Posts: 6,498
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElvisL1ves View Post
When every last EV counts, as it did once again in 2016, yes, it does mean a lot. When it results in overruling democracy, it means a hell of a lot.
But that aspect of it didn't have much to do with the 2016 result. Every last electoral vote really didn't count in 2016. Trump ran up the score with tiny pluralities in a few large, heavily urban states. Hillary would have lost even if she'd won every single state with 3, 4, or 5 electoral votes.

It's bizarre that so many people on both sides want to believe that the opposite happened.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 01-05-2018 at 05:55 PM.
  #175  
Old 01-05-2018, 08:03 PM
RTFirefly is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Maryland
Posts: 39,255
Quote:
Originally Posted by septimus View Post
For one thing, it almost forces the D's to reach out to Middle America rather than focusing primarily on urban centers.
1) Wouldn't 'middle America' be the suburbs these days? Dems are doing a pretty good job connecting to the 'burbs.
2) What's so magic about reaching out to rural and small-town America, which is what I guess you really mean by 'middle America'? Dems don't exactly neglect their interests, but if their votes are already decided by God, guns, and gays, then all the 'reaching out' in the world won't do any good politically, short of sacrificing core values.
3) When do we get a system that 'almost forces the R's to reach out to urban America'?
  #176  
Old 01-05-2018, 08:13 PM
RTFirefly is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Maryland
Posts: 39,255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Strangelove View Post
Why was Colorado a swing state but not Kansas? It's not because the demographics are all that different. Colorado just happened to have a few factors that nudged it toward a split vote.
More of a balance between urban and rural/small town. Denver's a big city with major-league teams and such, plus there's the other Front Range cities. Wichita (Motto: "far from this opera forevermore" ) is much smaller, ditto the part of the KC area that's in Kansas. Most of the state is small town and rural.
  #177  
Old 01-05-2018, 09:04 PM
Dr. Strangelove's Avatar
Dr. Strangelove is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 7,813
Quote:
Originally Posted by RTFirefly View Post
More of a balance between urban and rural/small town.
Colorado has some larger cities, certainly. The state's population is also larger. Colorado's top 15 cities cover 50% of the population. How many in Kansas? Also 15.

The larger a city gets, the bluer it also tends to get. That's probably enough to tip the balance. But these are relatively small effects. If you throw out every other city in Colorado, the lists look pretty similar. Colorado has 11 cities with >100k people; Kansas has 5. Colorado has 26 cities with >25k people; Kansas has 16. Pretty much what you'd expect from a state with just under twice the population.

So there's no dramatic difference in urbanization, but a few big cities and some minor other differences are enough to tip the balance. It doesn't have to be much; a few percent is the difference between a swing state vs. not.

The differences between Colorado and Kansas are less than the differences between, say, the LA metro area and the CA Central Valley. And yet we pretend that CA is a homogeneous lump of liberals, Kansas is a homogeneous lump of conservatives, and Colorado is a purple state deserving of special attention.
  #178  
Old 01-05-2018, 10:31 PM
Dr. Strangelove's Avatar
Dr. Strangelove is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 7,813
Quote:
Originally Posted by UltraVires View Post
You've seen the maps: Gore support was clustered in a few key areas whereas you could drive coast to coast while driving through all Bush counties.
Wanted to mention another thing: this isn't even true in the first place. It only looks true on a binary red/blue map.

If you want a more representative picture, see this one of the 2016 election, or this one of 2008. Good luck finding a path coast to coast without hitting a purple county at the least.

Another thing of note: you can't really see states on the map. You just get the barest outline from the county boundaries. If it were smoothed out just a tad, you would have no idea which state is which. This is a really big hint that states are the wrong unit of quantization for deciding the election.
  #179  
Old 01-06-2018, 06:01 PM
That Don Guy's Avatar
That Don Guy is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 4,581
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
The Compact isn't exactly clear about what it means to "win" the popular vote. Does a plurality win, or does it have to be a clear majority?
Assuming the compact is the same in every state, it is quite clear. Here is how it appears in California's Election Code:
The chief election official of each member state shall designate the presidential slate with the largest national popular vote total as the “national popular vote winner.”
Plurality is specified. (BTW, in case of a tie, it works like it does now in 48 states - each state's electoral votes all go to the popular vote winner in that state.)

Last edited by That Don Guy; 01-06-2018 at 06:02 PM.
  #180  
Old 01-06-2018, 07:28 PM
RTFirefly is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Maryland
Posts: 39,255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Strangelove View Post
Colorado has some larger cities, certainly. The state's population is also larger. Colorado's top 15 cities cover 50% of the population. How many in Kansas? Also 15.

The larger a city gets, the bluer it also tends to get. That's probably enough to tip the balance. But these are relatively small effects. If you throw out every other city in Colorado, the lists look pretty similar. Colorado has 11 cities with >100k people; Kansas has 5. Colorado has 26 cities with >25k people; Kansas has 16. Pretty much what you'd expect from a state with just under twice the population.
Like you say, "the larger a city gets, the bluer it also tends to get." Which is important because you're ignoring the elephant in the room. "If you throw out every other city in Colorado," the only thing that will matter is, is one of those cities Denver?

Because the Denver MSA contains 2.6 million people, which is 47% of the state's population. Kansas has no cities of a million or more.

Below that, yeah, Kansas and Colorado look similar. But Kansas has no Denver, or anything remotely close.
  #181  
Old 01-06-2018, 09:24 PM
Dr. Strangelove's Avatar
Dr. Strangelove is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 7,813
Quote:
Originally Posted by RTFirefly View Post
Because the Denver MSA contains 2.6 million people, which is 47% of the state's population. Kansas has no cities of a million or more.
Counting the MSA is a bit of a cheat. 3 of the 10 counties went to Trump. The urban core, in Denver County, went 75-18 for Clinton. Go to neighboring Adams County and the results are already down to 49-42 Clinton. Head to Douglas and it's 55-37 Trump. Elbert--small but part of the Denver MSA--went 73-19 Trump.

So you don't even have to leave the MSA before it starts looking more like Kansas. It's really just the core that looks like a stereotypical coastal city.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RTFirefly View Post
Below that, yeah, Kansas and Colorado look similar. But Kansas has no Denver, or anything remotely close.
No--but if, due to an accident of history, the core of Kansas City was actually in Kansas, it would have been a much closer race. Probably not enough for a Hillary win
by itself, but close enough that it would be a swing state. The increased attention would make it even more "swingy".

My point is just the EC doesn't weight votes based on some notion of people in swing states being right in the center of the political spectrum or any similar notions. Instead it weights votes based on random and minor differences in urban/rural populations, and accidents of history such as which side of a border a particular city happened to fall on.

The residents of Coolidge, KS have a lot more in common with those of Holly, CO (just a few miles apart, across the state border) than they do with Kansas City, KS in the east. And that's evident based on their voting record. If Kansas City just happened to have a larger population, it wouldn't affect their situation at all beyond making their vote more relevant.
  #182  
Old 01-07-2018, 04:55 AM
RTFirefly is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Maryland
Posts: 39,255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Strangelove View Post
Counting the MSA is a bit of a cheat. 3 of the 10 counties went to Trump. The urban core, in Denver County, went 75-18 for Clinton. Go to neighboring Adams County and the results are already down to 49-42 Clinton. Head to Douglas and it's 55-37 Trump. Elbert--small but part of the Denver MSA--went 73-19 Trump.

So you don't even have to leave the MSA before it starts looking more like Kansas. It's really just the core that looks like a stereotypical coastal city.
First of all, MSAs give us an apples-to-apples comparison. MSAs are drawn by the Federal government (OMB, IIRC) rather than by localities.

Second, because of that, yes, the size of the MSA does make a difference. A big city is going to have an 'urban core' as you say, and rings of inner/older and newer/outer suburbs before you get outside the built-up area altogether. The outermost rings tilt Republican, but as you go in, the more they're Dem. In a smaller city, you don't really have much inner/outer suburb distinction, so you have to get all the way to that 'urban core' before you start getting Dem majorities; the suburbs are all red. But in a bigger urban area, there are lots of blue suburbs inside the outer ring of red exurbs.
Quote:
No--but if, due to an accident of history, the core of Kansas City was actually in Kansas, it would have been a much closer race.
Sure, if you moved the core of KC to Kansas, you'd move a heavily Dem area from MO to KS and it would make KS less red.

And as the saying goes, if my aunt had testicles, she'd be my uncle.
  #183  
Old 01-07-2018, 05:42 AM
John Mace's Avatar
John Mace is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: South Bay
Posts: 85,197
Quote:
Originally Posted by RTFirefly View Post
And as the saying goes, if my aunt had testicles, she'd be my uncle.
I don't think we can say that anymore.
  #184  
Old 01-07-2018, 05:49 AM
Dr. Strangelove's Avatar
Dr. Strangelove is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 7,813
Quote:
Originally Posted by RTFirefly View Post
First of all, MSAs give us an apples-to-apples comparison. MSAs are drawn by the Federal government (OMB, IIRC) rather than by localities.
I'm not sure what relevance that has. It's a boundary drawn for statistical purposes. It doesn't tell you anything about the "feel" of an area with regards to its politics. Some MSAs cover multiple states, making them (in general) not that useful for talking about EC politics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RTFirefly View Post
And as the saying goes, if my aunt had testicles, she'd be my uncle.
Let me try again since I guess my point wasn't clear.

Imagine you had two hypothetical neighboring states, both virtually identical. They each have a dense blue city near the common border and outlying rural red areas. They are both well balanced between the two, and so are both swing states--candidates show up and pay attention to their local issues because those electoral votes are in play.

Compare against the same two states, except that the boundary is a little different and both big cities ended up in one state. Now, neither is a swing state. The one with two big cities is heavily blue-biased, and the other red-biased. Candidates don't show up because they have no hope of swinging it that far. They don't pay attention to any local issues for the same reason.

As far as the people are concerned, there's no difference between these two situations. They live in the same place, they have the same concerns, the same neighbors, the same jobs. But a meaningless line on a map changed their vote from counting to being irrelevant.

In what universe does this state of affairs remotely makes sense? This was a hypothetical, but the same kinds of factors (and many more) play out when we look at the spectrum of states and what makes them swing vs. not. They're all meaningless.

I've been talking about "weighting", but really that's a euphemism to maintain some neutrality. What we're really talking about is throwing away the vote for most of the country... for reasons. Already, I think this is immoral. But if we're going to do it, we should at least have good reasons. septimus is wrong that there is something special about 50/50 regions, because the people that live there are the same as elsewhere, just in slightly different proportions. This shouldn't be the basis for throwing away a vote.
  #185  
Old 01-07-2018, 06:37 AM
septimus's Avatar
septimus is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: The Land of Smiles
Posts: 19,396
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Strangelove View Post
Compare against the same two states, except that the boundary is a little different and both big cities ended up in one state....
In the U.S.A. we already elect Councilmen, Mayors, Supervisors, State Legislators, Judges, Governors, other state Officials, Representatives and U.S. Senators.

The idea that Kansans have to hear, in Kansas, a Presidential candidate weigh in on issues specific to Kansas is insulting to the voters of Kansas, most of whom already have access to TVs and Internet.

A major complaint about campaigns is that candidates tailor their spiel separately for each of seven swing states. Would having fifty versions of the spiel be an improvement? Is this really the key missing ingredient that has eroded our national politics??
  #186  
Old 01-07-2018, 08:26 AM
Johnny Ace is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 5,064
This entire thread is a waste of time. 17 small states that don't want to give up electoral power is an obstacle you'll never get across. End of story.

And for Firefly, the original saying is "Balls, said the Queen. If I had 'em, I'd be King."

Last edited by Johnny Ace; 01-07-2018 at 08:26 AM.
  #187  
Old 01-07-2018, 10:29 AM
doorhinge is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 9,390
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Ace View Post
This entire thread is a waste of time. 17 small states that don't want to give up electoral power is an obstacle you'll never get across. End of story.
(post shortened)

Isn't that why the internet was invented? Anything can, and will be, discussed. The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact could be described as a large number of lawsuits just waiting to happen. Everyone was sooooo happy with the judicial rulings which decided several of the last few Presidential elections that they're now willing to turn over yet another Presidential election's outcome to the rulings of as many as 5o state courts, plus the Supremes.

The Supremes will be asked to decide, among other thing, if Article I Section 10 applies to this particular issue.
State courts will be asked to decide if the NPVIC is legal/constitutional according to their state law, and constitution.
State courts may even be asked to decide why a state election official refuses to abide by the NPVIC.

What could possible go wrong?
  #188  
Old 01-07-2018, 02:49 PM
Dr. Strangelove's Avatar
Dr. Strangelove is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 7,813
Quote:
Originally Posted by septimus View Post
The idea that Kansans have to hear, in Kansas, a Presidential candidate weigh in on issues specific to Kansas is insulting to the voters of Kansas, most of whom already have access to TVs and Internet.
You're almost there. Now ask why it's been so hard to restore trade relations to Cuba. It's so obviously in the interests of almost everyone that it should have happened a long time ago.

Why this hasn't happened is obvious. Florida is the swingiest of swing states, and contains angry Cuban expats. They get bought off by maintaining cold relations. Why should their bitterness get expanded to national policy that's a net loss to basically everyone else? And to go back to your original point, isn't it insulting to Floridians (and everyone) that Presidential candidates have to take a position contrary to the national interest just to win a few thousand votes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by septimus View Post
A major complaint about campaigns is that candidates tailor their spiel separately for each of seven swing states. Would having fifty versions of the spiel be an improvement?
Sure, why not? If presidents are making promises to individual states, then they should at least spread them out proportionally.

More importantly, though, it gets harder to maintain the spiel when pitted against the entire rest of the country. You can't promise everything to everyone; well, you can try, but eventually budgets or other constraints force your hand.

Earlier I made a comparison to gerrymandering, but I just realized it's actually almost exactly the same thing. Instead of moving physical boundaries around into convoluted shapes, though, it's the political landscape that's distorted. Why can Republicans subsidize Iowa corn farmers via ethanol? Doesn't that piss off California farmers, since they aren't getting that Federal gravy? Of course it does--but they can afford to lose those votes. They've gerrymandered things just as effectively as by physically moving the border.
  #189  
Old 01-07-2018, 03:28 PM
ElvisL1ves is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: The land of the mouse
Posts: 50,109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Ace View Post
This entire thread is a waste of time. 17 small states that don't want to give up electoral power is an obstacle you'll never get across. End of story.
The Compact gets around that by taking effect when it gets to 273 EV's, not all 535. So, no.
  #190  
Old 01-07-2018, 09:25 PM
septimus's Avatar
septimus is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: The Land of Smiles
Posts: 19,396
Some in the thread are arguing in favor of popular election of President. I am NOT opposed to that (although I don't think it's as important an improvement as some do). Put a Constitutional Amendment on the ballot and I'll vote 'Aye' though, as others point out, it won't pass.

What I do oppose, is the NPVIC. In any given election, with the NPVIC we'll either see the same result (possibly with the assistance of defecting electors) as we'd have without NPVIC or some sort of litigation disaster. The NPVIC does NOT turn the election over to the "people." It turns it over to the lawyers.

I am shocked that so many legislators and intelligent Dopers support this abomination. Are legislators in the pocket of Big Litig? But why don't Dopers see the light?

Quote:
Originally Posted by doorhinge View Post
... The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact could be described as a large number of lawsuits just waiting to happen. Everyone was sooooo happy with the judicial rulings which decided several of the last few Presidential elections that they're now willing to turn over yet another Presidential election's outcome to the rulings of as many as 5o state courts, plus the Supremes.

The Supremes will be asked to decide, among other thing, if Article I Section 10 applies to this particular issue.
State courts will be asked to decide if the NPVIC is legal/constitutional according to their state law, and constitution.
State courts may even be asked to decide why a state election official refuses to abide by the NPVIC.

What could possible go wrong?
doorhinge and I agree on something? That's a first! Maybe we're on to something.
  #191  
Old 01-07-2018, 10:34 PM
Johnny Ace is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 5,064
Quote:
Originally Posted by septimus View Post
doorhinge and I agree on something? That's a first! Maybe we're on to something.
Naah, even a stopped clock is right twice a day (or once a day if it's digital).
  #192  
Old 01-08-2018, 04:28 AM
iiandyiiii's Avatar
iiandyiiii is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 34,990
Quote:
Originally Posted by septimus View Post
Some in the thread are arguing in favor of popular election of President. I am NOT opposed to that (although I don't think it's as important an improvement as some do). Put a Constitutional Amendment on the ballot and I'll vote 'Aye' — though, as others point out, it won't pass.

What I do oppose, is the NPVIC. In any given election, with the NPVIC we'll either see the same result (possibly with the assistance of defecting electors) as we'd have without NPVIC or some sort of litigation disaster. The NPVIC does NOT turn the election over to the "people." It turns it over to the lawyers.

I am shocked that so many legislators and intelligent Dopers support this abomination. Are legislators in the pocket of Big Litig? But why don't Dopers see the light?



doorhinge and I agree on something? That's a first! Maybe we're on to something.
Because, IMO, the electoral college is so shitty and unjust that this weird proposal is still less bad.
__________________
My new novel Spindown
  #193  
Old 01-08-2018, 07:34 AM
ElvisL1ves is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: The land of the mouse
Posts: 50,109
Quote:
Originally Posted by septimus View Post
[B]The NPVIC does NOT turn the election over to the "people." It turns it over to the lawyers.
Unlike, say, 2000? That, and 2004, would NOT have happened with the NPVIC. Nor would we have the current disaster.

Quote:
But why don't Dopers see the light?
Maybe the problem isn't with everyone else, yanno.
  #194  
Old 01-08-2018, 08:19 AM
John Mace's Avatar
John Mace is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: South Bay
Posts: 85,197
Had this Compact been in effect in 2000, the election would most certainly have still been decided by the SCOTUS. And then we'd be back to the same system we have in 2004 with Bush as president.
  #195  
Old 01-08-2018, 08:27 AM
ElvisL1ves is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: The land of the mouse
Posts: 50,109
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
Had this Compact been in effect in 2000, the election would most certainly have still been decided by the SCOTUS.
It's about time somebody making that sort of statement describe how it would happen. Who would sue whom, and on what basis and with what standing?

No more handwaving, please.
  #196  
Old 01-08-2018, 08:38 AM
Lord Feldon's Avatar
Lord Feldon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Central Ohio
Posts: 6,498
I'm pretty wary of doing this as separate state laws. Whether it turns into a major court battle or not, the laws will still be at risk of being repealed by any future legislature.

My understanding is that actual compacts, approved by Congress, are both supreme federal laws and binding contracts, neither of which can be overturned unilaterally by a state legislature (unless the compact says so). They are, in some ways, almost like opt-in constitutional amendments, because unlike pretty much any other law, they're binding against future legislatures.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 01-08-2018 at 08:39 AM.
  #197  
Old 01-08-2018, 08:46 AM
ElvisL1ves is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: The land of the mouse
Posts: 50,109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Feldon View Post
Whether it turns into a major court battle or not, the laws will still be at risk of being repealed by any future legislature.
If the total EV count drops below 50% of the EC, then we're merely back where we are now.
  #198  
Old 01-08-2018, 08:54 AM
Captain Amazing is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Posts: 25,138
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElvisL1ves View Post
It's about time somebody making that sort of statement describe how it would happen. Who would sue whom, and on what basis and with what standing?

No more handwaving, please.
I'd assume that either Bush, or more likely, a Bush elector-delegate in, say, Florida (because for the compact to have passed and be relevant, it would need to include states Nush had won) would sue, on the grounds that the National Vote Compact is unconstitutional, and that the state requiring electors to vote for Gore is undemocratic and goes against the will of the people of Florida, who voted for Bush.
__________________
If you will it, it is no dream.
  #199  
Old 01-08-2018, 08:57 AM
John Mace's Avatar
John Mace is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: South Bay
Posts: 85,197
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElvisL1ves View Post
It's about time somebody making that sort of statement describe how it would happen. Who would sue whom, and on what basis and with what standing?

No more handwaving, please.
This was all covered on page one of this thread. I was, in fact, the one who asked the question about standing (post #5). Would you like us to repeat it for you?

Last edited by John Mace; 01-08-2018 at 08:58 AM.
  #200  
Old 01-08-2018, 08:58 AM
ElvisL1ves is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: The land of the mouse
Posts: 50,109
This was all handwaved early on, including by you. Nothing substantive, however.
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 01:07 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.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.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017