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Old 10-02-2019, 02:04 PM
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Should elections be winnable by one vote in a million?


There has been criticism from different quarters of various mechanisms- the Electoral College being just one example- by which pure popular democracy is- thwarted? buffered? filtered?- and whether this is ultimately in violation of the people's rights. While I'm sure most would agree that a system requiring hypermajorities to undo the status quo, with gerrymandering to guarantee that that never happens, how far do we go in the opposite direction? Do we really want to see elections over vital issues decided by vanishingly tiny majorities? Would such a system even be workable?
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Old 10-02-2019, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Lumpy View Post
There has been criticism from different quarters of various mechanisms- the Electoral College being just one example- by which pure popular democracy is- thwarted? buffered? filtered?- and whether this is ultimately in violation of the people's rights. While I'm sure most would agree that a system requiring hypermajorities to undo the status quo, with gerrymandering to guarantee that that never happens, how far do we go in the opposite direction? Do we really want to see elections over vital issues decided by vanishingly tiny majorities? Would such a system even be workable?
Eventually you have to cut the cake.

Some issues are just that contentious, with that much support on both sides. If we have a voting system which even approaches fairness, those issues will be decided by narrow margins in the election because they have narrow margins in real life. The alternative is having voting systems which disregard the will of the people to some extent, or simply not even attempting to decide the contentious issues. Both solutions have problems, but trying to not decide things is usually worse than just getting it over with, and maybe reversing course by holding another vote later on.

That said, some issues shouldn't be decided by majority vote. Civil rights, for example, are not things which should come down to a simple majority vote, because a government's job is to protect minorities. This is why constitutions exist, and why it takes multiple supermajorities to change constitutions.
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Old 10-02-2019, 02:21 PM
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It would still be decided by a narrow margin. If you say one side must win by 60%, then that becomes the new winning margin - 59.999% vs. 60.000%.

And requiring a large majority would enable a minority, like Republicans, to stymie things even more successfully when a (D) is in power.
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Old 10-02-2019, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
It would still be decided by a narrow margin. If you say one side must win by 60%, then that becomes the new winning margin - 59.999% vs. 60.000%.

And requiring a large majority would enable a minority, like Republicans, to stymie things even more successfully when a (D) is in power.
I think that example above mistakes threshold for margin, since it adds up to 120%.

And yes, roadblock minorities are a problem in themselves, conceded in the OP.

Last edited by Lumpy; 10-02-2019 at 02:35 PM.
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Old 10-02-2019, 02:38 PM
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In several threads in the past, I've opined that the majorities required by the federal constitution- 2/3rd or 3/4s- were chosen because that is roughly the supermajority needed to win a civil war if the minority refuses to accept the results.
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Old 10-02-2019, 03:06 PM
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Yes. Swing vote situations will always be contentious, but that's true whether or not the margin is 51% or 50,001%. As in the Supreme Court, it does not matter whether the majority is of one in 9 or of one of a million.

What matters it that the agreed-upon voting rules are upheld and if they are perceived to be upheld - i.e. whether the vote is perceived to be fair. Votes that are perceived to be unfair will always be incredibly toxic and potentially lethal to faith in democratic institutions. Anything that damages people's faith in the vote is antisocial behaviour and profoundly corrosive to society.
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Old 10-03-2019, 11:23 AM
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One of the main problems with the Electoral College is that it makes this situation much more likely. In 2000, the election really was swung by a millionth of the population: That's a thing that happens with the EC.
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Old 10-06-2019, 02:46 PM
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Elections should only be decided by a vote greater than the margin of error in the election.

This is a point that was never made during Bush v. Gore - it wasn't that Bush won or Gore won. Neither won- the vote tallying was too imprecise to know for sure who got the most votes.
The election should have been redone as a run-off between the two candidates, dropping all the small fry off the ballot.
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Old 10-06-2019, 03:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lumpy View Post
There has been criticism from different quarters of various mechanisms- the Electoral College being just one example- by which pure popular democracy is- thwarted? buffered? filtered?- and whether this is ultimately in violation of the people's rights. While I'm sure most would agree that a system requiring hypermajorities to undo the status quo, with gerrymandering to guarantee that that never happens, how far do we go in the opposite direction? Do we really want to see elections over vital issues decided by vanishingly tiny majorities? Would such a system even be workable?
Well what was the founders' vision? What is appealing about that vision to the Rabid Reich? The feudalistic approach to representation. Affluent land holding white males alone would have representation. And yes of course, the electoral college is so that a real representative democratic system cannot arise. Same for "super delegates". That's how you set up a system in which the aristocracy can "legally" extract, redistribute and concentrate societal wealth as it has over the past half century.
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Old 10-07-2019, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Fentoine Lum View Post
Well what was the founders' vision? What is appealing about that vision to the Rabid Reich? The feudalistic approach to representation. Affluent land holding white males alone would have representation. And yes of course, the electoral college is so that a real representative democratic system cannot arise. Same for "super delegates". That's how you set up a system in which the aristocracy can "legally" extract, redistribute and concentrate societal wealth as it has over the past half century.
Quite a few people on this board continually bemoan the ignorance and bigotry of the great unwashed; and at the same time criticize systems that enhance the power of a ruling elite (often by claiming that it's the former who are stupid enough to empower the latter). So if populism and representative leadership both fail, exactly how do you propose that the "right" people get to decide how things are done?
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Old 10-07-2019, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by beowulff View Post
Elections should only be decided by a vote greater than the margin of error in the election.

This is a point that was never made during Bush v. Gore - it wasn't that Bush won or Gore won. Neither won- the vote tallying was too imprecise to know for sure who got the most votes.
The election should have been redone as a run-off between the two candidates, dropping all the small fry off the ballot.
What do you do if the runoff is still within the "margin of error"? Redo it again and again until you get one with a significant-enough victory that you feel it's outside the "margin of error"?
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Old 10-07-2019, 11:22 AM
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What do you do if the runoff is still within the "margin of error"? Redo it again and again until you get one with a significant-enough victory that you feel it's outside the "margin of error"?
Settle it with a coin toss.
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Old 10-07-2019, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Fentoine Lum View Post
Affluent land holding white males alone would have representation. And yes of course, the electoral college is so that a real representative democratic system cannot arise. Same for "super delegates".
Super delegates weren't created to empower affluent land-holding white men. They were created to avoid another Nixon-style landslide victory by nominating a candidate with little support among the general electorate. Not even Nixon supporters liked Nixon.

Last edited by Acsenray; 10-07-2019 at 11:28 AM.
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Old Today, 03:39 AM
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Settle it with a coin toss.
Or a shootout. The fatter, slower candidate loses, watering the tree of liberty.

The so-called Electoral College is not a Constitutional institution and does not meet and consult. It's a cynical mechanism that, among other things, values small-state voters over those in populous states. Delaware and Vermont residents are worth more than Texans or Floridians. A candidate could theoretically take the White House with 28% of the national vote. Tell me that's a good idea.

A 'winner' gains the most votes. In gerrymandered states, a party may win 45% of votes and take 55% of the seats. In 2016, HRC beat DJT by 3 million votes. The losers are installed. Tell me how well that works.

Should an election be decided by one vote in a million? In many races, that would call for a recount; and if confirmed then yes, the slimmest majority wins.
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Old Today, 08:39 AM
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In elections for an office, especially when the incumbent is not running, you may need to make a choice. If the vote is very very close ... well what can you do? Call it a tie, and say the town will have two elected dogcatchers now?

But when the vote is whether to keep a status quo or to change it — think Brexit — then hysteresis should be enforced, and a supermajority required. (Otherwise you could have the folly where, with voting 50.1%, then 49.9%, then 50.1% again, you oscillate back and forth, In and Out.)
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Old Today, 08:45 AM
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If elections aren't winnable by just one vote, why should I vote?

Either my candidate loses, in which case they would have still lost if I hadn't voted.

Or my candidate wins by more than one vote, in which case they still would have won if I hadn't voted.

Or they win by just one vote—but that isn't allowed.
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Old Today, 04:33 PM
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Because you’re part of a collective decision. By the same logic, why would you ever give to charity? It’s not like your few measly dollars are going to change the outcome of what the organization can accomplish.
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