View Poll Results: What, if anything, should be done with the U.S. Electoral College?
Nothing. Don't touch it. Leave it alone. 45 31.47%
Change it. Eliminate winner-take-all. Have the electoral votes in each state parceled out according to the percentage of popular vote the candidates receive. 17 11.89%
Abolish it. It's an anachronism from the 18th century that doesn't reflect how presidential elections have changed since 1788. 81 56.64%
Voters: 143. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 10-22-2018, 05:11 PM
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The U.S. Electoral College - What Should Be Done?


Do you think it malfunctioned in 2000 and 2016? Should we do something about? If so, what?
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Old 10-22-2018, 05:20 PM
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We should amend the Constitution to replace the electoral college with majority voting (and perhaps ranked-choice voting as well). That's extremely unlikely to happen, but it's what we should do, IMO. A more likely (but still unlikely) possibility is the interstate majority vote compact.

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 10-22-2018 at 05:21 PM.
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Old 10-22-2018, 05:25 PM
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If I have to choose between tyranny by the majority and tyranny by the minority, I'll take tyranny by the majority every time.
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Old 10-22-2018, 06:24 PM
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We should amend the Constitution to replace the electoral college with majority voting (and perhaps ranked-choice voting as well). That's extremely unlikely to happen, but it's what we should do, IMO. A more likely (but still unlikely) possibility is the interstate majority vote compact.
I wouldn’t do the majority portion but I am in favor of ranked choice voting.
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Old 10-22-2018, 07:08 PM
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If we change anything about the EC, the very first step has to be eliminating faithless electors. I'm okay with state-by-state contests and having a kind of 'point' system for each contest, but the faithless elector is dangerous in this day and age.
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Old 10-22-2018, 07:13 PM
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Totally abolish it - it made sense when the states were genuinely sovereign entities seeking to deal with other sovereign entities as equals. Since the original thirteen, and, I suppose, Texas, none of the other states were ever sovereign (OK, Hawaii was, but it was annexed as territory well before becoming a state)...they were chunks of territory already controlled by the Federal Government granted statehood as an administrative unit.
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Old 10-22-2018, 08:00 PM
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In order to eliminate the Electoral Collage you must first invent another way to combine the vote totals of all the states. The federal government was never given the power to hold nation elections. States rights still exist. Individual states decide how their Presidential vote totals will be divvied up. You'll need provide the federal government with the power to hold national elections, and provide a way for the federal government to fund, and count, those elections.
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Old 10-22-2018, 08:28 PM
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In order to eliminate the Electoral Collage you must first invent another way to combine the vote totals of all the states. The federal government was never given the power to hold nation elections. States rights still exist. Individual states decide how their Presidential vote totals will be divvied up. You'll need provide the federal government with the power to hold national elections, and provide a way for the federal government to fund, and count, those elections.
So in order to do something different, another system must be set up. Fascinating.

I agree with asahi that eliminating faithless voters is the easiest and best way to fix the system you got.

I also disagree with the common wisdom around here that a popular vote is obviously better. I think there's value in weighting smaller population states a bit heavier power to give a more "cross country" opinion. But if you are going to get rid of that, I can't imagine why a first past the post popular vote is morally best. You need ranking or a runoff at minimum.

Last edited by CarnalK; 10-22-2018 at 08:29 PM.
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Old 10-22-2018, 08:34 PM
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The easy fix for the electoral college would be to repeal the Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929. Let the house actually represent the populous and we don't need to go back to one rep per 30,000 but the least populous state getting one and then everyone else gets a multiple rounded down. That will help congress work better and will change the votes per state in the electoral college without eliminating a finger on the scale to help low population states.
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Old 10-22-2018, 09:22 PM
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So in order to do something different, another system must be set up. Fascinating.
(post shortened)

Perhaps you prefer to dismantle the existing system before you find a wildly popular replacement system. Your choice.

Either way, the people demanding that the Electoral College be changed/altered/abandoned do not have the votes to change the states, or the federal government.

The bottom line is that the Electoral College is here to stay. But that shouldn't prevent people from fantasizing.
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Old 10-22-2018, 10:05 PM
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(post shortened)
(post shortened)
If you had not shortened my post, you might have noticed I didn't advocate losing the Electoral College.
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Old 10-22-2018, 10:16 PM
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I'm fine with it staying.

Also, given that the interior states will never ratify it's abolishment, rather pointless to talk about. Not in my lifetime or anyone I know.

Dems need to run like the EC counts above all, because it does. Not what you'd like it to be. Hillary didn't and paid the price.
  #13  
Old 10-23-2018, 01:08 AM
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Abolish it. Its whole purpose is obsolete. It was a workaround for the uneven suffrage of the 18th century. You couldn't have a national election (or, rather, you could but a bunch of states wouldn't have signed on) when you had some states where a lot of white men could vote and other states where only the very rich white men could vote. Voting rights are still not perfect, but even in the worst states for voting rights it's still very close to universal suffrage.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 10-23-2018 at 01:12 AM.
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Old 10-23-2018, 01:14 AM
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The easy fix for the electoral college would be to repeal the Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929. Let the house actually represent the populous and we don't need to go back to one rep per 30,000 but the least populous state getting one and then everyone else gets a multiple rounded down. That will help congress work better and will change the votes per state in the electoral college without eliminating a finger on the scale to help low population states.
This wouldn't affect the electoral college much at all, at least not in the current partisan divide. Even if you had a million seats in the House (i.e., imagine if it was exactly proportional), I don't know that any recent electoral college outcomes would have been changed much at all.

People focus on Wyoming getting more votes per capita than California, but the most distorting aspect is actually that a few thousand marginal voters in large and closely-divided states like Pennsylvania can throw around huge numbers of votes.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 10-23-2018 at 01:19 AM.
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Old 10-23-2018, 07:36 AM
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Yes, doorhinge, of course it would take a constitutional amendment to eliminate the Electoral College (and put a new system in place at the same time), and of course there's no chance at all of such an amendment passing in the current climate. We all know that. This thread is about what should be done, not what can be done.

Quote:
Quoth CarnalK:

I also disagree with the common wisdom around here that a popular vote is obviously better. I think there's value in weighting smaller population states a bit heavier power to give a more "cross country" opinion.
If you want a "cross country" opinion, the absolute best you can do is to weigh all votes equally. Giving some states disproportionate power just because they're small can only decrease the cross-countriness, not increase it.
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Old 10-23-2018, 07:37 AM
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basic problem is in 1700s they did not anticipate that now we have one state (CA) with 40 million people while a few other states have only 500k people. So it needs to be modified to make it more balanced out . The odds of that happening any time soon are basically zero.
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Old 10-23-2018, 07:48 AM
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People focus on Wyoming getting more votes per capita than California, but the most distorting aspect is actually that a few thousand marginal voters in large and closely-divided states like Pennsylvania can throw around huge numbers of votes.
This made me wonder which states threw their weight around the most efficiently. So, it turns out, the most powerful state in 2016 was Michigan (where 10,000 marginal votes were worth 16 electoral votes), closely followed by New Hampshire (where 2,700 marginal votes were worth 4 electoral votes).

The big losers were the people of Nebraska's third district, who voted by a margin of 146,367 votes to give one whole vote to Donald Trump.)

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 10-23-2018 at 07:52 AM.
  #18  
Old 10-23-2018, 07:58 AM
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This wouldn't affect the electoral college much at all, at least not in the current partisan divide. Even if you had a million seats in the House (i.e., imagine if it was exactly proportional), I don't know that any recent electoral college outcomes would have been changed much at all.

People focus on Wyoming getting more votes per capita than California, but the most distorting aspect is actually that a few thousand marginal voters in large and closely-divided states like Pennsylvania can throw around huge numbers of votes.
Any system you choose with a huge population that is closely divided will have big swings my proposal can he done with out changing the constitution so its actually a real solution and for instance would give California an additional 13 votes. This makes the popular vote more important so we have less elections where someone loses the popular vote but wins the presidency. Its already very rare and this would make it more so.

Suggestions that must convince people large swaths of people to give up their power to you may feel good but they accomplish nothing since they can never be used. On the other hand a veto proof majority in both houses are all that's needed especially when the vote can be framed as being more true to the constitution is actually possible in the next decade and would accomplish most of the goal.
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Old 10-23-2018, 08:00 AM
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This makes the popular vote more important so we have less elections where someone loses the popular vote but wins the presidency. Its already very rare and this would make it more so.
Do you have calculations to back this up? I know it would not have changed 2016.

The way to make the electoral college work, if you really want to keep it, is to require states to allocate their electoral votes proportionally (not gerrymandered, but actually proportionally). The malapportionment aspect is very minor compared to the whopping huge problem of Michigan and Pennsylvania and Florida and their ilk giving out huge tranches of votes based on tiny margins.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 10-23-2018 at 08:05 AM.
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Old 10-23-2018, 08:32 AM
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basic problem is in 1700s they did not anticipate that now we have one state (CA) with 40 million people while a few other states have only 500k people. So it needs to be modified to make it more balanced out . The odds of that happening any time soon are basically zero.
Actually, that is exactly the scenario the FF's envisioned. Since they were creating the Unites States of America, and not the Single Entity of America (SEA - pretty cool name, actually) they instituted the Electoral College to give smaller states a voice in the federal government. Smaller states did not then and do not now want a handful of large states making all the decisions for the country as a whole.

What those who wish for majority rule envision is an all powerful Federal government with weak states, the FF's envisioned the exact opposite. FWIW, I tend to side with the FF vision.
  #21  
Old 10-23-2018, 08:37 AM
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Smaller states did not then and do not now want a handful of large states making all the decisions for the country as a whole.
That's how the electoral college works, though. The president is whoever wins the bigger chunk of votes from the small number of large and close states.

Here is a map of ad spending in the 2012 election. It shows...a handful of (mostly) large states making all the decisions for the country as a whole. The way to empower the small states is to let them vote in the same election as the voters in Florida and Ohio.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 10-23-2018 at 08:40 AM.
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Old 10-23-2018, 09:29 AM
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We would need to be very careful. One argument against is the 2000 election. So close nationwide, ultra close in one state. At least the EC confined the recount mess to FL. Can you imagine the chaos if we'd had straight popular vote then. D's and R's would still be looking for the hundred odd votes here or there. (I exaggerate for effect, but probably only slightly.) I'd favor keeping the EC, getting rid of the two "extra" votes every state gets (would have changed 2000, but not 2016) and making the EC votes proportionally allocated.

Maybe after 200+ years it's also time to look at state boundaries. Maybe force Wyoming to combine with one or more of its neighbors while busting up CA. Or as Bill Maher has said: "Why do we need two Dakotas?"
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Old 10-23-2018, 09:30 AM
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Smaller states did not then and do not now want a handful of large states making all the decisions for the country as a whole.
So, instead we have smaller states making all of the decisions for the country as a whole. How is that "better", especially for the people in the larger states?
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Old 10-23-2018, 09:34 AM
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basic problem is in 1700s they did not anticipate that now we have one state (CA) with 40 million people while a few other states have only 500k people. So it needs to be modified to make it more balanced out . The odds of that happening any time soon are basically zero.
Population records aren't all that great as you go far back in time, but if you look at the electoral college map from the 1820 election, the spread isn't quite as wide as it is today, but it's still really wide. And the relative spread in population between the largest and smallest state wasn't all that different either.

I think they had a pretty good idea of what they were doing.
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Old 10-23-2018, 09:43 AM
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Quoth E-DUB:

We would need to be very careful. One argument against is the 2000 election. So close nationwide, ultra close in one state. At least the EC confined the recount mess to FL. Can you imagine the chaos if we'd had straight popular vote then.
The exact opposite is true. Far from confining the recount mess to Florida, the EC turned the Florida mess into a mess for the entire country. And while it's theoretically possible that a popular vote would produce a result as razor-thin as the 2000 Florida result, it's far less likely, enough so that even though the resulting mess would be larger, the expected amount of mess is still significantly less.

Incidentally, you may have heard mathematical arguments in favor of the electoral college, saying that it gives everyone more power. Those arguments are based on a peculiar definition of "power", and what they really mean by "more power" is that debacles like FL 2000 are more likely.
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Old 10-23-2018, 10:12 AM
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BTW are there any states that have a house or senate where every county has an equal number of people representing that county? I know that is not true here in NC.
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Old 10-23-2018, 10:14 AM
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In order to eliminate the Electoral Collage you must first invent another way to combine the vote totals of all the states.
I'm pretty sure that some genius already invented the arcane process known as "addition". Admittedly, it might take a supercomputer or something to apply the process to fifty-some input numbers, but I'm sure the top men will figure it out.
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Old 10-23-2018, 10:36 AM
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Here's the problem with calls to reform the way we choose a President:

The only "problem" with have with the current system is that, occasionally, it doesn't do what some people want it to do.

But that's not a real "problem"; that simply a disappointment on the part of a certain segment of the population.

If you want to make cogent arguments against the system, I suggest pointing not to 2000, or to 2016, but to 1876. That election had a huge negative effect upon the country as a whole, and showed exactly how the system might manage to screw up entirely. But the trouble with using 1876 as a point in favor of revamp is that nothing like that has ever happened since. So it may simply be a one-off, not worthy of "fixing".

As for 2000 and 2016, the only people who don't like that result are the people who's party lost those races: Democrats. And not even all Democrats are convinced from the result that the EC is a bad idea. After all, the Democratic Party used the EC to its advantage through much of the 20th Century, having started with a consolidated bloc of votes from southern states, thus narrowing the contest for them to win. Under the circumstances, I'm not impressed with the arguments in favor of changing the system, as they are merely the grumblings of sore losers, IMO.
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Old 10-23-2018, 10:45 AM
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So the other two elections when the popular vote was thwarted by the EC were also close together, 1876&1888. Does anyone know if there was any meaningful calls for abolishing the Electoral College back then?

Last edited by CarnalK; 10-23-2018 at 10:48 AM.
  #30  
Old 10-23-2018, 11:12 AM
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Here's the problem with calls to reform the way we choose a President:

The only "problem" with have with the current system is that, occasionally, it doesn't do what some people want it to do.
By some, you of course, mean the plurality of voters.
Quote:
But that's not a real "problem"; that simply a disappointment on the part of a certain segment of the population.
Yes, the larger part.
Quote:
If you want to make cogent arguments against the system, I suggest pointing not to 2000, or to 2016, but to 1876. That election had a huge negative effect upon the country as a whole, and showed exactly how the system might manage to screw up entirely. But the trouble with using 1876 as a point in favor of revamp is that nothing like that has ever happened since. So it may simply be a one-off, not worthy of "fixing".

As for 2000 and 2016, the only people who don't like that result are the people who's party lost those races: Democrats. And not even all Democrats are convinced from the result that the EC is a bad idea. After all, the Democratic Party used the EC to its advantage through much of the 20th Century, having started with a consolidated bloc of votes from southern states, thus narrowing the contest for them to win. Under the circumstances, I'm not impressed with the arguments in favor of changing the system, as they are merely the grumblings of sore losers, IMO.
How has the Democratic party used the EC to its advantage? Please name one election in the 20th century what the democratic president got a smaller number of votes, and yet won the presidency.

The EC was put into place because the FF didn't trust the people not to be fooled by a populist demagogue. They were the final check, a check that was constitutionally protected to not be necessarily democratic. They are elected by the people to make that judgment, not to blindly cast their vote.

Their specific job is to prevent someone like Trump for ascending to the highest position in the nation. If they had carried out that function, if they had skipped over Trump for Pence, or any another republican, then they would have justified their job, and they would have justified the handful of upsets that their presence has created.

As they did not do their job in protecting the office of the presidency from a populist demagogue, they have no function other than to be manipulated by whatever politics manage to swing some state or another.

The EC doesn't give power to small states, it only gives power to swing states. You pretty much have 5 states, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, and mostly the first two, that actually have any power.

How does that help Iowa or North Dakota get represented?

Last edited by k9bfriender; 10-23-2018 at 11:17 AM.
  #31  
Old 10-23-2018, 11:21 AM
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I say make it proportional to popular vote. That way if a state has 3EVs, then the winner (unless he/she exceeds 2/3 of the vote) would always get 2 votes and the loser 1 vote. Then Republicans can't count on Alaska, Montana, the Dakotas, etc. as easy 3 EVs each.
  #32  
Old 10-23-2018, 11:30 AM
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By some, you of course, mean the plurality of voters.
For real. It's like some people don't understand the entire underpinnings of a democratic republic.

Yeah, when you lose an election, you get upset. Duh. But when you lose an election even though you're in the majority, that's an extra reason to be upset.

We haven't welcomed a Republican into the White House via winning the majority in thirty years: the only two that won, won through a trick of the electoral college. It's moving us away from being a democratic republic, in which the people get to choose their own government.

Coupled with the optimized mathematics of computerized gerrymandering, we're moving farther and farther into a system more akin to a third-world country in which an ethnic minority (or, in our case, political minority) rules over the larger, unwilling populace.

No wonder politics are getting so angry.
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Old 10-23-2018, 11:33 AM
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The present problem with EC is that some states are so clearly decided even before the candidates have been chosen that those which are mid-level and swing-ey are the real contests. California, Texas and NY are basically non-entities in elections. It's an artifact of the two-party system and the political divisions. If these three big state came into play, then 10,000 people in one small state wouldn't change results.
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Old 10-23-2018, 11:36 AM
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We haven't welcomed a Republican into the White House via winning the majority in thirty years: the only two that won, won through a trick of the electoral college. It's moving us away from being a democratic republic, in which the people get to choose their own government.
Bill Clinton didn't win a majority in either of his elections either.

Last edited by CarnalK; 10-23-2018 at 11:38 AM.
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Old 10-23-2018, 11:46 AM
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Bill Clinton didn't win a majority in either of his elections either.
Did he get more or less votes than his opponent?

If he got less than his opponent, then you have discovered not only the hypocrisy of the liberals, but also a fact that historians have been overlooking for decades. You could win a Pulitzer.

If he got more than his opponent, then, at best, you win a prize for pointing out the pedantic and irrelevant..

Last edited by k9bfriender; 10-23-2018 at 11:47 AM.
  #36  
Old 10-23-2018, 11:52 AM
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Or you win a prize for championing "first past the post" with such spirit. The word used was "majority". It's not pendantic to point out Clinton didn't garner a majority. Especially when in a French style popular vote system, he probably would have lost.

Last edited by CarnalK; 10-23-2018 at 11:56 AM.
  #37  
Old 10-23-2018, 11:53 AM
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For real. It's like some people don't understand the entire underpinnings of a democratic republic.
Alternatively, it's like some people don't understand the entire underpinnings of this specific democratic republic, and that it wouldn't even exist without something like the EC. And that we should ask ourselves if it would continue to exist without it.

Last edited by John Mace; 10-23-2018 at 11:54 AM.
  #38  
Old 10-23-2018, 12:22 PM
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Or you win a prize for championing "first past the post" with such spirit. The word used was "majority". It's not pendantic to point out Clinton didn't garner a majority. Especially when in a French style popular vote system, he probably would have lost.
Is there any innacrucay in that post?

Did he claim that Clinton got a majority?

You aren't even correcting him, just making a statement that you think is correcting what you think he is saying.

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Alternatively, it's like some people don't understand the entire underpinnings of this specific democratic republic, and that it wouldn't even exist without something like the EC. And that we should ask ourselves if it would continue to exist without it.
There are reasons why, at the time, a compromise was made that included the EC. Hard to say that the country would not have existed without this particular compromise.

But, we would have to ask ourselves if, in this time and place, whether it is a necessary part of this democratic republic.

The implication in your last sentence is that you have doubts as to whether our country would continue to exist without the EC. Can you explain how having the president elected by the people of all the states, rather than just 3-5, would cause the country to stop existing?
  #39  
Old 10-23-2018, 12:30 PM
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Why isn't "Ignore the constitution and ram it through via civil war" an option?

38 states aren't going to ratify this. That's just not happening. Ever. What a pointless exercise.
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Old 10-23-2018, 12:31 PM
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Is there any innacrucay in that post?

Did he claim that Clinton got a majority?

You aren't even correcting him, just making a statement that you think is correcting what you think he is saying.
His very clear implication was that only Republicans had been elected to the presidency without a majority. So yes, I was correcting that.
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Old 10-23-2018, 12:59 PM
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Or you win a prize for championing "first past the post" with such spirit. The word used was "majority". It's not pendantic to point out Clinton didn't garner a majority. Especially when in a French style popular vote system, he probably would have lost.
Sure, fine, it's a correction. Nobody except Obama has entered the White House with a majority of votes since Bush the Elder. No Republican at all has entered with a majority or plurality of the votes since Bush the Elder. I suppose this is a fair correction, but it doesn't materially affect my point, that we've spent a third of the century so far under the rule of the person who got fewer votes than their rival, and that moves real far away from the idea of a representative democracy.

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Alternatively, it's like some people don't understand the entire underpinnings of this specific democratic republic, and that it wouldn't even exist without something like the EC. And that we should ask ourselves if it would continue to exist without it.
This is just an absurdity, though, and not really worth responding to.
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Old 10-23-2018, 01:09 PM
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Sure, fine, it's a correction. Nobody except Obama has entered the White House with a majority of votes since Bush the Elder. No Republican at all has entered with a majority or plurality of the votes since Bush the Elder. I suppose this is a fair correction, but it doesn't materially affect my point, that we've spent a third of the century so far under the rule of the person who got fewer votes than their rival, and that moves real far away from the idea of a representative democracy.
Well that point is also not true because elder Bush was President until 92 and junior got a majority on reelection. But feel free to add as many qualifiers as you need until you make an irrefutable point.
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Old 10-23-2018, 01:13 PM
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This is just an absurdity, though, and not really worth responding to.
Eh. It is a founding principle of this democratic republic and ignoring that isn't going to get you anywhere. But feel free to keep doing so and let us know how that works out for you as you try and change things!

Last edited by John Mace; 10-23-2018 at 01:13 PM.
  #44  
Old 10-23-2018, 01:15 PM
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Well that point is also not true because elder Bush was President until 92 and junior got a majority on reelection. But feel free to add as many qualifiers as you need until you make an irrefutable point.
again:
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entered the White House

Last edited by Left Hand of Dorkness; 10-23-2018 at 01:17 PM.
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Old 10-23-2018, 01:25 PM
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For real. It's like some people don't understand the entire underpinnings of a democratic republic.

Yeah, when you lose an election, you get upset. Duh. But when you lose an election even though you're in the majority, that's an extra reason to be upset.

We haven't welcomed a Republican into the White House via winning the majority in thirty years: the only two that won, won through a trick of the electoral college. It's moving us away from being a democratic republic, in which the people get to choose their own government.

Coupled with the optimized mathematics of computerized gerrymandering, we're moving farther and farther into a system more akin to a third-world country in which an ethnic minority (or, in our case, political minority) rules over the larger, unwilling populace.

No wonder politics are getting so angry.
It's not a trick. States are real things and some have existed longer than the union. Parties aren't entitled to any form of proportional representation. And this thread seems like nothing more than a gripe because the dems lost.
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Old 10-23-2018, 01:35 PM
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Eh. It is a founding principle of this democratic republic and ignoring that isn't going to get you anywhere. But feel free to keep doing so and let us know how that works out for you as you try and change things!
Who has the right to vote was a founding principle. We changed it a few times. We're better for it.
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Old 10-23-2018, 01:37 PM
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It's not a trick. States are real things and some have existed longer than the union.
So? The world is a vastly different place now.

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Parties aren't entitled to any form of proportional representation.
But people are.
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Old 10-23-2018, 01:49 PM
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If Congress hadn't relinquished so much of their Constitutional powers to the Executive Branch over the past 100+ years, this wouldn't even be an issue.

Does anyone else find it disturbing that one man, no matter who he is, has so much power to affect the lives of so many people?

The solution to this mess is to weaken the office of the Presidency.

Of course, that's just a pipe dream.
  #49  
Old 10-23-2018, 01:50 PM
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Quoth Bijou Drains:

BTW are there any states that have a house or senate where every county has an equal number of people representing that county? I know that is not true here in NC.
There used to be, until the Supreme Court struck them down, saying that disproportionate representation of that sort is inconsistent with "a republican form of government". Yes, that's right, all you folks who go on about us being "a republic, not a democracy", according to the Supreme Court, our system isn't even a republic.
  #50  
Old 10-23-2018, 01:51 PM
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If Congress hadn't relinquished so much of their Constitutional powers to the Executive Branch over the past 100+ years, this wouldn't even be an issue.

Does anyone else find it disturbing that one man, no matter who he is, has so much power to affect the lives of so many people?

The solution to this mess is to weaken the office of the Presidency.

Of course, that's just a pipe dream.
I mostly agree with you on this: the presidency is unnecessarily powerful now. Presidents don't fear impeachment nearly as much as they should. If a president is openly refusing to carry out the will of the legislators, they should know that they face impeachment for that. (And yes, before someone thinks they've engaged in the most clever gotcha ever, this would apply to Democrats as well as Republicans).
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