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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  #51  
Old 10-23-2018, 01:51 PM
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His very clear implication was that only Republicans had been elected to the presidency without a majority. So yes, I was correcting that.
The clear implication that I got was that only Republicans had been elected to the presidency without a plurality, and that he made a slight mistake on word choice.

The clear implication I got from your reply was that you would rather distract with irrelevant corrections than to address the fact that the last few decades have seen republicans getting into office, even though the voters made clear their intention that they preferred the other person.

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Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
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!
Is it a founding principle, or was it a compromise?

Was it a "We hold these truths to be self evidence... that the president must be elected by an electoral college that will not always reflect the will of the people." and so it was enshrined as an inalienable right?

Or was it "These small states keep whining that the larger states may have power proportional to their population, and the states where people don't want to live want to have more power proportional to *their* population." and so the more populous states, the states with economies and resources and other things that attracted people to live in those states, compromise with the little states and gave them disproportionate power, in the futile effort to get them to stop whining that democracy means that you need to actually have more people on your side?
  #52  
Old 10-23-2018, 01:52 PM
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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.
I think the argument is that state governments are set up to be more democratic, while the Federal government is a Republic.

Odd word usage by the Supreme Court, IMO. Which case is that from?
  #53  
Old 10-23-2018, 02:00 PM
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There are a few different things being confused here:

1) People don't like losing.
2) People think that the system of government should be better, and believe that establishing a vision for a better system is the first step; figuring out how to reach that better system is the next step, after the better system is imagined.
3) People have a clear path to a better system.

Of course people don't like losing, but if that's all you focus on, your contributions to this thread are super-boring.

Of course people don't have a clear path right now to a better system; we haven't agreed yet on whether a better system exists yet.

#2 is the most productive thing for us to discuss right now. If all you want to do is gloat that your minority of the population is maintaining power over the majority of the country, bully for you. If all you want to do is to complain that a bunch of posters on a messageboard haven't solved the political crisis of our times, you win the Golden Deerstalker award.

But if you want to discuss whether, and how, anything should be done about the Electoral College, it'll come across awful like you read the OP.
  #54  
Old 10-23-2018, 02:04 PM
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So? The world is a vastly different place now.
Time for a new constitutional convention then? I have a funny feeling with the presence of states that it won't go the way you hope. Is your plan to dissolve the states and other sub national governments? Good luck with that.



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But people are.
Not at the national level. That's the price to pay for a real country in a world where history matters. We don't erase all precedent and pre-existing institutions or contracts each year.
  #55  
Old 10-23-2018, 02:06 PM
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Time for a new constitutional convention then? I have a funny feeling with the presence of states that it won't go the way you hope. Is your plan to dissolve the states and other sub national governments? Good luck with that.
Wow, you got all that from 9 little words.


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Not at the national level. That's the price to pay for a real country in a world where history matters. We don't erase all precedent and pre-existing institutions or contracts each year.
No idea what you're even talking about.
  #56  
Old 10-23-2018, 02:07 PM
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The problem many focus on — small states getting a big advantage — is a big problem in theory, but it isn't the problem that has produced undemocratic results. The D's have just as many small states as the R's.

People suggest that land should have a voice, that Montana deserves a voice out of proportion to its population because of its huge geographic size. I might accept that. But why does tiny Rhode Island deserve its extra 2 evs? Is it so culturally different from Mass or Conn? And if cultural difference is the criterion, shouldn't California be divided into at least two dozen states?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oredigger77 View Post
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.
Are you proposing that Montana get one seat in the House and, since California has 68 times the population of Montana it should get 68 seats? The House may already be too big; arithmetic flaws would still arise (unless you went to fractional representatives); and Trump would still have won in 2016. (I'll have to check for Bush v Gore.)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The real problem that explains why the R's win when the popular vote is close, is that D voters are packed into a few large states and their franchise is wasted.

Here are the 2016 results for the four largest states in 2016, as cast and as might be cast with proportional evs: (It's a tedious and inconclusive result so I'll hide hide it and discourage clicking.
SPOILER:


Actual California
Clinton 55

Actual Texas
Trump 36
Kasich 1
Paul 1

Actual New York
Clinton 29

Actual Florida
Trump 29

Assuming the Texan defectors would have fallen in line had their votes been needed, Hillary's net advantage over these big states was 17 evs (84-67).


Proportional California
Clinton 34
Trump 18
Johnson 2
Green 1

Proportional Texas
Clinton 17
Trump 20
Johnson 1

Proportional New York
Clinton 17
Trump 11
Johnson 1

Proportional Florida
Clinton 14
Trump 14
Johnson 1

Now Hillary's net advantage would be 19 evs (82-63) despite the drainage to Johnson.

Of course it is impossible that any controversial constitutional amendment could be passed today (unless the R's can do it mischievously with cheating). The NPVIC has been proposed and wouldn't require an amendment. Unfortunately it would also be vulnerable to R cheating.

Statehood for Puerto Rico, anyone?
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andros had more faith in an American jury than I had; and he was right. I'm happy to lose a bet and hope this trend continues.
  #57  
Old 10-23-2018, 02:17 PM
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Wow, you got all that from 9 little words.




No idea what you're even talking about.
It means that history matters and if you are going to propose a change you have to take real world current conditions into account. The country and states didn't pop out of a vacuum.

So a new system would have to take into account the desire of 3/4 of the states. What would be acceptable to the citizens of those states? Increasing the size of the house is something that could be done without a constitutional amendment and thus has a realistic chance of implementation.
  #58  
Old 10-23-2018, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by septimus View Post
The problem many focus on — small states getting a big advantage — is a big problem in theory, but it isn't the problem that has produced undemocratic results. The D's have just as many small states as the R's.

People suggest that land should have a voice, that Montana deserves a voice out of proportion to its population because of its huge geographic size. I might accept that. But why does tiny Rhode Island deserve its extra 2 evs? Is it so culturally different from Mass or Conn? And if cultural difference is the criterion, shouldn't California be divided into at least two dozen states?


Are you proposing that Montana get one seat in the House and, since California has 68 times the population of Montana it should get 68 seats? The House may already be too big; arithmetic flaws would still arise (unless you went to fractional representatives); and Trump would still have won in 2016. (I'll have to check for Bush v Gore.)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The real problem that explains why the R's win when the popular vote is close, is that D voters are packed into a few large states and their franchise is wasted.

Here are the 2016 results for the four largest states in 2016, as cast and as might be cast with proportional evs: (It's a tedious and inconclusive result so I'll hide hide it and discourage clicking.
SPOILER:


Actual California
Clinton 55

Actual Texas
Trump 36
Kasich 1
Paul 1

Actual New York
Clinton 29

Actual Florida
Trump 29

Assuming the Texan defectors would have fallen in line had their votes been needed, Hillary's net advantage over these big states was 17 evs (84-67).


Proportional California
Clinton 34
Trump 18
Johnson 2
Green 1

Proportional Texas
Clinton 17
Trump 20
Johnson 1

Proportional New York
Clinton 17
Trump 11
Johnson 1

Proportional Florida
Clinton 14
Trump 14
Johnson 1

Now Hillary's net advantage would be 19 evs (82-63) despite the drainage to Johnson.

Of course it is impossible that any controversial constitutional amendment could be passed today (unless the R's can do it mischievously with cheating). The NPVIC has been proposed and wouldn't require an amendment. Unfortunately it would also be vulnerable to R cheating.

Statehood for Puerto Rico, anyone?
Land gets a voice? No. Political entities such as states and nations do. Why is the USA on the UN security council as a permanent member? Power and historical compromises are why.
  #59  
Old 10-23-2018, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by septimus View Post
The problem many focus on — small states getting a big advantage — is a big problem in theory, but it isn't the problem that has produced undemocratic results. The D's have just as many small states as the R's.
And the real problem isn't just that small states get a disproportionate voice, the problem is that it really all comes down to a handful of states, and the rest can generally be ignored.

If you are in California, you don't bother to vote, because it is a foregone conclusion. If you are in Texas, same thing. (And because you apparently don't care about local politics, what you have more influence over, and what more directly affects your life.)

If you are in Ohio, you spend the last couple months of the election season being bombarded with ads from both sides.

The vote of the people in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan and Wisconsin are more powerful than the votes of either the larger states, or the small states. If you are not in a swing state, your vote doesn't matter. Unless that ss that one of the founding principles that our country cannot continue to exist without.
  #60  
Old 10-23-2018, 03:53 PM
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By some, you of course, mean the plurality of voters.

Yes, the larger part.

No.

You make an unfounded assumption: that everyone who voted for the Democratic Party running mates would prefer a system that allowed those candidates to win to the present system. That's patently untrue. I know for a fact it is untrue (you can probably figure out why I can say that).

One of the sad facts of life is that you don't always get to win. How you deal with loss is a part of your character, in my opinion. You can whine and complain, you can demand that the system change to give you what you want, etc. Or, you can simply roll up your sleeves and work to do better next time.

Let me give an admittedly not exact analogy:

The US is having trouble winning the Ryder Cup at golf, which involves a series of match-play contests. Suppose that an analysis showed that, had the whole thing been played at stroke play instead, the US would have won (the Europeans tend to have a few really bad holes, but that doesn't matter because losing a hole by one and losing by five is identical in value). Now, the US whines and complains that they really played better golf, and if the whole thing was structured to count strokes, like all other tournaments do, they'd have won. After all, counting strokes is the essence of the game. So they insist that the Ryder Cup be re-structured to stroke play format.

That's in essence the argument behind abolishing/changing the Electoral College. We have a system, a system that very rarely produces a really bad product (the current occupant of the White House possibly excepted). While it is true that on a few occasions the person chosen has not garnered the most total votes from the aggregated elections held on Election Day, in none of those cases was the vote difference so staggeringly large that one can definitively say the will of the people as a whole was thwarted (remember: large numbers of people don't vote!). But because the same party lost the last two elections where this happened, some members of that ideology want to change the way the game is played, on the assumption that that will mean they will win future contests where the same result would occur. In other words, you want a system that is rigged to allow YOUR team to win, rather than a system you perceive is rigged to allow the OTHER team to win.

But the better way to ensure that your team wins is to change how your team plays the game. It's also the approach taken by people who understand that they cannot always have things their way. IMO.
  #61  
Old 10-23-2018, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by DSYoungEsq View Post

One of the sad facts of life is that you don't always get to win. How you deal with loss is a part of your character, in my opinion. You can whine and complain, you can demand that the system change to give you what you want, etc. Or, you can simply roll up your sleeves and work to do better next time.
This is at once profoundly condescending and profoundly incorrect. Cool job.

The reason I oppose a system that grants rule to the minority isn't because I'm in the majority--it's because that's a bad system. It would remain a bad system if I were in the minority that held power.

So, y'know, you could drop the condescension already and pay attention instead to the arguments folks were making.
  #62  
Old 10-23-2018, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by DSYoungEsq View Post
No.

You make an unfounded assumption: that everyone who voted for the Democratic Party running mates would prefer a system that allowed those candidates to win to the present system. That's patently untrue. I know for a fact it is untrue (you can probably figure out why I can say that).
I make a very valid assumption that the people who voted for the Democratic Party would prefer to have the candidates that they voted for to win.
Quote:
One of the sad facts of life is that you don't always get to win. How you deal with loss is a part of your character, in my opinion. You can whine and complain, you can demand that the system change to give you what you want, etc. Or, you can simply roll up your sleeves and work to do better next time.
Or, we can roll up our sleeves and work to create a better system that produces the results that are asked for by the voters, we could work together, or you can whine and complain that there are those who point out that the result was not the will of the voters, or you could work to get more votes and do better next time

I'll agree that there is some level of character in dealing with a loss. Like, lets say that you win the presidency based on the electoral college, but you lose the popular vote. You could accept that is the case, and move on, knowing that while you have technically become president, you have no mandate, as more people expressed a preference for your opponent than for yourself. Or, you could whine and complain and make up stories of illegal voters.
Quote:
Let me give an admittedly not exact analogy:

The US is having trouble winning the Ryder Cup at golf, which involves a series of match-play contests. Suppose that an analysis showed that, had the whole thing been played at stroke play instead, the US would have won (the Europeans tend to have a few really bad holes, but that doesn't matter because losing a hole by one and losing by five is identical in value). Now, the US whines and complains that they really played better golf, and if the whole thing was structured to count strokes, like all other tournaments do, they'd have won. After all, counting strokes is the essence of the game. So they insist that the Ryder Cup be re-structured to stroke play format.
You are correct, that is not only not an exact analogy, it is a absolutely irrelevant analogy, in every way, shape and form.

To start with, this isn't a game. You are also talking about a series of events, each one at a different point in time, rather than a simultaneous event that takes place in 51 different locations.

If you wanted to make a more apt analogy, then you would say that the different courses are worth differing amounts of point in arbitrary ways, and that some of the courses are designed to be more preferential to one competitor or the other. Meaning that ultimately, it always comes down to the same two or three courses that determine the winner.
Quote:
That's in essence the argument behind abolishing/changing the Electoral College. We have a system, a system that very rarely produces a really bad product (the current occupant of the White House possibly excepted). While it is true that on a few occasions the person chosen has not garnered the most total votes from the aggregated elections held on Election Day, in none of those cases was the vote difference so staggeringly large that one can definitively say the will of the people as a whole was thwarted (remember: large numbers of people don't vote!). But because the same party lost the last two elections where this happened, some members of that ideology want to change the way the game is played, on the assumption that that will mean they will win future contests where the same result would occur. In other words, you want a system that is rigged to allow YOUR team to win, rather than a system you perceive is rigged to allow the OTHER team to win.
Trying to retroactively change the electoral college in order to get a favored result of a past election would be as you describe.

Discussing the benefits of creating a new system that better represents the will of the governed is diametrically opposite to your criticisms.
Quote:
But the better way to ensure that your team wins is to change how your team plays the game. It's also the approach taken by people who understand that they cannot always have things their way. IMO.
And a better approach is to make sure that the rules of the game are fair to all participants. For instance, changing the way that the game is played by changing voter ID requirements in targeted ways to decrease the turnout of your opponent would be an approach taken be people who do *not* understand that they cannot always have things their way.

Advocating for a system that better reflects the preferences of the voter is a good thing. IMO.
  #63  
Old 10-23-2018, 06:24 PM
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Or to put it another way: Suppose that, some time in the relatively near future, there's an election where the Democrat loses the popular vote but wins the electoral college. In the wake of such an election, it's likely that the Republicans would want to get rid of the Electoral College... but Democrats would also still want to get rid of it. And maybe then we would be able to get an amendment through.
  #64  
Old 10-23-2018, 06:35 PM
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The problem many focus on — small states getting a big advantage — is a big problem in theory, but it isn't the problem that has produced undemocratic results. The D's have just as many small states as the R's.

People suggest that land should have a voice, that Montana deserves a voice out of proportion to its population because of its huge geographic size. I might accept that. But why does tiny Rhode Island deserve its extra 2 evs? Is it so culturally different from Mass or Conn? And if cultural difference is the criterion, shouldn't California be divided into at least two dozen states?


Are you proposing that Montana get one seat in the House and, since California has 68 times the population of Montana it should get 68 seats? The House may already be too big; arithmetic flaws would still arise (unless you went to fractional representatives); and Trump would still have won in 2016. (I'll have to check for Bush v Gore.)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The real problem that explains why the R's win when the popular vote is close, is that D voters are packed into a few large states and their franchise is wasted.

Here are the 2016 results for the four largest states in 2016, as cast and as might be cast with proportional evs: (It's a tedious and inconclusive result so I'll hide hide it and discourage clicking.
SPOILER:


Actual California
Clinton 55

Actual Texas
Trump 36
Kasich 1
Paul 1

Actual New York
Clinton 29

Actual Florida
Trump 29

Assuming the Texan defectors would have fallen in line had their votes been needed, Hillary's net advantage over these big states was 17 evs (84-67).


Proportional California
Clinton 34
Trump 18
Johnson 2
Green 1

Proportional Texas
Clinton 17
Trump 20
Johnson 1

Proportional New York
Clinton 17
Trump 11
Johnson 1

Proportional Florida
Clinton 14
Trump 14
Johnson 1

Now Hillary's net advantage would be 19 evs (82-63) despite the drainage to Johnson.

Of course it is impossible that any controversial constitutional amendment could be passed today (unless the R's can do it mischievously with cheating). The NPVIC has been proposed and wouldn't require an amendment. Unfortunately it would also be vulnerable to R cheating.

Statehood for Puerto Rico, anyone?
I'll see Puerto Rico and raise you Washington, DC. Maybe Guam, too.
  #65  
Old 10-23-2018, 06:40 PM
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I'll see Puerto Rico and raise you Washington, DC. Maybe Guam, too.
Can't have America without American Samoa!
  #66  
Old 10-23-2018, 06:49 PM
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Or to put it another way: Suppose that, some time in the relatively near future, there's an election where the Democrat loses the popular vote but wins the electoral college. In the wake of such an election, it's likely that the Republicans would want to get rid of the Electoral College... but Democrats would also still want to get rid of it. And maybe then we would be able to get an amendment through.
People think that because the system has blown up in the Democrats' face twice in the last five elections that it somehow intrinsically favors Republicans and that getting rid of it is therefore a partisan issue, but it's just not. It doesn't favor one party over the other, it just introduces random noise into the outcome.

In 2004, George W. Bush won the popular vote by a wider margin than Hillary did, but if only 50,000 votes in Ohio had gone the other way, he would have lost the election. Likewise in 2012, the EC favored Obama; of course, he didn't need it, but if 2% of voters in every State had switched from Obama to Romney, Romney would have won the popular vote while losing the election.

Probably there's no way of getting rid of this unless/until both parties get screwed within a short period of time. But the NPVIC is a good workaround in my opinion.
  #67  
Old 10-23-2018, 08:09 PM
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If you can't even convince a 2/3rds majority of Dopers to abolish the EC maybe it's time to rethink your argument. "Because that's what DEMOCRACY is, dammit!" doesn't really cut it when virtually no other Western democracy does a popular vote for their leader.
  #68  
Old 10-23-2018, 09:04 PM
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There are a few different things being confused here:

1) People don't like losing.
2) People think that the system of government should be better, and believe that establishing a vision for a better system is the first step; figuring out how to reach that better system is the next step, after the better system is imagined.
3) People have a clear path to a better system.
...
Of course people don't have a clear path right now to a better system; we haven't agreed yet on whether a better system exists yet.
...
If all you want to do is to complain that a bunch of posters on a messageboard haven't solved the political crisis of our times, you win the Golden Deerstalker award.
Which brings us to:
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Originally Posted by CarnalK View Post
If you can't even convince a 2/3rds majority of Dopers to abolish the EC maybe it's time to rethink your argument. "Because that's what DEMOCRACY is, dammit!" doesn't really cut it when virtually no other Western democracy does a popular vote for their leader.
  #69  
Old 10-23-2018, 09:11 PM
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I've been to this rodeo before. The argument for abolishing the EC and replacing it with popular vote always seems down to "because majority rules". I am not confusing anything about sore losers or anything else. Are you saying, and expecting people to take seriously, that the EC is the political crisis of our time? Or are you referring to Trump?
  #70  
Old 10-23-2018, 09:16 PM
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I've been to this rodeo before. The argument for abolishing the EC and replacing it with popular vote always seems down to "because majority rules". I am not confusing anything about sore losers or anything else. Are you saying, and expecting people to take seriously, that the EC is the political crisis of our time? Or are you referring to Trump?
Our nation's misrule by an entrenched minority is absolutely a political crisis, one of the most important political crises we currently face. The EC is a major component of that crisis. If you don't take it seriously, that's spiffy keen, and enjoy.
  #71  
Old 10-23-2018, 09:23 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.
If I read this right, then by very rough calculations, the House would go from 435 seats to around 550-560. Doable, I guess, though you'd have to renovate the place a bit for the extra seats.
  #72  
Old 10-23-2018, 09:35 PM
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Our nation's misrule by an entrenched minority is absolutely a political crisis, one of the most important political crises we currently face. The EC is a major component of that crisis. If you don't take it seriously, that's spiffy keen, and enjoy.
It is not remotely a major component and "entrenched minority" is rather silly hyperbole. The House has a +3% Republican bias, which is the major component and the extent of the "entrenchment". Working on evening up representation there and fighting gerrymandering is tackling your crisis. Fantasizing about abolishing the EC is not.

Last edited by CarnalK; 10-23-2018 at 09:36 PM.
  #73  
Old 10-23-2018, 09:39 PM
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That's great, and I figure you and I are done here then.
  #74  
Old 10-23-2018, 09:46 PM
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Oh you're sure you don't want to repost something as if I hadn't read it already? Ok, our loss.
  #75  
Old 10-23-2018, 10:35 PM
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It is not remotely a major component and "entrenched minority" is rather silly hyperbole. The House has a +3% Republican bias, which is the major component and the extent of the "entrenchment". Working on evening up representation there and fighting gerrymandering is tackling your crisis. Fantasizing about abolishing the EC is not.
Yes. American democracy is still, barely, functioning; the EC is the least of its worries.

Get out the vote. Work especially hard in swing states: PA, FL, OH, MI, CO. (Maybe not NC; it's been taken over by the voting-suppression cheaters.)

BUT the GOP is planning to do major gerrymandering in the implementation of the 2020 Census. Illegals in California will not be counted; those in Texas will. The One Hundred Sixteenth United States Congress is the Congress that will set the rules for the 2020 Census. The coming election is critical.
  #76  
Old 10-23-2018, 11:13 PM
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The coming election is critical.
Yawn. Never heard that before...
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Old 10-24-2018, 12:03 AM
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Yawn. Never heard that before...
Well, if it makes any difference, I do hope you take that energy into November and stay home.
  #78  
Old 10-24-2018, 05:49 AM
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A system set up to give more electoral power to states with lower populations is absurd. "Hey, if your state is so shitty that no one wants to live there we'll give you extra representation." is not a plan for success.
  #79  
Old 10-24-2018, 06:43 AM
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A system set up to give more electoral power to states with lower populations is absurd.
And it doesn't even succeed at that. Lots of small states are what would be called "packed" if we were talking about gerrymandering. That's a way of suppressing those states! Making the people of Wyoming vote in a partisan ghetto does not enhance Wyoming's electoral power.

In 2016, Wyoming voted for Donald Trump by a margin of about 118,000 votes. For that, it got to give Trump three electoral votes. Florida had a slightly smaller margin (113,000) and gave 29 votes. How is Wyoming getting a good deal?

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 10-24-2018 at 06:48 AM.
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Old 10-24-2018, 08:25 AM
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And it doesn't even succeed at that. Lots of small states are what would be called "packed" if we were talking about gerrymandering. That's a way of suppressing those states! Making the people of Wyoming vote in a partisan ghetto does not enhance Wyoming's electoral power.

In 2016, Wyoming voted for Donald Trump by a margin of about 118,000 votes. For that, it got to give Trump three electoral votes. Florida had a slightly smaller margin (113,000) and gave 29 votes. How is Wyoming getting a good deal?
That's my main complaint about the EC. It doesn't give any representation to 90% of the states.

It really comes down to just a handful of states that determine the winner, and if you are not in one of those states, then your vote really doesn't matter.

That the EC has favored republicans, and given them presidential wins against the popular vote is why the republicans are defending the EC so strongly, they think it will work in their future as well. they don't care that it weakens the vote of the people in their own party as well, they only care that they think that it gives them an electoral advantage.

There was concern that Hillary may end up winning the EC, while losing the popular vote, and that, while still a win, would give her a weak mandate, making it harder to get legislation and policy worked on.

I ask those who are staunch defenders of the EC, had Hillary won the EC while losing the popular, would you be so strongly defending it at this point? I will admit that I would find that situation to be amusing, but I would still be advocating to get rid of it.

I was in junior high when I first found out about the EC, and at that time, it hadn't given such mixed results in over a century. I thought it was a silly system then, I thought that we ought to fix it then, but thought that at the least the first time that it gave such mixed results again, we would fix it.
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Old 10-24-2018, 08:54 AM
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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.
The EC was a compromise that, in part, gave small states a bigger representation in the Presidential election in order to help get the Constitution ratified. It's the same reason that we have equal representation in the Senate and population based representation in the House. See here for one account:
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This plan, which met with widespread approval by the delegates, was incorporated into the final document with only minor changes. It sought to reconcile differing state and federal interests, provide a degree of popular participation in the election, give the less populous states some additional leverage in the process by providing “senatorial” electors, preserve the presidency as independent of Congress, and generally insulate the election process from political manipulation.
That last point is debatable...

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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?
I'm sorry, but I fail to see where I said anything at all about better or worse. I only stated that it was designed that way for a reason. Trying to change or abolish something when you don't know the original reasoning is usually a bad idea.

Again, the US was framed as a union of independent governments, not as one central government. It's the difference between the EU of today versus the British or Roman empires of yesteryear. When one considers that only 15 states exceed the mean population (6.44 million per state in 2016) and 30 would be required to ratify a change, I'd say the small states would likely - for better or worse - kill it.
  #82  
Old 10-24-2018, 10:30 AM
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I'll see Puerto Rico and raise you Washington, DC. Maybe Guam, too.
How much do you know about the people living on Guam?
  #83  
Old 10-24-2018, 10:39 AM
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The EC was a compromise that, in part, gave small states a bigger representation in the Presidential election in order to help get the Constitution ratified. It's the same reason that we have equal representation in the Senate and population based representation in the House. See here for one account:

That last point is debatable...


I'm sorry, but I fail to see where I said anything at all about better or worse. I only stated that it was designed that way for a reason. Trying to change or abolish something when you don't know the original reasoning is usually a bad idea.

Again, the US was framed as a union of independent governments, not as one central government. It's the difference between the EU of today versus the British or Roman empires of yesteryear. When one considers that only 15 states exceed the mean population (6.44 million per state in 2016) and 30 would be required to ratify a change, I'd say the small states would likely - for better or worse - kill it.
How quickly would that change if a democrat won the EC and lost the popular?
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Old 10-24-2018, 11:03 AM
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How quickly would that change if a democrat won the EC and lost the popular?
There'd be rioting on the streets! Burning cars! Broken windows!

Nah. A few republicans would be mumbling at the water cooler the next day and people would get back to work.

Ya win some, ya lose some. I personally would lay the blame squarely at the feet of the campaign for playing the game as if the popular vote mattered. I would absolutely excoriate the candidate if they virtually ignored a swing state thinking they had it in the bag.
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Old 10-24-2018, 11:20 AM
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There'd be rioting on the streets! Burning cars! Broken windows!

Nah. A few republicans would be mumbling at the water cooler the next day and people would get back to work.
So, about the same same. Unless you are guaranteeing that not a single republican anywhere on any message board would be talking about the benefits of maybe changing the system to better reflect the consent of the governed.
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Ya win some, ya lose some. I personally would lay the blame squarely at the feet of the campaign for playing the game as if the popular vote mattered. I would absolutely excoriate the candidate if they virtually ignored a swing state thinking they had it in the bag.
I would too, as it would be odd to, well, first, think about how we guide the future of our country as a "game", as that is a rather infantile way of considering the responsibilities and obligations that come with such a high office, but also to not know that it is currently not based on popular vote, but rather, and aggregate of arbitrary states that mean that only a handful of states have a voice in the presidency.

I too would excoriate (though not so much that it would need italicizing) someone who ignored one of those handful of states that actually mattered in the presidential election. OTOH, I also would not respect someone who won who ignored the states that didn't matter, even the states that they can't win.

In the end, the president is the president of all the people of the United States, not just hate people that voted for him. Would you excoriate a candidate of yours who won and then forgot about that?

Last edited by k9bfriender; 10-24-2018 at 11:22 AM.
  #86  
Old 10-24-2018, 11:30 AM
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Mumbling at the water cooler?

Hell, when it looked like Obama was going to win the popular vote, you've got Republicans warning of a thousand years of darkness. And you think that if Clinton had won the EC but lost the popular vote, we would've seen a muted reaction?

Yeah, no.

The Electoral College made more sense when we were a loose conglomeration of slavers and bankers and homesteaders who needed days to communicate with one another along muddy roads and coastal ship paths. But there's nothing loose about the United States today; it's easier for me to travel to the furthest part of our nation than it was for my eighteenth-century ancestors to travel across the state, and I can communicate with a friend in Alaska more easily than those ancestors could talk with their next-door neighbor. Back then, geography bounded one's interests to a huge degree; nowadays I've got far more in common with public teachers across the nation than I have with the electrician one county over.

I know why our system was designed the way it was. As a solution for the problems of a particular set of not-very-good wealthy people a couple centuries ago, it was brilliant; as a solution for the problems of our modern citizenry, its main merit is inertia.
  #87  
Old 10-24-2018, 11:37 AM
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That's my main complaint about the EC. It doesn't give any representation to 90% of the states.

It really comes down to just a handful of states that determine the winner, and if you are not in one of those states, then your vote really doesn't matter.

That the EC has favored republicans, and given them presidential wins against the popular vote is why the republicans are defending the EC so strongly, they think it will work in their future as well. they don't care that it weakens the vote of the people in their own party as well, they only care that they think that it gives them an electoral advantage.

There was concern that Hillary may end up winning the EC, while losing the popular vote, and that, while still a win, would give her a weak mandate, making it harder to get legislation and policy worked on.

I ask those who are staunch defenders of the EC, had Hillary won the EC while losing the popular, would you be so strongly defending it at this point? I will admit that I would find that situation to be amusing, but I would still be advocating to get rid of it.

I was in junior high when I first found out about the EC, and at that time, it hadn't given such mixed results in over a century. I thought it was a silly system then, I thought that we ought to fix it then, but thought that at the least the first time that it gave such mixed results again, we would fix it.
I wouldn’t have had a problem with the EC if Clinton won. That’s the rules, every voter should know them, process matters, and as I learned as a 4 year old the universe isn’t and will never be perfectly fair.
  #88  
Old 10-24-2018, 12:06 PM
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I wouldn’t have had a problem with the EC if Clinton won.
You didn't qualify your statement. If Clinton had won the EC, but lost the popular...
Quote:
That’s the rules, every voter should know them,
Yes, ever voter knows them. How many times do we have to go over that everyone in the thread knows the rules, we aren't confused in any way, and that sport metaphors are a poor analogy to explain, once again, that you are using a different system than the one that we are advocating.

Do you not understand this? It is very simple. We are advocating a different system. By advocating a different system, we obviously know that the system we currently have is not the system we are advocating for. To continue to remind us that the system we currently have is not the system that we are advocating for informs me that you are unwilling or unable to follow this most basic concept.
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process matters, and as I learned as a 4 year old the universe isn’t and will never be perfectly fair.
Who said anything about perfectly?
  #89  
Old 10-24-2018, 12:24 PM
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Mumbling at the water cooler?

Hell, when it looked like Obama was going to win the popular vote, you've got Republicans warning of a thousand years of darkness. And you think that if Clinton had won the EC but lost the popular vote, we would've seen a muted reaction?

Yeah, no.
LOL, yes, all Repulicans agreed with Chuck Norris. They had to, or he'd roundhouse ALL of them with ONE kick. I could come up with a list a mile long of celebrities talking shit about Trump.

Let's see, scary black man and secret Muslim born in Kenya, Barack Hussein Obama, that terrified ALL republicans, won twice in a row. Did we see anything like this hanging outside his house?

No? Then yeah. It's going to be muted. At best you'll have some losers with too much time on their hands bitching and moaning about something they have no control over. 38 states won't ratify. You would literally need to light the Constitution on fire and start a civil war. That's more likely than abolishing the EC. Why is that not an option on this poll?

Last edited by Ashtura; 10-24-2018 at 12:27 PM.
  #90  
Old 10-24-2018, 12:36 PM
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"The electoral college is a disaster for democracy." - Trump, 2012.


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  #91  
Old 10-24-2018, 12:41 PM
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LOL, yes, all Repulicans agreed with Chuck Norris. They had to, or he'd roundhouse ALL of them with ONE kick. I could come up with a list a mile long of celebrities talking shit about Trump.

Let's see, scary black man and secret Muslim born in Kenya, Barack Hussein Obama, that terrified ALL republicans, won twice in a row. Did we see anything like this hanging outside his house?

No? Then yeah. It's going to be muted. At best you'll have some losers with too much time on their hands bitching and moaning about something they have no control over. 38 states won't ratify. You would literally need to light the Constitution on fire and start a civil war. That's more likely than abolishing the EC. Why is that not an option on this poll?
Why are you so certain that 38 states won't ratify an amendment that would give their voters an opportunity to participate in the presidential elections?

The states that wouldn't ratify would be Ohio and Florida, as the may like all the attention that they get every 4 years. But, why would Utah, say, wish to stay irrelevant in the process of picking a president?
  #92  
Old 10-24-2018, 12:42 PM
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"The electoral college is a disaster for democracy." - Trump, 2012.
"See, I told you so" - Trump, 2016
  #93  
Old 10-24-2018, 12:53 PM
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Kind of off topic, but maybe the Electoral College is not the problem. Why do we have a president in the first place? How is the office useful? In '93, Clinton walked in and swapped stuff around; in '01, W came in and swapped it all around; in '09, Obama flipped things around; in '17, this guy came in and overturned the tables; the next D in the WH will do a hard turn. Anybody think this regular-interval top-down spoils system situation might be doing us more harm than good?
  #94  
Old 10-24-2018, 01:07 PM
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Kind of off topic, but maybe the Electoral College is not the problem. Why do we have a president in the first place? How is the office useful? In '93, Clinton walked in and swapped stuff around; in '01, W came in and swapped it all around; in '09, Obama flipped things around; in '17, this guy came in and overturned the tables; the next D in the WH will do a hard turn. Anybody think this regular-interval top-down spoils system situation might be doing us more harm than good?
What's the alternative? Let the Speaker of the House run all those things? There would still be a massive shift in appointed officials and political direction of the government when control switched from one party to the other.
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Old 10-24-2018, 01:12 PM
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Or you could have a President for life. That would eliminate all the swapping, flipping and turning of tables.
  #96  
Old 10-24-2018, 01:13 PM
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Why are you so certain that 38 states won't ratify an amendment that would give their voters an opportunity to participate in the presidential elections?

The states that wouldn't ratify would be Ohio and Florida, as the may like all the attention that they get every 4 years. But, why would Utah, say, wish to stay irrelevant in the process of picking a president?
LOL, almost my whole family's from Utah. I'm pretty sure most Utahn's aren't fretting about the EC that much. The thing about the EC is, at least you need to pay some lip service to Utah. Without it, you wouldn't even need to do that. "Relevancy" is a point of view. When I vote in Delaware, and know the State is going Democrat, I may feel "irrelevant" as an individual when it comes to my presidential vote, but not as a Delawarean. If I really, really was upset about that, I, as an individual, would move 14 miles to Pennsylvania. That's the nice thing about the U.S. You don't like where you are, you can do like the Mormons did and move, with the nice modern convenience of not dying on the way. Just like I occasionally want to do when I can't buy cool fireworks, or exotic reptiles without a permit. Will I do that? No, not likely. See, they have cool stuff here too, like no sales tax, which takes the edge off.

Last edited by Ashtura; 10-24-2018 at 01:15 PM.
  #97  
Old 10-24-2018, 01:15 PM
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eschereal, if I understand your post correctly, you're complaining that our government changes things up periodically. Personally, I think that's one of it's greatest strengths: the ability for the people, through elected officials, to steer it in a new direction. I don't want a government that's locked into its way of doing things and totally ignores what the citizenry wants.
  #98  
Old 10-24-2018, 01:39 PM
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I really don't understand everyone who points back to the "original intent" when discussing the Electoral College. The original intent was not that states' electoral votes would be given in block to one candidate or the other. Nor was it that each Congressional district would get one electoral vote (with a couple left over in each state). It is sometimes claimed that the original intent was that mass of people really wouldn't know how to select a good President and that they would instead chose people they thought would do a good job at doing so.

But I believe the original intent was to help the South (to get them to agree to the Constitution). In a popular vote election, slaves would not have counted at all. But with the Electoral College, slaves effectively got 3/5 of a vote each -- or in reality, the other residents in the state got to vote for them and have it count as 3/5. The Electoral College should be eliminated if for no other reason than its racist heritage.
  #99  
Old 10-24-2018, 01:47 PM
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In the end, the president is the president of all the people of the United States, not just hate people that voted for him. Would you excoriate a candidate of yours who won and then forgot about that?
That's the problem we have now. Our current president doesn't really think of himself as the president of all the people of the US but instead the people in the state that voted for him (i.e., the people who live in "real" America). That's why, for example, Trump keeps throwing shade at California. The voters there overwhelmingly rejected him in 2016 and he knows his supporters in flyover country love it when he sticks it to those godless, America-hating, PC freaks from the Golden State. At least the presidents who won the electoral but lost the popular vote made an effort to be the leader of all the people who lived in all the states instead of adopting an attitude of "fuck 'em, they won't vote for me anyway." If there was no Electoral College or it was modified so votes were awarded according to the percentage of vote received rather than "winner take all", a president would be more likely to govern for the benefit of the entire nation rather than just the states that voted for him or her.
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  #100  
Old 10-24-2018, 01:47 PM
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LOL, yes, all Repulicans agreed with Chuck Norris.
LOL, yes, it's easy to make fun of someone when you pretend like they said something they didn't say. LOLOLOL
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