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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  #101  
Old 10-24-2018, 01:57 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.
No, I am irritated by what seem like near 180į turns. It makes no sense. I do not object to change per se, but the manner of it seems unhealthy.

Frankly, I fail to see the value of a head-of-state. I think we could have a functional executive branch without a powerful chief executive. Cabinet officers can just manage their departments, and maybe have a person whose job it is to mediate disputes where departmental scopes overlap, but has no real power over the secretaries.

The media reports elections like they are sporting events. Elections, media notwithstanding, look like big fucking games. Is that the way to run a stable country?
  #102  
Old 10-24-2018, 02:05 PM
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I am in favor of abolishing it - after all, with every state voting on the same day, and the ability to count the votes quickly, you don't have a lot of the problems the system would have had in the 1800s - but there needs to be a check on how the votes are counted. For example (and I bring this up whenever someone mentions the National Popular Vote Compact), what stops a state from passing a law saying that, between election day and the day after the elected president is inaugurated, the only "official" Presidential election results the state can issue are a count of the total number of votes cast and the name of the candidate receiving the most votes?
  #103  
Old 10-24-2018, 02:08 PM
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. Nor was it that each Congressional district would get one electoral vote (with a couple left over in each state).
Yes it was. You think it's a coincidence that a state's Electoral College votes is the same number as its Congressmen + Senators? The 3/5ths compromise was about slave states v free, senate and house representation was about small states v large. The Electoral College was mapped from the latter.
  #104  
Old 10-24-2018, 02:10 PM
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No, I am irritated by what seem like near 180į turns. It makes no sense. I do not object to change per se, but the manner of it seems unhealthy.

Frankly, I fail to see the value of a head-of-state. I think we could have a functional executive branch without a powerful chief executive. Cabinet officers can just manage their departments, and maybe have a person whose job it is to mediate disputes where departmental scopes overlap, but has no real power over the secretaries.

The media reports elections like they are sporting events. Elections, media notwithstanding, look like big fucking games. Is that the way to run a stable country?
I agree that the executive branch has too much power, but that's been wrested along the way; it hasn't always been that way. The legistature could take some of that back, but probably won't. That is more likely than abolishing the EC. You can reduce executive power through laws that don't involved constitutional amendments.

It's hard to not take "I don't like the EC", and "Yeah, I don't like there's a President either!" and not take it as reactionary hyperbole.
  #105  
Old 10-24-2018, 02:17 PM
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I am in favor of abolishing it - after all, with every state voting on the same day, and the ability to count the votes quickly, you don't have a lot of the problems the system would have had in the 1800s - but there needs to be a check on how the votes are counted. For example (and I bring this up whenever someone mentions the National Popular Vote Compact), what stops a state from passing a law saying that, between election day and the day after the elected president is inaugurated, the only "official" Presidential election results the state can issue are a count of the total number of votes cast and the name of the candidate receiving the most votes?
I have trouble believing even a very partisan court upholding a law that keeps vote tallies secret. Knowing the vote count is at the heart of democracy. How could anyone ask for a recount with such a law?
  #106  
Old 10-24-2018, 02:46 PM
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Yes it was. You think it's a coincidence that a state's Electoral College votes is the same number as its Congressmen + Senators? The 3/5ths compromise was about slave states v free, senate and house representation was about small states v large. The Electoral College was mapped from the latter.
I realize this. My point is that the 3/5 notion also needed to be embedded into the election of the President and not just the Congress. It couldn't be embedded into a straight popular vote. The fact that they used Senators + Representatives was a presumably a convenience that has already been agreed upon in another context as well as a sop to the small states. But they needed some system like the Electoral College to make sure that the Northern States could not popularly outvote the Southern states. My contention is that the Electoral College was essentially racist in origin regardless of the exact details.

Around the time of the Constitution, the seven Northern states had a white population of 1.24 million and a white + 3/5 Negro population of 1.27 million.* The six slave states had a white population of 0.82 million and a white + 3/5 Negro population of 1.13 million. The Electoral College gave them roughly equal representation. Under the drafted constitution the seven Northern States got 33 Representatives and 47 Electoral votes to 30 and 42 for the South.

Assuming age and gender distribution was the same, the North outvoted the south by about 50%, but it only had a 12% advantage in the Electoral College. (And oly a 10% advantage in the House.)



* I think the Negro population was free at the time so would have counted as 1, but would have to check state-by-state. In any case the difference in numbers is small
  #107  
Old 10-24-2018, 02:58 PM
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But they needed some system like the Electoral College to make sure that the Northern States could not popularly outvote the Southern states. My contention is that the Electoral College was essentially racist in origin regardless of the exact details.
I'm confused. Obama beat Romney by 5M votes and 126 electoral votes. If the EC is "essentially racist in origin", as if that meant something today, then shouldn't Obama have lost the EC regardless of of winning the popular vote, or at least won it by a much smaller margin? If it was designed to be racist, it didn't do a very good job, did it?

Last edited by Ashtura; 10-24-2018 at 03:00 PM.
  #108  
Old 10-24-2018, 03:05 PM
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The 3/5ths, relative power of the states and the idea that ordinary people are bozos were all baked into the Electoral College. The EC has no more a racist heritage than any other part of the U.S. government. Which is a lot but no reason to single out the EC for abolishing.

Last edited by CarnalK; 10-24-2018 at 03:05 PM.
  #109  
Old 10-24-2018, 03:47 PM
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The 3/5ths, relative power of the states and the idea that ordinary people are bozos were all baked into the Electoral College. The EC has no more a racist heritage than any other part of the U.S. government. Which is a lot but no reason to single out the EC for abolishing.
Ordinary voters are bozos. We see it over and over again. I would prefer to see the EC actually function the way the name implies. Convene and deliberate. Choose a president or retain the incumbent (if not term-limited). Even have the option of convening by petition, so that a seriously bad president could be ousted and replaced at any time. Then, impose a super-majority requirement, so, if they deadlock, it could go to a popular vote. Just, something other than what we are doing.

Last edited by eschereal; 10-24-2018 at 03:48 PM.
  #110  
Old 10-24-2018, 06:07 PM
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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.
that's more or less what parliamentary systems do.

One of the reasons that that works more effectively is because they don't end up having a first past the post system. That means you can have more than two parties.

I do think that one of the big problems we have is that we have only two parties, and that we have to choose one or the other.

There are things of the republican platform that I agree with, but I have to weigh the concerns, and on the whole, I prefer the democratic platform. There may even be a thing or two that you like about what the democrats are proposing, but you cannot support that, because you have to support your party for your reasons.

Having more parties creates more of a stability, as people don't have to make binary choices. They don't want to demonize their opponents, as they may find themselves being allies in the future against a different party's platform.

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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.
You are okay with feeling irrelevant in the presidential election. Maybe not everyone feels that way.

Personally, I feel like fleeing Ohio every 4 years, as you cannot turn on the TV or radio, or even use the internet anymore, without being bombarded by political ads, many of which are quite negative and vile.

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No, I am irritated by what seem like near 180į turns. It makes no sense. I do not object to change per se, but the manner of it seems unhealthy.

Frankly, I fail to see the value of a head-of-state. I think we could have a functional executive branch without a powerful chief executive. Cabinet officers can just manage their departments, and maybe have a person whose job it is to mediate disputes where departmental scopes overlap, but has no real power over the secretaries.

The media reports elections like they are sporting events. Elections, media notwithstanding, look like big fucking games. Is that the way to run a stable country?
I like the idea that the head of state should be more of a figurehead than having actual authority. Kind of like the Queen of England. They are the person who represents us to the world, but has no actual power or authority.

They can do all the pomp and circumstance, while the legislative bodies do the actual work of governing.
  #111  
Old 10-24-2018, 06:35 PM
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Quoth Ashtura:

I'm confused. Obama beat Romney by 5M votes and 126 electoral votes. If the EC is "essentially racist in origin", as if that meant something today, then shouldn't Obama have lost the EC regardless of of winning the popular vote, or at least won it by a much smaller margin? If it was designed to be racist, it didn't do a very good job, did it?
It did an excellent job of being racist... 200 years ago. You might have noticed that things are different now than they were then.
  #112  
Old 10-24-2018, 06:41 PM
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I'm confused. Obama beat Romney by 5M votes and 126 electoral votes. If the EC is "essentially racist in origin", as if that meant something today, then shouldn't Obama have lost the EC regardless of of winning the popular vote, or at least won it by a much smaller margin? If it was designed to be racist, it didn't do a very good job, did it?
In the first place just because it was racist in origin doesn't mean it necessarily continues to be. It doesn't necessarily result in racists outcomes now. (Though I would argue it did do so in the most recent election)

The 3/5 counting for representation because of that for the Electoral College came about because of our racist slave institution heritage as I've explained before. The fact that it was racist in origin is a reason to eliminate it even if you don't think it is an inherently bad system. It is a relic of a racist past that we should put behind us.
  #113  
Old 10-24-2018, 06:45 PM
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The 3/5ths, relative power of the states and the idea that ordinary people are bozos were all baked into the Electoral College. The EC has no more a racist heritage than any other part of the U.S. government. Which is a lot but no reason to single out the EC for abolishing.
Correct, but racism and sexism were corrected to some extent by allowing blacks and women to vote. The Electoral College has not been corrected.
  #114  
Old 10-24-2018, 06:47 PM
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But the 3/5ths compromise is no longer in effect. It is in no way integral to the Electorate College's purpose or procedure. Your argument is equally applicable to the House of Representatives. Should that be abolished too?

Last edited by CarnalK; 10-24-2018 at 06:49 PM.
  #115  
Old 10-24-2018, 07:08 PM
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But the 3/5ths compromise is no longer in effect. It is in no way integral to the Electorate College's purpose or procedure. Your argument is equally applicable to the House of Representatives. Should that be abolished too?
No it isn't. The House was not set up for racists reasons. Eligibility to vote for the House was racist. That has been corrected (mostly) So there is no need to eliminate the House.

One of the Primary the Electoral College the was set up was racist. Keeping it around is a reminder of a racist past. I'm saying that reason is an added reason to eliminate it. My primary reason it should be eliminated is it is not the right way to do things. Yes that's my opinion and you may not agree, but it has been my position back to the 1970s so it has little to do with the 2000 or 2016 elections.
  #116  
Old 10-24-2018, 07:32 PM
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Well, its not so much I disagree as your position doesn't really make any sense to me. The 3/5ths compromise was used in determining the number of House seats each state got. The EC merely mimicked that. I don't understand how the HoR has had the racism expunged but the EC has not.
  #117  
Old 10-25-2018, 12:27 PM
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Well, its not so much I disagree as your position doesn't really make any sense to me. The 3/5ths compromise was used in determining the number of House seats each state got. The EC merely mimicked that. I don't understand how the HoR has had the racism expunged but the EC has not.
I'll try once more. We need some kind of legislature. There is nothing inherently racist about that need. Popular vote was used to elect Representatives. There's nothing inherently racist about that method (whether or not you think first-past the post, etc. is the best way.) But the way they counted the population to determine the number of representatives for each state used the 3/5 rule. That was inherently racist. It has since been eliminated at least de jure.

There is an inherent need for a President or some kind of head of state. There is nothing inherently racist about that need. He could have been elected by popular vote. There is nothing inherently racist about that method (though it would have been in practice by not letting Blacks vote). Why did they not use that method? One reason is that the North could then have easily outvoted the South. Using the Electoral College allowed the Southern states the best of both words. The slaves could not vote, but the white population got to cast their 3/5 votes. They needed some system like that to get sufficient votes for the slave states without letting the undesirables actually cast votes.

One of the reasons (and I think the primary reason) the Electoral College was established was this double standard. Black slaves can't vote, but we want them to count (for 3/5) in vote totals. I claim that is an inherently racist reason and keeping the Electoral College around serves as a reminder of that because it is not needed. Keeping the HoR around is not a reminder of a racist past as it is required.
  #118  
Old 10-25-2018, 12:55 PM
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Originally, slaves were counted 3/5 (and white women 5/5) even though they couldn't vote.

We do have something similar today. Non-citizens are not allowed to vote but, prior to the 2020 census, were counted for apportionments. You'd better believe this will be a major topic as the Trump Administration sets rules for the upcoming census. They will seek rules that count illegal aliens in Texas but not in California.

Last edited by septimus; 10-25-2018 at 12:56 PM.
  #119  
Old 10-25-2018, 01:02 PM
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We do have something similar today. Non-citizens are not allowed to vote but, prior to the 2020 census, were counted for apportionments. You'd better believe this will be a major topic as the Trump Administration sets rules for the upcoming census. They will seek rules that count illegal aliens in Texas but not in California.
How do you imagine the wording of such new rules? I'm having trouble imagining how you could do that.
  #120  
Old 10-25-2018, 01:34 PM
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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.
Exactly. As a Texan, I'd like my vote to be non-meaningless. As would millions who don't bother because what's the point?
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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.
This may be an argument for the current configuration of the Senate, but makes little sense for President. Why should my vote for the most powerful position in the country, and the only national post, count less than a Wyomingan?

Abolish
  #121  
Old 10-25-2018, 01:37 PM
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How do you imagine the wording of such new rules? I'm having trouble imagining how you could do that.
Are you one of those who doesn't believe in voter suppression either?

Start with intimidating questions: Where were you born? Where were your parents born? Where do your children go to school? Ask for evidence if you don't "like" the answers. Bring an ICE van along when canvassing certain neighborhoods. And this just scratches the surface of what can be done. It will be VERY easy to ensure illegals do everything they can to avoid being "counted."

Do you think it will be hard to implement different census policies in different states? Do you want to buy a bridge I have for sale?
  #122  
Old 10-25-2018, 02:46 PM
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I don't think the real problem is with the institution or how it weighs smaller states more than larger ones.

To me, the issue is that it's a winner-takes-all system. As we see in the posts above where they show the difference between the actual electoral tallies versus what we'd have if they were proportional, several states are a LOT less red than they'd lead you to believe. Texas is one- 17 for Clinton and 20 for Trump? That's a very different story than the real 36 votes for Trump casts.

To some degree, the historical mutation of the process has caused this- the original plan was to have electors individually elected by district- i.e. when you vote for president, you'd actually be choosing a sort of representative to vote for your district (or state as a whole, I suppose). I'm reading that to mean that a proportional choice of the EC is more in line with what the original intent was - the electors were to be chosen locally, and presumably be in line with the local intent as far as Presidents are concerned. Madison and Hamilton were apparently so dismayed with the advent of the general ticket method of voting for electors that they proposed a constitutional amendment to ensure that it would remain elections by district.

I think that a proportional system (i.e. electors chosen proportionately), or even voting for a specific elector by district would be the way to go; you'd have a more representative vote, small states would still remain more relevant, and it might not require quite the level of upheaval and change that abolishing the EC would entail.
  #123  
Old 10-25-2018, 03:20 PM
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I don't think the real problem is with the institution or how it weighs smaller states more than larger ones.

To me, the issue is that it's a winner-takes-all system. As we see in the posts above where they show the difference between the actual electoral tallies versus what we'd have if they were proportional, several states are a LOT less red than they'd lead you to believe. Texas is one- 17 for Clinton and 20 for Trump? That's a very different story than the real 36 votes for Trump casts.

To some degree, the historical mutation of the process has caused this- the original plan was to have electors individually elected by district- i.e. when you vote for president, you'd actually be choosing a sort of representative to vote for your district (or state as a whole, I suppose). I'm reading that to mean that a proportional choice of the EC is more in line with what the original intent was - the electors were to be chosen locally, and presumably be in line with the local intent as far as Presidents are concerned. Madison and Hamilton were apparently so dismayed with the advent of the general ticket method of voting for electors that they proposed a constitutional amendment to ensure that it would remain elections by district.

I think that a proportional system (i.e. electors chosen proportionately), or even voting for a specific elector by district would be the way to go; you'd have a more representative vote, small states would still remain more relevant, and it might not require quite the level of upheaval and change that abolishing the EC would entail.
I agree with a lot of this. The problem with the EC is that there are a lot of methods found since to be way better and it seems like lots of us aren't willing to even entertain the possibility of improving a decrepit system.

A proportional system would serve this country very well. And Congress needs to be increased in size substantially. Let's get better.
  #124  
Old 10-25-2018, 03:55 PM
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Why should my vote for the most powerful position in the country, and the only national post, count less than a Wyomingan?
The President is responsible for all 50 states, and yet also responsible for each individual citizen. To best represent the former, you could theoretically have a vote that just ensures support of 51% of the states, where each state is weighted equally (similar to the Senate). A straight popular vote best represents each individual citizen and is perfectly weighted for population (sorta-kinda similar to the House of Representatives). So the founders made a compromise and just added the (#of senators) + (#of Representatives), gave that number back to each the states (+3 for DC) and told the states "I don't care how you apportion up those numbers, you figure it out, just send that number of electors back when it comes time to vote for president". That's the Electoral College.

Big states already have the capability to beat up on little states in the House. Little states can beat up on big states in the Senate. The President is a quasi-hybrid of the two. Since any legislation pretty much requires all three components to work together, the system theoretically ensures that everyone is represented when it comes any changes, since any component can gum up the works equally.
  #125  
Old 10-25-2018, 09:18 PM
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Let me add a few facts.

In 1992, Clinton would have lost if there had been a runoff, at least that is my prediction. He won because Perot split the Republican vote with Bush I. I don't think very many would dispute that. In 2000 Gore would have won in a runoff, although that is far less certain.

Upthread, someone asked if any state has any system like the senate, say each county having the same number of state senators. I know for a fact that in NJ each county had one senator. Sometime around 1965, the SCOTUS decided that this conflicted with the the 14th amendment. I know that my home state of PA had not redistricted since about 1900, in violation of the state constitution. Earlier Supreme Courts had ruled that this was a political question, not a legal one and the burghers of Philly and Pittsburgh should vote the rascals out ignoring the obvious fact that the failure to redistrict meant that they didn't have the political power to do that.

In my opinion, the most important change that should be made is that every citizen over 18 be given whatever is needed to allow them to vote; that early voting be automatic; that it ought to be a criminal offense for any state voting supervisor to fail to supply enough voting stations in every corner of the state, particularly where poor carless people might live.

Actually, I would like to see every states congressional delegation be determined by the number of voters in the previous congressional election plus 3/5 of all other persons. In other words, I see voter suppression a much more serious threat to democracy than the EC. Although I am not a fan of the EC either.
  #126  
Old 10-25-2018, 09:37 PM
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Needed the dust off and nuke it from orbit option in the poll.
  #127  
Old 10-25-2018, 11:12 PM
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I can understand, though not necessarily agree with, the notion that rural voters should have a bigger electoral voice than urban voters.

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Originally Posted by YamatoTwinkie View Post
Big states already have the capability to beat up on little states in the House. Little states can beat up on big states in the Senate. The President is a quasi-hybrid of the two. Since any legislation pretty much requires all three components to work together, the system theoretically ensures that everyone is represented when it comes any changes, since any component can gum up the works equally.
... but Rhode Island has hugely fewer farmers than California. How is it sensical in the 21st century that Rhode Island's voters should have 38 times the Senate representation of California? Is there something special about Rhode Island in the 21st century than can possibly justify this?
  #128  
Old 10-25-2018, 11:55 PM
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I can understand, though not necessarily agree with, the notion that rural voters should have a bigger electoral voice than urban voters.



... but Rhode Island has hugely fewer farmers than California. How is it sensical in the 21st century that Rhode Island's voters should have 38 times the Senate representation of California? Is there something special about Rhode Island in the 21st century than can possibly justify this?
Itís a state and thatís the compromise that led to a nation to begin with. You think a future European federation is going to erase all current national boundaries? Or do you think theyíll give some form of disproportionate representation to the smaller nations?

You think the UK and France still deserve permanent UN Security Council power? When institutions are formed they are formed in the context of the real world and the terms arenít typically renegotiated continuously. Push for the end of the EC and you may just have a new constitutional convention and civil war. The little states arenít going to give up equal senators.
  #129  
Old 10-26-2018, 12:11 AM
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In 1992, Clinton would have lost if there had been a runoff, at least that is my prediction. He won because Perot split the Republican vote with Bush I. I don't think very many would dispute that.
I don't think the evidence actually supports that. IIRC Perot voters were pretty evenly split as to their second choice.
  #130  
Old 10-26-2018, 12:15 AM
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I think that a proportional system (i.e. electors chosen proportionately), or even voting for a specific elector by district would be the way to go; you'd have a more representative vote, small states would still remain more relevant, and it might not require quite the level of upheaval and change that abolishing the EC would entail.
Proportional would be my strong preference if we have to keep this dumb thing, but while switching would just require individual state laws, it would require a lot of coordination to avoid throwing an election. Republicans would want blue states to switch first and vice-versa.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 10-26-2018 at 12:15 AM.
  #131  
Old 10-26-2018, 08:53 AM
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I can understand, though not necessarily agree with, the notion that rural voters should have a bigger electoral voice than urban voters.

... but Rhode Island has hugely fewer farmers than California. How is it sensical in the 21st century that Rhode Island's voters should have 38 times the Senate representation of California? Is there something special about Rhode Island in the 21st century than can possibly justify this?
If we go down that route, why even have states to begin with? If I live 3 miles from the border of California, I commute to California for work, and I shop in California, why don't I get to vote on California stuff too? How is it sensical in the 21st century that something like a river separating two homes can cause different congressional representation at the national level? Why do we need two Dakotas in this day and age? What sense does that make?

If a Californian really wants more per-capita Senate representation, akin to Rhode Island, well, move to Rhode Island. Nothing's stopping them. In fact, just by moving away, the rest of California gets better per-capita Senate representation too! Win-win!

If a Californian wants to stay in California, but still have more per-capita Senate representation, first convince the rest of California to hold a referendum to break up into more than one State. This should be easy, right? If per-capita senate representation is really this critical, it should be a slam dunk. Sure, there's still the hurdle of convincing the rest of the states to admit the newly carved-up California states to the union, but WHY ARE YOU EVEN THINKING ABOUT THAT WHEN YOU HAVEN'T CONVINCED CALIFORNIA TO DO IT YET? Baby steps. Heck, you could even propose splitting California into two states: "Central Valley" and "Coast", that way many of those valley R's who are currently getting 0 Senate Representation now get 2 Senators voting their way, and the rest of the liberal coast still gets a huge increase in their per-capita Senate representation! Seems much more fair than the existing setup , right?

If a Californian wants to stay in California, still have more per-capita Senate representation, but wants to preserve existing California borders simply for "historical reasons", well, what about my historical reasons for keeping the constitutional rules for Senate assignment as-is (that every single state agreed to when admitted)?
  #132  
Old 10-26-2018, 09:15 AM
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In my opinion, the most important change that should be made is that every citizen over 18 be given whatever is needed to allow them to vote; that early voting be automatic; that it ought to be a criminal offense for any state voting supervisor to fail to supply enough voting stations in every corner of the state, particularly where poor carless people might live.
Yoou're too deep in the details. What needs to happen is there needs to be an independent, non-partisan agency that runs elections.

The Georgia governor's election this year is not a legitimate election. A U.S. state is going to choose a governor in a manner that simply cannot be seriously called democratic. It doesn't matter where you stand on the issue of provisional votes or voter roll purging; the fact that one of the two candidates is running the election makes the election a sad joke. If Kemp wins, which is extremely likely, he cannot seriously be said by a reasonable person to have been legitimately elected.

An independent elections commission might do some of this and some of that, but one can quibble over the details all day. What matters is the independence. I use Georgia as my example, but it matters in a presidential election more than the EC does. The EC is dumb, but if it was independently run, at least it's a fair fight.
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  #133  
Old 10-26-2018, 10:10 AM
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Okay, let me take something back. If you really are concerned with your vote not counting, don't move (which is what I would, and could do). Push your state to switch to a Congressional District Method for the electoral college, like Maine. Write letters. Make phone calls. Hell, run for office.

It probably won't work, but it is far more realistic than a constitutional amendment with a 38 state ratification, which you will never live to see.
  #134  
Old 10-26-2018, 11:20 AM
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... but Rhode Island has hugely fewer farmers than California. How is it sensical in the 21st century that Rhode Island's voters should have 38 times the Senate representation of California? Is there something special about Rhode Island in the 21st century than can possibly justify this?
It's one of the fundamental compromises on which our country is founded, and it's intended for that exact reason you mention- so that say... Rhode Island as a state doesn't get entirely overwhelmed by larger states in terms of legislative power.

Everything from those days is predicated on the notion of the union between what were effectively sovereign states, and the wording of the Constitution reflects that. It's written as a document where the States delegated power TO the Federal government, and not the other way around.

So it's entirely natural that the states themselves would want to ensure that they didn't become inconsequential parts of the larger whole, and the Connecticut compromise ensures that smaller states don't get overwhelmed, but larger states' populations still get proportional representation.

In other words, the Senate represents the States, and the House represents the people, or at least in theory that's the idea.
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Old 10-26-2018, 12:40 PM
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Why should my vote for the most powerful position in the country, and the only national post, count less than a Wyomingan?
You don't vote for the most powerful position in the country. You vote for Texan electors.

Also, if Latinos voted in anywhere near the proportion that white people do, Texas would be a swing state.


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  #136  
Old 10-26-2018, 02:19 PM
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One thing that might help? Bring back literacy tests! Even some Dopers have great difficulty reading for comprehension.

I've stressed that the small-sate EVs are not the important problem. Still I took the liberty of addressing some of the confusion on that topic.

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I can understand, though not necessarily agree with, the notion that rural voters should have a bigger electoral voice than urban voters.
Quote:
Originally Posted by YamatoTwinkie
Big states already have the capability to beat up on little states in the House. Little states can beat up on big states in the Senate. The President is a quasi-hybrid of the two. Since any legislation pretty much requires all three components to work together, the system theoretically ensures that everyone is represented when it comes any changes, since any component can gum up the works equally.
... but Rhode Island has hugely fewer farmers than California. How is it sensical in the 21st century that Rhode Island's voters should have 38 times the Senate representation of California? Is there something special about Rhode Island in the 21st century than can possibly justify this?
The Yamato quote I respond to very clearly presents the present-day division into little and big states as part of our great system of checks and balances. I challenge that.

Oh, I can understand Alaska getting a special voice despite its tiny population, but "do we really need two Dakotas"? Utah has a unique culture ... which it shares with parts of Idaho and northern Arizona. Does Rhode Island really have a unique culture that should give it special "small state rights"? If so, what about Santa Cruz, California? ó Should it be a state?; its culture is very different from San Jose's.

I've asserted many times that no controversial Constitutional Amendment is possible in this partisan clime and am happy to defend the EC with "It won't be changed anyway." But Yamato presented Rhode Island's special power as a good thing ó that's what I was refuting.

The EC was developed for practical reasons in the 18th century but in my reply I wrote "in the 21st century" TWICE. I even used italics for emphasis.

My error, I guess. I needed bold and large-font as well.
"in the 21st century"


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Itís a state and thatís the compromise that led to a nation to begin with....
Did you notice I wrote "in the 21st century" ?

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Originally Posted by YamatoTwinkie View Post
If we go down that route, why even have states to begin with?...

If a Californian really wants more per-capita Senate representation, akin to Rhode Island, well, move to Rhode Island. Nothing's stopping them. In fact, just by moving away, the rest of California gets better per-capita Senate representation too! Win-win!

If a Californian wants to stay in California, but still have more per-capita Senate representation, first convince the rest of California to hold a referendum to break up into more than one State...

If a Californian wants to stay in California, still have more per-capita Senate representation, but wants to preserve existing California borders simply for "historical reasons", well, what about my historical reasons for keeping the constitutional rules for Senate assignment as-is (that every single state agreed to when admitted)?
"Down that route"? We were leaving Rhode Island with its Governor, its two Senators, and just trying to make the EC more democratic. Why did you stop your slippery slope where you did? You didn't even accuse me of being an anarchist.

(BTW, the 2nd quoted paragraph is reminiscent of octopus' recent counselling a black American to move to another country.)

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Okay, let me take something back. If you really are concerned with your vote not counting, don't move (which is what I would, and could do). Push your state to switch to a Congressional District Method for the electoral college, like Maine. Write letters. Make phone calls. Hell, run for office.

It probably won't work, but it is far more realistic than a constitutional amendment with a 38 state ratification, which you will never live to see.
Ummmm, I'm afraid you'll have to check your analytic skills there, Ashtura. The big complaint among rational D voters is that Hillary's victory over Trump by a margin of almost 4.3 million votes gave her 55 electoral votes. In Florida Trump won by less than 113,000 votes and got 29 electoral votes. This means those marginal R voters in Florida each had 20 times as much weight as the marginal California voters.

Breaking up California into small states would exacerbate, not fix, that problem.
  #137  
Old 10-26-2018, 02:36 PM
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Whatís so special about today?
  #138  
Old 10-26-2018, 02:43 PM
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... Is that the way to run a stable country?
It has, thus far at least, made us a largely "stable" country that is prosperous and powerful, so ... I guess so?
  #139  
Old 10-26-2018, 02:44 PM
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Well, for one, it's the time we're in right now. The laws we have today should reflect the situation today, just as the laws of yesteryear should reflect the situation of yesteryear.
  #140  
Old 10-26-2018, 03:49 PM
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So, maybe I'm the last living American who was required to take Civics in HS. As explained to me then, the purpose of the EC was to balance small states interests against large states, especially as it applied to the distribution of the resources collected centrally by the federal government(and before the federal income tax, that really wasn't all that much, but still a bone of contention). If you flat out use majority vote, the large states will vote for whatever group is going to actively redistribute income most aggressively, because, due to their larger population base, they gain a larger share of the bounty of those funds. Federal programs are proportional to people served, after all. The EC attempts to balance this effect by giving the smaller states disproportionate stature, in order to ensure a more equitable share of the spoils of federal largeness across ALL states. The EC is about states, not people, not voters. Given the left is more given to income redistribution than the right, the (slight) imbalance in popular vote/winner over the large 10 election cycles or so might suggest the EC is actually fulfilling its intended purpose. (the other issue may be the loss of more centrist positions and a move to the extremes in both parties). The biggest by far part of my personal tax burden is federal; (let's not gt into SS). I'd rather see that distributed as evenly as possible across the entire country then to those few large states with the biggest mouths, voter-wise. That's a personal opinion; one can argue the larger population needs more help; the counter argument is the larger state has a larger economy and the greater ability to help itself than, say, Vermont. It keeps the biggest states from uniting in a certain political stance and bullying the other states for their lunch money, so to speak. I guess it depends on how you want to define egalitarian; the need of the many poor in big states, or the need of the poor everywhere in the country. I prefer the later alternative, as poor is poor. I can't claim to agree with some of the outcomes due to the EC, but the long-term function of the EC has to date keep state tax return benefits roughy in balance. The occasional electoral burp seems like a small price to pay for that economic equality of federal funding to states large and small.
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  #141  
Old 10-26-2018, 04:26 PM
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So, maybe I'm the last living American who was required to take Civics in HS. As explained to me then, the purpose of the EC was to balance small states interests against large states, especially as it applied to the distribution of the resources collected centrally by the federal government(and before the federal income tax, that really wasn't all that much, but still a bone of contention). If you flat out use majority vote, the large states will vote for whatever group is going to actively redistribute income most aggressively, because, due to their larger population base, they gain a larger share of the bounty of those funds. Federal programs are proportional to people served, after all. The EC attempts to balance this effect by giving the smaller states disproportionate stature, in order to ensure a more equitable share of the spoils of federal largeness across ALL states. The EC is about states, not people, not voters. Given the left is more given to income redistribution than the right, the (slight) imbalance in popular vote/winner over the large 10 election cycles or so might suggest the EC is actually fulfilling its intended purpose. (the other issue may be the loss of more centrist positions and a move to the extremes in both parties). The biggest by far part of my personal tax burden is federal; (let's not gt into SS). I'd rather see that distributed as evenly as possible across the entire country then to those few large states with the biggest mouths, voter-wise. That's a personal opinion; one can argue the larger population needs more help; the counter argument is the larger state has a larger economy and the greater ability to help itself than, say, Vermont. It keeps the biggest states from uniting in a certain political stance and bullying the other states for their lunch money, so to speak. I guess it depends on how you want to define egalitarian; the need of the many poor in big states, or the need of the poor everywhere in the country. I prefer the later alternative, as poor is poor. I can't claim to agree with some of the outcomes due to the EC, but the long-term function of the EC has to date keep state tax return benefits roughy in balance. The occasional electoral burp seems like a small price to pay for that economic equality of federal funding to states large and small.
Did your civics class cover the difference between the legislative and executive branches of government? What you are describing is almost exclusively under the control of the former, not the latter, and the EC relates only to the latter.

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  #142  
Old 10-26-2018, 04:31 PM
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"Most of the people get most of the money" isn't income redistribution. It's what you get when you don't have income redistribution.
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Old 10-26-2018, 04:31 PM
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Hey, he said he was the last living American to take a civics class not the last living American who paid attention in civics class.
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Old 10-26-2018, 04:32 PM
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I'm starting to think we should collectively chuck this whole civilization thingy and go back to the joys of hunting and gathering...
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Old 10-26-2018, 04:35 PM
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I'm starting to think we should collectively chuck this whole civilization thingy and go back to the joys of hunting and gathering...
Do the hunters get the same number of votes as the gatherers? I think we need a compromise so that one group doesn't dominate the other.
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Old 10-26-2018, 04:40 PM
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Do the hunters get the same number of votes as the gatherers? I think we need a compromise so that one group doesn't dominate the other.
The group that starves the least gets to dominate (this season), and the ones who bring in the food get the most votes. Here, have some beads....
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Old 10-26-2018, 05:25 PM
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Well, for one, it's the time we're in right now. The laws we have today should reflect the situation today, just as the laws of yesteryear should reflect the situation of yesteryear.
Institutions, nations, contracts etc arenít continuously reformed or renegotiated moment by moment though. Precedent and procedure matter. Are you in favor of a constitutional convention now? What period should they occur?
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Old 10-26-2018, 06:47 PM
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Institutions, nations, contracts etc arenít continuously reformed or renegotiated moment by moment though. Precedent and procedure matter. Are you in favor of a constitutional convention now? What period should they occur?
It has been a couple of centuries. We do have the world's oldest running constitutional democracy. Most other nations that democratized copied our model, but also made some changes, improvements they saw that would avoid some of the difficulties our v0.110 to v0.127 has encountered. We're still in beta testing, and some flaws have certainly been uncovered, and only quick fix patches have been applied.

It is time for a new version. Learn from not only our own mistakes, but the efforts of others that have copied and expanded upon our model. I do support a constitutional convention to completely overhaul the thing.

You ask what period, I ask, if not now, then when?

The set up of the distribution of power was a compromise. It wasn't a founding principle, it wasn't a self evident truth, it was a political concession from the more powerful and wealthy and populous state towards the smaller poorer state because without it, we'd still be under the articles of confederacy, and those didn't serve anyone well.

We are not in that condition anymore. All the players that negotiated that contract are long gone and buried. All the political alliances that created that contract are forgotten. We are not beholden to the past, we are beholden to the future, and the world we leave for our descendants. The founding fathers didn't gnash their teeth at the idea of throwing away traditions that no longer served their needs. They not only broke away from Britain, they then went and threw out the contract that they did it under, replacing it with one that they felt better served their needs.

They even gave us the tools to update it, not thinking that they were going to get things right on the first try. We should look to their vision of creating a better future, than to look at the past to try to emulate and repeat it.
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Old 10-26-2018, 09:22 PM
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It has been a couple of centuries. We do have the world's oldest running constitutional democracy. Most other nations that democratized copied our model, but also made some changes, improvements they saw that would avoid some of the difficulties our v0.110 to v0.127 has encountered. We're still in beta testing, and some flaws have certainly been uncovered, and only quick fix patches have been applied.

It is time for a new version. Learn from not only our own mistakes, but the efforts of others that have copied and expanded upon our model. I do support a constitutional convention to completely overhaul the thing.

You ask what period, I ask, if not now, then when?

The set up of the distribution of power was a compromise. It wasn't a founding principle, it wasn't a self evident truth, it was a political concession from the more powerful and wealthy and populous state towards the smaller poorer state because without it, we'd still be under the articles of confederacy, and those didn't serve anyone well.

We are not in that condition anymore. All the players that negotiated that contract are long gone and buried. All the political alliances that created that contract are forgotten. We are not beholden to the past, we are beholden to the future, and the world we leave for our descendants. The founding fathers didn't gnash their teeth at the idea of throwing away traditions that no longer served their needs. They not only broke away from Britain, they then went and threw out the contract that they did it under, replacing it with one that they felt better served their needs.

They even gave us the tools to update it, not thinking that they were going to get things right on the first try. We should look to their vision of creating a better future, than to look at the past to try to emulate and repeat it.
Thatís fine by me. We have an amendment process and we also could call another constitutional convention. Iíd be very concerned about the 2nd option though.

I do disagree that we are not at the very least partially beholden to the past.
  #150  
Old 10-26-2018, 11:07 PM
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Okay, let me take something back. If you really are concerned with your vote not counting, don't move (which is what I would, and could do). Push your state to switch to a Congressional District Method for the electoral college, like Maine. Write letters. Make phone calls. Hell, run for office.
Moving to a gerrymandering-based system sounds like a pretty terrible idea that would just increase the distortion. It would have installed Mitt Romney as president in 2012 even though he lost by nearly four points.

For it to make more peoples' votes "count," there would have to be more people living in close congressional districts than in close states. I don't think that's the case.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 10-26-2018 at 11:10 PM.
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