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  #51  
Old 03-20-2019, 03:56 PM
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I really wonder what the Republican reaction would be if the roles had reversed and Clinton had won the EC while losing the popular vote. I bet we would have a lot more solid red states signing on to the National Vote Compact.
  #52  
Old 03-20-2019, 03:56 PM
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Why is it a better situation to have the nine sheep vote to eat the ten wolves, and have them prevail on the question?
That's not really what we have though. A straight Democratic vote would simply put all the power in the hands of the majority. With EC, a minority party can still win, just as a majority party can win.
  #53  
Old 03-20-2019, 04:00 PM
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I really wonder what the Republican reaction would be if the roles had reversed and Clinton had won the EC while losing the popular vote. I bet we would have a lot more solid red states signing on to the National Vote Compact.
It looks like a Democrat phenomenon if you ask me. They lost Supreme Court majority and immediately started talking about court packing and term limits. Lost the EC, wants to do away with it. Not enough votes in rural states? Expand voting age to (lol) 16.

It seems like their strategy involves altering institutions to produce favorable outcomes, not necessarily to becoming a more appealing party. Indeed, they've veered very hard left since 2016.
  #54  
Old 03-20-2019, 04:04 PM
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If its not ok for the large states to ignore the will of the small states, then why is it ok for the small states to ignore the will of the big states? Just because that gets you your way? Is that really all that matters? Why can't your side even comprehend why the larger states may resent that? You do realize that the longer this goes on and the more power gets concentrated into the less populated areas as we get more and more urban as a country is not sustainable right? What would happen if 80% of the people lived in urban areas, but everything is still being controlled by the 20% that live more spread out in the less populated areas? At what point would you agree that that power imbalance isn't fair or healthy for a democratic country? Only if it happens to your side?
Nothing is "controlled" by the smaller states, they just get a bit of a bump. California has 55 electoral votes and Wyoming has 3. California dwarfs Wyoming in that department. Yes, you could say that by raw numbers it should be 66-1, but again, that was the deal. There would not be a United States without that deal.
  #55  
Old 03-20-2019, 04:12 PM
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I think trying to eliminate the EC is a colossal waste of everyone's time, unless we're going to change the things that even small states would be willing to consider. Eliminating faithless electors is something that even small states would be willing to consider because it's just as possible that their candidate of choice could be screwed in a tight election.

But you're not going to get states to give up their representation - there's not a single legislature that I know of that would agree to that, so it's nothing more than bar stool talk. And the good news is, I think that the progressives probably have other options on the table, like doubling down on grassroots efforts to get out the vote, and selling their ideas, which will probably have greater appeal over time.
  #56  
Old 03-20-2019, 04:13 PM
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Nothing is "controlled" by the smaller states, they just get a bit of a bump. California has 55 electoral votes and Wyoming has 3. California dwarfs Wyoming in that department. Yes, you could say that by raw numbers it should be 66-1, but again, that was the deal. There would not be a United States without that deal.
So every citizen of Wyoming has about three or four times the voting influence for president of every citizen of California. And every citizen of Wyoming has about sixty times the voting influence of citizens of California when it comes to US senate policy.

That doesn't quite seem fair and reasonable to me.
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  #57  
Old 03-20-2019, 04:24 PM
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Nothing is "controlled" by the smaller states, they just get a bit of a bump. California has 55 electoral votes and Wyoming has 3. California dwarfs Wyoming in that department. Yes, you could say that by raw numbers it should be 66-1, but again, that was the deal. There would not be a United States without that deal.
Some 55K voters in Wyoming voted for Ms. Clinton. A bit more than a fifth of the votes cast. They basically amounted to protest votes, because everyone knew there was no way Wyoming would go blue. In California, the number of people who cast an obviously futile red vote was sixteen times the total number of votes in Wyoming, for any candidate. The EC disenfranchised nearly 4.5 million voters in California.

My own state was a lock, so my vote would not have mattered. Which is a problem, because if I am discouraged from voting due to the futility of it, the down-ticket issues suffer from my lack of participation. This issue is bigger than just the WH.
  #58  
Old 03-20-2019, 04:51 PM
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So every citizen of Wyoming has about three or four times the voting influence for president of every citizen of California. And every citizen of Wyoming has about sixty times the voting influence of citizens of California when it comes to US senate policy.

That doesn't quite seem fair and reasonable to me.
It wasn't supposed to be fair to an individual voter. By design, the individual voter was supposed to have no direct say on who gets to be president anyway- originally the states were just allocated electors for the EC, to assign as they see fit. They don't even have to consult you about it, but since you vote for the state government, each state just delegated that power back down to the voter.

The house represents the will of the majority of the population. The senate represents the will of the majority of the states. The president represents the will of a combined hybrid of both the majority of the states and the majority of the population. Neither has much power on their own, they all require consent from the other to get anything done.

Sure, it sucks when 51% of the population can't get anything done, but it also sucks if only 20 states (of the United States) were somehow able to push around the other 30.
  #59  
Old 03-20-2019, 04:56 PM
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Some 55K voters in Wyoming voted for Ms. Clinton. A bit more than a fifth of the votes cast. They basically amounted to protest votes, because everyone knew there was no way Wyoming would go blue. In California, the number of people who cast an obviously futile red vote was sixteen times the total number of votes in Wyoming, for any candidate. The EC disenfranchised nearly 4.5 million voters in California.

My own state was a lock, so my vote would not have mattered. Which is a problem, because if I am discouraged from voting due to the futility of it, the down-ticket issues suffer from my lack of participation. This issue is bigger than just the WH.
You guys like to use the word "disenfranchised" for almost everything, but that is just not the case. When you side loses an election, it does not mean that you were disenfranchised. If we abolished the EC, would you still say that the losing side was disenfranchised?

I don't see the problem with the down-ticket issue. In my mind, if someone would only come to the polls to vote for the presidential race and hasn't given much thought to the down ticket races, then I think it is best for society that this individual NOT be voting for the down ticket races. They haven't researched the issues properly. I have never been in favor of more people voting; only if they have reached an informed opinion through research, whether that view is the same or different than mine.
  #60  
Old 03-20-2019, 05:01 PM
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So every citizen of Wyoming has about three or four times the voting influence for president of every citizen of California. And every citizen of Wyoming has about sixty times the voting influence of citizens of California when it comes to US senate policy.

That doesn't quite seem fair and reasonable to me.
And California has the edge 53-1 in the House of Representatives. It is a compromise to even have a United States. Wyoming and many other small states would not join if it were any different. Plus, these states feed us.
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Old 03-20-2019, 05:03 PM
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And California has the edge 53-1 in the House of Representatives. It is a compromise to even have a United States. Wyoming and many other small states would not join if it were any different. Plus, these states feed us.
By "these states feed us" are you referring to California?
  #62  
Old 03-20-2019, 05:15 PM
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When we get away from the EC perhaps we can also have popular votes on fundamental rights as well. Why let 9 judges have a disproportionate voice?
  #63  
Old 03-20-2019, 05:16 PM
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By "these states feed us" are you referring to California?
California provides some food. That is true. Where does California get its water?
  #64  
Old 03-20-2019, 05:44 PM
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And California has the edge 53-1 in the House of Representatives. It is a compromise to even have a United States. Wyoming and many other small states would not join if it were any different. Plus, these states feed us.
California has more than 68 times as many people in it that Wyoming, so claiming it "has the edge 53-1" is kinda pointless. And the other bit of silly nonsense rhetoric in here, "these states feed us"... California also has the highest agricultural output, at least in terms of monetary value. Given that, if we value the states that "feed us", you'd think we wouldn't consistently give the shaft to the state most responsible for the US's agricultural output!

If you are noticing a pattern of "this argument in favor of a blatantly unrepresentative system is really really bad, and so is that one, and so is that one, and so is that one", there is a reason for this: there is no reasonable defense of the US system. It's a really bad, really stupid system. It takes all the crucial disadvantages of first-past-the-post voting and squares them, by taking one winner-take-all election and splitting it into two separate layers of winner-take-all elections. It's beyond retarded, and there's no actual defense for it, which is why you end up with these kinds of mealy-mouthed non-arguments from people who really enjoy the unreasonable advantages their political party gets but want to convince us or themselves that they somehow deserve this advantage, and other people who aren't quite as motivated in their reasoning but also don't know any better.

I mean seriously, look at these arguments!

"It is a compromise to even have a United States." No! It was a compromise, some 250 years ago, and since then the world has changed. At this point, the idea that, say, Texas could do something that would make California leave the union is rightfully derided as patently laughable. The world has moved on from the time when we had to worry that if Virginia didn't get a big enough piece of the pie, they'd take their ball and go home.

"A straight Democratic vote would simply put all the power in the hands of the majority. With EC, a minority party can still win, just as a majority party can win." The person who posted this so fundamentally misunderstands the concept of the tyranny of the majority that it makes me wonder if they ever took a moment to think about it beyond what the individual words mean. Newsflash: the "tyranny of the majority" is about ensuring that when you elect a government, that government cannot then stomp over minorities. This is not achieved by simply handing that majoritarian power to said minority. That a person can be handed power with 3 million less votes than their opponent does not promise that that person will not rule tyrannically, it just means that they aren't ruling on behalf of the majority. You are appealing to a concept you do not understand to bolster your own completely inverted version of said argument. Seriously, try to formulate why this quirk actually is in any way helpful or meaningful without using the phrase "tyranny of the majority" to short-circuit your own logic. Let's play some fuckin' rationalist taboo and unpack that shit. Can you explain your argument as to why this is important without that cliche? I really don't think so.

"It's a horrible idea that would lead to the country being run by the coasts and urban areas." Firstly, if that's where all the people are, that's who should be running the country. Because that's how democracy works. You shouldn't get an arbitrary "lives in the middle of fucking nowhere" bonus. As Angus Johnston put it: "The core argument for the electoral college is that it's better for a presidential race to be won by the candidate who has the support of a minority the population, but only where that minority is demographically appealing to the person making the argument." And secondly, it's just not actually true. Never mind that candidates don't do a whole lot of campaigning in major cities right now anyways, because the electoral college means that if your state is host to a major city, your state is probably going blue, and there's really not much you can do about it either way, so your vote doesn't matter. The fact is that what people typically refer to as the lock-in "blue cities" amounts to California and New York, and then you're 12% of the way there. Wow! 12% That's totally going to win you an election! Throw in Chicago, that'll get you another... what, 3% of the way there? Take the top 10 metro areas in the country, combine them together, and you end up with a population of just over a quarter of the country. Which also happens to be the priciest areas to campaign in (where does a billboard cost more - Times Square or the Town Hall of Podunk, TX?), and gets you not even halfway to where you need to be. New York state races are an excellent test case. Where do they campaign? Is it exclusively in the massive city that makes up about half the state? Or do they spend an awful lot of time combing the countryside trying to pick up stray votes in upstate New York? (It's the last one, in case it wasn't obvious.)

These arguments are all really, really bad. I'd challenge anyone who disagrees to try to make the case to enact the electoral college system in some other country which doesn't have it. Tell us why, say, Germany should switch to the electoral college. What makes it so superior to our system in theory or in practice? The reality is, this case cannot be made, because the electoral college sucks. It sucks on every conceivable level, especially when you consider that the party it systematically empowers happens to be just so, so, so bad. But even if it didn't, the EC would suck all on its own for the same reason first past the post sucks even when it doesn't unreasonably elect a goddamn fascist apologist or neocon warmonger.

TL;DR: every argument in favor of the electoral college that doesn't amount to "Neener neener it's there you can't get rid of it and it helps us win" is nonsensical sophistry at best. Congrats, HurricaneDitka, your defense is the most honest and well-reasoned.

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  #65  
Old 03-20-2019, 06:23 PM
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The arguments in favor of retaining the EC are weak, weak, weak. (That doesn't matter, since they're basically only meant to provide rhetorical ammunition to Republicans, who want to preserve it --when they do, and few seem not to -- because it benefits their party.)

I'll shoot down a few I've seen versions of in this thread, knowing that it probably won't do much good, since good-faith, well-informed arguments for the EC are rare. (And even those are bad.) For the record:
1) "Only the coasts/large cities will decide." Nonsense. Every vote will count equally, and believe it or not there are plenty of Republicans in New York, California, NYC, LA, et al who will suddenly be effectively reenfranchised by a popular vote.
2) "Candidates will ignore small/rural states." They basically ignore plenty of them now, because those states' winners are foregone conclusions. Please don't ask me for cites before asking yourself whether this is true, because it's true.
2a) "Candidates won't visit small/rural states." We're a country of 330 million people. (Not all vote, obviously.) The vast majority of us -- I'm sure it's way more than 99% -- get "visited" by our candidates through media. (Unless "visited" specifically means "came personally and spoke at some event nearby that I didn't go to, but theoretically could have.") We meet them though news coverage and advertising and word of mouth. Quit pretending that, say, general election candidates' visits to Iowa bring most Iowans closer to them, somehow. (I am not talking about the Iowa caucus process here, but someone will make an argument based on that, I have a feeling, so here I am saying "don't," since the Iowa caucuses are not a national election.)
2z) This "they won't take small/rural states seriously" argument is, IMHO, actually an argument that "they won't take us Republicans/older people/white people seriously" -- the central anxiety of modern conservatism. People, disenfranchising Californians is not going to make homophobia cool again, or get people to shut up about our country's racist past and present.

Maybe I'll add more when I have some time -- though, as I said, basically no one has an argument for the EC that's good-faith and not based on false reasoning. (Hey, fight my ignorance! And yes, "basically no one" is not the same as "no one." But the good-faith arguments I've seen are somewhere between weak and utterly repellent, so bring your A game.)
I can attest to #2. Presidential candidates very rarely visit Wyoming. Why should they when its three measly electoral votes that were always solidly in the bag for the GOP. In fact, it decreases motivation to vote no matter which party you belong to. In a state in which fewer than 1 out of 5 registered voters are Democrats, the party whose electors get to vote in the EC is a foregone conclusion.
  #66  
Old 03-20-2019, 06:23 PM
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I always liked the compromise of the electoral college and thought of it as communities getting to put their thumb on the scale. Sort of like that a person in San Francisco, California and a person in Casper, Wyoming each get one vote and San Francisco and Casper themselves get one vote. So, yeah, the person in Casper has more voting power. But, this isn't a thumb on the scale anymore. People in Casper, Wyoming are sitting on the scale and it isn't good for a Democratic Republic to get that out of whack.

The argument that the popular vote would have Casper get ignored is not wrong, but the people making that argument seem perfectly fine with the people of San Francisco getting ignored.
  #67  
Old 03-20-2019, 06:28 PM
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California has more than 68 times as many people in it that Wyoming, so claiming it "has the edge 53-1" is kinda pointless. And the other bit of silly nonsense rhetoric in here, "these states feed us"... California also has the highest agricultural output, at least in terms of monetary value. Given that, if we value the states that "feed us", you'd think we wouldn't consistently give the shaft to the state most responsible for the US's agricultural output!

If you are noticing a pattern of "this argument in favor of a blatantly unrepresentative system is really really bad, and so is that one, and so is that one, and so is that one", there is a reason for this: there is no reasonable defense of the US system. It's a really bad, really stupid system. It takes all the crucial disadvantages of first-past-the-post voting and squares them, by taking one winner-take-all election and splitting it into two separate layers of winner-take-all elections. It's beyond retarded, and there's no actual defense for it, which is why you end up with these kinds of mealy-mouthed non-arguments from people who really enjoy the unreasonable advantages their political party gets but want to convince us or themselves that they somehow deserve this advantage, and other people who aren't quite as motivated in their reasoning but also don't know any better.

I mean seriously, look at these arguments!

"It is a compromise to even have a United States." No! It was a compromise, some 250 years ago, and since then the world has changed. At this point, the idea that, say, Texas could do something that would make California leave the union is rightfully derided as patently laughable. The world has moved on from the time when we had to worry that if Virginia didn't get a big enough piece of the pie, they'd take their ball and go home.

"A straight Democratic vote would simply put all the power in the hands of the majority. With EC, a minority party can still win, just as a majority party can win." The person who posted this so fundamentally misunderstands the concept of the tyranny of the majority that it makes me wonder if they ever took a moment to think about it beyond what the individual words mean. Newsflash: the "tyranny of the majority" is about ensuring that when you elect a government, that government cannot then stomp over minorities. This is not achieved by simply handing that majoritarian power to said minority. That a person can be handed power with 3 million less votes than their opponent does not promise that that person will not rule tyrannically, it just means that they aren't ruling on behalf of the majority. You are appealing to a concept you do not understand to bolster your own completely inverted version of said argument. Seriously, try to formulate why this quirk actually is in any way helpful or meaningful without using the phrase "tyranny of the majority" to short-circuit your own logic. Let's play some fuckin' rationalist taboo and unpack that shit. Can you explain your argument as to why this is important without that cliche? I really don't think so.

"It's a horrible idea that would lead to the country being run by the coasts and urban areas." Firstly, if that's where all the people are, that's who should be running the country. Because that's how democracy works. You shouldn't get an arbitrary "lives in the middle of fucking nowhere" bonus. As Angus Johnston put it: "The core argument for the electoral college is that it's better for a presidential race to be won by the candidate who has the support of a minority the population, but only where that minority is demographically appealing to the person making the argument." And secondly, it's just not actually true. Never mind that candidates don't do a whole lot of campaigning in major cities right now anyways, because the electoral college means that if your state is host to a major city, your state is probably going blue, and there's really not much you can do about it either way, so your vote doesn't matter. The fact is that what people typically refer to as the lock-in "blue cities" amounts to California and New York, and then you're 12% of the way there. Wow! 12% That's totally going to win you an election! Throw in Chicago, that'll get you another... what, 3% of the way there? Take the top 10 metro areas in the country, combine them together, and you end up with a population of just over a quarter of the country. Which also happens to be the priciest areas to campaign in (where does a billboard cost more - Times Square or the Town Hall of Podunk, TX?), and gets you not even halfway to where you need to be. New York state races are an excellent test case. Where do they campaign? Is it exclusively in the massive city that makes up about half the state? Or do they spend an awful lot of time combing the countryside trying to pick up stray votes in upstate New York? (It's the last one, in case it wasn't obvious.)

These arguments are all really, really bad. I'd challenge anyone who disagrees to try to make the case to enact the electoral college system in some other country which doesn't have it. Tell us why, say, Germany should switch to the electoral college. What makes it so superior to our system in theory or in practice? The reality is, this case cannot be made, because the electoral college sucks. It sucks on every conceivable level, especially when you consider that the party it systematically empowers happens to be just so, so, so bad. But even if it didn't, the EC would suck all on its own for the same reason first past the post sucks even when it doesn't unreasonably elect a goddamn fascist apologist or neocon warmonger.

TL;DR: every argument in favor of the electoral college that doesn't amount to "Neener neener it's there you can't get rid of it and it helps us win" is nonsensical sophistry at best. Congrats, HurricaneDitka, your defense is the most honest and well-reasoned.
Then we'll take our ball and go home. What, you think it is fair to induce us to join a union where we get a bump in power, but take it away and make us stay by force?

Again, that was the deal so that we have a Union of states instead of several different countries.

A car salesman cannot get me to buy a car at a particular price if he throws in the leather seats and then later say that he wants the leather seats back. Sorry, that was the deal.
  #68  
Old 03-20-2019, 08:00 PM
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Then we'll take our ball and go home. What, you think it is fair to induce us to join a union where we get a bump in power, but take it away and make us stay by force?



Again, that was the deal so that we have a Union of states instead of several different countries.



A car salesman cannot get me to buy a car at a particular price if he throws in the leather seats and then later say that he wants the leather seats back. Sorry, that was the deal.

So you should have no issues with this “bump in power” being restructured back to the extent it was when this deal was originally struck.
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/21/u...power.amp.html
  #69  
Old 03-20-2019, 08:04 PM
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Then we'll take our ball and go home. What, you think it is fair to induce us to join a union where we get a bump in power, but take it away and make us stay by force?

Again, that was the deal so that we have a Union of states instead of several different countries.

A car salesman cannot get me to buy a car at a particular price if he throws in the leather seats and then later say that he wants the leather seats back. Sorry, that was the deal.
If it is being "taken away" it would be done so by the express authority of the "deal" to amend the terms of the deal.

If the smaller states agreed to rules that could change the terms of the deal, then yes, they have to live with the consequences if the terms are changed by those rules.
  #70  
Old 03-20-2019, 08:13 PM
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That's not really what we have though. A straight Democratic vote would simply put all the power in the hands of the majority. With EC, a minority party can still win, just as a majority party can win.
What are you talking about? The're's only one President, so whoever wins the office wins all the power. Are you confusing the electoral college with congressional elections? It seems so, because "majority party" and "minority party" are irrelevant terms when we're talking about "a single candidate who gets more of the votes and wins the race" or "a single candidate who gets fewer votes and wins the race."
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Old 03-20-2019, 08:39 PM
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What are you talking about? The're's only one President, so whoever wins the office wins all the power. Are you confusing the electoral college with congressional elections? It seems so, because "majority party" and "minority party" are irrelevant terms when we're talking about "a single candidate who gets more of the votes and wins the race" or "a single candidate who gets fewer votes and wins the race."
I'm not talking about parties, I'm talking about movements. Think about the Progressive movement, or the Conservative movement. You might have more conservatives than progressives, let's say, and in a straight vote, they'd tyrannize progressives. But in an Electoral College system, they can't do that. If progressives win the right states, campaign in the right states and push them over to their way of thinking, they don't have to be fighting a lost cause because they have fewer people. They can still influence politics and win elections even if they're fewer in number.

And this is fair. 51% of the population should never have an unbreakable stranglehold over the other 49%.

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  #72  
Old 03-20-2019, 08:53 PM
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I don't understand what you're trying to say. I'm advocating that every single American voter should have the exact same voting influence on who becomes President.
Which would make sense if we were not the United States of America.

But the real problem with a national popular election is that it would cause political parties to pander to urban voters, where they would get more bang for the buck. After all, that's how Clinton got her plurality. Not sure that's a great result. Certainly, the residents of Wyoming would seem to matter very little.
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Old 03-20-2019, 09:00 PM
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Which would make sense if we were not the United States of America.

But the real problem with a national popular election is that it would cause political parties to pander to urban voters, where they would get more bang for the buck. After all, that's how Clinton got her plurality. Not sure that's a great result. Certainly, the residents of Wyoming would seem to matter very little.
Imagine a country where the Democratic presidential candidates campaign only in California and New York and belittle and deride those red states in the middle. And Republican presidential candidates campaign only in the midwest and holler about the terrible people on the coast.

Talk about national unity! Seems a little better that each candidate needs to appeal to the whole country, not just their strongholds.
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Old 03-20-2019, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Dacien View Post
I'm not talking about parties, I'm talking about movements. Think about the Progressive movement, or the Conservative movement. You might have more conservatives than progressives, let's say, and in a straight vote, they'd tyrannize progressives. But in an Electoral College system, they can't do that. If progressives win the right states, campaign in the right states and push them over to their way of thinking, they don't have to be fighting a lost cause because they have fewer people. They can still influence politics and win elections even if they're fewer in number.

And this is fair. 51% of the population should never have an unbreakable stranglehold over the other 49%.
“Tyrannize?” Seriously, what are you on about? Do you consider every other country in which the winners of elections get the offices theyvran for to be tyrannical?

And once again, have you completely forgot about two other branches of government?
  #75  
Old 03-20-2019, 09:12 PM
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Imagine a country where the Democratic presidential candidates campaign only in California and New York and belittle and deride those red states in the middle. And Republican presidential candidates campaign only in the midwest and holler about the terrible people on the coast.

Talk about national unity! Seems a little better that each candidate needs to appeal to the whole country, not just their strongholds.
You just made the best argument for a popular vote. Once the gamesmanship is out of winning states, candidates must appeal to Americans.
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Old 03-20-2019, 09:16 PM
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Imagine a country where the Democratic presidential candidates campaign only in California and New York and belittle and deride those red states in the middle. And Republican presidential candidates campaign only in the midwest and holler about the terrible people on the coast.



Talk about national unity! Seems a little better that each candidate needs to appeal to the whole country, not just their strongholds.


We don’t have to imagine. You do realize that we currently have a system where presidential candidates don’t campaign in New York or California at all and those states are openly belittled and derided by the current actual president of the United States.
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Old 03-20-2019, 09:30 PM
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You just made the best argument for a popular vote. Once the gamesmanship is out of winning states, candidates must appeal to Americans.
Or just appeal to their strongholds.
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Old 03-20-2019, 09:46 PM
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Or just appeal to their strongholds.
I bet you’ve never been involved in any political campaigns.
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Old 03-20-2019, 10:15 PM
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It's ironic that this issue makes liberals adopt typically conservative views and vice versa.

It's akin to a classroom of a hundred students; 60 of which are privileged and 40 of which are disadvantaged. The conservatives (disadvantaged = sparsely populated rural states) argue that their votes ought to be given greater weight as a counterbalance, while the liberals (privileged = high-population or coastal states) argue that every vote should carry equal weight, because that would be the purest form of democracy. Essentially, electoral affirmative action.

Under the conservative plan, the classroom vote would come out to 50-50 or maybe even slightly tilted in favor of the conservatives. Under the liberal plan, the classroom vote would always be 60-40 in favor of the privileged students.
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Old 03-20-2019, 10:30 PM
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I don't think we can actually eliminate the EC, but the fact that a small population state voter gets a hugely disproportionate amount of power to elect the president in addition to a disproportionate amount of power to control the Senate, leads me to suggest that each state receive one electoral vote for its first (total population usa/435) residents, and ONE added vote for its Senators. That step would help balance out the proportionality of the vote. And, without a constitutional amendment, each state could decide to award its electoral votes according to the vote in each congressional district, districts drawn by a computer algorithm to divide the states population without regard to urban vs rural/ democrat areas vs republican.
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Old 03-20-2019, 10:58 PM
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Which would make sense if we were not the United States of America.

But the real problem with a national popular election is that it would cause political parties to pander to urban voters, where they would get more bang for the buck. After all, that's how Clinton got her plurality. Not sure that's a great result. Certainly, the residents of Wyoming would seem to matter very little.
Are you under the impression that presidential candidates spend a lot of time in Wyoming?
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Old 03-20-2019, 11:00 PM
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I do like to preserve the idea that it is an election among the states, not the people directly. Not sure if that gels with any revisions to the process
  #83  
Old 03-20-2019, 11:16 PM
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Which would make sense if we were not the United States of America.

But the real problem with a national popular election is that it would cause political parties to pander to urban voters, where they would get more bang for the buck. After all, that's how Clinton got her plurality. Not sure that's a great result. Certainly, the residents of Wyoming would seem to matter very little.
As I said upthread, they already matter very little. The state has a total of three (3) electoral votes. Granted, that's many times the percentage Wyoming would have of the popular vote if we abolished the EC, but it's still pretty small. The votes for president by Democrats in the state mean ZERO since the state has a very strong GOP majority. Democrats might as well stay home. Actually, a lot of Republicans could skip voting, too, as the measly 3 electoral votes are a lock for the GOP.

But appeasing small states was only part of the reason for creating the EC. First, at a time when most Americans were uneducated, Hamilton, et al thought electors, who's supposedly be selected for their education and wisdom, would make wiser choices, protecting the easily-manipulated masses from getting bamboozled by a demagogue. Obviously, that is no longer true, if it ever were.

Second, big-vs.-small states is not the only historical division. The electoral college was designed in part to keep Southern states happy. The Southern states recognized early on that, lacking the population of northern states, they could lose the power to continue the immoral and indefensible enslavement of human beings. Then as now, people have been willing to abandon morality to do what's politically expedient for themselves.
  #84  
Old 03-21-2019, 01:08 AM
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Then we'll take our ball and go home.
No, you fuckin' won't. Again, this idea is so utterly laughable that in any other context, nobody would even pretend to take it seriously.

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A car salesman cannot get me to buy a car at a particular price if he throws in the leather seats and then later say that he wants the leather seats back. Sorry, that was the deal.
The sale was 5 generations ago and involved a horse-drawn carriage.

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Originally Posted by DSYoungEsq View Post
Which would make sense if we were not the United States of America.

But the real problem with a national popular election is that it would cause political parties to pander to urban voters, where they would get more bang for the buck. After all, that's how Clinton got her plurality. Not sure that's a great result. Certainly, the residents of Wyoming would seem to matter very little.
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Originally Posted by Dacien View Post
I'm not talking about parties, I'm talking about movements. Think about the Progressive movement, or the Conservative movement. You might have more conservatives than progressives, let's say, and in a straight vote, they'd tyrannize progressives. But in an Electoral College system, they can't do that. If progressives win the right states, campaign in the right states and push them over to their way of thinking, they don't have to be fighting a lost cause because they have fewer people. They can still influence politics and win elections even if they're fewer in number.

And this is fair. 51% of the population should never have an unbreakable stranglehold over the other 49%.
I literally just debunked these terrible terrible terrible arguments and yet here they are again. Weird how that works, right?

Last edited by Budget Player Cadet; 03-21-2019 at 01:08 AM.
  #85  
Old 03-21-2019, 01:27 AM
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These discussions (here and elsewhere) are always tiring, because the pro-EC arguments are pretty much all half-remembered schoolmarm myths about the founding of the country that in some cases are contradicted by basic arithmetic or statistics (like the stuff about a popular election being decided in a handful of coastal cities), and the anti-EC people get distracted by bitching about stuff that's irrelevant in practice, like malapportionment in favor of small states.

The #1 problem with the electoral college, as currently constituted, is that it favors LARGE states by permitting them to give their electoral votes away in a winner-take-all bloc. Not all of the large states benefit, but the large swing states suck up all the oxygen and the election hinges on them being pandered to. There are solutions to this that retain the electoral college; a proportional electoral college would in practice be VERY VERY close to a national popular vote. But it would require even more cat-herding than abolishing the electoral college, because if you don't do it carefully you end up with one party unilaterally disarming and throwing the election to the other party.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 03-21-2019 at 01:31 AM.
  #86  
Old 03-21-2019, 01:30 AM
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I think it should be totally eliminated. The United States is one of the few countries that still uses an electoral college.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...=.573ef9cf5a99

For those that still insist on the electoral college, look up the election of 1876 (Samuel Tilden vs Rutherford Hayes). Tilden received 184 electoral votes needing just one more while Hayes received 165.
Tilden also won the popular vote.
20 electoral votes in 4 states were disputed. The Democrats were willing to sacrifice any claim to the disputed 20 votes (and sacrifice the Presidency) if Rutherford Hayes would pledge to end Reconstruction of the South. So a deal was made with Congress to award all 20 electoral votes to Hayes, who then ended Reconstruction in the South and withdrew all federal troops.
So, the election was "won" by Hayes with 185 votes to Tilden's 184.
Samuel Tilden had won the popular vote and had the Presidency but due to this deal, did not become President.
I think the election of 1876 is a damned good reason to eliminate the electoral college!
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Old 03-21-2019, 03:15 AM
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In any first-past-the-post system, a 2-party system is the natural way to go. It couldn't be any other way, because the party that fractures is doomed to lose.

Except that the other three major countries which use first past the post have multi-party systems: Canada, the UK and India.

The US is the only one of the four that has a two and only two party system.

Given the experience in other countries, it's hard to blame it in first-past-the-post.
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  #88  
Old 03-21-2019, 04:41 AM
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Originally Posted by DSYoungEsq View Post
Which would make sense if we were not the United States of America.



But the real problem with a national popular election is that it would cause political parties to pander to urban voters, where they would get more bang for the buck. After all, that's how Clinton got her plurality. Not sure that's a great result. Certainly, the residents of Wyoming would seem to matter very little.
That sounds better than the pandering they do now - at least it would be pandering based on population instead of geography.
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  #89  
Old 03-21-2019, 07:19 AM
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The presidency is the only national office in our system of government. A popular vote for the office doesn't impose tyranny on anyone when we still have the Senate (even more ridiculous in its nature but a subject for another thread) and a House carefully gerrymandered by conservative state legislatures around the country.

Proponents of the current system may be missing how this rubber band is being stretched. A growing majority of voters feel disenfranchised and alienated by a system that has put Republicans in the White House in two of the last five elections despite losing the popular vote. At some point those numbers will grow too large to lose in such a manner again, the rubber band will snap (the majority will win across the board) and the repercussions may be huge in the forms of electoral reform that the minority won't like very much. It's roughly analogous to Republicans continuing to suppress voter registration in purple states -- sooner or later the numbers of the victims outpace the speed at which their votes can be suppressed. Those voters won't accept feeble excuses like "it was only politics" or "hey, them were the rules." They're going to punish the party that did this and make sure legislatively that a minority won't ever be in power again.
  #90  
Old 03-21-2019, 07:34 AM
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And California has the edge 53-1 in the House of Representatives. It is a compromise to even have a United States. Wyoming and many other small states would not join if it were any different. Plus, these states feed us.
Are you of the believe that they provide us food for free? If so, let me correct this notion -- states that grow and export a lot of food typically are renumerated for these products with payment. They don't do it out of the kindness of their heart.
  #91  
Old 03-21-2019, 07:36 AM
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Sure, it sucks when 51% of the population can't get anything done, but it also sucks if only 20 states (of the United States) were somehow able to push around the other 30.
Right now, in terms of judicial nominations/confirmations and many other important functions, something like 1/3rd of our population can and does "push around" the other 2/3rds. I don't see how that's superior in any way at all to the possibility of 51% of the population pushing around the rest.
  #92  
Old 03-21-2019, 08:38 AM
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It's ironic that this issue makes liberals adopt typically conservative views and vice versa.

It's akin to a classroom of a hundred students; 60 of which are privileged and 40 of which are disadvantaged. The conservatives (disadvantaged = sparsely populated rural states) argue that their votes ought to be given greater weight as a counterbalance, while the liberals (privileged = high-population or coastal states) argue that every vote should carry equal weight, because that would be the purest form of democracy. Essentially, electoral affirmative action.

Under the conservative plan, the classroom vote would come out to 50-50 or maybe even slightly tilted in favor of the conservatives. Under the liberal plan, the classroom vote would always be 60-40 in favor of the privileged students.

Eh, I'd use the example of a school that used to be a whole bunch of separate schools (math, science, arts, humanities, and PE), that were all enticed to join as one big school to share administration costs a while back. The arts and humanities and PE department had a less faculty/students, and were concerned that the math and science departments would always control the admin and devote more and more resources to themselves, so they decided that all admin decisions would need to be approved by a board of the chairs of each department, where each chair gets an equal vote. Math and Science said "yeah, that's fair, we need you guys" back then. When it came time to choose the president of the school, they decided that all the faculty would have an equal vote, but the chairs of each department would have an extra vote too. Math and Science also said "yeah that's fair, we need you guys". They wrote everything up in a contract.

They all changed their name to the "School of the Well-Rounded Balance of All Educational Fields", and have been living under that umbrella ever since.

Since then, the Math and Science department has grown a bit, the old faculty retired, and the new faculty starts complaining about "fairness", because those stupid Arts and Humanities and PE departments chairs get a veto on all their decisions to build a shiny new Math and Science building. The chairs of A,H,& PE say that their buildings are even worse, and are having trouble attracting new students/faculty. Math and Science also complain that the president of the school is often (though not always) somewhat biased towards Arts and Humanities and PE because all chairs get an extra vote on that matter too.

Math and Science now say "screw you guys, it's not FAAAAAIR. I want a new building! ". Arts, Humanities, and PE point to the contract, then point to the name of the school, and the crest of the school that has the symbols of each educational field, each symbol with equal prominence, and say "tough noogies". Math and Science say "I want a new contract!". Arts, Humanities, an PE point to a clause in the contract that says that all contractual changes need to be approved by a majority of chairs of each department, and aren't budging.

Hotheads on both sides are now threatening to dissolve the school, which will undoubtedly be a painful process that would leave all departments poorer off.
  #93  
Old 03-21-2019, 09:07 AM
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But you're not going to get states to give up their representation
That's what's being lost here; we're NOT and never have been a direct democracy; we're a Federal union of semi-sovereign states. And, just as importantly, we're a system where the states grant power and legitimacy to the Federal government, not the other way around.

And as such, there were compromises made in the design of the Federal system to ensure that the smaller states are afforded somewhat disproportional representation in certain areas to offset their relatively huge disadvantage based on population.

Basically the system recognizes a state as being more than merely the total of its population. In effect, we're saying that in Federal terms, Wyoming is more important as an entity than Milwaukee (roughly equal in population) because Wyoming is a state, and Milwaukee is not.

I still maintain that the issue with the EC isn't its mere existence, but the fact that a state like say... Texas, could go 50.001% Republican and 49.999% Democrat in the popular vote, and then all 38 electoral votes go Republican. THAT is the issue.

I'd personally prefer a plan where electors are proportionally chosen based on the statewide split, rounded down, so that in my example above, it would have to be 52.6% to 47.4% before you got a 20-18 split in electors.
  #94  
Old 03-21-2019, 09:25 AM
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Eh, I'd use the example of a school that used to be a whole bunch of separate schools (math, science, arts, humanities, and PE), that were all enticed to join as one big school to share administration costs a while back. The arts and humanities and PE department had a less faculty/students, and were concerned that the math and science departments would always control the admin and devote more and more resources to themselves, so they decided that all admin decisions would need to be approved by a board of the chairs of each department, where each chair gets an equal vote. Math and Science said "yeah, that's fair, we need you guys" back then. When it came time to choose the president of the school, they decided that all the faculty would have an equal vote, but the chairs of each department would have an extra vote too. Math and Science also said "yeah that's fair, we need you guys". They wrote everything up in a contract.

They all changed their name to the "School of the Well-Rounded Balance of All Educational Fields", and have been living under that umbrella ever since.

Since then, the Math and Science department has grown a bit, the old faculty retired, and the new faculty starts complaining about "fairness", because those stupid Arts and Humanities and PE departments chairs get a veto on all their decisions to build a shiny new Math and Science building. The chairs of A,H,& PE say that their buildings are even worse, and are having trouble attracting new students/faculty. Math and Science also complain that the president of the school is often (though not always) somewhat biased towards Arts and Humanities and PE because all chairs get an extra vote on that matter too.

Math and Science now say "screw you guys, it's not FAAAAAIR. I want a new building! ". Arts, Humanities, and PE point to the contract, then point to the name of the school, and the crest of the school that has the symbols of each educational field, each symbol with equal prominence, and say "tough noogies". Math and Science say "I want a new contract!". Arts, Humanities, an PE point to a clause in the contract that says that all contractual changes need to be approved by a majority of chairs of each department, and aren't budging.

Hotheads on both sides are now threatening to dissolve the school, which will undoubtedly be a painful process that would leave all departments poorer off.
Let's not forget that in the meanwhile, we've more than tripled the number of faculties.

And that it's not just veto power, it's also the power to decide basically everything.

And that we're not talking about how to run a school, but how to legitimize government force in a social contract.

And that the contract was written centuries ago in an attempt to make the art and humanities classes feel like their ability to own slaves was secure.

Man, it's almost like this is a really bad analogy, huh?
  #95  
Old 03-21-2019, 10:29 AM
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I'm any candidate calling for this, probably wants it, and know there is zero chance of happening, and is saying it more to appeal to the base than because of their convictions and actual belief that they can pull it off. Kind of like people talking about reparations. Yeah, right.
  #96  
Old 03-21-2019, 10:45 AM
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And California has the edge 53-1 in the House of Representatives. It is a compromise to even have a United States. Wyoming and many other small states would not join if it were any different. Plus, these states feed us.
This is straight up bonkers. Wyoming feeds us and California does not?
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Old 03-21-2019, 10:52 AM
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Here's a map of 2016 major campaign events.

Sparsely populated states are already being ignored for the most part.
  #98  
Old 03-21-2019, 11:09 AM
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Here's a map of 2016 major campaign events.

Sparsely populated states are already being ignored for the most part.
Also ignored: the very largest states.

Because there's no point in campaigning in California or New York, because they're reliably blue - it's a waste of resources for dems, and republicans don't stand a chance so it's a waste for them too.

So basically it sucks even by the logic of EC supporters. But these arguments never were meant to hold up to scrutiny. They're meant to provide a justification. It's rationalization, not rationality.
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Old 03-21-2019, 11:32 AM
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Then we'll take our ball and go home. What, you think it is fair to induce us to join a union where we get a bump in power, but take it away and make us stay by force?

Again, that was the deal so that we have a Union of states instead of several different countries.

A car salesman cannot get me to buy a car at a particular price if he throws in the leather seats and then later say that he wants the leather seats back. Sorry, that was the deal.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA *gasp* HAHAHAHA

There was a tiny part of me that wanted Trump to win just so I'd see what happens, and that same part of me would LOVE it if you took your ball and went home. I don't know if I want to live that close to a 3rd world shithole country though.
  #100  
Old 03-21-2019, 12:10 PM
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I really wonder what the Republican reaction would be if the roles had reversed and Clinton had won the EC while losing the popular vote. I bet we would have a lot more solid red states signing on to the National Vote Compact.
As the 2000 election came down to the wire, the Bush campaign was planning for the possibililty that it might win the popular vote and lose the electoral vote.

They were planning to try to flip electors, using the argument that the popular vote winner should win the election, period.
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