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  #101  
Old 03-21-2019, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Budget Player Cadet View Post
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.
The logic of EC supporters isn't "The EC is good because it will make presidential campaigns visit certain states". If it was, then you'd have a point.
  #102  
Old 03-21-2019, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by DSYoungEsq View Post
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.
What, it would make politicians try to appeal to voters in proportion to their numbers? How absolutely horrid!

Don't they know they're supposed to focus their appeals on white voters in the American heartland?

And why, exactly, would you refer to this hypothetical attempt to appeal to the bulk of the American population as 'pandering'? (I'd use the icon, but I suspect I'm not confused at all.)
  #103  
Old 03-21-2019, 12:25 PM
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The logic of EC supporters isn't "The EC is good because it will make presidential campaigns visit certain states". If it was, then you'd have a point.
OK, the argument that EC supporters make publicly is that the EC is good because it will make presidential campaigns visit certain states.

I'm willing to concede that their real logic might just be that it overrepresents them in Presidential elections, helping them win when they might otherwise lose.
  #104  
Old 03-21-2019, 12:39 PM
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OK, the argument that EC supporters make publicly is that the EC is good because it will make presidential campaigns visit certain states.
No, it isn't. Nobody defending the EC ever brings up campaign visits- that is exclusively the popular vote supporters drum to bang.

Here's an interesting article that weighs "voting power" with actual votes cast, rather than strict population to electoral votes:
Whose votes count the least in the Electoral College?
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My calculations show voters in Wyoming did indeed receive the most weight, 2.97, for their votes. Voters in Florida came out on the bottom, with a voting weight of just 0.78. The weight given to the votes in Louisiana exactly matched the national average of one.
[...]
Two of the largest states, California and New York, came out only slightly below the national average. Votes from Texas, the second most populous state, actually received an above-average weight of 1.07.
  #105  
Old 03-21-2019, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Dacien View Post
There are a lot of great reasons we have the EC, one of which is avoiding tyranny of the majority. Ten wolves and nine sheep voting on what to have for dinner is a bad situation. Also, elections are much harder to steal, because you would need to know much too late which states needed to be focused on. In a straight national vote, any election trickery is beneficial to the count.
What we have here is ten sheep and 6 wolves deciding what's for dinner. The sheep vie for democracy, but the wolves know that if everyone's vote is treated equally, then they don't get mutton for supper, so they defend the unequal voting system that gives the wolves more power than the sheep they are outnumbered by.

You have concern about tyranny of the majority? Well, instituting checks and balances is how you prevent that, not by instituting a tyranny of the minority.
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There are other reasons expounded upon by others who have studied the EC for decades, but I'd suggest that instead of trying to alter the system to be more favorable to them, Democrats should try to understand and change what went wrong in the system we have. And it wasn't Russia stealing votes, it was a wave of populism combined with one of the most, historically, disliked Democratic candidates.
That still got more votes than the other guy.

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Originally Posted by That Don Guy View Post
To what - 6500?

Seriously, the one unratified amendment from the original Bill of Rights says that the House of Representatives should be capped at "one member per 50,000 persons;" with a current population estimate of 325 million, that would be 6500 members.
I'd be down for that. I don't see any reason why that it not possible, and I see many benefits. Right now, if I want to talk to my rep, there are aout 700,000 other people that also want to talk to him. He's a busy guy, and doesn't have time for me or my concerns, especially since I'm not a big donor.

Make it one per 50k, and suddenly, I'm a bit more important, my rep has time to listen to my concerns. Put 6500 reps on the Hill, and it becomes futile to try to influence them with campaign donations, or even outright bribes or extortion.

Also has the effect of balancing the EC a bit.

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Originally Posted by Omar Little View Post
I guess another question is: should the United States change it's form of government from a Democratic Republic or Representative Democracy to a true Federal Democracy.
That would be another question, but not one that is relevant to this discussion.

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Originally Posted by Omar Little View Post
Well if we were a true democracy, that would make sense. But considering that we're not, it does make sense.
Who says anything about a true democracy? Republicans always seem so concerned about the will of the people, until the people make it known that they don't like republican policies, then republicans are all about claiming that it's not a true democracy.

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Originally Posted by octopus View Post
You are asking for states to give up power. That isn’t going to happen in this case. It’s like booting France or the UK off the permanent UN Security Council because they have disproportionate international influence. Why would they ever not veto such a proposal? To be fair to India or Brazil?
No, it would be more like the people of France or the UK having a say in what messages they send to the UN.

The states are not giving up their power. The individual state has 3 or so electoral votes, pretty weak power to desperately cling to. No, it is only the collective efforts of the small states together that work to overrule the larger populations of the largest states.

In order to keep this meager power, they remove the power from their citizens. There are only a handful of states where your presidential vote matters, all the others are safe states that can safely be ignored by both candidates.

What reason does a democratic candidate care about wyoming, if all its votes are locked up? If there was a popular vote, then that candidate could try to appeal to the voters in that state, even if they knew they can't get all. With winner take all, it doesn't make any sense at all to even try to campaign towards small states whose votes are already a lock.

So, is it about the states, or is it about the people that live in the states? You say that states are more important than the union, are you saying that states are more important than their residents as well?

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Originally Posted by iiandyiiii View Post
Only a very few states would functionally be giving up any power. Large swing states like Florida and Ohio have "power" in terms of influencing a presidential election regardless of whether we have the EC or not. And right now, small non-swing-states like Vermont or Wyoming, have no power in terms of electing Presidents -- at least without the EC, their citizens' votes would be worth just as much as everyone else's. Only small swing states have outsize power with the EC -- I'm sure Iowa, NH, and the like enjoy the outsize influence they have for President, but that doesn't mean it isn't less fair and less democratic than abolishing the EC.
As an Ohioan, I wouldn't mind giving up "bellwether" status. I get sick of every election season being beset with candidates trying to get my vote. Go elsewhere too, please.

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Originally Posted by UltraVires View Post
The reason for the EC is simple and it is the same reason for the composition of the U.S. Senate. If you are going to have a country made up of small states and large states, the small states will not join if you have a system where the large states can use their majority power to ignore the will of the small states.
Their options were to join or to go back to England.
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The small states would not have ratified the Constitution otherwise. It was the deal that was made. It had the same "unfairness" at the time the deal was made, but it was made so that we would have a union of states. There are no take backsies on that deal.
There were provisions that protect the slave trade in that constitution that most of these same states insisted upon. Did the nation break up when we went "backsies" on that?

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Originally Posted by Dacien View Post
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.
All the power? You mean the powers vested in the president by the Constitution, right? the ones that are already limited by checks and balances?

But yes, it does seem as though with the EC, a minority can enforce its will upon that of the majority. This only seems to be a feature to parties who are not able to win votes, but still wants to win power.


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Originally Posted by YamatoTwinkie View Post

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.
And when it is 30 percent of the population pusing around the other 70%? what proportion of minority control would you agree is too much?

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Originally Posted by UltraVires View Post
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.
We're not talking about the founding anymore here, you are making the claim that Wyoming would not have petitioned for statehood if it were not for the EC. That's a pretty big claim to make. Any historical justification for it?

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Originally Posted by UltraVires View Post
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?
No, you'll stay because you would devolve into completel economic crisis the instant that you left the protection of the federal govt. What, you want to leave, and keep the benefits of the ag supports and subsidies, access to markets without import restrictions, and protection from an invasion from Canada?

I don't think so. Wyoming secedes, and we turn a blind eye to Canada picking you up by force.
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Again, that was the deal so that we have a Union of states instead of several different countries.
Under which, all have prospered far more than they would have had they been individual nations, the whole time of which, these states have been bitching and moaning that they aren't getting everything that they want, just nearly everything that they want.
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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.
Try coming back to the car salesman 250 years later and demanding that he abide by the same deal that his great great great great great great grandfather agreed to.

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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.
That doesn't make any sense. That's not how the EC works. It doesn't allow the minority to take power against a tyrannical majority, it allows the party that has a disproportionate number of people living in sparsely populated areas to dictate to the people who live in areas that people actually want to live in.
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And this is fair. 51% of the population should never have an unbreakable stranglehold over the other 49%.
So the 49% should have an unbreakable stranglehold over the 51%?

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Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
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.
Huh, comparing affirmative action, which is intended to assist those who have disadvantages based on immutable characteristics with which they were born, with propping up ideas that do not have the support of the people?

I don't think that you can make a valid comparison of apples and alligators in quite that fashion.

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Originally Posted by Northern Piper View Post
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.
You know another difference there? Is your prime minister elected directly by the people? No, it's a parliamentary system where the PM is selected by the legislature?

First past the post can allow many parties at a local level, which in a parliament means that you can have multiple parties at a national level.

With direct presidential elections, first past the post means that you can only have two parties that have a shot at the oval office, which means you really only have two viable parties.

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Originally Posted by YamatoTwinkie View Post
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.
An agreement between people based on a current need to extricate themselves from the Oxford University banner, which was taking their tuition and dues, but not giving them any ability to make their own decisions as to how to run the school on the local level.
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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.
It doesn't help that he makes no bones about being biased against them.
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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.
No, math and sciences rightly point out that their programs contribute the vast majority of the operating budgets for the school. That most of the students attend math and science schools, but that the other departments are demanding most of the funding.

They point out that not only is this bad for the math and sciences department, and it's not just bad for the students that attend the math and sciences departments, but that it is bad for the whole school, decreasing the resources that all departments have.
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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.
Some hotheads are doing that, and some others keep insisting that this agreement can never be changed, no matter what. But the people who are more like the original founders of the school are seeking a compromise that will allow all parties to prosper into the future.

Which are you?

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Originally Posted by bump View Post
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.
That's not lost on anyone. Not a single poster in this thread is unaware of that.
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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.
Yes, somewhat. And those ratios have changed by magnitudes since that original deal was struck. Many other things have also changed.
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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.
Are we saying that the states are more important than the people living in those states?
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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.
As that would be an easier patch, I can't disagree, and would support such a position were it to get any real traction.

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Originally Posted by Budget Player Cadet View Post
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.
And the pot had to be sweetened for them, even though they also wanted to break away from that University on the other side of the ocean that didn't give any of the faculty any say in its operation.
  #106  
Old 03-21-2019, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by CarnalK View Post
No, it isn't. Nobody defending the EC ever brings up campaign visits- that is exclusively the popular vote supporters drum to bang.
OK, then they're saying the EC makes the rest of us pay more attention to small states (a distinction without a difference) or gives the small states more power, or whatever. Here's a Senator from North Dakota:
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Abolishing the Electoral College would be devastating to a state like North Dakota.
Spin that however you want.
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Here's an interesting article that weighs "voting power" with actual votes cast, rather than strict population to electoral votes
That's a pretty dumb way to look at the effect of the EC: to muddle it together with a completely independent factor, voter turnout.
  #107  
Old 03-21-2019, 01:05 PM
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Yeah, looking at reality is dumb.
  #108  
Old 03-21-2019, 01:18 PM
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Yeah, looking at reality is dumb.
The distinction you're trying to draw is about as substantive as insisting that Massachusetts and Virginia aren't states, they are commonwealths, which makes all the difference in... something.
  #109  
Old 03-21-2019, 01:50 PM
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The small states would not have ratified the Constitution otherwise. It was the deal that was made. It had the same "unfairness" at the time the deal was made, but it was made so that we would have a union of states. There are no take backsies on that deal.
Eh, I have no problem depriving slave states of the right to own slaves, even though that was part of the deal when they joined.
(You do know how long ago this was, right?)
  #110  
Old 03-21-2019, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
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.
This is, I must admit, a new spin on the pro-EC arguments. "We're just doing affirmative action for conservative voters!"
Good luck with that. (No, fuck that, you don't need luck -- there's an entire news network committed to convincing Republicans that they are the truly oppressed group in our country.)
  #111  
Old 03-21-2019, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by UltraVires View Post
The small states would not have ratified the Constitution otherwise. It was the deal that was made. It had the same "unfairness" at the time the deal was made, but it was made so that we would have a union of states. There are no take backsies on that deal.
Replace "small states" with "slave states." Does the argument hold up? (Yes, I'm repeating myself.)
  #112  
Old 03-21-2019, 02:00 PM
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Yeah, looking at reality is dumb.
Reality is big. If you're studying fish, you don't usually introduce a factor that has to do with bicycles.
  #113  
Old 03-21-2019, 02:04 PM
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This is, I must admit, a new spin on the pro-EC arguments. "We're just doing affirmative action for conservative voters!"
Besides, we've already GOT affirmative action for small-state voters.

It's called the United States Senate. And that should suffice all by itself.
  #114  
Old 03-21-2019, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by UltraVires View Post
There are no take backsies on that deal.
This is what I mean when I say that pro-EC arguments overwhelmingly are just there to provide talking points, not convincing arguments.
We've already done take-backsies on slavery and women's suffrage. Through changes in the constitution. And done lots of other take-backsies through legislation.
What's so different about the EC, as compared to the two constitutional changes I cited and the myriad other legislative changes?
  #115  
Old 03-21-2019, 02:11 PM
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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.
Emphasis added. I avoided making pro-abolishment arguments, but this is a key one.
If you support a presidential candidate and decide to go knock on doors, put up yard signs, have heart-to-heart conversations with your friends and neighbors, hire a skywriting plane, whatever -- you will have no impact on the presidential election. Unless you're in a swing state, maybe.
But if we have a national popular vote? Every vote counts. Every vote you change counts. Every non-voter you get to the polls counts. Yeah, it's not much, but it will matter.
For those of you who care about who's president, a national popular vote empowers you not just as a voter but as a persuader.

But if you don't have confidence in your party's ability to win voter support, a national popular vote is probably a bad idea. Just be honest about why you oppose it.
  #116  
Old 03-21-2019, 02:17 PM
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Emphasis added. I avoided making pro-abolishment arguments, but this is a key one.
If you support a presidential candidate and decide to go knock on doors, put up yard signs, have heart-to-heart conversations with your friends and neighbors, hire a skywriting plane, whatever -- you will have no impact on the presidential election. Unless you're in a swing state, maybe.
But if we have a national popular vote? Every vote counts. Every vote you change counts. Every non-voter you get to the polls counts. Yeah, it's not much, but it will matter.
For those of you who care about who's president, a national popular vote empowers you not just as a voter but as a persuader.
And takes the pressure off of us swingstaters. I feel the eyes burning us all up every 4 years.
  #117  
Old 03-21-2019, 02:32 PM
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Regarding the point that the current EC system takes power away from their citizens (in highly-populated states): you can really see this in several states that I know of and maybe some I don't. California is well known for having strong conflicts like the north-south debate over water rights. There is also the strong division between the two (LA and SF) largest metro areas and the interior farmland populations. Similarly, people often talk about how Florida is really "southern New Jersey and northern Cuba". I think New York has similar conflicts between the coastal metro areas and upstate.
  #118  
Old 03-21-2019, 02:33 PM
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So I'm disappointed but not surprised by the pro-EC arguments presented here. The argument from original intent (small states would never have joined without it!) is popping up a lot, and I hope that the people who keep bringing it up might realize that
1) This is hundreds of years ago -- the people who "agreed" to this "contract" are all dead
2) Hey, we have 50 states now, we can renegotiate that contract
3) We've made plenty of changes to voting rights in general and electing the president in particular; eliminating the EC is not as radical as letting all those other people vote

Those are my rebuttals to the pro-EC arguments we've seen here. Here are some pro-eliminate-the EC ones:
4) We have a federal system, but we are overwhelmingly a single country, no longer a conglomeration of states. You may disagree with that as being a wise change, but it's a fact. I could at least respect pro-EC arguments that argued for a big rollback of federal power and jurisdiction -- that's a coherent philosophy, if a ludicrous one, IMHO.
5) A national popular vote would make political engagement and persuasion newly relevant to millions of Americans. It's not just the act of voting: you all would have the opportunity to make a small difference in the presidential election by winning people over to your side, whatever it is. Not just people in some swing state you do phone-banking in -- actual people you know. Isn't that empowering?
6) Oh yeah -- democracy. (Cue the "republic not a democracy" talking points.) If you think Wyomingians' (?) votes are worth so much more than Californians', or Texans', tell us why. Until I get a good answer, I'm going to keep believing that the real reason is that Wyoming is a reliably Republican state.
  #119  
Old 03-21-2019, 02:34 PM
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And takes the pressure off of us swingstaters. I feel the eyes burning us all up every 4 years.
I feel for you! It must be hellish.
  #120  
Old 03-21-2019, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by CarnalK View Post
No, it isn't. Nobody defending the EC ever brings up campaign visits- that is exclusively the popular vote supporters drum to bang.
As it happes, I have Donald Trump right here:
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Campaigning for the Popular Vote is much easier & different than campaigning for the Electoral College. It’s like training for the 100 yard dash vs. a marathon. The brilliance of the Electoral College is that you must go to many States to win. With the Popular Vote, you go to....
(Tweet continues here: https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/...90837257764864)

ETA: Trump has, not surprisingly, changed his mind about the EC since 2012, when he called it a "disaster for democracy." https://www.washingtonpost.com/polit...usa/2019/03/20
But hey, tell me again how you have a principled argument in its favor. I'm all ears.

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  #121  
Old 03-21-2019, 03:13 PM
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I feel for you! It must be hellish.
2012, I had to listen to Kid Rock concert campaigning for Romney, as the event was less than a mile from my house.

Yes, it was hellish.

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  #122  
Old 03-21-2019, 03:16 PM
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Regarding the point that the current EC system takes power away from their citizens (in highly-populated states): you can really see this in several states that I know of and maybe some I don't. California is well known for having strong conflicts like the north-south debate over water rights. There is also the strong division between the two (LA and SF) largest metro areas and the interior farmland populations. Similarly, people often talk about how Florida is really "southern New Jersey and northern Cuba". I think New York has similar conflicts between the coastal metro areas and upstate.
Yes to all this. GOP voters are disenfranchised by this archaic system. But since their party benefits, none of their leaders advocate for them. (Again, feel free to make a principled argument about why Republicans in California shouldn’t matter when we elect a president. I’ll pass it on to the ones I know.)
  #123  
Old 03-21-2019, 03:20 PM
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6) Oh yeah -- democracy. (Cue the "republic not a democracy" talking points.) If you think Wyomingians' (?) votes are worth so much more than Californians', or Texans', tell us why. Until I get a good answer, I'm going to keep believing that the real reason is that Wyoming is a reliably Republican state.
(Not a Republican here, and not from Wyoming):
Wyoming as a state entity, has the same power as California in the Senate. Drastically less power in the House. And it's voting power in the EC is derived from the simple addition of its Senators and its House representatives.

Wyoming has a star on the flag too. It's exactly the same size as California's, and the other 48 states of the United States. E pluribus unum and all that jazz. No legislation has ever passed without consent of at least half of the states. Maybe it's not the most effective form of government, and it's all a bit cheesy, but it'd be kinda difficult to call ourselves the United States when it was really more like the 20/50 States, But They're A Little Big Bigger Than Everybody Else So The Rest of Us Just Fall In Line.

You are also completely free to move to Wyoming if you so choose, establish residency, vote in Wyoming's elections, and share in that tremendous outsized EC power that they hold over the bigger states. Bring some friends with you while you're at it.

You have a disagreement with the federal system and think its antiquated? Fine. Make a case for abolishing all the state governments, tearing up the Constitution, renaming the country, and starting over, with 51% popular votes on everything. At least it'd be logically consistent.

Last edited by YamatoTwinkie; 03-21-2019 at 03:23 PM.
  #124  
Old 03-21-2019, 03:21 PM
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2012, I had to listen to Kid Rock concert campaigning for Romney, as the event was less than a mile from my house.

Yes, it was hellish.
I’m willing to take some of that load off of you if we can have a democratically elected leader for the one office we elect as a nation. (Well, two of you count Veep, but hey run together.)

And hey, it’s be nice if I could do some presidential-level campaigning among my friends and neighbors that has a chance of counting.
  #125  
Old 03-21-2019, 03:23 PM
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(Not a Republican here, and not from Wyoming):
Wyoming as a state entity, has the same power as California in the Senate. Drastically less power in the House. And it's voting power in the EC is derived from the simple addition of its Senators and its House representatives.

Wyoming has a star on the flag too. It's exactly the same size as California's, and the other 48 states of the United States. E pluribus unum and all that jazz. No legislation has ever passed without consent of at least half of the states. Maybe it's not the most effective form of government, and it's all a bit cheesy, but it'd be kinda difficult to call ourselves the United States when it was really more like the 20/50 States, But They're A Little Big Bigger Than Everybody Else So The Rest of Us Just Fall In Line.

You are also completely free to move to Wyoming if you so choose, establish residency, vote in Wyoming's elections, and share in that tremendous outsized EC power that they hold over the bigger states. Bring some friends with you while you're at it.

You have a disagreement with the federal system and think its antiquated? Fine. Make a case for abolishing all the state governments, tearing up the Constitution, renaming the country, and starting over. At least it'd be logically consistent.
This is not an argument for why we should keep the Electoral College. (It is a pro-federalism argument, or rather an anti-antifederalism one.)
ETA: the appeal to patriotism with the equal sized star thing is a new one to me, so props for that.

Last edited by snoe; 03-21-2019 at 03:24 PM.
  #126  
Old 03-21-2019, 03:27 PM
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(Not a Republican here, and not from Wyoming):
Wyoming as a state entity, has the same power as California in the Senate. Drastically less power in the House. And it's voting power in the EC is derived from the simple addition of its Senators and its House representatives.

Wyoming has a star on the flag too. It's exactly the same size as California's, and the other 48 states of the United States. E pluribus unum and all that jazz. No legislation has ever passed without consent of at least half of the states. Maybe it's not the most effective form of government, and it's all a bit cheesy, but it'd be kinda difficult to call ourselves the United States when it was really more like the 20/50 States, But They're A Little Big Bigger Than Everybody Else So The Rest of Us Just Fall In Line.

You are also completely free to move to Wyoming if you so choose, establish residency, vote in Wyoming's elections, and share in that tremendous outsized EC power that they hold over the bigger states. Bring some friends with you while you're at it.

You have a disagreement with the federal system and think its antiquated? Fine. Make a case for abolishing all the state governments, tearing up the Constitution, renaming the country, and starting over, with 51% popular votes on everything. At least it'd be logically consistent.
Folks advocating for EC removal most definitely want to keep judicial review and not put contentious issues directly to the public. Wanting 16 year olds to vote ought to be a clue to what the real issue is.
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Old 03-21-2019, 03:29 PM
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Maybe it's not the most effective form of government, and it's all a bit cheesy, but it'd be kinda difficult to call ourselves the United States when it was really more like the 20/50 States, But They're A Little Big Bigger Than Everybody Else So The Rest of Us Just Fall In Line.
As you knkw, the Electoral College doesn’t treat all states equally. It’s weighted by population. Why is the current system better than a one-State-one-vote system? Why is it better than a one-person-one-vote system?

And do you fee more loyalty/belongingness to your state than your country? Is that why you’d rather cast a state-wide vote for president? If not that, then why?
  #128  
Old 03-21-2019, 03:30 PM
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Folks advocating for EC removal most definitely want to keep judicial review and not put contentious issues directly to the public. Wanting 16 year olds to vote ought to be a clue to what the real issue is.
Right backatcha on the “it’s partisan” angle, octopus. Difference is, there’s actually solid principle on the abolish side.
  #129  
Old 03-21-2019, 03:38 PM
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you have a disagreement with the federal system and think its antiquated? Fine. Make a case for abolishing all the state governments, tearing up the Constitution, renaming the country, and starting over, with 51% popular votes on everything. At least it'd be logically consistent.
You’re moving the goalposts here. As it happens, I have plenty of issues with the constitution, but appeals to federalism in justifying the EC are weak when they don’t come from people who want to roll back federal power in all the very popular ways it has asserted itself.
And — “rename the country?” I can’t believe I missed that sorry bit of rhetoric the first time I read your post. Please try harder.
  #130  
Old 03-21-2019, 03:39 PM
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You are also completely free to move to Wyoming if you so choose, establish residency, vote in Wyoming's elections, and share in that tremendous outsized EC power that they hold over the bigger states. Bring some friends with you while you're at it.
The problem with that is that the reason that people don't live in wyoming is that it has very little to offer. People don't really want to live there.
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You have a disagreement with the federal system and think its antiquated? Fine. Make a case for abolishing all the state governments, tearing up the Constitution, renaming the country, and starting over, with 51% popular votes on everything. At least it'd be logically consistent.
Is that what we did the 17 times that the constitution was amended?

Are you maybe missing a tiny bit of excluded middle there?
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Old 03-21-2019, 03:49 PM
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Right backatcha on the “it’s partisan” angle, octopus. Difference is, there’s actually solid principle on the abolish side.
There is a solid principle. Now start working on convincing 3/4th of the states. It’s that change in power that you need to make palatable.

Last edited by octopus; 03-21-2019 at 03:50 PM.
  #132  
Old 03-21-2019, 04:05 PM
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There is a solid principle. Now start working on convincing 3/4th of the states. It’s that change in power that you need to make palatable.
As 3/4th's of the states are more or less ignored in presidential campaigns, just go to those states with a "make your vote count" campaign.

Once people realize just how little their vote counts, they will be on board.

Anyone who lives in a state that always goes to the opposite party will be on board, along with some fraction of the people of the winning party, as they may prefer to have their vote matter to their state being a sure thing.

The swing states may not want to give up their power, as they are the only ones that really matter in an election, but many of us would be more than happy to share that responsibility.
  #133  
Old 03-21-2019, 04:07 PM
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As you knkw, the Electoral College doesn’t treat all states equally. It’s weighted by population. Why is the current system better than a one-State-one-vote system? Why is it better than a one-person-one-vote system?

And do you fee more loyalty/belongingness to your state than your country? Is that why you’d rather cast a state-wide vote for president? If not that, then why?
As mentioned, the House is the analog to the one-person-one-vote, and I'd be happy to uncap the house and rebalance it to better equalize the representative / citizen ratio between the States. The Senate is the "50 stars, 50 states" system. The EC is the middle balance of the two. You may think it's dumb - I think its elegant.

Do I personally feel more loyalty to my State than my country? No. I currently live in a state that I don't have strong connections to (wasn't born here, didn't grow up here or go to school here), and my vote in 2016 didn't even contribute towards my state's EC tally, much less getting the president that I preferred. I may be wrong, but I'm guessing I probably have even more bone to pick with the EC than you do. But I'm happy to live in a system that allows for variety between the States, and enough autonomy at the state level to do some experimentation to find out what really works best. And if I don't like where I am, I can always move to a different state.
  #134  
Old 03-21-2019, 04:10 PM
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...
2) Hey, we have 50 states now, we can renegotiate that contract
...
You're right. We absolutely can. I don't think anyone here is suggesting otherwise. There's a clearly-defined process for doing so, and if you follow that process and get the amendment ratified, I suspect we'll all abide by the renegotiated contract

The problem you appear to have is that too many of us just don't want to do away with the Electoral College. We don't need to make arguments for why it should stay the way it is, you need to make persuasive arguments for why it should change. Or sweeten the deal somehow. Something to win more people over to your position.
  #135  
Old 03-21-2019, 04:13 PM
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As it happes, I have Donald Trump right here:
(Tweet continues here: https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/...90837257764864)

ETA: Trump has, not surprisingly, changed his mind about the EC since 2012, when he called it a "disaster for democracy." https://www.washingtonpost.com/polit...usa/2019/03/20
But hey, tell me again how you have a principled argument in its favor. I'm all ears.
The popular vote has disagreed with the Electoral college vote 4 times in the nation's history. It is not remotely worth the political capital to change it. You may not think that's principled, but I don't really give a crap.
  #136  
Old 03-21-2019, 04:28 PM
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There is a solid principle. Now start working on convincing 3/4th of the states. It’s that change in power that you need to make palatable.
Ah, so the EC isn’t defensible, just impossible to change. Gotcha.
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Old 03-21-2019, 04:29 PM
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As mentioned, the House is the analog to the one-person-one-vote, and I'd be happy to uncap the house and rebalance it to better equalize the representative / citizen ratio between the States. The Senate is the "50 stars, 50 states" system. The EC is the middle balance of the two. You may think it's dumb - I think its elegant. .
You haven’t explained why, though. “There are 50 equally sized stars” doesn’t convince me, sorry.
  #138  
Old 03-21-2019, 04:32 PM
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Is that what we did the 17 times that the constitution was amended?

Are you maybe missing a tiny bit of excluded middle there?
I dunno, I think all the arguments here for why it's unfair that Wyoming gets more EC power also apply to its Senate representation (only more so. Honestly I'm bewildered why everyone here is so focused on the EC). And to the federal system itself. And to the symbolism behind the flag, and the founding of the country.

Initiate a popular vote compact between the states to effectively bypass the EC? I'm fine with that.

Increase the house cap to get better big state representation in the House (and by extension the EC)? Great.

Split California up, and readmit the new states to the union? Sure. Heck, at least *try* with a state referendum or something.

Modify the constitution to gut the Senate and change the EC because "No Fair! Who does Wyoming thinks it is anyway!" - eh, we'd better think long and hard about the ramifications to the Union with that one. Hopefully Wyoming gets on board first. Good luck with that.
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Old 03-21-2019, 04:33 PM
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Ah, so the EC isn’t defensible, just impossible to change. Gotcha.
It is defensible even if the pro pure-democracy folks have a reasonable point. You realize that multiple points of view can be rational?
  #140  
Old 03-21-2019, 04:34 PM
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You're right. We absolutely can. I don't think anyone here is suggesting otherwise. There's a clearly-defined process for doing so, and if you follow that process and get the amendment ratified, I suspect we'll all abide by the renegotiated contract

The problem you appear to have is that too many of us just don't want to do away with the Electoral College. We don't need to make arguments for why it should stay the way it is, you need to make persuasive arguments for why it should change. Or sweeten the deal somehow. Something to win more people over to your position.
You do need to make counter arguments to say why we should not make this change.

That the status quo is the status quo is not justification of the status quo. You have to actually show how the status quo is superior to changes to it.

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The popular vote has disagreed with the Electoral college vote 4 times in the nation's history. It is not remotely worth the political capital to change it. You may not think that's principled, but I don't really give a crap.
4 times in the nations history, but twice in the last couple decades. That something was not a problem before doesn't mean that it's not a problem now.
  #141  
Old 03-21-2019, 04:40 PM
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You're right. We absolutely can. I don't think anyone here is suggesting otherwise. There's a clearly-defined process for doing so, and if you follow that process and get the amendment ratified, I suspect we'll all abide by the renegotiated contract

The problem you appear to have is that too many of us just don't want to do away with the Electoral College. We don't need to make arguments for why it should stay the way it is, you need to make persuasive arguments for why it should change. Or sweeten the deal somehow. Something to win more people over to your position.
When people defending the status who can’t answer the arguments for why it should be changed — except with “we don’t want to change it,” because it benefits our party/interest group — I will continue to make “persuasive arguments” — your phrase — and wait to hear persuasive counter arguments. I don’t think your side can make them, because you don’t have them. It’s partisan, and that’s fine. Just admit it. Or convince me otherwise.

(I love that you use “too many of us disagree” as an argument, because it’s a minority that disagree with national popular vote — and the electoral college enforces minority rule in the presidency. So justify that minority rule, don’t just hand-wave it away.)
  #142  
Old 03-21-2019, 04:46 PM
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It is defensible even if the pro pure-democracy folks have a reasonable point. You realize that multiple points of view can be rational?
You didn’t defend it. You changed the subject to how it would be so hard to change. You moved the goalposts to “you can’t win.”

I mean, go for defending it, but I’ll take “you can’t do that” in the same spirit other fighters for democracy have.
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Old 03-21-2019, 04:47 PM
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I dunno, I think all the arguments here for why it's unfair that Wyoming gets more EC power also apply to its Senate representation (only more so. Honestly I'm bewildered why everyone here is so focused on the EC).
The reason why everyone is focused on the EC is because that is the focus of this thread. If you want to talk senate proportionment, we've had that conversation a few times as well, but that is not this thread.
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And to the federal system itself.
a 250 year old compromise that is in need of a bit of updating.
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And to the symbolism behind the flag, and the founding of the country.
Do what now?
Quote:
Initiate a popular vote compact between the states to effectively bypass the EC? I'm fine with that.
As am I.
Quote:
Increase the house cap to get better big state representation in the House (and by extension the EC)? Great.
Actually, I'm for that more because I want a representative to represent 50,000 people, rather than 700,000. You really can't represent the interests of the best part of a million citizens.

Would also work towards evening up the EC.
[quiote]
Split California up, and readmit the new states to the union? Sure. Heck, at least *try* with a state referendum or something.
[/quote]
Actually I like combing states as well. We only need one Dakota. Arkansas is just kansas hiding behind its postal code, so combine it with Oklahoma. And, of course, everyone will love the new states of Nebkansas and Utaho.
Quote:
Modify the constitution to gut the Senate and change the EC because "No Fair! Who does Wyoming thinks it is anyway!" - eh, we'd better think long and hard about the ramifications to the Union with that one. Hopefully Wyoming gets on board first. Good luck with that.
That would be a poor "because", so it is a good thing that that would not be the reason why updates to the constitution could be desired. I am pretty sure that the only ones who believe that that is the reason for it are the ones who are against it, and who like to claim that they know the reasons that people are for it.
  #144  
Old 03-21-2019, 04:48 PM
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It is defensible even if the pro pure-democracy folks have a reasonable point. You realize that multiple points of view can be rational?
YOu realize that we won’t have Athenian-style democracy where we vote on every issue if the EC goes away, right?
(Defenders of weak positions often resort to straw-man arguments.)
  #145  
Old 03-21-2019, 04:50 PM
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You have a disagreement with the federal system and think its antiquated? Fine. Make a case for abolishing all the state governments, tearing up the Constitution, renaming the country, and starting over, with 51% popular votes on everything. At least it'd be logically consistent.
Wow, that's one Grand Canyon of an excluded middle.
  #146  
Old 03-21-2019, 04:53 PM
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Yeah, looking at reality is dumb.
It is the way you're doing it.
  #147  
Old 03-21-2019, 04:55 PM
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Well after a 3 page derailment, the original question, was: do you think that the current rhetoric about eliminating the EC is just that, or is there a real possibility of eliminating it if there was a Democratic administration in the WH?
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Old 03-21-2019, 05:23 PM
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Well after a 3 page derailment, the original question, was: do you think that the current rhetoric about eliminating the EC is just that, or is there a real possibility of eliminating it if there was a Democratic administration in the WH?
It would require a constitutional amendment, which needs a whole lot more than a president who supports it. The requirements are widely known/available.
Or, possibly, the NPV interstate compact, which bypasses the federal government altogether.
So, back to the OP — no, except insofar as a president — or candidates— talking about how excellent this idea would be helps it gain support in the places it needs support.

Sorry for helping derail your pretty easy to answer question. If people hadn’t spent time making weak arguments in favor of the EC, I would’ve answered it right off the bat.

Last edited by snoe; 03-21-2019 at 05:26 PM.
  #149  
Old 03-21-2019, 05:25 PM
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Well after a 3 page derailment, the original question, was: do you think that the current rhetoric about eliminating the EC is just that, or is there a real possibility of eliminating it if there was a Democratic administration in the WH?
What exactly do you think the president's role would be in this?
  #150  
Old 03-21-2019, 05:39 PM
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Wow, that's one Grand Canyon of an excluded middle.
I can’t say it enough times: pro-EC arguments are weak, except when they are undemocratic to the point of being hugely unpopular. If proponents had good arguments, they’d make them, instead of resorting to talking points or rhetorical tricks like moving the goalposts or excluding middle ground or straw-man arguments.

I guess Omar Little was expecting something more “how could this happen” out of this thread, but this is a controversial question with a lot of false info and weak argumentation flying around. Getting the facts and legit arguments out there is how it will be won, or lost.

An analogy would be someone asking “can Obama be elected” in say 2007. Plenty of pragmatic arguments for “no.” Plenty of arguments for “no, and it would be bad if he were.” But it took people believing it could happen to make it possible, which required arguing about whether it would be a good idea. “It can’t happen” is a terrible reason to say “this is a bad idea.” It might work as a “this is a losing idea to run on” argument, but that’s another story.
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