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  #301  
Old 03-28-2019, 06:17 PM
Lance Turbo is offline
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The point is that the Electoral College is much more accurately described as a shift of power from states with a low proportion of slave to states with a high proportion of slaves than a shift from high population states to low population states.

The highest population state received the largest benefit!
  #302  
Old 03-28-2019, 07:15 PM
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Electoral power difference versus population percentage. R^2 = 0.05.

This is all over the place. Most of the smallest states do well, but so does the largest and some in the middle.

Code:
State		Pop%	Diff
Delaware	1.56%	0.97
Rhode Island	1.81%	1.24
Kentucky	1.94%	1.39
Georgia		2.17%	1.74
Vermont		2.25%	0.13
New Hampshire	3.74%	-0.22
New Jersey	4.85%	-0.80
Connecticut	6.27%	-1.44
South Carolina	6.56%	1.86
Maryland	8.42%	0.36
New York	8.96%	-2.44
Massachusetts	9.98%	-0.46
North Carolina	10.37%	-0.07
Pennsylvania	11.44%	-4.11
Virginia	19.69%	1.87
Electoral power difference versus percentage slaves. R^2 = 0.39.

Of six states with over 15% only one, North Carolina, lost power and it is just barely negative. Of eight states with less than 7% slaves only two, Vermont and Rhode Island, received a benefit and Vermont only about an eighth of an EV.

Code:
State		Slave%	Diff
Massachusetts	0.00%	-0.46
Vermont		0.02%	0.13
New Hampshire	0.11%	-0.22
Pennsylvania	0.86%	-4.11
Connecticut	1.16%	-1.44
Rhode Island	1.38%	1.24
New Jersey	6.20%	-0.80
New York	6.27%	-2.44
Delaware	15.04%	0.97
Kentucky	16.87%	1.39
North Carolina	25.54%	-0.07
Maryland	32.23%	0.36
Georgia		35.45%	1.74
Virginia	39.14%	1.87
South Carolina	43.00%	1.86
  #303  
Old 03-28-2019, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Northern Piper View Post
If that's so, it should be easy to come up with examples of countries other than the US that have FPTP and a two party system.

Which countries do you have in mind in support of your statement?
I love this question. (In the "The person asking it thinks this question demonstrates that they're smart, but the factual answers to this question don't really relate to the EC in any meaningful way" sense of loving a question.)

Of course, we don't have a two-party system here in the US, strictly speaking. And Britain doesn't either.

But hey, there's this thing called Duverger's Law. Which suggests that blah blah blah, you know this already. You're just looking for counterexamples you can nitpick on.

I said that FPTP "pretty much guarantees" a two-party system. That may have been too strong -- "pretty much guarantees an effectively two-party system" would be more accurate.

There are many and notable exceptions! I would also point out that FPTP in weirdly weighted geographical areas is not a popular method for electing heads of government. How many can you cite, NorthernPiper?
  #304  
Old 03-28-2019, 07:30 PM
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I also love how, in this thread, defending the EC comes down to a lot of arguments about statistics about this state and that state.

Look, if you want to sell it to the general public, focus on how it helps elect Republicans who lose the national popular vote! It's the real reason important people still defend it, and you've got a guaranteed ~40% support if you put the argument that way. (Or am I wrong that an honest accounting of the pro-EC arguments would have strong Republican support? I doubt we'll get to find out soon, since the Republican strategy seems to be to throw up a bunch of chaff and hope nobody thinks about the issue too hard.)
  #305  
Old 03-28-2019, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Lance Turbo View Post
The point is that the Electoral College is much more accurately described as a shift of power from states with a low proportion of slave to states with a high proportion of slaves than a shift from high population states to low population states.

The highest population state received the largest benefit!
It seems like you think the Founding Fathers were deciding between a nationwide popular vote and the EC and they decided on EC to give the slave states a boost. That's not how it went down. Both of the main two plans had the legislature elect the president.
  #306  
Old 03-28-2019, 08:22 PM
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I also love how, in this thread, defending the EC comes down to a lot of arguments about statistics about this state and that state. .)
That's not really happening.
  #307  
Old 03-28-2019, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by snoe View Post
I love this question. (In the "The person asking it thinks this question demonstrates that they're smart, but the factual answers to this question don't really relate to the EC in any meaningful way" sense of loving a question.)

Of course, we don't have a two-party system here in the US, strictly speaking. And Britain doesn't either.

But hey, there's this thing called Duverger's Law. Which suggests that blah blah blah, you know this already. You're just looking for counterexamples you can nitpick on.

I said that FPTP "pretty much guarantees" a two-party system. That may have been too strong -- "pretty much guarantees an effectively two-party system" would be more accurate.

There are many and notable exceptions! I would also point out that FPTP in weirdly weighted geographical areas is not a popular method for electing heads of government. How many can you cite, NorthernPiper?
Hey, this is the Straight Dope! Side conversations develop in long threads. That's one of the fun features!

But Duverger's "Law". An example where a theory gets tagged as a "Law" and then can't be challenged.

Except it has been challenged, both by counter-examples (The UK, Canada (and its provinces)), India and the Philippines), which have FPTP and multi-party systems. And Canada, the UK and India all have "weirdly weighted geographical areas". Most countries do, in fact. Yet FPTP seems quite popular in those countries. (Don't know enough about Philippines to comment.)

And by political scientists, like this fellow from the London School of Economics: Duverger's Law is a Dead Parrot. European political scientists need to recognize that plurality or majority voting has no tendency at all to Produce two party politics

Last edited by Northern Piper; 03-28-2019 at 08:53 PM.
  #308  
Old 03-28-2019, 08:53 PM
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That's not really happening.
Sorry that I missed all the excellent pro-EC arguments! Can someone summarize them?
  #309  
Old 03-28-2019, 08:57 PM
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Sorry that I missed all the excellent pro-EC arguments! Can someone summarize them?
I just said the pro-EC arguments weren't using state stats. That's Lance Turbo arguing on your side.
  #310  
Old 03-28-2019, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Northern Piper View Post
Hey, this is the Straight Dope! Side conversations develop in long threads. That's one of the fun features!

But Duverger's "Law". An example where a theory gets tagged as a "Law" and then can't be challenged.

Except it has been challenged, both by counter-examples (The UK, Canada (and its provinces)), India and the Philippines), which have FPTP and multi-party systems. And Canada, the UK and India all have "weirdly weighted geographical areas". Most countries do, in fact. Yet FPTP seems quite popular in those countries. (Don't know enough about Philippines to comment.)

And by political scientists, like this fellow from the London School of Economics: Duverger's Law is a Dead Parrot. European political scientists need to recognize that plurality or majority voting has no tendency at all to Produce two party politics
Awesome! So tell us how those examples support hanging on to the Electoral College as a way of choosing our head of government. To me, the examples cited look — to generalize — like examples of how not to structure a national government
(The LSE credentials are not enough to convince me. I don’t even like Mick Jagger’s music that much.)
  #311  
Old 03-28-2019, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by CarnalK View Post
I just said the pro-EC arguments weren't using state stats. That's Lance Turbo arguing on your side.
Oh, okay — so everyone agrees with Lance. EDIT: sorry, take this preceding sentence out — didn’t get CarnalK’s point at first

(Interesting how it’s a “your side” thing. Folks, just admit that the Electoral College is only retained because of its partisan slant. If there were arguments in its favor that made any sense, we would’ve seen them by now.)

Last edited by snoe; 03-28-2019 at 09:07 PM.
  #312  
Old 03-28-2019, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by CarnalK View Post
It seems like you think the Founding Fathers were deciding between a nationwide popular vote and the EC and they decided on EC to give the slave states a boost. That's not how it went down. Both of the main two plans had the legislature elect the president.
I don't think that at all. Like not even a little.
  #313  
Old 03-28-2019, 09:32 PM
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On the other hand, it seems like you think the purpose of the electoral college was to give a little extra power to lower population states. Here you are thinking that...

Quote:
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No. It's got the same "moral purpose" it always did, to give a little extra power to lower population states. You just think that's a stupid moral purpose.
That was not the intent and that was not the effect. The purpose was to give a boost to states that were dependent on slavery and for the preservation of slavery in those states.
  #314  
Old 03-28-2019, 11:19 PM
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Originally Posted by snoe View Post
I also love how, in this thread, defending the EC comes down to a lot of arguments about statistics about this state and that state.

Look, if you want to sell it to the general public, focus on how it helps elect Republicans who lose the national popular vote! It's the real reason important people still defend it, and you've got a guaranteed ~40% support if you put the argument that way. (Or am I wrong that an honest accounting of the pro-EC arguments would have strong Republican support? I doubt we'll get to find out soon, since the Republican strategy seems to be to throw up a bunch of chaff and hope nobody thinks about the issue too hard.)
In any given debate (not just the EC, but other issues), there will generally be two layers of reasons/motives: The surface arguments that people present in public, and their actual true motives deeper beneath.
  #315  
Old 03-29-2019, 04:54 AM
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In any given debate (not just the EC, but other issues), there will generally be two layers of reasons/motives: The surface arguments that people present in public, and their actual true motives deeper beneath.
Yeah. It's just not always that it's so incredibly obvious that the two don't match up. As said before, Ditka is easily giving the most accurate and honest description of the problem out of anyone here - "Neener neener sucks to be you guys". Because that's what it really boils down to. There is no actual rational defense of the electoral college that holds up to even the briefest scrutiny. If you want to support it because it's good for your side, that's okay, just own that, and we'll judge you accordingly. Don't do this whole song and dance of justifying it to yourself - it's not a great look.
  #316  
Old 03-29-2019, 06:50 AM
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Yes, I believe the underlying and most important reason for continuing to support the EC is because Republicans don't think Republicans can win a popular vote for president. Why not? I'm a Dem and I think the Pubbies can win a popular vote. Systemic improvement is more important than the results of any given election.
  #317  
Old 03-29-2019, 08:17 AM
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That was not the intent and that was not the effect. The purpose was to give a boost to states that were dependent on slavery and for the preservation of slavery in those states.
Are you getting your historical cites from the same place as your "two to three time the voting power!" assertion?

Why did both Pennsylvania and Massachusetts (at the time, both large, non slave-holding states) back the Virginia Plan? Why did New Jersey oppose it?

I'm still completely baffled by this entire argument. It appears that many (most?) of the anti-EC people here seems to be pushing to change the power structure of government to something that more closely resembles the Virginia Plan, which all of the southern slave states wanted.

And yet somehow, all elements of government that were retained from the New Jersey Plan (equal senate representation, +2 EV in the EC for every state) represent the "stains of slavery" and must be excised. How does that make sense?
  #318  
Old 03-29-2019, 09:17 AM
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Yes, I believe the underlying and most important reason for continuing to support the EC is because Republicans don't think Republicans can win a popular vote for president. ...
I believe you're wrong. Republicans won the popular vote for president in 2004. They fully intend to win it in 2020, and I haven't heard them say they don't think it can be done.
  #319  
Old 03-29-2019, 11:39 AM
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Are you getting your historical cites from the same place as your "two to three time the voting power!" assertion?

Why did both Pennsylvania and Massachusetts (at the time, both large, non slave-holding states) back the Virginia Plan? Why did New Jersey oppose it?

I'm still completely baffled by this entire argument. It appears that many (most?) of the anti-EC people here seems to be pushing to change the power structure of government to something that more closely resembles the Virginia Plan, which all of the southern slave states wanted.

And yet somehow, all elements of government that were retained from the New Jersey Plan (equal senate representation, +2 EV in the EC for every state) represent the "stains of slavery" and must be excised. How does that make sense?
Popular vote was suggested and immediately shot down as a deal breaker for states that depended on slavery. They then discussed different plans that all gave extra power to states that were dependent on slavery. They settled on a plan that gave extra power to states that were dependent on slavery because doing so was a necessary requirement to get those states on board. Giving a boost to states that depended on slavery was the intent and all options gave a boost to states that depended on slavery.

"Why did State X support plan A which gave a boost to slave states and not plan B which also gave a boost to slave states?" is a nonsense question.
  #320  
Old 03-29-2019, 12:26 PM
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Are you getting your historical cites from the same place as your "two to three time the voting power!" assertion?
1. I made a fairly substantial error in my back of the envelope calculation.
2. You suggested that I was wrong and suggested data that I could use to correct my error.
3. I admitted my error and corrected it using the data you suggested.

Why in the world are you harping on 1 and not addressing the actual argument?
  #321  
Old 03-29-2019, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Lance Turbo View Post
1. I made a fairly substantial error in my back of the envelope calculation.
2. You suggested that I was wrong and suggested data that I could use to correct my error.
3. I admitted my error and corrected it using the data you suggested.

Why in the world are you harping on 1 and not addressing the actual argument?
Fair enough. I'll stop harping.

Can you provide a cite for:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance Turbo
Popular vote was suggested and immediately shot down as a deal breaker for states that depended on slavery.
I see it being brought up by Pennsylvania (Gouverneur Morris) on the Convention in July 17, 1787, about half way through, as a counter proposal to the Executive being elected by the legislature.

I've read through this section, and there was a lot of reasons given against a popular election, in terms of:

1. The people not being well informed to make a choice
2. people only voting for their own states
3. The big populous states drowning out everyone else
4. The big populous states combining on one candidate
5. The people won't be able to reach consensus and the vote is going to have to be thrown to the legislature anyway.
6. The people can't judge character well enough (akin to a blind man at a trial of colors)
7. Logistics of a country-wide popular vote are impossible


Slavery is only mentioned once, as an aside, justifying why Virginia isn't going to be the largest state, and the motion ended with:

Quote:
On the question on an election by the people, instead of the Legislature, it passed in the negative, — Pennsylvania, aye — 1; Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, no — 9.
  #322  
Old 03-29-2019, 01:55 PM
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"The right of suffrage was much more diffusive in the Northern than the Southern States; and the latter could have no influence in the election on the score of the Negroes. The substitution of electors obviated this difficulty and seemed on the whole to be liable to fewest objections." - James Madison
  #323  
Old 03-30-2019, 04:21 PM
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What I'd like to know is if the Electoral College isn't keeping people like "Dubya" and D.J.T. out of the White House, then why bother with it at all?
  #324  
Old 03-31-2019, 01:42 AM
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1. The people not being well informed {enough} to make a choice
{aHEM}
  #325  
Old 04-01-2019, 07:49 AM
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No. It's got the same "moral purpose" it always did, to give a little extra power to lower population states. You just think that's a stupid moral purpose.
That is what I think, yes. But assuming arguendo that it's an admirable purpose, having the same number of Senators as the larger states gives a ton of power to the smaller states, day in and day out. That isn't enough?
  #326  
Old 04-01-2019, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Lance Turbo View Post
"The right of suffrage was much more diffusive in the Northern than the Southern States; and the latter could have no influence in the election on the score of the Negroes. The substitution of electors obviated this difficulty and seemed on the whole to be liable to fewest objections." - James Madison
Thanks for that, although I believe this statement (abhorrent as it is) by Madison isn't there really to give more power to Southern States - it's there to preclude the possibility of Southern States being upset that a potential enfranchised nonwhite voter in the North contributed directly to a presidential vote.

Note that the above quote is from July 19th, two days after the session I mentioned where the popular vote was brought up and then voted down almost unanimously for a multitude of reasons not specific to slavery.

Also note that During the same July 19th session:
Mr King (Mass) argues against a popular vote, specifying the people aren't going to concur around one candidate, and suggests Electors as a good substitute.

Mr. Gerry (Mass) reiterates that the people are uninformed and easily misled, and brings up a few examples of politicians that did their job correctly, but were driven out by the people for populist reasons.
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