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Old 12-19-2019, 03:31 PM
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EC/Popular vote compromise


Ran across this concept on another site. The host suggested that to assume the presidency that BOTH the Electoral College and the popular vote be required, but did not say what should be done when, as in 2000 and 2016, the popular vote and the Electoral Vote part company? I suggest letting the House and the Senate, sitting as a unitary body, pick the President (and the VP) by a two/thirds vote. In 2000 we might have had a Gore/Bush administration. In 2016, given the Republican advantage, they might have had to go with somebody else to get Dem support, perhaps Paul Ryan or Gov. Kasich. (I would have said the Electoral College rather than Congress, but that institution is now populated by party hacks rather than being the "council of wise men" that the founders intended.)

What do people think of this concept.
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Old 12-19-2019, 03:45 PM
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How are you going to get enough Congressmen to go along to 2/3 in a polarized climate like today's? I don't see enough R's who'd agree to make Warren or Biden president, or enough D's who'd make Trump president again, in the split EC/popular vote scenario you describe.
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Old 12-19-2019, 03:50 PM
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In 2016, given the Republican advantage, they might have had to go with somebody else to get Dem support, perhaps Paul Ryan or Gov. Kasich.
Snip. So to counteract the slight anti-majoritarian bias in the EC, we substitute it with a system which will appoint someone as President that nobody in the entire country voted for? That seems not very conducive to its purpose.
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Old 12-19-2019, 04:55 PM
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Snip. So to counteract the slight anti-majoritarian bias in the EC, we substitute it with a system which will appoint someone as President that nobody in the entire country voted for? That seems not very conducive to its purpose.
If you can't make both sides happy, then make both miserable.
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Old 12-19-2019, 05:05 PM
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How are you going to get enough Congressmen to go along to 2/3 in a polarized climate like today's? I don't see enough R's who'd agree to make Warren or Biden president, or enough D's who'd make Trump president again, in the split EC/popular vote scenario you describe.
I agree.

All of these proposals are nice, but the anti-democratic GOP isn't interested in giving up its power. I doubt anything changes until we experience a shock event that (hopefully) compels conservatives to return to the world of facts.
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Old 12-19-2019, 05:41 PM
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What happens on January 20 when 2/3 of the House and Senate have not yet come together on a candidate, and the terms of the President and Vice President expire?

In 1800 it took the House of Representatives 36 ballots to choose Thomas Jefferson over Aaron Burr, even though Burr was supposed to be Jefferson's running mate. If Congress couldn't resolve an intraparty squabble 200 years ago, how good are the chances it will be able to muster a 2/3 majority to break an electoral gridlock?
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Old 12-19-2019, 07:10 PM
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I think the best alternative to EC reform is increasing the size of the House by 500 seats. It doesn’t eliminate the EC bias, but mitigates it. It also makes gerrymandering harder.
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Old 12-19-2019, 11:06 PM
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I think the best alternative to EC reform is increasing the size of the House by 500 seats. It doesn’t eliminate the EC bias, but mitigates it. It also makes gerrymandering harder.
I've actually suggested something similar in the past, as it wouldn't require amending the constitution. As for the unable to resolve a deadlock issue. Hell, leave the office vacant for a while. It would arguably be preferable to the present incumbent. But seriously, nothing focuses the attention like a deadline and I bet that they agree on somebody.
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Old 12-20-2019, 12:18 AM
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I've actually suggested something similar in the past, as it wouldn't require amending the constitution. As for the unable to resolve a deadlock issue. Hell, leave the office vacant for a while. It would arguably be preferable to the present incumbent. But seriously, nothing focuses the attention like a deadline and I bet that they agree on somebody.
Not necessarily. Let's take 2016. We convene the combined House and Senate under your rule. If nothing happens, then Paul Ryan becomes Acting President by default. There is no need for the Republicans to compromise on anything. Likewise if the change the facts and assume that the Dems were in control, they would have no incentive to compromise as Pelosi would be Acting President in the case of a deadlock.

That's worse that either of the two proposals because if Paul Ryan becomes president, then not only did nobody vote for him to be president, nobody even voted for him to be Speaker of the House.

And deadlock there will be. Although by stretching the boundaries of credulity, maybe we could get a large number of Democrats to back, say, John Kasich, why would they do so? Why wouldn't they dig in their heels and say, "Nope, you're backing our moderate candidate instead!"? You might as well say that the Speaker of the House becomes President by default.

But if you did that, then forget about cross party voters. If I am a Trump voter, but the Republican candidate for Congress is a real shitheel so I want to cross party lines and vote for the moderate Dem, I might not do so because of the real possibility of a split EC/popular vote. The proposal would skew the down ballot races.

That's worse that either of the two proposals because if Paul Ryan becomes president, then not only did nobody vote for him to be president, nobody even voted for him to be Speaker of the House. Yes, sometimes (which has never happened in the history of the country) someone beyond the President and VP may have to assume the powers of the presidency in a unique circumstances, but your proposal would guarantee it in every election.

The compromise seems worse than either the EC or a popular vote winner. At least under either of those, you get a president that tens of millions of people voted for.
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Old 12-20-2019, 02:03 AM
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Yes, sometimes (which has never happened in the history of the country) someone beyond the President and VP may have to assume the powers of the presidency in a unique circumstance . . .
Gerald Ford.
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Old 12-20-2019, 09:54 AM
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Seriously though, I think the best thing that could be done is to change things such that each elector is voted for independently (i.e. your elector is elected within YOUR district), and maybe the two senators go the way of the state as a whole. In places like Texas or California, you'd see a much more granular EC result than 38 (or 55) votes in a bloc coming down for one candidate or the other. Granted, in smaller places like Wyoming, it wouldn't change much, but overall we'd get a much more accurate EC.
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Old 12-20-2019, 12:09 PM
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Someone in one of the election threads suggested that a majority vote requirement that could be established with run-offs or with second choice elections. This would allow more people to vote third party and all those third party voters would never spoil an election because their second choice is very likely to be a major party candidate.
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Old 12-20-2019, 01:02 PM
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I think the best alternative to EC reform is increasing the size of the House by 500 seats. It doesn’t eliminate the EC bias, but mitigates it. It also makes gerrymandering harder.
I never thought of this, but it would certainly have the effect of diluting the small state advantage. How is the size of the house decided? I know that originally grew with the population and then it was capped. But it is a wonderful idea.
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Old 12-20-2019, 01:11 PM
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Seriously though, I think the best thing that could be done is to change things such that each elector is voted for independently (i.e. your elector is elected within YOUR district), and maybe the two senators go the way of the state as a whole. In places like Texas or California, you'd see a much more granular EC result than 38 (or 55) votes in a bloc coming down for one candidate or the other. Granted, in smaller places like Wyoming, it wouldn't change much, but overall we'd get a much more accurate EC.
It's actually not that much better. In some situations, it could be worse. 538 looked at it. Clinton could've gotten +5 nationally (which would have been enough to win under the EC) and still lost under that system: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features...nd-still-lost/

It also makes gerrymandering even more powerful.
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Old 12-20-2019, 03:40 PM
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I just looked at the constitution. It is utterly silent on the subject of the how the size of the House it determined, but it is perfectly clear that it can vary. So I infer that it would require an ordinary act of congress, meaning both the senate and president must concur. Not gonna happen.

I think the OP is a total non-starter, a recipe for disaster.
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Old 12-20-2019, 05:47 PM
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I recently saw a video that talked about a way to change the Electoral College system without changing the Constitution or doing anything else that would need to be done at the Federal level.

The plan is called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which is an inter-state agreement in which the participating states agree to cast all of their electoral votes to the candidate that wins the popular vote nationally, regardless of who wins the state. This would go into effect once enough states have joined to total a majority of the EC votes. 16 states commanding a total of 196 electoral votes have already joined, and enough states currently have pending legislation to achieve a majority if passed.

The video does go into the pitfalls involved, not the least of which will be the inevitable legal challenges from non-participating states, but if successful, it would effectively change presidential elections to pure popular vote without changing the constitution or having individual states put themselves at any kind of disadvantage in the meantime.
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Old 12-20-2019, 06:14 PM
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Seriously though, I think the best thing that could be done is to change things such that each elector is voted for independently (i.e. your elector is elected within YOUR district).
Which would make gerrymandering all the more effective in "stealing" elections.

This was proposed in Pennsylvania before the 2012 election by Gov. Tom Corbett and state Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, both Republicans. Would it surprise you to learn that Obama carried the state in 2008 and 2012 and that the system would have given 12 districts to Romney and 6 to Obama with Obama carrying the state and earning the last two.
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Old 12-20-2019, 06:38 PM
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I recently saw a video that talked about a way to change the Electoral College system without changing the Constitution or doing anything else that would need to be done at the Federal level.

The plan is called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which is an inter-state agreement in which the participating states agree to cast all of their electoral votes to the candidate that wins the popular vote nationally, regardless of who wins the state. This would go into effect once enough states have joined to total a majority of the EC votes. 16 states commanding a total of 196 electoral votes have already joined, and enough states currently have pending legislation to achieve a majority if passed.

The video does go into the pitfalls involved, not the least of which will be the inevitable legal challenges from non-participating states, but if successful, it would effectively change presidential elections to pure popular vote without changing the constitution or having individual states put themselves at any kind of disadvantage in the meantime.
This pact is likelier to work against Democrats than Republicans. It is generally blue states that would be likelier to sign on to such a pact (although a few red states have as well) - and some of the most EV-heavy states, such as New York and California, are in.

In the event that a Republican wins the popular vote, but loses the Electoral College, these NPVIC states would have to give their electoral votes to the Republican. You'd see New York, California, etc. giving their EVs to the Republican.

Last edited by Velocity; 12-20-2019 at 06:43 PM.
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Old 12-20-2019, 06:45 PM
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This pact is likelier to work against Democrats than Republicans. It is generally blue states that would be likelier to sign on to such a pact (although a few red states have as well) - and some of the most EV-heavy states, such as New York and California, are in.

In the event that a Republican wins the popular vote, but loses the Electoral College, these NPVIC states would have to give their electoral votes to the Republican. You'd see New York, California, etc. giving their EVs to the Republican.
The pact only goes into effect once they have 270 EVs signed on. It doesn't really matter who it would effect. The popular vote winner would win regardless of party.
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Old 12-21-2019, 11:02 AM
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Step one, ditch the electoral college and assign states the equivalent weight in "presidental votes". The whole idea of sending certain representatives to elect the president by their own judgement has been a fiction for almost the entirety of the US.

Step two, assign the state votes proportionally by the popular vote in each state.

Land still gets to vote, but there are no longer any safe states.

Upping your margin by a percent in California will get you more than doing the same in Wyoming, but getting one more voter in Wyoming will count more than getting one more in California.
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Old 12-21-2019, 11:12 AM
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Aren't there some states whose electoral votes are proportionally awarded? This seems to make the most sense to me. Is the fact that each state has control of their own electoral process what is preventing this? Would this have changed the outcome in either the GorevBush, or ClintonvTrump descision?
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Old 12-21-2019, 11:15 AM
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To clarify and simplify, If a state has four electors, and 75% vote for candidate x, and 25% vote for candidate y, couldn't the results be candidate x: 3- Candidate y: 1?
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Old 12-21-2019, 11:19 AM
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The best compromise is for each state and DC have true proportional voting within their state. And no ... first past the post in congressional districts is not true proportional voting
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Old 12-21-2019, 11:24 AM
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Aren't there some states whose electoral votes are proportionally awarded? This seems to make the most sense to me. Is the fact that each state has control of their own electoral process what is preventing this? Would this have changed the outcome in either the GorevBush, or ClintonvTrump descision?
No. Nebraska and Maine have first past the post by congressional district (+2 votes to statewide winner but let's ignore that for now). To see why this is not proportional assume in each district 51% of the votes go completely to a Dem or a Pub and 49% goes Libertarian. Then all of the electoral votes will go to the Dem and Pubs and the Lib gets no EVs despite having almost half of the vote.
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Old 12-21-2019, 11:57 AM
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Okay. Ignorance fought. So, there should be some way to properly apportion the votes so that the "first past the post" situation doesn't occur? If the state is split 51%-49award one EV more to the winner maybe?
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Old 12-21-2019, 11:58 AM
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It obviously wouldn't be truly proportional, but fairer I think.
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Old 12-21-2019, 12:06 PM
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Upon re-reading Cad's post, I Have to say I've misunderstood. While this situation is probably not likely, with proportional voting statewide, it should work out, no? If, in some circumstance, the Libertarian won 49% of the popular vote, then she should be awarded the electoral votes accordingly. So say in a state with ten EVs, 6 would be split accordingly between the R and D and the other 4 would go to the L.
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