Why is the Electoral College so important to American agriculture?

Any ideas on this one?

I guess because it protects the Midwestern states’ voice in government, but I have nothing real specific.

If the voting was based only on popular vote, the sparsely populated rural areas would be largely neglected by politicians. However, I still think the popular vote method is more democratic overall. Everyone’s vote should count the same.

The Electoral College is biased in favor of low population (=agriculture intensive) states.

A fair distribution of electors would be for states to have as many as they have congressmen in the House of Representatives. But the number of electors is the number of members in Congress counting both representatives and Senators. So each state has two additional electors. These two extra electors increase the voting power of small population states by a larger percentage than they increase the voting power of large population states.

Since small states also tend to be more consevative, this also boosts the power of the Republicans. If the two extra votes were not there, Gore would have won the last election, even without winning Florida.

Yep, you’re right.

The thing is, the USA is a republic, not a democracy.

And it was designed that way on purpose.

That’s only true in the present tense. If you look back through history, there have been a lot of periods where the Republicans were more powerful in the more populous states, while the more rural states voted Democratic. That has more to do with the current position of the parties than it does the makeup of the states.

If you ask me, any sort of proportional representation is somewhat unfair. There will always be some group that is underrepresented.

Fly, thread, fly away. Fly far away…all the way to Great Debates. Better yet, since this topic has been discussed several times recently, go away! Be deleted, you evil,stupid, repetitive thread!

I’m not even going to comment on the low population of one of our largest agricultural producing states, California.

[Moderator watch ON]
It’s a fine line here: Discussing the various biases inherent in a system of government, and the mechanisms by which those biases arise, is a legitimate General Question. Discussion of whether those biases, or the systems under which they arise, are a good thing is a Great Debate. So far, this question is the former, so it’s staying here for now. If the conversation starts shifting to the latter, we’ll move it.
[Moderator watch OFF]

>>A fair distribution of electors would be for states to have as many as they have congressmen in the House of Representatives.

nonsense!. the only FAIR way is “one state, one vote”.
then W. wouldn’t have needed Florida. :slight_smile:
The electoral collage was a compromise between “one state, one vote” and “one man, one vote”. The system is currently much closer to the democratic “one man, one vote” than it was anticipated to be. If nobody wins a clear majority in the electoral collage it goes to the house where each state gets one vote. At the time of the compromise it was expected that it would be rare for one person to get a clear majority in the collage. Who would have expected that 2 parties would come to be so dominant?


p.s.: The compromise is as valid now as it was then. changing the system would require an ammendment, necessitating 2/3’s of the states to ratify. That will never happen since some of those 2/3’s would be giving away political power. Any politician that calls for doing away with the electoral collage (the junior senator from New York comes to mind) is either quite ignorant of the system (unlikely) or just blowing smoke and shamelessly playing on the ignorance of her voters.

::Quietly waiting for this to hit GD.::

While we as a nation have witnessed a general trend towards direct election of our leadership (Senators used to be elected by state representatives, for example) eliminating the electoral college requires more than a simple amendment to the constitution.

One question that immediately comes to mind is whether a simple plurality of votes is enough to win. Runoff elections would be a distinct possibility.

While the articals of confederation did fail, the current Fed govt was set up more to help the states get along then to wield power over them. Even the name United States of America shows the importance of the states. The states themselves are the ones who decides how to choose the electors.

In Florida, after the election results were counted, recounted, re-recounted, ect. The Florida gov’t was just going to appoint it’s own electors which is it’s right.

The EC system was set up to accomodate a state vote in a way that tries not to leave low pop. states w/o enough representation while giving high pop states some extra rep.

IIRC 2 states, Maine being one of them, allow their electors to be split. This doesn’t address the advantage given to low pop states but does help out somewhat with the all or nothing system most states have in place now

In order to change the electoral college you need a constitutional amendment. That requires passage by 2/3 of the house, 2/3 of the senate, and ratification by 3/4 of the state legislatures (the president has no formal role in amendments). This is why the electoral college will not be repealed. All you need is 13 state legislatures who like things the way they are, and the amendment is blocked.

good catch Lemur.
quite right, it takes ratification by 3/4 of the states (rather than the 2/3 i said) to get an ammendment.
just makes the argument stronger; not a chance in hell.

p.s.: I could, however, see the balance shift further towards the “one state, one vote” side. If more states went with a Maine-style proportional allocation scheme, It would be more likely that a 3rd party candidate could toss it to the house.

Why do people keep insisting that the EC ensures that more attention will get paid to small, agricultural states. During this last election, the candidates spend the lion’s share of their time and money in places like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida, etc… Almost no attention got paid to smaller states, and I certainly didn’t hear anybody with any great ideas about agriculture in America.

:: eyes thread knowingly while patiently sharpening knives ::

Hey Montfort,
While we are waiting for the rest of the thread to arrive, perhaps you’d care to come over and Explain in detail why democracy cannot exist in a republic?

( Imagine pirate flag gif here. )

ITR champion: It’s the small states that gave Bush the presidency. Bush didn’t win many big states (except Texas, of course), but all of those 3’s and 4’s added up to give Bush enough votes to pull it off. Bush didn’t have to visit the small states because they were considered “safe” Republican states. OTOH, if Gore had bothered to visit a few, he might have been able to win a few and make Florida irrelevant.

One further thought: the Electoral College system was key to the formation of our country. Without it, half of the 13 Colonies would have never ratified the Constitution. Thus, if we were going to change the EC, the only fair way to do it would be through a constitutional convention that states could choose to opt out of.