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Author Topic: Electoral College..  (Read 3924 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: October 19, 2004, 02:04:30 AM »

As Nov. 2nd draws closer, the media will give us our every four years crash course on these folks Roll Eyes
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« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2004, 04:04:16 AM »

I feel this election will end up the same way the 2000 election did.... loosing popular vote but winning electoral college.
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« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2004, 12:11:37 PM »

Being that I don't care for the concept of pure democracy in action (aka mob rule), I haven't seen a persuasive argument for getting rid of the electoral college.
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« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2004, 03:07:02 PM »

Being that I don't care for the concept of pure democracy in action (aka mob rule), I haven't seen a persuasive argument for getting rid of the electoral college.

Me neither.  I'd also like to see a return to state legislatures selecting members for their state's two slots in the US Senate.  Direct election for federal Senators does nothing but create a redundant body of legislators duplicating the work of the House.  The Senate was originally created as a bulwark to protect states' interests.  Since direct elections were instituted, there's been a steady undermining of the rights of states in the union, i.e. federal mandates on state budgets and laws.  It's also led to an apathetic citizenry paying less attention to local elections.
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« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2004, 05:23:39 PM »

I feel this election will end up the same way the 2000 election did.... loosing popular vote but winning electoral college.

Sickening, isn't it?  I have to agree with you...aren't we the only democracy in the world who has this convoluted system?  We need to get rid of it; a simple majority of the people shows us who we want.  

Had the shoe been on the other foot in 2000, the Republicans would have been livid.
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« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2004, 05:32:04 PM »

Sickening, isn't it?  I have to agree with you...aren't we the only democracy in the world who has this convoluted system?  We need to get rid of it; a simple majority of the people shows us who we want.  

Had the shoe been on the other foot in 2000, the Republicans would have been livid.
For sure. Republicans have a very organized system and they have shown that they will not concede an election for the sake of any values or gentleman manners. I have to salute them for their great propaganda machine and the mastermind behind it.

I still do not know what is wrong with simple majority of popular vote. I think the Founding fathers will laugh at us today saying : " They still use this system which we invented when we were drunk  Shocked ? "

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« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2004, 06:05:09 PM »

They weren't drunk at all.  The system is ingenious.

The problem with booting the Electoral College in favor of a simple popular majority is that the candidates would only campaign in a few large states.  Everyone else would lose out in the pandering.  You simply can't best represent the interests of the entire country by just following what California, New York, Florida, Texas, and Illinois want.  The needs and rights of smaller states and rural areas would suffer.  The United States was forged under the agreement that minority rights, for both political parties and less populated states, would be respected even if that meant their voting power had to be enhanced.  If you're going to take that power away, then there's no interest in the small states to stay in the union.  It's the same principle in having two Senators for every state, regardless of size.  If you are going to argue for the abolition of the Electoral College, then you should argue for the abolition of the Senate while you're at it.

The reality is, the possibility of these splits between an electoral victory and winning the popular vote are rare (happening in the closest of elections), and these calls for changing the system die out rather quickly because the opponents can't come up with an alternative that guarantees those small states won't get trampled.  It's one of those suggestions that sounds good on the surface, but under closer inspection is a bad idea.  I, for one, am not in favor of stripping more power away from small states, being that I live in one of them.  The country wasn't founded on absolute majority rule, and we've had a more stable political system than any other in the last two hundred years.  No other model has the same proven track record.  Taking away the requirement for a distributed base of support would create more friction in the country and less cohesion.  Those large countries spread out like the US that have not built a system requiring their leaders to receive a broad distribution of support have had the worst records on human rights and social cohesion - Russia, China, and the Roman Empire come to mind.
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« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2004, 06:48:38 PM »

Strelets,
you have a point, but in the same time, the electoral votes are distributed on the same proportion of populations, so the argument would lose some of its gravity under such reality. It would be the same, but rather magnified.

The electoral college actually neglects the votes of objection within the state itself. It is not fair in a state like Florida to have the twenty something electoral votes carried away by 500 votes. Imagine this, in state X where 10 million people live, all vote, and one candidate win 5,000,001 votes, and gets the whole electoral college and the other 4,999,999 voters are completely neglected. This is not democracy.

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« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2004, 07:14:34 PM »

I had to edit the poll from "retained in it's present form" to "retained in its present form."  It's = it is.  Its = possessive. Smiley

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« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2004, 07:15:19 PM »

I am so glad that we have an electoral college. Keeps the big city folks' candidates from trumping the election every time.

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« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2004, 07:43:13 PM »

you have a point, but in the same time, the electoral votes are distributed on the same proportion of populations, so the argument would lose some of its gravity under such reality. It would be the same, but rather magnified.

This is true to a certain extent, but the small states are given more clout to ensure their rights are protected by: 1) the states' electors are allocated winner-take-all (except for two states); and 2) each state is guaranteed a minimum number of electors regardless of population size - the number of Senators, which is always two, plus the number of House Representatives for the state.

The electoral college actually neglects the votes of objection within the state itself. It is not fair in a state like Florida to have the twenty something electoral votes carried away by 500 votes. Imagine this, in state X where 10 million people live, all vote, and one candidate win 5,000,001 votes, and gets the whole electoral college and the other 4,999,999 voters are completely neglected. This is not democracy.

But it actually does the opposite.  With each state's electoral votes being winner-take-all, this makes every citizen's vote more valuable, and forces the candidates to campaign there and appeal to the greatest distribution of residents in that state.  If we dumped the winner-take-all scheme, and go to a representative distribution based on the state's popular vote, then it weakens the state's clout.  Take Colorado for example (which is debating this very issue).  They have nine electoral votes.  Let's say the state is divided 55% to 45% in who to vote for.  What happens?  Each candidate is guaranteed four votes, and they are essentially fighting over one electoral vote.  They aren't going to waste their time and money over one vote.  They will campaign elsewhere.  But with the nine votes at stake, it guarantees the state's voters will get attention from the campaigns.  This is why very few states - Maine and Nebraska being the only ones - have dumped the winner-take-all system.  In the current scheme, the Colorado resident's vote is worth nine times as much as it would be if the state had a proportional system.
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« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2004, 08:37:40 PM »

It's the same principle in having two Senators for every state, regardless of size.  If you are going to argue for the abolition of the Electoral College, then you should argue for the abolition of the Senate while you're at it.

Actually, no; I disagree.  If we truly want the electoral college, then we should elect our senators with it as well.  However, we don't do this.  We elect our senators by popular vote.

As far as deciding who will fill which office, popular vote seems to be the only clear-cut way to do this, with a federal official who leads all the states in the Union being elected by all the people in the Union, as a whole, regardless of state.  However, the Senate (which was the truly ingenious idea and whose members, as I said, are elected in a statewide popular vote to represent said state) serves as a check/balance against the chief executive officer; all states, after having popularly appointed their two representatives, have equal representation in a national assembly.  This is where the less populous states' interests are served.

But to elect our cheif official (or any official) with the knowledge that more people in the union actually voted for the other guy is ludicrous.
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« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2004, 08:45:55 PM »

Our US Senate was not popularly elected originally, Pedro. The two senators from each state were appointed by the state legislatures (allowing that some allowed popular election within their state even at that time). The idea was the House represented the people at large or directly so to speak, and the Senate represented the states themselves. Never should have abandoned that design.
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« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2004, 09:48:34 PM »

I see nothing wrong with the interests of us "big city folk" taking precedence.  Frankly our interests are more important.  Take California for example (I don't live in CA).  It hardly matters in this election because it's not a 'swing state' but it's essentially the 7th largest country in the world.  What happens in CA affects (or effects, never can remember that one) all of us but what happens in Arkansas doesn't necessarily affect all of us.  

Truthfully in most states we have a 'tyranny' of the rural over the city.  Rural communities often receive disproportionate representation in most states.  In my home state of Oklahoma, for example, at least 1/2 of the state's population lives in the two largest cities, Oklahoma City and Tulsa, but these populations don't have equal representation in the state or federal legislatures.  

And I also don't believe that "small town folk" have more authority to govern than we do.  Small towns are really dreadful places to live.  In Oklahoma small towns, the kids drink way too much and do things I'd never have dreamed of doing.  The girls in my sorority from the small towns were so much wilder than us suburban girls.  Simply put a rural community isn't necessarily a better place to raise children.  Further small towns are extremely ' classest.'  There's usually a very sharp line between the haves and the have nots.
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« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2004, 11:03:02 PM »

Actually, no; I disagree.  If we truly want the electoral college, then we should elect our senators with it as well.  However, we don't do this.  We elect our senators by popular vote.

I'm not sure what you mean.  The significance of the Senate is that every state has two Senators regardless of their size.  This was setup to give added power to smaller states.  Otherwise, they wouldn't have joined.  In fact, I'd bet that if there was a popularly elected Senate at the time the Constitution was written, they wouldn't have joined the union.  The point is, you have to decide what's more important - having a big country, which means making compromises with the minority to keep the peace, or you can have the Republic of New York.  If it was truly beneficial for the bigger states to be their own countries, they would have done it.

As far as deciding who will fill which office, popular vote seems to be the only clear-cut way to do this, with a federal official who leads all the states in the Union being elected by all the people in the Union, as a whole, regardless of state.  However, the Senate (which was the truly ingenious idea and whose members, as I said, are elected in a statewide popular vote to represent said state) serves as a check/balance against the chief executive officer; all states, after having popularly appointed their two representatives, have equal representation in a national assembly.  This is where the less populous states' interests are served.

That's partially true, but that power has been greatly watered down because originally the state legislatures selected their state's Senators.  It was changed in the early 20th century.

There is a tension that has to be balanced in society; the right of each citizen to choose their leaders, and the prevention of rule by a mob of idiots who change their minds with a change of the weather.  You need the first freedom so as to release social tensions, but you need the latter so that social stability is maintained.  A pure democratic system at all levels simply doesn't work; it doesn't protect minority rights, and it leads to neverending social strife which serves no one's interests.  A purely democratic system would essentially revert back to a dictatorial regime once one particular mob managed to gain sufficient control of the system and then rewrote the rules preventing anyone else from being elected.

But to elect our cheif official (or any official) with the knowledge that more people in the union actually voted for the other guy is ludicrous.

It's ludicrous if it happens all the time with the *loser* getting a much larger percentage of the popular vote.  In over two hundred years of the republic, this has only happened twice, and by less than 1% both times.  That might look like a messed up system to some, but this system hasn't generated a Hitler or Lenin, unlike failed attempts by other countries at democracy.

The only time anyone finds the system ludicrous is when their guy loses.  Curiously, the folks complaining that the will of the majority wasn't followed in 2000 didn't say a peep about the majority voting against Clinton in 1992 and 1996.

I see nothing wrong with the interests of us "big city folk" taking precedence.  Frankly our interests are more important.

Let's analyze this...  What you're saying is that we could tax the hell out of farmers, ranchers, force "city folk" culture upon rural families against their will, and pass all manner of budgets that they would pay for while letting the city slickers off the hook.  You could pass regulations that allow city businesses to pollute rural lands and water sources.  I say, "No thanks."  We once had that; it was called fiefdom.  You won't have a country of this size hanging together by taking that approach.  You'd have the entire middle and southern sections of the US secede, and that certainly wouldn't help California if their products are charged tariffs when being sold to Arizona or Oklahoma.  This setup won't work, it would provoke civil war, and the city slicker winners would have to impose a dictatorship to prevent unrest.
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« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2004, 11:07:06 PM »

Jennifer,

Please don't assume that I think small town people are better, more pure, or deserve more rights. All I was saying what that I think everyone needs to be represented.

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« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2004, 11:34:03 PM »

I'm not sure what you mean.  The significance of the Senate is that every state has two Senators regardless of their size.  This was setup to give added power to smaller states.  Otherwise, they wouldn't have joined.  In fact, I'd bet that if there was a popularly elected Senate at the time the Constitution was written, they wouldn't have joined the union.  The point is, you have to decide what's more important - having a big country, which means making compromises with the minority to keep the peace, or you can have the Republic of New York.  If it was truly beneficial for the bigger states to be their own countries, they would have done it.That's partially true, but that power has been greatly watered down because originally the state legislatures selected their state's Senators.  It was changed in the early 20th century.

There is a tension that has to be balanced in society; the right of each citizen to choose their leaders, and the prevention of rule by a mob of idiots who change their minds with a change of the weather.  You need the first freedom so as to release social tensions, but you need the latter so that social stability is maintained.  A pure democratic system at all levels simply doesn't work; it doesn't protect minority rights, and it leads to neverending social strife which serves no one's interests.  A purely democratic system would essentially revert back to a dictatorial regime once one particular mob managed to gain sufficient control of the system and then rewrote the rules preventing anyone else from being elected.It's ludicrous if it happens all the time with the *loser* getting a much larger percentage of the popular vote.  In over two hundred years of the republic, this has only happened twice, and by less than 1% both times.  That might look like a messed up system to some, but this system hasn't generated a Hitler or Lenin, unlike failed attempts by other countries at democracy.

The only time anyone finds the system ludicrous is when their guy loses.  Curiously, the folks complaining that the will of the majority wasn't followed in 2000 didn't say a peep about the majority voting against Clinton in 1992 and 1996.Let's analyze this...  What you're saying is that we could tax the hell out of farmers, ranchers, force "city folk" culture upon rural families against their will, and pass all manner of budgets that they would pay for while letting the city slickers off the hook.  You could pass regulations that allow city businesses to pollute rural lands and water sources.  I say, "No thanks."  We once had that; it was called fiefdom.  You won't have a country of this size hanging together by taking that approach.  You'd have the entire middle and southern sections of the US secede, and that certainly wouldn't help California if their products are charged tariffs when being sold to Arizona or Oklahoma.  This setup won't work, it would provoke civil war, and the city slicker winners would have to impose a dictatorship to prevent unrest.

Actually we pay for them now.  States like Oklahoma and Arkansas are "welfare" states, in that get more government benefits than they pay in taxes.  

Also the whole middle wouldn't secede.  The middle isn't "rural" anymore.  Take a state like Missouri.  About 2/3rds of the population live in the cities.  The same with the south.  

The fact is that today rural America is overrepresented in terms of population which is wrong.
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« Reply #17 on: October 19, 2004, 11:39:01 PM »

Jennifer,

Please don't assume that I think small town people are better, more pure, or deserve more rights. All I was saying what that I think everyone needs to be represented.

Anastasios

Everyone isn't represented under the current system.  I'm not represented as my  state is firmly in one column.  When I lived in another state where I voted contrary to the majority I definitely wasn't represented.  My parents back in Oklahoma plan to vote for Kerry.  OK will probably go 60% for Bush so my parents' doesn't count at all.  

Further, rural America (take states like Montana, etc) is overrepresented in the electoral college.  

If we want everyone to be represented, then the electoral college should be abandoned.  I'm not sure what should replace it although I suppose a popular vote would be my preference.  I agree that rural people would not be courted by politicians under such a system but I'm not being 'courted' by Bush or Kerry now.
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« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2004, 12:06:57 AM »

I love the electoral college because it is one of the biggest defenses against the liberal machinery of the east (and in particularly the west coast).

It keeps things ballanced and fair.

As a side note, I live in Springfield Missouri, and I think that Missouri is going to go for Bush!!!!!!!!
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« Reply #19 on: October 20, 2004, 12:41:06 AM »

Everyone isn't represented under the current system.  I'm not represented as my  state is firmly in one column.  When I lived in another state where I voted contrary to the majority I definitely wasn't represented.

Further, rural America (take states like Montana, etc) is overrepresented in the electoral college.

I think you are confused about the difference between being represented and getting your way every time.

If we want everyone to be represented, then the electoral college should be abandoned.  I'm not sure what should replace it although I suppose a popular vote would be my preference.  I agree that rural people would not be courted by politicians under such a system but I'm not being 'courted' by Bush or Kerry now.

You've simply moved the *problem* up one level.  You feel you aren't represented because your candidate lost the popular vote in your state... but somehow you'll feel represented when your candidate loses a popular vote at the national level???
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« Reply #20 on: October 20, 2004, 12:55:33 AM »

No you misunderstand.  Rural America is overly represented in most states and in the electoral college.  The ratio of population to electoral votes in states with low population is less than the ratio in states with large populations.  That means that we in the latter states are not represented equally in the electoral college.  

Furthermore, in most states, people in rural communities are overrepresented in terms of population.  

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« Reply #21 on: October 20, 2004, 12:56:59 AM »

One more thing most of the states with lower population to electoral votes take more taxdollars than they contribute.  Meaning that not only are those of us in populous states underrepresented, we're paying more than our fair share of taxes.
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« Reply #22 on: October 20, 2004, 01:34:58 AM »

Your paying more than your fair share of taxes because of all of the lefty democrats running your states. If you don't like paying a lot of taxes, then mabey you should start voting for people who are for tax cuts??

just some food for thought
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« Reply #23 on: October 20, 2004, 02:05:46 AM »

Your paying more than your fair share of taxes because of all of the lefty democrats running your states. If you don't like paying a lot of taxes, then mabey you should start voting for people who are for tax cuts??

just some food for thought

We're talking federal taxes here and 'lefty democrats' (can we have a discussion with using mindless phrases like that, btw?) don't run the federal government.  

BTW, you live in a 'welfare' state but are your GOP senators doing something to make MO 'pull up its bootstraps?'  No, of course not.  They're at the trough just like the rest of them.  

We in the 'blue states' pay for you guys in the 'red states.'  http://www.taxfoundation.org/ff/taxingspendingupdate.html
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« Reply #24 on: October 20, 2004, 08:19:23 AM »

This discussion is getting to partisan
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« Reply #25 on: October 20, 2004, 10:34:01 AM »

We are going to close this thread later today as it is political discussion and that is banned. I thought a discussion of the electoral college could possibly discussed on its own merits but I can see it is going political nevertheless. So everyone please say your last word and it will be closed in the afternoon/evening.

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« Reply #26 on: October 20, 2004, 01:56:45 PM »

One more thing most of the states with lower population to electoral votes take more taxdollars than they contribute.  Meaning that not only are those of us in populous states underrepresented, we're paying more than our fair share of taxes.  

Oh my, I agree with Jennifer  Shocked

Enough of this tax the rich, give to the poor stuff... Wink

Wasn't redistribution of wealth through taxation one of Karl Marx's ideas in
Das Kapital?

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« Reply #27 on: October 20, 2004, 03:05:06 PM »

They will never change the electoral college which is a good thing. There needs to be fair & equal representation for all states. I don't want a few big cities to decide the election, it's only fair the candidates reach out to all americans.


Quote
Enough of this tax the rich, give to the poor stuff...

Wasn't redistribution of wealth through taxation one of Karl Marx's ideas in
Das Kapital?

LoL, it sure was. It's obvious to everyone that liberalism has been an utter failure in this country. All the past presidents in the last 24 years have rejected marxism (even Clinton who was a fiscal conservative) for reducing social programs & holding both people & the government more accountable. It has worked very well, especially under Clinton when he slashed the welfare rolls in half & provided incentives for people to work.
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« Reply #28 on: October 20, 2004, 03:19:36 PM »

There needs to be fair & equal representation for all states.

How is an electoral college which is based on comparative population any more "fair and equal" to the states that don't have as many people?

Quote
I don't want a few big cities to decide the election, it's only fair the candidates reach out to all americans.

A few big cities are overridden easily by several small ones....

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« Reply #29 on: October 20, 2004, 03:27:50 PM »

I would like to see the Electoral College reformed a bit. I think all states should go to a system whereby the electoral are awarded on a congressional district basis, rather then the current "winner take all" system used in 48 states (Maine and Nebraska being the exceptions).
I also feel there is no longer a need for groups of people appointed "electors" to meet in state capitals and cast a ballot..simply have each state board of election send it's results to the House of Representatives and have thier electoral votes awarded out.
I also believe that 6 weeks after Election Day is to long of a wait for the Electoral votes to be tallied. 3 or 4 weeks would do.
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« Reply #30 on: October 20, 2004, 03:32:13 PM »

An interesting cartoon...
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