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| | |-+  Should we abolish the popular vote?
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Question: a Phillip-esque type poll
yes   -10 (14.7%)
no   -53 (77.9%)
possibly, let's hear a good argument for it M&C...   -5 (7.4%)
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Total Voters: 68

Author Topic: Should we abolish the popular vote?  (Read 26015 times)
MaC
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« on: July 17, 2005, 09:21:23 pm »
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well, electors choose the president, not the people.  I say we could do this for every state (like the Maine and Nebraska way)  Where we choose an elector from every district based on how the district votes.  We also eliminate the national popular vote, but keep the state popular vote to see who gets the extra two votes.

Yes? No? Maybe so?
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« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2005, 01:03:23 am »
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You can|t abolish the national popular vote because it does not exist.
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« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2005, 02:30:19 am »
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We can't abolish the popular vote in presidential elections.

Right now, it counts for nothing anyway, but people will always look at it, and we can't stop them from doing so.

I think we should leave the system as it is, except that I would take actual power away from individual electors and require a pre-determined system for allocating electoral votes. 

I favor winner-take-all at the state level, but of course, if some large Democratic states want to break up their electoral vote allocation, that's OK by me....Smiley

Actually, I don't favor that at all because I think it would be intolerable if somebody won in that manner.  That's one reason I fear all this tinkering with the electoral vote.  So far, the different ways of allocating electoral votes used by Maine and Nebraska haven't affected the outcome of any elections, but if states with more electoral votes, and greater political splits (such as New York and California) started doing this, and not the rest of the country, it could cause real political instability.

I have always maintained that it makes no sense for any state to dilute its power in the electoral college unless every other state does so.  I continue to believe that.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2005, 02:33:17 am by dazzleman »Logged
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« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2005, 06:37:25 am »
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well, electors choose the president, not the people.  I say we could do this for every state (like the Maine and Nebraska way)  Where we choose an elector from every district based on how the district votes.  We also eliminate the national popular vote, but keep the state popular vote to see who gets the extra two votes.
In many of the early elections, many of the states that elected their electors from districts, elected them from electoral districts, rather than congressional districts.  So for example, if Nebraska used such a system, it would be divided into 5 electoral districts, with each electing an elector.
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« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2005, 09:39:14 am »
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The popular vote is absolutely necessary.

The electoral college system works fine.

The only change that should be made is to have the electors bound by law to cast their electoral votes for the popular vote winner of their state.

"Rogue Electors"  or "Unfaithful Electors" should not be permitted, and this should be enshrined in law.

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« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2005, 06:29:34 pm »
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The only change that should be made is to have the electors bound by law to cast their electoral votes for the popular vote winner of their state.

"Rogue Electors"  or "Unfaithful Electors" should not be permitted, and this should be enshrined in law.
This would likely be unconstitutional.  The Constitution provides that each state determines the method by which its electors are appointed, but how the electors act once they are appointed is set by the Constitution itself.
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« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2005, 06:02:32 pm »
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Abolish the vote, and proclaim me King! Cheesy
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« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2005, 05:40:40 am »
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I personally agree with dazzleman and Winfield: the electoral college system is fine, but who the people vote for should be absolutely non-negotiable.  Personally, I don't even really see the point in having physical electors; given that we now have a national media system set up under which the majority of the results can be broadcast before the night is out, it seems to me that they aren't really needed anymore.
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« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2005, 04:44:28 pm »
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The opposite should be done.
Get rid of the archaic system we have and go with the most votes win.
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« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2005, 04:50:09 pm »
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The opposite should be done.
The Electoral College should, in my opinion, be retained. Like Congress, the Electoral College maintains the underlying principles of federalism, balancing the representation of the states on the basis of population, and the representation of the states as states.
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MaC
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« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2005, 08:53:36 pm »
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The opposite should be done.
Get rid of the archaic system we have and go with the most votes win.

Yeah, but if we did that, only the major city's votes would count.  I would see that you might like that since the cities usually choose a more liberal candidate.  However, I don't think states like Delaware or South Dakota would really have any say.  The main problem is people in urban areas would have little problem getting other people to vote with them.  Rural voters would be less credited in the respect they wouldn't be able to encourage others to vote like they do being that they're less of a populated demographic. 

I can only imagine, over time candidates would only run from cities and nobody would have any representation from the country.
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« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2005, 11:13:15 pm »
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The opposite should be done.
Get rid of the archaic system we have and go with the most votes win.

Yeah, but if we did that, only the major city's votes would count.  I would see that you might like that since the cities usually choose a more liberal candidate.  However, I don't think states like Delaware or South Dakota would really have any say.  The main problem is people in urban areas would have little problem getting other people to vote with them.  Rural voters would be less credited in the respect they wouldn't be able to encourage others to vote like they do being that they're less of a populated demographic.

Well, the one question I've always had is this: isn't this sort of how it happens already, at least in states that have at least one major city?  In a state like New York, where practically the entire state save for one little spot can be Republican, and it still goes Democratic, aren't rural voters still being pushed to the sidelines, in a way?  With a national popular vote, if 51% of a population of a state votes in one direction, the other 49% will still count towards the other guy's total instead of having their votes be entirely meaningless.

Plus, you only need to win 11 states in order to win the election, even with the electoral college.  The other 39 states could scream and yell and support the other guy by 90-point margins all they wanted, but it wouldn't make any difference whatsoever.  A national popular vote might make elections a truly national race, instead of simply focusing on a few "key states" while ignoring the rest of the population of America, since getting one more vote in, say, Alabama, would still help the Democrat, even if the state as a whole still supported the Republican.

I can only imagine, over time candidates would only run from cities and nobody would have any representation from the country.

As opposed to now, when New England is shunned with a vengeance and Democratic candidates from the South or the Midwest are the only ones who can likely win an election unless the opponent is really bad?

I should note that I'm not in favor of a national popular vote.  I do think that it has merit, however.
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« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2005, 11:15:37 pm »
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The benefit of the electoral college is that the president-elect must seek out widespread support, and not just stack up large majorities in certain geographical segments of the country.
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« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2005, 02:01:42 am »
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The benefit of the electoral college is that the president-elect must seek out widespread support, and not just stack up large majorities in certain geographical segments of the country.

But what makes Mike Smith's vote more important if he lives in York, Pennsylvania, than if he lives in Queens?
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« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2005, 03:51:40 am »
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The benefit of the electoral college is that the president-elect must seek out widespread support, and not just stack up large majorities in certain geographical segments of the country.

Sort of.  It can also mean that the person that a majority wanted may possibly lose.  While very far-fetched, the following is something that can theoretically mean a Democratic victory:



Democrat: 271 EVs, 28%
Republican: 268 EVs, 71%

At the moment, I can't think of a way to prevent both the possibility of a person winning with only a concentrated but super-strong base of support and the possibility of a person winning while the majority, or at least plurality, supported the other person.  I'm not even sure if one exists, although I may delve into the question further now that it's been raised, as I feel it's an interesting one.  It mainly depends, however, on which possibility you feel is the worst, with regards to which system you feel is better.  There's no universally "best" system.

The other issue is this: suppose there was some mass exodus of people in the direction of, say, California and Texas, resulting in the following map:



This is obviously even more lopsided and clustered, but this is still nevertheless a 270-268 Democratic win, even though there is hardly any broad support whatsoever.  Since the electoral college does take population into account, it does not always require broad support.  Even in the first example using the EV numbers as they were in 2004, broad support is not really attained.

The other issue with the electoral college is stuff like the following.  Here's the results from the 2004 election:



Shift only a few votes in one state and you get this:



Kerry still loses the popular vote by a considerable margin, but all of a sudden he's won the election.  If you don't like the variance in only one state, then give Kerry a 1.11% swing nation-wide - the same effect happens, in which Kerry loses the popular vote but wins the election.

The electoral college has the tendency to really exaggerate state results - winning by only one vote means that you get everything and that the loser gets nothing, even though support in the state is, in reality, about dead even.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2005, 04:12:33 am by Senator Gabu, PPT »Logged



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« Reply #15 on: July 22, 2005, 10:02:22 am »
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The benefit of the electoral college is that the president-elect must seek out widespread support, and not just stack up large majorities in certain geographical segments of the country.
Quite on the contrary. He may seek support in only certain geographical segments that make up just over half of the country and can let the rest of the country do exactly as it pleases. View 1860.
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« Reply #16 on: July 22, 2005, 10:16:33 am »
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The benefit of the electoral college is that the president-elect must seek out widespread support, and not just stack up large majorities in certain geographical segments of the country.

But what makes Mike Smith's vote more important if he lives in York, Pennsylvania, than if he lives in Queens?
The same argument could be used to declare the Senate an archaic institution, yet it remains, as it represents a principle that is a cornerstone of the federal system.
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« Reply #17 on: July 22, 2005, 10:24:36 am »
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The benefit of the electoral college is that the president-elect must seek out widespread support, and not just stack up large majorities in certain geographical segments of the country.

But what makes Mike Smith's vote more important if he lives in York, Pennsylvania, than if he lives in Queens?
The same argument could be used to declare the Senate an archaic institution, yet it remains, as it represents a principle that is a cornerstone of the federal system.
Well it's both. Both archaic and a cornerstone of the (archaic) federal system. It's also got the great advantage of being ungerrymanderable by state legislatures.
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« Reply #18 on: July 22, 2005, 10:55:44 am »
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True, the Senate is far more unequitible and should be abolished before the electoral college.  A voter in Wyoming has about 4X the power of a California voter in the electoral college, but 100X the power in the Senate.

The electoral college solution proposed by the OP would actually exaggerate the advantage of small states in the electoral college even more...the 400K people in WY would be able to swing 3 EVS by themselves, while the 40M in California would only be able swing a few more EVs.   Plus, this system would create even more incentive for congressional gerrymandering, which I think is an effect we would all like to avoid.
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« Reply #19 on: July 22, 2005, 11:53:29 am »
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'Unequitable' is irrelevant. Notice our Constitution is established for all the people, not just the majority, and reserves most powers to the states.

The benefit of the electoral college is that the president-elect must seek out widespread support, and not just stack up large majorities in certain geographical segments of the country.

But what makes Mike Smith's vote more important if he lives in York, Pennsylvania, than if he lives in Queens?
The same argument could be used to declare the Senate an archaic institution, yet it remains, as it represents a principle that is a cornerstone of the federal system.
Well it's both. Both archaic and a cornerstone of the (archaic) federal system. It's also got the great advantage of being ungerrymanderable by state legislatures.

Federal system archaic? Uh, no.
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« Reply #20 on: July 22, 2005, 11:57:27 am »
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'Unequitable' is irrelevant. Notice our Constitution is established for all the people, not just the majority, and reserves most powers to the states.
Right you are. Otherwise, the notion of "rights" would be nonexistent.
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« Reply #21 on: July 22, 2005, 03:02:38 pm »
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There's no reason why you can't preserve all the individual rights we have no while giving everyone at least approximately equal voting power.

The way the Senate is structured now, it doesn't denfend the rights of minorities against majorities.  It only protects some specified minorities, whle hurting other minorities.  What state you are from is really much less relevant tou our lives today than many other traits.  If you really want to protect minorities, give two Senators to each racial group, or each religion, or each income bracket.
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« Reply #22 on: July 22, 2005, 03:10:20 pm »
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Yes, there is. You can not protect the rights of the states without a Senate.

People have the right to self-rule. That means that there must be choices between geographic areas in order to preserve meaningful liberty of any kind or substance.

There is no greater American tradition than the federalist tradition. It is because we have abandoned so much of that tradition that America exited the last century less free than when it entered.
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« Reply #23 on: July 22, 2005, 08:01:23 pm »
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There's no reason why you can't preserve all the individual rights we have no while giving everyone at least approximately equal voting power.

The way the Senate is structured now, it doesn't denfend the rights of minorities against majorities.  It only protects some specified minorities, whle hurting other minorities.  What state you are from is really much less relevant tou our lives today than many other traits.  If you really want to protect minorities, give two Senators to each racial group, or each religion, or each income bracket.

The assumption in a federal body like the Senate is that significant minorites will not be so geographically uniform that they are lost in every jurisdiction. That assumption generally tends to be true, but the threshold for "significance" is ambiguous. That ambigous threshold is a good thing IMO, since it provides far greater flexibility to changing times than the specific declaration of minority interest groups.
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« Reply #24 on: July 25, 2005, 11:02:48 pm »
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We're going to vote for someone at some point.  If we elect our state reps to pick the electors, then that's how we'll vote for president, indirectly.

I'd rather choose my state rep for making state legislation.
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