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Author Topic: Electoral College: any changes coming?  (Read 19152 times)
12th Doctor
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« Reply #25 on: December 11, 2003, 06:31:36 pm »
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Oh and as for the farm subsidies... most of those go to rich corperate farms anyway.  And only about 4 families in my town farmed.  We weren't all farmers  many of us had low paying manufacturing and service jobs.  And the glass plant that employed a quarterof  the people in my area shut its doors 3 years ago.
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« Reply #26 on: December 11, 2003, 07:11:54 pm »
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As someone who comes from a very rural area, perhaps my opinion will carry more weight with you than Migrendel's. I feel that the concept of one person, one vote is very important, and that's why the popular vote should decide elections instead of the Electoral College. It decides every other election in this country except for the Presidential Election, so what is it about the Presidential Election that makes it different? Why not implement an EC type system for all elections if it is such a good idea? All people should have their vote count equally no matter where they live. That's not saying screw urban people or screw rural people, that's just a common sense principle of equality in a democracy.
And you both have very good points about problems that exist in urban and rural areas. I've seen lots of both so I know what you both mean. However, I feel that it only makes sense to focus more attention on urban areas since more people live there.
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« Reply #27 on: December 11, 2003, 07:22:49 pm »
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I respect and understand everything that you are saying.  I just think that if we are going to maintain a federal republican system and insure geographic diversity then the distribution of electoral votes should stay as is.  I do agree with you on one crucial point, which is that the winner-take all system should be changed.  I feel to one that is based on congressional districts.

My main fear about a PV only system would be that candidates would send there people only into heavily urban district to scare a lot of people to going to the polls last minute who wouldn't have gone otherwise.  What I'm trying to say is that I do fear that candidates would consentrate energy on sending a lot of uninformed people to the polls and thus carry the election.  And if someone wanted to pull this trick, they would always do it in urban areas where there is higher population concentration.

I think that right now, the electoral college at least does a little to prevent this from happening.
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« Reply #28 on: December 13, 2003, 11:04:45 pm »
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Well grew up on a farma nd still around the communities a lot.  Bush is getting some good press on it lately and Dems are getting blame for blocking the energy bill with the ETHANOL provisions.  At least in the IA, MN and SD newspapers and such out here.


Oh and as for the farm subsidies... most of those go to rich corperate farms anyway.  And only about 4 families in my town farmed.  We weren't all farmers  many of us had low paying manufacturing and service jobs.  And the glass plant that employed a quarterof  the people in my area shut its doors 3 years ago.
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« Reply #29 on: December 16, 2003, 10:54:09 pm »
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The only changes I would suggest to the electoral college are the following:

1.  I would like to see an electoral vote cap, especially since California has 55ev and the next state behind it is Texas with only 34.  I am very concerned about the possibility of one or more states becoming too powerful.  

2.  Secondly, I would propose splitting the electoral votes a large state has during an election year.  Such a split would occur along the lines of the popular vote totals for each candidate.  To be fair I would suggest that a state would have to split its total if its EV count is greater than for example 22 votes.  (I welcome other suggestions).  

See you all later.  

 

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« Reply #30 on: December 21, 2003, 12:04:48 am »
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i'd say that the senate votes of the EC should be cut out.

it's not fair that WY and DE, etc get triple the representation they should in the EC, but larger states the extra two is a drop in the bucket.  Also, states with more than 20 house seats/ev's should be required to split them in some way, either by district or proportion or something.
i think that'd change things for the better.
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« Reply #31 on: December 21, 2003, 01:37:42 am »
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But founders had to pass electoral college to satisfy the desires of small states back in their days to form the country , among other issues also.

Plus there has always been enough small states to block ratification of any CA.
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« Reply #32 on: December 21, 2003, 03:33:08 pm »
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i'd say that the senate votes of the EC should be cut out.

it's not fair that WY and DE, etc get triple the representation they should in the EC, but larger states the extra two is a drop in the bucket.  Also, states with more than 20 house seats/ev's should be required to split them in some way, either by district or proportion or something.
i think that'd change things for the better.

A few comments:  The purpose of this thread is to see if any changes are coming to the EC:  That is are there any changes in the way a state selects electors?
I do not think there is any realistic chance the EC will be changed by a constitutional amendment, since the small states perceive the current system as favorable to them.  So lets not even bother to make suggestions that are unrealistic, like: senate votes of the EC should be cut out.

BTW, I disagree that the EC is unfair.  There are many electoral systems use on the planet, and
any electoral system is fair as long as all the candidates know the rules and compete under those rules
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« Reply #33 on: December 22, 2003, 11:34:43 am »
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Isn't it a bit strange to change the EC every 10 years only? If there was a significant demographical change the system could become grossly unfair, with certain states getting heavily overrepresented. Sure, I'm from a country with proportional representation so I'm not that familiar with these things, but it does seem weird to me.
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« Reply #34 on: December 22, 2003, 05:06:10 pm »
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The Constitution mandates a census every 10 yrs and reapportionment follows.  In general, its unusual if a state loses or gains more than 2 EV from a census, so there is not too big a concern about waiting 10 yrs.
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« Reply #35 on: December 28, 2003, 02:37:13 pm »
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Isn't it a bit strange to change the EC every 10 years only? If there was a significant demographical change the system could become grossly unfair, with certain states getting heavily overrepresented. Sure, I'm from a country with proportional representation so I'm not that familiar with these things, but it does seem weird to me.

The constitution mandates that every ten years we have a census and reapportionment.
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« Reply #36 on: December 28, 2003, 04:18:56 pm »
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Isn't it a bit strange to change the EC every 10 years only? If there was a significant demographical change the system could become grossly unfair, with certain states getting heavily overrepresented. Sure, I'm from a country with proportional representation so I'm not that familiar with these things, but it does seem weird to me.

The constitution mandates that every ten years we have a census and reapportionment.

Yes, but just b/c something is in the constitution it isn't necessarily good or right, is it?
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« Reply #37 on: December 29, 2003, 11:11:46 am »
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Well that is why you have the amendment process to change it if neccessary.  But it is made to be tough to do so it doesn't just change on the up and down whims of society.


Isn't it a bit strange to change the EC every 10 years only? If there was a significant demographical change the system could become grossly unfair, with certain states getting heavily overrepresented. Sure, I'm from a country with proportional representation so I'm not that familiar with these things, but it does seem weird to me.

The constitution mandates that every ten years we have a census and reapportionment.

Yes, but just b/c something is in the constitution it isn't necessarily good or right, is it?
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« Reply #38 on: January 12, 2004, 01:32:19 am »
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First, one can make the argument that the Founders' expectations were that the election would be decided in the House.  Initially, there were many candidates in the quadrennial elections and it was difficult to get a majority in the EC.

Secondly, there's no a priori expectation of popular vote mandates.  For example we don't elect most justices.  We can accept that one of the three branches is not popularly elected; this indicates that it may not be such a difficult mental stretch to imagine we can accept that two of three branches are not.  This is neither good nor bad.  Just the way it is.

Third, remember that the EC was a reasonable attempt at Federalism, much like some of the bizarre formulations for distribution of authority in what the European Steel and Coal Union has evolved into.  It is noteworthy that in the early literature the phrase was "These United States are..." and by around 1845 it had been almost entirely supplanted by  "The United States is..."  And this was well before the strong-central-government vs. states-rights issue was finally settled at the point of a bayonnet.    Except in the minds of those who belong to  extreme states-rights groups (Libertarians, Constitutionalists, the Brookings Institute, etc.), the supremacy of DC over the various legislatures is a given.  This, too, is neither good nor bad, just evolution.  But we shouldn't forget the original intentions of the framers.

That said, I'm of two minds when it comes to the EC.  On the one hand, that one candidate can win a plurality of the actual voters' votes and still lose is a bit unsettling.  On the other, if ever there was a case in favor of the current state-by-state system, the 2000 general election was it.  When one guy gets 48 plus or minus a percent and the other guy gets 48-point-something plus or minus a percent (that's what most folks call a tie), there's likely to be serious calls for recounting.  In our current system, the recounts were localized in two small states (NM, where gore eventually won by 360 votes!  IA, where gore eventually won by 4000) and one large (FL, where bush won by 185 if you counted them the way the bushies wanted, bush won by 1500 if you count them the way gore wanted, or 587, if you count them the way Katherine Harris wanted.)  As it is, we didn't have a winner till December 12.  Can you imagine how it would have been if we had been required to do a nation-wide recount of 105 million votes?!  There's a good chance that we may not have had a victor by innauguration day.

Still, like most folks, I'm undecided about whether the current system best fits.  Recall that more amendments have dealt with the issue of how we pick our national CEO than any other issue.  I think the suggestion of getting rid of the vertical offset (y-intercept as it were) of 2 extra votes for the number of senators and keeping the slope (no, that's not an ethnoracial slur, I mean the geometric change in y, or electoral votes, with x, the population).  But, as a serious practical matter, everyone seems to agree that change is unlikely since it involves amending the constitition.
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« Reply #39 on: January 12, 2004, 01:28:52 pm »
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Well, on your first point, since the people vote on the president, they should actually elect him, or else the EC should be restored to its original power. Currently, there is the impression that the president is elected by the people, and either that impression should be removed completely, or it should be made true. Being in the middle is no good.

If you have a nation-wide count, the likeliness of ties is smaller, I believe. I think the Gore national margin was big enough (500 000 votes) that it wouldn't have gone away in a recount. And that would most likely be the case in most elections. Countries do have popular votes, and it usually works just fine.

First, one can make the argument that the Founders' expectations were that the election would be decided in the House.  Initially, there were many candidates in the quadrennial elections and it was difficult to get a majority in the EC.

Secondly, there's no a priori expectation of popular vote mandates.  For example we don't elect most justices.  We can accept that one of the three branches is not popularly elected; this indicates that it may not be such a difficult mental stretch to imagine we can accept that two of three branches are not.  This is neither good nor bad.  Just the way it is.

Third, remember that the EC was a reasonable attempt at Federalism, much like some of the bizarre formulations for distribution of authority in what the European Steel and Coal Union has evolved into.  It is noteworthy that in the early literature the phrase was "These United States are..." and by around 1845 it had been almost entirely supplanted by  "The United States is..."  And this was well before the strong-central-government vs. states-rights issue was finally settled at the point of a bayonnet.    Except in the minds of those who belong to  extreme states-rights groups (Libertarians, Constitutionalists, the Brookings Institute, etc.), the supremacy of DC over the various legislatures is a given.  This, too, is neither good nor bad, just evolution.  But we shouldn't forget the original intentions of the framers.

That said, I'm of two minds when it comes to the EC.  On the one hand, that one candidate can win a plurality of the actual voters' votes and still lose is a bit unsettling.  On the other, if ever there was a case in favor of the current state-by-state system, the 2000 general election was it.  When one guy gets 48 plus or minus a percent and the other guy gets 48-point-something plus or minus a percent (that's what most folks call a tie), there's likely to be serious calls for recounting.  In our current system, the recounts were localized in two small states (NM, where gore eventually won by 360 votes!  IA, where gore eventually won by 4000) and one large (FL, where bush won by 185 if you counted them the way the bushies wanted, bush won by 1500 if you count them the way gore wanted, or 587, if you count them the way Katherine Harris wanted.)  As it is, we didn't have a winner till December 12.  Can you imagine how it would have been if we had been required to do a nation-wide recount of 105 million votes?!  There's a good chance that we may not have had a victor by innauguration day.

Still, like most folks, I'm undecided about whether the current system best fits.  Recall that more amendments have dealt with the issue of how we pick our national CEO than any other issue.  I think the suggestion of getting rid of the vertical offset (y-intercept as it were) of 2 extra votes for the number of senators and keeping the slope (no, that's not an ethnoracial slur, I mean the geometric change in y, or electoral votes, with x, the population).  But, as a serious practical matter, everyone seems to agree that change is unlikely since it involves amending the constitition.
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« Reply #40 on: January 20, 2004, 03:11:17 pm »
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I very much like the electoral college as it seems to me to strongly favor Republican candidates.  I don't see anyone being able to push through a constitutional amendment to change it.  However I could foresee one and only one way to gain more advantage - for Northern and Southern California to split.  The two halves and the rural part of the state are becoming more and more alienated, and it is a place where all sorts of bizarre voter initiatives occur.  Is this a possible scenario?  If the new 'South California' included enough of the rural areas it would give us a good chance of Republican victories - for both EC and Senate seats.
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« Reply #41 on: January 20, 2004, 03:16:08 pm »
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I very much like the electoral college as it seems to me to strongly favor Republican candidates.  I don't see anyone being able to push through a constitutional amendment to change it.  However I could foresee one and only one way to gain more advantage - for Northern and Southern California to split.  The two halves and the rural part of the state are becoming more and more alienated, and it is a place where all sorts of bizarre voter initiatives occur.  Is this a possible scenario?  If the new 'South California' included enough of the rural areas it would give us a good chance of Republican victories - for both EC and Senate seats.

Do you actually think that the fundaments of a nation should be decided on the basis of "what's best for me"? If your founding fathers had thought like that you Americans would be in so much trouble right now.
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« Reply #42 on: January 20, 2004, 03:48:34 pm »
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First, one can make the argument that the Founders' expectations were that the election would be decided in the House.  Initially, there were many candidates in the quadrennial elections and it was difficult to get a majority in the EC.

Secondly, there's no a priori expectation of popular vote mandates.  For example we don't elect most justices.  We can accept that one of the three branches is not popularly elected; this indicates that it may not be such a difficult mental stretch to imagine we can accept that two of three branches are not.  This is neither good nor bad.  Just the way it is.

Third, remember that the EC was a reasonable attempt at Federalism, much like some of the bizarre formulations for distribution of authority in what the European Steel and Coal Union has evolved into.  It is noteworthy that in the early literature the phrase was "These United States are..." and by around 1845 it had been almost entirely supplanted by  "The United States is..."  And this was well before the strong-central-government vs. states-rights issue was finally settled at the point of a bayonnet.    Except in the minds of those who belong to  extreme states-rights groups (Libertarians, Constitutionalists, the Brookings Institute, etc.), the supremacy of DC over the various legislatures is a given.  This, too, is neither good nor bad, just evolution.  But we shouldn't forget the original intentions of the framers.

That said, I'm of two minds when it comes to the EC.  On the one hand, that one candidate can win a plurality of the actual voters' votes and still lose is a bit unsettling.  On the other, if ever there was a case in favor of the current state-by-state system, the 2000 general election was it.  When one guy gets 48 plus or minus a percent and the other guy gets 48-point-something plus or minus a percent (that's what most folks call a tie), there's likely to be serious calls for recounting.  In our current system, the recounts were localized in two small states (NM, where gore eventually won by 360 votes!  IA, where gore eventually won by 4000) and one large (FL, where bush won by 185 if you counted them the way the bushies wanted, bush won by 1500 if you count them the way gore wanted, or 587, if you count them the way Katherine Harris wanted.)  As it is, we didn't have a winner till December 12.  Can you imagine how it would have been if we had been required to do a nation-wide recount of 105 million votes?!  There's a good chance that we may not have had a victor by innauguration day.

Still, like most folks, I'm undecided about whether the current system best fits.  Recall that more amendments have dealt with the issue of how we pick our national CEO than any other issue.  I think the suggestion of getting rid of the vertical offset (y-intercept as it were) of 2 extra votes for the number of senators and keeping the slope (no, that's not an ethnoracial slur, I mean the geometric change in y, or electoral votes, with x, the population).  But, as a serious practical matter, everyone seems to agree that change is unlikely since it involves amending the constitition.

You make two good points.  The first is that having th EC may acctually prevent fraud and cooroption of the system and thus prevent endless recounting and civil war.

The second, that if you counted up the votes THE WAY GORE WANTED TO, BUSH'S LEAD WOULD HAVE INCREASED.  I remember reading reports about that after Bush was sworn in, but it didn't get much press because liberals in the media wanted people to go on thinking that Bush was the illegitimate president.
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« Reply #43 on: January 20, 2004, 11:43:07 pm »
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Yes, but if all the votes had been counted properly, Gore would have won. The way Gore wanted them to be counted was a flawed strategy.

Oh sure, bring out the old lie about the "liberal media" again...I remember seeing it getting quite a bit of press. The entire recount business was old news by then so one wouldn't expect it to be a huge story.
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« Reply #44 on: January 21, 2004, 08:55:55 am »
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I very much like the electoral college as it seems to me to strongly favor Republican candidates.  I don't see anyone being able to push through a constitutional amendment to change it.  However I could foresee one and only one way to gain more advantage - for Northern and Southern California to split.  The two halves and the rural part of the state are becoming more and more alienated, and it is a place where all sorts of bizarre voter initiatives occur.  Is this a possible scenario?  If the new 'South California' included enough of the rural areas it would give us a good chance of Republican victories - for both EC and Senate seats.

Do you actually think that the fundaments of a nation should be decided on the basis of "what's best for me"? If your founding fathers had thought like that you Americans would be in so much trouble right now.

Gustaf, I wasn't talking about the Founding Fathers, I was talking about the Republican party.  We had good success with the recall in CA, so why not a voter initiative to split the state?  I have no idea if such a thing were possible but it would be great.

Also, about the Electoral College as a whole - I'm sure the founding fathers would have intended it as yet another designed factor to reduce 'true democracy' - something they rightly saw as an evil.  The country was set up as  Republic to provide regional representation.  The fact that it does benefit the Republican Party *at present* does please me, and makes me suspect that our party more reflects the values of the Founding Fathers.  But the reason I think we'll keep it is that no small rural state would ever agree to ratify a change - its against their interests.
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« Reply #45 on: January 21, 2004, 10:28:58 am »
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I very much like the electoral college as it seems to me to strongly favor Republican candidates.  I don't see anyone being able to push through a constitutional amendment to change it.  However I could foresee one and only one way to gain more advantage - for Northern and Southern California to split.  The two halves and the rural part of the state are becoming more and more alienated, and it is a place where all sorts of bizarre voter initiatives occur.  Is this a possible scenario?  If the new 'South California' included enough of the rural areas it would give us a good chance of Republican victories - for both EC and Senate seats.

Do you actually think that the fundaments of a nation should be decided on the basis of "what's best for me"? If your founding fathers had thought like that you Americans would be in so much trouble right now.

Gustaf, I wasn't talking about the Founding Fathers, I was talking about the Republican party.  We had good success with the recall in CA, so why not a voter initiative to split the state?  I have no idea if such a thing were possible but it would be great.

Also, about the Electoral College as a whole - I'm sure the founding fathers would have intended it as yet another designed factor to reduce 'true democracy' - something they rightly saw as an evil.  The country was set up as  Republic to provide regional representation.  The fact that it does benefit the Republican Party *at present* does please me, and makes me suspect that our party more reflects the values of the Founding Fathers.  But the reason I think we'll keep it is that no small rural state would ever agree to ratify a change - its against their interests.

You seem to think that changes should be conducted on th basis of self-interest. But if Democracy is so evil and the Republican party best represents the American people, why not go all the way, and simply ban all other parties? Then you get your desired effect, and rid yourself of the tiresome democracy. It might produce a wrong result every now and then, even if you cheat the system.
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« Reply #46 on: January 21, 2004, 12:22:33 pm »
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[quote author=Gustaf
You seem to think that changes should be conducted on th basis of self-interest. But if Democracy is so evil and the Republican party best represents the American people, why not go all the way, and simply ban all other parties? Then you get your desired effect, and rid yourself of the tiresome democracy. It might produce a wrong result every now and then, even if you cheat the system.
Quote

Of course the only reason changes would ever happen would be due to self-interest!  How do you think politics works?  If one party gains control and can change the system to benefit itself, it will - for example gerrymandering during redistricting.  So I'm all for my party doing its best in this way.  And the reasons for limiting democracy are legitimate, since mob rule is dangerous.  And yes, perfect democracy would tend to favor the left, so I'm much happier being in a constitutional republic where the actions of the majority are limited by various strageties from the Bill of Rights to the Electoral College.  
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« Reply #47 on: January 21, 2004, 12:26:37 pm »
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[quote author=Gustaf
You seem to think that changes should be conducted on th basis of self-interest. But if Democracy is so evil and the Republican party best represents the American people, why not go all the way, and simply ban all other parties? Then you get your desired effect, and rid yourself of the tiresome democracy. It might produce a wrong result every now and then, even if you cheat the system.
Quote

Of course the only reason changes would ever happen would be due to self-interest!  How do you think politics works?  If one party gains control and can change the system to benefit itself, it will - for example gerrymandering during redistricting.  So I'm all for my party doing its best in this way.  And the reasons for limiting democracy are legitimate, since mob rule is dangerous.  And yes, perfect democracy would tend to favor the left, so I'm much happier being in a constitutional republic where the actions of the majority are limited by various strageties from the Bill of Rights to the Electoral College.  

I believe that system should be sound and fair. But if your concept of fairness and morality is non-existent, then I guess your view is logical.
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« Reply #48 on: January 21, 2004, 12:36:13 pm »
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[quote author=Gustaf
You seem to think that changes should be conducted on th basis of self-interest. But if Democracy is so evil and the Republican party best represents the American people, why not go all the way, and simply ban all other parties? Then you get your desired effect, and rid yourself of the tiresome democracy. It might produce a wrong result every now and then, even if you cheat the system.
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Of course the only reason changes would ever happen would be due to self-interest!  How do you think politics works?  If one party gains control and can change the system to benefit itself, it will - for example gerrymandering during redistricting.  So I'm all for my party doing its best in this way.  And the reasons for limiting democracy are legitimate, since mob rule is dangerous.  And yes, perfect democracy would tend to favor the left, so I'm much happier being in a constitutional republic where the actions of the majority are limited by various strageties from the Bill of Rights to the Electoral College.  

I believe that system should be sound and fair. But if your concept of fairness and morality is non-existent, then I guess your view is logical.

I have a very consistent sense of fairness and morality, but it is based more on what protects the individual from the majority, rather than idealizing the empowerment of the majority, as happens under full democracy.  We just have different values.  Basically I fear the State, and fear the majority (or Mob), and I suspect the Founder Fathers felt exactly the same way.  
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The essence of democracy at its purest is a lynch mob

Gustaf
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« Reply #49 on: January 21, 2004, 01:13:51 pm »
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[quote author=Gustaf
You seem to think that changes should be conducted on th basis of self-interest. But if Democracy is so evil and the Republican party best represents the American people, why not go all the way, and simply ban all other parties? Then you get your desired effect, and rid yourself of the tiresome democracy. It might produce a wrong result every now and then, even if you cheat the system.
Quote

Of course the only reason changes would ever happen would be due to self-interest!  How do you think politics works?  If one party gains control and can change the system to benefit itself, it will - for example gerrymandering during redistricting.  So I'm all for my party doing its best in this way.  And the reasons for limiting democracy are legitimate, since mob rule is dangerous.  And yes, perfect democracy would tend to favor the left, so I'm much happier being in a constitutional republic where the actions of the majority are limited by various strageties from the Bill of Rights to the Electoral College.  

I believe that system should be sound and fair. But if your concept of fairness and morality is non-existent, then I guess your view is logical.

I have a very consistent sense of fairness and morality, but it is based more on what protects the individual from the majority, rather than idealizing the empowerment of the majority, as happens under full democracy.  We just have different values.  Basically I fear the State, and fear the majority (or Mob), and I suspect the Founder Fathers felt exactly the same way.  

I agree with that, but the solution is to reduce the power of politics, not to reduce the democratic inluence on politicians. Democracy, together with free markets, is what we have to keep the politicians in check. A constitution is useful to keep them restrained, but is always possible to circumvent, since it contains ny dynamics.
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In MN for fantasy stuff, member of the most recently dissolved centrist party.
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