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Author Topic: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?  (Read 34341 times)
Scottish Robb Stark
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« Reply #125 on: June 03, 2011, 06:13:21 am »
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As opposed to election by national popular-vote.

None of the conventional arguments strike me as persuasive. But conventional or unconventional, line 'em up.

Sarah Palin.

If the electoral college worked the way it was intended it would never allow her to be president regardless of the popular vote.

What exactly leads you to think that ?
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« Reply #126 on: June 03, 2011, 04:34:32 pm »
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Irregularities in voting in a close national, election could lead to the largest legal debacle in history.  At least with the electoral college, a vote cast in Nebraska has no effect on the results in Vermont. 
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« Reply #127 on: June 03, 2011, 05:17:39 pm »
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Sarah Palin.

If the electoral college worked the way it was intended it would never allow her to be president regardless of the popular vote.

What exactly leads you to think that ?

In America we don't vote for the president directly.  We actually vote for a contingent of candidates that are pledged to support one presidential hopeful when the Electoral College meets in DC and casts the actual vote for president.  They are not required by law to vote for the person they pledged to support.  And indeed there are numerous examples in history of people breaking this pledge.  If the people choose someone crazy (ie Palin) then presumably the more level headed representatives in the Electoral College will vote for a more appropriate candidate.
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« Reply #128 on: June 03, 2011, 07:40:51 pm »
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In America we don't vote for the president directly.  We actually vote for a contingent of candidates that are pledged to support one presidential hopeful when the Electoral College meets in DC and casts the actual vote for president.  They are not required by law to vote for the person they pledged to support.  And indeed there are numerous examples in history of people breaking this pledge.  If the people choose someone crazy (ie Palin) then presumably the more level headed representatives in the Electoral College will vote for a more appropriate candidate.

Actually, a number of States have laws that require electors to vote as they pledged under penalty of law. The validity of those laws have never been tested . Besides, since electors are usually hyperloyal party functionaries, so unless a candidate started acting crazy after the popular election but before the electoral college meets I doubt more than one or two electors will ever be faithless and vote contrary to how they pledged in any presidential election.
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« Reply #129 on: June 03, 2011, 08:14:20 pm »
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Actually, a number of States have laws that require electors to vote as they pledged under penalty of law.

What if the winner of their state died after the election, but before the electors meet?  Do they have to vote for a dead guy?

And actually, does the constitution require that the electors vote for someone who's eligible to be president?  Thus, is it legal for an elector to vote for a dead guy?
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« Reply #130 on: June 03, 2011, 09:00:23 pm »
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As opposed to election by national popular-vote.

None of the conventional arguments strike me as persuasive. But conventional or unconventional, line 'em up.

Sarah Palin.

If the electoral college worked the way it was intended it would never allow her to be president


So basically your belief is that the higher-ups, should the election results be unfavorable, should block an undesired person to be sworn into office? It should be up to someone besides the governed to decide who governs?
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« Reply #131 on: June 03, 2011, 11:40:21 pm »
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As opposed to election by national popular-vote.

None of the conventional arguments strike me as persuasive. But conventional or unconventional, line 'em up.

Sarah Palin.

If the electoral college worked the way it was intended it would never allow her to be president


So basically your belief is that the higher-ups, should the election results be unfavorable, should block an undesired person to be sworn into office? It should be up to someone besides the governed to decide who governs?

Well thank you for the compliment, but I can't take credit for writing the Constitution.  I was just responding to a question and pointing out where our quirky Electoral College system could actually do some good... if it worked as intended.

That's the thing about you Republicans you wrap yourself in the American flag and go on and on about how glorious the Constitution is, but most of you really have no idea about a lot of it.  In short the glorious founders of our nation were a little snobby.  Shocked?  You do realize a chunk of them owned slaves, right?  Why are you so surprised?  They actually made it a law that people like Palin (women) were not allowed to vote.  I think some of them wanted Congress to pick the president but the Electoral College was the compromise.  That's one story I've heard.  But under no circumstances did Thomas Jefferson and the boys want you the average voter to have unchecked power to select the president.

Hey this will blow your Republicans minds... you also realize we weren't supposed to directly elect Senators right?  In fact for most of our history we didn't vote for them.  That's been going on for less than 100 yrs.

Hhhmmm... maybe now you guys will ask Sarah Palin to get that ridiculous American Constitution off the side of her bus.  You don't see Nick Clegg driving around with a Magna Carta painted on his Jaquar... do you?
« Last Edit: June 03, 2011, 11:42:21 pm by CitizenX »Logged

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« Reply #132 on: June 03, 2011, 11:47:50 pm »
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In America we don't vote for the president directly.  We actually vote for a contingent of candidates that are pledged to support one presidential hopeful when the Electoral College meets in DC and casts the actual vote for president.  They are not required by law to vote for the person they pledged to support.  And indeed there are numerous examples in history of people breaking this pledge.  If the people choose someone crazy (ie Palin) then presumably the more level headed representatives in the Electoral College will vote for a more appropriate candidate.

Actually, a number of States have laws that require electors to vote as they pledged under penalty of law. The validity of those laws have never been tested . Besides, since electors are usually hyperloyal party functionaries, so unless a candidate started acting crazy after the popular election but before the electoral college meets I doubt more than one or two electors will ever be faithless and vote contrary to how they pledged in any presidential election.

That's why I said IF the Electoral College worked the way it was supposed to.  Besides political parties are never mentioned in the Constitution so "hyperloyal party functionaries" were never supposed to exist.  Our first president George Washington was not a member of any party and in fact cautioned against them.  If only we had listened.
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« Reply #133 on: June 04, 2011, 02:35:09 am »
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Al always says this but it's right: The Democratic and Republican parties do not function and are not structured anything like proper political parties are.
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« Reply #134 on: June 04, 2011, 03:36:23 am »
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Sarah Palin.

If the electoral college worked the way it was intended it would never allow her to be president regardless of the popular vote.

What exactly leads you to think that ?

In America we don't vote for the president directly.  We actually vote for a contingent of candidates that are pledged to support one presidential hopeful when the Electoral College meets in DC and casts the actual vote for president.  They are not required by law to vote for the person they pledged to support.  And indeed there are numerous examples in history of people breaking this pledge.  If the people choose someone crazy (ie Palin) then presumably the more level headed representatives in the Electoral College will vote for a more appropriate candidate.

That's just ridiculous. EVs will vote for the candidate they were elected for, as has always happened since 1824.
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« Reply #135 on: June 04, 2011, 02:11:49 pm »
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Actually, a number of States have laws that require electors to vote as they pledged under penalty of law.

What if the winner of their state died after the election, but before the electors meet?  Do they have to vote for a dead guy?

And actually, does the constitution require that the electors vote for someone who's eligible to be president?  Thus, is it legal for an elector to vote for a dead guy?


In 1872, Horace Greeley died between Election Day and the day the Electoral College met.  For the most part, the Democratic electors chose other people to vote for, but three of the eleven electors in Georgia chose to vote for Greeley for President and Brown for Vice President as they had pledged.  Their votes for Greeley were not counted by the House.  However, it wouldn't have mattered if they'd counted, even if all of Greeley's electors had remained faithful as Grant won that election by a landslide.

The law has changed somewhat since then.  The language of 3 USC 19 suggests that votes for a dead person were cast, they would be counted, and if a dead person were to win the Presidency, the Vice President-elect.  Similarly if votes for an unqualified person are cast, they would be counted, but that if such a person won the Presidency, the Vice President would serve as acting President until they qualified.  Hence if someone who would turn 35 on January 30 were elected President, their running mate would serve as Acting President for ten days until the young whippersnapper was old enough to take office.
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« Reply #136 on: June 04, 2011, 02:22:48 pm »
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EVs will vote for the candidate they were elected for, as has always happened since 1824.

There have been 13 elections since 1824 that have had faithless electors. (15 if you count 1872 and 1912 where the cause of faithlessness was their candidate died.) One of those cases, 1836, was sufficient to force the election of the Vice President into the Senate, where the end result was the same as if they had remained faithful.
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« Reply #137 on: June 04, 2011, 02:41:52 pm »
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EVs will vote for the candidate they were elected for, as has always happened since 1824.

There have been 13 elections since 1824 that have had faithless electors. (15 if you count 1872 and 1912 where the cause of faithlessness was their candidate died.) One of those cases, 1836, was sufficient to force the election of the Vice President into the Senate, where the end result was the same as if they had remained faithful.

So, never in the country's history faithless electors have changed the outcome of a Presidential election. And that's not going to happen anytime soon unless some major upset.
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22:15   ComradeSibboleth   this is all extremely terrible and in all respects absolutely fycking dire.

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« Reply #138 on: June 04, 2011, 04:42:04 pm »
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And that's not going to happen anytime soon unless some major upset.

So it won't happen unless it happens? I agree.
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« Reply #139 on: June 04, 2011, 05:06:34 pm »
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Actually, a number of States have laws that require electors to vote as they pledged under penalty of law.

Red represents states with laws punishing faithless electors:



That's just ridiculous. EVs will vote for the candidate they were elected for, as has always happened since 1824.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faithless_elector
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« Reply #140 on: June 05, 2011, 03:57:59 am »
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And that's not going to happen anytime soon unless some major upset.

So it won't happen unless it happens? I agree.

I've learnt to never say never, but the probability is around 0.000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001%.
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22:15   ComradeSibboleth   this is all extremely terrible and in all respects absolutely fycking dire.

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« Reply #141 on: June 05, 2011, 04:46:33 am »
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It would require both the Democrats and Republicans to win the popular vote and lose the electoral vote in one election, and then have the opposite happen in the next election.
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« Reply #142 on: June 06, 2011, 06:12:28 am »
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Sarah Palin.

If the electoral college worked the way it was intended it would never allow her to be president regardless of the popular vote.

What exactly leads you to think that ?

In America we don't vote for the president directly.  We actually vote for a contingent of candidates that are pledged to support one presidential hopeful when the Electoral College meets in DC and casts the actual vote for president.  They are not required by law to vote for the person they pledged to support.  And indeed there are numerous examples in history of people breaking this pledge.  If the people choose someone crazy (ie Palin) then presumably the more level headed representatives in the Electoral College will vote for a more appropriate candidate.

That's just ridiculous. EVs will vote for the candidate they were elected for, as has always happened since 1824.

That is not ridiculous.  Please reread my posts my friend.  The OP asked is their a plausible argument in favor of the electoral college.  The answer is Sarah Palin.

I said IF the electoral college functioned the way it was supposed to it would prevent her from ever becoming president.  I said IF.  Unfortunately the electoral college does not function in the manner it is supposed to.  Sometimes government doesn't function in the manner which you intend it to.  It doesn't mean its heart isn't in the right place.
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« Reply #143 on: August 08, 2011, 06:47:23 pm »
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When was the last candidate to campaign in Mississippi?

(I believe the answer, surprisingly enough, is Mondale in 1984, though it's possible I'm wrong. GWB may have made a brief stop here at some point, but no serious campaigning.)

Without the electoral college, some candidate may stop by, rather than staying in the same 10 tossup states each election.
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« Reply #144 on: February 15, 2013, 09:59:59 am »
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The one thing that the electoral college does is to insulate the system from State governments that effectively become single-Party dictatorships. Just imagine how a national popular vote would go if some State cast 50 million fraudulent votes for someone who ends up winning by 3 million popular votes. 
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« Reply #145 on: February 23, 2013, 06:11:03 am »
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The one thing that the electoral college does is to insulate the system from State governments that effectively become single-Party dictatorships. Just imagine how a national popular vote would go if some State cast 50 million fraudulent votes for someone who ends up winning by 3 million popular votes. 

I think this argument (though pretty unlikely to occur as stated) is probably the best one in favour of the EC. That is, disparities in state election laws means that the popular vote might not be a great reflection of the popular will. Then again, there's an easy solution (standardised federal voting laws) and even then it's unlikely any disparities caused by this are larger than what is normally caused by the EC.
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« Reply #146 on: February 23, 2013, 06:28:08 am »
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So many of the other arguments are just terrible though, like imagining bad consequences of a popular vote when it's not as if we have like, every other election ever to get a pretty good idea of how popular vote elections work.
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« Reply #147 on: February 24, 2013, 08:08:30 am »
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The electoral college keeps in check the voting power of each individual state.  While bigger states are still more powerful, it's not as disproportionate as it would be with direct popular vote.  For example, if Candidate X carries California, and Candidate Y carries Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Wisconsin, then at this point, both candidates would be tied at 55 electoral votes.  Under direct popular vote, however, Candidate X would be so much further ahead because California has so many more people than even the second-most populous state (Texas), let alone those four states combined.  What I'm trying to say is that the Founding Fathers created the Electoral College for a reason, and I don't think it's anyone's job to say that it doesn't work.

Also keep in mind that with only four exceptions in our nation's history thus far, the winner of the popular vote and the electoral college have been the same.  And ironically, if it weren't for 2000, most of the people on this uber-liberal forum wouldn't be advocating for repealing the electoral college.
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« Reply #148 on: February 24, 2013, 10:46:09 am »
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The electoral college keeps in check the voting power of each individual state.  While bigger states are still more powerful, it's not as disproportionate as it would be with direct popular vote.

Do you recognize that 55 / 538 (California's electoral vote / total electoral vote) is approximately equal to 13,038,547 / 129,154,558 (California's popular vote / total popular vote) ?

California had 10.223% of the nation's electoral votes and 10.095% of the nation's popular votes in 2012. The Electoral College actually exaggerated California's voting power!
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« Reply #149 on: February 24, 2013, 05:08:49 pm »
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The electoral college keeps in check the voting power of each individual state.  While bigger states are still more powerful, it's not as disproportionate as it would be with direct popular vote.  For example, if Candidate X carries California, and Candidate Y carries Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Wisconsin, then at this point, both candidates would be tied at 55 electoral votes.  Under direct popular vote, however, Candidate X would be so much further ahead because California has so many more people than even the second-most populous state (Texas), let alone those four states combined.  What I'm trying to say is that the Founding Fathers created the Electoral College for a reason, and I don't think it's anyone's job to say that it doesn't work.

Also keep in mind that with only four exceptions in our nation's history thus far, the winner of the popular vote and the electoral college have been the same.  And ironically, if it weren't for 2000, most of the people on this uber-liberal forum wouldn't be advocating for repealing the electoral college.

You keep using that word...
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Quote from: IRC
22:15   ComradeSibboleth   this is all extremely terrible and in all respects absolutely fycking dire.

"A reformist is someone who realizes that, when you bang your head on a wall, it's the head that breaks rather than the wall."

Peppino, from the movie Baaria
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