Atlas Forum

Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion => Presidential Election Process => Topic started by: A18 on September 06, 2008, 09:54:47 pm



Title: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: A18 on September 06, 2008, 09:54:47 pm
As opposed to election by national popular-vote.

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


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Verily on September 06, 2008, 10:05:21 pm
Passing an amendment to eliminate it requires work and money. That seems to me the best argument in favor of the EC, and it's a feeble one. But the power of inertia prevails.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Northam for Governor '17 on September 06, 2008, 10:06:57 pm
1.  Usually, the EC winner is the same as the PV winner.  It is highly unlikely to have two different winners.

2.  It makes candidates visit swing states, rather than just run up massive totals in big states, and ignore places like Nevada, New Mexico, and New Hampshire.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Vice President PiT on September 07, 2008, 12:02:49 am
     1. It makes elections more fun. :P

     2. It makes appealing to the extremes less fashionable since they probably won't give you the support you need to win enough states.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: muon2 on September 07, 2008, 08:45:24 am
Theodore H. White's Pulitzer Prize winning The Making of the President, 1960 may have made the case most succinctly:
Quote
John F. Kennedy was elected President on November 8, 1960, by 303 electoral votes, drawn from 23 states, to 219 votes for Richard M. Nixon, drawn from 26 states. ... The margin of this electoral vote, so apparently substantial, is however a tribute not to the victor but to the wisdom of the Constitutional Fathers who, in their foresight, invented the device of the Electoral College, which, while preserving free citizen choice, prevents it from degenerating into the violence that can accompany the narrow act of head counting. ...

John F. Kennedy received 34,221,463 of these votes, or 112,881 votes (one tenth of one per cent of the whole) more than Richard M. Nixon, who drew 34,108,582. ... This margin of popular vote is so thin as to be, in all reality, nonexistent.

White alludes to the potential violence in the South and the lack of clarity of votes cast in AL, MS, and those in NY given to the Liberal Party - all included in Kennedy's total.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: tweed on September 07, 2008, 11:54:55 am
makes it more fun.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: TRIPLE ROCK on September 07, 2008, 05:34:14 pm
Wow, I'm shocked to see this from Philip considering his normal philosophy, though I am in agreement with him.

1.  Usually, the EC winner is the same as the PV winner.  It is highly unlikely to have two different winners.

2.  It makes candidates visit swing states, rather than just run up massive totals in big states, and ignore places like Nevada, New Mexico, and New Hampshire.

1. So? 2000 shows when that's not the case it's hardly a non-factor.

2. So instead the safe states get ignored. The conservative parts of upstate New York becomes moot, as does the Deep South's black population and the numerous conservative parts of California. It doesn't result in every state being visited, rather only a handful.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Smid on September 08, 2008, 12:27:02 am
Wow, I'm shocked to see this from Philip considering his normal philosophy, though I am in agreement with him.

1.  Usually, the EC winner is the same as the PV winner.  It is highly unlikely to have two different winners.

2.  It makes candidates visit swing states, rather than just run up massive totals in big states, and ignore places like Nevada, New Mexico, and New Hampshire.

1. So? 2000 shows when that's not the case it's hardly a non-factor.

2. So instead the safe states get ignored. The conservative parts of upstate New York becomes moot, as does the Deep South's black population and the numerous conservative parts of California. It doesn't result in every state being visited, rather only a handful.

1. The issue in 2000 was not whether or not Gore won the popular vote, it was the issue of ballots in Florida and had nothing to do with the popular vote across the US as a whole. It's also plausible for the Democrats to lose the popular vote but win the Electoral College - so long as the laws are fair and consistent and don't favour one side or the other, it will benefit one side as often as the other.

2. Each state determines how its electoral votes are allocated, hence why Nebraska and Maine allocate their electoral votes differently to the other states. If a safe state wanted to have more relevance in the campaign or more visits from candidates, it could look at other ways of allocating its electoral votes - either the same way Nebraska and Maine do, or by proportional representation - either method would have the potential to change the allocation and indeed, in California's case, proportional allocation would meant that a 2% change in party vote would lead to a change of electoral votes - providing an incentive for both parties to campaign there.

The issue has nothing to do with Electoral College vs popular vote, and everything to do with each state's decision on how to allocate their electoral votes within the Electoral College. Individual states could easily attract presidential candidates to their state if they wanted (and don't forget that presidential candidates may wish to help candidates of their party down-ticket and may campaign in a state they won't win in order to help another candidate of their party). Of course, California won't change to a proportional allocation for one reason - it would disadvantage the party that almost always wins California... the Democrats. It won't be for any "state's rights" type reason that it won't change - it will be for partisan reasons that it won't change. That's not necessarily a good nor a bad thing, that's just why it won't change (at least, not unilaterally). If the people of California desperately wanted their state to become more relevant and be noticed more in presidential elections, they could easily pass a law to do so. That's their decision.

Of course, presidential candidates seem to more frequently come from safe states (I could be mistaken - that's more the impression I get - eg. Bush=Texas, Kerry=Massachuttes, Obama=Illinois, Clinton=New York, although could be argued was from Arkansas which tends to be safer for the Republicans), whereas swing states are less likely to provide an aspirational elected official with a long enough history of representative politics to provide them the opportunity to run. So I guess it all evens out in the long run.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: A18 on September 08, 2008, 04:37:01 pm
(a) "It makes candidates visit swing states, rather than just run up massive totals in big states, and ignore places like Nevada, New Mexico, and New Hampshire."

In other words, it would be most cost-effective to focus on densely-populated areas. That is true (of course, isn't it much the same way now?), at least if we assume that the percentage of swing voters does not vary significantly from region to region. I'm not sure it's much of an improvement to arbitrarily divert attention toward "swing states."

Another point: Your argument applies to such things as GOTV and advertising. It doesn't apply at all to the actual positions a candidate takes; surely they will be communicated to the entire country through the internet, radio, etc.

(b) "It makes appealing to the extremes less fashionable since they probably won't give you the support you need to win enough states."

This certainly isn't obvious. Please elaborate.

(c) With reference to the close presidential election of 1960: "'[T]he Constitutional Fathers . . . in their foresight, invented the device of the Electoral College, which, while preserving free citizen choice, prevents it from degenerating into the violence that can accompany the narrow act of head counting'" (quoting Theodore H. White, The Making of the President).

Well, sure. But thin margins are not a uniquely national phenomena. Once--ancient history, by political standards--there was even a close election in a state whose electoral votes were to determine the next president (i.e., Florida 2000).


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: nclib on September 08, 2008, 10:06:45 pm
The only plausible argument I can think of is that when the electoral college outcome is in doubt, only a couple states would determine the outcome (e.g. FL, NM in 2000), whereas if the popular vote winner is in doubt, every county in every state would have to have a recount.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Vice President PiT on September 08, 2008, 10:18:22 pm
(b) "It makes appealing to the extremes less fashionable since they probably won't give you the support you need to win enough states."

This certainly isn't obvious. Please elaborate.

     What I mean is that driving up turnout amongst the core base in places like Utah & Massachusetts isn't good enough. There are places like Iowa where swing voter turnout is high enough to make sure that people like Musgrave or Rangel wouldn't have a prayer at winning, regardless of how much they charge up the base.

     Though those are extreme examples, the point remains that it makes it harder to win by just turning out your base since you'll be forced to compete in more moderate states.

     At any rate, the argument sounded better when I first posted it than it does now. :P


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: J. J. on September 09, 2008, 01:24:34 am
It prevents a regional candidate from controlling the whole country.  I candidate can't run up huge totals in New York, New Jersey and New England and still win the presidency.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Nym90 on September 09, 2008, 09:56:55 am
It prevents a regional candidate from controlling the whole country.  I candidate can't run up huge totals in New York, New Jersey and New England and still win the presidency.

Instead, they could win narrow margins in enough states to get 270 electoral votes and get massively blown out in the rest of the country. Has that candidate really demonstrated broad appeal?


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: minionofmidas - supplemental forum account on September 09, 2008, 02:49:20 pm
Quote
John F. Kennedy was elected President on November 8, 1960, by 303 electoral votes, drawn from 23 states, to 219 votes for Richard M. Nixon, drawn from 26 states. ... The margin of this electoral vote, so apparently substantial, is however a tribute not to the victor but to the wisdom of the Constitutional Fathers who, in their foresight, invented the device of the Electoral College, which, while preserving free citizen choice, prevents it from degenerating into the violence that can accompany the narrow act of head counting. ...

John F. Kennedy received 34,221,463 of these votes, or 112,881 votes (one tenth of one per cent of the whole) more than Richard M. Nixon, who drew 34,108,582. ... This margin of popular vote is so thin as to be, in all reality, nonexistent.
As 2000 proved so well. ::) (good book though.)


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: minionofmidas - supplemental forum account on September 09, 2008, 02:53:13 pm
One unusual argument here...

as of current, different US states have all sort of weird and arcane, but different, balloting laws. That would have to go out of the window if you introduce the national popular vote (or else somebody'd be crying foul play at every election decided by less than 4% nationally, and even have a point.) That's a real loss of one of the last vestiges of genuinely federal structure in the US.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: A18 on September 09, 2008, 03:09:27 pm
as of current, different US states have all sort of weird and arcane, but different, balloting laws. That would have to go out of the window if you introduce the national popular vote (or else somebody'd be crying foul play at every election decided by less than 4% nationally, and even have a point.) That's a real loss of one of the last vestiges of genuinely federal structure in the US.

Thought of that. Certainly, recount standards and so forth would have to be nationalized--with respect to the office of president, anyway. I'm not sure about ballot design and technology; at present, how much freedom do local jurisdictions typically enjoy?


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: minionofmidas - supplemental forum account on September 09, 2008, 03:30:45 pm
An incredible amount in some states, next to none in others.

Ballot access rules (with regard to the Presidency, anyhow). Another point that would be standardized.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Хahar 🤔 on September 09, 2008, 05:00:02 pm
What we should do is give ballot access ot any candidate who gets an endorsement from enough Congressmen, like they do in France.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Franzl on September 09, 2008, 05:06:34 pm
What we should do is give ballot access ot any candidate who gets an endorsement from enough Congressmen, like they do in France.

I don't really want to give them that power...


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Хahar 🤔 on September 09, 2008, 05:07:53 pm
What we should do is give ballot access ot any candidate who gets an endorsement from enough Congressmen, like they do in France.

I don't really want to give them that power...

It'd force smaller parties to focus on Congress, thus keeping the incumbents honest.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: PGSable on September 09, 2008, 05:10:12 pm
What we should do is give ballot access ot any candidate who gets an endorsement from enough Congressmen, like they do in France.

I don't really want to give them that power...

It'd force smaller parties to focus on Congress, thus keeping the incumbents honest.

Actually, in France, you need a certain number of endorsements (500?) from any elected official, including mayors and members of the General and Regional Assemblies. Minor parties without MPs can still run a candidate.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Хahar 🤔 on September 09, 2008, 05:39:51 pm
What we should do is give ballot access ot any candidate who gets an endorsement from enough Congressmen, like they do in France.

I don't really want to give them that power...

It'd force smaller parties to focus on Congress, thus keeping the incumbents honest.

Actually, in France, you need a certain number of endorsements (500?) from any elected official, including mayors and members of the General and Regional Assemblies. Minor parties without MPs can still run a candidate.

That's right. That'd be fine, too.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Vice President PiT on September 09, 2008, 07:03:43 pm
What we should do is give ballot access ot any candidate who gets an endorsement from enough Congressmen, like they do in France.

I don't really want to give them that power...

It'd force smaller parties to focus on Congress, thus keeping the incumbents honest.

Actually, in France, you need a certain number of endorsements (500?) from any elected official, including mayors and members of the General and Regional Assemblies. Minor parties without MPs can still run a candidate.

That's right. That'd be fine, too.

     That would probably be a good idea. Minor parties would have to focus on races like mayor & school board. Alternatively, maybe if they have at least 1 elected official per 500,000 people in a particular state, they get ballot access in that state.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: J. J. on September 11, 2008, 02:01:55 pm
It prevents a regional candidate from controlling the whole country.  I candidate can't run up huge totals in New York, New Jersey and New England and still win the presidency.

Instead, they could win narrow margins in enough states to get 270 electoral votes and get massively blown out in the rest of the country. Has that candidate really demonstrated broad appeal?

You really can't do that geographically.  A candidate can't do that unless he hs broad appeal across wide geographical areas.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Хahar 🤔 on September 13, 2008, 12:27:15 am
What we should do is give ballot access ot any candidate who gets an endorsement from enough Congressmen, like they do in France.

I don't really want to give them that power...

It'd force smaller parties to focus on Congress, thus keeping the incumbents honest.

Actually, in France, you need a certain number of endorsements (500?) from any elected official, including mayors and members of the General and Regional Assemblies. Minor parties without MPs can still run a candidate.

That's right. That'd be fine, too.

     That would probably be a good idea. Minor parties would have to focus on races like mayor & school board. Alternatively, maybe if they have at least 1 elected official per 500,000 people in a particular state, they get ballot access in that state.

Actually, I'm thinking 30 endorsements from holders of state or federal elective offices (i.e. legislative, state cabinet).


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: True Federalist on September 16, 2008, 05:04:43 pm
The primary advantage of the electoral college is that in the event of a recount, the recount is held only in the States that are close.

A secondary advantage is that it does not require there to be a Federally imposed uniformity on voter registration requirements and the like.

A tertiary advantage is that in the event that a locality engages in vote fraud, the damage caused by that is limited, altho that is offset by the fact that a smaller degree of fraud in certain close States might have an effect.  Still, we certainly don't have to worry that vote fraud in Utah in DC will affect the presidential election anytime soon under the electoral college.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: minionofmidas - supplemental forum account on September 17, 2008, 06:32:30 am
The primary advantage of the electoral college is that in the event of a recount, the recount is held only in the States that are close.

A secondary advantage is that it does not require there to be a Federally imposed uniformity on voter registration requirements and the like.

A tertiary advantage is that in the event that a locality engages in vote fraud, the damage caused by that is limited, altho that is offset by the fact that a smaller degree of fraud in certain close States might have an effect.  Still, we certainly don't have to worry that vote fraud in Utah in DC will affect the presidential election anytime soon under the electoral college.
In other words, fraud capacities can be moved to where they matter, as the GOP demonstrated in 2000. :P


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Lunar on September 18, 2008, 03:35:01 am
My biggest complaint about the electoral college  (and to an additional extent, the primary process) is that it lets local issues destroy national policies.

Obama is against Yucca mountain not because he actually opposes it, but because Nevadans do.  Obama supports ethanol subsidies because of Iowa.  And both candidates are getting pretty darn populist lately because the election is decided in the states with the WORST economies (Rustbelt) instead of those who have constituents in growing areas.  So, instead of having national policies directed towards growth, we have them towards trying to keep economic hope alive where there is none (Rustbelt).

My side rant.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: memphis on September 18, 2008, 09:57:32 pm
It prevents a regional candidate from controlling the whole country.  I candidate can't run up huge totals in New York, New Jersey and New England and still win the presidency.

Instead, they could win narrow margins in enough states to get 270 electoral votes and get massively blown out in the rest of the country. Has that candidate really demonstrated broad appeal?

You really can't do that geographically.  A candidate can't do that unless he hs broad appeal across wide geographical areas.

You need support from wide geographic areas either way. There aren't enough people in one region to win the popular vote just based on that region.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: ○∙◄☻tπ[╪AV┼cV└ on September 18, 2008, 09:59:19 pm
You need more geographical appeal to win in the popular vote. Suppose every non-Lincoln vote in 1860 was for the same candidate. This anti-Lincoln candidate would break 60% of the popular vote, but Lincoln would still win. It wouldn't matter that Lincoln did terrible in the South, writing off huge areas of the country isn't a problem with the electoral vote.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: A18 on September 18, 2008, 10:09:44 pm
The primary advantage of the electoral college is that in the event of a recount, the recount is held only in the States that are close.

But is that much of an advantage? And if so, how?

Is the argument that the number of ballots would be so large as to make a national recount impractical? If so, I can't understand the focus on re-counts--surely the first count is no different in that respect. But whatever the case may be, the assertion certainly isn't obvious, and no evidence has been offered to substantiate it.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Nym90 on September 22, 2008, 10:11:49 am
The primary advantage of the electoral college is that in the event of a recount, the recount is held only in the States that are close.

But is that much of an advantage? And if so, how?

Is the argument that the number of ballots would be so large as to make a national recount impractical? If so, I can't understand the focus on re-counts--surely the first count is no different in that respect. But whatever the case may be, the assertion certainly isn't obvious, and no evidence has been offered to substantiate it.

A recount of the entire country wouldn't be any harder to do than a recount in one state, since you'd have more election workers available to assist in the recount.

One advantage of the EC that comes to mind is if the winning Prez or VP candidate dies after the election but before the EC votes (or if they die before the election but too late to remove their name from the ballot). It removes a potential complication since the electors would just vote for whomever the party chooses as their replacement.

Of course, one could counterargue (correctly, I'd add) that we may not want the electors themselves getting to decide the next President with no input at all from the voters in the event that the victorious candidate died post election.

But yeah, the only real good argument in favor of it is opportunity cost; the benefits of eliminating it would be less than the trouble and effort it would take to remove it, which would be better expended elsewhere. In the 1700's when interstate communication and travel were both far more difficult (to put it mildly) than they are today, it made sense for the winner of each individual state to matter, but not today.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: True Federalist on September 22, 2008, 06:09:08 pm
The primary advantage of the electoral college is that in the event of a recount, the recount is held only in the States that are close.

But is that much of an advantage? And if so, how?

Is the argument that the number of ballots would be so large as to make a national recount impractical? If so, I can't understand the focus on re-counts--surely the first count is no different in that respect. But whatever the case may be, the assertion certainly isn't obvious, and no evidence has been offered to substantiate it.

A recount of the entire country wouldn't be any harder to do than a recount in one state, since you'd have more election workers available to assist in the recount.

If we had a uniform national ballot it might not be any harder, tho it would still be more expensive. However, we don't have a uniform national ballot and we are unlikely to even have one.  That means there will be questions that have to be decided at a local level, such as what happened in Florida in 2000, where some of the lawsuits were at the county-level.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: J. J. on September 23, 2008, 01:37:14 am
It prevents a regional candidate from controlling the whole country.  I candidate can't run up huge totals in New York, New Jersey and New England and still win the presidency.

Instead, they could win narrow margins in enough states to get 270 electoral votes and get massively blown out in the rest of the country. Has that candidate really demonstrated broad appeal?

You really can't do that geographically.  A candidate can't do that unless he hs broad appeal across wide geographical areas.

You need support from wide geographic areas either way. There aren't enough people in one region to win the popular vote just based on that region.

You still could freeze out some regions.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Citizen James on July 28, 2009, 04:03:07 pm
It gives the smaller states more influence.  If you're in a small state, that's a good thing.

It grows out of the same compromise that gave us the Senate, balancing the power of the people at large against the power of individual states.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Vepres on August 05, 2009, 11:55:40 pm
It gives the smaller states more influence.  If you're in a small state, that's a good thing.

It grows out of the same compromise that gave us the Senate, balancing the power of the people at large against the power of individual states.

Yeah. Many people say it favors small states, but come on. Obama and McCain spent much more time in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Florida than Montana, New Hampshire, or New Mexico.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: pragmatic liberal on August 20, 2009, 12:38:14 pm
There would need to be national ballot standards and there would probably need to be some kind of national presidential ballot (rather than have each state determine what candidates are on the ballot).

But if you can do that - and really that's just an issue of will - there's really no reason you couldn't do a national recount.

Besides, what many people fail to realize is that recounts are arguably much less likely in a national race than in a state-by-state race. Simple statistics posits that rates of error decline as you increase the sample size. A 1% difference in a 1,000,000 vote election is much more likely to be the result of error - and thereby overturned in a recount - than a 1% difference nationally in a 180 million vote race.

I mean, what election would have required a recount in the popular vote? Most statisticians say none in the past 100 years. Maybe Kennedy vs. Nixon. But there were recounts in 1916, 2000, and 2004 (in California, Florida, and Ohio). None of those elections would have required recounts if only the national popular vote counted.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: You kip if you want to... on August 28, 2009, 07:03:29 pm
Can you imagine if this happened? It never would though, since it's nearly impossible.

(http://uselectionatlas.org/TOOLS/genusmap.php?year=2008&ev_c=0&pv_p=1&ev_p=1&type=calc&AL=2;9;9&AK=2;3;9&AZ=2;10;9&AR=2;6;9&CA=1;55;5&CO=2;9;9&CT=2;7;9&DE=2;3;9&DC=2;3;9&FL=1;27;5&GA=1;15;5&HI=2;4;9&ID=2;4;9&IL=1;21;5&IN=2;11;9&IA=2;7;9&KS=2;6;9&KY=2;8;9&LA=2;9;9&MD=2;10;9&MA=2;12;9&MI=1;17;5&MN=2;10;9&MS=2;6;9&MO=2;11;9&MT=2;3;9&NV=2;5;9&NH=2;4;9&NJ=1;15;5&NM=2;5;9&NY=1;31;5&NC=1;15;5&ND=2;3;9&OH=1;20;5&OK=2;7;9&OR=2;7;9&PA=1;21;5&RI=2;4;9&SC=2;8;9&SD=2;3;9&TN=2;11;9&TX=1;34;5&UT=2;5;9&VT=2;3;9&VA=1;13;5&WA=2;11;9&WV=2;5;9&WI=2;10;9&WY=2;3;9&ME=2;2;9&ME1=2;1;9&ME2=2;1;9&NE=2;2;9&NE1=2;1;9&NE2=2;1;9&NE3=2;1;9)

The red states on that map were won with 50.1% of the vote and the blue states were won with 90% or more of the vote. This would give the winner of the red states a 284-254 win. Take out NJ, NC or GA and you could still get a 269-269 tie and then congress elect the red state winner as President.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Sasquatch on August 29, 2009, 03:52:43 am
I wish every state had a system like Maine and Nebraska.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Franzl on September 12, 2009, 07:10:23 am
I wish every state had a system like Maine and Nebraska.

I don't. Gerrymandering is bad enough as it is.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: muon2 on September 16, 2009, 10:58:43 pm
I wish every state had a system like Maine and Nebraska.

I don't. Gerrymandering is bad enough as it is.

True, but federal law could specify rules for CDs, then this system might work.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Smid on September 16, 2009, 11:14:56 pm
I wish every state had a system like Maine and Nebraska.

I don't. Gerrymandering is bad enough as it is.

True, but federal law could specify rules for CDs, then this system might work.

^This, plus I'd like to see some sort of IRV introduced.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Alexander Hamilton on September 17, 2009, 01:43:57 am
Reasons for electoral college, in my opinion:
1. It's nice to spend a lot of money polling each individual state
2. Living in a safe state, I don't have to do much campaigning on behalf of any candidate for national office
3. I like seeing the states pop up on the map in color every 4 years when the polls close




Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: defe07 on September 17, 2009, 02:50:08 am
Can you imagine if this happened? It never would though, since it's nearly impossible.

(http://uselectionatlas.org/TOOLS/genusmap.php?year=2008&ev_c=0&pv_p=1&ev_p=1&type=calc&AL=2;9;9&AK=2;3;9&AZ=2;10;9&AR=2;6;9&CA=1;55;5&CO=2;9;9&CT=2;7;9&DE=2;3;9&DC=2;3;9&FL=1;27;5&GA=1;15;5&HI=2;4;9&ID=2;4;9&IL=1;21;5&IN=2;11;9&IA=2;7;9&KS=2;6;9&KY=2;8;9&LA=2;9;9&MD=2;10;9&MA=2;12;9&MI=1;17;5&MN=2;10;9&MS=2;6;9&MO=2;11;9&MT=2;3;9&NV=2;5;9&NH=2;4;9&NJ=1;15;5&NM=2;5;9&NY=1;31;5&NC=1;15;5&ND=2;3;9&OH=1;20;5&OK=2;7;9&OR=2;7;9&PA=1;21;5&RI=2;4;9&SC=2;8;9&SD=2;3;9&TN=2;11;9&TX=1;34;5&UT=2;5;9&VT=2;3;9&VA=1;13;5&WA=2;11;9&WV=2;5;9&WI=2;10;9&WY=2;3;9&ME=2;2;9&ME1=2;1;9&ME2=2;1;9&NE=2;2;9&NE1=2;1;9&NE2=2;1;9&NE3=2;1;9)

The red states on that map were won with 50.1% of the vote and the blue states were won with 90% or more of the vote. This would give the winner of the red states a 284-254 win. Take out NJ, NC or GA and you could still get a 269-269 tie and then congress elect the red state winner as President.

Is it just a mere coincidence that all the red states had 13 EV or more and the blue states had less than 13 EV? :P


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Franzl on September 17, 2009, 03:09:27 am
Can you imagine if this happened? It never would though, since it's nearly impossible.

(http://uselectionatlas.org/TOOLS/genusmap.php?year=2008&ev_c=0&pv_p=1&ev_p=1&type=calc&AL=2;9;9&AK=2;3;9&AZ=2;10;9&AR=2;6;9&CA=1;55;5&CO=2;9;9&CT=2;7;9&DE=2;3;9&DC=2;3;9&FL=1;27;5&GA=1;15;5&HI=2;4;9&ID=2;4;9&IL=1;21;5&IN=2;11;9&IA=2;7;9&KS=2;6;9&KY=2;8;9&LA=2;9;9&MD=2;10;9&MA=2;12;9&MI=1;17;5&MN=2;10;9&MS=2;6;9&MO=2;11;9&MT=2;3;9&NV=2;5;9&NH=2;4;9&NJ=1;15;5&NM=2;5;9&NY=1;31;5&NC=1;15;5&ND=2;3;9&OH=1;20;5&OK=2;7;9&OR=2;7;9&PA=1;21;5&RI=2;4;9&SC=2;8;9&SD=2;3;9&TN=2;11;9&TX=1;34;5&UT=2;5;9&VT=2;3;9&VA=1;13;5&WA=2;11;9&WV=2;5;9&WI=2;10;9&WY=2;3;9&ME=2;2;9&ME1=2;1;9&ME2=2;1;9&NE=2;2;9&NE1=2;1;9&NE2=2;1;9&NE3=2;1;9)

The red states on that map were won with 50.1% of the vote and the blue states were won with 90% or more of the vote. This would give the winner of the red states a 284-254 win. Take out NJ, NC or GA and you could still get a 269-269 tie and then congress elect the red state winner as President.

Is it just a mere coincidence that all the red states had 13 EV or more and the blue states had less than 13 EV? :P

That's the whole purpose, to demonstrate how few states and votes you need in total to win the electoral college vote.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Stranger in a strange land on September 17, 2009, 11:50:27 am
Can you imagine if this happened? It never would though, since it's nearly impossible.

(http://uselectionatlas.org/TOOLS/genusmap.php?year=2008&ev_c=0&pv_p=1&ev_p=1&type=calc&AL=2;9;9&AK=2;3;9&AZ=2;10;9&AR=2;6;9&CA=1;55;5&CO=2;9;9&CT=2;7;9&DE=2;3;9&DC=2;3;9&FL=1;27;5&GA=1;15;5&HI=2;4;9&ID=2;4;9&IL=1;21;5&IN=2;11;9&IA=2;7;9&KS=2;6;9&KY=2;8;9&LA=2;9;9&MD=2;10;9&MA=2;12;9&MI=1;17;5&MN=2;10;9&MS=2;6;9&MO=2;11;9&MT=2;3;9&NV=2;5;9&NH=2;4;9&NJ=1;15;5&NM=2;5;9&NY=1;31;5&NC=1;15;5&ND=2;3;9&OH=1;20;5&OK=2;7;9&OR=2;7;9&PA=1;21;5&RI=2;4;9&SC=2;8;9&SD=2;3;9&TN=2;11;9&TX=1;34;5&UT=2;5;9&VT=2;3;9&VA=1;13;5&WA=2;11;9&WV=2;5;9&WI=2;10;9&WY=2;3;9&ME=2;2;9&ME1=2;1;9&ME2=2;1;9&NE=2;2;9&NE1=2;1;9&NE2=2;1;9&NE3=2;1;9)

The red states on that map were won with 50.1% of the vote and the blue states were won with 90% or more of the vote. This would give the winner of the red states a 284-254 win. Take out NJ, NC or GA and you could still get a 269-269 tie and then congress elect the red state winner as President.

Is it just a mere coincidence that all the red states had 13 EV or more and the blue states had less than 13 EV? :P

That's the whole purpose, to demonstrate how few states and votes you need in total to win the electoral college vote.


The closest this ever came to actually happening was 1860, when Lincoln won with less than 40% of the vote. Contrary to popular belief, he didn't win because the Democrats split three ways, but actually due to the extreme polarization leading up to the Civil War. Had he been running against a single opponent who got the combined votes of Bell, Breckinridge, and Douglas, he would have lost only two more states, Oregon and California, and still would have won the electoral vote.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Luis Gonzalez on September 20, 2009, 11:54:23 pm
As opposed to election by national popular-vote.

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

There absolutely is.

It forces the candidates to pay attention at States other than coastal States.

It was the States that created the Federal government, and they made sure that every States would have a voice in the selection of the head of the executive.

Without an electoral college, Presidents would be elected by voters from California, Texas,  New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, and maybe North Carolina and New Jersey in every election.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Alexander Hamilton on September 20, 2009, 11:57:52 pm
As opposed to election by national popular-vote.

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

There absolutely is.

It forces the candidates to pay attention at States other than coastal States.

It was the States that created the Federal government, and they made sure that every States would have a voice in the selection of the head of the executive.

Without an electoral college, Presidents would be elected by voters from California, Texas,  New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, and maybe North Carolina and New Jersey in every election.

As opposed to New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Ohio, Missouri, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Iowa, Florida, and Wisconsin?


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: sentinel on October 05, 2009, 11:12:11 am
Gives minorities a bigger say, and every reason you can think of not to have a "national" media campaign, which would happen in a system soley based on the popular vote. Who would visit Iowa then?


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Хahar 🤔 on October 05, 2009, 07:08:32 pm
Gives minorities a bigger say, and every reason you can think of not to have a "national" media campaign, which would happen in a system soley based on the popular vote. Who would visit Iowa then?

Why does Iowa deserve to have people visit?


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Bo on February 03, 2010, 07:53:16 pm
Can you imagine if this happened? It never would though, since it's nearly impossible.

(http://uselectionatlas.org/TOOLS/genusmap.php?year=2008&ev_c=0&pv_p=1&ev_p=1&type=calc&AL=2;9;9&AK=2;3;9&AZ=2;10;9&AR=2;6;9&CA=1;55;5&CO=2;9;9&CT=2;7;9&DE=2;3;9&DC=2;3;9&FL=1;27;5&GA=1;15;5&HI=2;4;9&ID=2;4;9&IL=1;21;5&IN=2;11;9&IA=2;7;9&KS=2;6;9&KY=2;8;9&LA=2;9;9&MD=2;10;9&MA=2;12;9&MI=1;17;5&MN=2;10;9&MS=2;6;9&MO=2;11;9&MT=2;3;9&NV=2;5;9&NH=2;4;9&NJ=1;15;5&NM=2;5;9&NY=1;31;5&NC=1;15;5&ND=2;3;9&OH=1;20;5&OK=2;7;9&OR=2;7;9&PA=1;21;5&RI=2;4;9&SC=2;8;9&SD=2;3;9&TN=2;11;9&TX=1;34;5&UT=2;5;9&VT=2;3;9&VA=1;13;5&WA=2;11;9&WV=2;5;9&WI=2;10;9&WY=2;3;9&ME=2;2;9&ME1=2;1;9&ME2=2;1;9&NE=2;2;9&NE1=2;1;9&NE2=2;1;9&NE3=2;1;9)

The red states on that map were won with 50.1% of the vote and the blue states were won with 90% or more of the vote. This would give the winner of the red states a 284-254 win. Take out NJ, NC or GA and you could still get a 269-269 tie and then congress elect the red state winner as President.

Give VA to the other side. It is unnecessary to have Virginia to win in this case. The other 11 red states have a combined total of 271 EV, 1 more than necessary to win.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: memphis on February 25, 2010, 09:55:48 pm
It prevents a regional candidate from controlling the whole country.  I candidate can't run up huge totals in New York, New Jersey and New England and still win the presidency.

Quite the opposite is true. Abraham Lincoln wouldn't have had a prayer in the 1860 popular vote. Lincoln was a regional candidate and won only because of the EC.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Vepres on February 26, 2010, 12:13:32 am
Gives minorities a bigger say, and every reason you can think of not to have a "national" media campaign, which would happen in a system soley based on the popular vote. Who would visit Iowa then?

Why does Iowa deserve to have people visit?

Lonely corn tastes terrible!


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: A Strange Reflection on February 26, 2010, 03:51:46 am
Obviously not. It's a basic violation of every fairness rule.

But damn, it makes American electoral geography so interesting... ;D


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Kalwejt on February 26, 2010, 07:55:07 am
Obviously not. It's a basic violation of every fairness rule.

But damn, it makes American electoral geography so interesting... ;D

Imagine this forum without EC. No more "discuss with maps".


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: A Strange Reflection on February 26, 2010, 11:53:35 am
Obviously not. It's a basic violation of every fairness rule.

But damn, it makes American electoral geography so interesting... ;D

Imagine this forum without EC. No more "discuss with maps".

True. And probably I wouldn't even have registered here since I wouldn't have become the American politics junkie I am.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: J. J. on February 26, 2010, 06:21:29 pm
It prevents a regional candidate from controlling the whole country.  I candidate can't run up huge totals in New York, New Jersey and New England and still win the presidency.

Quite the opposite is true. Abraham Lincoln wouldn't have had a prayer in the 1860 popular vote. Lincoln was a regional candidate and won only because of the EC.

Lincoln actually had support, and won, across many regions, the Northeast, the Midwest, and the West.  Had he just carried New England and the Mid Atlantic states that he carried, the race would have gone to the House.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Vepres on February 26, 2010, 06:36:06 pm
It prevents a regional candidate from controlling the whole country.  I candidate can't run up huge totals in New York, New Jersey and New England and still win the presidency.

Quite the opposite is true. Abraham Lincoln wouldn't have had a prayer in the 1860 popular vote. Lincoln was a regional candidate and won only because of the EC.

Lincoln won the west, Midwest, and North east. He also handily won the popular vote.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Хahar 🤔 on February 26, 2010, 07:09:06 pm
It prevents a regional candidate from controlling the whole country.  I candidate can't run up huge totals in New York, New Jersey and New England and still win the presidency.

Quite the opposite is true. Abraham Lincoln wouldn't have had a prayer in the 1860 popular vote. Lincoln was a regional candidate and won only because of the EC.

Lincoln won the west, Midwest, and North east. He also handily won the popular vote.

He was nowhere near a majority in the popular vote. I think it's safe to say that Breckinridge and Bell voters would take Douglas over Lincoln.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: memphis on February 26, 2010, 08:02:44 pm
It prevents a regional candidate from controlling the whole country.  I candidate can't run up huge totals in New York, New Jersey and New England and still win the presidency.

Quite the opposite is true. Abraham Lincoln wouldn't have had a prayer in the 1860 popular vote. Lincoln was a regional candidate and won only because of the EC.

Lincoln actually had support, and won, across many regions, the Northeast, the Midwest, and the West.  Had he just carried New England and the Mid Atlantic states that he carried, the race would have gone to the House.
There's no way anybody could win with just New England and Mid-Atlantic in PV either.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: J. J. on February 26, 2010, 11:10:47 pm
It prevents a regional candidate from controlling the whole country.  I candidate can't run up huge totals in New York, New Jersey and New England and still win the presidency.

Quite the opposite is true. Abraham Lincoln wouldn't have had a prayer in the 1860 popular vote. Lincoln was a regional candidate and won only because of the EC.

Lincoln actually had support, and won, across many regions, the Northeast, the Midwest, and the West.  Had he just carried New England and the Mid Atlantic states that he carried, the race would have gone to the House.
There's no way anybody could win with just New England and Mid-Atlantic in PV either.

No, and that is my point. ::) Even in 1860, Lincoln, or any other candidate, had to be more broadly acceptable to the electorate, in order to get a majority of the electoral votes.  And this was probably the most divisive election in US history.

The Electoral College basically forces candidates to have a broad based appeal.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: memphis on February 26, 2010, 11:28:43 pm
It prevents a regional candidate from controlling the whole country.  I candidate can't run up huge totals in New York, New Jersey and New England and still win the presidency.

Quite the opposite is true. Abraham Lincoln wouldn't have had a prayer in the 1860 popular vote. Lincoln was a regional candidate and won only because of the EC.

Lincoln actually had support, and won, across many regions, the Northeast, the Midwest, and the West.  Had he just carried New England and the Mid Atlantic states that he carried, the race would have gone to the House.
There's no way anybody could win with just New England and Mid-Atlantic in PV either.

No, and that is my point. ::) Even in 1860, Lincoln, or any other candidate, had to be more broadly acceptable to the electorate, in order to get a majority of the electoral votes.  And this was probably the most divisive election in US history.

The Electoral College basically forces candidates to have a broad based appeal.
Your point is that the EC does something the popular vote does anyway? Lincoln would have had to have had even broader support to win a popular vote. Only the EC college allowed him to win with less than 40% of the vote and receiving zero support in half the country.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Vepres on February 26, 2010, 11:47:42 pm
It prevents a regional candidate from controlling the whole country.  I candidate can't run up huge totals in New York, New Jersey and New England and still win the presidency.

Quite the opposite is true. Abraham Lincoln wouldn't have had a prayer in the 1860 popular vote. Lincoln was a regional candidate and won only because of the EC.

Lincoln won the west, Midwest, and North east. He also handily won the popular vote.

He was nowhere near a majority in the popular vote. I think it's safe to say that Breckinridge and Bell voters would take Douglas over Lincoln.

True, but FPTP would have replaced the EC anyway.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Хahar 🤔 on February 28, 2010, 01:57:20 pm
It prevents a regional candidate from controlling the whole country.  I candidate can't run up huge totals in New York, New Jersey and New England and still win the presidency.

Quite the opposite is true. Abraham Lincoln wouldn't have had a prayer in the 1860 popular vote. Lincoln was a regional candidate and won only because of the EC.

Lincoln won the west, Midwest, and North east. He also handily won the popular vote.

He was nowhere near a majority in the popular vote. I think it's safe to say that Breckinridge and Bell voters would take Douglas over Lincoln.

True, but FPTP would have replaced the EC anyway.

If FPTP had been used, the Democrats wouldn't have nominated three candidates and handed Lincoln the election.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: ?????????? on April 08, 2010, 10:31:18 pm
The electoral college creates a fair balance between the less densely populated areas and the most densely populated ones. Elections that are held as straight votes would be unfair and create an unbalance in the system. The biggest flaw currently in the EC is the winner take all system which creates the same imbalance that a one man one vote system has.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Beet on April 08, 2010, 10:35:45 pm
The electoral college is an absurd anachronism whose best argument for retention is the sentimental value that might be attached to the notion of federalism in Presidential elections, but really ought to have been abolished a long, long time ago; and has only survived as long as it has because it has for the most part seemed a mere formality. But the distortion that it creates in politics hurts the United States every day.

For example, notice how the President never has any incentive to visit states that went strongly for his or her opponent. People say that the EC benefits small states at expense of the large but that's not really true (that would be the US Senate). The real losers in the EC system are solid partisan states; the winners are swing states. Alabama is as much of a loser in the EC as is New York. Florida is as much of a winner as is New Hampshire.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: ?????????? on April 08, 2010, 10:39:17 pm
The electoral college is an absurd anachronism whose best argument for retention is the sentimental value that might be attached to the notion of federalism in Presidential elections, but really ought to have been abolished a long, long time ago; and has only survived as long as it has because it has for the most part seemed a mere formality. But the distortion that it creates in politics hurts the United States every day.

For example, notice how the President never has any incentive to visit states that went strongly for his or her opponent. People say that the EC benefits small states at expense of the large but that's not really true (that would be the US Senate). The real losers in the EC system are solid partisan states; the winners are swing states. Alabama is as much of a loser in the EC as is New York. Florida is as much of a winner as is New Hampshire.

As opposed to a system where NY city, LA, Miami, etc would decide elections? Talk about depressing turnout.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Хahar 🤔 on April 08, 2010, 10:40:47 pm
The electoral college is an absurd anachronism whose best argument for retention is the sentimental value that might be attached to the notion of federalism in Presidential elections, but really ought to have been abolished a long, long time ago; and has only survived as long as it has because it has for the most part seemed a mere formality. But the distortion that it creates in politics hurts the United States every day.

For example, notice how the President never has any incentive to visit states that went strongly for his or her opponent. People say that the EC benefits small states at expense of the large but that's not really true (that would be the US Senate). The real losers in the EC system are solid partisan states; the winners are swing states. Alabama is as much of a loser in the EC as is New York. Florida is as much of a winner as is New Hampshire.

As opposed to a system where NY city, LA, Miami, etc would decide elections? Talk about depressing turnout.

Funny, that doesn't happen in other countries that use direct votes for their presidential elections.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Beet on April 08, 2010, 10:46:04 pm
The electoral college is an absurd anachronism whose best argument for retention is the sentimental value that might be attached to the notion of federalism in Presidential elections, but really ought to have been abolished a long, long time ago; and has only survived as long as it has because it has for the most part seemed a mere formality. But the distortion that it creates in politics hurts the United States every day.

For example, notice how the President never has any incentive to visit states that went strongly for his or her opponent. People say that the EC benefits small states at expense of the large but that's not really true (that would be the US Senate). The real losers in the EC system are solid partisan states; the winners are swing states. Alabama is as much of a loser in the EC as is New York. Florida is as much of a winner as is New Hampshire.

As opposed to a system where NY city, LA, Miami, etc would decide elections? Talk about depressing turnout.

If that were true, the EC would have benefited McCain in the last election, because he lost all those cities. But instead, the EC benefited Obama. If you gave McCain a victory in the popular vote by adding 4% to his totals (to 49.6) an subtracting 4% to Obama's totals (to 48.9) that gives McCain a popular vote win of about 100,000. But he still would have lost the EC because he would have lost all the Kerry states plus IA, CO, NV, and NM.

Anyway I don't see how you can say there's "one man one vote" which seems intuitively fair when everything is distorted by 535 elitist "electors".


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: ?????????? on April 08, 2010, 10:53:07 pm
The electoral college is an absurd anachronism whose best argument for retention is the sentimental value that might be attached to the notion of federalism in Presidential elections, but really ought to have been abolished a long, long time ago; and has only survived as long as it has because it has for the most part seemed a mere formality. But the distortion that it creates in politics hurts the United States every day.

For example, notice how the President never has any incentive to visit states that went strongly for his or her opponent. People say that the EC benefits small states at expense of the large but that's not really true (that would be the US Senate). The real losers in the EC system are solid partisan states; the winners are swing states. Alabama is as much of a loser in the EC as is New York. Florida is as much of a winner as is New Hampshire.

As opposed to a system where NY city, LA, Miami, etc would decide elections? Talk about depressing turnout.

If that were true, the EC would have benefited McCain in the last election, because he lost all those cities. But instead, the EC benefited Obama. If you gave McCain a victory in the popular vote by adding 4% to his totals (to 49.6) an subtracting 4% to Obama's totals (to 48.9) that gives McCain a popular vote win of about 100,000. But he still would have lost the EC because he would have lost all the Kerry states plus IA, CO, NV, and NM.

Anyway I don't see how you can say there's "one man one vote" which seems intuitively fair when everything is distorted by 535 elitist "electors".

The problem is the winner take all system in the EC. Otherwise McCain could have potentially won, I'm to lazy to add the numbers up, the election.

Funny, that doesn't happen in other countries that use direct votes for their presidential elections.

Their aren't many other countries (if any) of our size with such free and fair elections to compare ourselves to.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Beet on April 08, 2010, 10:57:26 pm
What do you mean the problem is the winner take all system in the EC? How would you reform it?


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: ?????????? on April 08, 2010, 11:26:22 pm
What do you mean the problem is the winner take all system in the EC? How would you reform it?

The Maine-Nebraska system is preferable.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Beet on April 08, 2010, 11:29:04 pm
What do you mean the problem is the winner take all system in the EC? How would you reform it?

The Maine-Nebraska system is preferable.

Isn't that still winner take all, only on a more granular level?


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Хahar 🤔 on April 08, 2010, 11:30:00 pm
Funny, that doesn't happen in other countries that use direct votes for their presidential elections.

Their aren't many other countries (if any) of our size with such free and fair elections to compare ourselves to.

Out of the five largest countries, four are democracies. India's larger than the United States, but it doesn't have direct presidential elections. Indonesia and Brazil, which are smaller than the United States (but not by that much) both do. In Indonesia in 2009, the election was certainly not dominated by cities; the winning candidate, Yudhoyono, won in urban and rural areas. In Brazil, both left-wing city-backed candidates and right-wing rural candidates have won.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Joe Republic on April 08, 2010, 11:36:13 pm
What do you mean the problem is the winner take all system in the EC? How would you reform it?

The Maine-Nebraska system is preferable.

I would agree, if only for the effect of gerrymandering in the larger states.  Perhaps the EVs that are paired with the number of representatives could be allocated proportionally rather than by congressional district, and then the two remaining EVs allocated to the statewide winner a la Maine-Nebraska.

Welcome back, btw.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Хahar 🤔 on April 08, 2010, 11:39:18 pm
What do you mean the problem is the winner take all system in the EC? How would you reform it?

The Maine-Nebraska system is preferable.

I would agree, if only for the effect of gerrymandering in the larger states.  Perhaps the EVs that are paired with the number of representatives could be allocated proportionally rather than by congressional district, and then the two remaining EVs allocated to the statewide winner a la Maine-Nebraska.

That's rather complicated.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Joe Republic on April 09, 2010, 04:10:51 am
What do you mean the problem is the winner take all system in the EC? How would you reform it?

The Maine-Nebraska system is preferable.

I would agree, if only for the effect of gerrymandering in the larger states.  Perhaps the EVs that are paired with the number of representatives could be allocated proportionally rather than by congressional district, and then the two remaining EVs allocated to the statewide winner a la Maine-Nebraska.

That's rather complicated.

What?  How on earth is it complicated?


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Small Business Owner of Any Repute on April 09, 2010, 08:28:29 am
What do you mean the problem is the winner take all system in the EC? How would you reform it?

The Maine-Nebraska system is preferable.

I would agree, if only for the effect of gerrymandering in the larger states.  Perhaps the EVs that are paired with the number of representatives could be allocated proportionally rather than by congressional district, and then the two remaining EVs allocated to the statewide winner a la Maine-Nebraska.

That's rather complicated.

What?  How on earth is it complicated?

It's complicated because it's not just going by the popular vote. Which is what we should be doing.

I know it makes politics lose some of it's game-like appeal, but we can still have fancy color-coded red-and-blue scoreboards.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Vepres on April 09, 2010, 01:48:11 pm
It prevents a regional candidate from controlling the whole country.  I candidate can't run up huge totals in New York, New Jersey and New England and still win the presidency.

Quite the opposite is true. Abraham Lincoln wouldn't have had a prayer in the 1860 popular vote. Lincoln was a regional candidate and won only because of the EC.

Lincoln won the west, Midwest, and North east. He also handily won the popular vote.

He was nowhere near a majority in the popular vote. I think it's safe to say that Breckinridge and Bell voters would take Douglas over Lincoln.

True, but FPTP would have replaced the EC anyway.

If FPTP had been used, the Democrats wouldn't have nominated three candidates and handed Lincoln the election.

No, they still would have. Vote splitting would have just transferred to the national level as opposed to the state level. Thus, if they didn't see the problem in the EC, why would they in FPTP?


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Badger on April 09, 2010, 05:17:40 pm
In answer to the thread's question, no. It's an anti-democratic anachronism. The 2000 Florida fiasco shows that a close contested vote count can be just as contested and devisive whether nationwise or confined to a single state. The electoral college effectively limits campaigning to the approx. 1/3 of the country that live in swing states, rendering votes in the remaining states essentially meaningless.

Scrap it.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Nym90 on April 11, 2010, 02:04:31 pm
One question I would posit to supporters of the EC: should individual states adopt such a system to determine the state wide winner? Give a certain number of EV's to the candidate who wins each county?

The bottom line as I see it is that the popular vote is good enough to determine the winner of every other election in the entire US at all levels except the Presidency, and I fail to see what's so uniquely different about the President that it's not good enough for that election, as well. 230 years ago it might have been (when travel and communications between states were almost infinitely more difficult than they are today) but there's no longer any reason that grouping people by geography makes any more sense than grouping them by any other trait. It would be just as illogical to award a certain number of EV's for the winner of each gender, each race, each income group, etc.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Vepres on April 11, 2010, 06:15:06 pm
In answer to the thread's question, no. It's an anti-democratic anachronism. The 2000 Florida fiasco shows that a close contested vote count can be just as contested and devisive whether nationwise or confined to a single state. The electoral college effectively limits campaigning to the approx. 1/3 of the country that live in swing states, rendering votes in the remaining states essentially meaningless.

Scrap it.

As if that doesn't happen in popular vote contests? There is no reason for Colorado candidates to campaign in Denver or Boulder or the Eastern plains or the rural east, same effect, no?

If you abolished the EV, elections would simply be each candidate trying to have high base turnout in population centers.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Хahar 🤔 on April 12, 2010, 01:38:31 am
If you abolished the EV, elections would simply be each candidate trying to have high base turnout in population centers.

As opposed to...?


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Franzl on April 12, 2010, 04:40:55 am
Should we create an electoral college for our gubernatorial election in Illinois? I mean, how is it fair that Chicago has more to say than some rural farming county?


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: memphis on April 12, 2010, 09:41:39 am
Candidates aleady campaign primarily in population centers. As it stands now, they just only go to those population centers in battleground states. Great for Columbus and Tampa. Bad for most of the country. How much attention did Obama or McCain play to rural Wyoming?


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: TRIPLE ROCK on April 12, 2010, 01:51:42 pm
Remember the Weeds episode where Shane had to debate the girl he had a crush on about the EC, with him debating against it? And all he said was "George W. Bush" and basically won, but then she got really mad at him?

Great episode.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Hash on April 14, 2010, 09:45:59 am
Funny, that doesn't happen in other countries that use direct votes for their presidential elections.

Their aren't many other countries (if any) of our size with such free and fair elections to compare ourselves to.

Out of the five largest countries, four are democracies. India's larger than the United States, but it doesn't have direct presidential elections. Indonesia and Brazil, which are smaller than the United States (but not by that much) both do. In Indonesia in 2009, the election was certainly not dominated by cities; the winning candidate, Yudhoyono, won in urban and rural areas. In Brazil, both left-wing city-backed candidates and right-wing rural candidates have won.

In 2006, Lula won over 60% of the vote despite losing in Brazil's largest city and state (Sao Paulo). Lula also won more votes than Reagan did in 1984.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Vepres on April 14, 2010, 09:50:59 am
Should we create an electoral college for our gubernatorial election in Illinois? I mean, how is it fair that Chicago has more to say than some rural farming county?

States made the federal gov't, counties did not make the states.

As I believe in strong federalism, I think it should be involved in Presidential elections (then again, I may be biased as I live in a swing state).


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Vepres on April 14, 2010, 09:52:49 am
Candidates aleady campaign primarily in population centers. As it stands now, they just only go to those population centers in battleground states. Great for Columbus and Tampa. Bad for most of the country. How much attention did Obama or McCain play to rural Wyoming?

But in the current system it is convincing swing voters to support you, in a PV system it would encourage high base turnout.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: memphis on April 14, 2010, 10:57:09 am
Candidates aleady campaign primarily in population centers. As it stands now, they just only go to those population centers in battleground states. Great for Columbus and Tampa. Bad for most of the country. How much attention did Obama or McCain play to rural Wyoming?

But in the current system it is convincing swing voters to support you, in a PV system it would encourage high base turnout.
You think Obama wasn't focused on getting his people out in Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Miami? Obviously, you have to do both in either system. The difference is that in the EC, you only have to worry about people in swing states. As it stands now, swing voters in Texas or New York or any other solid state are completely ignored.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Vepres on April 14, 2010, 06:34:07 pm
Candidates aleady campaign primarily in population centers. As it stands now, they just only go to those population centers in battleground states. Great for Columbus and Tampa. Bad for most of the country. How much attention did Obama or McCain play to rural Wyoming?

But in the current system it is convincing swing voters to support you, in a PV system it would encourage high base turnout.
You think Obama wasn't focused on getting his people out in Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Miami? Obviously, you have to do both in either system. The difference is that in the EC, you only have to worry about people in swing states. As it stands now, swing voters in Texas or New York or any other solid state are completely ignored.

Why? Obama would have been better off in a PV system getting high base turnout in NY, CA and IL then campaigning for swing voters in Nevada or Missouri.

Besides, I am of the opinion that states are not powerful enough in the current system, thus I like the EC because it helps preserve what power the states still have. In a way, the system works balances out pretty well. The EC favors swing states, the Senate favors small states, and the house favors partisan states.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Хahar 🤔 on April 14, 2010, 09:04:26 pm
States don't vote. People do.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: memphis on April 14, 2010, 10:00:45 pm
Candidates aleady campaign primarily in population centers. As it stands now, they just only go to those population centers in battleground states. Great for Columbus and Tampa. Bad for most of the country. How much attention did Obama or McCain play to rural Wyoming?

But in the current system it is convincing swing voters to support you, in a PV system it would encourage high base turnout.
You think Obama wasn't focused on getting his people out in Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Miami? Obviously, you have to do both in either system. The difference is that in the EC, you only have to worry about people in swing states. As it stands now, swing voters in Texas or New York or any other solid state are completely ignored.

Why? Obama would have been better off in a PV system getting high base turnout in NY, CA and IL then campaigning for swing voters in Nevada or Missouri.

Besides, I am of the opinion that states are not powerful enough in the current system, thus I like the EC because it helps preserve what power the states still have. In a way, the system works balances out pretty well. The EC favors swing states, the Senate favors small states, and the house favors partisan states.
You're correct that the EC favors the swing states. However, candidates are still just as focused on getting out their base. They focus heavily on their base, but only in swing states. Just because a state is "swinging" doesn't mean that most people in the state are swing voters. Take Florida, for instance. Everone knows that it is a huge electoral prize and a swing state. You'd better believe that Barack Obama is trying as hard as possible to get "high base turnout" in Broward, Miami, and Palm Beach.  What he doesn't give a crap about are voters (swing or otherwise) in the forty or so states whose electoral votes are a foregone conclusion. You keep saying that the EC forces candidates to concern themselves with swing voters. What it actually does is get them to focus on swing states. The two are not the same.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Filuwaúrdjan on April 15, 2010, 05:56:27 am
If anything swing voters would be more powerful in a normal election.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: ○∙◄☻tπ[╪AV┼cV└ on April 16, 2010, 12:11:00 am
We should leave it as is just because it's more interesting.  And to conservatives who fear "big cities determining the election" just look at Obama's campaign in 2008, which was about maximizing votes in big cities and telling rural areas to screw off.

Oh yeah, Vermont screwed off by a margin of negative 37 points.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Bo on April 16, 2010, 12:44:41 am
We should leave it as is just because it's more interesting.  And to conservatives who fear "big cities determining the election" just look at Obama's campaign in 2008, which was about maximizing votes in big cities and telling rural areas to screw off.

Oh yeah, Vermont screwed off by a margin of negative 37 points.

You betcha it did. ;)


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: The Age Wave on April 22, 2010, 09:48:41 pm
We should leave it as is just because it's more interesting.  And to conservatives who fear "big cities determining the election" just look at Obama's campaign in 2008, which was about maximizing votes in big cities and telling rural areas to screw off.

Oh yeah, Vermont screwed off by a margin of negative 37 points.

Obviously VT is still a Republican state that votes Democratic simply to spite them for their hatred of the real, rural America.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Bo on April 25, 2010, 05:57:36 pm
I'm not sure if I posted this before, but the electoral college often makes Presidential winners seem more legitimate and gives them a greater mandate to govern (based on perceptions). For instance, I'm not sure people would have perceived Obama as having a large mandate if they would have just looked at the PV percentages. I mean, winning 2/3 of the EVs is certainly much more impressive than winning 53% of the PV.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: memphis on April 25, 2010, 06:34:44 pm
I'm not sure if I posted this before, but the electoral college often makes Presidential winners seem more legitimate and gives them a greater mandate to govern (based on perceptions). For instance, I'm not sure people would have perceived Obama as having a large mandate if they would have just looked at the PV percentages. I mean, winning 2/3 of the EVs is certainly much more impressive than winning 53% of the PV.

You think distorting reality is a benefit of the EC?


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Badger on April 27, 2010, 02:20:26 pm
We should leave it as is just because it's more interesting.  And to conservatives who fear "big cities determining the election" just look at Obama's campaign in 2008, which was about maximizing votes in big cities and telling rural areas to screw off.

Oh yeah, Vermont screwed off by a margin of negative 37 points.

Obviously VT is still a Republican state that votes Democratic simply to spite them for their hatred of the real, rural America.

Along with almost all of Wisconsin outside the Milwaukee suburbs, the eastern half of Iowa, most of central and NW MI plus the UP, northern Minnesota, all of rural New England (other than that one county in Maine), Big chunks of rural New Mexico, the Texas border counties......


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Bo on April 27, 2010, 04:57:20 pm
I'm not sure if I posted this before, but the electoral college often makes Presidential winners seem more legitimate and gives them a greater mandate to govern (based on perceptions). For instance, I'm not sure people would have perceived Obama as having a large mandate if they would have just looked at the PV percentages. I mean, winning 2/3 of the EVs is certainly much more impressive than winning 53% of the PV.

You think distorting reality is a benefit of the EC?

Yes, in most cases.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Franzl on April 27, 2010, 04:58:43 pm
If distorting reality is a good thing....why don't we make every vote count double! That would double that winner's margin of victory!


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Vepres on April 27, 2010, 09:36:48 pm
If distorting reality is a good thing....why don't we make every vote count double! That would double that winner's margin of victory!

You fail at math.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Хahar 🤔 on April 27, 2010, 09:39:23 pm
If distorting reality is a good thing....why don't we make every vote count double! That would double that winner's margin of victory!

You fail at math.

He actually doesn't.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Vepres on April 27, 2010, 10:46:18 pm
If distorting reality is a good thing....why don't we make every vote count double! That would double that winner's margin of victory!

You fail at math.

He actually doesn't.

Percentage-wise, it looks no different, which is the only thing most people see.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Franzl on April 28, 2010, 05:55:52 am
If distorting reality is a good thing....why don't we make every vote count double! That would double that winner's margin of victory!

You fail at math.

He actually doesn't.

Percentage-wise, it looks no different, which is the only thing most people see.

I didn't say anything about percentage.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Vepres on April 28, 2010, 06:54:59 pm
If distorting reality is a good thing....why don't we make every vote count double! That would double that winner's margin of victory!

You fail at math.

He actually doesn't.

Percentage-wise, it looks no different, which is the only thing most people see.

I didn't say anything about percentage.

It's implied. I rarely hear anybody say "candidate x won by a 300,000 vote margin".


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Хahar 🤔 on April 28, 2010, 08:41:24 pm
Vepres:

The point:                  --------------------->

You:                                        O
                                              -|-
                                               /\


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: A Strange Reflection on May 03, 2010, 09:13:19 am
What do you mean the problem is the winner take all system in the EC? How would you reform it?

The Maine-Nebraska system is preferable.

No, district voting would create an even greater flaw. Add to that Republican gerrymandering... Proportional representation is the only (partially) democratic option.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Franzl on May 03, 2010, 10:35:16 am
What do you mean the problem is the winner take all system in the EC? How would you reform it?

The Maine-Nebraska system is preferable.

No, district voting would create an even greater flaw. Add to that Republican gerrymandering... Proportional representation is the only (partially) democratic option.

I wasn't aware that Republican gerrymandering was the only type of gerrymandering.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: A Strange Reflection on May 03, 2010, 01:04:49 pm
What do you mean the problem is the winner take all system in the EC? How would you reform it?

The Maine-Nebraska system is preferable.

No, district voting would create an even greater flaw. Add to that Republican gerrymandering... Proportional representation is the only (partially) democratic option.

I wasn't aware that Republican gerrymandering was the only type of gerrymandering.

Ooops...
Well, maybe I wrote too precipitously what I thougt in my heart of hearts. Obviously there, the adjective "republian" is quite useless. ;)
Still, all the gerrymanderings I've heard of for the moment were in favor of republicans.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Roemerista on June 25, 2010, 11:17:23 am
1. We are not a popular democracy, we are a democratic republic. And I would wish it on none of us to have it any other way. In the great spirit of American checks and balances, we need another layer of protection against the passion of the masses. While I may like Rousseau's idea of the "General Will" being infallible, he admits it can be led astray. When you vote you are not voting for the President, you are voting for someone to represent the leader you will.

2. It gives voices to the States! We are in deed one nation, but lets face it, the worst enemy of a republic is vast territory and many people. I, being from Mass. have little connection with someone living in Oregon or California, but some sense of kinship shared in our imagined community. Yes we are American Citizens, yes we probably live in similar towns & cities, and drive on similar roads, but there is a far different community dynamic. The Electoral college gives proportional representation by geography, ensuring we never elect someone favoring one state or area too heavily.





Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: A Strange Reflection on June 25, 2010, 11:28:01 am
1. We are not a popular democracy, we are a democratic republic. And I would wish it on none of us to have it any other way. In the great spirit of American checks and balances, we need another layer of protection against the passion of the masses. While I may like Rousseau's idea of the "General Will" being infallible, he admits it can be led astray. When you vote you are not voting for the President, you are voting for someone to represent the leader you will.

Most pointless argument ever. The Electoral College is neither a check nor a  balance against tyranny of the mass, it simply distorts its will without weakening it.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Roemerista on June 25, 2010, 11:35:14 am
No, theoretically an elector can ignore the leader chosen. And electors have chosen to vote against their party choice in the past, rare, but it happens. They just face the wrath of their party afterwards. Although States can by law forbid this.

If we had a multi-party system it would be more relevant, e.g. divide the popular vote enough a "fringe" group can take the lead, whereas the electors could so chose to endorse a more "appealing" candidate instead of the one they were sent to do so. Thus if their candidate is behind they could endorse a candidate who is closer to their original vote, in order to try and get someone closer to their position.

Just because it is not necessary now, does not make it irrelevant.



Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Vepres on June 25, 2010, 01:51:22 pm
What do you mean the problem is the winner take all system in the EC? How would you reform it?

The Maine-Nebraska system is preferable.

No, district voting would create an even greater flaw. Add to that Republican gerrymandering... Proportional representation is the only (partially) democratic option.

I wasn't aware that Republican gerrymandering was the only type of gerrymandering.

Ooops...
Well, maybe I wrote too precipitously what I thougt in my heart of hearts. Obviously there, the adjective "republian" is quite useless. ;)
Still, all the gerrymanderings I've heard of for the moment were in favor of republicans.

Maryland is the only clear Democratic gerrymander. Though, one could argue that Massachusetts is too, though that is largely irrelevant as all the representatives would be Democrats now in a reasonable redistricting as they are today.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Del Tachi on July 16, 2010, 01:30:50 pm
It forces candidates to win a MAJORITY of something.  Most of the time in the Popular Vote there is no majority, just a plurality.  However, in the electoral college you have to the majority of the EV's. 


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Bo on July 16, 2010, 04:04:54 pm
It forces candidates to win a MAJORITY of something.  Most of the time in the Popular Vote there is no majority, just a plurality.  However, in the electoral college you have to the majority of the EV's. 

To be fair, you could have a PV system with runoffs if necessary, like they have in France. Also, you could have a plurality of EVs and win in the House.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: zorkpolitics on July 26, 2010, 04:51:53 pm
1. We are not a popular democracy, we are a democratic republic. And I would wish it on none of us to have it any other way. In the great spirit of American checks and balances, we need another layer of protection against the passion of the masses. While I may like Rousseau's idea of the "General Will" being infallible, he admits it can be led astray. When you vote you are not voting for the President, you are voting for someone to represent the leader you will.

2. It gives voices to the States! We are in deed one nation, but lets face it, the worst enemy of a republic is vast territory and many people. I, being from Mass. have little connection with someone living in Oregon or California, but some sense of kinship shared in our imagined community. Yes we are American Citizens, yes we probably live in similar towns & cities, and drive on similar roads, but there is a far different community dynamic. The Electoral college gives proportional representation by geography, ensuring we never elect someone favoring one state or area too heavily.


Actually we founded as  a Federal Republic, in which power is shared between the States and the Federal government.  One aspect of being a Federal Republic is the power states have to select electors, instead of the people directly. Hence the Electoral College should serve to reinforce the State-Federal power sharing, unfortunately, except for the brief campaign by Fred Thompson, no one mentions Federalism any more.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: tsx1968 on September 13, 2010, 09:11:15 pm
The electoral college has the word "college" in it.  The original idea was to make it like IA "college" football, which uses a complicated voting system (the BCS) instead of a simple playoff system.  It was all part of the original design.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Joe Republic on September 13, 2010, 09:20:44 pm
The electoral college has the word "college" in it.  The original idea was to make it like IA "college" football, which uses a complicated voting system (the BCS) instead of a simple playoff system.  It was all part of the original design.

What?  The electoral college in our constitution was designed about eighty years before the first game of college football was played.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: tsx1968 on September 13, 2010, 09:42:17 pm
The electoral college has the word "college" in it.  The original idea was to make it like IA "college" football, which uses a complicated voting system (the BCS) instead of a simple playoff system.  It was all part of the original design.

What?  The electoral college in our constitution was designed about eighty years before the first game of college football was played.

Sorry, I guess I should have used a smiley...thought it was obvious enough, but I've seen enough dumb posts to understand where you're coming from.   :)


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Joe Republic on September 13, 2010, 09:52:00 pm
Sorry!  As you're new, I couldn't tell if you were being sarcastic or are a complete idiot, and unfortunately, given the caliber of new posters we've had lately, I assumed the latter.  So again, sorry.  And welcome.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: tsx1968 on September 14, 2010, 06:57:52 am
No problem.  Lesson learned and thanks.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: CitizenX on June 02, 2011, 08:16:40 pm
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.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Cincinnatus on June 02, 2011, 09:12:03 pm
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.

She'd never be president with the popular vote.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: A Strange Reflection on June 03, 2011, 06:13:21 am
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 ?


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Del Tachi on June 03, 2011, 04:34:32 pm
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. 


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: CitizenX on June 03, 2011, 05:17:39 pm

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.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: True Federalist on June 03, 2011, 07:40:51 pm
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.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Mr. Morden on June 03, 2011, 08:14:20 pm
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?


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Cath on June 03, 2011, 09:00:23 pm
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?


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: CitizenX on June 03, 2011, 11:40:21 pm
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?


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: CitizenX on June 03, 2011, 11:47:50 pm
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.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Franzl on June 04, 2011, 02:35:09 am
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.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: A Strange Reflection on June 04, 2011, 03:36:23 am

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.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: True Federalist on June 04, 2011, 02:11:49 pm
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.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: True Federalist on June 04, 2011, 02:22:48 pm
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.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: A Strange Reflection on June 04, 2011, 02:41:52 pm
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.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: emailking on June 04, 2011, 04:42:04 pm
And that's not going to happen anytime soon unless some major upset.

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


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Kalwejt on June 04, 2011, 05:06:34 pm
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:

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/1/1d/Faithless_elector_states.svg/800px-Faithless_elector_states.svg.png)

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


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: A Strange Reflection on June 05, 2011, 03:57:59 am
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%.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Jackson on June 05, 2011, 04:46:33 am
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.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: CitizenX on June 06, 2011, 06:12:28 am

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.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: 2,868,691 on August 08, 2011, 06:47:23 pm
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.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: pbrower2a on February 15, 2013, 09:59:59 am
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. 


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Nichlemn on February 23, 2013, 06:11:03 am
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.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Nichlemn on February 23, 2013, 06:28:08 am
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.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Oldiesfreak1854 on February 24, 2013, 08:08:30 am
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.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: homelycooking on February 24, 2013, 10:46:09 am
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!


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: A Strange Reflection on February 24, 2013, 05:08:49 pm
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...


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Nichlemn on February 24, 2013, 05:13:24 pm
For defenders of the Electoral College: if it's such a great system, do you think it should it be implemented elsewhere? Should states have Electoral Colleges through their counties to elect their statewide offices? Should France switch to an Electoral College for their Presidential elections? If not, why not?


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Undecided Voter in the Midwest on February 26, 2013, 10:23:18 pm
I think the original premise behind the electoral college was to give the individual state legislatures some check on the power of the presidency. The point being that each state's legislature would choose electors who would vote for a candidate who would serve that state's interests. But since all states now use the popular vote to choose their electors, that's all moot.

I think it would be good to scrap the EC and go to a basic popular vote system; that way maybe the candidates would start to campaign for votes in the solid GOP and Dem states, instead of just focusing on the few swing states. Maybe they'd pay more attention to the concerns of the voters in the "safe" states, as well.

Last year, Obama and Romney were basically just running to be the president of Ohio, Florida, Virginia and Pennsylvania... the other states didn't matter to them at all.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: bedstuy on February 26, 2013, 11:50:34 pm
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.

Summary of your argument:
The electoral college is the best system because a different system would allocate power differently.  And it's how we've always done it so it must be right. 

That's such a blatantly tautological argument. The question is WHY pick one system or the other?  WHY is the electoral college more fair?  You're not making a principled argument.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: pbrower2a on May 25, 2014, 04:15:03 pm
One case for the Electoral College is that it makes ballot-stuffing for the President (let us say giving one nominee more votes than the size of the electorate) pointless. If one State has an extremely-rigged set of votes (100% of all electors vote, and all vote for one Party) that means no more than if the winner of that state's vote got only a plurality of 48.86% of the vote over the second-place finisher who got 48.85% of that state's vote.

As 2000 showed, there might not be time in which to contest vote fraud on a large scale, especially if the state making the difference between winning and losing is the last to certify its vote total. Flawed process, as in 2000, is bad enough. Outright fraud could lead to the nullification of a Presidency that has already begun. 

Suppose that in 2012 there had been a Presidential election chosen by direct popular vote, and that the only crooked state in its voting were Texas.  In an honest vote based on the popular vote in real life, President Obama wins the Presidency by  4,985,401 votes. The State Legislature of Texas issues 5 million more votes than were in fact cast for Mitt Romney in Texas and certifies that result. Romney wins, barring a decision in the courts that gets incredibly messy.   

Nothing in the Constitution mandates an honest count of the vote except for some "equal protection of the law" clause that might not overtly apply to voting. Nothing in the Constitution, for that matter, mandates that there even be a popular election within the State; the vote could be conceivably made by the State Legislature or even a coin flip.

One crooked politician could decide everything.

OK -- so 2000 stinks. By 2008 Barack Obama had established a beat-the-cheat strategy that ensured that no single State would decide everything.  If one is ahead one uses such a strategy.

 



Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: PiMp DaDdy FitzGerald on May 25, 2014, 04:37:01 pm
One case for the Electoral College is that it makes ballot-stuffing for the President (let us say giving one nominee more votes than the size of the electorate) pointless. If one State has an extremely-rigged set of votes (100% of all electors vote, and all vote for one Party) that means no more than if the winner of that state's vote got only a plurality of 48.86% of the vote over the second-place finisher who got 48.85% of that state's vote.

As 2000 showed, there might not be time in which to contest vote fraud on a large scale, especially if the state making the difference between winning and losing is the last to certify its vote total. Flawed process, as in 2000, is bad enough. Outright fraud could lead to the nullification of a Presidency that has already begun. 

Suppose that in 2012 there had been a Presidential election chosen by direct popular vote, and that the only crooked state in its voting were Texas.  In an honest vote based on the popular vote in real life, President Obama wins the Presidency by  4,985,401 votes. The State Legislature of Texas issues 5 million more votes than were in fact cast for Mitt Romney in Texas and certifies that result. Romney wins, barring a decision in the courts that gets incredibly messy.   

Nothing in the Constitution mandates an honest count of the vote except for some "equal protection of the law" clause that might not overtly apply to voting. Nothing in the Constitution, for that matter, mandates that there even be a popular election within the State; the vote could be conceivably made by the State Legislature or even a coin flip.

One crooked politician could decide everything.

OK -- so 2000 stinks. By 2008 Barack Obama had established a beat-the-cheat strategy that ensured that no single State would decide everything.  If one is ahead one uses such a strategy.

 


As Ernest mentioned, if we do a national popular vote then we would have federal control over elections, making a cheating politician's job a lot more difficult.
Also, voter fraud like that is far more difficult than you make it out to be.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: pbrower2a on May 25, 2014, 04:42:54 pm
One case for the Electoral College is that it makes ballot-stuffing for the President (let us say giving one nominee more votes than the size of the electorate) pointless. If one State has an extremely-rigged set of votes (100% of all electors vote, and all vote for one Party) that means no more than if the winner of that state's vote got only a plurality of 48.86% of the vote over the second-place finisher who got 48.85% of that state's vote.

As 2000 showed, there might not be time in which to contest vote fraud on a large scale, especially if the state making the difference between winning and losing is the last to certify its vote total. Flawed process, as in 2000, is bad enough. Outright fraud could lead to the nullification of a Presidency that has already begun. 

Suppose that in 2012 there had been a Presidential election chosen by direct popular vote, and that the only crooked state in its voting were Texas.  In an honest vote based on the popular vote in real life, President Obama wins the Presidency by  4,985,401 votes. The State Legislature of Texas issues 5 million more votes than were in fact cast for Mitt Romney in Texas and certifies that result. Romney wins, barring a decision in the courts that gets incredibly messy.   

Nothing in the Constitution mandates an honest count of the vote except for some "equal protection of the law" clause that might not overtly apply to voting. Nothing in the Constitution, for that matter, mandates that there even be a popular election within the State; the vote could be conceivably made by the State Legislature or even a coin flip.

One crooked politician could decide everything.

OK -- so 2000 stinks. By 2008 Barack Obama had established a beat-the-cheat strategy that ensured that no single State would decide everything.  If one is ahead one uses such a strategy.

 


As Ernest mentioned, if we do a national popular vote then we would have federal control over elections, making a cheating politician's job a lot more difficult.
Also, voter fraud like that is far more difficult than you make it out to be.

I most certainly hope so! It would be a crime -- at the least federal perjury to certify a false statement of a vote.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Higgs on August 07, 2015, 07:54:39 pm
Without the electoral college there would be no point to these fun maps we make :P


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Oak Hills on August 07, 2015, 09:04:52 pm
Without the electoral college there would be no point to these fun maps we make :P

Actually they would still convey interesting and useful information about geographic patterns of support.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: bhouston79 on August 07, 2015, 10:51:10 pm
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.

First, the electoral college does not safeguard the voting power of small states.  To the contrary, most of the small states are currently not "swing states," and as a result the votes of the people in these states are virtually meaningless under our current system.  If you live in Utah, does your vote really hold any sway since everyone knows that unless Hell freezes over (or Joseph Smith's ghost announces that he is endorsing the Democratic candidate on CNN) Utah is going to go for the GOP.  The same holds true in the vast majority of small states including Wyoming, Idaho, Vermont, Rhode Island, ect. ect.  The only exceptions to this general truth are New Hampshire, Nevada, Iowa, and perhaps New Mexico (although New Mexico appears to be losing some of its "swinginess based upon the 2008 and 2012 results). 

Second, your claim 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" is silly in my opinion.  The founding fathers also condoned slavery for a reason, but no rational persons believes that slavery shouldn't have been abolished.  The Electoral College is outdated and needs to be replaced so that the votes of people in Wyoming and Massachusetts count just as much as the votes of people in Ohio and Virginia.  As a resident of the state of Tennessee, which has become a non-swing state in recent elections, I am sick and tired of my vote not counting the same of someone who lives in one of the "swing states." 


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: ͡◔ ᴥ ͡◔ on August 08, 2015, 08:10:46 am
Without the electoral college there would be no point to these fun maps we make :P


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Old School Republican on August 08, 2015, 07:05:45 pm
Yes it gives smaller  states a say in the presidential process and makes sure rural areas also have a voice in the presidential process and not just big cities


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Potus on August 09, 2015, 12:27:00 pm
Yes. The Electoral College forces candidates to be closer to the center and Presidents to govern with the small middle-ground in mind.

With the Electoral College, the focus of campaigns are on the persuadable 5-10% of voters in a couple of states that, when examined together, represent the United States fairly well. The deciding voters in these states aren't reasonable centrists, I'll give you that, but they vote on the characteristics of the candidates before them. Swing voters are in tune with "the questions" asked in exit polls. These questions cover a diverse range of presidential criteria, such as vision, concern for the common person, strength, values, and experience. In today's campaigns, the base is there to be won over in the primary and galvanized by the opponent in the general election. The middle, the swing voters are turned out by campaigns that believe they've persuaded them. This leads to a system where candidates are able to use their opponents to motivate their base while gearing their public persona and, by extension, their presidency at the persuadable, influenceable middle of the electorate.

Under a national popular vote system, there is a much larger reason to galvanize the base and ignore low turnout, low info swing voters. Democrats will spend a lot more time in California and Republicans will spend a lot more time in Texas. Most people here will not see much of a problem with that because, "it's the will of the people!" But, upon repeal of the electoral college, you are changing the fundamental audience of elections. The tired Tea Party adage about motivating the base will become conventional wisdom. We will end up with a country that is more divided than ever before with the parties nominating fire breathing candidates in each election.

The Electoral College does a very good job of balancing the will of the people with the will of the voters. Sure, it goes haywire every once in a while like in 2000, but the Electoral College has basically preserved the will of the people and produced President that are capable of leading and speaking to the concerns of the average American. Sacrificing the Electoral College to the progressive that traditions are unfounded and without reason will do further damage to our leaders' ability to lead.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: ElectionsGuy on August 09, 2015, 12:34:52 pm
Not really. Its very undemocratic. For those of you saying that it will protect the states and small/rural areas, I would challenge that and say candidates today mostly go to urban areas on the campaign trail anyway, and the presidential race is a NATIONAL race. Its the only national election, and therefore should be delt with nationally, not a system that can be so disproportionate that winning a big state by a tiny margin makes all the difference even when the popular vote doesn't reflect it. It doesn't protect the will of the people, it protects the will of monolithic electors in each state. All other elections in the US are direct popular vote, why we need a system that takes power from the people and puts in the hands of a handful of electors at the presidential level is beyond me.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: MT Treasurer on August 09, 2015, 01:44:41 pm
Yes it gives smaller  states a say in the presidential process and makes sure rural areas also have a voice in the presidential process and not just big cities

In 2012, the rural areas didn't have a voice in PA, IL, FL, OH, NV, etc. etc. Have you seen the results by county map? Obama won by running up the margins in the big cities and doing well in the diversifying suburbs. The idea that the Electoral College makes sure rural areas have a big say in electing the president is absurd. Smaller states? Yes. But rural areas? No. It's the suburbs that decide the elections and they are trending to the Democrats in many swing states.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: rbk2784 on August 09, 2015, 02:02:46 pm
Yes I don't understand how it will decrease the power of rural areas. If anything it will increase the power of ignored voters. Finally, the Democrats would have to pay attention to rural voters in safe States of both colours; likewise with the Republicans in urban areas.

Under a national vote, every single person has an equal influence on the vote; so campaigns might as well start buying up ad space in Nebraska or Upstate NY or Alaska; and indeed awaken moribund parties in one party states. It would also give the citizens in the territories a voice.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: ͡◔ ᴥ ͡◔ on August 09, 2015, 03:01:46 pm
Yes I don't understand how it will decrease the power of rural areas. If anything it will increase the power of ignored voters. Finally, the Democrats would have to pay attention to rural voters in safe States of both colours; likewise with the Republicans in urban areas.

Under a national vote, every single person has an equal influence on the vote; so campaigns might as well start buying up ad space in Nebraska or Upstate NY or Alaska; and indeed awaken moribund parties in one party states. It would also give the citizens in the territories a voice.

True


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Skill and Chance on August 09, 2015, 07:34:36 pm
In descending order of strength:

1.  A major natural disaster in a large one sided metro area, like a magnitude 8 earthquake in L.A. or a category 5 hurricane in Houston won't swing the election by itself. Early voting can mitigate this somewhat but wouldn't resolve the problem.

2.  It makes it harder to elect crazies on either side because both sides have to cater to whichever states are the most competitive in that era.  This moderating effect is particularly important during the nomination process.

3.  Were we to return to purely sectionalist elections, presidents would have an incentive to entirely ignore the interests of regions they lost, because they could safely run up near unanimous margins at home.  Winning unanimously in California or Texas shouldn't give you the right to tell the rest of the country off.   


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Figs on August 10, 2015, 09:06:50 am
One thing that the arguments in favor of the Electoral College ignore is that the Constitution leaves to the states the method of delegating electoral votes. Faithless electors have been possible historically, and states don't have to choose a winner-take-all methodology for vote allocation (though most do). It's a very easily gamed system that happens to have coincided with the popular vote most of the time.

But if we're arguing that one of the virtues of the EC is that it coincides with the popular vote far more often than not, then aren't we implicitly conceding that the popular vote is a good measure that we should value?

For the four times historically when the electoral vote and popular vote did not coincide, can we see arguments for why those specifically are cases where we should consider that the popular vote was wrong and the electoral vote was right? I'm interested in reasons. Why, for instance, was it correct that Bush won in 2000? Would it have been correct if a few hundred thousand votes had switched in Ohio or Florida in 2004 and Kerry had won the EC despite losing the popular vote substantially?


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: sg0508 on August 10, 2015, 02:38:02 pm
While it does make Election Night (watching the networks) more interesting, there is no plausible reason in my opinion to have a system in place where virtually 35 states even before the campaign begins are already decided and in the bag for one party or another.  It's ridiculous.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Skill and Chance on August 10, 2015, 07:38:29 pm
One thing that the arguments in favor of the Electoral College ignore is that the Constitution leaves to the states the method of delegating electoral votes. Faithless electors have been possible historically, and states don't have to choose a winner-take-all methodology for vote allocation (though most do). It's a very easily gamed system that happens to have coincided with the popular vote most of the time.

But if we're arguing that one of the virtues of the EC is that it coincides with the popular vote far more often than not, then aren't we implicitly conceding that the popular vote is a good measure that we should value?

For the four times historically when the electoral vote and popular vote did not coincide, can we see arguments for why those specifically are cases where we should consider that the popular vote was wrong and the electoral vote was right? I'm interested in reasons. Why, for instance, was it correct that Bush won in 2000? Would it have been correct if a few hundred thousand votes had switched in Ohio or Florida in 2004 and Kerry had won the EC despite losing the popular vote substantially?

Yes, for at least two of them: the candidate more favorable to black civil rights was saved by the EC in both 1876 and 1888 in a time of blatant intimidation and disenfranchisement in the South.  Benjamin Harrison even got a VRA equivalent measure through the House in 1890.  These are two examples of the EC actually preventing election rigging.  The fact that Democrats would have lost a tied election anytime between 1896 and 1948 was in retrospect a feature, not a bug.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Blair on August 11, 2015, 03:34:36 am
Tbh the biggest problem in the EC is the potential for it to go completely wrong. Not only do the House get to decide the election if it's a tie (or 1968 result) but all the power is handed away to electors, and IIRC only 31 states have laws that force them to vote for the same candidate as won. The amount of problems that could occur from this-Florida 2000 is actually a rather limited example of what could happen as it could have been much worse. There's too much self regulation on the EC-it gives power to the Electors, the House and the Supreme Court.

If it didn't exist no-one would invent it


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Figs on August 11, 2015, 06:41:23 am
One thing that the arguments in favor of the Electoral College ignore is that the Constitution leaves to the states the method of delegating electoral votes. Faithless electors have been possible historically, and states don't have to choose a winner-take-all methodology for vote allocation (though most do). It's a very easily gamed system that happens to have coincided with the popular vote most of the time.

But if we're arguing that one of the virtues of the EC is that it coincides with the popular vote far more often than not, then aren't we implicitly conceding that the popular vote is a good measure that we should value?

For the four times historically when the electoral vote and popular vote did not coincide, can we see arguments for why those specifically are cases where we should consider that the popular vote was wrong and the electoral vote was right? I'm interested in reasons. Why, for instance, was it correct that Bush won in 2000? Would it have been correct if a few hundred thousand votes had switched in Ohio or Florida in 2004 and Kerry had won the EC despite losing the popular vote substantially?

Yes, for at least two of them: the candidate more favorable to black civil rights was saved by the EC in both 1876 and 1888 in a time of blatant intimidation and disenfranchisement in the South.  Benjamin Harrison even got a VRA equivalent measure through the House in 1890.  These are two examples of the EC actually preventing election rigging.  The fact that Democrats would have lost a tied election anytime between 1896 and 1948 was in retrospect a feature, not a bug.

But that's looking from now. What about in the moment? What's the argument you'd make to people at the time?


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Blair on August 11, 2015, 07:04:27 am
The only chance of reform would have been for Bush to win in 2000, and Kerry to carry Ohio and thus winning the election with 47% of the vote


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Skill and Chance on August 11, 2015, 06:49:52 pm
One thing that the arguments in favor of the Electoral College ignore is that the Constitution leaves to the states the method of delegating electoral votes. Faithless electors have been possible historically, and states don't have to choose a winner-take-all methodology for vote allocation (though most do). It's a very easily gamed system that happens to have coincided with the popular vote most of the time.

But if we're arguing that one of the virtues of the EC is that it coincides with the popular vote far more often than not, then aren't we implicitly conceding that the popular vote is a good measure that we should value?

For the four times historically when the electoral vote and popular vote did not coincide, can we see arguments for why those specifically are cases where we should consider that the popular vote was wrong and the electoral vote was right? I'm interested in reasons. Why, for instance, was it correct that Bush won in 2000? Would it have been correct if a few hundred thousand votes had switched in Ohio or Florida in 2004 and Kerry had won the EC despite losing the popular vote substantially?

Yes, for at least two of them: the candidate more favorable to black civil rights was saved by the EC in both 1876 and 1888 in a time of blatant intimidation and disenfranchisement in the South.  Benjamin Harrison even got a VRA equivalent measure through the House in 1890.  These are two examples of the EC actually preventing election rigging.  The fact that Democrats would have lost a tied election anytime between 1896 and 1948 was in retrospect a feature, not a bug.

But that's looking from now. What about in the moment? What's the argument you'd make to people at the time?

While very few people in the late 19th century actually believed black and white people were equal, the 15th Amendment wouldn't have passed in the first place if a significant majority at the time didn't believe that black men should at least be able to vote.  And there certainly wasn't national majority support for lynching and other KKK violence.  So I would say my argument holds even back then.

But an issue neutral argument for the modern day is that near-unanimous margins anywhere are inherently more suspect from an election-integrity standpoint because even without a threat of violence, those publicly supporting the opposition candidate in a 90/10 or even 80/20 area often face social ostracism, loss of employment opportunities, etc.  Therefore, they are less likely to turn out or even be registered in the first place.  They would have more incentive to vote in presidential cycles under NPV, but the same issues would persist regarding supporting and/or campaigning for a party that is perpetually shut out of the state/local government.  And because the state/local government is under complete one-party control, mischief would in fact be a lot easier than in a competitive state where it is normal for both parties to have a say in election laws and oversight of vote counting.  Simply put, elections are likely to be somewhat cleaner, with more participation, in closely split states.  So having a unanimity penalty built into the system isn't necessarily a bad thing.     


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Figs on August 13, 2015, 06:28:31 am
One thing that the arguments in favor of the Electoral College ignore is that the Constitution leaves to the states the method of delegating electoral votes. Faithless electors have been possible historically, and states don't have to choose a winner-take-all methodology for vote allocation (though most do). It's a very easily gamed system that happens to have coincided with the popular vote most of the time.

But if we're arguing that one of the virtues of the EC is that it coincides with the popular vote far more often than not, then aren't we implicitly conceding that the popular vote is a good measure that we should value?

For the four times historically when the electoral vote and popular vote did not coincide, can we see arguments for why those specifically are cases where we should consider that the popular vote was wrong and the electoral vote was right? I'm interested in reasons. Why, for instance, was it correct that Bush won in 2000? Would it have been correct if a few hundred thousand votes had switched in Ohio or Florida in 2004 and Kerry had won the EC despite losing the popular vote substantially?

Yes, for at least two of them: the candidate more favorable to black civil rights was saved by the EC in both 1876 and 1888 in a time of blatant intimidation and disenfranchisement in the South.  Benjamin Harrison even got a VRA equivalent measure through the House in 1890.  These are two examples of the EC actually preventing election rigging.  The fact that Democrats would have lost a tied election anytime between 1896 and 1948 was in retrospect a feature, not a bug.

But that's looking from now. What about in the moment? What's the argument you'd make to people at the time?

While very few people in the late 19th century actually believed black and white people were equal, the 15th Amendment wouldn't have passed in the first place if a significant majority at the time didn't believe that black men should at least be able to vote.  And there certainly wasn't national majority support for lynching and other KKK violence.  So I would say my argument holds even back then.

But an issue neutral argument for the modern day is that near-unanimous margins anywhere are inherently more suspect from an election-integrity standpoint because even without a threat of violence, those publicly supporting the opposition candidate in a 90/10 or even 80/20 area often face social ostracism, loss of employment opportunities, etc.  Therefore, they are less likely to turn out or even be registered in the first place.  They would have more incentive to vote in presidential cycles under NPV, but the same issues would persist regarding supporting and/or campaigning for a party that is perpetually shut out of the state/local government.  And because the state/local government is under complete one-party control, mischief would in fact be a lot easier than in a competitive state where it is normal for both parties to have a say in election laws and oversight of vote counting.  Simply put, elections are likely to be somewhat cleaner, with more participation, in closely split states.  So having a unanimity penalty built into the system isn't necessarily a bad thing.     

Does that describe why the result in 2000 was the correct one?


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: muon2 on August 13, 2015, 09:54:24 am
While it does make Election Night (watching the networks) more interesting, there is no plausible reason in my opinion to have a system in place where virtually 35 states even before the campaign begins are already decided and in the bag for one party or another.  It's ridiculous.

How is that different from watching the returns for Prime Minister in Canada or the UK? Most constituencies are effectively decided long before election day, yet no one claims that is ridiculous. The EC replaces Parliament to elect the executive leader of the government.

What makes the US unique is not the lack of direct elections for the executive. If the US followed most other major democracies Congress, not direct elections, would select the head of the executive branch. The unique feature in the US is that the Constitution creates a parallel body to Congress for the purpose of selecting the executive. Congress only steps in to select the executive if the EC fails to get a majority for a candidate.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Skill and Chance on August 13, 2015, 06:39:38 pm
One thing that the arguments in favor of the Electoral College ignore is that the Constitution leaves to the states the method of delegating electoral votes. Faithless electors have been possible historically, and states don't have to choose a winner-take-all methodology for vote allocation (though most do). It's a very easily gamed system that happens to have coincided with the popular vote most of the time.

But if we're arguing that one of the virtues of the EC is that it coincides with the popular vote far more often than not, then aren't we implicitly conceding that the popular vote is a good measure that we should value?

For the four times historically when the electoral vote and popular vote did not coincide, can we see arguments for why those specifically are cases where we should consider that the popular vote was wrong and the electoral vote was right? I'm interested in reasons. Why, for instance, was it correct that Bush won in 2000? Would it have been correct if a few hundred thousand votes had switched in Ohio or Florida in 2004 and Kerry had won the EC despite losing the popular vote substantially?

Yes, for at least two of them: the candidate more favorable to black civil rights was saved by the EC in both 1876 and 1888 in a time of blatant intimidation and disenfranchisement in the South.  Benjamin Harrison even got a VRA equivalent measure through the House in 1890.  These are two examples of the EC actually preventing election rigging.  The fact that Democrats would have lost a tied election anytime between 1896 and 1948 was in retrospect a feature, not a bug.

But that's looking from now. What about in the moment? What's the argument you'd make to people at the time?

While very few people in the late 19th century actually believed black and white people were equal, the 15th Amendment wouldn't have passed in the first place if a significant majority at the time didn't believe that black men should at least be able to vote.  And there certainly wasn't national majority support for lynching and other KKK violence.  So I would say my argument holds even back then.

But an issue neutral argument for the modern day is that near-unanimous margins anywhere are inherently more suspect from an election-integrity standpoint because even without a threat of violence, those publicly supporting the opposition candidate in a 90/10 or even 80/20 area often face social ostracism, loss of employment opportunities, etc.  Therefore, they are less likely to turn out or even be registered in the first place.  They would have more incentive to vote in presidential cycles under NPV, but the same issues would persist regarding supporting and/or campaigning for a party that is perpetually shut out of the state/local government.  And because the state/local government is under complete one-party control, mischief would in fact be a lot easier than in a competitive state where it is normal for both parties to have a say in election laws and oversight of vote counting.  Simply put, elections are likely to be somewhat cleaner, with more participation, in closely split states.  So having a unanimity penalty built into the system isn't necessarily a bad thing.     

Does that describe why the result in 2000 was the correct one?

Yes, actually.  A candidate who couldn't hold his own coalition together lost to one who could.  And neither got 50% of the vote, so neither could claim a true mandate.  It was simply 1912 on a less grand scale.  If an independent is angry enough at one major party candidate to run as a spoiler to their left/right, that says something bad about that candidate and their party at the time. 


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: Figs on August 14, 2015, 03:56:57 am
That sounds an awful lot like post hoc rationalization.


Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: rbt48 on August 19, 2015, 10:04:31 pm
Elections are held within states according to each state's laws.  In order to have the popular vote decide the Presidency, there would need to be a Federal law governing the voting for President and Vice President.  Unless all elections were federalized (from Congress down to county officials), there would need to be separate elections for Pres/VP as distinct from all other electoral contests.  Otherwise a vote in one state would note equal a vote in another state.  Factors causing this lack of equality are numerous, but here are a few to consider (viewed from the standpoint of differing electoral laws among the states):
-Different candidates on the ballot from state to state,
-Different voting hours,
-Different residency requirements in a state and precinct,
-Diverse absentee ballot rules,
-All mail-in voting versus polling place voting,
-Registration requirements (same day versus X days before an election deadlines),
-Different voting systems (paper ballots, voting machines, format of ballots),
-Other distinctions that all are welcome to chime in with.

The key factor is that in order for a vote in (pick any state, say Illinois) to be equal to a vote in, say, Rhode Island, the rules for voting (eligibility, candidates to choose from, voting format, and other factors I've mentioned) need to be identical.



Title: Re: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
Post by: bobloblaw on August 28, 2015, 10:06:17 pm
As opposed to election by national popular-vote.

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

Well very few nations actually elect their leaders via NPV. NPV would be fun. I suspect both the GOP and Dems would split off and have multiple parties. One could get elected with 25% of the vote if there was no runoff