Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
December 16, 2017, 01:43:21 pm
HomePredMockPollEVCalcAFEWIKIHelpLogin Register
News: Be sure to enable your "Ultimate Profile" for even more goodies on your profile page!

+  Atlas Forum
|-+  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion
| |-+  Presidential Election Process (Moderator: muon2)
| | |-+  Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?
« previous next »
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 [7] 8 Print
Author Topic: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?  (Read 55744 times)
Nichlemn
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 1907


View Profile
« Reply #150 on: February 24, 2013, 05:13:24 pm »
Ignore

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?
Logged

Undecided Voter in the Midwest
Ghost of Tilden
Jr. Member
**
Posts: 63
United States


View Profile
« Reply #151 on: February 26, 2013, 10:23:18 pm »
Ignore

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.
Logged
bedstuy
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 4559


Political Matrix
E: -1.16, S: -4.35

View Profile
« Reply #152 on: February 26, 2013, 11:50:34 pm »
Ignore

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.
Logged
pbrower2a
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 16480
United States


View Profile
« Reply #153 on: May 25, 2014, 04:15:03 pm »
Ignore

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.

 

Logged



Your political compass

Economic Left/Right: -7.00
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.49
PiMp DaDdy FitzGerald
Mr. Pollo
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 793


View Profile
« Reply #154 on: May 25, 2014, 04:37:01 pm »
Ignore

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.
Logged

pbrower2a
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 16480
United States


View Profile
« Reply #155 on: May 25, 2014, 04:42:54 pm »
Ignore

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.
Logged



Your political compass

Economic Left/Right: -7.00
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.49
Higgs
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 2649


Political Matrix
E: 6.14, S: -4.17

View Profile
« Reply #156 on: August 07, 2015, 07:54:39 pm »
Ignore

Without the electoral college there would be no point to these fun maps we make Tongue
Logged

President Trump, get used to saying it.
Oak Hills
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 2171
United States


View Profile
« Reply #157 on: August 07, 2015, 09:04:52 pm »
Ignore

Without the electoral college there would be no point to these fun maps we make Tongue

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

Trump does not have America's interests in mind: he does not know what these are and he does not care to learn. What he cares about is his own ego. He is willing to destroy America and the world to satisfy it.
bhouston79
Full Member
***
Posts: 209


View Profile
« Reply #158 on: August 07, 2015, 10:51:10 pm »
Ignore

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." 
Logged

"We have nothing to fear but fear itself" Franklin Delano Roosevelt
͡◔ ᴥ ͡◔
darthebearnc
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 7962


View Profile
« Reply #159 on: August 08, 2015, 08:10:46 am »
Ignore

Without the electoral college there would be no point to these fun maps we make Tongue
Logged
Old School Republican
Computer89
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 7884


View Profile
« Reply #160 on: August 08, 2015, 07:05:45 pm »
Ignore

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
Logged

Favorite Politicians from the last 50 years:




Economic Score: 3.61
Social: -0.1


"http://www.gotoquiz.com/politics/grid/28x23.gif

Foreign Policy: 1.6


My Timeline: http://uselectionatlas.org/FORUM/index.php?topic=261223.0
Potus
Potus2036
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 1847


View Profile
« Reply #161 on: August 09, 2015, 12:27:00 pm »
Ignore

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.
Logged



Former Governor, Senator, Presidential Candidate, and Secretary of State.
ElectionsGuy
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 15319
United States


Political Matrix
E: 7.87, S: -6.96

View Profile
« Reply #162 on: August 09, 2015, 12:34:52 pm »
Ignore

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.
Logged
MT Treasurer
IndyRep
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 15047
United States


View Profile
« Reply #163 on: August 09, 2015, 01:44:41 pm »
Ignore

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.
Logged

Let's Vote for ANNIE!
My favorite Annie Kuster ad

Vote Chris Sununu out of office!
rbk2784
CrabCake
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 13369
Kiribati


View Profile
« Reply #164 on: August 09, 2015, 02:02:46 pm »
Ignore

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.
Logged
͡◔ ᴥ ͡◔
darthebearnc
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 7962


View Profile
« Reply #165 on: August 09, 2015, 03:01:46 pm »
Ignore

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
Logged
Skill and Chance
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 3492
View Profile
« Reply #166 on: August 09, 2015, 07:34:36 pm »
Ignore

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.   
Logged
Figs
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 1353


Political Matrix
E: -6.32, S: -7.83


View Profile
« Reply #167 on: August 10, 2015, 09:06:50 am »
Ignore

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?
Logged
sg0508
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 1552
United States


View Profile
« Reply #168 on: August 10, 2015, 02:38:02 pm »
Ignore

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.
Logged

SJG
Skill and Chance
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 3492
View Profile
« Reply #169 on: August 10, 2015, 07:38:29 pm »
Ignore

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.
Logged
Blair
Blair2015
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 5868
United Kingdom


View Profile
« Reply #170 on: August 11, 2015, 03:34:36 am »
Ignore

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
Logged

Figs
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 1353


Political Matrix
E: -6.32, S: -7.83


View Profile
« Reply #171 on: August 11, 2015, 06:41:23 am »
Ignore

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?
Logged
Blair
Blair2015
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 5868
United Kingdom


View Profile
« Reply #172 on: August 11, 2015, 07:04:27 am »
Ignore

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
Logged

Skill and Chance
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 3492
View Profile
« Reply #173 on: August 11, 2015, 06:49:52 pm »
Ignore

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.     
Logged
Figs
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 1353


Political Matrix
E: -6.32, S: -7.83


View Profile
« Reply #174 on: August 13, 2015, 06:28:31 am »
Ignore

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?
Logged
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 [7] 8 Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  


Login with username, password and session length

Logout

Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines