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| | |-+  Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college? (search mode)
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Author Topic: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?  (Read 55967 times)
memphis
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« 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.
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memphis
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« Reply #1 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.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2010, 09:57:28 pm by memphis »Logged

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memphis
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« Reply #2 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.
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memphis
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« Reply #3 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. Roll Eyes 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.
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memphis
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« Reply #4 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?
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memphis
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« Reply #5 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.
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memphis
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« Reply #6 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.
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memphis
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« Reply #7 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?
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