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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 59399 times)
Smid
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« 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.
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Smid
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Posts: 6,154
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« Reply #1 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.
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