Elections and stuff

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,171
US
The founders also didn't intend for tyrany by the minority - where the minority has so much power that the majority can't enact any of its agenda at all. Take for example the power of the American South in the mid-19th century. Population-wise the South was a clear minority yet they were able to control the national agenda for a lot of years until finally the North said no more. Then we had a civil war because the majority will only tolerate a tyrany of the minority for so long. It's one thing to protect the rights of minorities, but it's something else to let small groups grind the whole train to a halt.

Can you think of any issues in the last 50 years where small states like Wyoming and Vermont agreed on something but were opposed by big states like California and Texas that would have resulted in good public policy if the small states had their way? I can think of one example where bad public policy came about because small states had their way. Shortly after 9/11 the federal government made lots of money available to cities and states to upgrade their counter-terrorism preparedness. But the likely terrorist targets are not evenly distributed across the country. They tend to be concentrated in the big cities. Because small states are over represented in the US Senate and in the Electoral College, a lot of small towns in Wyoming and Vermont got new fire engines and ambulances even though the terrorist threat is very low there. The big cities that really needed the money ended up with less because they had to share with smaller communities that didn't really need the money - at least not for counter-terrorism.

States' rights or states' interests just are not as prominent or distinct as they were 200 years ago. Modern communications have rendered state borders almost irrelevant. Millions of Americans cross state lines every day just communting to work. Millions more consume mass media that is transmitted across state lines. It's been 100 years since the 17th Amendment provided for direct election of senators. Giving states a role in national politics is increasingly anachronistic.

Wyoming and Vermont are far more likely to disagree on political philosophy (conservative vs liberal) than they are to agree on anything size related. Big states vs little states just isn't the issue today that it was in 1787.
I assume your post is in reply to mine. "Tyranny by the minority?" That's quite stretch. We have had only a few presidential elections where the winner of the popular vote did not take office and in none of these elections, with the exception of Quincy Adams, was the differential more than a few percentage points: United States presidential elections in which the winner lost the popular vote - Wikipedia
So there has never been a "tyranny by the the minority." Remember , in 1992 the winning candidate only garnered 43% of the votes cast, less than the majority: 1992 United States presidential election - Wikipedia
Was that "tyranny?" This recent talk of eliminating the electoral college smells kind of funny to me, but I will be the first to congratulate you when it happens. The issue may be less big state versus small state and more urban versus rural, progressive versus tradition.
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,466
Dispargum
So we agree that the Electoral College exists to benefit small states but the size of the state has little to zero impact on how any state votes. So why do we need the EC?

Can we agree that the only reason we still have an EC is because there has always been a major party that perceives the EC as working to their advantage?

What smells so funny about eliminating the EC? Why can't we just set aside who wins and loses and instead ask ourselves "How is a political system supposed to work? How do we ensure an outcome that reflects the will of the people?"
 

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
So we agree that the Electoral College exists to benefit small states but the size of the state has little to zero impact on how any state votes. So why do we need the EC?

Can we agree that the only reason we still have an EC is because there has always been a major party that perceives the EC as working to their advantage?

What smells so funny about eliminating the EC? Why can't we just set aside who wins and loses and instead ask ourselves "How is a political system supposed to work? How do we ensure an outcome that reflects the will of the people?"

The electorial college gives smaller states a greater say, and ensure that a president has a broader range of support than a strictly popular vote would result in. A president could get elected because few of the largest urbn areas (California) voted solidly for them, while in the rest of the country the majority of the country rejected him. A situation where the candidate won by huge margins in just the top 5 most populous states, where they received almost 100% of the votes, but lost in all the other 45 states . The system ensures that he president was elected with a broad range of geographical votes, and not just the most number of popular votes.

It also minimizes the effect of voter fraud on the election. A president can't win the election by just trucking in millions of illegslly aliens too friendly states of that have lax voter registration and checking.
 
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sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,971
Sydney
that's the farmer paradox ,
the city vote would ensure their voice is of no importance
an overcrowded Ghetto would have more political power than thousand of square kilometers of hard working people
 
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Jan 2017
783
UK
One issue in the FPTP vs PR debate is how much one favours larger or smaller parties.
A two-party system will benefit the larger, more established parties which may alienate voters who feel their political views aren't represented by either of them, on the other hand forming a government becomes easier since there's less smaller parties splitting the vote, passing legislation has fewer obstacles & you don't end up with a paralysed parliament where nothing gets done.
PR can involve more consensus, more compromises, politics can be less polarised which is a good thing. When there's a multitude of parties it can take a long time to form a coalition government after an election, once that government is formed it can be quite unstable, prone to dissolving quickly due to disagreements and we're back to square one trying to form another government.
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,171
US
So we agree that the Electoral College exists to benefit small states but the size of the state has little to zero impact on how any state votes. So why do we need the EC?

Can we agree that the only reason we still have an EC is because there has always been a major party that perceives the EC as working to their advantage?

What smells so funny about eliminating the EC? Why can't we just set aside who wins and loses and instead ask ourselves "How is a political system supposed to work? How do we ensure an outcome that reflects the will of the people?"
No. The electoral college exists to prevent one party from consolidating a bloc of voters (usually by offering them goodies, courtesy of somebody else's labor) that will lead to tyranny of the majority. Take New York. Those who live in the central and western part of the state do not typically view the world like those in NYC. The same holds for Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, Michigan and even California. And to say that "A," as in ONE, major party views the electoral college to their advantage is simply pure politics. Funny, how there was little discussion about the electoral college prior to 2016 (well, maybe 2000). Why don't you just be honest and admit that most of the disgruntlement about the electoral college is simply a knee jerk reaction to one election? There were two scenarios in the late 19th century, yet there was no uproar then. It is a recent phenomenon, based upon dissatisfied voters who didn't get their way, so they choose to change the rules. Typical of some political ideologies.
 
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Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,171
US
The electorial college gives smaller states a greater say, and ensure that a president has a broader range of support than a strictly popular vote would result in. A president could get elected because few of the largest urbn areas (California) voted solidly for them, while in the rest of the country the majority of the country rejected him. A situation where the candidate won by huge margins in just the top 5 most populous states, where they received almost 100% of the votes, but lost in all the other 45 states . The system ensures that he president was elected with a broad range of geographical votes, and not just the most number of popular votes.

It also minimizes the effect of voter fraud on the election. A president can't win the election by just trucking in millions of illegslly aliens too friendly states of that have lax voter registration and checking.
that's the farmer paradox ,
the city vote would ensure their voice is of no importance
an overcrowded Ghetto would have more political power than thousand of square kilometers of hard working people
Now here are a few posters who get it. Logic and fairness prevails. Sorry to break the news to some: The Founders were smarter and more insightful than anybody posting here.
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,466
Dispargum
Wyoming - 258,000
National - aprx 130 million
California - aprx 13 million
The electorial college gives smaller states a greater say, and ensure that a president has a broader range of support than a strictly popular vote would result in. A president could get elected because few of the largest urbn areas (California) voted solidly for them, while in the rest of the country the majority of the country rejected him. A situation where the candidate won by huge margins in just the top 5 most populous states, where they received almost 100% of the votes, but lost in all the other 45 states . The system ensures that he president was elected with a broad range of geographical votes, and not just the most number of popular votes.
In any system based on majority rule, there will always be winners and losers. If a certain voting block is always in the minority, I submit it would be better for them to enter into some kind of cooperative arrangement with a larger voting block than to hold out for some kind of minority rule. There are ways for small voting blocks to get their agenda enacted. One way is kingmaking - wait until the rest of the polity needs you and then trade your support for getting your agenda passed. I suspect the existence of the Electoral College encourages smaller states to hold out for minority rule instead of cooperating.

It also minimizes the effect of voter fraud on the election. A president can't win the election by just trucking in millions of illegslly aliens too friendly states of that have lax voter registration and checking.
Actually the reverse is true. The Electoral College makes it easier to manipulate the vote. Smaller states are easier to manipulate and their greater weight in the EC makes voter manipulation a more worthy investment. For example, in 2016, Wyoming and Vermont combined for about 600,000 total popular votes. If either state had been competitive, ie, too close to call, it may have been possible to swing either state with as little as 6,000 illegal votes in each state. That's about 2% of the total votes cast. Wyoming's and Vermont's 6 electoral votes represent more than 2% of the total electoral votes needed to win. If the EC was too close to call, 6 votes could make a difference.
On the other hand, if there was no Electoral College and presidents were elected by national popular vote, there were 130 million votes cast nationally in 2016. To manipulate 2% of that would require 2,600,000 illegal votes. So you can steal 2% of the EC with as little as 12,000 illegal votes, but you can't steal 2% of the popular vote so easily.
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,171
US
Again, we are talking about .5% (1/2 of 1 percent) to 2% regarding the last two times a president won an election without the majority of the popular votes. This whole idea that the "minority" is trumping the "majority" is simply untrue. Remember, the U.S. is a representative republic. This means that a representative could vote in a manner differently than the majority of his constituents and this has happened many times, especially in a district (House) or state (senator) where the voters are relatively evenly distributed between two parties and their opposing ideology. So we are all winners and losers at times. The answer is not some radical change to the system. You want real "majority vote?" Advocate for a true democracy. Let issues be put to a referendum. Then see the kind of chaos, bedlam and anarchy that moving away from the electoral college would create. Most large, populous, diverse, complex societies know better. That is why this system does not exist in any nation today.
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,466
Dispargum
...Take New York. Those who live in the central and western part of the state do not typically view the world like those in NYC...
It is exactly for people in places like upstate New York that I am skeptical of the Electoral College. I believe that every vote should count. It's the EC that renders these conservative votes in upstate NY irrelevant.

...Why don't you just be honest and admit that most of the disgruntlement about the electoral college is simply a knee jerk reaction to one election? There were two scenarios in the late 19th century, yet there was no uproar then. It is a recent phenomenon, based upon dissatisfied voters who didn't get their way, so they choose to change the rules. Typical of some political ideologies.
Here's my honest response to that: I've been skeptical of the Electoral College ever since I learned about it in school 35 or 40 years ago, and I was a Republican back then. Most of the friends I've had in life were Republicans and none of them thought the EC was a good idea. The only people I've seen defending the EC were conservative strategists and their supporters, people like George Will. I remember reading one of his columns defending the EC and being unconvinced. He used the same arguments used here in this thread, about how small states need a compensatory advantage and how the EC forces candidates to campaign nationally instead of regionally. The problem is that I don't see those actually happening in election campaigns. Candidates don't campaign nationally. I hardly ever see Democrats campaign in Texas nor do Republicans campaign often in California or New York - for the very good reason that those votes won't count for them. The candidates concentrate on the battleground states. I don't think 80% of the country should be rendered irrelevant by the EC.