Elections and stuff

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,489
Dispargum
...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.
Don't deflect. No one is talking about rule by referendum nor is anyone talking about doing away with representative democracy. Do you recall from post #4 how Finland used to have an electoral college but did away with it? It can be done without leading to chaos.
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,171
US
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.



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.
It's not about candidates campaigning in every state. It's about preventing those who are promised something from others from becoming the majority and voting accordingly. And that is why your comment about 80% of the nation's votes being rendered irrelevant is the exact opposite of what you argue. All a candidate would need to do is, literally, campaign in the top 25 American cities and make promises to benefit those citizens alone. A candidate could ignore the rest of that state and the nation in general. He/she could actually make such a brazen statement of his/her intention to do so - telling the rest of the nation's citizens "too bad for you,", and the election itself would then be rendered moot and irrelevant. And for the record, I was a registered democrat at one time, one of those blue collar labor democrats like my father was. Personally, I have never heard any conversation with anyone about the electoral college, outside of my time in academia. It's not really been a topic for the average person Now when it's presented to them as "suppression of the majority" then I believe that is demagoguery and disingenuous. Again, the last two elections were separated by a few percentage points. The U.S. today does not have a majority, as it takes only a few to vote differently from one election to the next to change the party in power. I am sure you realize that, outside of the years 1980-1992, the office of the president has fluctuated. almost on a predictable cycle, from one party to the other since the elections of 1952. What the U.S. has today is a just about equally divided nation bewteen two factions. This is not a reason to change the Constitution. But, as I have already posted, I will be the first to congratulate you when it happens. :) In the meantime, I think I will operate within the practical realm of things.
 

Cepheus

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,309
Just to clear up a few items.

From a historical perspective, parties or political factions, as well as state parity (each state with equal status), was not driving force behind the creation of the electoral system.

Key point: The framers original motivation was because they did think that the voters should be given the responsibility of voting for the president and vice president. The framers simply did not trust the voters.

Key point: I could not detect any information from the original sources that the main purpose of the electoral system was to protect small versus large state parity. If that were the case, then each state would have the same number of electors. (eg. US Senate) IOW, the idea behind the electorate system is to separate regular citizens from a direct vote. The electoral system then is one of placeholding.

The idea was that electors should be chosen from each state. The states could bypass a general election completely and just have the legislature designate electors if they wanted to.

The electors were supposed to be "free" of political influences and only concerned with electing the best or most competent nominee.

The 12th amendment only split the 2 undesignated votes of each elector into distinct votes for president and vice-president.
 
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Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,489
Dispargum
It's not about candidates campaigning in every state. It's about preventing those who are promised something from others from becoming the majority and voting accordingly. And that is why your comment about 80% of the nation's votes being rendered irrelevant is the exact opposite of what you argue. All a candidate would need to do is, literally, campaign in the top 25 American cities and make promises to benefit those citizens alone. A candidate could ignore the rest of that state and the nation in general. He/she could actually make such a brazen statement of his/her intention to do so - telling the rest of the nation's citizens "too bad for you,", and the election itself would then be rendered moot and irrelevant... But, as I have already posted, I will be the first to congratulate you when it happens. :) In the meantime, I think I will operate within the practical realm of things.
We share a lot of common ground. You don't want candidates to only campaign (or make campaign promises) in a few big cities. I don't want candidates to campaign (or make promises) only in the battleground states. These are both examples of regional campaigning. We both want national campaigns (or at least campaigns that speak to all Americans). What I don't get is why you think the Electoral College encourages national or multi-issue campaigning.

I can see why a candidate who wants to win Iowa should talk up farm issues, or if someone wants to get votes in the Rocky Mountain states they should talk up environmental deregulation. But your concern that a candidate or party could win just by taking a small majority in the cities (or anywhere else) and ignoring the rest of the country doesn't work for me. That scenario is certainly possible, but the Electoral College probably makes that scenario more likely rather than less likely. In 2012, Mitt Romney famously said, "I don't need to win the 47% of voters who expect government handouts." That's niche campaigning under the Electoral College. Not everyone in Iowa is a farmer or identifies with farm issues. When a candidates says, "I want to win Iowa so I'm going to speak to farm issues," he's basically negating everyone in Iowa who's not a farmer. The Electoral College does not eliminate niche campaigning. It just moves the niche campaigning from the federal level down to the states.

You're right about how in the last 50 years no single party has controlled the government for very long. Power keeps swinging back and forth. But the power to change the ruling party does not reside in either big states or small states. Control of the country is held by the swing voters in the battleground states. Ending the Electoral College would restore power to all voters by counting all votes in the national totals instead of the current system where votes for losing candidates are deleted at the state level.

How many state issues still exist? There are national issues and regional issues, but conservatives in Texas and conservatives in New York vote pretty much for the same issues. I see no reason why conservative votes in Texas should count while conservative votes in upstate New York are cancelled out by New York City.

I fully get why you don't want to talk about changing the Constitution. You're a conservative. You're content with your way of life. You don't want anything to change. One way to prevent change is to stifle all conversation about change. That's how change begins - by people talking about it. I'm not going to let you stifle that conversation. :)
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,171
US
Just to clear up a few items.

From a historical perspective, parties or political factions, as well as state parity (each state with equal status), was not driving force behind the creation of the electoral system.

Key point: The framers original motivation was because they did think that the voters should be given the responsibility of voting for the president and vice president. The framers simply did not trust the voters.

Key point: I could not detect any information from the original sources that the main purpose of the electoral system was to protect small versus large state parity. If that were the case, then each state would have the same number of electors. (eg. US Senate) IOW, the idea behind the electorate system is to separate regular citizens from a direct vote. The electoral system then is one of placeholding.

The idea was that electors should be chosen from each state. The states could bypass a general election completely and just have the legislature designate electors if they wanted to.

The electors were supposed to be "free" of political influences and only concerned with electing the best or most competent nominee.

The 12th amendment only split the 2 undesignated votes of each elector into distinct votes for president and vice-president.
Makes sense. The U.S. is a representative republic.
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,489
Dispargum
Just to clear up a few items.
From a historical perspective, parties or political factions, as well as state parity (each state with equal status), was not driving force behind the creation of the electoral system.
Key point: The framers original motivation was because they did think that the voters should be given the responsibility of voting for the president and vice president. The framers simply did not trust the voters.
Key point: I could not detect any information from the original sources that the main purpose of the electoral system was to protect small versus large state parity. If that were the case, then each state would have the same number of electors. (eg. US Senate) IOW, the idea behind the electorate system is to separate regular citizens from a direct vote. The electoral system then is one of placeholding.
The idea was that electors should be chosen from each state. The states could bypass a general election completely and just have the legislature designate electors if they wanted to.
The electors were supposed to be "free" of political influences and only concerned with electing the best or most competent nominee.
The 12th amendment only split the 2 undesignated votes of each elector into distinct votes for president and vice-president.
I agree about indirect voting for president, but if the founders wanted every vote (either popular or electoral) to weigh equally, they would have allocated the electoral votes proportionally by population. They could have determined the number of electors just by counting Representatives, but by adding Senators they gave a slight advantage to smaller states. An extreme example: California has 60 times the population of Wyoming but only 18 times the number of electoral votes. A popular vote in Wyoming has three times the weight of a vote in California.

Consider how elections are decided if no one wins the Electoral College: each state votes in the House of Representatives with each state getting one vote. California with more than fifty representatives has the same influence as Wyoming with only one representative. The founders must have wanted to give an advantage to smaller states or else they would have written the Constitution differently.
Constitution of the United States - We the People Article 2 Section 1 Paragraph 3
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,171
US
We share a lot of common ground. You don't want candidates to only campaign (or make campaign promises) in a few big cities. I don't want candidates to campaign (or make promises) only in the battleground states. These are both examples of regional campaigning. We both want national campaigns (or at least campaigns that speak to all Americans). What I don't get is why you think the Electoral College encourages national or multi-issue campaigning.

I can see why a candidate who wants to win Iowa should talk up farm issues, or if someone wants to get votes in the Rocky Mountain states they should talk up environmental deregulation. But your concern that a candidate or party could win just by taking a small majority in the cities (or anywhere else) and ignoring the rest of the country doesn't work for me. That scenario is certainly possible, but the Electoral College probably makes that scenario more likely rather than less likely. In 2012, Mitt Romney famously said, "I don't need to win the 47% of voters who expect government handouts." That's niche campaigning under the Electoral College. Not everyone in Iowa is a farmer or identifies with farm issues. When a candidates says, "I want to win Iowa so I'm going to speak to farm issues," he's basically negating everyone in Iowa who's not a farmer. The Electoral College does not eliminate niche campaigning. It just moves the niche campaigning from the federal level down to the states.

You're right about how in the last 50 years no single party has controlled the government for very long. Power keeps swinging back and forth. But the power to change the ruling party does not reside in either big states or small states. Control of the country is held by the swing voters in the battleground states. Ending the Electoral College would restore power to all voters by counting all votes in the national totals instead of the current system where votes for losing candidates are deleted at the state level.

How many state issues still exist? There are national issues and regional issues, but conservatives in Texas and conservatives in New York vote pretty much for the same issues. I see no reason why conservative votes in Texas should count while conservative votes in upstate New York are cancelled out by New York City.

I fully get why you don't want to talk about changing the Constitution. You're a conservative. You're content with your way of life. You don't want anything to change. One way to prevent change is to stifle all conversation about change. That's how change begins - by people talking about it. I'm not going to let you stifle that conversation. :)
I am a conservative for reasons beyond what is just comfortable or preferred by me. I am just as concerned about the well-being of my children and grandchildren and everybody's else's. What has made the U.S. a good, if not great, place to exist is its form of government. Malcontents would have it otherwise and I am not simply speaking of those who feel disenfranchised. Many who oppose conservatives (call the opposition what you will) are those who were raised in a comfortable environment but are too short sided to see how good they have it compared to those around the globe. They believe they are entitled to things. The last statistics that I read stated that over 50% of those who actually file a federal tax return received every dollar of their federal taxes paid returned to them . Their contribution to the federal government is thus $0, absolutely nothing. Some, because of their lack of income received more, called the Earned Income Tax Credit, with the emphasis on Credit, which means subsidy. Moreover, there are many who aren't required to file a federal income tax report, as they make too little or are retired or on some kind of assistance. So there are more NOT contributing than who do. A perilous situation. It is tempting for demagogues to offer the hard earned dollars of those who make and pay federal taxes to others. When you have no skin in the game or personal stake in the cost of government then your perspective changes, unless you are a truly noble person.This is probably what Cephus was referring to when he said the Founders did not trust the voters to degenerate into mob rule or mob tyranny. As for state or local rights, as the federal government ever grows beyond its original intention, many are revisiting the idea of state or local rights. As I mentioned already, the U.S. had no Department of Education until the late 1970s. In talking to my elders I would say they were more thoroughly and better educated than those today, all without a federal department, full of federal bureaucrats. Maybe the locals know more about education than those federal bureaucrats who are certainly motivated by more than a concern for education.
 

Cepheus

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,309
I agree about indirect voting for president, but if the founders wanted every vote (either popular or electoral) to weigh equally, they would have allocated the electoral votes proportionally by population. They could have determined the number of electors just by counting Representatives, but by adding Senators they gave a slight advantage to smaller states. An extreme example: California has 60 times the population of Wyoming but only 18 times the number of electoral votes. A popular vote in Wyoming has three times the weight of a vote in California.

Consider how elections are decided if no one wins the Electoral College: each state votes in the House of Representatives with each state getting one vote. California with more than fifty representatives has the same influence as Wyoming with only one representative. The founders must have wanted to give an advantage to smaller states or else they would have written the Constitution differently.
Constitution of the United States - We the People Article 2 Section 1 Paragraph 3
Right. The founders were not interested in every vote counting.

Right. By adding senators into the count they gave the numerical logic mixed federal and nationalistic characteristics.

We are a representational democracy, but, more intrinsically, we are a federal representational democracy.

The system has evolved closer to that ideal--of every vote counting than was originally intended-- since electors are now voting from an assignment taken from the popular vote.
 
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Cepheus

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,309
Consider how elections are decided if no one wins the Electoral College: each state votes in the House of Representatives with each state getting one vote. California with more than fifty representatives has the same influence as Wyoming with only one representative. The founders must have wanted to give an advantage to smaller states or else they would have written the Constitution differently.
Constitution of the United States - We the People Article 2 Section 1 Paragraph 3
I totally agree with what you are saying. However, they did not need the electoral system to do that. That was not the impetus behind the concept of the EC.

What you are saying is true and is a consequence of the system we have but that feature was not why we have an EC.
 

Cepheus

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,309
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?"
See, some of your statements here would not be entirely correct.

The EC exists because the founders did not trust the average voter. However, the EC does benefit small states, but that is not why it exists.

As I mentioned earlier, technically, due to electoral assignment, the EC has moved closer to the ideal of every vote counting.

I do think that you may be correct that now, due in some part, to politics, that we would not be able to amend the constitution to have a straight national vote for president. Although I think a large part of that issue would be the smaller states refusing to give up their advantage.