The real problem with the Electoral College.

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,831
Dispargum
#62
Bush lacked standing in 2000 because he wasn't personally injured yet and yet SCOTUS still took his case, though.
Bush argued that recounting votes in a state that had already declared him the winner constituted an injury by deligitimizing his presidency. The majority opinion agreed with Bush - "The counting of votes that are of questionable legality does in my view threaten irreparable harm to petitioner Bush." The minority opinion disagreed, saying "Counting every legally cast vote cannot constitute irreparable harm." This why Bush v Gore is such a controversial decision. People question the majority's definition of an injury.

Bush v. Gore - Wikipedia

At any rate, Bush v Gore was after the election. After an election it's easy to find grounds for claiming an injury. Before an election nothing has happened yet so there can be no injury.
 
Last edited:
Dec 2011
4,640
Iowa USA
#63
I'd guess Ike. Wasn't he from Kansas?
I was guessing that MG had meant to type "seventy years", since so few schools are named for Richard Nixon.

Jack Kennedy. Only time in 100 years the Democrats won the state in a Presidential election lol
Did Goldwater carry KS, or was the comment that from 1860-1956 no Democrat had won? My guess is that TR beat Taft for KS in 1912.
 
Likes: Rodger
Jan 2010
4,374
Atlanta, Georgia USA
#64
It is not necessary to amend the constitution to amend the electoral college. The constitution gives the state legislatures the power to choose the method by which electors are chosen. The states that have it can get rid of the "winner take all" method of apportioning electors to a method that more closely represents the percentage of votes won in that state by the various candidates.
But won’t the states with smaller populations continue to maximize their influence by keeping the “winner take all” method? And why would a large state like, e.g. Florida, agree to dilute its influence by in effect splitting its electors in half?
 
Likes: Rodger
Jun 2019
62
Chicago Suburbs
#65
But won’t the states with smaller populations continue to maximize their influence by keeping the “winner take all” method? And why would a large state like, e.g. Florida, agree to dilute its influence by in effect splitting its electors in half?
Therein lies the rub. My answer was purely theoretical - it does not require an amendment to change the electoral college. It would, however, require a miracle. The red states want to stay red states and the blues states want to stay true blue.
 

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,831
Dispargum
#66
But won’t the states with smaller populations continue to maximize their influence by keeping the “winner take all” method? And why would a large state like, e.g. Florida, agree to dilute its influence by in effect splitting its electors in half?
It's not the winner take all aspect that gives a small state an advantage in the Electoral College. It's the fact that all states get two electoral votes regardless of population. So California has 68 times the population of Wyoming but only has 18 times the number of electoral votes. A Wyoming voter has almost four times as much influence in choosing a president as does a California voter.
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
5,846
US
#67
It's not the winner take all aspect that gives a small state an advantage in the Electoral College. It's the fact that all states get two electoral votes regardless of population. So California has 68 times the population of Wyoming but only has 18 times the number of electoral votes. A Wyoming voter has almost four times as much influence in choosing a president as does a California voter.
Which moderates, to some degree, the overly populous states from making the election all about them. Even then, CA still has 18 times the electing power as WY and other small states like WY, so the large states still have plenty of clout.
 

Cepheus

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,136
#68
Which moderates, to some degree, the overly populous states from making the election all about them. Even then, CA still has 18 times the electing power as WY and other small states like WY, so the large states still have plenty of clout.
It's not the winner take all aspect that gives a small state an advantage in the Electoral College. It's the fact that all states get two electoral votes regardless of population. So California has 68 times the population of Wyoming but only has 18 times the number of electoral votes. A Wyoming voter has almost four times as much influence in choosing a president as does a California voter.
These points are spot on.

Additionally, all of this makes more sense when we consider that originally, there were only 13 states.

In the formation of the union, this attempt at quasi-parity, given the smaller number of states and population numbers at the time, gave the smaller states even more weight. Of course, this was necessary to get the less populous states to sanction the union.

Edited to add: smaller, less populous
 
Last edited:
Jul 2009
9,782
#69
Therein lies the rub. My answer was purely theoretical - it does not require an amendment to change the electoral college. It would, however, require a miracle. The red states want to stay red states and the blues states want to stay true blue.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is conspicuously absent from the list of states that have either adopted the NPVIC or where it is pending. AFAIK it has not even been debated in the General Assembly.

That doesn't surprise me as Pennsylvania has frequently been seen as neither a Red state nor a Blue state. It has often been a "swing state." Both its reputation as a battleground, and its continuing loss of Electoral Votes would seem to indicate that this ageing post-industrial state will not enact something that will dilute its political influence any further than with the the loss of seats in the H.o.R. In 1928, PA had 38 Electoral Votes. It now has 20. As long as someone is fighting for those 20, PA will remain a winner-take-all state.

With 150 years of states having lost more and more of their "reserved" powers, states such as PA are hardly likely to give up more by referendum. If it is ever proposed, it probably would never make it out of committee. The winner of a Presidential election has influence over how Federal funding is parceled out to the states (through the bureaucracy, but that is the conduit). It is good to be seen as backing the winner, especially if he needs those 20 votes in four years.
 
Last edited:
Jun 2019
62
Chicago Suburbs
#70
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is conspicuously absent from the list of states that have either adopted the NPVIC or where it is pending. AFAIK it has not even been debated in the General Assembly.

That doesn't surprise me as Pennsylvania has frequently been seen as neither a Red state nor a Blue state. It has often been a "swing state." Both its reputation as a battleground, and its continuing loss of Electoral Votes would seem to indicate that this ageing post-industrial state will not enact something that will dilute its political influence any further than with the the loss of seats in the H.o.R. In 1928, PA had 38 Electoral Votes. It now has 20. As long as someone is fighting for those 20, PA will remain a winner-take-all state.

With 150 years of states having lost more and more of their "reserved" powers, states such as PA are hardly likely to give up more by referendum. If it is ever proposed, it probably would never make it out of committee. The winner of a Presidential election has influence over how Federal funding is parceled out to the states (through the bureaucracy, but that is the conduit). It is good to be seen as backing the winner, especially if he needs those 20 votes in four years.
I don't believe a straight popular vote would be any better than the current system. You would still have red, blue and battleground states and bigger states (rather than smaller ones) can still sway the election. I believe the system which would be best would be to assign electors based on the percentage of votes each candidate gets in a given state. An example of winner take all's effect is the 2016 election. Subtract 0.6% of the votes from the winner in Florida and the electoral outcome is reversed. The election was so close in Pennsylvania too, where only 0.3% of the voters needed to swap their votes to reverse the outcome. Make those two tiny changes and Hilary is POTUS. In 2016, there were 18 states that received no campaign visits from either candidate and another dozen that had only token visits. Changing the system to percentage vs. winner take all would mean that neither candidate would have a lock on any state's total electoral vote count and they would have to fight for every one. Guess what - you won't be able to win by carrying just a few swing states plus your "safe" states - because the safe states ain't so safe any more.
 

Similar History Discussions