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Politics-American Electoral College

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#21 QueenTiye

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 05:29 AM

See - that would assume that this is a democracy.  It is not.  The United States is a Democratic Republic.  As such - there is no guarantee that the most popular guy will win, only that the populace will be represented in the manner in which the government stipulates as most fair.

We can decide that we want to be a democracy - or MORE democratic than we are - but it involves lots of trade-offs that fundamentally, we as a nation don't think we want.  

For instance - the compromise of having a Senate AND a Congress is to the same issue.  We want the populace to count, but we also don't want the minority to be run over.    We built this into our system.

As I've said, the electoral college is o.k. in my book, but I don't think we need people who must vote as automatons - and if they don't have to vote as automatons - then they subvert my voting rights to a degree I find unacceptable.

Speaking of which, Delvo... you suggested making the Electoral College system STRONGER.  How so?  How would you do it?

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#22 Drew

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 05:39 AM

Cauda, on Jul 30 2003, 01:10 PM, said:

Perhaps a fairer way is to do it like Maine and Nebraska and allocate their votes by congressional district.
Absolutely. I don't appreciate having Milwaukee and Madison override my vote.
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#23 Anna

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 07:06 AM

Cauda, on Jul 30 2003, 12:10 PM, said:

There are various arguments for keeping the electoral college, some of which are good ones, but they all fall before the one big argument for direct popular vote; the guy with the most votes should win.
And I disagree that someone who can get the big cities to vote for them and virtually ignore a large portion of the country deserves to win. The President is supposed to represent the COUNTRY, not just the big cities.

Quote

Perhaps a fairer way is to do it like Maine and Nebraska and allocate their votes by congressional district. At least that way avoids the scenario where, for example, someone could win California by just one vote and get all 55 electors.

Allocation of state electoral votes by congressional district, or county, is something I think we ought to consider. It's at least somewhere to start to change the "all or nothing" electoral system.

Anna
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#24 jon3831

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 07:22 AM

Drew, on Jul 30 2003, 11:29 AM, said:

Absolutely. I don't appreciate having Milwaukee and Madison override my vote.
Agreed. I don't really appreciate San Francisco and Los Angeles overriding my vote.
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#25 Drew

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 07:29 AM

It would also mean that a candidate would be forced to address the issues of an entire state, and not just do a whistle stop in one major metro area.
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#26 Kosh

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 07:49 AM

Cauda, on Jul 30 2003, 02:10 PM, said:

There are various arguments for keeping the electoral college, some of which are good ones, but they all fall before the one big argument for direct popular vote; the guy with the most votes should win. That is far more important than anything else. Admittedly only four times has the popular vote winner not won the election (1824, 1876, 1888, 2000) but that's four too many. Of course this is all academic because there are not enough states willing to approve a change to the constitution. Perhaps a fairer way is to do it like Maine and Nebraska and allocate their votes by congressional district. At least that way avoids the scenario where, for example, someone could win California by just one vote and get all 55 electors.
egad, there was four.

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Within the one and only party--the Republican--sectionalism and factionalism were developing, and each section put up its own candidate for the Presidency. Adams, the candidate of the North, fell behind Gen. Andrew Jackson in both popular and electoral votes, but received more than William H. Crawford and Henry Clay. Since no candidate had a majority of electoral votes, the election was decided among the top three by the House of Representatives. Clay, who favored a program similar to that of Adams, threw his crucial support in the House to the New Englander.

Upon becoming President, Adams appointed Clay as Secretary of State. Jackson and his angry followers charged that a "corrupt bargain" had taken place and immediately began their campaign to wrest the Presidency from Adams in 1828.



Quote

Safe liberalism, party loyalty, and a good war record made Hayes an acceptable Republican candidate in 1876. He opposed Governor Samuel J. Tilden of New York.

Although a galaxy of famous Republican speakers, and even Mark Twain, stumped for Hayes, he expected the Democrats to win. When the first returns seemed to confirm this, Hayes went to bed, believing he had lost. But in New York, Republican National Chairman Zachariah Chandler, aware of a loophole, wired leaders to stand firm: "Hayes has 185 votes and is elected." The popular vote apparently was 4,300,000 for Tilden to 4,036,000 for Hayes. Hayes's election depended upon contested electoral votes in Louisiana, South Carolina, and Florida. If all the disputed electoral votes went to Hayes, he would win; a single one would elect Tilden.

Months of uncertainty followed. In January 1877 Congress established an Electoral Commission to decide the dispute. The commission, made up of eight Republicans and seven Democrats, determined all the contests in favor of Hayes by eight to seven. The final electoral vote: 185 to 184.

Northern Republicans had been promising southern Democrats at least one Cabinet post, Federal patronage, subsidies for internal improvements, and withdrawal of troops from Louisiana and South Carolina.

Hayes insisted that his appointments must be made on merit, not political considerations. For his Cabinet he chose men of high caliber, but outraged many Republicans because one member was an ex-Confederate and another had bolted the party as a Liberal Republican in 1872.

Hayes pledged protection of the rights of Negroes in the South, but at the same time advocated the restoration of "wise, honest, and peaceful local self-government." This meant the withdrawal of troops. Hayes hoped such conciliatory policies would lead to the building of a "new Republican party" in the South, to which white businessmen and conservatives would rally.

Many of the leaders of the new South did indeed favor Republican economic policies and approved of Hayes's financial conservatism, but they faced annihilation at the polls if they were to join the party of Reconstruction. Hayes and his Republican successors were persistent in their efforts but could not win over the "solid South."

Hayes had announced in advance that he would serve only one term, and retired to Spiegel Grove, his home in Fremont, Ohio, in 1881. He died in 1893.


Uh Huh, Florida has been through this before.


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The Democrats defeated him for Governor of Indiana in 1876 by unfairly stigmatizing him as "Kid Gloves" Harrison. In the 1880's he served in the United States Senate, where he championed Indians. homesteaders, and Civil War veterans.

In the Presidential election, Harrison received 100,000 fewer popular votes than Cleveland, but carried the Electoral College 233 to 168. Although Harrison had made no political bargains, his supporters had given innumerable pledges upon his behalf.

When Boss Matt Quay of Pennsylvania heard that Harrison ascribed his narrow victory to Providence, Quay exclaimed that Harrison would never know "how close a number of men were compelled to approach... the penitentiary to make him President."

I sometimes forget that the republicans started out more as liberals then the democrats.

That was the first three, we were all here for the last one. I didn't know about the first two. Doesn't change anything. Keep it.
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#27 QuiGon John

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 07:49 AM

I could get behind the congressional-district idea, too.  The thing about this issue is, while people in smaller states see their votes as invalidated by the popular votes, people in larger states see them as invalidated by the electoral college.

At least breaking it down would address the concerns of both sides, to an extent.

Edited by John Burke, 31 July 2003 - 07:50 AM.


#28 Rov Judicata

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 07:55 AM

I really like the congressional idea.

It would also have the added benefit of making the problems of a recount *narrower*, should such an issue occur. Which it will. ;).
St. Louis must be destroyed!

Me: "I have a job and five credit cards and am looking into signing a two year lease.  THAT MAKES ME OLD."
Josh: "I don't have a job, I have ONE credit card, I'm stuck in a lease and I'm 28! My mom's basement IS ONE BAD DECISION AWAY!"
~~ Josh, winning the argument.

"Congress . . . shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis[.]" ~1 U.S.C. 1, selectively quoted for accuracy.

#29 Delvo

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 08:31 AM

Dividing it up only at the level of the local congressional districts would be the same as a popular vote: all the power would end up back in the densest population centers.

And making it a simple matter of numbers of votes is BAD. Just look at how monolithic the cities are in their voting. Just look at a certain race consistently giving more than 90% of their votes to the same party no matter who's pushing for what. Just look at people who vote according to what their preachers say. Most people don't put any thought into their votes; they're mindless sheep, given power to express the will of whoever else they're just going along with. And that's at the very best, when they're not being seriously sinister and voting as a form of ganging up on some other group to harm them.

The supposed sanctity of the principle of each vote having equal weight is not something over which to eliminate the minority's protection from the majority's indifference, blindness, stupidity, or malice.

Edited by Delvo, 31 July 2003 - 09:06 AM.


#30 Cauda

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 08:35 AM

OK Delvo, so putting you on the spot now  ;)  What's your solution?
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#31 Anna

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 08:42 AM

Delvo, on Jul 30 2003, 03:21 PM, said:

Just look at how monolithic the cities are in their voting. Just look at a certain race consistently giving more than 90% of their votes to the same party no matter who's pushing for what. Just look at people who vote according to what their preachers say. Most people don't put any thought into their votes; they're mindless sheep, given power to express the will of whoever else they're just going along with. And that's at the very best, when they're not being seriously sinister and voting as a form of ganging up on some other group to harm them.
Well, that's just about the most depressing thing I've read in a long time. If that's truly the case, then the case can be made that we don't deserve a vote at all. That we need a benevolent (sp?) dictator to keep us safe from ourselves...

I'm cynical, but not THAT cynical yet. :D I think there are other ways out there to get us closer to our goal of, maybe not equal, but equality of representation.

Anna
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Amendment X: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

#32 Drew

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 08:42 AM

Delvo, on Jul 30 2003, 04:21 PM, said:

Dividing it up only at the level of the local congressional districts would be the same as a popular vote: all the power would end up back in the densest population centers.
How you figger? Congressional districts are set up to be essentially equal in population.
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#33 Rov Judicata

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 08:52 AM

Delvo, on Jul 30 2003, 02:21 PM, said:

Edit... oh, crud.  Hang on.  Tried to reply to Delvo's post, edited it instead.  Major boo-boo.  Attempting to fix...  :crazy:
Oops.

It happens. I've proposed an 'edit history' to the people who make our software, but they didn't seem amenable.

To summarize Delvo's post as best as I can recall:

Making the electoral vote dependent on the congressional district would basically return power to the bigger cities. The minority has a right to be protected from the majority.

I'm not really doing it justice. Sorry for any inconvenience Delvo. :(.
St. Louis must be destroyed!

Me: "I have a job and five credit cards and am looking into signing a two year lease.  THAT MAKES ME OLD."
Josh: "I don't have a job, I have ONE credit card, I'm stuck in a lease and I'm 28! My mom's basement IS ONE BAD DECISION AWAY!"
~~ Josh, winning the argument.

"Congress . . . shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis[.]" ~1 U.S.C. 1, selectively quoted for accuracy.

#34 Anna

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 08:57 AM

Rov and Delvo-

Drew quoted one part of Delvo's post and I quoted most of the rest. It's there with our two posts...

Edit: I just realized that should be Rov and JOHN. Looked again and John accidently edited Delvo's post. I'm glad I don't have modly edit powers. Lord only knows how many posts I would have hosed! :D

Anna

Edited by RPITA, 31 July 2003 - 09:01 AM.

Seldom do we regret words we do not speak.

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Amendment X: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

#35 Rov Judicata

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 09:00 AM

RPITA-- I reconstructed what I could.

Again, sorry for the SNAFU. :(.
St. Louis must be destroyed!

Me: "I have a job and five credit cards and am looking into signing a two year lease.  THAT MAKES ME OLD."
Josh: "I don't have a job, I have ONE credit card, I'm stuck in a lease and I'm 28! My mom's basement IS ONE BAD DECISION AWAY!"
~~ Josh, winning the argument.

"Congress . . . shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis[.]" ~1 U.S.C. 1, selectively quoted for accuracy.

#36 Delvo

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 09:03 AM

I'll put it back together and edit.

Why in the world does it work that way?! That's bizarrely stupid. I mean, I know the moderators have to have The Power, but why in the world have that power excercizable through the same button that the original poster would use? It should be an entirely separate function!

#37 Delvo

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 09:04 AM

Drew, on Jul 30 2003, 03:32 PM, said:

How you figger? Congressional districts are set up to be essentially equal in population.
Ya, which means that the big cities will have a zillion of them, each with its own voting power.

#38 Bad Wolf

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 09:05 AM

In principle I am with Rhea.

As a practical matter it's pretty hard to argue against the following, said by Drew:

Quote

On one hand, land doesn't vote, people do. If we believe in majority vote, we have to accept that the majority lives in urban centers.
On the other hand, the issues and concerns of rural American are not the same issues and concerns of urban American. And there is a helluva lot more "rural" than "urban." Therefore, the Electoral College allows a sort of "regional" vote to provide for this distinction.

I think that it is probably necessary in some form.  Like QT, I would like it if the electoral college were REQUIRED to vote according to the will of the populace they purport to represent.

Lil
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#39 Bad Wolf

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 09:08 AM

Some other thoughts.

Why, if 51% of Californians vote democrat, do 100% of the electoral votes go democrat?

California is very often closely split on these things and a good many of us never get our way.

Why shouldn't the electoral votes be divied up in proportion to how the population voted?

Lil
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#40 Rov Judicata

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 09:08 AM

Delvo, on Jul 30 2003, 02:53 PM, said:

I'll put it back together and edit.

Why in the world does it work that way?! That's bizarrely stupid. I mean, I know the moderators have to have The Power, but why in the world have that power excercizable through the same button that the original poster would use? It should be an entirely separate function!
Actually, the 'quote' and 'edit' buttons are simply right next to each other.

Further, the edit and reply screens look a lot like each other. I'm going to look into options to prevent something similar from happening...:)
St. Louis must be destroyed!

Me: "I have a job and five credit cards and am looking into signing a two year lease.  THAT MAKES ME OLD."
Josh: "I don't have a job, I have ONE credit card, I'm stuck in a lease and I'm 28! My mom's basement IS ONE BAD DECISION AWAY!"
~~ Josh, winning the argument.

"Congress . . . shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis[.]" ~1 U.S.C. 1, selectively quoted for accuracy.



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