In defense of the electoral college

Discussion in 'Election Forums' started by Quantum Windbag, Nov 14, 2012.

  1. Quantum Windbag
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    Quantum Windbag Gold Member

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    I don't agree with all of this column, but I thought it would be a good place to start outlining the benefits of the electoral college for everyone that has the knee jerk reaction to it being old.

    Defending the Electoral College. - Slate Magazine
     
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  2. TheOldSchool
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    TheOldSchool Diamond Member

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    The electoral college is not representative.

    Electoral college:

    332+206 = 538
    332/538 = 61.7%

    Popular Vote:

    Obama: 62,610,717
    Romney: 59,136,717

    62,610,717 + 59,136,717 = 121,747,434

    62,610,717/121,747,434 = 51.4%

    According to the electoral college over 61% of Americans voted for Obama, whereas in reality 51% did.

    Also, it's interesting that both popular vote totals ended in "717"
     
  3. Dick Tuck
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    The strongest reason I think direct democracy is the better idea is it would force candidates to run national campaigns. Too many states are written off by or taken for granted by candidates, and all the focus is on the so-called swing states.

    Then there's the issue of the one person one vote. What is the logic of having a citizen of Wyoming yielding so much more power than a citizen of California. The state representation argument is bullshit. Every state still gets two senators.
     
  4. Quantum Windbag
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    Quantum Windbag Gold Member

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    Tow replies, neither of which actually read the column I linked to. Why am I not surprised?
     
  5. Polk
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    Polk Classic

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    As much as I like Judge Posner in general, I strongly disagree with him on this issue.

    - The certainty factor isn't significant, and in fact may be worse, since it's far more likely the larger set of swing states to be close than the nation as a whole.
    - The idea that the EC creates a regional spread of support is similar to the popular idea that a popular vote would mean candidates would put together some sort of coalition of the largest states (which, actually, is easier under our current system).
    - There is no reason to think voters in swing states are somehow better informed than the rest of the electorate. If anything, the research suggest "swing" voters don't have strong views because they're ill-informed.
    - The argument about big states is moronic. Yes, large states having more electoral votes does give those states more power than do in the Senate, but it still gives a larger advantage to those in small states.
    - Most other elections in the nation don't have run-off provisions.


    Also, just because the other posters don't agree with you doesn't mean they didn't read the article.
     
  6. Quantum Windbag
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    Quantum Windbag Gold Member

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    • Yet, in the entire history of US presidential elections, only one went to court.
    • Yet you provide no evidence that this happens.
    • This is the one thing he flat out got wrong.
    • How does it do that?
    • Assertions without evidence are useless.
     
  7. Polk
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    2000 is the only challenged election in American history. There have been legal challenges to the presidential election results in many different years. 1876 is best example, and makes 2000 look calm by comparison.

    I didn't provide evidence that it happens because it doesn't happen in real life. However, it is far easier under our current system, as getting 50%+1 votes in the largest states required to reach 270 is certainly easier than reaching 100% of the vote in those states.

    Glad you agreed on point three. While I realize swing voters and swing states are not the same, I'd certainly be willing to bet your political knowledge or mine over that of a swing voter.

    Voters in small states get an advantage because they, in effect, get to cast bonus votes. Even if you assumed all House districts are the same size (which isn't true, Delaware has almost twice the population of Wyoming), the electors based on Senate seats make small states more power. If you calculate the average number of citizens per elector, then run those same numbers at the state level, you'd see the electors from smaller states are often twice as valuable as the national average.

    I didn't provide detailed numbers, but most states don't have runoffs (see: Runoff Elections - Who Has Them, Who Doesn't)
    [/LIST]
     
  8. Quantum Windbag
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    Quantum Windbag Gold Member

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    • The 1876 election was not contested in the courts. that was my claim, and I still stand by it.
    • You admit it is complete conjecture, and then insist the current system makes it easier, still without providing evidence.
    • I have to agree. If the voters in swing states were better informed Obama would have lost.
    • Hate to burst your bubble, but the voters in a state are not the state. The advantage voters in small states gains is nullified by there being more voters in large states.
    • My bad, I misread your post. If we had a popular national vote we would need to deal with the possibility of no single candidate getting a clear majority of the vote on a national level. What happens if three candidates each get 33% of the vote with the rest of the vote split among 5 other candidates?
     
  9. auditor0007
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    I have always been a supporter of the EC and agree with most of the reasoning stated. First of all, a very close race could be a disaster when it came to recounts. That is just from a logical standpoint. The second is that I don't like the idea of a big state like California voting 90% for one candidate and tilting an election where the vast majority of the remaining states actually voted for the opponent. While that scenario is not likely to happen, I prefer avoiding any chance of it ever happening.

    The biggest reason I do not want to see us move to using the popular vote is that it would create a situation where we would have multiple candidates running in the general election. We have this now, but for all intent, it comes down to the two major parties, and as much as I understand people wanting third and fourth parties, I don't think it would be a very good thing for the country. Almost certainly, if we went to a popular vote, there would need to be a requirement that the victor receive 50% of the vote or it would go to a runoff. Do we really want that? Secondly, can you imagine a runoff when there were four or five candidates who all received about the same number of votes. The political gaming that would be involved in trying to get votes in a runoff would be a mess. Sure it would be up to the people to vote, but those votes would be swayed a great deal by who their candidate swung his/her support to, if they were not one of the top two candidates. The political promises made for support from Candidate C or D could lead to all kinds of issues down the road.

    I like our system. For the most part, we know who won the election by the next morning.
     
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  10. jwoodie
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    jwoodie Gold Member Supporting Member

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    Proportional allocation of electoral votes WITHIN states may be an overdue improvement, but going to a national popular vote would invite massive vote fraud in our biggest cities.
     
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