Is the Electoral College outdated?

User avatar
John Q. Public
Site Admin
Posts: 13989
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2006 5:56 am

Is the Electoral College outdated?

Postby John Q. Public » Fri Feb 17, 2017 11:00 am

Rather than diverting every thread with it, how 'bout we try to keep the discussion in one place?

The electoral college, as conceived, served a number of purposes. One was to give less dense states a more equal voice in electing the president. Another was to balance power between religions and political philosophies, which were very regional at the time - still are, to a great extent. And another, less talked about purpose was to "filter" the votes of the uneducated, low-information, mainly backwoods voters by giving the ultimate power to state legislatures or their appointees.

But times, processes and demographics have changed. Electors generally go along with their state's and districts' popular votes and we're more educated than we were in the 18th Century, except the uneducated regions then are still lagging now, African-Americans are allowed to vote, and even the less-educated regions have access to the internet. And demographic concentrations have changed. Blacks, Hispanics, Asians and young people are now more concentrated in more populous regions and states and in regions with more of a "Yankee" influence (the north and central east coast, the northern rust belt and the west coast). Comparative, regional education levels have stayed fairly constant, but they've also become larger and more concentrated in urban areas and along the coasts.

Hillary lost because she didn't play the game that needed to be played, but is it time to change the rules? The arguments for repealing the electoral college are the same as the ones that could be made for saying that we need it now more than ever. I'm inclined to say that we should keep it, but Democrats need to study the Republican strategy over the last 20 years if they expect to be competitive in the areas they've given away.


Don't look at me, I just work here.

User avatar
Professor Fate
Posts: 942
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2016 5:11 pm

Re: Is the Electoral College outdated?

Postby Professor Fate » Fri Feb 17, 2017 12:39 pm

We need to keep it or California will rule the nation. :shock:

The Electoral College is fair to all. It already incorporates the compromise between the larger, more populous states and the smaller, less populous states, that gave rise to our bicameral legislative branch. The number of US Senators (equal representation for all states) + the number of US Congressmen (proportionate representation) = 538 Electoral College votes.

User avatar
ShiftyMutt
Posts: 1452
Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2007 3:46 pm

Re: Is the Electoral College outdated?

Postby ShiftyMutt » Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:11 pm

As much I think we should have an EC I think the way it is now it's outdated and the effect seems to have reversed. Where the less populated states seem to have a bigger say over states with 20 to 50 times more people. I'm not sure geography should matter. I would vote the same no matter what state I lived in. What needs to change is gerrymandering.

Also, California could use another senator or two.

MDDad
Posts: 9601
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2008 1:24 pm

Re: Is the Electoral College outdated?

Postby MDDad » Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:42 pm

While the elimination of the Electoral College seems to be a fairly simple remedy, it carries implications that run much deeper. This nation was never intended to be a direct democracy. Instead, it was the intent of the Founding Fathers to create a union of equal states. The U.S. Senate is the ultimate reflection of that intent. Furthermore, the bulk of political power was to reside in the states and the federal congress, not in the president, his appointees, or the judiciary. If we really want a popular direct democracy, we can begin by throwing out the Constitution and writing a new one, because the ideas and principles that formed the pillars of this nation will be entirely different. And we might also consider changing the name of the country to something other than the United States of America.

On a side note, it’s always confused me as to why those who advocate for eliminating the Electoral College don’t even more vehemently call for the elimination of the U.S. Senate, since that body is an even more egregious violation of the “one man, one vote” principle.

ShiftyMutt wrote:Where the less populated states seem to have a bigger say over states with 20 to 50 times more people.

While it may seem so because your candidate lost the last election, it’s absolutely not true.

Also, California could use another senator or two.

With all due respect, politically that’s both a naïve and selfish idea.

User avatar
ShiftyMutt
Posts: 1452
Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2007 3:46 pm

Re: Is the Electoral College outdated?

Postby ShiftyMutt » Fri Feb 17, 2017 2:01 pm

When 5 million people have a bigger say in what happens over 40 million it's a problem.

It's not selfish when California voters are underrepresented.

User avatar
John Q. Public
Site Admin
Posts: 13989
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2006 5:56 am

Re: Is the Electoral College outdated?

Postby John Q. Public » Fri Feb 17, 2017 2:40 pm

But MDDad is right that we're the United States of America and not just America. There's a reason for that.
Don't look at me, I just work here.

MDDad
Posts: 9601
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2008 1:24 pm

Re: Is the Electoral College outdated?

Postby MDDad » Fri Feb 17, 2017 3:47 pm

ShiftyMutt wrote:When 5 million people have a bigger say in what happens over 40 million it's a problem.

California does indeed have almost 40 million people, but only about 14 million of them voted. The others either weren't old enough, weren't citizens, weren't registered, or just plain didn't bother. Please tell me which 5 million voters have a "bigger say" than California with its 55 electoral votes.

It's not selfish when California voters are underrepresented.

California is not underrepresented. It has 55 electoral votes, or 17 more than any other state. I'm not sure what you're complaining about, other than that you're still emotionally upset over the election results.

User avatar
Fordama
Posts: 16475
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2006 3:12 pm

Re: Is the Electoral College outdated?

Postby Fordama » Fri Feb 17, 2017 5:16 pm

Seeing how it doesn't really perform most of its original intentions--to protect slave states and to make sure that if the American voters select someone unfit for the job, a select group of expert electors would over rule the masses--we might as well do away with it.

Plus, the entire "winner takes all" allotment of voting is idiotic. It was not put into place by the same people who created the EC.

Fordama
This country of the United States was not built by those who waited and rested and wished to look behind them.---JFK

MDDad
Posts: 9601
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2008 1:24 pm

Re: Is the Electoral College outdated?

Postby MDDad » Fri Feb 17, 2017 5:30 pm

It still performs one of its critical original intentions -- to allocate the smaller states a slightly disproportionate number of electors to avoid their getting swamped by the passions of the larger ones.

And I'll say again, why do those who want to do away with it based on one man-one vote principles not want to eliminate the Senate even more? Is it merely because the Senate didn't screw Al Gore and Hillary Clinton out of the presidency?

User avatar
ShiftyMutt
Posts: 1452
Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2007 3:46 pm

Re: Is the Electoral College outdated?

Postby ShiftyMutt » Fri Feb 17, 2017 5:33 pm

California is not underrepresented.

It's under represented when for 40 million people there is still only two senators. Since California represents a 'truer' picture of diversity in America, we're underrepresented.

MDDad
Posts: 9601
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2008 1:24 pm

Re: Is the Electoral College outdated?

Postby MDDad » Fri Feb 17, 2017 5:36 pm

That's why there's a House of Representatives and an Electoral College, my dear.

User avatar
John Q. Public
Site Admin
Posts: 13989
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2006 5:56 am

Re: Is the Electoral College outdated?

Postby John Q. Public » Fri Feb 17, 2017 6:10 pm

Fordama wrote:...to make sure that if the American voters select someone unfit for the job, a select group of expert electors would over rule the masses....

That's the one place where it could be argued that it let us down this time. The elites at the time were fearful of the kind of hucksters that could sell themselves to the uneducated lower classes, so they created a way that their votes could be overruled. It's also an example of how the EC could be called outdated, since there would be rioting in the streets if they actually did that.

And again, the electoral college wasn't about suppressing the slave states. They were sparsely populated at the time and if anything, it gave them more power, especially considering that their state legislatures controlled their ballots and their voting and their Congressmen were their EC members. I think South Carolina was like that well into the 20th century.
Don't look at me, I just work here.

User avatar
John Q. Public
Site Admin
Posts: 13989
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2006 5:56 am

Re: Is the Electoral College outdated?

Postby John Q. Public » Fri Feb 17, 2017 6:18 pm

If you want to talk about under-representation, let's talk Asians. Except for a couple districts here and there, they have almost no power at the national level. My area is probably 60% Asian these days, but their power is overruled by a just barely larger White population in northern OC.
Don't look at me, I just work here.

User avatar
Wabash
Posts: 20029
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:29 am

Re: Is the Electoral College outdated?

Postby Wabash » Fri Feb 17, 2017 6:53 pm

The Electoral College is a vehicle that allows for the tyranny of the minority. It makes the assumption that votes in high density urban areas should not count as much as those in low density rural areas? Why?

The Electoral College, which is written into the Constitution, is more than just a vestige of the founding era; it is a living symbol of America’s original sin. When slavery was the law of the land, a direct popular vote would have disadvantaged the Southern states, with their large disenfranchised populations. Counting those men and women as three-fifths of a white person, as the Constitution originally did, gave the slave states more electoral votes.

Conservative opponents of a direct vote say it would give an unfair edge to large, heavily Democratic cities and states. But why should the votes of Americans in California or New York count for less than those in Idaho or Texas? A direct popular vote would treat all Americans equally, no matter where they live including, by the way, Republicans in San Francisco and Democrats in Corpus Christi, whose votes are currently worthless.

Keep in mind the scenario of the popular vote losing cuts both ways. As recently as 2004, had Kerry received about 40,000 more votes in Ohio, he would have won. While losing the popular vote to Bush.
I'm not saying you're stupid. I'm saying you have bad luck when it comes to thinking.

They warned us if more Americans voted for Hillary Clinton we'd get historic corruption in Washington. They were right.

User avatar
ShiftyMutt
Posts: 1452
Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2007 3:46 pm

Re: Is the Electoral College outdated?

Postby ShiftyMutt » Fri Feb 17, 2017 6:58 pm

I'm not sure what you're complaining about, other than that you're still emotionally upset over the election results.

Since 3 million more people voted as I did, plus a growing number of people are similarly upset at the results, perhaps it needs a second look, no? Are you ok with the results?

JQ, how are Asians really underrepresented?

User avatar
John Q. Public
Site Admin
Posts: 13989
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2006 5:56 am

Re: Is the Electoral College outdated?

Postby John Q. Public » Fri Feb 17, 2017 8:37 pm

Wabash wrote:The Electoral College is a vehicle that allows for the tyranny of the minority. It makes the assumption that votes in high density urban areas should not count as much as those in low density rural areas? Why?

Because we're a union of independent states, not a country broken up into manageable units. We're more like the EU than we are like Germany or France. "Country" could even be considered a misnomer, according to how we were chartered. The electoral college fits that model better than one man - one vote does.

Conservative opponents of a direct vote say

Oh. And if it's at all conceivable for you to think any other terms it isn't a Republican/Democrat issue as much as it's a people who read the material vs. people who didn't issue.
Don't look at me, I just work here.

User avatar
John Q. Public
Site Admin
Posts: 13989
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2006 5:56 am

Re: Is the Electoral College outdated?

Postby John Q. Public » Fri Feb 17, 2017 9:29 pm

ShiftyMutt wrote:JQ, how are Asians really underrepresented?

I guess you could include Jews too, but I was just thinking of how Asians don't have a whole lot of voting power as a group, compared to Whites, Blacks or Hispanics, even though the more recent immigrants tend to live in large clusters. The Vietnamese community in OC is represented at the local and state levels but not at the national level. Same with the Chinese community in the San Gabriel Valley. Big chunks of the SGV are as synonymous with "Asian" as Garden Grove is with Vietnamese, but their government representatives are mainly white and Hispanic, except at the city level. They're the country's fastest-growing minority but as a group, they don't have a very strong voice.
Don't look at me, I just work here.

User avatar
Omar Bongo
Posts: 3820
Joined: Mon Sep 06, 2010 11:59 pm

Re: Is the Electoral College outdated?

Postby Omar Bongo » Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:47 pm

MDDad wrote:It still performs one of its critical original intentions -- to allocate the smaller states a slightly disproportionate number of electors to avoid their getting swamped by the passions of the larger ones.

So instead, we now have the opposite happening, which is even worse

And I'll say again, why do those who want to do away with it based on one man-one vote principles not want to eliminate the Senate even more?

Irrelevent, the rules of our bicameral legislature is a completely different subject. We're talking about the utter illlogic of an election system that incredibly allows the person who gets fewer votes to win. That's the issue...not the number of Senators per state, not what the FFs were thinking or why the system came to be 200 years ago. No democracy can thrive if the will of the majority is subjugated to that of the minority
I don't stand by anything
Donald Trump

How stupid is our country?
Donald Trump

User avatar
Professor Fate
Posts: 942
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2016 5:11 pm

Re: Is the Electoral College outdated?

Postby Professor Fate » Fri Feb 17, 2017 11:19 pm

Omar Bongo wrote:Unread postby Omar Bongo » Fri Feb 17, 2017 11:47 pm

...No democracy can thrive if the will of the majority is subjugated to that of the minority


That's one of the funniest things I've heard you say yet! The Democratic Party prides itself in being a conglomeration of minorities, and whenever there is a conflict with the majority on any issue, they side with the rights of the minority over the rights of the majority.

Gays over straights, Atheists over Christians, Moose-Lambs :mrgreen: over Christians, black over white, immigrants over citizens, etc., ad infinitum.

MDDad
Posts: 9601
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2008 1:24 pm

Re: Is the Electoral College outdated?

Postby MDDad » Fri Feb 17, 2017 11:33 pm

Omar Bongo wrote:No democracy can thrive if the will of the majority is subjugated to that of the minority.

Majority. There's that word again. I know you're much too smart to use it mistakenly, so I assume your intent is to mislead. First, no candidate received a majority of the vote. One just received a larger minority than the others. And second, in a nation of 324 million people, when only 137 million vote, it's a little presumptive to claim to know exactly what the "will of the majority" really is.

Return to “National”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], Linkdex [Bot] and 2 guests