Electoral College: Discuss!

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Groundfish

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GranTurNismo

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The way I see it, one of the biggest pitfalls of the electoral college is that it causes presidential candidates to hyper-fixate on the same few swing states each election (most notably Ohio) while almost completely abandoning solidly blue and solidly red states, which are most states in this country. This notion that the electoral college encourages candidates to focus on rural parts of the country is simply incorrect. And the irony is, most of the solidly red-leaning states are the states that were originally meant to be protected by the electoral college itself.

Thing is, you can’t have it that way. It’s a well designed setup, it’s just that leftists lost in 2016 so they wanna tear it down, since they are well funded the propoganda goes out to sway public opinion against it.
There’s a huge trend of people falling victim to the woke brainwashing, but just because poor thinking is widespread on the Internet is no reason to eliminate well designed aspects of a govt imo.
Riiight, because Hillary Clinton, a career politician who voted for the Iraq war, was vehemently against Medicare for All, said in a speech to lobbyists that there is a "war on the wealthy in America", will take money from anyone who will give to her, and basically told progressives to fall in line and vote for her is such a leftist, and leftists loved her oh so much. This may sound foreign to you, but she's almost just as authoritarian and right wing as Trump is, and on the political compass is quite far from leftism, let alone where Bernie Sanders is. Again, my problem with the electoral college is that it was a flawed system from the beginning and no longer does what it had intended to do, not simply because it got us Trump.
 
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Shoot, given how people are so easily manipulated by the net and given the leftists willingness to riot and investigate and spend years throwing a tantrum when they lose, it’s a good thing the electoral college is there because there won’t be endless recounts and lawsuits.
With the college you hold election and it’s outcome happens, no matter how many illegals or dead people voted. :)

A lot of people that you accuse of being leftist are...not leftist. Is you argument that the electoral college good because it prevents the majority of Americans from electing who they want to elect?
 

NotThePrez

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A lot of people that you accuse of being leftist are...not leftist. Is you argument that the electoral college good because it prevents the majority of Americans from electing who they want to elect?

At this point the argument is effectively "Anything that challenges the established systems in the United States (even if it's overall for the better) = leftist."
 
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Once again Grade 5 history. Perhaps you should read more about Hamilton & the complex politics of the day. Alexander Hamilton had strong authoritarian & elitist leanings:

"Your people, sir, is a great beast."

"All communities divide themselves into the few and the many. The first are rich and well born; the other, the mass of the people. The voice of the people has been said to be the voice of God; and however generally this maxim has been quoted and believed, it is not true in fact. The people are turbulent and changing; they seldom judge or determine right. Give therefore to the first class a distinct, permanent share in the government. They will check the unsteadiness of the second; and as they cannot receive any advantage by change, they will therefore maintain good government".

Thomas Jefferson:

"I am not among those who fear the people. They, and not the rich, are our dependence for continued freedom."

"I have great confidence in the common sense of mankind in general."

Men... are naturally divided into two parties. Those who fear and distrust the people... Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe... depository of the public interest.

Two different ways of regarding democracy. I guess not much has changed in the subsequent 200 or so years.
 
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UKMikey

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It's like a plutocracy, if Pluto referred to Mickey Mouse's pet dog.

 

Crash

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One of the things I always thought was weird about the Electoral College is the way it effectively silences your presidential vote if you live in a predominantly red state or blue state, but don't agree with the majority of people in your state. Which places much greater emphasis on so-called "swing states." We know there are Republican voters in California. Before COVID happened I could cross the border into Washington state and find right wingers in abundance, despite being a dominantly blue state. We know there are Democrat voters in Tennessee. However, some people seemingly don't care at all that these voters' voices aren't being heard. California has more people than the entire country of Canada and some people expect Californians to all think the same? Sounds silly if you ask me.

Not to mention that this Electoral College system completely prevents additional parties from getting their feet off the ground (at least in the presidential election), since they would have to earn overwhelming approval just to win a state's College votes.
 

Danoff

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One of the things I always thought was weird about the Electoral College is the way it effectively silences your presidential vote if you live in a predominantly red state or blue state, but don't agree with the majority of people in your state. Which places much greater emphasis on so-called "swing states." We know there are Republican voters in California. Before COVID happened I could cross the border into Washington state and find right wingers in abundance, despite being a dominantly blue state. We know there are Democrat voters in Tennessee. However, some people seemingly don't care at all that these voters' voices aren't being heard. California has more people than the entire country of Canada and some people expect Californians to all think the same? Sounds silly if you ask me.

Not to mention that this Electoral College system completely prevents additional parties from getting their feet off the ground (at least in the presidential election), since they would have to earn overwhelming approval just to win a state's College votes.

Yea people love to talk about the EC offering something to small states. It doesn't. Mostly it favors swing states, especially large swing states.*

*When I say favor, I mean focuses campaigning on those states, which is horrible. So when I say "favors" swing states, I mean punishes them.
 

polysmut

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Yea people love to talk about the EC offering something to small states. It doesn't. Mostly it favors swing states, especially large swing states.*

*When I say favor, I mean focuses campaigning on those states, which is horrible. So when I say "favors" swing states, I mean punishes them.
I'd guess the result in a swing state is normally closer to 50/50 between 2 major candidates than you'd see in a safer Democrat or Republican state?
In which case, swing states will disappoint a higher proportion of their voters when they give all their electoral votes to one candidate.
 

Danoff

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I'd guess the result in a swing state is normally closer to 50/50 between 2 major candidates than you'd see in a safer Democrat or Republican state?

Yea.

In which case, swing states will disappoint a higher proportion of their voters when they give all their electoral votes to one candidate.

That's how it's designed. Focus all of the campaigning on a few swing states, disappoint as many of those people as possible.
 
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Isn’t the way that the EC map is drawn out one of the big problems with the EC? I’ve seen a few videos where it said that over the years people have “re drawn” the map in a lot of places in an attempt to change the outcome?
 

MatskiMonk

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Isn’t the way that the EC map is drawn out one of the big problems with the EC? I’ve seen a few videos where it said that over the years people have “re drawn” the map in a lot of places in an attempt to change the outcome?

Redrawing the map to change the overall representation is simply gerrymandering, however it's fair to say that at a local level, it makes sense to move borders as geographical distribution of people evolves. Here in the UK I think we're aiming for a fairly tight window of number of voters per constituency. Sounds logical, but in sub urban and rural areas it does mean that a lot of stuff gets lumped together that maybe shouldn't, I can see how borders end up looking arbitrary just to meet this criteria.
 

UKMikey

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US Republicans have a built-in advantage towards controlling the Senate and through it the SCOTUS if this pollster's analysis of its rural skew is accurate:

https://fivethirtyeight.com/feature...-hard-for-democrats-to-win-the-supreme-court/

Screenshot_20200922-114635_Chrome.jpg


So much for Mitch's "voice of the American people" rhetoric. No wonder he and his party are dead set against any changes to the current system to better represent disenfranchised people in urban areas.
 
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Famine

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Isn’t the way that the EC map is drawn out one of the big problems with the EC? I’ve seen a few videos where it said that over the years people have “re drawn” the map in a lot of places in an attempt to change the outcome?
Gerrymandering - redrawing constituency boundaries in order to win more seats for the votes counted within the larger body - doesn't affect the Electoral College, as it's simple a statewide popular vote.

Ultimately I think that the EC should represent popular vote within each state rather than winner takes all... but the President shouldn't be elected by the people directly, rather the States. The people elect the Legislative branch to represent them, the States elect the Executive branch to represent them, and the Legislative and Executive branches select and confirm any vacancies in the Judicial branch - ideally with all three set against each other except in the goal of defending the Constitution.

While it seems counterintuitive to say the EC should reflect the popular vote but the people shouldn't directly elect the President, there is a way to unite the two concepts, but I think I covered that last year here - basically Proportional Representation in the EC. The downside is it would have elected Hillary (edit actually it wouldn't, because no absolute majority... bit of a win there) but then the downside of reality was it elected Trump, the whole thing was a lose-lose. The bright side is a break in the two-party stranglehold, with 4 EC votes going to third parties. A legitimate third party is what US politics sorely needs...
 
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UKMikey

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It all sounds a bit like the Eurovision Song Contest with regional finalists and a long drawn out deliberation process. :lol:

Short of telling people not to vote for Hillary I don't see how a reformed voting system would do anything but elect the most popular candidate. Perhaps the way they pick the front runner is flawed but I don't know enough about the system they use to do this to suggest methods for improvement.
 

Famine

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It all sounds a bit like the Eurovision Song Contest with regional finalists and a long drawn out deliberation process.
It already is!
Short of telling people not to vote for Hillary I don't see how a reformed voting system would do anything but elect the most popular candidate. Perhaps the way they pick the front runner is flawed but I don't know enough about the system they use to do this to suggest methods for improvement.
The current method is:
* Each state has a popularity contest.
* The winner gets all of that state's Electoral College votes (usually, and by convention only rather than law)
* Bigger states with more people get more EC college votes (California gets 55, small ones you forget exist plus Alaska which has no-one in it get three each)
* The person with the most EC votes wins the Presidency

My method change simply turns each state from FPTP to PR, and it doesn't so much affect who wins but the representation of who doesn't, as well as the concept of "swing states", and how candidates must campaign and spend campaign money.

It would have reversed 2016, to a single EC vote in Hillary's favour, but it also gave four EC votes to candidates who'd otherwise get zero because they cannot win a state... yet. Under the existing system they'd continue to not be able to win a state, but by making them more politically relevant they can change future elections away from the two-party (giant douche vs. turd sandwich) status quo they have now.

I can probably run a few more Presidential elections through it, to see how it would have changed things (1992 would have been fun), but I don't have the time. Still, the GoogleDocs sheet is right there for anyone who wants to try...
 

MatskiMonk

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So, quick question, what's on the ballot paper for elections to select the slate of EC members for each state?
 

ROAD_DOGG33J

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So, quick question, what's on the ballot paper for elections to select the slate of EC members for each state?

On the actual ballot we vote for the president/vice president combo of choice. The EC members are supposed to vote for whoever wins in the state, or however the state has decided to split the votes.

Per my google search, the EC members are nominated by a party.
 

MatskiMonk

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On the actual ballot we vote for the president/vice president combo of choice. The EC members are supposed to vote for whoever wins in the state, or however the state has decided to split the votes.

Per my google search, the EC members are nominated by a party.

So, let's say Trump gets the popular vote in a state, the state then uses the list of Electors provided by the republican party for that state, and they in turn vote for the the republican party presidential candidate?

If that's right, why bother with the EC electors?

Just trying to understand, that's all.

edit: I suppose you need a mechanism for weighting the votes by state, but couldn't they just outright use the same formula for weighting as they do for decided how many electors a state gets?
 

ROAD_DOGG33J

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So, let's say Trump gets the popular vote in a state, the state then uses the list of Electors provided by the republican party for that state, and they in turn vote for the the republican party presidential candidate?

Right

If that's right, why bother with the EC electors?

Just trying to understand, that's all.

edit: I suppose you need a mechanism for weighting the votes by state, but couldn't they just outright use the same formula for weighting as they do for decided how many electors a state gets?

That's the way it was set up. They would play a larger role if none of the candidates received 270+ EC votes.

Per wikipedia
The results are counted by Congress, where they are tabulated in the first week of January before a joint meeting of the Senate and House of Representatives, presided over by the vice president, as president of the Senate.[7][9] Should a majority of votes not be cast for a candidate, the House turns itself into a presidential election session, where one vote is assigned to each of the fifty states. Similarly, the Senate is responsible for electing the vice president, with each senator having one vote.[10] The elected president and vice president are inaugurated on January 20.
 

Grand Prix

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I like the idea of having a nation-wide popular vote for the president. Everyone's vote would matter, even people that live in the rural areas of California and Washington, and people that live in big cities in red states. For a lot of people, it would suddenly mean that their vote isn't worthless anymore. You would see more people voting and taking politics seriously.

The current system just induces apathy in people. Unless they live in a swing state.
 

wfooshee

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Isn’t the way that the EC map is drawn out one of the big problems with the EC? I’ve seen a few videos where it said that over the years people have “re drawn” the map in a lot of places in an attempt to change the outcome?

The EC map is not redrawn for anything. The EC map is the US map, of states. The level of a state's EC representation matches their representation in Congress: two Senators and a number of Representatives apportioned by population. EC representation of the states matches Congressional representation of the states, and the only way to change how many EC votes a state gets is by the Census (every ten years) finding a population change among the states.

Local lines are redrawn all the time, like zones for city councils and school boards, and court districts within states that consist pf parts of several counties. No such lines exist at the federal level, all "zoning" at that level is by the states.

There is actually no Constitutional mandate that the states commit 100% of their EC vote to the winner of that state's popular vote. It is up to the states' legislatures to determine the EC voting policy of the state. All but two states are "winner-take-all." Maine and Nebraska divide their EC votes by Congressional district within the state, the those states can have split EC votes.

Further, there is no Congressional mandate that the Electors are locked into their state's decision. Indeed, in 2016 there were seven "rogue" Electors who cast their votes differently from their state's popular vote.

I don't think I would be averse to an EC reformed along the lines of splitting the states' EC ballots proportionately with the popular vote in that state. I doubt it would do more than make the states as close to 50/50 as is possible, with the swing in small states becoming oven stronger, though. Say Wisconsin is 52% Republican and 48% Democrat. That would probably split their EC at 5 to 5, basically a "no decision." If Montana was the same popular proportion, they would vote in the EC 2-1 Republican. And people already complain that the small states have too much voice in the EC! Changing the states' balloting in the EC is individual states' rights decision, though, and not something that can be mandated by Congress. However, the move by some states after 2016 to ignore their own state results and cast the EC ballots by the national popular vote count has no basis in actually representing that states' voting power.
 

Danoff

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However, the move by some states after 2016 to ignore their own state results and cast the EC ballots by the national popular vote count has no basis in actually representing that states' voting power.

Heh... where does it come from then I wonder? Also, just fyi, the compact predates 2016 by a good margin.