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The Electoral College

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BigLutz

Banned
Why does it matter if the candidates go only to the population centers? It seems like we are undervaluing a city person's vote.
I really think the problems stems to the foundation of this country. Placing the power of the vote in the cities basically turns the cities into the ruling elite. 10% of the nation determining the fate of the entire country. Cities do get a huge part of the vote also, I mean if you look at California and New York, the state is pretty much a red state, but the major cities caries the state. That of course is evened out by many of the other states who have less population but enough electoral votes to keep the 5 or so states from being the elite that determine the fate of the nation.
 

The_Panda

恭喜發財
I really think the problems stems to the foundation of this country. Placing the power of the vote in the cities basically turns the cities into the ruling elite. 10% of the nation determining the fate of the entire country. Cities do get a huge part of the vote also, I mean if you look at California and New York, the state is pretty much a red state, but the major cities caries the state. That of course is evened out by many of the other states who have less population but enough electoral votes to keep the 5 or so states from being the elite that determine the fate of the nation.
If I wanted to take that logic further, already even less than 10% of the population are the ruling elite. Who are these? The Swinging voters. The vast majority of voters always stick to one party - for example, while you may deny it Manaphyman will almost always vote democrat, and you BigLutz will almost always vote Republican. However there are some people who only make up their mind at the last minute, and swing from election to election. Seeing how small swings in elections are ("landslides" are elections with over a 5% swing generally, and they are uncommon), one could easily and justifiably say that these swinging voters, less than 5% of the population determine the fate of a normal (non-landslide) election. Wouldn't it be this group that is a ruling elite? Or another example. With this ridiculous caucus system, wouldn't it be places like Iowa and New Hampshire that become the "ruling elite"?
 

Cipher

Nothing to be done
If I wanted to take that logic further, already even less than 10% of the population are the ruling elite. Who are these? The Swinging voters. The vast majority of voters always stick to one party - for example, while you may deny it Manaphyman will almost always vote democrat, and you BigLutz will almost always vote Republican. However there are some people who only make up their mind at the last minute, and swing from election to election. Seeing how small swings in elections are ("landslides" are elections with over a 5% swing generally, and they are uncommon), one could easily and justifiably say that these swinging voters, less than 5% of the population determine the fate of a normal (non-landslide) election. Wouldn't it be this group that is a ruling elite? Or another example. With this ridiculous caucus system, wouldn't it be places like Iowa and New Hampshire that become the "ruling elite"?
Completely irrelevant. Under the Electoral College system, "Swing States" do become major campaign targets, however, due to their limited number of votes, their sway in the overall campaign is still limited.

Under a direct popular vote, however, campaigns would focus entirely on the most heavily populated areas, because winning these would ensure victory regardless of remaining swing voters.

Both systems grant more power to a certain region/voting block. The difference is how much the power is skewed. Under Electoral College, Minnesota recieves more attention than it otherwise would, but not enough to steal the campaign away from other states. Under a direct popular vote, every single campaign would pander almost entirely to California and New York.

Why does it matter if the candidates go only to the population centers?
Because they will then tailor their political platforms to fit the region with the highest voting population. You'd see alot of special interest politics, with desicions being made to appease population centers at the price of other states. It doesn't just skew the campaign trail, it skews political power.

The Electoral College keeps political focus balanced, and usually represents the popular vote anyway. Sure, once in a century you'll have a Bush/Gore scenario, but it's by far the more desirable system.
 

SkinnySweatyMan

Well-Known Member
If I wanted to take that logic further, already even less than 10% of the population are the ruling elite. Who are these? The Swinging voters. The vast majority of voters always stick to one party - for example, while you may deny it Manaphyman will almost always vote democrat, and you BigLutz will almost always vote Republican. However there are some people who only make up their mind at the last minute, and swing from election to election. Seeing how small swings in elections are ("landslides" are elections with over a 5% swing generally, and they are uncommon), one could easily and justifiably say that these swinging voters, less than 5% of the population determine the fate of a normal (non-landslide) election. Wouldn't it be this group that is a ruling elite? Or another example. With this ridiculous caucus system, wouldn't it be places like Iowa and New Hampshire that become the "ruling elite"?
Exactly. I was afraid that almost no one was going to talk about straight ticket voters. Almost everyone I know votes for their respective party regardless. Why would a Republican go to California to try to convince the entire state to vote for him or her? That's simply not going to happen. I can see the Republican going to the conservative and moderate parts of CA, but not the liberal parts.

I also agree with the caucus statement, especially for Democrats. In my precinct (for the second round), Obama got about 45% of the voters, Clinton got about 35% of the voters and Edwards got about 20% of the voters. Obama and Clinton both got two delegates and Edwards got one. How on Earth does that make sense? And for the people who caucused for Kucinich (no one did for Gravel), he did not get any recognition whatsoever, we had to put "uncommited" for the second round on our ballot.
 

The_Panda

恭喜發財
Completely irrelevant. Under the Electoral College system, "Swing States" do become major campaign targets, however, due to their limited number of votes, their sway in the overall campaign is still limited.
I mentioned that in general. I never said it was a reason to get rid of the electoral college system.

Because they will then tailor their political platforms to fit the region with the highest voting population. You'd see alot of special interest politics, with desicions being made to appease population centers at the price of other states. It doesn't just skew the campaign trail, it skews political power.
Actually in general the way parties win elections is by marketing themselves as a government for all people. In theory you may think that parties pay most attention to particular areas, but in reality that's not always the case. In countries, such as where I live Australia, the voting system is population based; and while a government could easily ride in to power on gains in NSW and Victoria alone, given the nature of people's opinions and democracy it is far better in any situation for parties to pay attention to other areas, especially those with more key situations; for example in the most recent Australian election the state of Tasmania, which by population is the smallest non-territory, received very large amounts of attention due to being at the centre of number of environmental issues.

And anyway, in every election a party is going to play special interest politics, where they try win the votes primarily of one group. For example President Bush and his tax cuts for the rich.
 

Manaphyman

Up all night
Under a direct popular vote, however, campaigns would focus entirely on the most heavily populated areas, because winning these would ensure victory regardless of remaining swing voters.
Someone finally undestands.

Actually in general the way parties win elections is by marketing themselves as a government for all people. In theory you may think that parties pay most attention to particular areas, but in reality that's not always the case. In countries, such as where I live Australia, the voting system is population based; and while a government could easily ride in to power on gains in NSW and Victoria alone, given the nature of people's opinions and democracy it is far better in any situation for parties to pay attention to other areas, especially those with more key situations; for example in the most recent Australian election the state of Tasmania, which by population is the smallest non-territory, received very large amounts of attention due to being at the centre of number of environmental issues.

And anyway, in every election a party is going to play special interest politics, where they try win the votes primarily of one group. For example President Bush and his tax cuts for the rich.
The candidates dont always try to appeal to everyone. In fact, the Democratic and Republican candidates are only campaiging in their states (South Carolina, and Florida respectively,) because primaries take place there! I guarantee Obama wont be going back to Iowa, and Hilary to New Hampshire.

And what happened last election with Bush and Kerry? They were concentrated on just a few states, New York, Calirfornia, Flroida, and Ohio. They barely made stops in other states.
 

The_Panda

恭喜發財
The candidates dont always try to appeal to everyone. In fact, the Democratic and Republican candidates are only campaiging in their states (South Carolina, and Florida respectively,) because primaries take place there! I guarantee Obama wont be going back to Iowa, and Hilary to New Hampshire.

And what happened last election with Bush and Kerry? They were concentrated on just a few states, New York, Calirfornia, Flroida, and Ohio. They barely made stops in other states.
If they only focus on a few states anyway doesn't that just defeat the point of the electoral college system?
 

Manaphyman

Up all night
If they only focus on a few states anyway doesn't that just defeat the point of the electoral college system?
Well yes and no. Id they only focus on certain states now, how would it be with direct popular vote? It would be worse.

Now, certain candidates like Bush in the 200 elections, attempted to win "regions." Meaning, he lumped a bunch of states together, like the midwest, or the northeast, and tried to carry all of those. (failed miserably in the North East.)
 

The_Panda

恭喜發財
Well yes and no. Id they only focus on certain states now, how would it be with direct popular vote? It would be worse.
In Australia the system is population based. We have little of a focus on populated areas, the electoral machine goes to where there is likely to be more change, ie, marginal areas. However in general the candidates spent a relatively equal amount of time per state, but with admittedly large degrees of attention to Queensland, which isn't the most populous. We all have to remember that in any election certain areas will get more focus. But frankly I would prefer a focus on where there is more people than a focus on very small populations like Iowa; which is the problem with the caucus system.
 
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Manaphyman

Up all night
In Australia the system is population based. We have little of a focus on populated areas, the electoral machine goes to where there is likely to be more change, ie, marginal areas. However in general the candidates spent a relatively equal amount of time per state, but with admittedly large degrees of attention to Queensland, which isn't the most populous. We all have to remember that in any election certain areas will get more focus. But frankly I would prefer a focus on where there is more people than a focus on very small populations like Iowa; which is the problem with the caucus system.
I wouldn't know, seeing as I live in the States themsevles, not Australia.

However, whats the same for one nation may not be the same as another. Nowadays most of the states get some attention, whether it be in the primary season or actual election.

If the E.C. was dissolved, many states with a low, insignificant population would be disregarded, more so then now.
 

Leon Phelps

Don't Tread on Me
Biglutz, you support the electoral college because the states with higher populations are blue states. If there were no electoral college the hard-line Republicans that the more sparsely populated red states usually carry wouldn't stand a chance. How is it fair for the minority of people to decide a leader? ANYONE with a rational mind can see that it's not fair to have an electoral college.
To further support this, the historical reason the EC was created was because the rich, landowning white men such as Thomas Jefferson were actually elitists who thought that the average American wasn't smart enough to decide who should be in office.

I say that we should take away the EC for a little while and see what happens. The only problem is that the priorities and problems of the individual states won't matter as much because all the presidential candidates would just be trying to win votes, and not necessarily giving the those issues the same amount of attention as they would have if delegates were up for grabs.

Meh, moot points but a little experimentation with voting policies couldn't hurt. Nothing can be worse than the Bush Administration.
 

BigLutz

Banned
Leon Phelps said:
To further support this, the historical reason the EC was created was because the rich, landowning white men such as Thomas Jefferson were actually elitists who thought that the average American wasn't smart enough to decide who should be in office.
Mind backing this up? So far I have found little proof of this, over the more resonable example of them being afraid that the larger states would decide the President over the smaller states.

Leon Phelps said:
I say that we should take away the EC for a little while and see what happens.
Yep nothing like screwing with the system that elects the leader of the free world.

Leon Phelps said:
The only problem is that the priorities and problems of the individual states won't matter as much because all the presidential candidates would just be trying to win votes, and not necessarily giving the those issues the same amount of attention as they would have if delegates were up for grabs.
Ahh but see they will place the priorities and problems of individual states. Except they would focus on the priorities and problems of the states that can get them votes. Places like California and Texas where you have the two biggest populations will have have the most pandering, followed by New York, and then Florida.

They will just stop giving a damn about places like Michigan and Ohio.

Leon Phelps said:
Nothing can be worse than the Bush Administration.
Another Clinton or Carter administration comes to mind.
 

Manaphyman

Up all night
To further support this, the historical reason the EC was created was because the rich, landowning white men such as Thomas Jefferson were actually elitists who thought that the average American wasn't smart enough to decide who should be in office.
To further support what? You have no evidence to proof your outlandish claim. The founding fathers were anything but elitisists. In fact, Thomas Jefferson hated the Electoral College as stated in this quote:
I have ever considered the constitutional mode of election ultimately by the Legislature voting by States as the most dangerous blot in our Constitution, and one which some unlucky chance will some day hit and give us a pope and antipope. - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to George Hay, 1823.
So..therefore your point is....destroyed?

I say that we should take away the EC for a little while and see what happens. The only problem is that the priorities and problems of the individual states won't matter as much because all the presidential candidates would just be trying to win votes, and not necessarily giving the those issues the same amount of attention as they would have if delegates were up for grabs.
With all do respect, that was by far the stupidest idea I've ever heard. Lets take away a process that has been in place for almost 250 years, with no proven or affective back up plan? With all the other problems this country is facing, especially with the economy and Bush's pressing for war with Iran, we could not afford to do that.

Meh, moot points but a little experimentation with voting policies couldn't hurt. Nothing can be worse than the Bush Administration
While I do agree with you, and I do think that this country is going down hill, I dont think we can blame the EC on Mr. Bush. I sure as hell dont think we can afford to screw with our current system. If it aint broke don't fix it ya know?
 

Magcargo

Intellectualist
To further support this, the historical reason the EC was created was because the rich, landowning white men such as Thomas Jefferson were actually elitists who thought that the average American wasn't smart enough to decide who should be in office.

I say that we should take away the EC for a little while and see what happens. The only problem is that the priorities and problems of the individual states won't matter as much because all the presidential candidates would just be trying to win votes, and not necessarily giving the those issues the same amount of attention as they would have if delegates were up for grabs.

Meh, moot points but a little experimentation with voting policies couldn't hurt. Nothing can be worse than the Bush Administration.
First off, your whole premise isn't quite true (Jefferson didn't have much to do with the Constitution anyway). The main reason for the Electoral College was because the people got to choose the House and the states got to choose the Senate, so it made sense to give both of them a say in the Presidency.

And you also have to remember that back then in some states only landowners could vote and that fewer people were informed about politics then. That said, elitism isn't the main reason for the EC.
 

Asaspades

Evil Monkey!!!
First off, your whole premise isn't quite true (Jefferson didn't have much to do with the Constitution anyway). The main reason for the Electoral College was because the people got to choose the House and the states got to choose the Senate, so it made sense to give both of them a say in the Presidency.

And you also have to remember that back then in some states only landowners could vote and that fewer people were informed about politics then. That said, elitism isn't the main reason for the EC.
Well the main reason for the EC was to have the states retain some amount of power after the Articles of Confederation was revised. When the New Jersey Plan was introduced, it was to counter the Virginia Plan which gave the government an enormus amount of power and even allowed the congress to pick the president. They finally reached a comprimise and settled on an electoral collage. IMO, the EC has become obsolete as the individual states no longer have, nor need, much power. A majority is still a majority regardless of where they are located.
 

Manaphyman

Up all night
Well the main reason for the EC was to have the states retain some amount of power after the Articles of Confederation was revised. When the New Jersey Plan was introduced, it was to counter the Virginia Plan which gave the government an enormus amount of power and even allowed the congress to pick the president. They finally reached a comprimise and settled on an electoral collage. IMO, the EC has become obsolete as the individual states no longer have, nor need, much power. A majority is still a majority regardless of where they are located.
I think you have All your facts messed up. The Virgina and New Jersey plans were for both the House and the Senate. So therefore, your point has absolutely no valididty. I honestly dont understand it...
 

Ketsuban

Master Pokémon Breeder
The fact about the Electoral College is, the electors don't have to go with what their states decide. They can vote for whoever they want.

People who say "If the EC goes away only ten states will matter" seem to think that everybody in those states will vote the same way. They ignore the fact that there are Republicans in California and Democrats in Alaska -- which is pretty easy to do, when you're used to the system we have. How is it fair that so many people's votes are regularly overlooked just because they're in the minority? If I vote for Ralph Nader, I want my vote to go to Ralph Nader and not be overlooked just because most of the people in my state picked John Kerry.
 

Misty Lover

Well-Known Member
I find it unfair that someone in California doesn't have as big a say as someone in a smaller state. I also find it unjust that if 51% of a state votes one way, it counts for the entire state. Also, for someone who lives in a state that is clearly Democratic or Republican, his vote doesn't really matter. That said, I believe the best method would be the simple popular vote.
 

Manaphyman

Up all night
The fact about the Electoral College is, the electors don't have to go with what their states decide. They can vote for whoever they want.
Fact of the matter is......yes they can vote for whoever they want, but it has never happened.

Also, for someone who lives in a state that is clearly Democratic or Republican, his vote doesn't really matter. That said, I believe the best method would be the simple popular vote.
It is because of people like you, who don't beleive their votes count, that we get record low turnouts at the polls. A simple popular vote would make bigger states have an even bigger say in who becomes president.
 

Cipher

Nothing to be done
People who say "If the EC goes away only ten states will matter" seem to think that everybody in those states will vote the same way.
That's not it at all. The simple version of the problem looks like this: A politician seeks to secure the most votes at one sweep as he or she possibly can. To do so, the focus of their campaign would become heavily populated areas, and to secure votes in those areas, politicians would focus primarily on those areas' issues, at the expense of other matters.

It's not that everyone in a state would vote the same way, but that their issues would be over-represented in campaigns and decision making. There's some skew of power under an Electoral College system, but an even worse skew under a popular vote.
 
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