Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

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Mo
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Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by Mo » 21 Mar 2019, 18:46

D.A. Ridgely wrote:People shouldn't read the Founders' actual intent into their published words any more than they should with contemporary politicians.
Agree. The Federalist Papers were a marketing document written primarily by Hamilton (who was one of the biggest monarchists of the founders). But the same folks that fetishize the EC do the same with the FP.
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thoreau
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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by thoreau » 21 Mar 2019, 18:52

Mo wrote:
21 Mar 2019, 18:46
D.A. Ridgely wrote:People shouldn't read the Founders' actual intent into their published words any more than they should with contemporary politicians.
Agree. The Federalist Papers were a marketing document written primarily by Hamilton (who was one of the biggest monarchists of the founders). But the same folks that fetishize the EC do the same with the FP.
And they were written mostly for the people of NY. I love that the quasi-religion around the Federalist Papers is practiced by red staters who fear rule by coastal cities like NY...while voting for Trump and reading sacred texts written for New Yorkers.

Rick Perlstein has talked about how heavily the far-right scams its supporters through direct-mail fundraising. It figures that that gullibility would carry over to their choice of idols.
"They were basically like D&D min maxers, but instead of pissing off their DM, they destroyed the global economy. Also, instead of their DM making a level 7 paladin fight a beholder as punishment, he got a +3 sword of turning."
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Eric the .5b
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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by Eric the .5b » 21 Mar 2019, 18:56

To be fair, at least half of the ways this country isn't a total shithole are because people who believed in the marketing gloss tried to make it real.
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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by thoreau » 21 Mar 2019, 19:02

Eric the .5b wrote:
21 Mar 2019, 18:56
To be fair, at least half of the ways this country isn't a total shithole are because people who believed in the marketing gloss tried to make it real.
Sure, but the Civic Religion around the Bill of Rights, and similar attitudes towards the post-Civil War amendments, have done far more for this country than fetishes about the allegedly superior values and insights of rural voters. I don't think rural people are any worse than me and my neighbors, but I don't buy that they're any better. The noblest efforts in US history have been about efforts to uphold rights for everyone, frequently in the face of opposition from conservative forces, not efforts to explain why unequal power allocations are wise and just.

IOW, the more liberal denominations of the Civic Religion have done a hell of a lot more good for the US than the reactionary denominations.

(And it is still hilarious that the reactionaries are masturbating to sacred texts written by Hamilton for New Yorkers.)
"They were basically like D&D min maxers, but instead of pissing off their DM, they destroyed the global economy. Also, instead of their DM making a level 7 paladin fight a beholder as punishment, he got a +3 sword of turning."
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Mo
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Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by Mo » 21 Mar 2019, 19:05

If by Bill of Rights, you exclude the 4th, 8th and 9th Amendments, the 1st when applied to Muslims and the 5th when applied to people not in the Trump administration.
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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by fyodor » 21 Mar 2019, 19:07

Say, was ruralness versus urbanness as such ever an issue for the founders even for Congress (and even based on their propaganda)? I'm way too lazy to lookit up, but my offhand guess is that the nation was so predominantly rural back then that the relative size of states' populations may have had much more to do with their geographic sizes than what cities they may have contained.
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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by Mo » 21 Mar 2019, 19:11

It was less urban and rural and more ag vs trade economy.
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D.A. Ridgely
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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by D.A. Ridgely » 21 Mar 2019, 19:13

America was, of course, an agrarian society in the 1780s and even many of those male, white voters who lived in cities had land holdings from which they derived their wealth. (Plus, more than a few would own homes in both the country and city, rather like today.) The politics of the day was all about the relative overall populations of the states, not their urban to rural ratios.

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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by thoreau » 21 Mar 2019, 19:31

There was some attention to large states vs. small states at the convention in 1787, because the convention was all about the allocation of power and whether or not a formula takes population into account will obviously matter for power. But once power had been allocated, all subsequent disputes in US political history had zilch to do with large population vs. small population, and everything to do with the usual stuff: Economics, trade, slavery, culture, etc.

It is telling that in the present day the people who read the Federalist Papers as sacred texts care far more about the political interests of the Dakotas or Wyoming than Vermont or Rhode Island or Hawaii, i.e. they care about Red vs. Blue, not large states vs. small states.
"They were basically like D&D min maxers, but instead of pissing off their DM, they destroyed the global economy. Also, instead of their DM making a level 7 paladin fight a beholder as punishment, he got a +3 sword of turning."
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Painboy
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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by Painboy » 21 Mar 2019, 19:35

Mo wrote:
21 Mar 2019, 16:25
Painboy wrote:
fyodor wrote:
21 Mar 2019, 12:18
Painboy wrote:
21 Mar 2019, 12:12
thoreau wrote:
21 Mar 2019, 12:04
Painboy wrote:
21 Mar 2019, 11:52
I don't think there would be much difference in result between a PV vs. an EC. You can't use past elections as any guide since the contests were for EC and not single votes. So looking at past vote totals isn't going to necessarily be indicative of anything. There might be a brief shake up the first couple of times as the parties figured out how best to run things. After that thought it would probably business as usual.
Sure, there wouldn't be MUCH difference, but the question is, when there is a difference, does one of them have a stronger normative claim? I think that the one-person-one-vote argument is a much stronger one than the argument for small states and rural areas somehow deserving greater weight.
Changing it has a cost that you don't have by keeping things the same. And the EC has worked well enough so far that I don't see a need to pay that cost.
This, what I call, "classic conservative" type argument (weight given to the status quo), and the potential horror of the national recount scenario are the two best arguments for maintaining the EC, IMO. Why I think a modified EC to better reflect a "one person one voice" principle would likely be best.
I'm not that familiar with all the different methods people have come up with. My main point is that proponents of alternate systems should have to demonstrate that there is some significant gain switching to that system. Change just to change isn't a particularly smart way to do things. It's not like it's a switch you can toggle on and off.
I mean I think I actually did lay out the benefits, such as that members of the minority party in a state dominated by the other party have a say in the election. We have that in Congress where there are Republicans from California and Democrats from the Deep South. Right now in the presidency, we have elections targeted at the convincing the swing voters in swing states.
I was responding to thoreau who said there "wouldn't be much difference." Which isn't a particularly ringing endorsement to change things up.

The thing is voting systems are simplistic processes. They have to be for most voters to understand and trust them. But like any simple system they can be gamed in various ways. That's what's happened with the EC currently and what will inevitably happen to a PV system. So you may get a few years where everyone is in the dark how best to exploit it but eventually people will figure it out and you're back to how things were. A lot of this seems like just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Also getting rid of the EC system is just one more chunk out of federalism. I would like the states to be more independent states than counties of the America.

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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by JasonL » 21 Mar 2019, 19:43

Eric the .5b wrote:
JasonL wrote:
21 Mar 2019, 09:12
Like - take Bush v Gore, everything plays out exactly the same way but Bush gets a national aggregate of 600k more popular votes changing no EC totals. Are we suggesting that would have made everyone cool? 50% more cool? Any more cool?
Non-zero percent more cool. Even more cool if the Florida process hadn't been so hinky.

It's a matter of perceived legitimacy. A central core to this democracy stuff is the one with the most votes wins. When that doesn't happen, that strikes many people as illegitimate, no matter how much you natter at them about the horse-trading of the constitutional convention.

You can find that complaint illogical and arbitrary, but don't pretend you don't know that it's a complaint people have and have been consistently angry about.
I know people complain about it, but I don’t think it’s actually why they are mad. They lost. In a close one. Full stop. See federalism arguments and every other principled argument flip flop on the landscape. If I’m supposed to take people at their word, that’s admirable but I don’t think the locals apply it broadly to red/blue arguments.

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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by JasonL » 21 Mar 2019, 19:44

thoreau wrote:And Trump is the refutation of pretty much every pro-EC argument.

"Bulwark against a demagogue." Um, the most demagogic president in at least a few generations won the EC while losing the popular vote.

"Three wolves and two sheep voting on lunch." This is the guy who thinks Presidents can order companies to keep factories open.

"Protecting the interior of the country from coastal elites in the big cities." Trump is a wealthy* NYC real estate developer.

*Well, sort of. You know what I mean.
This is a red herring. Nobody said anything was a perfect anything.

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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by JasonL » 21 Mar 2019, 19:48

Also - this thing where don’t worry it totally won’t have the effect conservatives worry about - I’d like to put liberals supporting pv on the truth serum there. We all know they think it helps them right?

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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by Jennifer » 21 Mar 2019, 20:46

JasonL wrote:
21 Mar 2019, 19:43
Eric the .5b wrote:
JasonL wrote:
21 Mar 2019, 09:12
Like - take Bush v Gore, everything plays out exactly the same way but Bush gets a national aggregate of 600k more popular votes changing no EC totals. Are we suggesting that would have made everyone cool? 50% more cool? Any more cool?
Non-zero percent more cool. Even more cool if the Florida process hadn't been so hinky.

It's a matter of perceived legitimacy. A central core to this democracy stuff is the one with the most votes wins. When that doesn't happen, that strikes many people as illegitimate, no matter how much you natter at them about the horse-trading of the constitutional convention.

You can find that complaint illogical and arbitrary, but don't pretend you don't know that it's a complaint people have and have been consistently angry about.
I know people complain about it, but I don’t think it’s actually why they are mad. They lost. In a close one. Full stop. See federalism arguments and every other principled argument flip flop on the landscape. If I’m supposed to take people at their word, that’s admirable but I don’t think the locals apply it broadly to red/blue arguments.
So ... you're saying "When people talk about why they want to abolish the EC, I know they're all lying?"
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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by JasonL » 21 Mar 2019, 20:49

When people talk about federalism ...

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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by JasonL » 21 Mar 2019, 20:53

To be clear I think advocates here are sincere in valuing a thing I don’t. I think that’s ... not the case in general.

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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by thoreau » 21 Mar 2019, 21:18

JasonL wrote:
21 Mar 2019, 19:48
Also - this thing where don’t worry it totally won’t have the effect conservatives worry about - I’d like to put liberals supporting pv on the truth serum there. We all know they think it helps them right?
Yes. They do think that. And to a large extent they are probably right, in that recent history shows that EC/popular splits have gone for Reds rather than Blues.

That's different from saying that a popular vote would favor urbanites. Blues and Reds will both campaign differently, and Blues will no longer be able to write off moderates/undecideds in any part of the country. Undecided rural voters will count just as much as undecided suburbanites. There's a lot of bang per buck to be had in media markets that aren't necessarily the largest cities in key swing states.

So, yes, popular votes will help Blues, but I'm far from convinced that it will favor coastal cities. Coastal city media markets are expensive.
"They were basically like D&D min maxers, but instead of pissing off their DM, they destroyed the global economy. Also, instead of their DM making a level 7 paladin fight a beholder as punishment, he got a +3 sword of turning."
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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by fyodor » 21 Mar 2019, 22:17

JasonL wrote:
21 Mar 2019, 19:48
Also - this thing where don’t worry it totally won’t have the effect conservatives worry about - I’d like to put liberals supporting pv on the truth serum there. We all know they think it helps them right?
And I thought I already addressed this!!

A) Who cares what they say?

B) It's normal and perfectly okay that change is driven by an aggrieved party, best as I can tell. You think the side that's benefitting's gonna do it? It doesn't mean there's anything wrong with their position.

C) Regardless, A. I have my own reasons and we have our own reasons for what we're saying. You can always find hypocrisy on any side of any issue, so I really don't see what bringing up hypocrisy you suspect and that's not even demonstrated has to do with anything!
Your optimism just confuses and enrages me. - Timothy

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Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by JasonL » 21 Mar 2019, 23:11

It’s a bit like being earnest about federalism. We would all eyeroll somewhat.

ETA and I brought that up only because Thoreau keeps making the argument that it obviously wouldn’t really help donkeys because look trump. I’m saying make that argument if you wish but donkeys don’t believe it.

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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by D.A. Ridgely » 21 Mar 2019, 23:17

It's more important to Republicans long term. The demographics are definitely against them mid- to long-term, which is again why I'm predicting Texas will be in play before 2030.

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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by Shem » 21 Mar 2019, 23:50

JasonL wrote:
21 Mar 2019, 19:43
I know people complain about it, but I don’t think it’s actually why they are mad.
This is because you don't find arguments to fairness compelling. But a lot of people do.
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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by D.A. Ridgely » 22 Mar 2019, 00:01

Shem wrote:
21 Mar 2019, 23:50
JasonL wrote:
21 Mar 2019, 19:43
I know people complain about it, but I don’t think it’s actually why they are mad.
This is because you don't find arguments to fairness compelling. But a lot of people do.
Not that I'm agreeing with Jason here, but arguments to fairness are much stronger when they're grounded in an articulable, reasoned defense of what counts as fairness. Based on the reasoning I've heard more often than not from undergraduates in ethics classes, I can't help but believe that isn't all that many people.

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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by thoreau » 22 Mar 2019, 00:16

JasonL wrote:
21 Mar 2019, 23:11
Thoreau keeps making the argument that it obviously wouldn’t really help donkeys because look trump.
Huh?

I'm saying that the EC doesn't do the things that its defenders claim. Yes, it helps Team Red, but helping Team Red in the way that the EC does has not been accompanied by any of the other features that EC defenders claim. It doesn't check populism, it doesn't solve "Three wolves and two sheep voting on lunch", it doesn't promote any sort of heartland values, and it doesn't prevent urban elites from rising in the system. All it does is help Red candidates, but that's very different from the virtues that many EC defenders allege.

So, yes, removing the EC would help Blues, but that doesn't mean the Blues would run all-coastal-all-the-time campaigns. They'd have to reach out to people that they currently don't reach out to (as would the Reds), and they'd also spend a bit less time sucking up to Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.
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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by Shem » 22 Mar 2019, 01:10

D.A. Ridgely wrote:
22 Mar 2019, 00:01
Shem wrote:
21 Mar 2019, 23:50
JasonL wrote:
21 Mar 2019, 19:43
I know people complain about it, but I don’t think it’s actually why they are mad.
This is because you don't find arguments to fairness compelling. But a lot of people do.
Not that I'm agreeing with Jason here, but arguments to fairness are much stronger when they're grounded in an articulable, reasoned defense of what counts as fairness. Based on the reasoning I've heard more often than not from undergraduates in ethics classes, I can't help but believe that isn't all that many people.
That's a statement about rhetoric, not about rationale. The fact that someone can't articulate a coherent vision of what constitutes fairness doesn't serve as evidence that they don't actually care about fairness, any more than the inability to articulate a reason why taking candy from an infant is wrong constitutes evidence that people actually just want to make sure that infants maintain all the sweet, sugary goodness for themselves.
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Eric the .5b
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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by Eric the .5b » 22 Mar 2019, 03:19

JasonL wrote:
21 Mar 2019, 19:43
I know people complain about it, but I don’t think it’s actually why they are mad. They lost. In a close one. Full stop. See federalism arguments and every other principled argument flip flop on the landscape. If I’m supposed to take people at their word, that’s admirable but I don’t think the locals apply it broadly to red/blue arguments.
Party operatives will merrily flip-flop on all those issue, but democracy is part of the culture.

If you think that doesn't matter, I don't know what to tell you, Jasonagul.
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