Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

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Jadagul
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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by Jadagul »

Mo wrote: 22 Mar 2019, 16:53 I feel like 90% of pro-EC arguments are pure inertia arguments. If we were in a pure PV system for the last 200 years, no one would say the EC is a clearly superior method and we should go back to that. Or that states should adopt weighting by county for gubernatorial races.
Nate Silver has been commenting that he's mostly pretty indifferent, but every time he reads a pro-Electoral College piece he becomes more anti-Electoral College. It may not matter that much, but there isn't really a good argument for it.
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Dangerman
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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by Dangerman »

I'm really not enjoying recent threads where we're locked into 'smug progressive city people vs. buffoonish racist country people'. It's such an obviously unproductive place to start that I can't even read into the arguments you're all having. I want to have conversations that start with the value of and impact on the individual. For one thing, suburban and small cities outside of metro corridors exist and don't fit easily into this paradigm once you inspect them with any rigor. It's also crazy insulting to, for instance, lump the entirety of Wyoming into a caricature of a racist, MAGA-hat wearing protester, or to point at say, Boston or LA as bastions of progressive racial fairness.

Maybe all this division is a mark against the EC in the first place. I think we want to acknowledge differences between people and groups of people, and that local/self rule is desirable, so how do we promote that within a federation?

If you want to include people who are geographically, and thus almost certainly culturally, distant, how can that be achieved?
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Mo
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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by Mo »

My primary arguments were not about rural vs urban. In fact the reasons I stated would make blue state Rs and red state Ds matter. And take away the focus on a handful of swing states. Granted the fierce partisans (on both sides) focus on the dumb/salt-of-the-earth rural voters and the educated/out-of-touch urban voters, but you can make an argument against the EC without even touching that. You can’t really make an argument for it without being up urban rural.
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thoreau
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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by thoreau »

I agree that rural areas are more complicated than any stereotype (as are urban people). One of my reasons for wanting one-person-one-vote is precisely that I don't think people are nearly as defined by region as some electoral college defenses make them out to be, and so there's no reason to treat them as a bloc rather than as individuals.

That said, as long as the internet is chock full of pro-EC arguments that rail against mob rule and "three wolves and two sheep deciding on lunch" I will continue to note that the EC is what gave us a demagogue from NYC, while the popular vote rejected him. That undermines some of the pro-EC arguments that claim that disproportionately empowering rural areas is crucial for keeping demagoguery at bay.
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Jennifer
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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by Jennifer »

thoreau wrote: 23 Mar 2019, 15:01 That said, as long as the internet is chock full of pro-EC arguments that rail against mob rule and "three wolves and two sheep deciding on lunch" I will continue to note that the EC is what gave us a demagogue from NYC, while the popular vote rejected him.
One could even counter that the EC replaces "three wolves and two sheep deciding on lunch" with "two wolves and three sheep -- but the wolves' votes count for more because of where they live."
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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by thoreau »

I'm not about to call the rural voters wolves, nor the urban voters. They're all people and they should each get one vote.
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Jennifer
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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by Jennifer »

thoreau wrote: 23 Mar 2019, 15:13 I'm not about to call the rural voters wolves, nor the urban voters.
True. Using analogies is hyper-dangerous when your audience is already resistant to your ideas.

Still, for all the arguments the EC defenders make a la "It would be terrible for the dense population centers to lord it over the sparse ones," I have yet to see one even try offering a reason why "Therefore, letting the sparse population centers lord it over the dense ones is clearly the proper way to do things." (Plus, as I pointed out upthread, such pro-EC arguments rely on a weird form of collectivism -- as though "every Californian" votes exactly the same way, as opposed to out current system wherein a large minority of Californians' presidential votes don't count at all: a Republican voter in a Democratic-majority state may as well stay home on presidential election day, for all his vote actually matters now. I would like to hear the EC defenders make a good argument -- hell, at this point I'd even like hearing them offer a bad argument, any argument at all -- why it is good and right and necessary for this to be the case.)
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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by D.A. Ridgely »

People in a phony democracy should believe their votes don't count equally, but merely eliminating the EC won't do more than temporarily favor the Blues.
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thoreau
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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by thoreau »

D.A. Ridgely wrote:People in a phony democracy should believe their votes don't count equally, but merely eliminating the EC won't do more than temporarily favor the Blues.
Agreed. But only because the Red coalition will adjust some of its stances in order to deal with the new campaigning realities. The currently dominant elements of the Red coalition will therefore be hurt relative to their current situation.

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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by Jennifer »

D.A. Ridgely wrote: 23 Mar 2019, 15:54 People in a phony democracy should believe their votes don't count equally, but merely eliminating the EC won't do more than temporarily favor the Blues.
Favoring the Blues isn't the reason I want to abolish the EC; making every vote count equally is. (And my example of the currently 'disenfranchised' Republican presidential voters in California and New York works just as well regarding Democratic presidential voters in places like Mississippi and Texas -- at least for the next couple election cycles.)

As Thoreau alluded to, abolish the EC and making all votes count equally will force both parties to change their campaign strategies, and likely remove or replace a few planks in their respective platforms, too.
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Jennifer
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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by Jennifer »

Interesting (and relevant) Twitter thread, which I'll transcribe here:


One huge factor behind the Electoral College is how radical the idea of electing the head of state was at that time. This was before the French Revolution. Cromwell's English revolution wasn't exactly democratic nor had it covered itself in glory.

When you have to go back to Antiquity to find priors you tread lightly. The idea that "the betters" (however broadly or narrowly you define that) should direct everyone else was a difficult instinct to shake. Slavery lasted generations and consider how long women's suffrage took.

This is less a criticism of our founding fathers than an acknowledgment of how far they had to travel for even the compromise that was set down. It was a radical break with hundreds of years of Western civilization.

But if we had stopped there we would still have slavery, we wouldn't have women's suffrage, and also remember than many states had property requirements to vote.

The founding fathers themselves acknowledged the need for future changes by providing a process to amend the constitution. They wanted people to continue to improve the system over time.

Treating details in the constitution as unchanging textus receptus that has special inspiration is explicitly something different than they wanted. It has weight, but it shouldn't be the immovable object if there are good reasons to change something.
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D.A. Ridgely
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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by D.A. Ridgely »

Jennifer wrote: 23 Mar 2019, 16:22
D.A. Ridgely wrote: 23 Mar 2019, 15:54 People in a phony democracy should believe their votes don't count equally, but merely eliminating the EC won't do more than temporarily favor the Blues.
Favoring the Blues isn't the reason I want to abolish the EC; making every vote count equally is. (And my example of the currently 'disenfranchised' Republican presidential voters in California and New York works just as well regarding Democratic presidential voters in places like Mississippi and Texas -- at least for the next couple election cycles.)

As Thoreau alluded to, abolish the EC and making all votes count equally will force both parties to change their campaign strategies, and likely remove or replace a few planks in their respective platforms, too.
I wasn't responding to your comments, specifically. The complete control of the political process at the national level by the two major parties means the effect of only eliminating the EC wouldn't be all that great. That said, again, I'm all for its elimination or, failing that, removing each state's two votes from senate seats.
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Mo
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Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by Mo »

D.A. Ridgely wrote:
Jennifer wrote: 23 Mar 2019, 16:22
D.A. Ridgely wrote: 23 Mar 2019, 15:54 People in a phony democracy should believe their votes don't count equally, but merely eliminating the EC won't do more than temporarily favor the Blues.
Favoring the Blues isn't the reason I want to abolish the EC; making every vote count equally is. (And my example of the currently 'disenfranchised' Republican presidential voters in California and New York works just as well regarding Democratic presidential voters in places like Mississippi and Texas -- at least for the next couple election cycles.)

As Thoreau alluded to, abolish the EC and making all votes count equally will force both parties to change their campaign strategies, and likely remove or replace a few planks in their respective platforms, too.
I wasn't responding to your comments, specifically. The complete control of the political process at the national level by the two major parties means the effect of only eliminating the EC wouldn't be all that great. That said, again, I'm all for its elimination or, failing that, removing each state's two votes from senate seats.
I would be fine with leaving the two for Senate if the EVs were doled our proportionally to the vote. 60/40 means a 5 EV state gives out 3 and 2. Though states with 4 EVs likely get ignored completely because they’ll always go 2-2.
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thoreau
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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by thoreau »

I think that the EC will survive in part because of the Florida recount and Russiagate. Each of those episodes directed some of the public's frustration away from the popular vote/EC split and onto some other object. If we had a popular/electoral split in an election that the opposition party saw as clean, I think there'd be more intense effort to do away with the EC. But in each case the opposition party had some other culprit to focus on (SCOTUS in 2000, Russia in 2016).

There's even a case to be made that 1960 was a popular/electoral split, and it has nothing to do with Chicago cemeteries, but the fact that Alabama and Georgia allocated votes in weird ways. But, again, to the extent that Kennedy's legitimacy is questioned, it's because of Chicago cemeteries and not because of the possibility that Nixon was the popular vote winner.

Hell, 1876 had a Florida recount and 1824 was seen as involving a corrupt bargain in the House runoff. So we really only have 1888 as a clean split.
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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

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Jadagul wrote: 22 Mar 2019, 23:54
Mo wrote: 22 Mar 2019, 16:53 I feel like 90% of pro-EC arguments are pure inertia arguments. If we were in a pure PV system for the last 200 years, no one would say the EC is a clearly superior method and we should go back to that. Or that states should adopt weighting by county for gubernatorial races.
Nate Silver has been commenting that he's mostly pretty indifferent, but every time he reads a pro-Electoral College piece he becomes more anti-Electoral College. It may not matter that much, but there isn't really a good argument for it.
This.

Regarding democracy not being such a big deal, yeah that's why I said this isn't the biggest issue out there and wouldn't necessarily move things at all noticeably towards some ideal of good government. I thus agree with JD saying democracy is secondary. Thing is, secondary ain't nuthin. You give me a good reason to subvert democracy for something better, and I'm with you. It's just that what the EC does isn't something better than democracy. Also what Mo said. If we had PV, it's highly doubtful anyone would be arguing for an EC. Well, maybe that's begging the question (how do we know we wouldn't be living in an urban dominated dystopia??), but still, FWIW, that's sure what it seems like. Does anyone else in the world have something resembling the EC? Seems it's just an accident of history....
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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by Jennifer »

Trump says that if you take the blue states out of the equation, the US is doing very well with its covid response.



With the electoral college system, there is zero incentive for a sociopath like him to care about the well-being of the people in the states who didn't vote for him anyway.
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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

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Jennifer wrote: 16 Sep 2020, 21:39 Trump says that if you take the blue states out of the equation, the US is doing very well with its covid response.

"Florida, Texas and Georgia have entered the chat"

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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

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And Missouri.
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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

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Number 6 wrote: 16 Sep 2020, 22:19 And Missouri.
Sorry. My eyes flew over it. ;)
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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

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Aresen wrote: 16 Sep 2020, 22:24
Number 6 wrote: 16 Sep 2020, 22:19 And Missouri.
Sorry. My eyes flew over it. ;)
Well played, sir. And almost certainly the right decision.
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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by thoreau »

Is that map normalized to population, i.e. are those total cases or cases per 10,000 residents or something like that?

Also, the issue regrading Trump's statement is not whether he is correct about the Blue vs Red states but whether he gives a shit about Blue states. And the answer is that he doesn't.

But, as much as I despise the electoral college, I think this is less about incentives in the EC than about Trump. When 9/11 happened and NYC bore the brunt of it, Bush didn't write off NYC as a Blue state. Far from it. Honestly, I wish he had taken 9/11 less seriously and done less in response, but nobody can say that dead New Yorkers left him unmoved.

If Trump were a competent demagogue it wouldn't matter if NYC really is or isn't bearing the brunt, where the deaths are or aren't. He could make hay out of this if he understood the government apparatus that more or less answers to him. In fact, they'd probably like him better if he understood them and all of the things that I they have been set up to do for an interested master.
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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by Aresen »

thoreau wrote: 16 Sep 2020, 22:48 Is that map normalized to population, i.e. are those total cases or cases per 10,000 residents or something like that?
I think it is just the raw numbers, based on the CDC figures I checked

#of new cases last 7 days (Sept 15, 2020):

California - New 22,101 Total cases 760,013
Florida - New 18,171 Total 660,946
Georgia - New 11,483 Total 296,833
Missouri - New 10,283 Total 105,396
New York - New 3,197 Total 207,341
Texas - 26,955 Total Cases: 668,746

Source: Here

Also, the issue regrading Trump's statement is not whether he is correct about the Blue vs Red states but whether he gives a shit about Blue states. And the answer is that he doesn't.
I think the lie is as important as the fact he doesn't care about Blue states. Because his supporters will believe the lie.
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Re: Electoral College: Yea or Nay?

Post by Hugh Akston »

Number 6 wrote: 16 Sep 2020, 22:33
Aresen wrote: 16 Sep 2020, 22:24
Number 6 wrote: 16 Sep 2020, 22:19 And Missouri.
Sorry. My eyes flew over it. ;)
Well played, sir. And almost certainly the right decision.
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