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florentino ariza

Re: Electoral College Yay or Nay?
« Reply #40 on: January 26, 2006, 12:49:49 PM »
Perhaps I should have been more clear.  Why are either of those things necessary, when, as has been illustrated, one can win an election by taking the NE and the WC having lost every single state in the center of the country? 
Further, why should a candidate rise and fall because of what Iowa and NH think in the primaries?   

Yes, the NE+WC scenario is possible, but difficult to achieve. I think that that's the point, to make it difficult to achieve, but not impossible.

As for NH and IA having a disproportionate influence, there are some advantages to it: small rural states get their say before they are drowned out by the urban/large states; some issues get raised, and some perspectives get aired, which would otherwise not be mentioned at all.

The fundamental question is this: is the United States a single undifferentiated polity? I doubt that someone from Texas, Alaska or Hawaii would think so. Nor, for that matter, would someone from Oklahoma or Idaho or Vermont.

no, the fundamental question is: should someone who lives in a certain state have a vote that counts for more than someone in another state? when we're choosing the one nationwide elected position in the country (well, 2, with VP) that should not be acceptable. and that goes beyond my notion that your defense of the current system giving small rural states a say being absolute bunk in the first place. if anything, people would pay MORE attention to local issues on a national stage with a strict popular vote.

also, the primary argument doesn't really hold water. iowa and nh's voters are disproportionally white and do not reflect the american polity as a whole. while having small states early allows unknown candidates to gain early traction and recognition they might not otherwise get (e.g. dean, mccain) it also marginalizes the voters of later primary dates. a better way of dealing with this is to shuffle the primary dates and not always have the same states first. especially not iowa, with it's wretched caucus system that rarely gets significant participation and where voters are lobbied by precinct captains DURING the vote process. it's not a good system, and it denies a lot of vital viewpoints from being heard.

redemption

Re: Electoral College Yay or Nay?
« Reply #41 on: January 26, 2006, 12:59:25 PM »
Perhaps I should have been more clear.  Why are either of those things necessary, when, as has been illustrated, one can win an election by taking the NE and the WC having lost every single state in the center of the country? 
Further, why should a candidate rise and fall because of what Iowa and NH think in the primaries?   

Yes, the NE+WC scenario is possible, but difficult to achieve. I think that that's the point, to make it difficult to achieve, but not impossible.

As for NH and IA having a disproportionate influence, there are some advantages to it: small rural states get their say before they are drowned out by the urban/large states; some issues get raised, and some perspectives get aired, which would otherwise not be mentioned at all.

The fundamental question is this: is the United States a single undifferentiated polity? I doubt that someone from Texas, Alaska or Hawaii would think so. Nor, for that matter, would someone from Oklahoma or Idaho or Vermont.

no, the fundamental question is: should someone who lives in a certain state have a vote that counts for more than someone in another state? when we're choosing the one nationwide elected position in the country (well, 2, with VP) that should not be acceptable. and that goes beyond my notion that your defense of the current system giving small rural states a say being absolute bunk in the first place. if anything, people would pay MORE attention to local issues on a national stage with a strict popular vote.

also, the primary argument doesn't really hold water. iowa and nh's voters are disproportionally white and do not reflect the american polity as a whole. while having small states early allows unknown candidates to gain early traction and recognition they might not otherwise get (e.g. dean, mccain) it also marginalizes the voters of later primary dates. a better way of dealing with this is to shuffle the primary dates and not always have the same states first. especially not iowa, with it's wretched caucus system that rarely gets significant participation and where voters are lobbied by precinct captains DURING the vote process. it's not a good system, and it denies a lot of vital viewpoints from being heard.

Yup. Those are some weaknesses of the current system. I don't feel strongly about it either way. Personally, knowing what the US looks like now, I'd probably opt for a proportional respresentation system for the Congress and direct vote for the Executive.

My point is/was that my understanding of the United States as founded is that it was to be a collection of states and not a collection of people; a republic and not a democracy. Changing the way that Presidents are elected is a change from the intentions of the people who ratified the Constitution, not a way of hewing more closely to them.

florentino ariza

Re: Electoral College Yay or Nay?
« Reply #42 on: January 26, 2006, 01:15:25 PM »
well, yes, but generally, i don't give a crap what they think unless they were right. they believed a lot of things that i think we can agree now were at the very least incorrect, if not downright morally inacceptable. :)

and so, we agree on where we stand. i just feel more strongly about it.

sorry i mixed up your argument for your position.

redemption

Re: Electoral College Yay or Nay?
« Reply #43 on: January 26, 2006, 01:50:04 PM »
No problem. I could kinda tell that I was being unclear about where I stood.


Paikea

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Re: Electoral College Yay or Nay?
« Reply #44 on: January 26, 2006, 02:00:11 PM »
edit:
I do not think there is anything "harmless" about a system that can reward the candidate who garners the least votes of its citizenry.  I don't care who the candidate is.  It discredits the whole premise of voting.

The presidential election system was not set up to represent the citizenry. It was set up to represent the States. We are not a democracy. We are a Republic. Changing from one system to another (rep to dem), even if it were feasible, has consequences. I am not sure that those consequences are worth erasing the occasional blip when the candidate with the lesser popular vote tally (and then not less by all that much) takes his place in the White House..


Well, the EC was set to do a little more than represent the States.  More like to ensure that the wealthy, educated class of america dictated who was elected rather than the poor, uneducated peasants that lived out in the country.

But regardless, the reasons for "why" it was set up do not rationalize its obvious faults.

Re: Electoral College Yay or Nay?
« Reply #45 on: January 26, 2006, 02:05:55 PM »
I don't think either system is particularly ideal, because you're going to have ignored regions in both circumstances.  It makes no sense that a person can win an election by "winning" a state through questionable means, which is probably a lot less likely to happen with a popular vote.  The situation of who can and cannot vote is also a big issue, because in Florida people who have committed a felony can never vote again. That's not in the case in every state.

Paikea

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Re: Electoral College Yay or Nay?
« Reply #46 on: January 26, 2006, 02:07:10 PM »
As for Paikea's issue, with a popular vote in such a vast country, you run the risk of having certain regions being totally ignored because all of the power is based in a few of the major cities that tend to vote the same way. All you would need to do to win is campaign in a few key areas and totally disregard everything else.  I do think that a proportional EC would be better than the current winner-takes-all approach, but do not think that we should go to a straight popular vote.



I don't buy this argument.  You always hear this from politicians who try to counter the argument for abandoning the system.  The issue is that with the EC, you now have a system that negates an individual's vote.  If you live in a state that is heavily Democratic, or heavily Republican, and your vote is going to go against the majority in that state, then your vote is means nothing, both in the state election and the national election.  With a strict popular vote, the minority in any state would still have a voice.

Paikea

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Re: Electoral College Yay or Nay?
« Reply #47 on: January 26, 2006, 02:29:09 PM »
I don't see it that way.  People keep talking about how the little states will get rolled over.  You don't think that the EC "rolls" the small states? 

With a pop vote, you take the states out of it.  One person, one vote, all are equal...doesn't matter where you live.   

florentino ariza

Re: Electoral College Yay or Nay?
« Reply #48 on: January 26, 2006, 02:30:24 PM »
As for Paikea's issue, with a popular vote in such a vast country, you run the risk of having certain regions being totally ignored because all of the power is based in a few of the major cities that tend to vote the same way. All you would need to do to win is campaign in a few key areas and totally disregard everything else.  I do think that a proportional EC would be better than the current winner-takes-all approach, but do not think that we should go to a straight popular vote.



I don't buy this argument.  You always hear this from politicians who try to counter the argument for abandoning the system.  The issue is that with the EC, you now have a system that negates an individual's vote.  If you live in a state that is heavily Democratic, or heavily Republican, and your vote is going to go against the majority in that state, then your vote is means nothing, both in the state election and the national election.  With a strict popular vote, the minority in any state would still have a voice.

TITCR. and proportional EC STILL wouldn't work because a vote in wyoming is worth more than one in california.

queencruella, do you feel that some presidential votes should count 6 times as much as another?

jarvisa

Re: Electoral College Yay or Nay?
« Reply #49 on: January 26, 2006, 02:42:38 PM »
The small states are small because they have fewer people.  I know this sounds trivial, but the whole point of democracy (why, by the way are we "spreading" something we don't actually have at home?) is that there is nothing inherently wrong with "screwing over" the small states.  There is necessarily going to be a group of people, some people may call them the "minority", fyi, that are not going to be happy with what the majority wants, but that is just the nature of it.  It's not that hard.

If we are going to keep the electoral college we might as well acknowledge that we aren't a democracy.  If you are a Democrat in Texas or a Republican in California, your vote does not matter.  That's democracy?