THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE: Time To Abolish?

A forum to seperate the more serious discussions from the lighter topics in Off-topic.

Should The Electoral College Be Abolished?

Yes
23
42%
No
18
33%
I'm Not American but...Yes
11
20%
I'm Not American but...No
3
5%
 
Total votes : 55

Re: THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE: Time To Abolish?

Postby Crunkus » 19 Feb 2017, 15:08

Debate.
Crunkus
Premium Member
 
Posts: 17645
Joined: 05 Feb 2009, 23:51
Class: Star Ambassador
Rating: 944
Timezone: GMT-5

Re: THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE: Time To Abolish?

Postby AardvarkArmy » 03 Mar 2017, 06:50

Zosimus wrote:Because people are brain dead. What's worse, they are too stupid and ignorant to realize that they're stupid and ignorant.


I'm just catching up on this debate, but I'm confused:

Zosimus, are you a "people?"

So, are you brain dead?

And, are you too stupid and ignorant to realize that you are stupid and ignorant?

The logic of your position would seem to require affirmative answers to all of the above, so...

What would make you think that your opinions have any value whatsoever?


Like I said, I'm confused. I'm missing what pedestal of exceptionalism places you and your political thoughts above every other member of your species?
SOLO
EXCALIBUR-Angles / EMERALD-Sno / MOD4-Italy / SENGOKU-OdaNobu / S.AMERICA1-Peru

W
1930-China / BattleIsleA-Winterfell / S&S-Turkey / LECRAE-Dublin / WWIV2-Cali / IMPERIAL1861.1-Trky / YNGSTWN1-Grmny / AMERICAS2-Mex / AFRICAN2-S.Arabia

L
1900.2/1900.4/IMPERIAL1861.3/IMPERIAL1935.1/WORLD3
User avatar
AardvarkArmy
Premium Member
 
Posts: 2104
Joined: 27 Feb 2009, 04:37
Location: Oakland, California, USA (San Francisco Bay Area)
Class: Ambassador
Rating: 1368
Timezone: GMT-8

Re: THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE: Time To Abolish?

Postby Bromley86 » 03 Mar 2017, 13:16

While I've not read this thread (which didn't stop me voting, naturally: that's democracy for you), and while I know Zosimus can be more than a little abrasive, it would seem that bastion of democracy, that defender against all thing fascistic and Trumpy, the Democratic Party, believes precisely as Zosimus does. People cannot be trusted to vote for a leader and need to be guided by the educated, the connected, and those that are, frankly, "us".

That's not necessarily my position, but it is undeniably the Democrats', and it cost them the election. They forcibly selected the only candidate, living or dead, who could lose to Trump. Thank god; imagine Bernie at the helm!

(BTW, I'm not a student of US political history, so feel free to come up with a list of the goats from previous elections that the Democrats could have stood against Trump and still lost.)
A member of the Classicists, a group that aims to reduce NMRs/surrenders.
Bromley86
Premium Member
 
Posts: 199
Joined: 02 May 2012, 00:16
Class: Star Ambassador
Rating: 2135
Timezone: GMT+12

Re: THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE: Time To Abolish?

Postby Zander » 03 Mar 2017, 18:09

Ahh yes the Democratic party, the party famous for viciously suppressing voters. :roll: What on earth are you talking about Bromley? The Democrats aggressively push against unfair gerrymandering practices and Voter ID laws. You know, attempts to get people not to vote. Obviously Democrats think you should vote for them, and because many democrats are technocrats and educated "elites," they want you to vote for people who are technocrats and educated "elites". But the Dems don't try to take away your vote if you don't support their party. We just get really mad and snarky and watch a lot of political comedy.

That's not necessarily my position, but it is undeniably the Democrats', and it cost them the election. They forcibly selected the only candidate, living or dead, who could lose to Trump. Thank god; imagine Bernie at the helm!


Yes, the Democrats elected a poor candidate. Emphasis on elected. Hillary won the Primary vote by some 12 points. Yes the number of super-delegates in play was silly, but they didn't make a difference in this election, and two-thirds of those super-delegates are now bound to their state's popular vote. And, to be frank, I am not sure of this truthism that Bernie would have swept the election. Don't get me wrong, I love the guy. But socialism is a really tough sell in the United States. He would have to spend half his time trying to re-define his brand of socialism to something more palatable to the American public. And that's not even getting into his visit to the USSR, his affection for the Cubans, or some of his odder, older writings..

(BTW, I'm not a student of US political history, so feel free to come up with a list of the goats from previous elections that the Democrats could have stood against Trump and still lost.)

Dukakus comes to mind. Also the entire Republican primary crew, apparently.
User avatar
Zander
 
Posts: 5737
Joined: 09 Jan 2009, 07:26
Class: Diplomat
Rating: (1000)
Timezone: GMT-5

Re: THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE: Time To Abolish?

Postby Bromley86 » 04 Mar 2017, 23:26

Zander wrote:Ahh yes the Democratic party, the party famous for viciously suppressing voters. :roll:


And what do you consider the superdelegate process does? It was explicitly set up to ensure an "acceptable" candidate was fostered on the electorate. Sure, the Democrats are happy to encourage participation by voters who are massively disproportionately likely to vote Democrat, but they want to make sure those people have to vote for the approved guy. As I said, I don't necessarily disagree with this (although it makes for awful press), but it clearly shows an attitude similar to the one Zosimus claims to have.

Regarding the 12 point win by Hillary vs. Bernie, you may be right that she'd have won anyway without the superdelegates (certainly the actual figures show that). However, removing superdelegates from the mix would have changed the narrative which, for the entirety of the primary campaign, was Hillary could not lose to Bernie irrespective of the actual vote because essentially all superdelegates had pledged to her (to say nothing of the behind-the-scenes actions of the Democratic party mandarins). I'd expect that affected voting patterns.

Looks to me like Dukakis would have had a good shot at beating Trump.1 I know that article doesn't actually say that, but if the results were so similar when Trump was up against a historically unpopular Democrat, then it seems to me he'd have pulled it out of the bag. Certainly, Americans didn't dislike him to the extent that they disliked both Trump and Clinton.
A member of the Classicists, a group that aims to reduce NMRs/surrenders.
Bromley86
Premium Member
 
Posts: 199
Joined: 02 May 2012, 00:16
Class: Star Ambassador
Rating: 2135
Timezone: GMT+12

Re: THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE: Time To Abolish?

Postby Zander » 05 Mar 2017, 11:17

And what do you consider the superdelegate process does? It was explicitly set up to ensure an "acceptable" candidate was fostered on the electorate. Sure, the Democrats are happy to encourage participation by voters who are massively disproportionately likely to vote Democrat, but they want to make sure those people have to vote for the approved guy. As I said, I don't necessarily disagree with this (although it makes for awful press), but it clearly shows an attitude similar to the one Zosimus claims to have.


Well sort of. The super-delegate process is set up to help prevent a take-over of the party by outsiders, and also to allow party "elders" a say in the electoral proceedings. But this is not an inherently undemocratic process. The super delegates are people who have won elections either outside (in the case of senators, governors, and ex-presidents) or inside (in the case of party leaders) the party. These are people with the confidence of the Democratic constituents either in the present of the past. And the rules governing them are voted on every convention. In fact just this year the rules were amended so that next year 2/3rds of their number will be bound to the states they are in.

Regarding the 12 point win by Hillary vs. Bernie, you may be right that she'd have won anyway without the superdelegates (certainly the actual figures show that). However, removing superdelegates from the mix would have changed the narrative which, for the entirety of the primary campaign, was Hillary could not lose to Bernie irrespective of the actual vote because essentially all superdelegates had pledged to her (to say nothing of the behind-the-scenes actions of the Democratic party mandarins). I'd expect that affected voting patterns.


Ehh, I don't think the Bernie supporters were discouraged from voting by a few super-delegates. They seem like the "don't tell me the odds!" types. And, frankly, Bernie as the scrappy (but doomed) underdog was the best possible narrative he could have gotten. Bernie was constantly under-estimated and (subsequently) treated with kids gloves the entire election. He was not accused of being a communist, his comments on Venezuela, Cuba, and the USSR were not dredged up, and his weird writings which could be considered as rape-advocacy were not brought up by Hillary camp. Bernie would have not gotten such a kindness in the general. He was an aged socialist from Vermont for goodness sake!

Looks to me like Dukakis would have had a good shot at beating Trump.1 I know that article doesn't actually say that, but if the results were so similar when Trump was up against a historically unpopular Democrat, then it seems to me he'd have pulled it out of the bag. Certainly, Americans didn't dislike him to the extent that they disliked both Trump and Clinton.


Well its more that Dukakis's campaign weaknesses would play into Trump's strengths. Dukakis was seen as a cold technocrat who smiled creepily in tanks and literally didn't care if people murdered his wife. He also notoriously sat out the first few weeks of his campaign- choosing to govern instead, and he was very, very bad at controlling media narratives. Dukakis would certainly come off as more classy then Trump, but Don the Con would certainly have a lock down on the narrative, and could probably paint him as an insider much in the way he painted Hillary. It's an interesting match-up to be sure.

Eck. What is endlessly frustrating to me, is that while we are here prattling about how this year's superdelegate count may have altered the narrative in the primary possibly giving an advantage to one primary candidate- the Republicans are out in the real world wiping cities off the electoral map and directly targeting demographics that oppose them with voter ID laws and by closing polling stations. It's just not even on the same level.
User avatar
Zander
 
Posts: 5737
Joined: 09 Jan 2009, 07:26
Class: Diplomat
Rating: (1000)
Timezone: GMT-5

Re: THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE: Time To Abolish?

Postby ruffdove » 21 Mar 2017, 11:35

Just checking in on this thread now. This is a totally pointless debate for several reasons. But first a fact check: the "majority of the American people" did not vote for Clinton, the majority of those who voted did. This is a crucial point as I'll demonstrate.

The first reason the debate is pointless is because if Trump won the majority of the popular vote and Clinton won in the EC, all the left wing nuts would be nodding their approval at the wisdom of the Founders for having the foresight to have an EC and it would be some right wing nut who started this thread. You can deny this all you want, but nothing anyone says will make me believe I'm wrong about this.

The second reason it's pointless is that the popular vote tells us very little about what the majority of the American people want. Here's why: the very fact that we have an Electoral College impacts both campaign strategies and, more directly, voter turnout dynamics. Trump ignored the overwhelming blue states in his campaign. Clinton ignored the overwhelming red states (and some important blue states too, bafflingly enough, but that's another discussion). This is because Trump knows California and NY are going to Clinton, so why waste time/money? Vice versa for Clinton. But if it was a straight popular vote, suddenly Trump and Clinton have a reason to campaign more broadly... which would almost certainly impact turnout for both to varying degrees.

On top of campaign strategy, you have turnout motivation. There are hundreds of thousands (millions?) of Republicans in upstate NYC whose turnout is severely depressed by the fact that however many of them turn out, they get cancelled by NYC. Same goes for California, Illinois, and even parts of New England (check the red/blue by county map sometime). And yes, there are some Dems in red states who don't bother voting for similar reasons. Is this a wash? An edge to the Republicans of the Democrats? Who knows? We won't know until we have a national popular election. But the bottom line is that by making the election popular vote, you would have a LOT of people who don't bother voting suddenly seeing themselves as having a voice again. Given the very large GOP enclaves in places like NY, CA, and IL, I have a sneaking suspicion that a popular election is actually the LAST thing Democrats want to see.

Anyway - this last election was held with the foreknowledge on all sides that the Electoral College would decide it and simple majority in most states would win all that state's electoral votes. Therefore, the popular vote count means pretty much nothing.
User avatar
ruffdove
 
Posts: 416
Joined: 28 Mar 2015, 04:32
Location: Mid-Atlantic, USA
Class: Star Ambassador
Rating: (1755)
Timezone: GMT-5

Re: THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE: Time To Abolish?

Postby The O » 21 Mar 2017, 15:58

Thanks Ruffdove. You provided further reasons of why the electoral college is not a good system. It causes candidates to ignore large sections of the U.S. population and also causes lower turnouts because people know that their vote doesn't matter. I assume from that post that you also would like to see the electoral college abolished. See... the right and left can agree on things.
User avatar
The O
 
Posts: 2313
Joined: 06 Dec 2008, 01:52
Location: Chicago
Class: Star Ambassador
Rating: (824)
Timezone: GMT-6

Re: THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE: Time To Abolish?

Postby Crunkus » 22 Mar 2017, 04:27

ruffdove wrote:The first reason the debate is pointless is because if Trump won the majority of the popular vote and Clinton won in the EC, all the left wing nuts would be nodding their approval at the wisdom of the Founders for having the foresight to have an EC and it would be some right wing nut who started this thread. You can deny this all you want, but nothing anyone says will make me believe I'm wrong about this.


Image

Prior to this data, the numbers remain consistently strong to amend the Constitution (not divided by party that I can find) across the board since at least 1967. It didn't suddenly spike at 2000, people seem to be pretty down with the EC in general.

I mean, I guess it's possible that many people could change their minds if Clinton won in the EC but not the popular vote. But the left is also still stinging over Gore in 2000, and up to now, the right hasn't been to happy with it either. Do you posit the same effect if the democrats won the NEXT won in the EC and lost the popular vote? How many times do the Republicans have to lose the popular vote and win the presidency will it take to convince you liberals might not change their mind and praise the wisdom of the forefathers in large numbers if it finally falls in their benefit? Is it POSSIBLE the republicans might be disproportionately benefiting from the college? Does it even matter? I mean, when you consider the inertia that just resists Constitutional change by default, those anti-EC numbers prior to the recent spike (phew!) are astounding.

ruffdove wrote:There are hundreds of thousands (millions?) of Republicans in upstate NYC whose turnout is severely depressed by the fact that however many of them turn out, they get cancelled by NYC.


New York State is a closed primary state. That reduces the "registering as a voter in the other party" effect seen in other states considerably to the point where I'm going to ignore it.

2,337,728 registered republicans as of November 1, 2016 in New York State outside New York City.
2,836,693 registered democrats as of November 1, 2016 in New York State outside New York City.
501,976 registered republicans as of November 1, 2016 in New York City.
3,343,041 registered democrats as of November 1, 2016 in New York City.

2,819,534 people voted for Donald Trump in New York State in 2016.
4,556,124 people voted for Hillary Clinton in New York State in 2016.
345,795 people voted for someone else in New York State in 2016.

There are 2,839,704 registered republicans in New York State as of November 1, 2016.
There are 6,179,734 registered democrats in New York State as of November 1, 2016.

Your contention is that voter turnout among those who would of voted for Trump in New York was severely depressed.

Were the depressed turn-out of people that would have voted for Trump but didn't primarily democrats (or perhaps third party in your view?

Now full disclosure, there's about a little under 2 million people registered as blank, independent or a third party outside of New York City as well.

"independents" would apply to this 2 million pool. Of those who voted in the election, 42% voted for Trump (based on exit polling). 49% voted for Clinton (based on exit polling).
Exit polling lists a greater percentage of republicans voting for Clinton than democrats voting for Trump. (2% differential)

Let's say 1 million of the "independents" voted.

Let's say the remaining 1 million did not. Let's say 80% of the non-voting independents would have voted Trump, that's 800k lost votes.

1.5 million democrats didn't vote for Clinton. Tack on 200k of the independents as per our prior generous assumption, fair is fair.

Isn't it more probable in light of these statistics that the depressed turnout effect was more pronounced in the party that was overwhelmingly favoured to win?
I live in a voting precinct in Canada that has voted for the same party in every election in remotely recent memory. I can tell you, as someone who is often inclined to vote for that party, knowing this does not "get out my vote". You've offered a narrative of why someone might not vote in New York State for Trump...but there is an equally compelling narrative of why people wouldn't bother for Hillary, as well as a narrative for someone who didn't want to vote for Hillary but would have never in a thousand years voted for Trump.

I mean it's hard to work these numbers into a situation like you described, with this huge untapped pool of voters for Trump who didn't show up. Maybe I don't see it but you do. But applying your narrative to these statistics seems difficult.

These narratives SEEM right when you are predisposed to believe them, but there is data you can look at to see if there might be reasons that you are wrong. That's always been science's success strategy...they start by trying to prove their theory wrong and they keep trying and invite other people to after sharing their information.

We certainly agree that the popular vote officially means nothing. It does represent the will of the majority of people that voted for the President of the United States though in a quantifiable fashion. It can't be good for the country to regularly hold elections and have that result conflict with the actual result. It can't be good for the country to have that happen too many times in the exact same direction either. It's worth considering. How you think this is going to fly if it happens a third time the same way in the next 20 years?

Citation A (Voter Registration in New York State, localized)
Citation B (election results in New York)
Citation C (exit polling)
Citation D (inclination to amend the electoral college over time)
Citation E (New York State is a closed primary state)
Crunkus
Premium Member
 
Posts: 17645
Joined: 05 Feb 2009, 23:51
Class: Star Ambassador
Rating: 944
Timezone: GMT-5

Previous

Return to Debates

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest