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Passions in Poetry

Electoral College?

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Brad
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since 08-20-99
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Jejudo, South Korea


0 posted 11-10-2000 09:26 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Curious why no one has brought this up yet. Perhaps everybody is so saturated with the question that the last thing they want is to talk about it here?

Still, what do people think?

With no electoral college, Gore wins.

It seems to me that it would also move the center of American politics more to the left.

Or is it that we live in an age of celebrity where the candidate with more status -- dare I say charisma -- will win?  Hilary and the dead man immediately come to mind -- does anybody know of an election where the person with less celebrity status but more experience won the election?  Anybody know of an election where the person who spent less money (and no other 'gimmick')won the election?

Why was the election so close when even a magazine like the Economist argued that we had a real choice
in this election?

Is it that American people aren't sure what to do or is that they don't think it matters -- they vote for the person who stands out, not the person they think will do the best job?

One man, one vote is an interesting idea is it really what we want when it seems quite obvious that most people living in California and most people living in Nevada have pretty different ideas about the country's goals. Theoretically, one man, one vote would force the ideas of California on the people of Nevada.

Should we move to the individual or remain in the realm of states' rights?

Okay, I've simplified some of this -- feel free to go into more detail if you wish.

Thanks,
Brad

Jamie
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since 06-26-2000
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1 posted 11-10-2000 09:40 PM       View Profile for Jamie   Email Jamie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Jamie's Home Page   View IP for Jamie

The Electoral College, while outdated would serve well with a few updates. The votes should follow the individual precincts, thus if Gore had taken 11 and Bush had taken 12 and had taken the overall vote in Florida, Bush would get 14 and Gore 11.

As for who garners which voter, I feel it is a matter of haves vs have-nots for the biggest part, as evidenced by the fact that democratic candidates % of the vote drops with each step up in voter income.


Jamie

Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito. - Virgil.
"Yield thou not to adversity, but press on the more bravely".

Ron
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2 posted 11-10-2000 11:09 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Two states already do it that way, Jamie. But if you've ever been involved with local politics, you know that redistricting is a not uncommon ploy for shifting the balance of power. The obvious problem with allowing the precincts to dictate electoral votes is that there is no hard definition of exactly what constitutes a precinct.

Considering how few times in history there's been a discrepancy between the popular and electoral results, I honestly don't see it as a big deal. Certainly not a big enough deal to spend the millions of dollars it would take for a Constitutional Amendment. The Electoral College no longer serves its original purpose (insuring the people didn't screw up too badly), but nonetheless helps to insure campaigns aren't concentrated entirely on large population centers.
jbouder
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3 posted 11-11-2000 01:59 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Brad:

The question is an interesting one but it happens to be one of those questions where the answer is ultimately already determined for us.

Each state has a number of electoral votes based on the total number of senators and representatives it has in Washington, DC.  The number of representatives is determined by population and the number of senators is two per state, regardless of population.

What this does, in essense, is give states with proportionately small populations, more influence.  As Ron mentioned, dispensing with the Electoral College would require a Constitutional Amendment, a process that happens to require 2/3 ratification by States.  Do you think states with lesser population are going to be willing to sacrifice even a small amount of influence they carry over a national election?  Not even on your birthday!

Hillary knows this, btw.  The woman loves the camera and is basically doing this as a publicity stunt.

So, basically, arguing about whether the Electoral College has outlived its usefulness is moot.  The College is here to stay, for better or for worse.  

Also, considering the vote recount controversy in Florida alone, I would hate to see such a recount controversy on a nationwide scale.

Good questions, Brad.

Jim

Local Rebel
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4 posted 11-11-2000 03:47 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

It's important to remember that the intent of the electoral college was to put in place an extremely slow and deliberate process for electing a president.

The framers of the constitution wanted a weak and slow moving government --especially at the Federal level... having lived under the tyranny of a bad king they didn't want to live under the potential tyranny of majority rule...

The electoral college was instituted to check the passions of the people so that extremely eloquent speakers and publicity hounds didn't turn it into a popularity contest...

In some ways the states that have passed laws binding electors to vote for their stated candidates have circumvented the original intent...

Also -- alowing states the two electors representing the two senators gives states more equal power to prevent regional locks from forming on the presidency...

So... yes it is here to stay -- and we have a system that works
Ron
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5 posted 11-11-2000 05:25 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

I have to admit, LR, your interpretation of the original purpose behind the EC was a bit more diplomatic than mine. Ever considered entering politics?  
Jamie
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6 posted 11-12-2000 01:42 AM       View Profile for Jamie   Email Jamie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Jamie's Home Page   View IP for Jamie

I only wish the media would recognize it as such Jim  


Jamie

Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito. - Virgil.
"Yield thou not to adversity, but press on the more bravely".

Brad
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7 posted 11-12-2000 08:51 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

This was posted by Erik Wikman on the internet and I'm pretty sure it's accurate. I'm quoting only part of his article:

"Most people believe that the only way to change the voting system is to pass an amendment to the constitution. There are 39 generally smaller states in the US. These states hold a majority in the senate, and also hold a majority in the ratifying of the constitution. The electoral college gives the proportional advantage to the smaller states. Thus it would be near impossible to pass an amendment to take away power from the smaller states and give that power to a direct popular election. But this is not the only way to change the electoral college system.

The constitution clearly states that the choice of electors is to be made by the states. And court cases have named it constitutional for the states to require electors to vote one way or another according to their pledge(Glennon 137). Thus an easier, but just as effective, method of change is called "Allocating the Electoral Vote." In this method the states hold a poplar election and the electoral votes are allocated by percentage. Thus if a state had ten electoral votes, and candidate A received 70% of the popular vote, and candidate B received 18% of the vote, and candidate C received 12% of the vote, then candidate A would receive seven electoral votes, B would get two electoral votes, and C would get one vote. In a worse case scenario, a president could be elected with a minimum of 42% of the popular vote. While this is not as accurate as a real direct vote, it is much more accurate than the current general ticket system. The reason this system does not require a constitutional amendment is because it can be imposed on an individual state basis. In order for this system to work properly, it must also be part of state legislation to require the electors to vote on what they have pledged to vote.

I also believe that a majority of electors should not be required, just a system of whoever has the most votes wins. If there is a tie, my expensive model would be to have a re-election with only the two candidates that tied. It is also possible to just redistribute the votes using only the two main candidates and then recount the votes. I do not think it is the House’s job to solve voting disputes.

I think the best strategy to getting a change in a 200 year old system is to start small, test out a new system on a smaller basis, and if people like it, it will spread and eventually take over the national policy. At that time it would become an amendment."

It may seem strange to offer possibilities for change when I don't think we should change (and nobody seems to want complete abolishment of the electoral college here anyway) but I just wanted to point out possibilities.

By the way, I'm not a Bush fan.

I'm not a Gore fan.  

I don't think population factors should be the sole determinant of government elections or policy. Something that those on the left flirt with at their peril.


Brad
jbouder
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8 posted 11-13-2000 07:53 AM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

So, Brad, since neither won the elections, I suppose you are one of the only people in the world who is genuinely happy with the outcome?  

Jim

P.S.  More later on your reply.
jbouder
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9 posted 11-13-2000 12:27 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

http://www.geocities.com/statechurch/e2000map.jpg

Just curious if anyone else has seen this.
Brad
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since 08-20-99
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10 posted 11-16-2000 05:00 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

It's interesting that the majority on this thread seems to support the electoral college but the American people seem to want it abolished.

Why is that?

Brad
Not A Poet
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11 posted 11-16-2000 06:06 PM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet

Brad, I'm not sure you have acurately interpreted the responses. I think the consensus is that the EC is not going away, whether it is a good thing or not. I have always felt that it is not an absolutely fair system, but neither is our legislature. Neither provide for "one man, one vote." As you know, both were compromises established by the authors of the constitution, necessary to get the thing accepted in the first place.

Although I don't believe it is truly fair, both systems make my vote a tiny bit more significant than that of my friend jbouder. This is because I live in a much smaller state than he does. We both have representatives proportional to our state's populations. But, we both have 2 senators, giving me more influence than him. Now if it comes right down to the wire, I really don't see the smaller states giving up that privilege. In fact, when it comes down to the constitutional ammendment which would be required, my vote counts exactly the same as his. Since my small states far outnumber his large ones, I just don't see how he would ever get a 2/3 majority to get this changed.

Sorry to pick on you here Jim and, of course, no personal implication was intended as I have not heard you express any desire to "correct the system."

Anyway, that's how it is and, regardless of how unfair or improper it may be, I suspect it will forever remain as such.

Pete
jbouder
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12 posted 11-17-2000 12:27 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Brad:

I think your observation that the American people want to abolish the Electoral College is not entirely accurate.  Once both sides of the case are heard, my thinking is that you would have many people who initially expressed a desire to dump the EC change their minds a opt for keeping it for the reasons Pete mentioned.

I have no problem with Pete's vote having greater proportional value than my vote (however minute that proportional difference happens to be).  I suppose that is because I am not on the same Nietchzian power trip as Hillary Clinton.

Brad, your one-person/one-vote scenerio where electoral votes are divided  based on state-by-state popular vote has a number of problems.

A couple are: How many decimal places to you split fractions of electoral votes?  Do you round up or round down?  What is a 0.66667 elector?

I'm a little short on time now so I will have to sum it up like this ... any popular vote system is only going to complicate the voting process.  Given the back-and-forth nature of this 2000 election, do we really want to complicate the process any more than it already is?

Gotta go.

Jim

P.S.  No offense taken, Pete.  
Jannel
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since 01-18-2000
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13 posted 11-17-2000 03:52 PM       View Profile for Jannel   Email Jannel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Jannel

two of the original reasons behind the electoral college are now gone with the advancement of our society.  when this country was established, travel was difficult. often, going to vote would be an entire day's journey, if not longer.  those with the time to take out of work, and those with better transportation (i.e. the rich) would have been favored by a direct popular vote.  also, when our voting procedures were drawn up, media was slow, and not readily available to all citizens. today, granted, we get too much election coverage, but it was quite possible for a common citizen to know very little about the candidates.
i think that this whole situation is good, in that it makes us reconsider our stance on the issue of the electoral college system. it may not need to be changed, but the current validity of the system in our modern society definitely should be reconsidered.
 
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