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Direct Election of President Considered by Founding Fathers
What Would The Founders Think? ^ | 1/26/11 | Michael Newton

Posted on 01/26/2011 5:09:06 AM PST by MichaelNewton

Many today want to get rid of the electoral college method of choosing our president. For example, there is a book called Why the Electoral College Is Bad for America. It has quite a lot of good information in it, though the author draws the wrong conclusion. Or search Google for “electoral college failure” and browse through some of the 333,000 results. Attacks on the electoral college system accelerated after the 2000 election in which Al Gore won more popular votes but George Bush won the electoral college. The Founding Fathers considered, debated, and voted on different methods of choosing a president during the Constitutional Convention of 1787 before choosing the one they thought best.

Deciding how to select or elect the president was one of the most difficult decisions the Founding Fathers had to make during the Convention. They held at least sixteen votes on this one issue...

(Excerpt) Read more at whatwouldthefoundersthink.com ...


TOPICS: Government; History; Politics
KEYWORDS: constitution; electoralcollege; foundingfathers
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1 posted on 01/26/2011 5:09:12 AM PST by MichaelNewton
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To: MichaelNewton

Getting rid of the Electoral College is a pet project of George Soros.


2 posted on 01/26/2011 5:13:49 AM PST by La Lydia
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To: MichaelNewton

The electoral college is constitutional and as such should be kept and in tact.


3 posted on 01/26/2011 5:14:15 AM PST by Ev Reeman
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To: MichaelNewton
The electoral college was phony Federalism from the start. I've never read a single article that makes a case for how the end result differs from direct election.

Isn't the vote for president in each state democratic? And isn't each states electoral power relative to its numbers? Then what's the difference?

We may get the occasional popular/electoral schism, but basically it's the same thing. Defenders base their arguments on tradition and appeal to authority--the founders wanted it, so it must be good.

I don't think it makes a difference either way. The electoral system merely puts federalist lipstick on a nationalist pig.

4 posted on 01/26/2011 5:19:08 AM PST by Huck (The antifederalists were right.)
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To: Ev Reeman

Its probably the only thing that has prevented a second civil war so far. Presidents would be elected by a handfull of far left cities and flyover country would be boiling.


5 posted on 01/26/2011 5:19:15 AM PST by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: MichaelNewton

The subject of the Electoral College and it’s role in preserving the framework of the Republic is a good and suitable subject for discussion, particularly on this forum.

Why then, do you deny us the chance to read your thoughts in their entirety? Would it not be fitting to post your entire essay here?


6 posted on 01/26/2011 5:21:49 AM PST by shibumi (I am the Astro-Creep, demolition style an American Freak!)
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To: MichaelNewton

So many people are clueless about our system of government.

The USA is a democratically elected Constitutional Republic.

Did anyone take civics in high school???


7 posted on 01/26/2011 5:22:26 AM PST by Le Chien Rouge
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To: MichaelNewton

Anyone who wants to completely kill whatever sovereignty and power the states have over the feds will be on board to eliminate the electoral college. Count me out.


8 posted on 01/26/2011 5:23:21 AM PST by Wolfstar ("If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his friend." Abraham Lincoln)
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To: shibumi

One state one vote, if they win the election in that state then they recieve it’s one and only vote.


9 posted on 01/26/2011 5:25:03 AM PST by Dusty Road
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To: stephenjohnbanker; Grampa Dave; TommyDale; sickoflibs; Libloather; hoosiermama; STARWISE; GOPJ; ...

Electoral College 2012

WIKI The constitutional theory behind the indirect election of both the President and Vice President of the United States is that while the Congress is popularly elected by the people, the President and Vice President are elected to be executives of a federation of independent states.

In the Federalist No. 39, James Madison argued that the Constitution was designed to be a mixture of state-based and population-based government. The Congress would have two houses: the state-based Senate and the population-based House of Representatives. Meanwhile, the President would be elected by a mixture of the two modes.

Additionally, in the Federalist No. 10, James Madison argued against "an interested and overbearing majority" and the "mischiefs of faction" in an electoral system. He defined a faction as "a number of citizens whether amounting to a majority or minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community."

Republican government (i.e., federalism, as opposed to direct democracy), with its varied distribution of voter rights and powers, would countervail against factions.

Madison further postulated in the Federalist No. 10 that the greater the population and expanse of the Republic, the more difficulty factions would face in organizing due to such issues as sectionalism.

10 posted on 01/26/2011 5:25:18 AM PST by Liz (There's a new definition of bipartisanship in Washington -- it's called "former member.")
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To: Wolfstar

Exactly.


11 posted on 01/26/2011 5:26:06 AM PST by Ev Reeman
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To: Huck

Your lack of understanding of the function of the Electoral College is profound.

Using just a raw, direct election means that the biggest population centers get to dictate who the POTUS is. In modern America, that means that the coastal, liberal, urban voters would get their marxist choice every time and the other 47 or so states would mean nothing.

Without going into specific detail, the Electoral College makes it possible for the minority populations of the “flyover” states to have at least a shot at having a say in the outcome, meaning that the POTUS is chosen by a consensus of as many states as possible and not just the most heavily populated urban areas.

This brilliant concept is EXTREMELY important to the health of the Republic and is why George Soros and all other marxists want the Electoral College to disappear so that the marxist urban centers can always choose the POTUS based simply on raw population size and desire to redistribute wealth to those population centers.


12 posted on 01/26/2011 5:32:54 AM PST by paulycy (Liberals suck all the joy out of America. Let's make them stop.)
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To: MichaelNewton
Deciding how to select or elect the president was one of the most difficult decisions the Founding Fathers had to make during the Convention.

That sentence implies that the founders had the power to simply decide how to pick the president. They didn't, since the states formed the union and not the other way around.

The founders had to find a method that was acceptable to the original states (or colonies), or the founding would not have taken place.

13 posted on 01/26/2011 5:35:07 AM PST by Will88
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To: MichaelNewton

Although the author didn’t say it specifically, I think one of the benefits of the electoral college is that it gives smaller states a well-defined role and vote. It has often been observed that if the President were popularly elected, candidates would pay the most attention to the largest centers of population in their campaigning. Worse, the effect of concentrated vote fraud in a couple of areas... say, Chicago and Philadelphia, would have a national effect, rather than “just” a statewide effect. (I’m well aware that Florida and Chicago voting irregularities affected Bush-Gore and Nixon-Kennedy, but they did so in their respective states.)


14 posted on 01/26/2011 5:35:34 AM PST by Pearls Before Swine (/s, in case you need to ask)
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To: MichaelNewton
(Excerpt) Read more at whatwouldthefoundersthink.com ...

Why not just post it here?

15 posted on 01/26/2011 5:38:26 AM PST by humblegunner (Blogger Overlord)
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To: Will88
The founders had to find a method that was acceptable to the original states (or colonies), or the founding would not have taken place.

That's a very good and important point. The individual states were there to make sure their own interests were represented in the way the choice would be made.

Any changes to the system should be made in the same way, with the small states having input so that their interests are protected and not bullied out of the way by the big, marxist urban centers.

16 posted on 01/26/2011 5:40:33 AM PST by paulycy (Liberals suck all the joy out of America. Let's make them stop.)
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To: paulycy

We would be a full on marxist nation by now.

Gotta figure, even Obama isn’t far enough left for New York, San fransico, L.A., and Boston.


17 posted on 01/26/2011 5:40:51 AM PST by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: Ev Reeman
The electoral college is constitutional and as such should be kept and in tact.

Agreed. For the simple question of "why should the vote of the island of Manhattan cancel the vote of the entire state of Wyoming?"

The Founding Fathers were nothing short of brilliant.

18 posted on 01/26/2011 5:40:51 AM PST by Puppage (You may disagree with what I have to say, but I shall defend to your death my right to say it)
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To: paulycy
Using just a raw, direct election means that the biggest population centers get to dictate who the POTUS is.

That's how it works anyway. Haven't you seen the county by county maps? In each state, the majority of the votes of that state come from the heavily populated urban centers. Hence, the electoral votes of each state are weighted in favor of the urban centers.

the Electoral College makes it possible for the minority populations of the “flyover” states to have at least a shot at having a say in the outcome, meaning that the POTUS is chosen by a consensus of as many states as possible and not just the most heavily populated urban areas.

Rubbish. How are electoral votes determined? By population. Hence California has 55 electoral votes, and Montana has 3. How is that any extra advantage to Montana? It isn't. It's six in one, half-dozen the other.

This brilliant concept is EXTREMELY important to the health of the Republic

No, it's actually pretty meaningless.

19 posted on 01/26/2011 5:41:35 AM PST by Huck (The antifederalists were right.)
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To: paulycy

Under the Electoral College system it is theoretically possible for a president to be elected by somewhere around 25% of the vote, with about 75% of the vote going to his losing opponent.

All you need is 51% in each of the states that make up a bare majority in the EC, and near 100% in each of the remainder for the opponent.

Won’t ever happen, of course. However, since most Americans believe the president’s legitimate authority derives from popular approval, not obscure 18th century political compromises, it seems reasonable to me that considering an amendment to modify the selection proces is not unreasonable.

That also won’t happen, of course, as it requires the states and interests that get disproportionate influence from the EC to acquiesce in their own disempowerment.

Personally, the amendment I am most in favor of would make amending the Constitution easier to accomplish. Then perhaps we could get back to running our government on a truly constitutional basis rather than the present euphemisms and pretenses.


20 posted on 01/26/2011 5:41:56 AM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: cripplecreek
Gotta figure, even Obama isn’t far enough left for New York, San fransico, L.A., and Boston.

Honestly, I think that his is, and he wants to drag the entire country there as fast as possible if he only could.

That's what makes him so dangerous. He is a capable enemy.

21 posted on 01/26/2011 5:42:30 AM PST by paulycy (Liberals suck all the joy out of America. Let's make them stop.)
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To: cripplecreek
Presidents would be elected by a handfull of far left cities and flyover country would be boiling.

How's that work, exactly?

Gore won overwhelmingly in these areas and just barely squeaked out a victory in the popular vote. In the vast majority of presidential elections to date the popular vote and the EC went for the same candidate.

If the election was by popular vote, election strategies would change, but I don't see either party gaining an overwhelming advantage from the change.

At present the election is in practice decided by less than 10 states, where the vast majority of the campaigning takes place.

22 posted on 01/26/2011 5:46:43 AM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: Puppage
why should the vote of the island of Manhattan cancel the vote of the entire state of Wyoming?"

It does anyway. NY gets 20 electoral votes. Wyoming gets 3. NY gets roughly 7 votes to Wyoming's 1 vote. Meanwhile, NY state has a population of roughly 20 million, with NYC accounting for close to half of that. That means that NYC alone accounts for roughly half of NY state's electoral votes, which would equal 3.5--more than the entire state of Wyoming.

Electoral votes are proportional, and each state's votes are dominated by the urban areas. So how exactly does the electoral college help Wyoming?

23 posted on 01/26/2011 5:46:47 AM PST by Huck (The antifederalists were right.)
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To: MichaelNewton

Terribly bad idea to remove the electoral college. Corrupt Presidential candidates would limit their campaign promises and paybacks to highly populated metropolitan areas (where their investment efforts have the greatest impact). Within a few election cycles the vast majority of the nation's population would be subservient to a handful of large cities where the inhabitants enjoy special rules and privileges. Definitely not the democratic republic our Founders envisioned.


24 posted on 01/26/2011 5:48:43 AM PST by so_real ( "The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.")
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To: Huck
I don't think it makes a difference either way.

It makes a huge difference. Each state has a number of electors to the EC equal to their number of representatives plus their number of senators.

The EC has the same weighting as Congress, where the House is based on population, and the Senate is two senators per state regardless of population.

If you really believe what you posted, you should also advocate abolishing the US Senate. And Al Gore would have been president in 2000 without the EC.

25 posted on 01/26/2011 5:50:00 AM PST by Will88
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To: Sherman Logan
The only way for less-populated states to have any real national pull would be for the system to actually be federal--all states EQUALLY represented in the general government. That's how it was before the Constitution.

When the framers nationalized and consolidated the Union into one government, they obliterated federalism. The big states all demanded, and got, proportional representation.

It would make sense for like-minded, similar states to band together. Thought bubble----what if the Dakotas, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas united into one state? Then they might have some pull.

26 posted on 01/26/2011 5:50:28 AM PST by Huck (The antifederalists were right.)
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To: Sherman Logan
However, since most Americans believe the president’s legitimate authority derives from popular approval, not obscure 18th century political compromises, i

What people believe, as opposed to what is true and correct, is not the issue. There are real reasons that the contract between the states and the Federal Government in distributing and assigning power are the way they are.

The current public school system is failing us in teaching this generation just why things are the way they are. THAT is what needs to be changed, not the brilliant mechanisms of the U.S. Constitution that created the greatest Republic that the world has ever seen.

I would even respectfully go so far as to suggest that perhaps even you have been "dumbed down" in your education if you don't see the justice and protection against the tyranny-of-the-majority inherent in the system that the Founding Fathers have built. It is not always apparent on first glance, but a good study of it shows how the genius of the ages has been brought to bear on the question of how best man is to rule himself.

Equal protection under the law and freedom from tyranny of all kinds is VERY difficult to provide. And tinkering with this system ALWAYS makes it worse once you start looking carefully at it "under the hood."

27 posted on 01/26/2011 5:51:36 AM PST by paulycy (Liberals suck all the joy out of America. Let's make them stop.)
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To: Huck
what if the Dakotas, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas united into one state? Then they might have some pull.

Perfectly constitutional, if the states and Congress agree.

How these states would increase their clout by reducing their representation in the Senate from 10 to 2, and their votes in the EC by 8 requires math that is beyond my skill level.

28 posted on 01/26/2011 5:54:32 AM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: Huck
It does anyway. NY gets 20 electoral votes. Wyoming gets 3. NY gets roughly 7 votes to Wyoming's 1 vote

I am not referring to the number of electoral votes of the 2 states, or the ratio of votes per state. At the moment, Wyoming does of electoral votes, be they only 3, but take away the EC and they have nothing.

It's difficult for me to express what I am trying to say with the written word.

29 posted on 01/26/2011 5:55:41 AM PST by Puppage (You may disagree with what I have to say, but I shall defend to your death my right to say it)
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To: paulycy
contract between the states and the Federal Government

A common delusion. The Constitution is a pact among "the people of the United States," not between the states and the federal government. The preamble was carefully worded.

30 posted on 01/26/2011 5:56:15 AM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: Will88
Each state has a number of electors to the EC equal to their number of representatives plus their number of senators.

Since every state gets the +2, it's meaningless. That leaves proportionality, which means big states' power is tied to their population. So it's no difference at all. Big states dominate, and the cities dominate within the states.

31 posted on 01/26/2011 5:57:00 AM PST by Huck (The antifederalists were right.)
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To: Huck
The electoral college provides a dampening effect on the overall population.

By population alone, CA would generate 12% of the total vote, while MT would be 0.3%

By elector, CA provides 10% of the total and MT 0.6%

It's not much individually, but it provides for a level of influence from smaller states.

32 posted on 01/26/2011 6:00:22 AM PST by catman67
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To: Puppage
Wyoming does of electoral votes, be they only 3, but take away the EC and they have nothing.

No, they'd have exactly what they have now--virtually no say at all in their president.

If my math is correct, under the electoral college, Wyoming represents .005 of the electoral college---half of one percent. They simply don't matter.

33 posted on 01/26/2011 6:02:21 AM PST by Huck (The antifederalists were right.)
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To: Sherman Logan
A common delusion. The Constitution is a pact among "the people of the United States," not between the states and the federal government. The preamble was carefully worded.

You're right of course. I always think of it as the States representing the People. Maybe I should have been more particular.

34 posted on 01/26/2011 6:02:30 AM PST by paulycy (Liberals suck all the joy out of America. Let's make them stop.)
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To: catman67

Half of one percent is totally meaningless. It makes NO difference.


35 posted on 01/26/2011 6:03:49 AM PST by Huck (The antifederalists were right.)
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To: Will88

You’ve got it backwards. I would keep the Senate, and eliminate the House—and the executive.


36 posted on 01/26/2011 6:05:16 AM PST by Huck (The antifederalists were right.)
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To: MichaelNewton

Democrats always want to get rid of the Electoral College when they have a chump loser in at the helm.

It makes the cheatin’ so much easier.


37 posted on 01/26/2011 6:06:15 AM PST by dforest
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To: paulycy

There are lots of people who think the States created the Constitution. Even (perhaps especially) on this site.

In fact, of course, the sovereign people withdrew some elements of the sovereignty they had delegated to the states and delegated those portions instead to the federal government, leaving the remaining elements with the states, creating the mixed system we call federalism.

That this system is commonly abused doesn’t change what it is.


38 posted on 01/26/2011 6:09:16 AM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: Sherman Logan
That this system is commonly abused doesn’t change what it is.

True, just like the Constitution. And the Electoral College.

39 posted on 01/26/2011 6:12:10 AM PST by paulycy (Liberals suck all the joy out of America. Let's make them stop.)
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To: Huck
So how exactly does the electoral college help Wyoming?

WY has about .5M people, out of a country of 300m or so. In a popular election they control 1 vote in 600 for president, or about .16%.

WY has 3 votes in the EC out of 535 or about .56%.

WY has little clout in the EC, but each WY voter has about 3.5x the clout he would in a popular election. The clout of the inhabitants of the bigger states is reduced accordingly.

40 posted on 01/26/2011 6:15:47 AM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: Sherman Logan

You honestly think the difference between less than 1% and even less than 1% makes a difference? It doesn’t. It’s a rounding error.


41 posted on 01/26/2011 6:18:53 AM PST by Huck (The antifederalists were right.)
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To: Huck
Hence, the electoral votes of each state are weighted in favor of the urban centers.

Weighted in favor and a drop-dead runaway are two different things. I believe that the difference is significant. You seem to diminish the significance to nothing.

If there is no significance, then why bother changing it? Why does it bother you?

What is your true agenda in calling for its abolition?

42 posted on 01/26/2011 6:21:49 AM PST by paulycy (Liberals suck all the joy out of America. Let's make them stop.)
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To: Huck
You’ve got it backwards. I would keep the Senate, and eliminate the House—and the executive.

Based on my response to your nonsensical post #4, that response is even more nonsensical.

So, do you still think this

I don't think it makes a difference either way.

about the Electoral College?

And

The electoral college was phony Federalism from the start. I've never read a single article that makes a case for how the end result differs from direct election.

Can't say I blame you for wanting to pretend you never made those statements.

43 posted on 01/26/2011 6:23:12 AM PST by Will88
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To: Sherman Logan
In fact, of course, the sovereign people withdrew some elements of the sovereignty they had delegated to the states and delegated those portions instead to the federal government, leaving the remaining elements with the states, creating the mixed system we call federalism.

That's all true, but it's a lot of semantics. The people didn't vote on the Constitution. Delegates to state conventions voted on it. In other words, the politicians of the day voted on it.

You are correct to point out the "We the People". It's an important distinction. The Constitution consolidated the states into one republic. The states lost their sovereignty when the Constitution was ratified. What powers they retained they did so only at the pleasure of the national system.

44 posted on 01/26/2011 6:23:35 AM PST by Huck (The antifederalists were right.)
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To: Will88

What are you babbling about? What statement am I pretending I didn’t make?


45 posted on 01/26/2011 6:24:39 AM PST by Huck (The antifederalists were right.)
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To: paulycy
If there is no significance, then why bother changing it?

I don't care if it gets changed or not. I would probably lean towards getting rid of it, just so the phony facade would be gone and the reality of our system would be made more obvious.

What is your true agenda in calling for its abolition?

I didn't and don't call for its abolition. I'm merely pointing out that it's totally irrelevant. I make similar arguments regarding the 17th amendment. Some people seem to think that change mattered, when in reality it didn't. It was phony federalism from the start.

46 posted on 01/26/2011 6:28:13 AM PST by Huck (The antifederalists were right.)
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To: Huck
What are you babbling about? What statement am I pretending I didn’t make?

Lol, why not elaborate on your #4. Perhaps you have more enlightenment to offer on the subject of the Electoral College.

Talk about babble. Lol.

47 posted on 01/26/2011 6:29:53 AM PST by Will88
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To: Will88

What is there to elaborate on? I think it’s pretty clearly written.


48 posted on 01/26/2011 6:31:40 AM PST by Huck (The antifederalists were right.)
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To: Huck
I didn't and don't call for its abolition. I'm merely pointing out that it's totally irrelevant.

OK, gotcha. I misunderstood. :0)

49 posted on 01/26/2011 6:32:32 AM PST by paulycy (Liberals suck all the joy out of America. Let's make them stop.)
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To: Huck
Since every state gets the +2, it's meaningless. That leaves proportionality, which means big states' power is tied to their population. So it's no difference at all. Big states dominate, and the cities dominate within the states.

You don't know when to quit.

But how do you assess the Algore administration's performance after their victory in the 2000 presidential race?

50 posted on 01/26/2011 6:33:32 AM PST by Will88
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