Skip to comments.Abolish the Electoral College
Posted on 08/28/2004 11:34:36 PM PDT by Former Military Chick
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That's nothing. Kerry wins 110% of the vote in Massachusetts.
That means Gore probably had at least 13-14,000 more net votes.
"Electoral College is great, There should be a limit on the number of electors from a state before a state needs to split into two. California is insane, that monster needs to be split into three states."
-- There was actually a movement in Northern California to split off in the early 1990s. It was during the drought, and the heavily-populated Southern half of the state got the legislature to approve higher water prices and water rationing in the North, while Southern Californians had no such restrictions or even higher prices. The two halves of the state are very different. Even in SoCal there's a diofference politically. San Diego is considered a Republican city, while L.A. is teeming with liberals.
My thoughts? Open this area of the Constitution up for actual change, and it'll be a disaster. I don't want to have any sort of bipartisan discussion about the EC issue until the Democrats lose this next election by a wide margin and realize they have to clean house. In fact, I will resist discussion of changes to the EC even if Democrats have won with it. The EC is one of our Founding Fathers' most brilliant ideas, and I am wary of anyone who wants to tinker with it.
"At another point in history, I might tolerate this. As it stands, I call it treason. Did you know that in 1960 JFK lost the popular election, but won it with the Electoral College? Where were the Democrats calling for the EC's dissolution then?"
-- JFK DID win the popular vote, but only with a plurality, not a majority. He would have recieved a majority if it weren't for an electoral quirk in Alabama that cost him .4% of the vote and 6 EVs. In Alabama, the 11 Presidential Electors were directly elected. Due to the result of a state primary, five of the Democratic electors on the general election ballot were loyalists pledged to Kennedy and the remaining six were Free electors, not pledged to the Democratic national ticket. These six Unpledged electors cast their ballots for Harry Byrd (President) and Strom Thurmond (Vice President).
OK class, close but no cigar yet. Article 2 Sec. 1. First, it must be understood, on Nov 2 you will not be voting for a President, you will vote for an Elector, who will presumably, but not necessarily, vote for your Presidential candidate. Yes, there are state laws requiring Electors to vote as the state vote goes, but that is not Constitutional law. Two cases, one from NC, the other from West Virginia actually got to the Supreme Court, in both instances, SCOTUS ducked and ruled the question moot, in that an overwhelming majority had spoken and would be unaffected by a ruling.
Wise choice by the nine wise robes. Article II, sec 1, if there be a tie, the House of Representatives shall "chuse", and should that come up a tie, "then from the five highest on the List the said House shall shall in like manner chuse the President." In this incredibly unlikely event, votes shall be taken by states, each state having one vote. In that event, the person coming in second shall be Vice-President, save in another lotto odds tie, then, and only then does the Senate chime in to elect the Vice-President.
Now, a hypothetical exercise for the class: In Nov. a Republican has been elected by a comfortable margin, no Florida style dispute. Between Nov. and the meeting of the Electoral College in mid Dec. the President-elect dies in a tragic accident. (I am freely cribbing from Jeff Greenfield's underrated book, THE PEOPLE'S CHOICE). The Vice President actually is as dumb as a box of rocks, just to add to the fun. Who is the next President?
You, at the back of the room, stumbling in half drunk from last night and going "Duh, I don't know", you have accidentally got it right. The correct answer is, "NOBODY KNOWS". It will be whoever the body of totally unknown electors chooses, and so long as their choice is a natural born citizen, not a felon, they can elect my garbage man President. Care to argue otherwise, I am looking at my ever so handy copy of the Constitution. We have provided for Presidential disability, permanent or temporary, but NOTHING in the Constitution covers that period between election day and that day on which "Congress may determine the Time of chusing the electors and the day on which they shall give their Votes, which day shall be the same throughout the United States.'
"If it isn't broken... But since they are open to changes, how about: every tax dollar paid by an individual during the year preceding election = 1 vote? Since most legislative business is about taxation and money, he who pays the most should by right have the most say. And whoso feels to be disenfranchised and underrepresented would be easily capable of remedying the situation by paying more taxes and buying himself greater electoral weight. It also could help with the deficits."
-- No, but I do think there should be a poll tax. And to make it politically feasible, we can make it a "reverse poll tax" by paying people not to vote. Basically, every registered voter who doesn't show up at the polls gets $50. Some peopel think that it's immoral to do such a thing, but I think it keeps out people who shouldn't be voting FROM voting. If you're willing to sell your right to vote for $50, you have no business deciding your representation.
"My thoughts? Open this area of the Constitution up for actual change, and it'll be a disaster. I don't want to have any sort of bipartisan discussion about the EC issue until the Democrats lose this next election by a wide margin and realize they have to clean house. In fact, I will resist discussion of changes to the EC even if Democrats have won with it. The EC is one of our Founding Fathers' most brilliant ideas, and I am wary of anyone who wants to tinker with it."
-- what about the merits of the idea?
I can and I'd live with it. I'd hope that it inspires more grass-roots attention to local politics.
If California were to be split up, it would have to be into several viable states -- it can't just be split up. So, how do we split California into smaller states that can still survive on their own?
1. South California: Coastal San Diego, Los Angeles, north up to, but not including Monterey. They get the naval base and the entertainment business. Capital: Los Angeles. Political leaning: mixed.
2. North California: Coastal Monterey, San Francisco Bay Area, Napa, north to Redding and the Oregon Border. They get liberal fantasyland. Capital: Berkeley. Political leaning: Hard Left Democrat.
3. Sierra: Eastern mountainous region that runs up the entire eastern border of California. They get water, tourism, Yosemite, Tahoe, winter skiing. Capital: Sacramento. Political leaning: Conservative Republican.
These are exciting ideas, fellow FReeper!
Totally agree. California, taken alone, would be the fifth largest economy in the world. I do not think the founders of this country intended for a single state to have this much power over the rest of the nation. Splitting it into three states makes perfect sense. Of course, Texas and New York would need to be split in two to keep it consistent. Florida is getting close to needing to be split in two.
The Electoral College is great. Otherwise, candidates would be forced to campaign only in big cities, totally ignoring rural areas and sparsely populated states.
Yes, they would care less about the people who hold onto traditional values. But that's what the perfumed princes and the Boston brahmin want.
So who's going to violate a state's sovereignty and split the state in two? Only the state itself could decide that. But even that wouldn't work: it would encourage EVERY state to infinitely divide and increase their Senate representation.
<< The Electoral College makes Republicans in New York, and Democrats in Utah, superfluous. >>
The Electoral College ensures that the voters of every one of the fifty sovereign states that own operate and comprise these united STATES, gets his say in who will occupy the chief executive's office -- be, as it were, chairman of the federal board.
<< .... in 2000, when George Bush became president even though he lost the popular vote to Al Gore by more than 500,000 votes .... >>
The total number of votes cast for Gore by criminal aliens and other ineligible miscreants by far exceeded 500,000 -- and President Bush won where it counts -- and by 38 states to 12 and, geographically, in 81% of the country, populated by 143 million Americans, to Gore's 19% and 129 million.
The Electoral College is one of the Founding Fathers' very best ideas!
See post #81: Alexander Hamilton's treatise on the Electoral College...
However one may think about the EC - it is definitely more important to get the voting procedure clean! It´s unbearable for the United States that still dead people votes count or that the list of people who are uneligible to vote (like criminals) is hidden from the public in many states. We don´t have these problems in Europe and therefore consider your voting procedure as inferior. You have too many posssibilities to manipulate elections (and I blame the blue and red side for that). I know you will dismiss it, but being registered from birth till death by the city you live in, and bearing a national ID with your address on it has advantages. We receive a notification a few weeks before our election by mail, then we can send it back and ask for a mail vote or we go to the ballots, show our ID or passport, our names on the voter list is marked and we get our vote. When the ballots close, the number of marked names is counted and must be identical with the number of votes. Then the helping hands in the office count the votes - and we take care that at least one of the two big parties is present. With that easy procedure, we never had any claims that there could be a fraud. Oh, and the right to vote can be taken away by a courts decision, but it must be said in the sentence, and for max. 5 years. This (our) system is different to the US -and ... that´s a point why many many people put the finger on you.
The Times' editorital does not answer the one critical question: why should American citizerns entrust the Presidency to the voters of the most populous states?
That would be the consequence of electing the President
by popular vote.
I would vote for keeping the Electoral Collage as it is - and as the founding fathers wished it to be. It is the last vestige of the concept of the united States of America as opposed to the United states of America. It was bad enough when our Senators were changed from representing the States to become nothing more than another House of Representatives.
The election of the President of the united States is too important to leave entirely up to the mob.
California is insane, that monster needs to be split into three states.
Without the EC, candidates would just focus on NY, CA, TX, FL and a handful of coastal mega states.
At least it would have spared us clinton, who won with 42 percent of the popular vote.
Hello .30Carbine! We agree on something: the EC is a superb institution, and Hamilton does indeed explain it well, quoting Alexander Pope: "For forms of government let fools contest -- That which is best administered is best."
Hamilton was also a proponent of the right for individual citizens to keep and bear military-grade weapons.
He was also a defender of the state's neutrality with respect to religious beliefs writing in Federalist 51, " In a free government the security for civil rights must be the same as that for religious rights. It consists in the one case in the multiplicity of interests, and in the other in the multiplicity of sects."
Then explain to the children that the electoral college makes every vote equally importatnt.
That's part of their grand "third way" scheme: convince Americans that we really have direct democracy. Then they'll be able to buy our votes directly, as much as they've been trying to do indirectly for years -- in all parties. This is not a direct democracy, and it won't last for 20 years once it has been converted to such. But the anti-EC people want that. They want it to be "more democratic."
It's a Republic, if we can keep it! --Benjamin Franklin
And how many of those 500,000 "votes" were actually fraudulent ballots, ballots by Deceased-Americans, ballots by Felonious-Americans, etc?
THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE MUST STAY!
The Electoral College's supporters argue that it plays an important role in balancing relations among the states, and protecting the interests of small states. A few years ago, this page was moved by these concerns to support the Electoral College. But we were wrong. The small states are already significantly overrepresented in the Senate, which more than looks out for their interests. And there is no interest higher than making every vote count.
Translation: The New York Slimes is still bitter their algore lost the election in 2000.
How algore almost stole an election .....
Bug-eyed Chad Search
I'm betting Bush takes the popular vote this year, and the electoral college vote, of course !
haha! Yeah, that's a great tagline ya got there Rock!
The word "rights" is now the most abused political word in the whole dictionary.
Once again, another marginally educated New York Times pinhead who think s he's smarter than the Founding Fathers.
I for one agree with the NYT. We should abolish the electoral college and each state should be equally represented. After all, we are a federation of states.
The EC was a compromise between big states and small states. It has been a functional compromise. If the Slimes wants to break the compromise, they should be reminded what the other side wanted too.
IIRC, the NYT favored this when they thought their boy OwlGore was going to win the EC and lose the popular vote. Besides the fact that we'll never know the true vote count nationwide for 2000, due to the dead and other DNC repeat voters, etc.
The small states are already significantly overrepresented in the Senate, which more than looks out for their interests.
Who has the graphic of the BS meter? Repeal the 17th Amendment.
And there is no interest higher than making every vote count.
Bwahaha! Stop it! You're killing me!
I was just setting up a scenario where a candidate could win a majority in 49 states and still lose the election under a popular vote system.
I still believe that the Pres will win this election in a land slide and if even more damning info continues to come out on kerry it will be the biggest land slide in history.
In 1993 just after Bill Clinton became President the DemocRATS in Congress forced the "motor voter" bill through. It requires every state to have voter registration at the same places where states issue drivers licenses. Every applicant for a drivers license must be asked whether he or she wants to register to vote too. The problem is the qualifications for voting are different than those for driving. Quite a number of illegal aliens end up being registered to vote this way.
While drivers licenses are used as picture IDs for many purposes, they aren't not usually required to be shown to prove one's ID when voting. In fact quite a few DemocRAT demagogue lawyers file civil rights suits against states and localities that try to require picture IDs as proof of ID. Observers who ask people for IDs are often served with civil rights lawsuits or even physically intimidated. There are a number of precincts in some inner city strongholds that regularly vote 90%+ for DemocRAT candidates where poll watchers are afraid to go for fear of their lives.
Another thing is that different states have different standards for voting, although much less different than 150 years ago. While there have been constitutional amendments mandating suffrage for men over the age of 21, then women, then citizens over the age of 18, etc. there are still differences between states. The states jealously an rightfully guard their prerogatives to determining those policies. Some states ban convicted felons from voting after serving time in prison. Other states allow convicted felons to vote after they have served their sentences. A handful allow felons still in prison to vote. The Electoral College eliminates the incentives for states to competitively lower their standards. If a prisoner is not allowed to vote for president in one state but is in another, the state with lower standards effectively has a larger impact on the election if it is determined by the popular vote. There are some politicians in California who want to lower the voting age to 14. Without the Electoral College, California would be given a bigger voice in the outcome of presidential election due to the expansion of the proportion of the population eligible to vote.
Finally, you should look more closely at the EC institutions. The EC does not elect it's president by popular vote. In fact there is no EC wide vote of any kind that determines who the next president is. The presidency rotates every six months among the heads over government of the member states. The rotation is on a schedule that is sometimes manipulated for political advantage. One interesting effect is that small countries control the presidency out of proportion to their population in the EC. I wonder why the EC doesn't elect its president by direct election?
The only place the Times can go with this argument is total and forced franchise for all humans - hell, why not include dogs? (cats no!) -- who inhabit not just the States but the territories, of the United States. By its argument, the Times has democracy, that is, majority vote, the goal of government.
It is not. The purpose of government is to secure happiness for the individual. History has shown over and over that pure democracies do not secure this end. Our Founders were very, very clear on history.
We do not have a democracy. As stands, half or less the registered voters vote in national elections. That means, even with the 14th and 15th amendments, making citizens of the former slaves and securing their rights to vote, even with the 19th amendment, giving womins the vote, even with the 23rd amendment giving electoral college representation to the District of Columbia, even with the 24th amendment and the abolishment of polling taxes, and even with the 26th amendment, which lowered the age of the right to vote to 18, even with all these extensions of democracy, we have no majority rule. A majority of the minority yet decide national affairs.
Now, the Times, thinks it's unfair and unbecoming of a democracy that the electoral college splits this majority into historically-defined geogrphic divisions. Why draw the line there? For true, pure democracy, we must not just allow, we must require human resident of the country (and dogs!) to vote. There must not be a single national decision that is not approved by the people.
Temporal representation, such as the 4-year presidential, 2-year House, and 6-year Senate terms, is another barrier to pure democracy. This, too, must not stand. Democratic government must respond to the people's will -- a majority of all of them, or it fails.
Back in 1912, when these stupid ideas of direct democracy were rampant, pushed ahead by the wildly popular and wildly-dangerous ex-President, Theodore Roosevelt, his Republican opponent, William Howard Taft had to argue against the same sort of stupidity as the Times is giving us today. Taft said,
It was long ago recognized that direct action of a temporary majority of the existing electorate must be limited by fundamental law; that is by a Constitution intended to protect the individual and the minority of the electorate and the non-voting majority of the people against the unjust or the arbitrary action of the majority of the electorate.He wasn't speaking of the electoral college, but it yet stands as a bulwark against precisely those dangers.
Finally, you should look more closely at the EU institutions. The EU does not elect it's president by popular vote. In fact there is no EU wide vote of any kind that determines who the next president is. The presidency rotates every six months among the heads over government of the member states. The rotation is on a schedule that is sometimes manipulated for political advantage. One interesting effect is that small countries control the presidency out of proportion to their population in the EU. I wonder why the EU doesn't elect its president by direct election?
Heck, they could offer all of the voters in your ten counties 100 acres of vacationland out in fly over country.
1) No one will ever win the EC but lose by even a significant though small margin, say 3-5%. It's never happened and never will.
2) The Founding Fathers basically wanted close elections, or electoral ties, to be won by the candidate that won the most states. In baseball, ties go to the runner. In Presidential elections, ties go to the candidate with the widest appeal across all states, large and small. This means that any close election, with each candidate within 1-2%, can go either way.
3) There has also been a longstanding sense that voting standards are different in every state. You can't have a national election without a common standard for eligibility, determination of flawed ballots, etc. The Constitution defers to states much of the right for determining eligibility -- of course this was modified by the Voting Rights Act in the 1960s to eliminate disenfranchisment of Blacks.
By the way, analyses have been done that prove your point. Without his huge majorities in two single cities -- Los Angeles and New York -- Gore would have lost the popular vote by 2,000,000. That means effectively that LA and NYC would have determined the election outcome.
These libs can whine for abolishing the EC all they want. It's never going to happen.
Abolishing the EC will require a Constitutional Amendment, which requires the support of the very states they wish to disenfranchise through their action. It's a pipe dream.
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