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Old October 26 2012, 10:04 PM   #31
Pavonis
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Re: Electoral College; Yes or No?

For a politician running for office, by definition the problems of a more populous state are more important.
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Old October 26 2012, 10:06 PM   #32
RoJoHen
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Re: Electoral College; Yes or No?

Right, but what if they weren't? If each state was only afforded a single electoral vote, the politicians would be forced to make an effort in places they may otherwise avoid.
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Old October 26 2012, 10:34 PM   #33
gturner
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Re: Electoral College; Yes or No?

The smaller states wanted one vote per state, the larger states wanted to vote by population. So they compromised.

One great result of this compromise is that it greatly reduces the national effects of varying voter participation rates in different states, due to differing election laws, traditions, habits, and of course fraud. Right now election laws in the 49 states where you don't reside are of little concern to you, compared to the concerns of voters in those states. There's no incentive for corrupt state officials to generate votes past the 50% they need to win their state.

In contrast, if the four largest states (with a third of the US population) got in a voter fraud or turnout war, their shenanigans with the half of their population that currently doesn't turn out could produce a 16 point shift. Just beating the bushes to increase their turnout by 10% would produce more votes than are in the smallest 11 states combined. And of course this would also apply in reverse, with votes in sparse, hard-to-supervise rural areas falling like rain, mysteriously exceeding their official populations by wide margins, and investigations would be about as productive as sending a Texas preacher to Chicago or Philly to try and uncover the abuses, or sending a Boston Kennedy to Montana to try and get a survivalist rancher to spill the beans on why his cows all voted Republican.
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Old October 27 2012, 01:53 AM   #34
Gaith
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Re: Electoral College; Yes or No?

gturner wrote: View Post
So you'd also argue that we should abolish the US Senate and have the UN vote by population, so India and China will make all the decisions for the rest of the world?
Certainly, I'd abolish the Senate. The UN, I'm not sure; I'd have to look into it more deeply, but to say that the General Assembly "makes all the world's decisions" is, uh, not remotely close to true.

I'll throw the question back to you, though: was the aforementioned Supreme Court decision wrong? Should a backwoods New York state voter be counted more heavily than a Bronxer?



Pavonis wrote: View Post
Let's say the Electoral College is abolished, and the US Presidency is elected by popular vote. Where do the candidates go for votes?
Short answer: everywhere.

Longer answer: we've got these things called a media and an Internet. You don't need to physically see and hear a candidate speak to form an reasoned opinion. (I've got one, and I've never seen a current major-party candidate in my home state.) If every American's vote was counted equally, neighbors would get involved with canvassing neighbors across the country, not just in the swing states. And this'd be reflected in polls, and candidates would be influenced by those polls. Since South Dakota is a safe red state, a popular vote would increase your individual votes' importance.



Pavonis wrote: View Post
South Dakota is fly-over country, not worth stopping in because any one suburb of those largest cities will be larger than any of the villages of South Dakota.
Word to the wise: a candidate appearing in a large city like LA or NYC doesn't mean that he necessarily sees any more people than he would in South Dakota. City visits come with their own challenges, namely space, security, and crowding logistics. Look at the places candidates visit in actual contested states - most of those areas are suburbs.



Pavonis wrote: View Post
Still, without the Electoral College representing us, what kind of attention would we get?
Uh, maybe two Senators, the same as California and Texas, and infinitely more than DC?! Live in one of those states/DC for a while, then cry me a river!

As I said above, small-population states boss the large-population ones around perpetually, even though the latter group holds the vast majority of Americans, and produces the vast majority of the country's wealth.


Pavonis wrote: View Post
South Dakota is neither, but we're still in a better position than we would be without the Electoral College.
You are, but mainly because, as I said above, the layout of states gives Electoral College bias in favor of the right-wing politics South Dakota holds so dear. Vermont, on the other hand, as a safe far-left state, gets utterly and totally screwed over by the system.



Pavonis wrote: View Post
OK, maybe I'm not organizing and expressing my thoughts well.
You're expressing yourself just fine. You think that you deserve more votes than other citizens do, merely because you live on one side of an imaginary line within the United States. You think unequal votes are fair.
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Old October 27 2012, 02:09 AM   #35
Squiggy
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Re: Electoral College; Yes or No?

Pavonis wrote: View Post
OK, maybe I'm not organizing and expressing my thoughts well.

Let's say the Electoral College is abolished, and the US Presidency is elected by popular vote. Where do the candidates go for votes? Wouldn't they end up in the largest population centers - LA, NYC, Chicago, etc. The voters in those cities are paid the most attention, and their issues are the ones that get addressed. South Dakota is fly-over country, not worth stopping in because any one suburb of those largest cities will be larger than any of the villages of South Dakota.
As I mentioned up thread....the top 100 cities in the country only account for 20% of the population.

Yeah. You live in a place with a tiny population. There's no form of government that would place more import on Pierre over New York or Atlanta.
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Old October 27 2012, 02:24 AM   #36
iguana_tonante
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Re: Electoral College; Yes or No?

Sure it is: it's called Pierrecracy.
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Old October 27 2012, 02:37 AM   #37
Gaith
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Re: Electoral College; Yes or No?

Or, in the case of 18th-century Versailles, hereditary dictatorship.
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Old October 27 2012, 02:49 AM   #38
Trekker4747
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Re: Electoral College; Yes or No?

Squiggy's video very nicely lays out why the EC is broken and how it makes votes unequal. I really recommend everyone watch it to get an idea of how the EC works, why it doesn't and the problems it has.

You could probably very much argue that a popular vote would get MORE people to vote.

I live in Kansas. Kansas is almost always going to go Republican barring some apocalyptic event. So what's my incentive to go out and vote for Obama? Because in the end it won't matter. Now, sure, it theoretically could matter because theoretically if more people vote for Obama than Romney Kansas' electoral votes will go to Obama, but right now it's too ingrained that Kansas will go red. It's too ingrained California will go Blue, it's too ingrained pretty much the entire Northeast will go Blue and so on. So what's the incentive for the candidates to campaign there and for opposing party to vote?

If it was a straight popular vote more people may feel like "their vote matters" and go out and vote.

Squiggy's video also outlines a scenario where a candidate can win the presidency while only getting minor percentage of the popular vote. It's a scenario not likely to ever happen but the fact that it's possible should show the flaw in the system.
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Old October 27 2012, 03:08 AM   #39
Pavonis
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Re: Electoral College; Yes or No?

Gaith wrote: View Post
Uh, maybe two Senators, the same as California and Texas, and infinitely more than DC?! Live in one of those states/DC for a while...
Do you resent the fact that South Dakota had the same number of Senators as Texas? Why shouldn't we have equal representation? We're equally sovereign.

It's not as if any of the stances taken here are original. The delegates at the Constitutional Convention had all the same arguments. Big states don't like little states; little states don't like big states. There's no way to make the system seem fair to everyone. We ended up with a compromise, and we're all still complaining about it. As I said in my first post here, I've gone back and forth on the issue. I've lived in both large and small states. I've seen the system from both sides.

In South Dakota, a Democrat's vote doesn't count for much, since it's drowned in a sea of Republican red. But a Republican's vote here doesn't count for much, either, because one more Republican vote isn't meaningful. So, why bother voting at all? Even if the Electoral College was abolished tomorrow, my one little vote won't matter in the South Dakota results or the national results. Would a popular vote give me more incentive to vote?

I think the EC could use some major reforms. For one thing, the EC votes keep getting redistributed in a way that seems to reflect the population anyway, so why keep it as a rubber stamp? Won't eventually all the votes go mostly to New York and California, with the rest of the states reduced to their legally required minimum of three?
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Old October 27 2012, 03:20 AM   #40
gturner
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Re: Electoral College; Yes or No?

Gaith wrote: View Post
gturner wrote: View Post
So you'd also argue that we should abolish the US Senate and have the UN vote by population, so India and China will make all the decisions for the rest of the world?
Certainly, I'd abolish the Senate. The UN, I'm not sure; I'd have to look into it more deeply, but to say that the General Assembly "makes all the world's decisions" is, uh, not remotely close to true.

I'll throw the question back to you, though: was the aforementioned Supreme Court decision wrong? Should a backwoods New York state voter be counted more heavily than a Bronxer?
Quite probably. The purpose of the Senate, despite what the Supreme Court said, is to represent states, not people directly (which is why they used to be appointed instead of directly elected), and at the state level, to represent areas of the state with different interests. The reason for the Supreme Court ruling was that some states had districts with over a hundred to one difference in populations, which was too extreme to support.


Pavonis wrote: View Post
Let's say the Electoral College is abolished, and the US Presidency is elected by popular vote. Where do the candidates go for votes?
Short answer: everywhere.

Longer answer: we've got these things called a media and an Internet. You don't need to physically see and hear a candidate speak to form an reasoned opinion. (I've got one, and I've never seen a current major-party candidate in my home state.) If every American's vote was counted equally, neighbors would get involved with canvassing neighbors across the country, not just in the swing states. And this'd be reflected in polls, and candidates would be influenced by those polls. Since South Dakota is a safe red state, a popular vote would increase your individual votes' importance.
And which of the elected politicians would feel beholden to you, and express concern for you? None of them. Not a single one. Parts of Europe have that problem, with no direct accountability between a voter and a politician, because the politicians are chosen by slates.
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Old October 27 2012, 03:56 AM   #41
Gaith
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Re: Electoral College; Yes or No?

gturner wrote: View Post
Gaith wrote: View Post
If every American's vote was counted equally, neighbors would get involved with canvassing neighbors across the country, not just in the swing states. And this'd be reflected in polls, and candidates would be influenced by those polls. Since South Dakota is a safe red state, a popular vote would increase your individual votes' importance.
And which of the elected politicians would feel beholden to you, and express concern for you? None of them. Not a single one.
Uh, your Congressional Representatives? You know, the people whose job is to "represent" you?



Pavonis wrote: View Post
Gaith wrote: View Post
Uh, maybe two Senators, the same as California and Texas, and infinitely more than DC?! Live in one of those states/DC for a while...
Do you resent the fact that South Dakota had the same number of Senators as Texas? Why shouldn't we have equal representation? We're equally sovereign.
Suppose a massive, unknown volcano were to suddenly vaporize an entire state, and all if its inhabitants. I'd consider it a greater tragedy if that happened to Texas than to Vermont. Wouldn't you? Because you seem to be saying that some people are worth more than others. "I live in a small-population state, so I'm worth more than a person who lives in a big city."
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Old October 27 2012, 04:02 AM   #42
Pavonis
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Re: Electoral College; Yes or No?

I don't think ridiculous hypotheticals are helpful.

The fact is that South Dakota, Texas, Ohio and all the other states are all sovereign and joined in the Union. Why shouldn't they have equal representation in the Senate?
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Old October 27 2012, 04:18 AM   #43
Gaith
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Re: Electoral College; Yes or No?

^ I see the logic and understand the reasoning behind your position. I don't agree, but I get it. Do you really not understand my position, or do you think if you keep asking "why don't you agree with me?" over and over I'll eventually do so, out of, I don't know, sheer boredom?

You don't believe in the "one person, one vote" principle. Neither, apparently, does gturner. You think distinctions in geography are more important than disctinctions in numbers of American citizens. That's the unbridgeable source of our disagreement. End of story.

As for the Constitution, I don't find it to be a perfect, God-given document that should never be reformed for fairness' sake.
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Old October 27 2012, 04:25 AM   #44
sbk1234
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Re: Electoral College; Yes or No?

Ughhhh! I'm more confused than ever!
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Old October 27 2012, 04:37 AM   #45
Pavonis
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Re: Electoral College; Yes or No?

Your hypothetical was ridiculous, and wanted you to focus on reality. I believe in "one person, one vote". But the US isn't homogeneous, and pretending that it should be isn't helpful. Some states are going to be more populous. The States don't exist as mere administrative units for the Federal government. They created the Union, the Union didn't create the states. The Federal government should reflect that the States differ. The House exists to address the population differences between the states; the Senate treats the states as equal political entities. The Presidency comes in between. The candidate has to draw broad support to win across many different regions, and not just win a popularity contest.

As for me, I honestly don't understand your objection to small states having representation. Any representation at all for a smaller state will be disproportionate somehow. The math of the problem will mean that somehow it isn't fair in someone's eyes. It can't be helped. South Dakota has only one representative for all 800,000 people. Is that fair? Texas has one representative for every 650,000 citizens. Texas citizens are better represented than South Dakotans. That doesn't seem fair to me.
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