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Author: Sideswiper Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 1933088  
Subject: Electoral College: Good? Date: 11/9/2000 9:42 AM
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I must start out by telling everyone that I don't like the electoral college much either, BUT:

There would a definate effect if the college went away. Politicians would ONLY rally in large cities. Small states would become almost completely unimportant. The rural vote, and all rural concerns, would be overridden by concerns of big cities. Because in a completely popular vote, large population areas would be the majority, and then majority would win whether that was fair or not.

Just wanted to see some responses about that. :)
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Author: basmac Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6491 of 1933088
Subject: Re: Electoral College: Good? Date: 11/9/2000 9:52 AM
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Amen Sidewinder! The Electoral college is the only thing keeping a few large cities from running our lives. I do think maybe we should insist the electors vote for the candidate they were elected to vote for, though it has never happened otherwise. Our Founding Fathers really were smarter than most of us give them credit for.

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Author: KentuckyLiz Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6493 of 1933088
Subject: Re: Electoral College: Good? Date: 11/9/2000 9:58 AM
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I agree with you totally.

Middle America would be completely ignored and politics would become completely skewed.

Middle America leavens the rest...and provides maybe not a lot of population, but food to the world and a significant amount of domestic energy.

Middle America is where people move for a better, safer, homier life when they tire of the violence and impersonality of the big city rat race. Do we really want to give up our choice of president to the latter?

No!!!

Let the same representation level that happens in Congress choose the President that the Congress with whom they have to work!

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Author: Promo5 Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6503 of 1933088
Subject: Re: Electoral College: Good? Date: 11/9/2000 10:12 AM
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Everyone is talking about doing away with the Electoral system or going with the popular vote. There is another solution.

Instead of each state having a different number of votes determined by their representation in congress (our current system), each state gets 1 vote.

Most politicians are talking about giving more power back to the states. This would be the way to do it. Each state citizen votes for a candidate. Whichever candidate wins in that state gets that states vote.

I know you...you must think I'm for Bush since he won 31 states but I'd say the same thing if it were Gore hanging in the balance. Its the only way to give every state the same voting power and would prevent this kind of election-hinged-on-one-state situation in the future.

(oh, and I know some of you are thinking that that would never work cuz we have 50 states and there would be too great a possibility of a tie...but I have to remind you that even now Washington D.C counts separately...so they would get one too).

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Author: ericb888 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6504 of 1933088
Subject: Re: Electoral College: Good? Date: 11/9/2000 10:13 AM
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Sideswiper writes:

"The rural vote, and all rural concerns, would be overridden by concerns of big cities. Because in a completely popular vote, large population areas would be the majority, and then majority would win whether that was fair or not."




And how often do you see the candidates campaigning out in the boondocks under today's system?



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Author: bawitham Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6506 of 1933088
Subject: Re: Electoral College: Good? Date: 11/9/2000 10:15 AM
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And how often do you see the candidates campaigning out in the boondocks under today's system?

I think Joe Lieberman went to Bangor, Maine twice. If that isn't the boondocks, then nothing is.



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Author: KentuckyLiz Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6511 of 1933088
Subject: Re: Electoral College: Good? Date: 11/9/2000 10:22 AM
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Instead of each state having a different number of votes determined by their representation in congress (our current system), each state gets 1 vote.

That would be even more stilted than the electoral college and less connected to a popular vote.

???

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Author: KentuckyLiz Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6512 of 1933088
Subject: Re: Electoral College: Good? Date: 11/9/2000 10:24 AM
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Are you kidding? In the days and weeks leading up to the election, the candidates kept going to the boondocks. Iowa, for instance. Usually candidates frontload to the caucuses and then disappear until the next election.

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Author: lynchmob2000 One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6519 of 1933088
Subject: Re: Electoral College: Good? Date: 11/9/2000 10:34 AM
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let's review constitutional law here. In a copromise between large states and small states we created a bicameral legislature with one house represented by population and one house equally represented by state. Part of this compromise also came in when establishing the Electoral College, each state was guaranteed atleast three electoral votes but those with larger populations would recieve more and therefore also give an accurate portrait of the peoples desire. The only major change to this over 200 years is that we know vote directly for the electors instead of our state legislatures, who we vote for directly, and the only effect of this change was to diminish the role of the state legislatures and our interest in them. As you can see the electoral college, like Congress, represents both the people and the states.

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Author: Promo5 Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6520 of 1933088
Subject: Re: Electoral College: Good? Date: 11/9/2000 10:35 AM
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That system that I proposed follows the popular vote on a state by state basis... I don't subscribe to giving one state more power simply because it has a city that has 4 million people in it.

It makes a level playing field.

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Author: Madinat One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6542 of 1933088
Subject: Re: Electoral College: Good? Date: 11/9/2000 10:55 AM
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The only major change to this over 200 years is that we know vote directly for the electors instead of our state legislatures, who we vote for directly, and the only effect of this change was to diminish the role of the state legislatures and our interest in them. As you can see the electoral college, like Congress, represents both the people and the states.

but in 200 years, a lot more people (non-white, non-male) are now able to vote, so how can you say that doesn't change anything?

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Author: Goofyhoofy Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6580 of 1933088
Subject: Re: Electoral College: Good? Date: 11/9/2000 11:24 AM
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Instead of each state having a different number of votes determined by their representation in congress (our current system), each state gets 1 vote.

This is such a terrible idea I don't know where to begin. How about that each voter vote in Montana would likely be worth 5,000 voter votes in California? Or perhaps that each voter vote in Arizona would be worth 3,000 voter votes in Florida. (Just to keep the example better for the Republicans in one example and for the Democrats in the other.)

I also don't advocate direct election, because that would give virtually all the influence to the large cities, and flawed as it is, the electoral college system gave rise to "battleground" states Tennessee and Ohio, and prompted campaign visits to Maine, Michigan, and Arizona - as well as the obvious pandering to the big population states such as California and New York (and Florida.)

I'm not sure what the answer is, but in the choice between "direct popular election" and "electoral college", I vote for "None of the above."

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Author: mcemerson Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6599 of 1933088
Subject: Re: Electoral College: Good? Date: 11/9/2000 12:00 PM
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And how often do you see the candidates campaigning out in the boondocks under today's system?

Didn't Bush hit Tennessee, Arkansas and Iowa on the last day of his campaign?

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Author: scottbb Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6636 of 1933088
Subject: Re: Electoral College: Good? Date: 11/9/2000 1:09 PM
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>> Instead of each state having a different number of votes determined by their representation in congress (our current system), each state gets 1 vote.

> This is such a terrible idea I don't know where to begin. How about that each voter vote in Montana would likely be worth 5,000 voter votes in California? Or perhaps that each voter vote in Arizona would be worth 3,000 voter votes in Florida. (Just to keep the example better for the Republicans in one example and for the Democrats in the other.)

> I also don't advocate direct election, because that would give virtually all the influence to the large cities, and flawed as it is, the electoral college system gave rise to "battleground" states Tennessee and Ohio, and prompted campaign visits to Maine, Michigan, and Arizona - as well as the obvious pandering to the big population states such as California and New York (and Florida.)

It has been mentioned in a earlier post, and it bears repeating now: the Founding Fathers, the framers of the Constitution, were much more intelligent than we give them credit for. Indeed, we tend to think that we (contemporarily speaking) are as a society more enlightened, that our technology and investor markets and globalization of politics and economy are so advanced beyond that of the 18th century that by necessity, something as antiquated as the electoral college cannot possibly represent the interests of modern society. Unfortunately, that type of sentiment is precisely what makes the founders even more genius. They went to great pains to ensure that the Constitution was as representative of the fundamental interests of humanity as possible, which have never changed.

The founders realized a very important point that we tend to forget, that pure democracy is anarchy, and is more threatening to the rights of the individual than even the most tyrannical monarchy. I can't remember the source of the analogy, but it summarizes the truth simply and honestly: "Democracy is two wolves and a sheep arguing over what to have for dinner." The "majority will" is not necessarily the *right* thing, and in the case of the sheep, in certainly the wrong thing.

It is important to realize that the aggregate popular vote was never intended to elect the President. The concept of the electoral college closely mirrors the legislature: each state receives votes based on population, but also receives votes based on the fundamental sovereignty of each state (and make no mistake about it - the Constitution was framed with the idea that each State is independently sovereign).

Now, personally, I don't like the winner-takes-all method of granting electoral votes in 48 of the states. I much prefer the way Maine and Nebraska apply the votes: Each district's vote goes to the person that the constituents of that district voted for. The 2 senatorial votes goes the winner of the majority of the districts. This type of system is particularly good for 3rd party candidates, who, while likely not winning the election, at least gets to say that they carried *some* electoral votes, which can only help them the next election. The system that the other 48 states employ only serves to protect the Repub/Demo duopoly. However, the current constitutional law that leaves up to each individual state to decide how to allocate votes should be left alone. Federally mandating one method or another is taking away even more rights from states and transferring them to the federal government.


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Author: ericb888 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6650 of 1933088
Subject: Re: Electoral College: Good? Date: 11/9/2000 1:30 PM
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mcemerson wrote:

"Didn't Bush hit Tennessee, Arkansas and Iowa on the last day of his campaign?"


All the electoral college system guarantees is that candidates will visit states that are close. Some of the states that were close are rural states. Some of them are more densely populated states (Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan). If all the states that were close were rural, the other states would have been ignored, and if all the states that were close were densely populated, all the rural states would have been ignored.

So I don't buy the argument that the electoral college implicitly forces the candidates to campaign more in rural areas. How many campaign visits were there in the Dakotas? In Nebraska? Wyoming? Idaho? Montana? All rural areas, but Bush was way ahead in all of them.

If you theorize that there are large differences on the issues between people in large cities vs. rural areas, then the electoral college system would mean that candidates campaign very little in states that are mostly rural or mostly metropolitan, and spend most of their time in states where the population is closely divided.







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Author: JonJuzlak Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6651 of 1933088
Subject: Re: Electoral College: Good? Date: 11/9/2000 1:33 PM
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It has been mentioned in a earlier post, and it bears repeating now: the Founding Fathers, the framers of the Constitution, were much more intelligent than we give them credit for


They were vastly intelligent yes, but they were not perfect. A good example is the 12th Amendment, which was passed to overcome problems in the election for President. Similarly, we passed another amendment to allow populat election of Senators.


They went to great pains to ensure that the Constitution was as representative of the fundamental interests of humanity as possible, which have never changed.


Thats a noble thought, and its also partly true, but only partly. The Constitution is very well known to be the product (read Madison's notes) of a series of compromises -- between large states and small, between North and South, between agriculturists and industrial interests, between advocates of a strong national government and those who opposed it. There were many, many compromises, and anyone who's read the Convention debates know very well how much fundamental State interests guided the founders.

Also, there were many inhumane things in the Constitution -- the provision forbidding the Federal Government from banning the slave trade till the early 1800s, the requirement to return fugitive slaves etc.


The founders realized a very important point that we tend to forget, that pure democracy is anarchy, and is more threatening to the rights of the individual than even the most tyrannical monarchy


The founders realized no such thing. They were distrustful of pure democracy, preferring the vote to go only to the properties classes. But they very fervently disliked monarchy, having just fought a king. Alexander Hamilton presented a plan involving a president-for-life, and it was shot down promptly.

Yes, democracies can be tyrannical. But they are nowhere near as bad as monarchies, let alone tyrannical ones. Rule by the majority can be bad, but rule by a minority is even worse.


However, the current constitutional law that leaves up to each individual state to decide how to allocate votes should be left alone. Federally mandating one method or another is taking away even more rights from states and transferring them to the federal government.


It would not give a right to the Federal Government at all, any more than the popular election of Senators Amdendment did.






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Author: jpbailey Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6843 of 1933088
Subject: Re: Electoral College: Good? Date: 11/9/2000 5:35 PM
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I do think maybe we should insist the electors vote for the candidate they were elected to vote for, though it has never happened otherwise.

25 states do have this requirement which is detailed on the Electoral College's FAQs:
http://www.nara.gov/fedreg/elctcoll/faq.html#wrong vote
There is no Constitutional provision or Federal law that requires electors to vote according to the results of the popular vote in their States. Some States (24 plus DC at last count) require electors to cast their votes according to the popular vote. These pledges fall into two categories -- electors bound by State law and those bound by pledges to political parties.

The Supreme Court has held that the Constitution does not require that electors be completely free to act as they choose and therefore, political parties may extract pledges from electors to vote for the parties' nominees. Some State laws provide that so-called "faithless electors" may be subject to fines or may be disqualified for casting an invalid vote and be replaced by a substitute elector. The Supreme Court has not specifically ruled on the question of whether pledges and penalties for failure to vote as pledged may be enforced under the Constitution. No elector has ever been prosecuted for failing to vote as pledged.

Today, it is rare for electors to disregard the popular vote by casting their electoral vote for someone other than their party's candidate. Electors generally hold a leadership position in their party or were chosen to recognize years of loyal service to the party. Throughout our history as a nation, more than 99 percent of electors have voted as pledged.


Their web page is great on content but not the best design:
http://www.nara.gov/fedreg/elctcoll/
and would be a great place for people to visit who want to understand how this institution functions.
--John



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Author: scottbb Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 7315 of 1933088
Subject: Re: Electoral College: Good? Date: 11/10/2000 5:37 PM
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>> [...] the Founding Fathers, the framers of the Constitution, were much more intelligent than we give them credit for

> They were vastly intelligent yes, but they were not perfect. A good example is the 12th Amendment, which was passed to overcome problems in the election for President. Similarly, we passed another amendment to allow populat election of Senators

I agree they weren't perfect. I'm not as familiar with the 12th Amendment, so I will have to study it. I assume you mean to use the existance of the 17th Amendment (direct (popular) election of senators) to show the flaws in their thinking. However, I fail to see why passage of the 17th Amendment corrects any flaws. Actually, the 17th Amendment itself may be unconstitutional. And notwithstanding that, I'd wholeheartedly argue that the original selection of senators by states was better. At least, it certainly was when considering the rights of individual states.


>> They went to great pains to ensure that the Constitution was as representative of the fundamental interests of humanity as possible, which have never changed.

> Thats a noble thought, and its also partly true, but only partly. The Constitution is very well known to be the product (read Madison's notes) of a series of compromises [...] There were many, many compromises, and anyone who's read the Convention debates know very well how much fundamental State interests guided the founders.

*nod* I concur. The fact that there is a bicameral legislature and electoral college mirroring the breakdown of the legislature is proof positive that it made compromises.

> Also, there were many inhumane things in the Constitution -- the provision forbidding the Federal Government from banning the slave trade till the early 1800s, the requirement to return fugitive slaves etc.

I knew when I wrote what I did that things such as the above would be used against me. I stand by what I said. Realize that slavery existed not because the Constitution provided for it, but because it was part of society. If you read Jefferson's letters and notes, you see how the irony of his strong libertarian beliefs and his simultaneous ownership of slaves, did not escape him.


>> The founders realized a very important point that we tend to forget, that pure democracy is anarchy, and is more threatening to the rights of the individual than even the most tyrannical monarchy

> The founders realized no such thing. They were distrustful of pure democracy, preferring the vote to go only to the properties classes. But they very fervently disliked monarchy, having just fought a king.

Pardon me for being glib and painting in broad strokes; I meant to convey meaning and instead only conveyed the typical polarization that I despise. I would say that many of the founding fathers did realize the tyranny of pure democracy. John Adams specifically architected the electoral college as a prophylactic to the whim of majority rule (in my interpretation, to protect the general populace from the inertia of a motivated emotional majority by letting rational, thoughtful, more deliberate electors make the decision).

> Yes, democracies can be tyrannical. But they are nowhere near as bad as monarchies, let alone tyrannical ones. Rule by the majority can be bad, but rule by a minority is even worse.

At the risk of sounding cynical, democracy is two wolves and a sheep arguing over what to have for dinner. Realize we do not live in a democracy, but rather in a representative republic. National referenda are explicitly banned. We do not, nor have we ever, elected the President with popular vote (it just turns out that most of the time, the popular aggregate vote agrees with the electoral vote). We do not write our laws based on public opinion; the opinion is filtered through the lens of Congress that is updated once every two years.


>> Federally mandating one method or another [of allocating electoral votes] is taking away even more rights from states and transferring them to the federal government.

> It would not give a right to the Federal Government at all, any more than the popular election of Senators Amdendment did.

Let me break down your response. Regarding the first clause, "It would not give a right to the Federal Government at all," - patently false. The intervention of the federal government into the operations that rightly belong to the states, abridges the rights of states. That is therefore a transferral to the federal of the right to interfere into matters specifically reserved for states.

Regarding your second clause, "any more than the popular election of Senators Amdendment did," minimalizes the abridgement of states' rights, implying (at least to me) that the popular election of senators is the patently obvious appropriate method of selection.

Furthermore, your second clause, "any more than the popular election of Senators Amdendment did," logically contradicts the first. Now, I realize I am being somewhat pedantic or picky in breaking down that sentence, but I am particularly wary about the nickel-and-dime methods by which our individual rights (and similarly, states' rights) have been eroded, often in unconstitutional ways, and I wish to call attention to statements and sentiments that lead to such erosion.

There is a saying that if you throw a frog into a pot of boiling water, he will jump out. However if you put the frog in lukewarm water and slowly turn up the temperature, the frog will stay in, boiling himself to death. At what point do we look around and realize that our skin is blistering? I hope we notice soon, before we boil ourselves to death.

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Author: bengalrose Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 7341 of 1933088
Subject: Re: Electoral College: Good? Date: 11/10/2000 7:19 PM
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<<<Now, personally, I don't like the winner-takes-all method of granting electoral votes in 48 of the states. I much prefer the way Maine and Nebraska apply the votes: Each district's vote goes to the person that the constituents of that district voted for. >>>

Excellent point! I too, like the idea of a district by district accounting of electoral votes. This to me is more representative of the people's will while limiting "mob rule". Also, it forces candidates to consider each district's preferences.

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