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Thread: The electoral college

  1. #71
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    Re: The electoral college

    Quote Originally Posted by Fiddytree View Post
    Yes, I know they do that now. However, if you notice that at the very least they throw resources into areas with less population centers, and those areas which have different interests than those in the urban or coastal areas. What I am stating is that the outcome will grow significantly worse with more democracy, not less.
    With National Popular Vote, every vote would be equal. Candidates would reallocate their time, the money they raise, and their ad buys to no longer ignore 80% of the states and voters.

    16% of Americans live in rural areas.

    With National Popular Vote, big cities would not get all of candidates’ attention, much less control the outcome.
    The population of the top five cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia) is only 6% of the population of the United States and the population of the top 50 cities (going as far down as Arlington, TX) is only 15% of the population of the United States.

    Suburbs and exurbs often vote Republican.

    If big cities controlled the outcome of elections, the governors and U.S. Senators would be Democratic in virtually every state with a significant city.

    A nationwide presidential campaign, with every vote equal, would be run the way presidential candidates campaign to win the electoral votes of closely divided battleground states, such as Ohio and Florida, under the state-by-state winner-take-all methods. The big cities in those battleground states do not receive all the attention, much less control the outcome. Cleveland and Miami do not receive all the attention or control the outcome in Ohio and Florida.

    The itineraries of presidential candidates in battleground states (and their allocation of other campaign resources in battleground states) reflect the political reality that every gubernatorial or senatorial candidate knows. When and where every vote is equal, a campaign must be run everywhere.

    With National Popular Vote, when every vote is equal, everywhere, it makes sense for presidential candidates to try and elevate their votes where they are and aren't so well liked. But, under the state-by-state winner-take-all laws, it makes no sense for a Democrat to try and do that in Vermont or Wyoming, or for a Republican to try it in Wyoming or Vermont.

    Even in California state-wide elections, candidates for governor or U.S. Senate don't campaign just in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and those places don't control the outcome (otherwise California wouldn't have recently had Republican governors Reagan, Dukemejian, Wilson, and Schwarzenegger). A vote in rural Alpine county is just an important as a vote in Los Angeles. If Los Angeles cannot control statewide elections in California, it can hardly control a nationwide election.

    In fact, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland together cannot control a statewide election in California.

    Similarly, Republicans dominate Texas politics without carrying big cities such as Dallas and Houston.

    There are numerous other examples of Republicans who won races for governor and U.S. Senator in other states that have big cities (e.g., New York, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts) without ever carrying the big cities of their respective states.

    With a national popular vote, every vote everywhere will be equally important politically. There will be nothing special about a vote cast in a big city or big state. When every vote is equal, candidates of both parties will seek out voters in small, medium, and large towns throughout the states in order to win. A vote cast in a big city or state will be equal to a vote cast in a small state, town, or rural area.

    Candidates would need to build a winning coalition across demographics. Any candidate who ignored, for example, the 16% of Americans who live in rural areas in favor of a “big city” approach would not likely win the national popular vote. Candidates would have to appeal to a broad range of demographics, and perhaps even more so, because the election wouldn’t be capable of coming down to just one demographic, such as waitress mom voters in Ohio.

    With National Popular Vote, every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. Wining states would not be the goal. Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in the current handful of swing states.

    The main media at the moment, TV, costs much more per impression in big cities than in smaller towns and rural area. Candidates get more bang for the buck in smaller towns and rural areas.

  2. #72
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    Re: The electoral college

    Alright, if I am going to converse with someone, at least have the decency to talk instead of copy and paste.
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  3. #73
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    Re: The electoral college

    Quote Originally Posted by mvymvy View Post
    Pure democracy is a form of government in which people vote on policy initiatives directly.

    With National Popular Vote, the United States would still be a republic, in which citizens continue to elect the President by a majority of Electoral College votes by states, to represent us and conduct the business of government in the periods between elections.
    Learn a little bit about context. I was responding to a member who claimed Democracy was "mob rule;" not trying to state our nation was, in fact, a Democracy.
    If I stop responding it doesn't mean I've conceded the point or agree with you. It only means I've made my point and I don't mind you having the last word. Please wait a few minutes before "quoting" me. I often correct errors for a minute or two after I post before the final product is ready.

  4. #74
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    Re: The electoral college

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Blaylock View Post
    That's the current rule, in connection with the Electoral College. If we did away with the Electoral College, we'd have to also change this rule, I think. I don't think we'd ever be able to resolve the popular vote down to a difference of one or two votes, so we'd probably have to set a threshold of closeness, and if the election is closer than that margin, call it a “tie” and leave it to Congress to determine the winner. Otherwise, a close election would result in Florida 2000 on a national scale.

    The difference was very well within the margin of error in the count as it existed. There were quite a bit more uncounted absentee votes in California alone than that. They weren't counted, because without them, California's outcome was already established, but if we were going by national popular vote, then it would have been necessary to count them. As California's absentee votes generally tend to lean significantly more conservative than the non-absentee votes, it's very likely that this, alone, would have shifted the popular vote to Bush's side.

    But then just imagine also, what happened in Florida, happening on a national scale, with fifty different states, and fifty different voting systems, each one being examined in painstaking detail to figure out what errors they might introduce, and to determine which, if any of them, might have biased their results one way or another. I say that if this had happened, that even by now, eight years after the end of the term for which that election was being held, that we still could not have known for sure who the legitimate winner was.
    National Popular Vote would prevent an election from being tied in electoral votes and decided in the House of Representatives.

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    The bill would take effect only when enacted by states with a majority of the electoral votes-that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Current federal law (Title 3, chapter 1, section 6 of the United States Code) requires the states to report the November popular vote numbers (the "canvas") in what is called a "Certificate of Ascertainment." You can see the Certificates of Ascertainment for all 50 states and the District of Columbia containing the official count of the popular vote at the NARA web site at
    U. S. Electoral College 2008 Election

    The likelihood that absentee ballots might trigger a dispute in a presidential election is higher under the current state-by-state winner-take-all system than under a system in which there is a single national pool of votes.

    The current presidential election system makes a repeat of 2000 more likely, not less likely. All you need is a thin and contested margin in a single state with enough electoral votes to make a difference. It's much less likely that the national vote will be close enough that voting irregularities in a single area will swing enough net votes to make a difference. If we'd had National Popular Vote in 2000, a recount in Florida would not have been an issue.

    The idea that recounts will be likely and messy with National Popular Vote is distracting.

    The 2000 presidential election was an artificial crisis created because of Bush's lead of 537 popular votes in Florida. Gore's nationwide lead was 537,179 popular votes (1,000 times larger). Given the miniscule number of votes that are changed by a typical statewide recount (averaging only 274 votes); no one would have requested a recount or disputed the results in 2000 if the national popular vote had controlled the outcome. Indeed, no one (except perhaps almanac writers and trivia buffs) would have cared that one of the candidates happened to have a 537-vote margin in Florida.

    Recounts are far more likely in the current system of state-by-state winner-take-all methods.

    The possibility of recounts should not even be a consideration in debating the merits of a national popular vote. No one has ever suggested that the possibility of a recount constitutes a valid reason why state governors or U.S. Senators, for example, should not be elected by a popular vote.

    The question of recounts comes to mind in connection with presidential elections only because the current system so frequently creates artificial crises and unnecessary disputes.

    We do and would vote state by state. Each state manages its own election and is prepared to conduct a recount.

    The state-by-state winner-take-all system is not a firewall, but instead causes unnecessary fires.
    “It’s an arsonist itching to burn down the whole neighborhood by torching a single house.” Hertzberg

    Given that there is a recount only once in about 160 statewide elections, and given there is a presidential election once every four years, one would expect a recount about once in 640 years with the National Popular Vote. The actual probability of a close national election would be even less than that because recounts are less likely with larger pools of votes.

    The average change in the margin of victory as a result of a statewide recount was a mere 296 votes in a 10-year study of 2,884 elections.

    No recount would have been warranted in any of the nation’s 57 previous presidential elections if the outcome had been based on the nationwide count.

    With both the current system and the National Popular Vote approach, all counting, recounting, and judicial proceedings must be conducted so as to reach a "final determination" prior to the common nationwide date for the meeting of the Electoral College. In particular, the U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear that the states are expected to make their "final determination" six days before the Electoral College meets.

    The possibility of disputes over absentee ballots is an example of a potential problem that is more likely to occur, and more likely to matter, under the current state-by-state winner-take-all system than the National Popular Vote plan.

  5. #75
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    Re: The electoral college

    Quote Originally Posted by Anagram View Post
    Except they wouldn't. Rural areas would probably be completely ignored. It costs a lot to campaign or advertise in rural areas, and with so few people living there that it would only affect the vote a little, a politician would never do anything to try and win their votes.
    With National Popular Vote, when every vote is equal, everywhere, it makes sense for presidential candidates to try and elevate their votes where they are and aren't so well liked. But, under the state-by-state winner-take-all laws, it makes no sense for a Democrat to try and do that in Vermont or Wyoming, or for a Republican to try it in Wyoming or Vermont.

    A nationwide presidential campaign, with every vote equal, would be run the way presidential candidates campaign to win the electoral votes of closely divided battleground states, such as Ohio and Florida, under the state-by-state winner-take-all methods. The big cities in those battleground states do not receive all the attention, much less control the outcome. Cleveland and Miami do not receive all the attention or control the outcome in Ohio and Florida.

    The itineraries of presidential candidates in battleground states (and their allocation of other campaign resources in battleground states) reflect the political reality that every gubernatorial or senatorial candidate knows. When and where every vote is equal, a campaign must be run everywhere.

    The main media at the moment, TV, costs much more per impression in big cities than in smaller towns and rural areas. Candidates get more bang for the buck in smaller towns and rural areas.

    None of the 10 most rural states (VT, ME, WV, MS, SD, AR, MT, ND, AL, and KY) is a battleground state.
    The current state-by-state winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes does not enhance the influence of rural states, because the most rural states are not battleground states, and they are ignored. When and where voters are ignored, then so are the issues they care about most.

    Support for a national popular vote in rural states: VT–75%, ME–77%, WV–81%, MS–77%, SD–75%, AR–80%, MT–72%, KY–80%, NH–69%, IA–75%,SC–71%, NC–74%, TN–83%, WY–69%, OK–81%, AK–70%, ID–77%, WI–71%, MO–70%, and NE–74%.

    Vermont has enacted the National Popular Vote bill. The Maine Senate passed the National Popular Vote bill.

    NationalPopularVote

  6. #76
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    Re: The electoral college

    Quote Originally Posted by Fiddytree View Post
    Why would they do that? You just need to focus on getting the most votes possible, which means spending even more time in the most populated areas.
    With the current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes, it could only take winning a bare plurality of popular votes in the 11 most populous states, containing 56% of the population of the United States, for a candidate to win the Presidency with a mere 23% of the nation's votes!

    But the political reality is that the 11 largest states rarely agree on any political question. In terms of recent presidential elections, the 11 largest states include five "red states (Texas, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, and Georgia) and six "blue" states (California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and New Jersey). The fact is that the big states are just about as closely divided as the rest of the country. For example, among the four largest states, the two largest Republican states (Texas and Florida) generated a total margin of 2.1 million votes for Bush, while the two largest Democratic states generated a total margin of 2.1 million votes for Kerry.

    In 2004, among the 11 most populous states, in the seven non-battleground states, % of winning party, and margin of “wasted” popular votes, from among the total 122 Million votes cast nationally:
    * Texas (62% Republican), 1,691,267
    * New York (59% Democratic), 1,192,436
    * Georgia (58% Republican), 544,634
    * North Carolina (56% Republican), 426,778
    * California (55% Democratic), 1,023,560
    * Illinois (55% Democratic), 513,342
    * New Jersey (53% Democratic), 211,826

    To put these numbers in perspective, Oklahoma (7 electoral votes) alone generated a margin of 455,000 "wasted" votes for Bush in 2004 -- larger than the margin generated by the 9th and 10th largest states, namely New Jersey and North Carolina (each with 15 electoral votes). Utah (5 electoral votes) alone generated a margin of 385,000 "wasted" votes for Bush in 2004. 8 small western states, with less than a third of California’s population, provided Bush with a bigger margin (1,283,076) than California provided Kerry (1,235,659).

  7. #77
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    Re: The electoral college

    Quote Originally Posted by mvymvy View Post
    With National Popular Vote, when every vote is equal, everywhere, it makes sense for presidential candidates to try and elevate their votes where they are and aren't so well liked. But, under the state-by-state winner-take-all laws, it makes no sense for a Democrat to try and do that in Vermont or Wyoming, or for a Republican to try it in Wyoming or Vermont.

    A nationwide presidential campaign, with every vote equal, would be run the way presidential candidates campaign to win the electoral votes of closely divided battleground states, such as Ohio and Florida, under the state-by-state winner-take-all methods. The big cities in those battleground states do not receive all the attention, much less control the outcome. Cleveland and Miami do not receive all the attention or control the outcome in Ohio and Florida.

    The itineraries of presidential candidates in battleground states (and their allocation of other campaign resources in battleground states) reflect the political reality that every gubernatorial or senatorial candidate knows. When and where every vote is equal, a campaign must be run everywhere.

    The main media at the moment, TV, costs much more per impression in big cities than in smaller towns and rural areas. Candidates get more bang for the buck in smaller towns and rural areas.

    None of the 10 most rural states (VT, ME, WV, MS, SD, AR, MT, ND, AL, and KY) is a battleground state.
    The current state-by-state winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes does not enhance the influence of rural states, because the most rural states are not battleground states, and they are ignored. When and where voters are ignored, then so are the issues they care about most.

    Support for a national popular vote in rural states: VT–75%, ME–77%, WV–81%, MS–77%, SD–75%, AR–80%, MT–72%, KY–80%, NH–69%, IA–75%,SC–71%, NC–74%, TN–83%, WY–69%, OK–81%, AK–70%, ID–77%, WI–71%, MO–70%, and NE–74%.

    Vermont has enacted the National Popular Vote bill. The Maine Senate passed the National Popular Vote bill.

    NationalPopularVote
    None of the most rural states is currently a battleground state. But under your system they would still be ignored. The issues they care about would still be ignored. The cost to advertise and campaign in those states exceeds the likely benefit from the votes they would get. A better system would be an electoral college where each state divides their electoral vote proportionally.
    There should be Instant Runoff Voting

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    Re: The electoral college

    Quote Originally Posted by Xsnake1 View Post
    Maybe getting rid of the electoral college would have affected the popular vote results
    In 2008, voter turnout in the then 15 battleground states averaged seven points higher than in the 35 non-battleground states.

    In 2012, voter turnout was 11% higher in the 9 battleground states than in the remainder of the country.

    If presidential campaigns now did not ignore more than 200,000,000 of 300,000,000 Americans, one would reasonably expect that voter turnout would rise in 80% of the country that is currently ignored by presidential campaigns.

  9. #79
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    Re: The electoral college

    Quote Originally Posted by Fiddytree View Post
    Of course, the NPV crowd would seek to distort the issue by saying "this isn't Athens."



    Interesting how they do not suggest how small states would be better served by more mass democracy, isn't it?
    Also interesting - The presidency is a national office, not a state one.

    States already have representatives and senators to represent them.
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    Re: The electoral college

    Quote Originally Posted by Smeagol View Post
    In a field of 3 or more candidates, I think we need a good runoff system too so that someone with 70% of the public voting against him doesn't win. I personally like the Instant Runoff idea as it addresses lower turnout in runoff elections and saves money. Instant Runoff Voting - YouTube
    With the current system of electing the President, no state requires that a presidential candidate receive anything more than the most popular votes in order to receive all of the state's electoral votes.

    Not a single legislative bill has been introduced in any state legislature in recent decades (among the more than 100,000 bills that are introduced in every two-year period by the nation's 7,300 state legislators) proposing to change the existing universal practice of the states to award electoral votes to the candidate who receives a plurality (as opposed to absolute majority) of the votes (statewide or district-wide). There is no evidence of any public sentiment in favor of imposing such a requirement.

    If an Electoral College type of arrangement were essential for avoiding a proliferation of candidates and people being elected with low percentages of the vote, we should see evidence of these conjectured outcomes in elections that do not employ such an arrangement. In elections in which the winner is the candidate receiving the most votes throughout the entire jurisdiction served by that office, historical evidence shows that there is no massive proliferation of third-party candidates and candidates do not win with small percentages. For example, in 905 elections for governor in the last 60 years, the winning candidate received more than 50% of the vote in over 91% of the elections. The winning candidate received more than 45% of the vote in 98% of the elections. The winning candidate received more than 40% of the vote in 99% of the elections. No winning candidate received less than 35% of the popular vote.

    Since 1824 there have been 16 presidential elections in which a candidate was elected or reelected without gaining a majority of the popular vote.-- including Lincoln (1860), Wilson (1912 and 1916), Truman (1948), Kennedy (1960), Nixon (1968), and Clinton (1992 and 1996).

    Americans do not view the absence of run-offs in the current system as a major problem. If, at some time in the future, the public demands run-offs, that change can be implemented at that time.

    And, FYI, with the current system, it could only take winning a plurality of the popular vote in the 11 most populous states, containing 56% of the population of the United States, for a candidate to win the Presidency with a mere 23% of the nation's votes.

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