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« Reply #15 on: September 13, 2018, 06:23:32 PM »


I find it interesting that both Lois and IrishGirl seem to frame their analysis of the Electoral college in terms of "states rights." It's chiefly interesting because one clearly seems to reject the concept of "states rights," while the other seems to support it.

"States rights" had nothing to do with the creation of the Electoral College. The Electoral College was a compromise between two competing proposals: A president elected by a straight popular vote, and a president elected by a vote by the Members of Congress. And the popular vote still forms the core of the Electoral College system: the electors cast their votes based on the popular vote total in their given state. There have been "faithless electors" -- electors who cast a vote opposite of the winner of the popular total in their state. But they have been very few and far between, and in no instance did they have even the tiniest effect on the outcome.

It's true that fear of demagoguery played a role in the Framers' decision to create the Electoral College. They feared -- correctly, in my opinion -- that a populist tyrant might sway an uninformed populace into electing him or her president. Though I would not describe our current president as a "populist tyrant," it's painfully clear that today we have an aggressively uninformed electorate (and an electorate that, by and large, doesn't usually bother to vote).

Today there is a new form of demagoguery that the Framers never even dreamed of: The Demagoguery of money. With presidential candidates sitting on campaign war chests containing well over $1 billion dollars, candidates are able to sway votes in new and previously unheard of ways. Any analysis or prescription for change in the way we elect our presidents should take a temporary back seat to this incomparably more pressing and anti-democratic phenomenon.




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« Reply #16 on: September 13, 2018, 08:28:07 PM »


I find it interesting that both Lois and IrishGirl seem to frame their analysis of the Electoral college in terms of "states rights." It's chiefly interesting because one clearly seems to reject the concept of "states rights," while the other seems to support it.

"States rights" had nothing to do with the creation of the Electoral College. The Electoral College was a compromise between two competing proposals: A president elected by a straight popular vote, and a president elected by a vote by the Members of Congress. And the popular vote still forms the core of the Electoral College system: the electors cast their votes based on the popular vote total in their given state. There have been "faithless electors" -- electors who cast a vote opposite of the winner of the popular total in their state. But they have been very few and far between, and in no instance did they have even the tiniest effect on the outcome.

It's true that fear of demagoguery played a role in the Framers' decision to create the Electoral College. They feared -- correctly, in my opinion -- that a populist tyrant might sway an uninformed populace into electing him or her president. Though I would not describe our current president as a "populist tyrant," it's painfully clear that today we have an aggressively uninformed electorate (and an electorate that, by and large, doesn't usually bother to vote).

Today there is a new form of demagoguery that the Framers never even dreamed of: The Demagoguery of money. With presidential candidates sitting on campaign war chests containing well over $1 billion dollars, candidates are able to sway votes in new and previously unheard of ways. Any analysis or prescription for change in the way we elect our presidents should take a temporary back seat to this incomparably more pressing and anti-democratic phenomenon.







If ypu bothered to read what I saud, its about checks and balances
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« Reply #17 on: September 13, 2018, 09:13:38 PM »

I can't possibly see how the Electoral College system is "essentially racist in nature."

The varying states' "value" was originally set by a combination of sizes of the white population and the black slave population, but the blacks were only valued at 3/5 of a white person. Lowering the legal worth of a person based purely on the colour of their skin is about as racist as it gets.

Quote
Perhaps more to the point, it's not exactly productive to judge a 230-year-old system by the results of one, single election.

I'm not - the last election is what brought the system to my attention, but I understand the college and popular results have been contradictory on more than one occasion. I am a firm believer in the democratic process, and do not approve of our own system, where the national premier is selected through being the head of the largest party in the lower house of Parliament, even if there has not been an actual election - Theresa May became the Prime Minister because her predecessor quit in the aftermath of Brexit, and nobody else stood against her in the campaign to be party leader.

A few thousand people voted her into Parliament, nobody elected her to be PM, and she remained PM after last election even though nearly 60% of those who voted did so for somebody else.


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« Reply #18 on: September 13, 2018, 11:12:37 PM »

I can't possibly see how the Electoral College system is "essentially racist in nature."

The varying states' "value" was originally set by a combination of sizes of the white population and the black slave population, but the blacks were only valued at 3/5 of a white person. Lowering the legal worth of a person based purely on the colour of their skin is about as racist as it gets.

Quote
Perhaps more to the point, it's not exactly productive to judge a 230-year-old system by the results of one, single election.

I'm not - the last election is what brought the system to my attention, but I understand the college and popular results have been contradictory on more than one occasion. I am a firm believer in the democratic process, and do not approve of our own system, where the national premier is selected through being the head of the largest party in the lower house of Parliament, even if there has not been an actual election - Theresa May became the Prime Minister because her predecessor quit in the aftermath of Brexit, and nobody else stood against her in the campaign to be party leader.

A few thousand people voted her into Parliament, nobody elected her to be PM, and she remained PM after last election even though nearly 60% of those who voted did so for somebody else.




Again not true, see the above post, read the links where the people that created it argue for it.  You're just linking the fact that they were drafted in 1787 and used to elect POTUS together in order to link the electoral college with slavery and the slave system.

They are not and never have been one in the same.  They were added for different reasons.

And, go back up to my post and you see the people that drafted it explaining the reasons.
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« Reply #19 on: September 14, 2018, 01:28:25 AM »

I was certainly never taught this, but it deserves a fair look as it sure makes sense to me.  I also like the idea that voting should be mandatory with a "none of the above" option.  Trump actually came in third place, behind Hillary and those that did not bother to vote with regards to 2016 election.  Then if the "none of the above" option wins, a new election must occur with new candidates.

Electoral College is ‘vestige’ of slavery, say some Constitutional scholars
By — Kamala Kelkar, Politics Nov 6, 2016 3:57 PM EDT

When the founders of the U.S. Constitution in 1787 considered whether America should let the people elect their president through a popular vote, James Madison said that “Negroes” in the South presented a “difficulty … of a serious nature.”

During that same speech on Thursday, July 19, Madison instead proposed a prototype for the same Electoral College system the country uses today. Each state has a number of electoral votes roughly proportioned to population and the candidate who wins the majority of votes wins the election.

Since then, the Electoral College system has cost four candidates the race after they received the popular vote — most recently in 2000, when Al Gore lost to George W. Bush. Such anomalies and other criticisms have pushed 10 Democratic states to enroll in a popular vote system. And while there are many grievances about the Electoral College, one that’s rarely addressed is one dug up by an academic of the Constitution: that it was created to protect slavery, planting the roots of a system that’s still oppressive today.

“It’s embarrassing,” said Paul Finkelman, visiting law professor at University of Saskatchewan in Canada. “I think if most Americans knew what the origins of the Electoral College is, they would be disgusted.”

Madison, now known as the “Father of the Constitution,” was a slave-owner in Virginia, which at the time was the most populous of the 13 states if the count included slaves, who comprised about 40 percent of its population.

During that key speech at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Madison said that with a popular vote, the Southern states, “could have no influence in the election on the score of Negroes.”


Madison knew that the North would outnumber the South, despite there being more than half a million slaves in the South who were their economic vitality, but could not vote. His proposition for the Electoral College included the “three-fifths compromise,” where black people could be counted as three-fifths of a person, instead of a whole. This clause garnered the state 12 out of 91 electoral votes, more than a quarter of what a president needed to win.

“None of this is about slaves voting,” said Finkelman, who wrote a paper on the origins of the Electoral College for a symposium after Gore lost. “The debates are in part about political power and also the fundamental immorality of counting slaves for the purpose of giving political power to the master class.”

He said the Electoral College’s three-fifths clause enabled Thomas Jefferson, who owned more than a hundred slaves, to beat out in 1800 John Adams, who was opposed to slavery, since the South had a stronghold.

While slavery was abolished, and the Civil War led to citizenship and voting rights for black people, the Electoral College remained intact. Another law professor, who has also written that the Constitution is pro-slavery, argues that it gave states the autonomy to introduce discriminatory voting laws, despite the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that was built to prevent it.

In 2013, the Supreme Court freed nine states, mostly in the South, from the stipulation in the Voting Rights Act that said they could only change voter laws with the approval of the federal government.

“A more conservative Supreme Court has been unwinding what the [other] court did,” said Juan Perea, a law Professor of Loyola University Chicago. “State by state, that lack of supervision and lack of uniformity operates to preserve a lot of inequality.”

In July, a federal appeals court struck down a voter ID law in Texas, ruling that it discriminated against black and Latino voters by making it harder for them to access ballots. Two weeks later, another federal appeals court ruled that North Carolina, a key swing state, had imposed voting provisions that “target African Americans with almost surgical precision.”

And for this presidential election, 15 states will have new voting restrictions, such as ones that require government-issued photo identification at the polls or reduce the number of hours the polls are open.

“The ability of states to make voting more difficult is directly tied to the legacy of slavery,” Perea said. “And that ability to make voting more difficult is usually used to disenfranchise people of color.”

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact has gained traction, but for reasons more related to the anomaly of the Gore-Bush election. Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz championed legislation in New York that brought the state into the compact and was asked by the NewsHour Weekend why the movement is important.

“We are the greatest democracy on the planet, and it seems to me that in the greatest democracy, the person who gets the most votes should win the election,” said Dinowitz. “We’re one country, North, South, East and West. One country. The votes of every single person in the country should be equal. And right now, the votes are not equal. Some states your vote is more important than in other states.”

New York overwhelmingly agreed on his bill in 2014, joining nine other states and Washington, D.C. Together, they have 165 electoral votes. If they gain a total of 270 — the majority needed to elect a president — the nation will move to a popular vote.

Not all academics agree that slavery was the driving force behind the Electoral College, though most agree there’s a connection. And both Perea and Finkelman say they know it is not the most prominent argument for the push toward a popular vote.

“But it is a vestige that has never been addressed,” Perea said.

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/electoral-college-slavery-constitution
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« Reply #20 on: September 14, 2018, 04:07:02 AM »

Yeah wow, that's a lot different than what the people that actually created the electoral college said.

I mean, don't take their word for it, you know, they only wrote it.  Best to leave it to someone writing a century later to create a new definition of why they made it...you know, instead of using a primary source for your proof.

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« Reply #21 on: September 14, 2018, 04:37:11 AM »

I guess some things were just too shamefull to admit.
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« Reply #22 on: September 14, 2018, 05:16:51 AM »

I guess some things were just too shamefull to admit.

That or, you know, a far simpler explanation that they created it for the same reason that we have two houses in congress.

You have the choice to believe a conspiracy theory, or what the people actually said.  And you're choosing to ignore primary documents for a propaganda piece. 
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« Reply #23 on: September 14, 2018, 07:45:04 AM »

I can't possibly see how the Electoral College system is "essentially racist in nature."

The varying states' "value" was originally set by a combination of sizes of the white population and the black slave population, but the blacks were only valued at 3/5 of a white person. Lowering the legal worth of a person based purely on the colour of their skin is about as racist as it gets.

Quote
Perhaps more to the point, it's not exactly productive to judge a 230-year-old system by the results of one, single election.

I'm not - the last election is what brought the system to my attention, but I understand the college and popular results have been contradictory on more than one occasion. I am a firm believer in the democratic process, and do not approve of our own system, where the national premier is selected through being the head of the largest party in the lower house of Parliament, even if there has not been an actual election - Theresa May became the Prime Minister because her predecessor quit in the aftermath of Brexit, and nobody else stood against her in the campaign to be party leader.

A few thousand people voted her into Parliament, nobody elected her to be PM, and she remained PM after last election even though nearly 60% of those who voted did so for somebody else.

On the other hand, in parliamentary systems the entire cabinet are nearly always elected members of the House of Commons, while the only elected member of the US executive is the president (and I suppose the VP, but that election is tied to the presidential election).  Parliamentary systems also allow the government to be dismissed at any time should they lose the confidence of the House.  While that is rare in Canada and the UK due to strongly whipped votes and the first past the post electoral system that produces artificial majorities, it makes things interesting in countries with proportional representation.

Getting back to electing a president (and tangentially related to proportional representation), I think the possibility of using a ranked ballot is one of the best reasons for the USA to switch to a direct vote system.  As it is, any vote for a third party or independent candidate is essentially wasted, and a strong independent candidate can even skew the results of a close race by pulling more votes from one mainstream candidate than the other.  With a ranked ballot, voters could freely choose their favorite candidates, even if they have little hope of winning, and also indicate which of the mainstream candidates they would support after their first choice is eliminated.
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« Reply #24 on: September 14, 2018, 10:40:10 AM »

The thing with a popular vote is that it give s room for more parties to contest elections even though they known they won't win.
This takes vital seats in decision making houses away from those who need them and can lead to messy coalitions.

Here in South Africa, we had 66 political parties contest our last election in 2014.
Of those, only 13 earned seats in parliament even though all 66 parties received votes.

Some only have 1 seat and so, in order to try push any agenda, would have to appeal to other parties with more votes.

We have 400 seats in Parliament. Those seats are awarded on a proportional basis.
IE: you got 67% of the popular vote, you get 67% of the seats in Parliament.
Once parliament is elected, THEY choose the president, NOT the public. They could vote for anyone they choose.
Usually it is the current president of the popular party and if they have more than 50% of the seats, they win the election.
Any laws that are passed here require a 2/3rds majority vote as well as any amendments to the constitution.
So any party that wins 67% of the vote can essentially do whatever thy want with the country and the opposing parties may as well not even bother attending parliament.

No political system is perfect and as a non american, I do not know all the intricacies of the electoral college but it is very easy to understand in terms of how the votes lead to electoral seats which lead to a new president and how each state is represented regardless of population.

Currently here, the major opposition part controls all of the manor cities and metropolitan areas and strive to make improvements, but because they don't have enough power to make changes without compromising to the ruling party, very little gets done because the ruling party would rather see them fail in the eyes of the people and win back the votes even though they blocked anything that was attempts in the first place.

In the end, a popular vote is dangerous.
Here,we have barcodes ID documents that you use to register to vote with and again show on voting day.
On voting day, parties are allowed to campaign at voting station.
When you vote, your ID is scanned and the serial number of your ballot paper is linked with your ID number.
While the government claims "free and fair" elections, they can tell who voted for who by name, what time you voted, where you live, your phone number and who you voted for previously.
In 1994, this was not the case, but through controlling parliament, the ruling party has been able to push through these laws unobstructed.
Even now, the controlling party is wanting to "amend" our constitution so that government may seize anyone's property (they will say land, but the proposed amendment currently being discussed uses the word property) without compensation or legal recourse if the government deems that anyone else has ancestral claim to your property or that it would be beneficial to government to own said property.
Essentially, they want to abolish private property rights.
Even though the main party does not have enough votes by itself to change the constitution, the 3rd largest party combined with them, will make up more than enough votes and the main opposition party can do nothing to stop them.

An electoral college would be far better suited to prevent dictatorships than a popular vote.

Again, no system is perfect, but your system is something I am sure many other countries wished they had.
I know South Africans do at least.
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« Reply #25 on: September 14, 2018, 04:33:57 PM »


I find it interesting that both Lois and IrishGirl seem to frame their analysis of the Electoral college in terms of "states rights." It's chiefly interesting because one clearly seems to reject the concept of "states rights," while the other seems to support it.

"States rights" had nothing to do with the creation of the Electoral College. The Electoral College was a compromise between two competing proposals: A president elected by a straight popular vote, and a president elected by a vote by the Members of Congress. And the popular vote still forms the core of the Electoral College system: the electors cast their votes based on the popular vote total in their given state. There have been "faithless electors" -- electors who cast a vote opposite of the winner of the popular total in their state. But they have been very few and far between, and in no instance did they have even the tiniest effect on the outcome.

It's true that fear of demagoguery played a role in the Framers' decision to create the Electoral College. They feared -- correctly, in my opinion -- that a populist tyrant might sway an uninformed populace into electing him or her president. Though I would not describe our current president as a "populist tyrant," it's painfully clear that today we have an aggressively uninformed electorate (and an electorate that, by and large, doesn't usually bother to vote).

Today there is a new form of demagoguery that the Framers never even dreamed of: The Demagoguery of money. With presidential candidates sitting on campaign war chests containing well over $1 billion dollars, candidates are able to sway votes in new and previously unheard of ways. Any analysis or prescription for change in the way we elect our presidents should take a temporary back seat to this incomparably more pressing and anti-democratic phenomenon.


If ypu bothered to read what I saud, its about checks and balances


My bad!

When you wrote about "Kentucky, Ohio, Kansas, South Dakota, Montana," and when you wrote "the lower populated states," I thought you were referring to states.




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« Reply #26 on: September 14, 2018, 05:13:10 PM »

I guess some things were just too shamefull to admit.

That or, you know, a far simpler explanation that they created it for the same reason that we have two houses in congress.

You have the choice to believe a conspiracy theory, or what the people actually said.  And you're choosing to ignore primary documents for a propaganda piece.  

PBS does not publish propoganda.  LOL!  You did not even read it did you?
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« Reply #27 on: September 14, 2018, 05:38:42 PM »


I can't possibly see how the Electoral College system is "essentially racist in nature."


The varying states' "value" was originally set by a combination of sizes of the white population and the black slave population, but the blacks were only valued at 3/5 of a white person. Lowering the legal worth of a person based purely on the colour of their skin is about as racist as it gets.


Not exactly.

The infamous Three-Fifths Compromise -- admittedly, one of the darkest moments in our history -- had zero effect on presidential elections, or the working of the Electoral College. Blacks couldn't vote, period, and southern states with a high percentage of blacks had no advantage over northern states with a low percentage of blacks. The votes tallied -- including both the popular vote and the Electoral College vote -- were the results of votes that were actually cast, and by those where were then qualified to vote (i.e. white males who were at least relatively wealthy).

Three-Fifths Compromise itself was unarguably racist -- and one of the most insidious compromises in world history. But it determined Congressional representation, and not presidential election determination. To spare you a boring civics lesson, the Constitution determined that the number of Members of Congress for each state is based on a state's population, and this Compromise counted blacks as 3/5 of a person for Congressional apportionment. Thus, blacks -- and, overwhelmingly, slaves -- were not counted as one state resident (or no state resident), but as 3/5 of a state resident. This nifty compromise -- without which the Constitution would never have been ratified -- avoided even the semblance of recognizing slaves as persons. But it also gave the southern states -- read: slave-holding states -- a highly disproportionate representation in Congress.

This had two main consequences. First, as you point out, it embedded in our national foundational document the concept that blacks/slaves were less than a person. And second, the pro-slavery balance in Congress kept even discussions of ending slavery from ever occurring. As you know, Great abolished slavery throughout its empire in 1833. The U.S. didn't abolish slavery until after we fought a bloody Civil War that resulted in the deaths of 750,000 Americans. While it's oversimplification to name the Three-Fifths Compromise as the sole reason, it certainly played a major role.




Perhaps more to the point, it's not exactly productive to judge a 230-year-old system by the results of one, single election.


I'm not - the last election is what brought the system to my attention, but I understand the college and popular results have been contradictory on more than one occasion. I am a firm believer in the democratic process, and do not approve of our own system, where the national premier is selected through being the head of the largest party in the lower house of Parliament, even if there has not been an actual election - Theresa May became the Prime Minister because her predecessor quit in the aftermath of Brexit, and nobody else stood against her in the campaign to be party leader.

A few thousand people voted her into Parliament, nobody elected her to be PM, and she remained PM after last election even though nearly 60% of those who voted did so for somebody else.


Well, the 2016 election brought the "problems" with the Electoral College system to everyone's attention. And the same thing occurred in the 2000 election. But it's important to understand that in neither these two elections nor the other three elections where the winner did not receive the majority of the popular vote did the results demonstrate that the Electoral College didn't work. All five demonstrated that the Electoral College did work, and it worked exactly as it was designed. It's a fact that Hillary Clinton received the clear majority of the popular votes; it's also a fact that Donald Trump won an even clearer majority of the electoral votes. And that's the way presidents are elected in the U.S., and it has been the way for every election since the first one. In other words, there was nothing even remotely "unfair" about the way Trump won or Clinton lost. To assert that manifests a rather gross ignorance of the way the American presidential election system works, and has worked from the first day. (And I'm not singling you out, since a great many Americans betray this ignorance.)

Now, the OP in this thread discusses potential changes and/or alternatives to the Electoral College system. That's a highly legitimate discussion, and it has, of course, been widely undertaken, both by people in general and, perhaps more important, be legal experts, Constitutional scholars, and political scientists who know what they're talking about and frame their arguments in an historical context. I think the primary question is: Does the Electoral College system manifest the "will of the people" in a greater or lesser way than a popular vote system? If the Electoral College system is flawed, then is a straight popular vote system the best alternative, given its inherent flaws? Or is there some sort of hybrid system that would eliminate the defects of both systems, yet feature the benefits of both systems?

Finally, it's worth noting that neither the U.S. nor the U.K. are a democracy. Though I need a U.K. civics lesson more than you need a U.S. civics lesson, in both systems "the people" do not make laws; "the people" chose the people who make the laws. Yet in both systems, the members of the national legislature (Congress, Parliament) serve, at least in theory, at the will of "the people," and serve only as long as "the people" allow them to serve. Neither system is a pure democracy, and both systems are based on democratic principles. It's true that your system of selecting a national leader is far more arbitrary than ours, but you have the advantage of being able to switch leaders mid-stream, while we have to wait four years.





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« Reply #28 on: September 14, 2018, 08:34:38 PM »

It is my understanding that the 3/5ths compromise (that determined representation in Congress) was used to to determine how many electors a state was apportioned.
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« Reply #29 on: September 14, 2018, 09:55:29 PM »

...

We have 400 seats in Parliament. Those seats are awarded on a proportional basis.
IE: you got 67% of the popular vote, you get 67% of the seats in Parliament.
Once parliament is elected, THEY choose the president, NOT the public. They could vote for anyone they choose.
Usually it is the current president of the popular party and if they have more than 50% of the seats, they win the election.
Any laws that are passed here require a 2/3rds majority vote as well as any amendments to the constitution.
So any party that wins 67% of the vote can essentially do whatever thy want with the country and the opposing parties may as well not even bother attending parliament.
...
67% of the elected representatives in a proportional system is a substantially higher threshold than you would find in most countries.  In Canada, with 3 parties that normally elect a substantial number of representatives and a handful of others that get significant numbers of votes, support of about 40% of voters is sufficient for a party to claim a majority of seats in the House without need to form any sort of coalition, and a simple majority is all that is required to pass legislation.
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