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Juan Donado

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The pros and cons of the electoral college.

What if America decided to abolish the electoral college? Wouldn't it be more simple just to have simple majority vote?

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  • Aug 8 2012: I learned about the electoral college in high school. It didn't make sense to me then and it still doesn't today. I don't know why there is a winner take all format from state to state for a national election. I also don't understand the party system as it exists today and why it is necessary. Every vote should count the same amount regardless of state. Why can't we (in theory) have 10 people run for president on equal ground? Have the highest vote total get the job? As a person who doesn't belong to a party, I get to choose only from who gets put up by the party There are independent candidates as well, but they can almost never carry enough weight to actually win.
    The power brokers of the world like the format as is because it doesn't allow power and control to be taken away from the interest groups who run the show.
    • Aug 10 2012: The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

      Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. There would no longer be a handful of 'battleground' states where voters and policies are more important than those of the voters in more than 3/4ths of the states that now are just 'spectators' and ignored.

      When the bill is enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes– enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538), all the electoral votes from the enacting states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC.

      The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for President. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.

      In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls.

      The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 states. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions possessing 132 electoral votes - 49% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.

      NationalPopularVote
      Follow National Popular Vote on Facebook via NationalPopularVoteInc
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    Aug 6 2012: I don't think I fully understand this subject myself. But from what I hear it is to avoid the simple majority vote as is the case in the U.S. half of the people don't pay any taxes at all. The motivation of this half is to vote themselves as many benefits as they can that they do not have to pay for.

    With the electoral college the representative has the right to vote in a manner that is the best for the country even if if defies the votes he represents.

    I can be wrong on this and I may not be correct, if so I'm all ears.
    • Aug 10 2012: The National Popular Vote bill would end the disproportionate attention and influence of the "mob" in the current handful of closely divided battleground states, such as FL, while the "mobs" of the vast majority of states are ignored. 98% of the 2008 campaign events involving a presidential or vice-presidential candidate occurred in just 15 "battleground" states. 12 of the 13 lowest population states, that are non-competitive are ignored, in presidential elections. 9 of the original 13 states are considered “fly-over” now. Over half (57%) of the events were in just four states (OH, Fl, PA, VA). Similarly, 98% of ad spending took place in these 15 "battleground" states. At most, 12 states will determine the election.

      The current system does not provide some kind of check on the "mobs." There have been 22,453 electoral votes cast since presidential elections became competitive (in 1796), and only 17 have been cast for someone other than the candidate nominated by the elector's own political party. 1796 remains the only instance when the elector might have thought, at the time he voted, that his vote might affect the national outcome. Since 1796, the Electoral College has had the form, but not the substance, of the deliberative body envisioned by the Founders. The electors now are dedicated party activists of the winning party who meet briefly in mid-December to cast their totally predictable rubberstamped votes in accordance with their pre-announced pledges.

      If a Democratic candidate receives the most votes, the state's dedicated Democratic party activists who have been chosen as its slate of electors become the EC voting bloc. If a Republican candidate receives the most votes, the state's dedicated Republican party activists who have been chosen as its slate of electors become the EC voting bloc.

      The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld state laws guaranteeing faithful voting by electors (because the states have plenary power over presidential electors).
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        Aug 10 2012: Hey Susan

        If as you indicate in the first paragraph the mob (conservatives?) controls the vote then why does a democrat ever get elected?

        I hear what you are saying in the second paragraph, but you don't mention the tyranny of the democracy which as become ridiculously onerous here in Calif to point of the state collapsing.

        In the 3rd paragraph are you saying that EC is not a tool of a Republic?

        Somewhat related is that under the 17th amendment U.S. senators became elected by popular vote further giving power to the tyranny of a democracy and eroding the Republic it was intended to be.
        • Aug 10 2012: I don't ascribe a political party to the "mobs." That's not relevant to the discussion.

          The issue is: One person, one vote, of whatever party.

          National Popular Vote ensures that every vote is equal, every voter will matter, in every state, in every presidential election, and the candidate with the most votes wins, as in virtually every other election in the country.

          Most Americans don't care whether their presidential candidate wins or loses in their state in presidential elections. . . they care whether he/she wins the White House. Voters want to know, that even if they were on the losing side, their vote actually was directly and equally counted and mattered to their candidate. Most Americans think it's wrong for the candidate with the most popular votes to lose. We don't allow this in any other election in our representative republic.

          The National Popular Vote bill preserves the constitutionally mandated Electoral College and state control of elections. With NPV, the candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC would get the 270+ ELECTORAL COLLEGE votes from the enacting states. That majority of ELECTORAL COLLEGE votes guarantees the candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC wins the presidency.

          The existence of the EC does not make us a Republic.
          http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/republic
          Definition of REPUBLIC
          (1) : a government having a chief of state who is not a monarch and who in modern times is usually a president (2) : a political unit (as a nation) having such a form of government
          b (1) : a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law (2) : a political unit (as a nation) having such a form of government
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        Aug 10 2012: Is this a 2 way conversation or you delivering a speech?

        Can you please define "mob"?

        This quote from a federalist paper from Madsen:

        The Framers founded a republic because they recognized that mob rule could be just as great a threat to liberty as the rule of a king. Representation, Madison explains in Federalists 63, is “sometimes necessary as a defense to the people against their own temporary errors and delusions.” America’s constitutional framework thereby seeks to protect the people from the dangers of unchecked popular democracy. The people’s representatives, of course, remain ultimately accountable to the people who can vote them out of office as they see fit.
        • Aug 10 2012: I used "mobs" in quotes, to denote that I was using a term used by others for voters.
          Most Americans want "one person, one vote," the candidate with the most votes wins, as in virtually every election in the country.

          Unable to agree on any particular method, the Founding Fathers left the choice of method for selecting presidential electors exclusively to the states by adopting the language contained in section 1 of Article II of the Constitution-- "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors . . ." The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly characterized the authority of the state legislatures over the manner of awarding their electoral votes as "plenary" and "exclusive."

          NPV preserves the Electoral College and state control of elections. It changes the way electoral votes are awarded in the EC.

          The Republic is not in any danger from NPV.
          NPV has nothing to do with pure democracy. Pure democracy is a form of government in which people vote on policy initiatives directly. With NPV, the U.S. would still be a representative democracy, in which citizens continue to elect the President by a majority of EC votes by states, to represent us and conduct the business of government in the periods between elections.

          The current system does not provide some kind of check on voters. There have been 22,453 electoral votes cast since presidential elections became competitive (in 1796), and only 17 have been cast for someone other than the candidate nominated by the elector's own political party. 1796 remains the only instance when the elector might have thought, at the time he voted, that his vote might affect the national outcome. Since 1796, the EC has had the form, but not the substance, of the deliberative body envisioned by the Founders.
          Electors now are dedicated party activists of the winning party who cast their totally predictable rubberstamp votes.
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        Aug 10 2012: Ok I'm going to have to do some further reading on this. It will probably be a few days before I respond. I hear what you are saying but I want to hear the opposing view as well.
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    Aug 6 2012: Ahhh
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    Aug 6 2012: Juan, Three people all much wiser than I am seems to know what this conversation is about. Could you please tell me what the nn and mmm mean so I can respond. I looked up the abbreviations and they do not match the comments. HELP.

    Thanks. Bob.
    • Aug 6 2012: Sorry for that mmm nnn thing. My brother did it without my consent.
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        Aug 6 2012: No need to be sorry. I'm glad that I did not respond. It always pays to learn what the question is before you answer.

        Honestly, I think it is funny. Say hay to little brother.

        All the best. Bob.
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    Aug 6 2012: I think you should add another m in there for kicks
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    Aug 6 2012: The electoral college, and the senate, are designed to empower the south in national politics. They are intentional power plays designed to place the most power, in the hands of uneducated, sparsely populated rural towns. What's the benefit of this?

    Corporations can buy advertising in these rural markets very cheap, and then use uneducated, poor people, to vote for policies which benefit them. They spam the weak minded people in small communities with messages that the "Elitist left wing socialists, want to come down here and take your guns and jobs away, and outlaw religion, and turn your kids gay, and the only thing that will stop them is good ol boys like me". It makes American law very simple for the wealthy to manipulate.

    It will never change.
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      Aug 6 2012: your comment seems to be far fetched considering the opening statement of this conversation :)
    • Aug 6 2012: "Elitist Left wing socialists" that sounds ironic.
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        Aug 7 2012: It doesn't need to make sense, that's the point, there's only one hundred people in the town, and they don't talk to anyone who graduated a university... Just spam the tv with every buzz word their preacher tells them is evil : p