Age Funk

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Noface
Age Funk
Posted over 2 years ago
Should Americans eliminate the Electoral College and elect their presidents through simple majority vote?
If it was a truly popular vote, how would you end up with a run-off between two candidates who had the same views? Here, there aren't 6 of the same candidate and 5 of the other - that's the beauty of it. They are all extremely different from each other. I guess to me, it feels like the USA as a whole - through the EC - doesn't trust its people to choose from a rainbow of colors, only black or white. If you are Orange, or Blue, you have to decide what your 2nd favorite color is, but they're all different colors. You couldn't end up with two Reds to vote between because there would be no point running against someone so similar when there are so many diverse choices. By polarizing the entire nation, the EC encourages a black or white, segregationist, for-us-or-against-us mentality which frankly, goes against everything I believe America was founded upon. Subsequently, I believe that by not having a 2-party system, during the primaries, yes, you would have 11 people receiving (likely) far less than 50% of the popular vote, but the MOST *popular* 2 candidates would be in the runoff. It's the exact same as the USA primaries now, except that instead of having truly varied opinions as here, you get 11 Rs and 11 Ds deciding who will be black and who will be white at the end, that can only be decided by registered Rs or Ds, so it's polarized from the start. There are no shades of grey, and this is what America is: 16 million shades of grey between the two extremes. What you speak of about one group railroading another group into something they don't want is EXACTLY what I complain about happening today in the EC. Oregon's vote is swung every election by the urban areas - Portland and Eugene - which goes completely against the roots of the state. People don't migrate to rural areas (or they would no longer be rural) so no matter how you slice it, I politely have to disagree about it being a worse alternative, but I agree that R or D, America is terrified of change.
Noface
Age Funk
Posted over 2 years ago
Should Americans eliminate the Electoral College and elect their presidents through simple majority vote?
On the one hand, it's apples and oranges. One cannot truly compare a country half the size of Oregon with only 10.5 million people to America at all. Everything is on a smaller scale. But on the other hand, I'd love to see America's magnification *of* this smaller scale - where 10.5 million people have 11 candidates to choose from, America having 11 doesn't seem so 'wild' to me by ratio. 350 candidates (1 per million citizens) is a bit much, and maybe that possibility is a fear behind abandoning the EC. But back to your question, the press is as - or more - active than the US, it's just a smaller market. When there are political (or other) scandals here, it monopolizes the media's attention in a way that puts TMZ to shame, but it's also possible to campaign on that same smaller scale, thereby giving "regular people" a real shot without SuperPACs and corporate/lobby/interest support being required in the USA. I think it is both the R/D for life mentality and large size that breeds negativity. I guess my stance goes back to my original post: That I don't understand why there are so many defenders of the EC when no beneficial reasons have been cited thus far. Everyone seems to agree with my general statement that when a citizen lives in an area with disparate political beliefs, their presidential vote doesn't matter, and my statement is that I believe every citizen's vote for president should count. If not, than in many ways, the USA is a parliamentary republic: Parliament being the electors for the states, who vote for what the majority of their people want in unison. I feel like the bulk of what I've read from EC supporters on the topic are answering with a variety of "because that's the way it's always been" answers, without citing real benefits over a true popular vote system. I was brought up to believe my vote matters and it doesn't, all because of an archaic system that no one else in the world uses, and due to my geography as a registered voter.
Noface
Age Funk
Posted over 2 years ago
Should Americans eliminate the Electoral College and elect their presidents through simple majority vote?
Hi Noah, I largely agree with your points and have a few other thoughts to offer. I think that the bi-partisan system is inherently flawed because it encourages only voting for "the one you like better than the other" when I haven't found strong allegiance with either candidate in the last 30 years. I currently reside in the Czech Republic and I'm very intrigued by their system. This January will be their first election where the president is not elected by parliament. a) it's a popular vote (as is everywhere in the world that has free democratic elections - America is the only one that uses an electoral college) - b) they currently have 11 candidates for president. I closely identify with several of them. The pre-requisite for becoming a candidate here is getting 50,000 signatures from the general populace, and they must be endorsed by 10 deputies (senators). This - for a country of ~10.5 million people - makes it challenging enough that one must be a serious contender just to be nominated. So, from these 11 candidates, there is a "primary" of sorts, but it's a popular primary. No affiliation with a political party is required. From this primary, the two with the most votes go to a popular vote run-off. The most interesting thing? I've yet to see *any* mud-slinging. It is strictly business from their stance about what they will do to improve the country in their way with their methods. I believe that it's *because* the electoral college doesn't give us enough choice in the matter from the very beginning during the primaries, that we are forced to form allegiance with one of the two political parties. But my larger point, addressing your first paragraph, is that I - and tens of millions like me - don't vote because our vote doesn't matter for purely geographic reasons. How would things change if we had 80% voter turnout instead of 57.5%? Until I live in a state where my views matter in the EC, I fail to see the value in voting for president at all.
Noface
Age Funk
Posted over 2 years ago
Should Americans eliminate the Electoral College and elect their presidents through simple majority vote?
Hi Evan, Thank you for your reply. One point of clarification: I still vote, I just abstain from voting for President because of the EC and I believe your logic is somewhat flawed. I am sincerely sorry if I'm being dense here and welcome a better explanation, but I don't understand how my vote would count less with national popular vote. I live in Oregon (whose electors voted for Obama therefore Oregon as a state voted for Obama) but let's say that I chose to vote for Romney. My vote is wasted as far as the Presidential election is concerned. If it was popular vote, my vote counts toward Romney. I am talking about a nationwide popular vote, and you are comparing the sizes of states - without an EC, the population of individual states doesn't matter anymore. When you say that in the EC, Oregon=about 1/4 of New York, you are talking within the context of an EC voting system, but look at it with me with some actual numbers from this election: Oregon has 7 EC votes, and voted 54.3 to 42.8% for Obama - 905,831 to 714,194 New York has 29 EC votes, and voted 62.6 to 35.5% for Obama - 3,873,650 to 2,224,963 Adding these two together, 4,779,481 voted for Obama but 2,939,157 votes did not count. This is a 100% victory for Obama because he got all 36 electoral votes, even though it was a 61.9 to 38.1% actual victory. The final national electoral vote was 332 for Obama and 206 for Romney which is a 61.7 to 38.3 victory for Obama percentage-wise, however 61,170,405 for Obama 58,163,977 for Romney is a 50.5 to 48% victory for Obama. Effectively, 42.8% of Oregon's presidential votes were wasted because of the EC. Same goes for 35.5% of New York. No candidate cares about states they know they will win anyway, they setup camp in batteground states only. Look at Hawaii - no one votes. My point is *voter turnout* - millions feels the same way I do and don't vote because it doesn't matter. It does matter if the margin is 2.5% popular instead of 23.4% EC. :)
Noface
Age Funk
Posted over 2 years ago
Should Americans eliminate the Electoral College and elect their presidents through simple majority vote?
I have read so much about the EC lately but fail (still) to understand how there is a better representation of individuals through the EC as many assert, compared to a popular vote. I am an Oregon resident and I have never voted in Presidential elections. Why? Because my vote does not matter *because* of the EC. In 2012, Obama will win Oregon and Romney will not. Regardless of who I vote for, my vote does... not... matter. Millions in the USA feel the same as I do. Show me a conservative in Oregon and I'll introduce you to a liberal in Texas. And the media wonders why there's low voter turnout, *this is why.* Regardless of the debates about whether or not the USA is a "true democracy" or a "representative republic" these are tangential to the real issue which is that statistically, millions and millions of people do not vote, and one of the many reasons why is that a percentage of non-voters feel that their vote simply does not count, because it doesn't in an EC for the majority of politically concerned non-voters. If there were a popular vote, I would be voting in every single election because at least I'd know there would be a check mark for an official I want to see in office. Until then, I deliberately neglect my civic duties as a voter and US citizen because it's an utter waste of my time, all due to the geographical area in which I happen to live and work and pay taxes. One could assert that it's a form of taxation without representation in a way, when one's representation is determined solely by the majority, that's just another form of mob rule, cloaked under the guise of democracy.