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(Wall Street Journal)   California Senate passes a bill that will award California's electoral votes to the candidate receiving the popular vote nationwide, no matter how California actually votes. This can only end well   (opinionjournal.com) divider line 68
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804 clicks; posted to Politics » on 28 Aug 2006 at 8:48 AM (8 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2006-08-28 02:34:31 AM  
According to the article, if this bill had been in effect in 2004, Bush would have won California's 55 electoral votes even though Kerry won the state by nearly 10 percent.

I voted for Bush, but that's just plain wrong.
 
2006-08-28 02:39:23 AM  
It would be screwed up if only one or two states did it, but if all the states did it it would simply be an easier way to institute direct popular elections for the Presidency, in that the winner of the popular vote would always win the White Hous.

The Electoral College served it's purpose, but if we're going to have de facto popular election of POTUS, we should go all the way. If every state did this it would simply be an easier way to effectively abolish the EC without going through the hassel of amending the constitution.
 
2006-08-28 02:40:13 AM  
Third, direct election would lead to a multicandidate, multiparty system instead of the two-party system we have.

How is that an argument against this? Wouldn't Americans welcome more choice?

presidential campaigns would become unfocused, confused, and about political advocacy instead of presidential substance

Indeed. The candidates in the last election were epitomes of "presidential substance."
 
2006-08-28 02:41:34 AM  
Last One Left: How is that an argument against this? Wouldn't Americans welcome more choice?


I want more choices because I refuse to vote for a D or R ever again.
 
KoC
2006-08-28 02:41:51 AM  
If I remember correctly, there were a couple other states that decided to do this as well, but only when enough had signed on to the idea that the winner of the popular vote would win the election.

We could just get rid of the electoral college, but that would just be too easy, plus every election would have 32423445 re-counts.
 
2006-08-28 02:42:11 AM  
Upon initial reading this pissed me off, but thinking about it, I think I agree with Churchill2004.
 
2006-08-28 02:42:19 AM  
Proportional award would make more sense but the best idea would be to get rid of the Electoral College all together.
 
2006-08-28 02:48:12 AM  
Great Metal Jesus: Upon initial reading this pissed me off, but thinking about it, I think I agree with Churchill2004



*dramatic chords*

EEEEK!


That has to be some kind of a first, I actually changed somebody's opinion on FARK. Wow. I'm speechless.
 
2006-08-28 02:48:38 AM  
This only goes into effect if states with a combined total of 270 electoral votes do the same thing, so it's just symbolic really.
 
2006-08-28 02:52:12 AM  
Abagadro: Proportional award would make more sense but the best idea would be to get rid of the Electoral College all together.

While I agree that the EC has outlived it usefulness I'm still not convinced that a direct popular vote would work very well. I was mentioned above, voter fraud and endless recounts would be just some of the problems.

Until a new system is devised (set up, whatever) to replace the Electoral College I don't know why more people don't support Proportional Allocation.
 
2006-08-28 02:53:48 AM  
Philbb: voter fraud and endless recounts would be just some of the problems.



Who could imagine such a thing!


/seriously, why would this be any different?
 
2006-08-28 03:05:25 AM  
Upon initial reading this sounded like a good idea, but thinking about it, I think Churchill2004 is dead wrong
 
2006-08-28 03:08:42 AM  
For some reason I think either the House or the Goobernater will have a "not so fast, Sparky" for this li'l initiative.
 
2006-08-28 03:11:30 AM  
The reality is that the parity ensured by the COTUS to every state via the Electoral College is the most even/fair way to ensure that every state has a say in the Presidency.

Regardless of whether you are in a blue or red state, the EC works. This has worked both ways in regards to political parties, as Nixon lost to JFK and Gore to Bush. System seems to work regardless of your affiliation. If it ain't broke...
 
2006-08-28 04:07:18 AM  
Drunken_Irish_Joker: Regardless of whether you are in a blue or red state, the EC works. This has worked both ways in regards to political parties

...unless you're not a Republican or a Democrat.
 
2006-08-28 04:29:40 AM  
This is a stupid, stupid idea, but it cannot possibly screw more people than the current system.

I guess I have to applaud California for this, however weakly, for seeking an unorthodox solution to the problems of this nation's electoral process.

Hmmm.
 
2006-08-28 04:33:48 AM  
Drunken_Irish_Joker: The reality is that the parity ensured by the COTUS to every state via the Electoral College is the most even/fair way to ensure that every state has a say in the Presidency.

You are wholly and absurdly incorrect. I am opposed to the Electoral College in the strongest possible terms; it has been unnecessary since the very inception of instantaneous communication.

Regardless of whether you are in a blue or red state, the EC works.

I beg to differ in the stongest possible terms. I have never once voted Republican in my life, and yet my vote continues to be counted as Republican simply by virtue of the fact that I live in Texas. I object to this.

Additionally, the 2000 election was not the first time a candidate has lost the popular election but won the presidency. Do you honestly not see a problem with this? Or are you simply living up to your handle? I must confess a sincere hope that it's the latter, even though I would look like an overserious tool were that the case.
 
2006-08-28 05:42:06 AM  
i hate this idea, and i hate our current electoral college. we need to elect by national popular vote!
 
2006-08-28 08:36:51 AM  
Monday morning rule of thumb: If the WSJ editors rail against it it's likely a good idea. /didn't rtfa
 
2006-08-28 08:57:48 AM  
From the article:
Second, in any direct national election there would be significant election-fraud concerns. In the 2000 Bush-Gore race, Mr. Gore's 540,000-vote margin amounted to 3.4 votes in each of the country's 175,000 precincts. "Finding" three votes per precinct in urban areas is not a difficult thing

Writers logic fails. So it might be easy to get 3-4 votes in a precinct, but do that 175 000 times - I don't think so.
 
2006-08-28 09:05:35 AM  
Churchill2004: If every state did this it would simply be an easier way to effectively abolish the EC without going through the hassel of amending the constitution.

The "hassel" of amending the constitution is one of the bedrock foundations of this country. An easier way to circumvent the constitution would be a better way of saying it.

Bad idea. Very bad idea.
 
2006-08-28 09:08:42 AM  
From TFA: "Finally, direct election would also lead to weaker presidents. There are no run-offs in the Interstate Compact--that would require either a constitutional amendment or the agreement of all 50 states and the District of Columbia--so the highest percentage winner, no matter how small (perhaps 25% or 30% in a six- or eight-candidate field) would become president. Such a winner would not have an Electoral College majority and therefore not be seen as a legitimate president."

Now, I thought that what would happen if the EC did not decide the presidency is then the HR would vote for the president, with each state getting one vote, until 26 states gave someone the nod. Based on this, I am disinclined to support this measure. I think we should have direct elections, and I think we should have something in there for an immediate run-off with the top two vote-getters, until someone gets 50%+1.
 
2006-08-28 09:10:04 AM  
I'm all for Proportional Allocation. Reps in MD will have a voice and Dems in Texas will have a voice.

I don't like the idea of direct voting for President. It scares me to think that some nutjob can win 30% of the popular vote and simply because there were five candidates, they therefore win the election. If you thought the country was divided right now, wait until that happens.
 
2006-08-28 09:11:46 AM  
Learn to swim...
 
2006-08-28 09:16:12 AM  
If you want to get rid of the EC then create an amendment. Don't have state legislatures get rid of it. I would prefer to have each vote go to each district. Each house district gets a vote and each state gets two vote proportioned by popular vote in their respected area. I to hate having my vote discounted because of chicago but I will not let go of states rights and shiver at the idea of campaigning on the east and west coast only and forgetting the middle states.
 
2006-08-28 09:16:52 AM  
What a terrible idea. In essence, California voters do not get to vote for President unless they vote the same way as the rest of the country?

This is truly, truly stupid. Its target is Democrats, who normally carry the state despite the fact that the nation leans to the right. But in reality, all of America suffers when we disenfranchise people.
 
2006-08-28 09:17:57 AM  
Last One Left: How is that an argument against this? Wouldn't Americans welcome more choice?

Yes, but the WSJ and NRO goons would be threatened if a conservative party challenged the Republicans.
 
2006-08-28 09:18:23 AM  
Dancin_In_Anson: Learn to swim...

Very amusing, DIA.

It brought to mind a post-9/11 Onion article that went something like, "While assuring it's citizens there is no cause for alarm, the Department of Homeland Security began issuing life jackets to every American on Monday."
 
2006-08-28 09:53:40 AM  
I'm still boggling at the fact that the law would have made California a red state.

Just mind boggling. It screams of politicians trying to appease the still grumbling "Gore won" contingency.

If any sweeping changes to electoral process I would be behind the idea of splitting a states votes based on the popular vote. In many states this would mean near a 50/50 split of electoral votes, with one or two going to the candidate who wins the popular vote for that state. Then you would have candidates actually need to campaign in more states instead of just "swing states" because they'd want every vote they could get and not just majorities in the states they knew they needed to swing to get in the white house.
 
2006-08-28 10:02:10 AM  
Churchill2004: if all the states did it it would simply be an easier way to institute direct popular elections for the Presidency

I'm no mathematician, but how could ALL the states award their electoral votes to the winner of the nationwide popular vote without regard to how their own residents voted?
 
2006-08-28 10:03:53 AM  
Wow. Stupidest. Law. Evar!
 
2006-08-28 10:09:24 AM  
Third, direct election would lead to a multicandidate, multiparty system instead of the two-party system we have.

Heaven forbid.
 
2006-08-28 10:15:40 AM  
2006-08-28 08:57:48 AM FlameDuck

From the article:
Second, in any direct national election there would be significant election-fraud concerns. In the 2000 Bush-Gore race, Mr. Gore's 540,000-vote margin amounted to 3.4 votes in each of the country's 175,000 precincts. "Finding" three votes per precinct in urban areas is not a difficult thing

Writers logic fails. So it might be easy to get 3-4 votes in a precinct, but do that 175 000 times - I don't think so.


Actually.... You need to look at each precinct individually, not as a whole.

Each precinct has a certain percentage chance to have votes found. That percentage doesn't changes whether you count 1 precinct or 5 million.

You admit it is easy to find 3 or 4 votes in one precinct. Guess what? The odds are exactly the same in all of the other precincts.

From a mathematical (probability? Stats?) standpoint, the authors logic is valid.

/Human intervention can (and would probably) throw the valid scientific predictions out the window though.
 
2006-08-28 10:34:39 AM  
Finnley Wren: Very amusing, DIA.


You do get the reference, don't you?
 
2006-08-28 10:36:15 AM  
2006-08-28 09:16:12 AM Saiga410

I will not let go of states rights and shiver at the idea of campaigning on the east and west coast only and forgetting the middle states.

It's irrational fear like that which prevents any meaningful reform of our inane Electoral College.

As revskippy and kmill25 already explained, the middle states will not be ignored. The candidates -- of both parties -- would simply no longer be able to take entire states for granted. Democrats would dig under every rock in a red state for a vote, and New Yorkers would actually see a Republican candidate every now and then on the campaign trail.

It would make EVERYONE's vote more meaningful if the election wasn't just about 12 states that are "in play."
 
2006-08-28 10:40:54 AM  
kmill25: I don't like the idea of direct voting for President. It scares me to think that some nutjob can win 30% of the popular vote and simply because there were five candidates, they therefore win the election.

Presumably Congress would still decide amongst the top three candidates in the event there is no clear majority.

On a side note, does this mean California would insist that all States count the provisional and absentee ballots (something many don't really do when the issue is not in doubt), and would push for nationwide recounts in the event of a close national result?

/California is farking crazy.
 
2006-08-28 10:41:35 AM  
Farker_Texas: It's irrational fear like that which prevents any meaningful reform of our inane Electoral College.

What's inane about the Electoral College?
 
2006-08-28 10:48:19 AM  
DIA

Are you referencing Bill Hicks directly, or Tool's Ænema which referenced him?
 
2006-08-28 10:52:27 AM  
Tool.
 
2006-08-28 10:58:47 AM  
2006-08-28 10:41:35 AM Sloth_DC

What's inane about the Electoral College?

What's inane is that it's just a hollow tradition, devoid of any of the signifance from the days of its inception.

And the very thing it was intended to do -- protect the small states -- it no longer does. A candidate need only win a majority in the 12 largest states to get the necessary 270 electoral votes.

Tell me again how that protects the small states?

Hell, if I was running, I might consider proposing huge tax breaks for every citizen living in New York, California, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, and a couple other states.

Land mass shouldn't equal voting strength, anyway. It's people who vote, not pasture.
 
2006-08-28 11:05:04 AM  
Farker_Texas: It's people who vote, not pasture.

Actually, it's State governments.
 
2006-08-28 11:08:37 AM  
In my mental example the law would stat that the electoral votes of a state would be split in proportion to the popular vote. For a candidate to get an electoral vote they much have at least .5% of the states vote total. Rounding would be done to the winner of the popular vote. In the case of a tie in electoral votes for the top two candidates one vote would be moved from the second place to the first place (based on popular vote) to insure a majority.

2000 example states:

California :
Gore - 29
Bush - 23
Nader - 2

Texas :
Gore - 10
Bush - 21
Nader - 1

New York :
Gore - 20
Bush - 11
Nader - 1

And of course...

FLorida :
Gore - 11
Bush - 13
Nader - 1

Florida would have been a 12/12 tie between the two. decided by popular vote.

With this system these 4 states would have tallied as follows:

Gore - 70
Bush - 68
Nader - 4

As it was, the results were:

Gore - 87
Bush - 57
Nader - 0

Now that is just with 4 states (obviously Bush won a bunch of other states.) I'm too lazy to do the whole retabulation off hand. Anybody want to do that for me? Shocker is that NADER ACTUALLY SHOWS UP on the electoral process under that system.

/full disclosure note : I'm a card carrying republican and I wholeheartedly support this idea.
 
2006-08-28 11:34:29 AM  
We need to get rid of the electoral college. Because we all know that colleges are just full of those got-damned liberals.
 
2006-08-28 11:44:21 AM  
This whole article is full of falicies. Take this part for instance:

And might not the direct-election Interstate Compact lead to other similar efforts? California's Sen. Dianne Feinstein says the Electoral College violates "one person, one vote," and so we should have direct election of the president. But the equal allocation of two senators to each state also violates "one person, one vote." Montana, with 900,000 people, gets two senators and so does California with 34 million, so Feinstein's logic would say that California should have 12 senators, and Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont should share just one among them.

Its like the writer completely forgot about the House of Representatives.

The writer is also complaining about the idea of campains focusing on the urban areas, because that is where the larger population is. How is that bad!???!!?!. This is about the people, not about the lifestyle. If more people are in one area, you go there. It just makes sense. And considering that the 2 major parties are practially the same anyway, a multiparty system can only improve the situation. It works in India, it can work here.
 
2006-08-28 11:50:00 AM  
The crisis in this case, I think, would have to be that the winner of the Electoral vote was the loser of the popular vote. People would be disillusioned; politicians would be screaming from soapboxes; the press would be full of the history of the Electoral College; and maybe an amendment would then pass. But not now; not without that sort of crisis -- it just has too high a political cost.

That's the only way Congress can do it -- via an Amendment. But there IS another way -- the states can do it themselves. The states can decide their own methods of sending electors to the electoral college. Two states, Maine and Nebraska, do NOT use the winner-take-all system -- they divide up the electors based partially on the popular vote count. The other 48 states could simply follow that lead, and the Electoral College would become a lot less important, without any need for Congressional action.

--Jesse Gordon
 
2006-08-28 12:01:55 PM  
Dancin_In_Anson: You do get the reference, don't you?

I'll kick myself when you tell me, I'm sure.

Though it works as a blanket comment in so many circumstances . . .
 
2006-08-28 12:06:07 PM  
DSF6969: This whole article is full of falicies. Take this part for instance:

And might not the direct-election Interstate Compact lead to other similar efforts? California's Sen. Dianne Feinstein says the Electoral College violates "one person, one vote," and so we should have direct election of the president. But the equal allocation of two senators to each state also violates "one person, one vote." Montana, with 900,000 people, gets two senators and so does California with 34 million, so Feinstein's logic would say that California should have 12 senators, and Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont should share just one among them.

Its like the writer completely forgot about the House of Representatives.

And it's like you forgot that the number electoral votes each State receives is equal to (number of Senators) + (number of Representatives). Sounds like he has a better grasp of the issue than do you. (Not to mention I bet he can spell "fallacy")
 
2006-08-28 12:16:55 PM  
Direct election of a President in a federal republic is a really bad idea. (And the reason why abolishing the EC could never work as a constitutional amendment is that small states from Delaware to Alaska to North Dakota to New Mexico would be essentially cutting off their own legs, and their legislatures would never approve such an amendment, especially since 2/3rds of the state legislatures have to approve any constitutional amendment.)

Look south of the border at Mexico. In 2000 in the US, the loser wanted a recount in just one state out of 50. In 2006 in Mexico, the loser wanted a do-over vote in the ENTIRE country.

To borrow a phrase the EC is the worst possible system under our form of government, except for all the others. The EC was part of the grand bargain that allows the constitution to function without small states and big states constantly at each other's throats. (The different election mode of each house of Congress was the other part of this.) And out of 54 presidential elections in our nations history, only three (1876, 1888, and 2000) have produced an anomalous result. I agree with D_I_J: If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

I would like to see votes awarded by congressional district in each state and the two "Senate" votes going to the winner of each state's vote as a whole, though. But that's a matter that each state can already decide for itself. (Indeed, Maine and Nebraska already award their EC votes this way.)
 
2006-08-28 12:18:34 PM  
Sloth_DC

You were so wrapped up in my mis-spelling that you missed the meaning of the writer's statement and mine. The writer assumes that the senate violates the "1 person, 1 vote" principle. It in fact does not because it works in tandem with the House of Reps. The writer forgets about this in his attempt to make the abolishment of the Electoral College seem like a bad thing. He makes it out to seem like the Electoral College exists for "States Rights", when in fact, it exists for that fact that 200 year ago, communication with all the states could take days. The Electoral College allowed for an orderly election of a president when all the votes of the population could not be tabulated all at once and all by the same people. The Electoral College allowed the states to tabulate votes within their territory, then take the results to the capital in the form of delagates. Now that communication allows for faster and more accurate tabulation, the Electoral college in antiqated, and in fact violates the "1 person, 1 vote" policy. If you spent more time reading what we say instead of critisizing my spelling, you'd understand what I was talking about.
 
2006-08-28 12:35:23 PM  
What I am envisioning for campaigns if we get rid of the EC is all the politicking is going to happen in big cities. The whole while negating the hinterland. I have respect for country values and not so much respect for city values.

You can call it class warfare but I would like a nod toward low pop density areas.
 
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