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(Minneapolis Star Tribune)   Five myths about the Electoral College   (startribune.com) divider line 314
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8969 clicks; posted to Politics » on 03 Nov 2012 at 9:47 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-11-03 06:25:54 PM  
honolulunotes.files.wordpress.com
 
2012-11-03 07:02:08 PM  
I have yet to hear an actual good argument for keeping the electoral college.
 
2012-11-03 07:06:16 PM  
1. It works.
2. Your vote counts.
3. No, seriously, you're not just throwing your vote away if you live in a solid red/blue state.
4. Your state matters even if it's not a swing state. Honest.
5. Third party candidates can actually be elected, not just draw enough votes from the Democrat/Republican candidate to give the other candidate the majority.
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2012-11-03 07:24:33 PM  

Chariset: 1. It works.
2. Your vote counts.
3. No, seriously, you're not just throwing your vote away if you live in a solid red/blue state.
4. Your state matters even if it's not a swing state. Honest.
5. Third party candidates can actually be elected, not just draw enough votes from the Democrat/Republican candidate to give the other candidate the majority.


Those are pretty mythical too.
 
2012-11-03 07:59:03 PM  

Hoban Washburne: I have yet to hear an actual good argument for keeping the electoral college.


Here you go. Math shows that your vote counts more via the Electoral College than it would via direct election.
 
2012-11-03 08:28:46 PM  
The Electoral College is full of Marxist professors, Womyn's Studies classes, LGBTABBQ groups, and hipster film studies majors.
 
2012-11-03 08:38:19 PM  

vernonFL: The Electoral College is full of Marxist professors, Womyn's Studies classes, LGBTABBQ groups, and hipster film studies majors.


I'd kill for some good LGBTABBQ. We only have TexMex in my little town.
 
2012-11-03 08:41:28 PM  
The Electoral College is a communist socialist invention,and THE FOUNDING FATHERS©™® would never have approved of such a farce in THE CONSTITUTION©™®, which was handed down to them by GOD©™® and blessed by JESUS©™®
 
2012-11-03 08:47:55 PM  

Buzzerguy: Hoban Washburne: I have yet to hear an actual good argument for keeping the electoral college.

Here you go. Math shows that your vote counts more via the Electoral College than it would via direct election.


That was farking unreadable.
 
2012-11-03 09:13:25 PM  

Hoban Washburne: I have yet to hear an actual good argument for keeping the electoral college.


There isn't one. Dubya alone was reason to kill it with fire.
 
2012-11-03 09:15:10 PM  

Hoban Washburne: I have yet to hear an actual good argument for keeping the electoral college.


Every argument for keeping it is either not good or not true.
 
2012-11-03 09:19:42 PM  
I find it hard to believe that disbanding it would actually lead to politicians caring about every vote everywhere. They'd still avoid places that are drastically opposed to them because they know (a) they won't win there, and (b) their supporters in such places are already steeled to being supporters because they're sick of everyone around them being against them. And even then, the simple laws of time management in regards to where the biggest undecided pockets are lead one to know that going to a Wyoming or a Vermont or a West Virginia isn't a wise use of time or money, no matter what side they're on.

Just seems like the "but so-and-so doesn't care about small states" argument is just the biggest batch of sour grapes ever.
 
2012-11-03 09:31:08 PM  
Just get rid of the Senate and be done with it.
 
2012-11-03 09:32:17 PM  

vygramul: Just get rid of the Senate and be done with it.


That also. It's the same issue, only far worse in the Senate.
 
2012-11-03 09:38:46 PM  
6. Mitt Romney has a chance of winning it
 
2012-11-03 09:43:32 PM  
Or, why not just call it 5 Reasons why we should get rid of the Electoral College:

1. OMG- RACISM!!!
2. OMG - WHITE GUYZ WON BECAUSE OF IT!!!!
3. OMG - NADERRRRR!!!!!
4. It forces candidates to spend lots of time in high-EV states, instead of spending lots of time in high-population cities like they should, dammit.
5. OMG - THROWN VOTES! IT HAPPENS!

Basically, it has far too much potential to subvert the will of the people. Just say that.
 
2012-11-03 09:45:24 PM  
it causes a lot of Butthurt from the side that loses.
 
2012-11-03 09:46:26 PM  

DamnYankees: vygramul: Just get rid of the Senate and be done with it.

That also. It's the same issue, only far worse in the Senate.


And it's connected. Get rid of the Senate, and you've solved 99% of the distortion in the EC.
 
2012-11-03 09:47:45 PM  

vygramul: DamnYankees: vygramul: Just get rid of the Senate and be done with it.

That also. It's the same issue, only far worse in the Senate.

And it's connected. Get rid of the Senate, and you've solved 99% of the distortion in the EC.


Not really, because you'd still have the issue of swing states and ignoring any state which wasn't in play.
 
2012-11-03 09:52:43 PM  

DamnYankees: Buzzerguy: Hoban Washburne: I have yet to hear an actual good argument for keeping the electoral college.

Here you go. Math shows that your vote counts more via the Electoral College than it would via direct election.

That was farking unreadable.


No kidding... the argument seemed to be "The electoral college is like the World Series, so, that is why it is legitimate".
 
2012-11-03 09:52:56 PM  

DamnYankees: vygramul: DamnYankees: vygramul: Just get rid of the Senate and be done with it.

That also. It's the same issue, only far worse in the Senate.

And it's connected. Get rid of the Senate, and you've solved 99% of the distortion in the EC.

Not really, because you'd still have the issue of swing states and ignoring any state which wasn't in play.


Needing only 220 to win, the states that matter would change a lot, and basically align with population anyway. If you go back, I think maybe 6 times the president did not win the popular vote. With no Senate, 0 would have won without the popular vote.
 
2012-11-03 09:57:09 PM  

Buzzerguy: Hoban Washburne: I have yet to hear an actual good argument for keeping the electoral college.

Here you go. Math shows that your vote counts more via the Electoral College than it would via direct election.


If you live in the right state, that is.
 
2012-11-03 09:58:50 PM  

vernonFL: The Electoral College is full of Marxist professors, Womyn's Studies classes, LGBTABBQ groups, and hipster film studies majors.


I like LGBTABBQ. The sauces are more spicy.
 
2012-11-03 09:59:02 PM  
img204.imageshack.us
 
2012-11-03 09:59:22 PM  

Hoban Washburne: I have yet to hear an actual good argument for keeping the electoral college.


Actually point number 4 (it prevents the candidates from throwing a couple platitudes toward the rural/low-pop areas and then focusing exclusively on the cities) is entirely legit. Note that the "debunking" bit was some random mumbling about how swing states wouldn't matter anymore-- true, but in no way related to the point it's supposed to be addressing.

Basically, the electoral college gives the states leverage as real political entities, which forces the national government to respect the social and economic diversity of the nation. Which, I mean, may or may not be worth it, that's more an opinion thing than anything else. But I rather like it. Senate, too, for the same reason.

Hell, I'd be fine with bringing back district-by-district votes for electors in my state to make it more analogous to congressional elections. Would probably make TX less of a freebie for the GOP, too.
 
2012-11-03 09:59:26 PM  

Hoban Washburne: I have yet to hear an actual good argument for keeping the electoral college.


Got this off Ezra Klein's twitter feed a couple of weeks ago.

/yes, it's NRO
//still objectively worth the click
///i even made it link to the single-page version for you
 
2012-11-03 09:59:44 PM  
China uses a similar system to "elect" its leaders. So, there's that.
 
2012-11-03 10:00:09 PM  
I've said it before, if Romney wins the popular vote but loses the electoral college, expect swing states with republican state governments to WHARRGARBL their way out of the winner takes all scenario.
 
2012-11-03 10:02:21 PM  

Jim_Callahan: Basically, the electoral college gives the states leverage as real political entities, which forces the national government to respect the social and economic diversity of the nation.


This is only true if you actually think that social and economic diversity split along state lines. I find that contention to be rather absurd.
 
2012-11-03 10:02:29 PM  

FriarReb98: I find it hard to believe that disbanding it would actually lead to politicians caring about every vote everywhere. They'd still avoid places that are drastically opposed to them because they know (a) they won't win there, and (b) their supporters in such places are already steeled to being supporters because they're sick of everyone around them being against them. And even then, the simple laws of time management in regards to where the biggest undecided pockets are lead one to know that going to a Wyoming or a Vermont or a West Virginia isn't a wise use of time or money, no matter what side they're on.

Just seems like the "but so-and-so doesn't care about small states" argument is just the biggest batch of sour grapes ever.


It really isn't an issue about the small states, because, as stated, campaigning in Wyoming is not an effective use of funds either way.... right now nobody goes because it is definitely going to be GOP, and if we went to a PV election, you still wouldn't campaign there because there is not a large enough media market to get to a large enough number of people to affect anything in an area that is fairly partisan anyway.

Where they would start campaigning to are NY, LA, Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, Seattle, etc.... all of the large cities in states now that are pretty much locks in one direction or the other. In a PV election, every vote counts, everywhere. But, I forgot, that would be the "problem".
 
2012-11-03 10:06:28 PM  

DamnYankees: Jim_Callahan: Basically, the electoral college gives the states leverage as real political entities, which forces the national government to respect the social and economic diversity of the nation.

This is only true if you actually think that social and economic diversity split along state lines. I find that contention to be rather absurd.


Kansas and New York are similar economically and socially?
 
2012-11-03 10:06:31 PM  

mistahtom: I've said it before, if Romney wins the popular vote but loses the electoral college, expect swing states with republican state governments to WHARRGARBL their way out of the winner takes all scenario.


Right now that isn't a totally unlikely scenario (around 5% chance of happening according to 538), but, it is unlikely. 8% chance of a meaningful recount. Would be really interesting if both happened.
 
2012-11-03 10:08:12 PM  

sendtodave: DamnYankees: Jim_Callahan: Basically, the electoral college gives the states leverage as real political entities, which forces the national government to respect the social and economic diversity of the nation.

This is only true if you actually think that social and economic diversity split along state lines. I find that contention to be rather absurd.

Kansas and New York are similar economically and socially?


Depends on what you are talking about. The differences between the people who live in those areas have nothing to do with their state identity - the difference between a Manhattanite and someone from a farm in upstate New York is a massive gulf, much larger than the gulf between the that NY farmer and a Kansas farmer.
 
2012-11-03 10:10:27 PM  
Remember what the country looked like in 1787: The important division was between states that had slavery and those that didn't, not between large and small states

I got that far and farking quit. If you are gonna tell me that the Connecticut Compromise was unimportant, then I don't think you have anything to teach me.
 
2012-11-03 10:10:34 PM  

sendtodave: Kansas and New York are similar economically and socially?


Kansas City and New York City are closer to each other economically and socially than either city is to their rural areas.
 
2012-11-03 10:11:16 PM  

DamnYankees: Depends on what you are talking about. The differences between the people who live in those areas have nothing to do with their state identity - the difference between a Manhattanite and someone from a farm in upstate New York is a massive gulf, much larger than the gulf between the that NY farmer and a Kansas farmer.


The views of the city-folk would be dominant either way in a popular vote set up, right? Neither the upstate New York farmer nor the Kansas farmer would have as much say.
 
2012-11-03 10:12:40 PM  

Chariset: 1. It works.
2. Your vote counts.
3. No, seriously, you're not just throwing your vote away if you live in a solid red/blue state.
4. Your state matters even if it's not a swing state. Honest.
5. Third party candidates can actually be elected, not just draw enough votes from the Democrat/Republican candidate to give the other candidate the majority.


Let me comment here.

1) We turn state votes into 100%
2) By volume, there are more red states than blue
3) This means disproportionate voting for the conservative guy.

every stinking time.

It actually works both ways. In Washington State, there is zero chance, none, zilch, zip nada that anyone wanting a Republican for president is going to vote for a winner. Sorry. And Oregon (usually) and California (always) are the same way. Your vote for your right wing derp for president there are on permanent lockdown thanks to the large coastal city population holding your vote hostage.

But in Texas its the opposite. The educated, urban, wealth earning population of cities like Houston, Ausin and Dallas are held hostage by the vast expanse of suburban and rural derp voting for Republicans every time. So no matter what, those 36 and counting electoral votes from the Republic of Texas are going to the idiot candidate for president, no matter how many non idiots Texas has.

Only in states where there's a near even split between D and R is there any interest now by the candidates.

If the electoral college were gone, not only would 50.1% stop being counted like 100%, but the disproportionate number of rural states with rural agendas be around to keep driving America. We're an unnaturally appearing conservative country, mostly due to the Senate, mostly due to how places like Wyoming and their whopping 500,000 people get as much clout in the Senate as California, Texas, Florida or New York.

Its a weird 17th century holdover from a time when they thought land meant wealth meant votes.

If America wants to grow beyond an agrarian-based political system, we need to scrap it.

Note how under parliamentary representation (that literally every other democracy except ours) uses, you have multiple parties and near 100% participation (or at least 3/4 participation, haven't checked lately).

Under ours, you have at best 40-50-60% participation, you have mass numbers of people shut out from even trying, cause their state is on permanent lockdown for the majority party.

How many Democrats in Idaho? 20% or so last I checked. Thats fine, but they aren't winning anything and never will.

How many Republicans in California? not happening, so kiss your vote for president goodbye, towns from Redding to Bakersfield. Those awful liberals along the coast have your vote on permanent lockdown, just like the guys in Texas have Austin's liberal votes on lockdown.

The fact that we even have this duopoly, red states and blue, is directly related to how our system turns 50.1% (or less, look at North Carolina in 2008) into a 100% vote. Its pants on head stupid for a modern post-industrial world, it harkens back to when landed gentry (rich white men) were believed to be the only political voice needing to be heard.

Its stupid and it disanfranchises people, it needs to go.
 
2012-11-03 10:12:53 PM  

sendtodave: DamnYankees: Depends on what you are talking about. The differences between the people who live in those areas have nothing to do with their state identity - the difference between a Manhattanite and someone from a farm in upstate New York is a massive gulf, much larger than the gulf between the that NY farmer and a Kansas farmer.

The views of the city-folk would be dominant either way in a popular vote set up, right? Neither the upstate New York farmer nor the Kansas farmer would have as much say.


They farmer would have exactly as much sway as anyone else - his one vote. Why should he have more?
 
2012-11-03 10:13:59 PM  

DamnYankees: Hoban Washburne: I have yet to hear an actual good argument for keeping the electoral college.

Every argument for keeping it is either not good or not true.


What about the one that popped up this week? If, hypothetically, Sandy prevented many people from voting, this would provide a meaningful increase to the importance of those votes not cast in the affected area. New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut would be under-represented in such an example where, let's say, only 10% of the people who wanted to vote actually were able to vote. With the electoral college, these states still receive full representation in the election effort. We have a representative democracy, and I think representative election of the President is a smart idea.
 
2012-11-03 10:14:00 PM  

sendtodave: The views of the city-folk would be dominant either way in a popular vote set up, right? Neither the upstate New York farmer nor the Kansas farmer would have as much say.


The Kansas farmer would have exactly as much say in the election as someone who lives in the city. Which is how it should be, but isn't right now.
 
2012-11-03 10:15:49 PM  

Blue_Blazer: If, hypothetically, Sandy prevented many people from voting, this would provide a meaningful increase to the importance of those votes not cast in the affected area. New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut would be under-represented in such an example where, let's say, only 10% of the people who wanted to vote actually were able to vote. With the electoral college, these states still receive full representation in the election effort.


No offense, but this is the worst defense of the EC I've ever heard. If a problem with an election is massive swaths of people not being allowed to vote because of a disaster, "instituting the electoral college" is, like, the 897th best way to fix that problem.
 
2012-11-03 10:17:18 PM  

DamnYankees: sendtodave: DamnYankees: Depends on what you are talking about. The differences between the people who live in those areas have nothing to do with their state identity - the difference between a Manhattanite and someone from a farm in upstate New York is a massive gulf, much larger than the gulf between the that NY farmer and a Kansas farmer.

The views of the city-folk would be dominant either way in a popular vote set up, right? Neither the upstate New York farmer nor the Kansas farmer would have as much say.

They farmer would have exactly as much sway as anyone else - his one vote. Why should he have more?


We believed in the 18th century (though the idea had its roots in England in the 17th, well really in the 13th) that if you were Landed, you were entitled to vote. Others need not apply.
 
2012-11-03 10:17:32 PM  

DamnYankees: sendtodave: DamnYankees: Depends on what you are talking about. The differences between the people who live in those areas have nothing to do with their state identity - the difference between a Manhattanite and someone from a farm in upstate New York is a massive gulf, much larger than the gulf between the that NY farmer and a Kansas farmer.

The views of the city-folk would be dominant either way in a popular vote set up, right? Neither the upstate New York farmer nor the Kansas farmer would have as much say.

They farmer would have exactly as much sway as anyone else - his one vote. Why should he have more?


To give voice to the cultural and economy diversity of the country.

It's basically affirmative action for hillbillies.
 
2012-11-03 10:18:47 PM  

sendtodave: It's basically affirmative action for hillbillies.


And this is a good thing?
 
2012-11-03 10:19:11 PM  

sendtodave: The views of the city-folk would be dominant either way in a popular vote set up, right? Neither the upstate New York farmer nor the Kansas farmer would have as much say.


Another thing, Democracy doesn't mean you are guaranteed to be in the majority. We don't give minority votes more weight to balance the vote of white people, or non-Christians more weight to balance out Christian voters. If you are part of a minority group who wants their voice to count more, you'll have to ally yourself with other groups with similar interests. Anyway, why in the world should place of residence change the weight of your vote?
 
2012-11-03 10:19:34 PM  

DamnYankees: Jim_Callahan: Basically, the electoral college gives the states leverage as real political entities, which forces the national government to respect the social and economic diversity of the nation.

This is only true if you actually think that social and economic diversity split along state lines. I find that contention to be rather absurd.


Well, it was more literally true a few decades ago, one of the main arguments for switching to direct election is that the internet, etc has sort of been wiping out previously fairly firm regional cultural distinctions.

There is still a lot of variation expressed as legal diversity, though. People that value guns as tools stay out of California, people that want their kids in good schools don't move to Kansas or Oklahoma, gay folk that want to marry their partner prefer to move to whatever it is now, 18 states, and so on.

So, I can sorta feel you on your grounds for disagreeing with me, but I'm gonna have to call you out on it being "absurd". When California applies reciprocity fully and recognizes Texas-issued concealed-carry permits, and Texas applies reciprocity fully and recognizes a certain set of marriage licenses performed in San Francisco, then you can tell me that my opinion that there are real cultural distinctions is outright absurd.
 
2012-11-03 10:19:59 PM  
FTFA: In addition, under the electoral college, a third party can tip the balance in a closely contested state. In 2000, Ralph Nader siphoned votes away from Gore in Florida. Had Nader not run, Gore could have won the election.

Professor Matthew Jones (Political Science, USC) begs to differ:

Myth: Ralph Nader cost Al Gore the 2000 election

"It's really difficult to make the argument that Ralph Nader cost Al Gore the 2000 election, for multiple reasons. There were only 560 votes separating George Bush from Al Gore. That's essentially within every margin of error, which when it gets within the margin of error, means that there's too many other factors that could have affected it to say with any confidence what caused Al Gore to lose and George Bush to win. Every 3rd party candidate got over 600 votes, which means that if any one of those 3rd party candidates had potentially dropped out and those votes had gone to Al Gore, he would have won too. So once you start to make those arguments, you open up a can of worms that you just cannot put back. Almost half of the Democratic Party voters stayed home, so who's to say that the people who voted for Ralph Nader, if they didn't have the choice of Ralph Nader, wouldn't have stayed home or voted for somebody else anyway?"
 
2012-11-03 10:20:38 PM  
The electoral college works just fine and it has for a couple hundred years.
 
2012-11-03 10:20:44 PM  
It even gets better:

Landed Gentry being the only ones allowed to vote is a European ideal that helped protect the King from those dirty dirty foreigners in the cities. And those dirty dirty Jews, who were not allowed to own land under many laws under effect for many centuries.

So protecting the Electoral College is protecting a holdover from 5 centuries ago English government: Those with land, get to vote. Those without land, do not.

Note the disproportionate representation in the Senate for the big land small numbers of people states. There is no way in hell thats fair to anyone living in a big city. But we defend it like some kind of family heirloom, when the entire world has moved on from this kind of thinking except us.
 
2012-11-03 10:21:27 PM  

Hoban Washburne: I have yet to hear an actual good argument for keeping the electoral college.


Have a 5 minute conversation with the average voter.
 
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