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(Slate)   So the Electoral College needs to be abolished, right? Well, if you love utter chaos and anarchy, sure. For the rest of us, here are five good reason to keep it intact   (slate.com ) divider line
    More: Interesting, Posner, elections, University of Chicago Law School, tieins, manners  
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4350 clicks; posted to Politics » on 13 Nov 2012 at 10:15 AM (4 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-11-13 09:59:27 AM  
1) Certainty of Outcome: This is an assertion with no evidence. Other countries manage to run popular vote elections without descending into chaos, and all of our states do. CA has more people than the US had for its first century, but they elect the governor by popular vote and there's never been an uncertainty.

2) Everyone's President: Nonsense - Obama would have won this year had he lost the entire South. If anything the electoral college makes this worse, because it over-emphasizes regional wins/loses and under-emphasizes purple America.

3) Swing States: This is not a positive.

4) Big States: This is just false.

5) Avoid Run-Off Elections: What we have is WORSE than run-off elections. I'd rather have a run-off than have the House of Representatives make the choice for me.
 
2012-11-13 10:16:05 AM  
I'm still laughing at #3.
 
2012-11-13 10:17:43 AM  
See, this system is good because it keeps shiatbrained bloggers like this one in business.
 
2012-11-13 10:17:58 AM  
Well that was a load of bs.
 
2012-11-13 10:18:06 AM  
Imagine the fun of a nationwide recount!
 
2012-11-13 10:19:21 AM  
LOL not reading . A majority of states done even have legal requirements to vot according to the vote of their states. Sorry Slate, go o hell.
 
2012-11-13 10:19:57 AM  

Wellon Dowd: Imagine the fun of a nationwide recount!


Came here to say this.

/We are all Floridians.
 
2012-11-13 10:21:16 AM  
Giving the election to the candidate who receives the most votes seems so un-democratic.
 
2012-11-13 10:21:32 AM  
Wow what a bunch of schlock
 
2012-11-13 10:22:56 AM  
This is the dumbest article ever printed on Slate.
 
2012-11-13 10:24:39 AM  
Obama only got 50.57% of the popular vote. Why is a zero-sum game of winner-take-all, simple majority, 50%+1 more vote direct democracy that much superior?

/oh, right, this is Fark: tyranny of the majority is perfectly acceptable
 
2012-11-13 10:26:11 AM  

Hydra: Obama only got 50.57% of the popular vote. Why is a zero-sum game of winner-take-all, simple majority, 50%+1 more vote direct democracy that much superior?

/oh, right, this is Fark: tyranny of the majority is perfectly acceptable


Cuz the alternative is letting the person who got less votes win? Herp?
 
2012-11-13 10:27:14 AM  
Done in one. Thanks yankees.

Also a reminder to many: what the popular vote turns out to be under an electoral system is not necessarily going to be the same as what it would be if every potential voter knew their vote would count nationwide.

Not that there is any excuse to stay home even if you don't care who the president is, what with all the other shiat you will be voting for, but people do do that.

You might see people take more time to educate themselves instead of thinking "oh boo hoo my state is so blue/red that I'll sit it out" and once they make the decision that they will go to the polls some may take the time to get informed on the other items on the ballot. So we'd see a secondary effect of, if not an actual increase in informed state voters, certainly a decrease in the effect the presidents have on turnout and local elections.

Local offices should not be decided based on how much people hate/love Barack Obama. Though I must admit I'm not saint on that: there were a couple of candidates I didn't care about (I'm new to my county) and I opted for D over R.
 
2012-11-13 10:28:10 AM  

Smackledorfer: Also a reminder to many:


Guess I was too slow:

Also a reminder to trollish gold-bugs like Hydra.....
 
2012-11-13 10:28:38 AM  

Hydra: Obama only got 50.57% of the popular vote. Why is a zero-sum game of winner-take-all, simple majority, 50%+1 more vote direct democracy that much superior?

/oh, right, this is Fark: tyranny of the majority is perfectly acceptable


So you believe the election of all governors is tyranny of the majority?
 
2012-11-13 10:29:34 AM  

DamnYankees: 3) Swing States: This is not a positive.


Bull! That is a huge positive! It means that the majority of the political ads were targeted somewhere else. Sure, it sucks if you are in Florida or Ohio, but sometimes you need to take one for the team.
 
2012-11-13 10:31:09 AM  

DamnYankees: 5) Avoid Run-Off Elections: What we have is WORSE than run-off elections. I'd rather have a run-off than have the House of Representatives make the choice for me.


But if we have runnoffs we might not know who won on the night of the election!
 
2012-11-13 10:31:19 AM  
1) Despite the incredibly greater likelihood of a tie using the EC, it provides a certainly of outcome because otherwise candidates might demand recounts of states they lost by a small margin which has never happened when using the EC
2) Individuals who live in less populous regions deserve more of a say than individuals who live in more populous regions otherwise individuals in less populous regions might feel bad that the President most people voted for became President if they didn't vote for him or her
3) Ignore #2. People in swing states are most important and Presidents should focus on them.
4) EC because 2 senators per state is unfair or something
5) We might have to invent run off elections for President if no one wins a majority
 
2012-11-13 10:31:57 AM  

Hydra: Obama only got 50.57% of the popular vote. Why is a zero-sum game of winner-take-all, simple majority, 50%+1 more vote direct democracy that much superior?

/oh, right, this is Fark: tyranny of the majority is perfectly acceptable


Farked up elections that don't reflect the will of the people are not a defense against tyranny. They're just dumb.
 
2012-11-13 10:33:09 AM  

Wellon Dowd: Imagine the fun of a nationwide recount!


It wouldn't be a nationwide recount. States still do the counting and thus still based on state law.

/doesn't have a problem with the electoral college
 
2012-11-13 10:33:19 AM  

GameSprocket: DamnYankees: 3) Swing States: This is not a positive.

Bull! That is a huge positive! It means that the majority of the political ads were targeted somewhere else. Sure, it sucks if you are in Florida or Ohio, but sometimes you need to take one for the team.


Yep, like W said you got to fight them over there so we don't have to fight them over here.
 
2012-11-13 10:33:44 AM  
The loosing side always biatches about it......with the epic butt hurt going on from the polarization of the parties it would mean that every farking election would need a recount.
 
2012-11-13 10:34:05 AM  

DamnYankees: Hydra: Obama only got 50.57% of the popular vote. Why is a zero-sum game of winner-take-all, simple majority, 50%+1 more vote direct democracy that much superior?

/oh, right, this is Fark: tyranny of the majority is perfectly acceptable

So you believe the election of all governors is tyranny of the majority?


And he wants MORE power in the states(iirc)?! I never realized that he hated America and democracy so much.
 
2012-11-13 10:34:35 AM  
The best argument I've heard this season for the electoral college is natural disaster like hurricane Sandy. Those states overwhelmingly support President Obama, but voting difficulty due to the storm may have cost him about 800,000 votes.

Without the electoral college, an unfortunately timed natural disaster in a giant metropolitan area could potentially swing an election against the will of the people.
 
2012-11-13 10:34:58 AM  
I brought this up in 2008 when Bush won the electoral and not the popular. A conservative friend of mine started blathering about constitution, federalist, blah blah blah. They're willing to look the other way when it works for them. I still think they ought to do away with it, but in this case it wouldn't matter. 50.57% > 50%.
 
2012-11-13 10:35:15 AM  

Citrate1007: The loosing side always biatches about it......with the epic butt hurt going on from the polarization of the parties it would mean that every farking election would need a recount.


I'm juvenile.
 
2012-11-13 10:36:23 AM  

CorporatePerson: The best argument I've heard this season for the electoral college is natural disaster like hurricane Sandy. Those states overwhelmingly support President Obama, but voting difficulty due to the storm may have cost him about 800,000 votes.

Without the electoral college, an unfortunately timed natural disaster in a giant metropolitan area could potentially swing an election against the will of the people.


You could just as easily have the opposite situation. Imagine a hurricane taking out Southern Florida. The loss of those votes would have flipped FL to Romney. If the election were closer, that flip could have given Romney the election even while not effecting the popular vote at all.

These types of hypotheticals are just never convincing, IMO. They can always go either way.
 
2012-11-13 10:39:30 AM  
Without the EC, we'd probably still be waiting to see who won the election thanks to states like Florida and Arizona.

Not saying this article doesn't suck, but really the best reason to keep the EC is that it usually lets us decide on our next president in a day or two, not weeks or months.
 
2012-11-13 10:40:08 AM  

Hydra: Obama only got 50.57% of the popular vote. Why is a zero-sum game of winner-take-all, simple majority, 50%+1 more vote direct democracy that much superior?

/oh, right, this is Fark: tyranny of the majority is perfectly acceptable


You'd be surprised; many on Fark are against the FPTP voting model in favor of instant runoff voting. That is, of course, only when Democrats are losing; the rest of the time they support plurality voting, particularly in races where Tea Party or Libertarians are running strong campaigns. I wonder why?

In any case, I'm with you, simple majority voting is a terrible idea. Think of how dumb the average American is - and then realize half of the country is dumber than they are. These are the people you want controlling our national policy? Screw that noise, personally I'd do away with the right to vote for any federal office other than the house of representatives and focus people on their local issues that their tiny brains can actually understand. Issues of war and peace and macroeconomics and international finance should be left to the experts, not hapless morans who can't read, tell time, or drive a car.
 
2012-11-13 10:40:08 AM  

CPennypacker: Cuz the alternative is letting the person who got less votes win? Herp?


Why not a super-majority of 66%, 80% or 90%? Why not unanimous? What is so magical about having a 50%+1 simple majority that will lead us to better outcomes in elections ESPECIALLY when voter fraud/suppression is so rampantly committed by both sides in various regions throughout the US (don't be naive in thinking it's only "the other guy" who's doing it)?

What sort of "mandate" exists when barely even half of the electorate voted for one guy over the other?
 
2012-11-13 10:40:32 AM  
The biggest obstacle is logistics. In order for that to work, we would have to have a unified Presidential ballot, instead of the 50 individual ballots we currently have. This means creating a new Federal Bureaucracy to manage this, which itself will be a nightmare (who decides how someone gets on the national ballot). We can't just snap our fingers and suddenly have a national popular vote.
 
2012-11-13 10:40:38 AM  

Teufelaffe: Not saying this article doesn't suck, but really the best reason to keep the EC is that it usually lets us decide on our next president in a day or two, not weeks or months.


When was the last time a national or state with popular voting had a delay in determining its highest office for months due to the closeness of the race?
 
2012-11-13 10:42:22 AM  

Holocaust Agnostic:
Farked up elections that don't reflect the will of the people are not a defense against tyranny. They're just dumb.


How about a system of "Tyranny of the Holocaust Agnostic" because screw the guy with the most votes if it's the other guy?
 
2012-11-13 10:43:00 AM  
Hahahahaha oh hohohohohoh hahaha...wait a second this isn't funny, it's downright INFURIATING. Why would anyone think "swing states" are a good thing? It's a GOOD thing that only a few states get to decide our election? And the idea that they're the most thoughtful voters. is just laughable.

I also don't understand how he thinks this provides for a transregional president? Romney didn't need to campaign in the South, or the Northeast, or the West Coast, or Big Sky, because there was no point. He thinks a presidential candidate who willfully ignores most of the country during a campaign is transregional?

This is easily the stupidest argument for the electoral college I've read yet. Every point in this article is awful.
 
2012-11-13 10:43:30 AM  

Shaggy_C: Hydra: Obama only got 50.57% of the popular vote. Why is a zero-sum game of winner-take-all, simple majority, 50%+1 more vote direct democracy that much superior?

/oh, right, this is Fark: tyranny of the majority is perfectly acceptable

You'd be surprised; many on Fark are against the FPTP voting model in favor of instant runoff voting. That is, of course, only when Democrats are losing; the rest of the time they support plurality voting, particularly in races where Tea Party or Libertarians are running strong campaigns. I wonder why?

In any case, I'm with you, simple majority voting is a terrible idea. Think of how dumb the average American is - and then realize half of the country is dumber than they are. These are the people you want controlling our national policy? Screw that noise, personally I'd do away with the right to vote for any federal office other than the house of representatives and focus people on their local issues that their tiny brains can actually understand. Issues of war and peace and macroeconomics and international finance should be left to the experts, not hapless morans who can't read, tell time, or drive a car.


Yes, because as history has shown us, oligarchies are the best. 

/Cue the "OMG WE'RE ALREADY AN OLIGARHY!!" wargharbl in 3...2...1...
 
2012-11-13 10:44:11 AM  

Hydra: CPennypacker: Cuz the alternative is letting the person who got less votes win? Herp?

Why not a super-majority of 66%, 80% or 90%? Why not unanimous? What is so magical about having a 50%+1 simple majority that will lead us to better outcomes in elections ESPECIALLY when voter fraud/suppression is so rampantly committed by both sides in various regions throughout the US (don't be naive in thinking it's only "the other guy" who's doing it)?

What sort of "mandate" exists when barely even half of the electorate voted for one guy over the other?


Not sure if satire or stupid person on drugs...
 
2012-11-13 10:44:19 AM  

DamnYankees: 1) Certainty of Outcome: This is an assertion with no evidence. Other countries manage to run popular vote elections without descending into chaos, and all of our states do. CA has more people than the US had for its first century, but they elect the governor by popular vote and there's never been an uncertainty.

2) Everyone's President: Nonsense - Obama would have won this year had he lost the entire South. If anything the electoral college makes this worse, because it over-emphasizes regional wins/loses and under-emphasizes purple America.

3) Swing States: This is not a positive.

4) Big States: This is just false.

5) Avoid Run-Off Elections: What we have is WORSE than run-off elections. I'd rather have a run-off than have the House of Representatives make the choice for me.



I agree. While there probably are good arguments for keeping the electoral collage, this article did not talk about them.

1) Certainty of Outcome- You don't even need to look at other outcomes. Look at every other election in the US. Gov, US Senate, State legislative.... all of them are popular vote and have certainty of outcome. To somehow assert that popular vote couldn't provide certainty of outcome at the Pres level is ridiculous.

2) Everyone's President - Slate's argument is not valid under modern campaigns. As we saw this time, both candidates were campaigning to be president of a half dozen states. Popular vote would force the candidates to go to every populous state, and at least fly through the non-populous ones. For "everyone's president" there sure was a lot of talk about Coal and the Auto Industry in this national election. Just like there is a lot of talk about ethanol during the primaries. Popular vote would get rid of that state-specific pandering and make whoever wins the presidency at least knowedgeable about issues facing voters in every state.

3) Swing States- Know what would make people in non-swing states 'pay more attention' and 'care about their vote more'? Getting rid of an electoral college that makes their vote irreverent. I bet we'd see a huge spike in turnout nationally if every vote counted, rather than just those in a half dozen states. There would be a national Democratic reassurance as all these low-propensity voters who didn't bother to vote before (which demographically tend to vote Democratic) suddenly are told their vote matters and campaign operations turn them out to vote. Suddenly, every voter in America could take the political process seriously because their vote matters.

4) Big states - Under popular vote, suddenly it would be a matter of urban vs. rural in this country. The president would represent where the majority of voters were, and that is in urban areas. This is a good thing. As we can move our country forward, rather than pandering to ever dwindling rural voter who wants to keep gays in Hollywood from marrying.

5) Run-off elections - Again, we manage to do just fine in EVERY OTHER ELECTION IN AMERICA having popular vote elect a candidate without needing some sort of runoff. I have trouble understanding how suddenly the foundation of democracy collapses at the presidential level when it works just fine for Governors.

Again, while I'm sure their are perfectly intelligent arguments to defend the electoral college, this article did not contain them. It's like it was written by someone never involved in a campaign or politics before.
 
2012-11-13 10:44:24 AM  
My bad, pointed that at the wrong poster...
 
2012-11-13 10:44:27 AM  
I can see the argument for point 3 although I don't agree with it. You can't legislate an informed electorate. However if this is the way you want to go then the 5 or 8 swing states that decide the election should rotate every four years so its not the same ones for many elections in a row
 
2012-11-13 10:45:08 AM  

Hydra: CPennypacker: Cuz the alternative is letting the person who got less votes win? Herp?

Why not a super-majority of 66%, 80% or 90%? Why not unanimous? What is so magical about having a 50%+1 simple majority that will lead us to better outcomes in elections ESPECIALLY when voter fraud/suppression is so rampantly committed by both sides in various regions throughout the US (don't be naive in thinking it's only "the other guy" who's doing it)?

What sort of "mandate" exists when barely even half of the electorate voted for one guy over the other?


What sort of "mandate" exists when the winner got less popular votes than the other guy?
 
2012-11-13 10:45:36 AM  

Moosecakes: It's a GOOD thing that only a few states get to decide our election?


It is if your job is to file reports on the election process every day for 2 years straight. Gives you a good clean storyline to focus on
 
2012-11-13 10:46:07 AM  

Hydra: ESPECIALLY when voter fraud/suppression is so rampantly committed by both sides in various regions throughout the US (don't be naive in thinking it's only "the other guy" who's doing it)?


Please, regal us with your evidence that voter fraud influences any election outside of HOAs.
 
2012-11-13 10:46:28 AM  

Hydra: CPennypacker: Cuz the alternative is letting the person who got less votes win? Herp?

Why not a super-majority of 66%, 80% or 90%? Why not unanimous? What is so magical about having a 50%+1 simple majority that will lead us to better outcomes in elections ESPECIALLY when voter fraud/suppression is so rampantly committed by both sides in various regions throughout the US (don't be naive in thinking it's only "the other guy" who's doing it)?

What sort of "mandate" exists when barely even half of the electorate voted for one guy over the other?


See my initial post. You cannot accurately compare the voter turnout in an electoral college system directly with what it would be without one. Turnout would change, methods of suppression would lose relative viability, even the candidates themselves would change to target the changing group of likely voters.

You cannot point to year X under the former system and count up the votes and say "look, see, it would be JUST like that". Which is what you are doing, and it's pretty silly.
 
2012-11-13 10:47:31 AM  
1) Certainty of Outcome: Popular voting isn't any more certain then the college. Given that methods are determined by the states and can vary wildly.

2) Everyone's President: Given the way the college works, candidates are free to ignore places where they poll well and can ignore everyplace else. Being popular with residents of Ohio, Virginia, Florida and Pennsylvania is not being everyone's president.

3) Swing States: Focusing on very small sections of the electorate is not a plus to the detriment of everyone else is not a positive.

4) Big States: This is also false. The electoral college forces candidates to spend time in places of a few places with close races and not large or small states. Actually, they are spending their time in larger states. By population the four mentioned above fall as the 4th (Florida), 6th (Pennsylvania), 7th (Ohio) and 12th (Virginia) largest state.

5) Avoid Run-Off Elections: Is this worse than the long troublesome recounts, trials and dealing with congress?

Oh, also how to win the college with 22% of the vote.

Because that should be possible (even if only theoretical), right?
 
2012-11-13 10:47:41 AM  

Hydra: Obama only got 50.57% of the popular vote. Why is a zero-sum game of winner-take-all, simple majority, 50%+1 more vote direct democracy that much superior?

/oh, right, this is Fark: tyranny of the majority is perfectly acceptable


So what should be the alternative?

Unless it's going to a popular vote system, I'm not interested.
 
2012-11-13 10:47:45 AM  

Moosecakes: This is easily the stupidest argument for the electoral college I've read yet. Every point in this article is awful.


I almost wonder if it wasn't meant to be that way, but these days I don't put any level of stupidity past people.
 
2012-11-13 10:48:13 AM  
Make up your mind, Slate. Oh, wait, Obama won by both vote measures, so the Electoral College is okay for now.
 
2012-11-13 10:48:35 AM  

cranked: Holocaust Agnostic:
Farked up elections that don't reflect the will of the people are not a defense against tyranny. They're just dumb.

How about a system of "Tyranny of the Holocaust Agnostic" because screw the guy with the most votes if it's the other guy?


I have better things to do with my time than be dictator.
 
2012-11-13 10:49:12 AM  

Hydra: ESPECIALLY when voter fraud/suppression is so rampantly committed by both sides in various regions throughout the US (don't be naive in thinking it's only "the other guy" who's doing it)?


Usually one would have evidence to back up the argument that it's rampant.

Unless you just don't know what rampant means.
 
2012-11-13 10:49:54 AM  

DamnYankees: 1) Certainty of Outcome: This is an assertion with no evidence. Other countries manage to run popular vote elections without descending into chaos, and all of our states do. CA has more people than the US had for its first century, but they elect the governor by popular vote and there's never been an uncertainty.

2) Everyone's President: Nonsense - Obama would have won this year had he lost the entire South. If anything the electoral college makes this worse, because it over-emphasizes regional wins/loses and under-emphasizes purple America.

3) Swing States: This is not a positive.

4) Big States: This is just false.

5) Avoid Run-Off Elections: What we have is WORSE than run-off elections. I'd rather have a run-off than have the House of Representatives make the choice for me.



www.fsmechanical.com




/Welcome to my favorites list,
//Voted for Obama, btw...
///Just think that the Electoral College is FUBAR.
 
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