The Electoral College Debate

  
By:  TᵢG  •  8 months ago  •  217 comments


The Electoral College Debate
Both sides of the debate can make an argument for consistency.

Leave a comment to auto-join group Critical Thinkers

Critical Thinkers


It is a presidential election year so the electoral college will once again spring into action to determine who will be elected PotUS.  A perfect time to debate how we should elect our president.

The framers created a system we now call the electoral college (hereafter EC) for electing the PotUS.  We must abide by this system unless overridden or modified through a constitutional amendment.   Republicans (hereafter ‘R’) want to keep the system intact whereas Democrats (hereafter ‘D’) want to eliminate the EC and replace it with a national popular vote.

800

Interestingly, both sides can make decent arguments.   To help frame discussion, this article will offer an argument for both sides: one for a national popular vote and one for keeping the Electoral College.

National Popular Vote Argument


What could be fairer than ‘ one person one vote ’?   When we elect a PotUS we are electing an individual who is to govern for all citizens.   It makes sense then that the PotUS have a mandate directly from the people.

Our system of government is a constitutional federated Republic and is thus based on indirect democracy.   We use the popular vote heavily to allow citizens to determine who will represent them in the workings of government.   The popular vote is used to elect our representatives and almost all our leaders as well as selective direct democracy via referendums and propositions.  

Given our democratic core, it is no surprise that the people of each state elect a governor to administer the state per the wishes of the people.  Governors are elected by popular vote: ‘ one person, one vote ’.   If the popular vote applies to a governor — the chief executive of a state — why would it not apply to the PotUS as the chief executive of the nation?

Senators are elected by popular vote.   Since each senator represents the state, the senator is elected by a popular vote across the state.   Again, a popular vote from those to whom the Senator is beholding.

Congressional representatives are elected by popular vote.   Each congressional district chooses who will represent them.   The elected representative is beholding to their constituents — those who voted for the representative.  

In short, here is how we elect our key officials:

Elected Official

Domain

Method of Election

Congressional representative

District

Popular vote

Senator

State

Popular vote

Governor

State

Popular vote

President (and V.P.)

Nation

Electoral college

Does it make sense for the PotUS (and V.P.) to be elected using an odd-ball, ancient system with obsolete mechanisms such as the use of human electors?    Why do we not elect our PotUS the same way we elect our governors, senators and congressional representatives?   The popular vote is well established in our system, makes sense and could not be fairer to the electorate.

Finally, the popular vote is a remarkably simple system.   No need to waste time and resources supporting an ancient system of dubious present value when it can be replaced with a simple, existing tabulation.

Summary:

  • One person, one vote
  • Consistent with election method for governors, senators and congressional representatives.
  • Simple and immediately available

 

Electoral College Argument

Our nation is a federated union of distinct states, each of which has different needs and thus a different perspective on what the federal government should do.  Profound state differences have existed since before the founding of the union (and are clearly still in effect today).   Accordingly, the Federal Constitution (CotUS) was designed to preserve both the will of the people and the significance of statehood when electing representatives to the Legislative and Executive branches of the federal government.   The state is a primary (first-order) entity of our federalist system with rights which include a continued voice in federal government.

The significance of states is evident in the method of representation underlying our Legislative and Executive branches. 

Legislative Branch

The Legislative branch consists of the House and the Senate.   Each representative in the House works ( at least in theory ) on behalf of constituents in a single district within a single state.   Districts are defined by population; more populated states will have more districts and thus a proportionally stronger representation in the House.   The House, in this regard, provides  popular  representation for the people.   The senate, in contrast, is designed to represent the states themselves.   Each state, regardless of population, has two senators — two votes.    By constitutional design, the bicameral Legislative branch (Congress) represents both the will of the people and the significance of statehood.  

The intended significance of states by the framers is undeniable.

Executive Branch

The Executive branch has only two elected officials:  President and vice-President.  As with the Legislative branch, both the will of the people and the significance of statehood is preserved by the method of election: the EC.

Simply stated, each state gets one elector for each senator and one elector for each congressional representative (i.e. one per district).  The EC is a mirror image of Congress; the exception is that per the 23 rd amendment, the EC grants 3 votes to the capital city: Washington, D.C.   Today there are 435 members of the House and thus 538 electors in the EC (435+100+3).

The relevance of state significance is evident when looking at the population centers in the USA today.   Based on population, the states California, Texas, New York and Florida dominate the population landscape.   The EC encourages politicians to include the needs of smaller states in their platforms rather than focus on the largest cities and the most populated states.

Summary:

  • Preserves federalist intent (states are significant entities)
  • Consistent election method for both Legislative and Executive branches
  • Encourages politicians to consider needs beyond those of California, Texas, New York and Florida

 

800

Framer Intent

Both arguments present a fundamental consistency, and both focus on fairness.   The popular vote argument seeks fairness for the individual voter but eliminates the voice of the states (as entities).   The EC argument seeks a combined fairness that preserves the voice of the individual voter and the voice of the state as a whole, but this approach can violate the national will of the people as a whole.

Seems we should now consider the original intent of the framers.  Let’s turn back to the first Congressional Convention and see what our framers were thinking.  James Madison was the lead thinker in terms of the architecture of our system.  He provided our bicameral Congress and much of his architecture (the Virginia Plan) was ratified (albeit compromised).  His thoughts give great insight into original intent.

Although he did not propose it, Madison preferred the idea of electing the PotUS by national popular vote.  It was considered in the convention but never gained traction largely due to the unequal suffrage of the states.   Those states with high suffrage would dominate the others.   From the minutes reflecting Madison’s words:

July 19, 1787 The people at large was in his opinion the fittest in itself. It would be as likely as any that could be devised to produce an Executive Magistrate of distinguished Character. The people generally could only know & vote for some Citizen whose merits had rendered him an object of general attention & esteem. There was one difficulty however of a serious nature attending an immediate choice by the people. The right of suffrage was much more diffusive in the Northern than the Southern States; and the latter could have no influence in the election on the score of the Negroes. The substitution of electors obviated this difficulty and seemed on the whole to be liable to fewest objections.

Madison notes the importance of supporting the significance of smaller states and the impact of having a large population of slaves who were not counted in the census. 

Another key concern in the debate was the ignorance of the people and the idea that they could be easily persuaded by charismatic figures and might not pick a candidate of the finest character.   ( Hard, today, to miss the sad irony of that sentence .) 

Ultimately, after much debate, the convention determined a solution which factored in the popular vote of the people, did not make the PotUS beholding to the Executive branch but to the people, and introduced a buffer to ensure the people did not make a bad decision due to ignorance.   The solution was to assemble ostensibly informed men called electors, elected (directly or indirectly) by the people, who would heavily consider the popular votes of their constituents when casting their votes for PotUS.  Further, the electors necessarily disband after the election to ensure the Executive branch could not be beholding to them.

The choice of the specific electors was left up to the states.   Initially, most of the states had their state legislators choose the electors.  This is an indirect representation of the popular vote.  The others directly chose their electors via popular vote of the congressional districts (and by state popular vote) as we do today.

Another factor was to determine the number of electors per state.  The method for determining the number of electors was a topic of heavy debate and in the end the framers followed the model of the Legislative system.   Every state has two electors (matching the two senators) right off the bat.   In addition, each state has an elector for each congressional district (matching the representatives).  

Note that this automatically incorporates well-considered design features of the Legislative architecture.   Because states had unequal populations of free men (only ones counted in the census), larger states would dominate the smaller ones.  This was resolved by the bicameral Congress in which the House represents states by population (giving the larger states a weighted representation) but the Senate has 2 senators for each state.  Each state thus had an equal voice to preserve the significance of statehood.  ( Remember in our federal system, states are inherently viewed as first-order entities .) 

Another design feature dealt with the large population of slaves in Southern states.  Slaves were not counted and thus weakened House representation for states with a heavy slave population.   Ultimately this caused the 3/5 compromise to be factored in.   It was deemed necessary because the framers knew they could not achieve ratification unless states with heavy slave populations were accommodated.  Counting each slave as 3/5 a person turned out, interestingly, to be acceptable.

So, with all factors addressed, the framers produced a consistent system for representing the wishes of the states and of their electorates in the election of the Legislative branch and then applied the same basic structure to the election of the Executive branch (the PotUS and V.P.).

800

 

How the EC was Sold to the Public

So now let’s see how Hamilton communicated this to the public via Federalist #68 :

The Mode of Electing the President

From the  New York Packet Friday, March 14, 1788.

Author:  Alexander Hamilton

To the People of the State of New York:

THE mode of appointment of the Chief Magistrate of the United States is almost the only part of the system, of any consequence, which has escaped without severe censure, or which has received the slightest mark of approbation from its opponents. The most plausible of these, who has appeared in print, has even deigned to admit that the election of the President is pretty well guarded. 1  I venture somewhat further, and hesitate not to affirm, that if the manner of it be not perfect, it is at least excellent. It unites in an eminent degree all the advantages, the union of which was to be wished for.

Hamilton is expressing what we can assume is the consensus view of the convention that the electoral college addresses the various competing constraints extremely well.   He now explains these competing constraints.

It was desirable that the sense of the people should operate in the choice of the person to whom so important a trust was to be confided. This end will be answered by committing the right of making it, not to any preestablished body, but to men chosen by the people for the special purpose, and at the particular conjuncture.

Hamilton notes that those who ultimately elect the PotUS are not an established body that can exert their influence (to get a return of favors) on the sitting PotUS.

It was equally desirable, that the immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice.  A small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations.

Hamilton delicately tells the people that they cannot all be trusted to make a good decision so they will instead elect smart people to decide on their behalf.

It was also peculiarly desirable to afford as little opportunity as possible to tumult and disorder. This evil was not least to be dreaded in the election of a magistrate, who was to have so important an agency in the administration of the government as the President of the United States. But the precautions which have been so happily concerted in the system under consideration, promise an effectual security against this mischief. The choice of SEVERAL, to form an intermediate body of electors, will be much less apt to convulse the community with any extraordinary or violent movements, than the choice of ONE who was himself to be the final object of the public wishes.

Basically he notes that this disables tyranny of the majority and overly emotional voting.

And as the electors, chosen in each State, are to assemble and vote in the State in which they are chosen, this detached and divided situation will expose them much less to heats and ferments, which might be communicated from them to the people, than if they were all to be convened at one time, in one place.

Hamilton notes that the electors themselves could be tainted and thus are kept sequestered within their own states.   He now goes on to detail these considerations.

Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption. These most deadly adversaries of republican government might naturally have been expected to make their approaches from more than one quarter, but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils. How could they better gratify this, than by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the Union? But the convention have guarded against all danger of this sort, with the most provident and judicious attention. They have not made the appointment of the President to depend on any preexisting bodies of men, who might be tampered with beforehand to prostitute their votes; but they have referred it in the first instance to an immediate act of the people of America, to be exerted in the choice of persons for the temporary and sole purpose of making the appointment.

And they have excluded from eligibility to this trust, all those who from situation might be suspected of too great devotion to the President in office. No senator, representative, or other person holding a place of trust or profit under the United States, can be of the numbers of the electors. Thus without corrupting the body of the people, the immediate agents in the election will at least enter upon the task free from any sinister bias. Their transient existence, and their detached situation, already taken notice of, afford a satisfactory prospect of their continuing so, to the conclusion of it. The business of corruption, when it is to embrace so considerable a number of men, requires time as well as means. Nor would it be found easy suddenly to embark them, dispersed as they would be over thirteen States, in any combinations founded upon motives, which though they could not properly be denominated corrupt, might yet be of a nature to mislead them from their duty.

Another and no less important desideratum was, that the Executive should be independent for his continuance in office on all but the people themselves. He might otherwise be tempted to sacrifice his duty to his complaisance for those whose favor was necessary to the duration of his official consequence. This advantage will also be secured, by making his re-election to depend on a special body of representatives, deputed by the society for the single purpose of making the important choice.

Now he summarizes to close the sale:

All these advantages will happily combine in the plan devised by the convention; which is, that the people of each State shall choose a number of persons as electors, equal to the number of senators and representatives of such State in the national government, who shall assemble within the State, and vote for some fit person as President. Their votes, thus given, are to be transmitted to the seat of the national government, and the person who may happen to have a majority of the whole number of votes will be the President. But as a majority of the votes might not always happen to centre in one man, and as it might be unsafe to permit less than a majority to be conclusive, it is provided that, in such a contingency, the House of Representatives shall select out of the candidates who shall have the five highest number of votes, the man who in their opinion may be best qualified for the office. The process of election affords a moral certainty, that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.

Gotta love the optimism.

Talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity, may alone suffice to elevate a man to the first honors in a single State; but it will require other talents, and a different kind of merit, to establish him in the esteem and confidence of the whole Union, or of so considerable a portion of it as would be necessary to make him a successful candidate for the distinguished office of President of the United States. It will not be too strong to say, that there will be a constant probability of seeing the station filled by characters pre-eminent for ability and virtue. And this will be thought no inconsiderable recommendation of the Constitution, by those who are able to estimate the share which the executive in every government must necessarily have in its good or ill administration. Though we cannot acquiesce in the political heresy of the poet who says: "For forms of government let fools contest That which is best administered is best," yet we may safely pronounce, that the true test of a good government is its aptitude and tendency to produce a good administration.

The Vice-President is to be chosen in the same manner with the President; with this difference, that the Senate is to do, in respect to the former, what is to be done by the House of Representatives, in respect to the latter.

The appointment of an extraordinary person, as Vice-President, has been objected to as superfluous, if not mischievous. It has been alleged, that it would have been preferable to have authorized the Senate to elect out of their own body an officer answering that description. But two considerations seem to justify the ideas of the convention in this respect. One is, that to secure at all times the possibility of a definite resolution of the body, it is necessary that the President should have only a casting vote. And to take the senator of any State from his seat as senator, to place him in that of President of the Senate, would be to exchange, in regard to the State from which he came, a constant for a contingent vote. The other consideration is, that as the Vice-President may occasionally become a substitute for the President, in the supreme executive magistracy, all the reasons which recommend the mode of election prescribed for the one, apply with great if not with equal force to the manner of appointing the other. It is remarkable that in this, as in most other instances, the objection which is made would lie against the constitution of this State. We have a Lieutenant-Governor, chosen by the people at large, who presides in the Senate, and is the constitutional substitute for the Governor, in casualties similar to those which would authorize the Vice-President to exercise the authorities and discharge the duties of the President.

PUBLIUS.

 

Which System Should We Use?

We have an argument for popular vote and one for retaining the EC.   We have a decent idea of the framer’s intent and we can identify conditions that no longer apply in 2020.

The conditions in play in ~1788 are quite different than now.  There are no slaves.  We have technology to provide for extremely effective communication and almost everyone in the nation is literate and has online access to an over-abundance of information.   There is no excuse for ignorance but even some of our most ignorant are better informed and better educated that most of the citizens in the 18 th century.   Further, even in a nation of 328+ million people and an EC, the people still somehow are capable of electing a PotUS who would be viewed as unfit by the likes of Hamilton:

The process of election affords a moral certainty, that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.

On the other hand, ours remains a federal system and the significance of states is still an important factor.   Our states are still quite different, and less populated states would be far less significant to the Executive branch if the PotUS only needed a popular win.

 

 


 

 

Red Box Rules

  1. Any constitutional amendment of significance is unlikely to be ratified, so comments on the viability of ratification are off topic.  Instead, debate the ideas in concept.
  2. No trolling.  Do not come here and make things personal or simply complain. 
  3. Engage in thoughtful, adult discourse on the pros and cons of these approaches or be silent and let others attempt to do so.

Tags

jrGroupDiscuss - desc
[]
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
1  author  TᵢG    8 months ago

Popular Vote

  • One person, one vote
  • Consistent with election method for governors, senators and congressional representatives.
  • Simple and immediately available

Electoral College

  • Preserves federalist intent (states are significant entities)
  • Consistent election method for both Legislative and Executive branches
  • Encourages politicians to consider needs beyond those of California, Texas, New York and Florida
 
 
 
SteevieGee
Junior Silent
1.1  SteevieGee  replied to  TᵢG @1    8 months ago

It's time to dump the EC..  Wouldn't it be nice to have no blue or red states and just united states?  Here in California, the only time we see the presidential candidates it when they're looking for money.  In PA, MI, WI, and FL they're inundated with tv ads ad-nauseum because that is where the campaigns direct all their money.  Dumping the EC would force the campaigns to go nationwide.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
1.1.1  author  TᵢG  replied to  SteevieGee @1.1    8 months ago
Dumping the EC would force the campaigns to go nationwide.

One could argue that a pure popular vote would drive the campaigns to the most populous cities.

 
 
 
SteevieGee
Junior Silent
1.1.2  SteevieGee  replied to  TᵢG @1.1.1    8 months ago

I would think that the campaigns would go to where their base is.  North and South Dakota combined have less people than most states but they still  get 2 senators each.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
1.1.3  author  TᵢG  replied to  SteevieGee @1.1.2    8 months ago

We all know (I suspect) that no matter what there will not be a uniform political landscape.   Campaigns will always seek the bumps (populous points) and favor those.   Currently campaigns focus on states (winner-takes-all helps considerably here).   A popular vote would reduce the granularity considerably and make the campaign strategies much more complex.   But they would still find a way to optimize the use of their resources by focusing on points that matter and ignoring those that do not.

 
 
 
Freewill
Sophomore Participates
1.1.4  Freewill  replied to  TᵢG @1.1.1    8 months ago
One could argue that a pure popular vote would drive the campaigns to the most populous cities.

And one would be correct.  They campaign where the votes are needed most in any case, to get elected, and then when in office they focus their attention on satisfying the special interests of those same areas to get re-elected.  That should be pretty obvious when studying the campaigns and policies of the last several administrations.  

If the major cities become the primary focus for cultivating votes and currying favor, the rest of the country will have no say in the election and policymaking of the Executive Branch.  At risk of sounding overly dramatic, that is how mob rule takes root.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
1.1.5  author  TᵢG  replied to  Freewill @1.1.4    8 months ago
They campaign where the votes are needed most in any case, to get elected, and then when in office they focus their attention on satisfying the special interests of those same areas to get re-elected.

Indeed, one can predict that no matter the rules of the game, the teams will seek to optimize the use of their resources.  

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Masters Quiet
1.2  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  TᵢG @1    8 months ago

Very impressive and informative post. Thank you very much.

 
 
 
Tacos!
PhD Expert
2  Tacos!    8 months ago
Hamilton delicately tells the people that they cannot all be trusted to make a good decision

He wasn't wrong. People are stupid. Not to disrespect JFK, but there is an argument to be made that he got elected on his looks. That's a terrible criteria for casting a vote. Things have only gone downhill from there.

Logistically, there is no need for human electors, but if we follow Hamilton's approach, they are essential. The practice of requiring electors to vote in line with the popular vote entirely defeats the purpose of having smart people cast the votes.

Our whole system of federal government is designed to create checks and balances. A full democratic vote for president would be inconsistent with that philosophy. So, whatever we do, I like some kind of system that protects the interests of minority voters in small states. We can't ignore non-urban voters any more than we can ignore ethnic minorities.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
2.1  author  TᵢG  replied to  Tacos! @2    8 months ago

Good points.   However I do not see a popular vote for PotUS failing checks and balances any more than the extant popular vote for governor does.   So unless you would argue that we should also have indirect election of governors (a form of the EC maybe) it should not be applied to the Executive branch.

 
 
 
Tacos!
PhD Expert
2.1.1  Tacos!  replied to  TᵢG @2.1    8 months ago

( sorry, I accidentally wrote over your comment -- TiG )  jrSmiley_89_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
2.1.2  author  TᵢG  replied to  Tacos! @2.1.1    8 months ago

If the USA were to elect a PotUS by popular vote, it seems you are suggesting that we would have a realistic concern that there would be a tyranny of the majority.   I think that would be a supporting argument for retaining the significance of statehood.

Somewhat like:  "Encourages politicians to consider needs beyond those of California, Texas, New York and Florida"

Do the past popular vote results evidence your hypothesis?

 
 
 
Tacos!
PhD Expert
2.1.3  Tacos!  replied to  TᵢG @2.1.2    8 months ago

California is a pretty good example of a tyranny of the majority. (Tyranny is a strong word, but I don't have a better one, and it is the classic term)

Democrats - and more importantly, urban interests - have run the state, almost without real opposition for 50 years. The power comes from the most populous urban counties around LA and SF. Meanwhile, more rural sections of the state - the center, east, and northern counties - are often frustrated that Sacramento doesn't listen to their concerns.

So for issues that matter a lot to those people - e.g., land and water use - urban interests dictate to them and there is little they can do about it.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
2.1.4  author  TᵢG  replied to  Tacos! @2.1.3    8 months ago

Understood.   So you would argue that the popular vote would cause the most populous cities to dominate the selection of the Executive branch.

I wonder if someone has a counter-argument to that?   Something other than simply declaring it to be 'fair'.

 
 
 
pat wilson
Professor Guide
2.1.5  pat wilson  replied to  Tacos! @2.1.3    8 months ago
California is a pretty good example of a tyranny of the majority.

That majority was legally elected, the people of California chose them at the polls.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
2.1.6  author  TᵢG  replied to  pat wilson @2.1.5    8 months ago

I do not think Tacos! is claiming otherwise.   Seems to me he is pointing out how the more populated cities of CA are dominating the others and drowning out their voice in how the state is run.   The question then is if this would happen to states if we had a national popular election for PotUS.

 
 
 
Texan1211
PhD Principal
2.1.7  Texan1211  replied to  pat wilson @2.1.5    8 months ago

that isn't anything anyone is disputing, and it certainly doesn't refute his comment

 
 
 
Tacos!
PhD Expert
2.1.8  Tacos!  replied to  pat wilson @2.1.5    8 months ago
That majority was legally elected, the people of California chose them at the polls.

Sure, but a legally elected tyranny is still a tyranny. Slavery was legal, but that doesn't make it right. 

Of course, we will never have a system that pleases all people in equal measure, but the concept of checks and balances that permeates the federal government seeks to minimize that tyranny.

Even if we value that philosophy, I think it's worth asking, from time to time, if our system is accomplishing that goal to the degree we think it should.

Keep in mind, we don't want a tyranny of the minority, either. I think it's reasonable to ask - if the electoral college system continues to contradict popular democracy - is the system out of balance?

 
 
 
pat wilson
Professor Guide
2.1.9  pat wilson  replied to  Tacos! @2.1.8    8 months ago
I think it's reasonable to ask - if the electoral college system continues to contradict popular democracy - is the system out of balance?

It is reasonable to ask that. I do too. My point that CA is not a tyranny.

 
 
 
pat wilson
Professor Guide
2.1.10  pat wilson  replied to  TᵢG @2.1.6    8 months ago
the more populated cities of CA are dominating the others and drowning out their voice in how the state is run.  

Yes, that's a natural result of population density. Not sure how that could be changed. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
2.1.11  author  TᵢG  replied to  pat wilson @2.1.10    8 months ago

One could give each city in California a vote just for being a city.  Then provide a set of votes corresponding to the population of the city.   When electing leaders like the Governor, the votes for each city will be apportioned to the candidates based on the popular vote percentages they won.  The candidate who won the city by popular vote would get the city's single vote that it holds as a city.

All of these city votes are added together to determine the winner for California.

 
 
 
pat wilson
Professor Guide
2.1.12  pat wilson  replied to  TᵢG @2.1.11    8 months ago
One could give each city in California a vote just for being a city.  Then provide a set of votes corresponding to the population of the city. 

That's what I meant by "population density". I think we're saying the same thing, maybe not.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
2.1.13  author  TᵢG  replied to  pat wilson @2.1.12    8 months ago

What I offered is close in that it does indeed continue to provide more populated areas with a weighted voice.   That certainly makes sense.    Cupertino will have a fraction of the influence of San Francisco and it will in turn have a fraction of the influence of Los Angeles.   The difference, however, is that what I offered grants state votes (influence on California itself) to each city in California just because it is a city.

So lets say that Cupertino has a population of 60,000, San Francisco a population of 800,000 and Los Angeles a population of 3,800,000.   All three cities would be granted 5 state votes simply because they are cities.   Then, on top of that, they will get a certain pool of votes based on population.   If we grant a state vote for, say, every block of 10,000 voters then Cupertino would have 6 state votes, San Francisco would have 80 state votes and Los Angeles would have 380 state votes.    Adding in the vote each city gets just because it is a city we have Cupertino with 11 state votes, San Francisco with 85 and Los Angeles with 385.   If we did this for every city in California and then add up all the state votes we would have the state vote pool for California.   To win 50% of California, a candidate must earn enough state votes to match ½ of the state vote pool.

The state vote of 5 assigned to each city reifies the significance of each city.   This means little to the larger cities but makes quite a difference to the smaller ones.   This makes it more difficult to ignore the needs of the many smaller rural cities because their modest state votes together can now add up to a significant (albeit still small) part of the state vote pool.

( These numbers are almost arbitrary.  The point is that one can weight the system so that it rewards cities based on their population but also recognizes the significance of each city by providing each city a set of modest state votes above and beyond those gained by size. )

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
2.1.14  Bob Nelson  replied to  Tacos! @2.1.3    8 months ago

I don't live in California, but as I understand what happened there, the minority behaved like [insert word forbidden by CoC] for year after year, driving the state to near-bankruptcy. The voters were so angry that they gave the Dems not just a majority, but a bullet-proof super-majority... and have maintained that situation for quite a few years now.

That's the problem with dispositions meant to check the majority: too often they become means for rule by the minority. That's what we have nationally, and it's blowing the country to bits.

It seems obvious that there must be some means to prevent a "coastal coalition" from running roughshod over the rest. But there's something wrong when Wyoming has as many Senators as California. The EC isn't the only institution that needs reform. The Senate, too.

Oh, and... originally, each member of the House of Representatives represented only a few thousand people. Genuine contact was possible. To recover that intimacy, we'd need a House with ten times as many members as there are. Why not?

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
2.1.15  author  TᵢG  replied to  Bob Nelson @2.1.14    8 months ago
But there's something wrong when Wyoming has as many Senators as California.

You are in favor of eliminating the significance of each state?    Per this article, 'significance of the state' refers to the idea that every state has special representation simply because it is a state.   This reflects our federal Republic.

If the Senate were based on population, as with the House, the smaller states would be overruled by the larger ones.   This is another step away from a federal Republic towards a national Republic.   My guess is that is what you seek.

It seems obvious that there must be some means to prevent a "coastal coalition" from running roughshod over the rest.

Your notion of a Senate by population for the USA seems to conflict with your desire to not have the larger cities in California running roughshod over the rest. 

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
2.1.16  Bob Nelson  replied to  TᵢG @2.1.15    8 months ago
Your notion of a Senate by population for the USA...

As I explained elsewhere, I am not in favor of a straight-up population-based Senate. The Fathers wanted to avoid dominance by a few large states, and I think they were right in principle. The 1790 census showed Delaware with 59 000, and Virginia with 692 000, less than 12 to 1. The 2010 census shows Wyoming with 563 000, and California with over 37 million,a ratio of over 66 to 1... over five times the difference that the Fathers faced.

So... while I agree that the Senate should be weighted in favor of the small states, the present "two Senators per state" really, really overdoes it!

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
2.1.17  Mark in Wyoming   replied to  TᵢG @2.1.15    8 months ago

the senate was never meant to and will not ever represent the people , they represent the interests of the state , sometimes what is good for the state , is not so good for the people and vice versa, hense the bi carmel legislature , where both the state and the people are represented . and it makes the legislature compromise between competing interests  not only on the state level but also at the federal level. In other words no one is going to ever get everything they want .

 not too long ago , just over 100 years senators were selected by the state legislatures and the sitting govenors  to represent the states interests at the federal level, after a constitutional amendment , the choosing of senators  were done by popular vote, which leads people to believe that senators represent the people , when in fact they do not .

 the size of the senate is dictated by the number of states , and with each state added the size will increase by 2 for each state added ,  One reason I see is that the VP is the president of the senate and holds the tie breaking vote if it is ever needed .

The size of the HoR is dictated by the house and congress itself as to how many members it will allow, and the allowable number is then divided between the states , with no state ever having less that 1 member of the HoR, and the number of reps in the house any state that has more than one , changes with each census , they can gain or lose a seat , based on population.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
2.1.18  author  TᵢG  replied to  Mark in Wyoming @2.1.17    8 months ago
the senate was never meant to and will not ever represent the people

Yup, the senate was never meant to represent the people.  It is to represent the states.  

not too long ago , just over 100 years senators were selected by the state legislatures

Indeed, prior to the 17th amendment.

the size of the senate is dictated by the number of states

Again true, another key factor in this article.

The size of the HoR is dictated by the house and congress itself as to how many members it will allow, and the allowable number is then divided between the states

Yet another truth, per the Permanent Apportionment Act.


I suspect you meant to reply to Bob instead of me since this is covered in the article and in subsequent comments.

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
2.1.19  Mark in Wyoming   replied to  TᵢG @2.1.18    8 months ago

yes , but I took the lazy way of keeping this in this thread of discussion, and as an afterthought about using a proportioned system for awarding electors , unlike the popular vote initiative that needs congressional approval , any states legislature can d4cide how the electors are assigned without congressional approval or having to change the CotUS.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
2.1.20  author  TᵢG  replied to  Mark in Wyoming @2.1.19    8 months ago
any states legislature can d4cide how the electors are assigned without congressional approval or having to change the CotUS.

Correct.   The problem I see with that is that some states might not get with the program (right now we see 48 sticking with winner-takes-all).   For example, what would motivate the state of CA to give up some of its dominant power when electing a PotUS?   Right now in CA (and other states) all the R electoral votes for PotUS are magically turned into D electoral votes.   If they went proportional they lose power.

Thus unless all 50 states are with the program, the apportionment would not have the proper effect.  So we would need a solution that ensures this level of cooperation.

( and I am not suggesting there is a viable solution to that effect )

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
2.1.21  Mark in Wyoming   replied to  TᵢG @2.1.20    8 months ago

it wasn't so long ago that CA was red , just as texas was blue ,It would have to be up to the individual states legislatures to make the moves , influenced by the fact to do so would show all the voters that they think every voters vote counts and will as well as shall be counted even if they are in the minority .

The how to get states reluctant to do so to actually do it is another matter and would not have anything to do with government forcing them to do so , it would be society that would make that push , and society could do so by leaving the state , by not investing in the state , by refusing to move major businesses to the state irregardless of whatever incentives the state offers , society is what drives the state and if society wants fairness in the electoral process , the state  that refuses to listen , does so at their own peril and chance of losing the power they so crave , because society will replace those in power that refuse to give them what they want , with those that will..

 that of course is not even covering how the residents of other states might help with boycotts and refusal to visit or buy that states product. all very powerful motivators for any state government , and it hits them in the money maker , which they need to keep full.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
2.1.22  author  TᵢG  replied to  Mark in Wyoming @2.1.21    8 months ago
would not have anything to do with government forcing them to do so

That is not what I meant.   I am saying that unless we have a national proposal where each state agrees that it will go proportional if the other 49 do likewise, I do not see any state taking this seriously.   That is, if left up to natural evolution of the states independently, it looks as though the results will be 48 with winner-takes-all.

How a 50-state proportional system might be accomplished is of course another matter.

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
2.1.23  Mark in Wyoming   replied to  TᵢG @2.1.22    8 months ago

If you want it all at once , then no it wont happen , get it in where it can be got in for now and let the other factors I mentioned take hold , piecemeal is better than no meal , we already have 2 out of 50 . and to my way of thinking , those 2 states are the only 2 states where every voters vote actually counts in this country..

 It can and should start at the grass roots , not everything has to come all at once or from the top down.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
2.1.24  author  TᵢG  replied to  Mark in Wyoming @2.1.23    8 months ago

I do not see this happening organically.   I just do not see how non-swing states gain any advantage by moving from winner-takes-all.   This is especially true for state like CA.  

So we agree that the results would be desirable.   The question really is how this could ever happen.  We do not see things the same in this regard.

 
 
 
Freewill
Sophomore Participates
2.1.25  Freewill  replied to  TᵢG @2.1.24    8 months ago
How a 50-state proportional system might be accomplished is of course another matter.
The question really is how this could ever happen.

That is a good question.  If states like CA, FL, TX and NY all refuse to move to proportional EC voting and the rest agreed we would be no closer to a fairer division of overall EC votes.  The winner take all provision is not mandated in the Constitution Article II Section 1, nor in the 12th Amendment that stipulated that the two votes for each elector be split between President and Vice-President independently. 

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

In fact, it could be argued that the idea is at odds with the rest of Article 2 and the superseding 12th Amendment which indicate that each electoral vote should be counted.  From the Twelfth Amendment:

The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and all persons voted for as Vice-President and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate;

The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted ;

The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President , if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President.  

So one method that might be employed is to sue the states that have adopted the winner take all method as being unconstitutional, and returning the EC back to what was originally designed, such that each electoral vote is counted.  No Amendment needed just a return to original Constitutional intent via Federal Court precedent until all states comply.   Good article on this HERE .  This process may actually already be under way.  Check out THIS website .

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
2.1.26  Mark in Wyoming   replied to  TᵢG @2.1.24    8 months ago

I can agree with all you have said , it is after all simply a discussion to explore the possabilities ,.

Something I also thought of , is that those states that have the minimum number of Ec votes might have a problem trying to apporting things out , dependent on how it is dictated .

Take the state I live in 3 ec votes , how to divide them up to insure the fairest outcome and that all votes count. 2 senators and 1 HoR at large , the minimum constitutionally allowed, and for the past 30 years , a party has usually always only won 1 or 2 counties out of the 23 that comprise the congressional district for the house.

The Common sense way to do this would be One for popular vote , one  for majority of congressional districts , and one left for the state legislature , seems to me that the apportioned system would really only work for those states with more than 5 Ec votes  My view is less than 5 and there usually is a clear popular vote winner across the board even under an apportioned system that would end up with winner take all and the fewer Ec votes the more likelihood there would be a chance for a candidate to make a sweep in that state .

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
2.1.27  author  TᵢG  replied to  Mark in Wyoming @2.1.26    8 months ago

I tend to favor having a single system where apportionment is consistent.   So right off the bat that would yield 2 EC votes for the state popular vote and 1 EC vote for the single congressional district.   Which ultimately means a pure popular vote for the states with the smallest populations.   But that then degrades into a winner-takes-all; something your proposal seeks to mitigate.   Unfortunately with only 3 EC votes, every solution is going to be clunky.   So while yours is perfectly logical, it is rendered clunky by the three buckets.

An alternative is to increase the number of EC votes.   (This is something Bob Nelson has suggested.)   I am suggesting it only because of the mathematics aspect.   EC votes are cheap to make ($0) so we can immediately create 10 times as many across the board.   This would mean that each congressional district gets 10 votes and each state gets 20 votes just for being a state.   (It is here where Bob would argue that a state with one congressional district will get at most 10 votes but might get less since it might not have the population to justify a full congressional district.) (He will also argue that 20 EC votes for a state is excessive ... another topic.)

Just going with what I offered, this gives Wyoming, for example, 30 EC votes instead of 3.   The state now has all sorts of options for how to apportion their votes.

One thing I do not like, however, is having states able to roll their own apportionment method.   As soon as a state's legislature is involved, for example, we could devolve right back to winner-takes-all.    If the state legislature of our example of Wyoming is in charge of the state EC votes (20 of them), they could use a simple majority approach to allocate the entire 20 lot to a single candidate.   That will overshadow the 10 EC of the popular vote and be very close to winner-takes-all.

The agreement then would necessarily mean that state legislature's, if allowed to be involved, would have to use an apportionment method in all cases.   Thus if the vote was 60-40, then the EC votes for the state would be 12-8.

Bottom line, I am a great fan of parsimony.   The best system would be one with very simple rules that everyone must follow.   The simpler the system the more likely it will resist gaming.

I am convinced that even our little group of interested members here on NT could devise a great system.   If only partisan politics would allow our system to evolve (improve).

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
2.1.28  author  TᵢG  replied to  Freewill @2.1.25    8 months ago

Good point.  One could indeed make a constitutional argument indicating original intent was to have state votes be limited to 2 with the balance of the votes being apportioned by the congressional districts.   The winner-takes-all approach essentially disenfranchises the electors in the minority and, worse, flips their votes to the other party.   That does not seem to correlate with original intent.

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
2.1.29  Mark in Wyoming   replied to  TᵢG @2.1.27    8 months ago

your worry about the legislatures involvement on the state level is moot actually because constitutionally they already have the authority to decide how to allot EC votes , 48 states have simply chosen the easiest and most kick the can down the road method and fairness be damned  of winner take all. and let the minority votes, meaning those that didn't vote with the majority or popular vote , not count . a major issue for some and a major issue they see no point in voting , because they see it wont count in any way or form unless the take the majority. which is wrong.

And it is those very legislatures that can change how things are done on the state level  so they will as they are already always be involved.

 I would also state that tuning a system for a 3 seat state is difficult , when the system should be tuned for those double digit super seat states , by virtue of having so many seats they also have the perpensity to disenfranchise more people under winner take all.

 so tune the system like your tuning a formula car for a race , get it running smoothly for that sort of situation of  multiple seat state , them look at how to tune the 3 seat (cylinder) mini so they can also be in the race .

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
2.1.30  author  TᵢG  replied to  Mark in Wyoming @2.1.29    8 months ago
your worry about the legislatures involvement on the state level is moot actually because constitutionally they already have the authority to decide how to allot EC votes

I am aware of what we have now.  And I have named the legislatures as part of the reason this will likely not change.   So ... yes ... we have written the same thing.

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
2.1.31  Mark in Wyoming   replied to  TᵢG @2.1.30    8 months ago

 I may repeat things  sometimes , but for me the underlying and very fundamental principle that the goal is to minimize the disenfranchisement of any voter   and though we use popular vote for many things , when it comes to the EC popular vote becomes rather dangerous to the voters themselves .

 here would be an interesting look in proportioned allotment .

1 delegate for winning the popular vote

1 delegate for each congressional district won by a candidate 

 and 1 delegate to whomever wins the majority of congressional districts

 those would be the simple rules for allotment of delegates 

 now apply it to any high delegate count state and see how that changes the outcome of an election such as in 2016 , which you have already posted the graph for with who won what ..

now apply those rules to each state and see how proportioned allotment would change the election.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
2.2  Bob Nelson  replied to  Tacos! @2    8 months ago
if we follow Hamilton's approach, they are essential

It seems to me that there's a missing link, here...  Why would the Electors (who are people) be any wiser than the general public (who are people)?

This is the presumption, so often found among the wealthy, that wealth equals wisdom. A cynic might find that just a teeny-tiny tad self-serving....

"The proletarians cannot be trusted to make wise decisions... so... you should give all power to me..."

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
2.2.1  author  TᵢG  replied to  Bob Nelson @2.2    8 months ago
Why would the Electors (who are people) be any wiser than the general public (who are people)?

The electors were to be drawn from the most learned people.   Back then there were many people with little or no education (and information) and then those who have an understanding sufficient to make an informed decision.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
2.2.2  Bob Nelson  replied to  TᵢG @2.2.1    8 months ago

That's equating education with wisdom. I'm not sure that works.

It's an important subject, though. I'm convinced that nowadays, the multitude of complex, interlocking topics that must be managed for a country to run successfully... is far beyond the grasp of any single person. It's not humanly possible.

In other words... demos is not competent, and never again will be. (In 1789, a man could "know everything". Not today.) Democracy - the rule of demos - is not workable.

It's high time we discussed - and found - a successor!

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
2.2.3  author  TᵢG  replied to  Bob Nelson @2.2.2    8 months ago

Today the electorate has the education and has access to information.   The problem is different.   Today we suffer from apathy.   The electorate could be very well informed but most (it seems) prefer the lazy route and simply adopt (as truth) whatever their party leaders proclaim.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
2.2.4  Bob Nelson  replied to  TᵢG @2.2.3    8 months ago

Anyone can study up and have a passable knowledge of any given topic. That is not sufficient. Education, energy, environment... and that's just some of the "e" topics... and they all interact with each other. The individual voter simply cannot generate a qualified opinion.

We fall back on "trusted sources"... as always...

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
2.2.5  author  TᵢG  replied to  Bob Nelson @2.2.4    8 months ago
The individual voter simply cannot generate a qualified opinion.

That is why we have a Republic.   We have representatives who ostensibly gain a higher level of understanding and vote on our behalf.

It is the job of the demos to pick suitable representatives.   Certainly we are capable of doing that.   We do not, but we have all the means to do so.    The use of a learned elector is obsolete.  

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
2.2.6  Bob Nelson  replied to  TᵢG @2.2.5    8 months ago

Let's imagine our government at its best...

Each member has a staff, so each could have a team of experts. That would be an awful lot of duplication - if there are "only" twenty experts per Congressperson, that's a lot of people... so they should pool their experts...

Then... what is the real role of the Congresspeople? They would select the experts... who would do the actual governing.

The role of Congresspeople would be to resolve their constituents' problems. (Individuals and, sadly, Gargantuan Corporations...), while the experts run the country.

Mandarins.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
2.2.7  author  TᵢG  replied to  Bob Nelson @2.2.6    8 months ago
The role of Congresspeople would be to resolve their constituents' problems. (Individuals and, sadly, Gargantuan Corporations...), while the experts run the country.

We are talking about two very different things.   I was speaking of the electorate being capable (even if the capability is squandered today) of making an informed decision on who represents them.

You are speaking of the role of the representative as it relates to domain experts and the running of government itself.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
2.2.8  Bob Nelson  replied to  TᵢG @2.2.7    8 months ago

We're talking about the same things, but I cut corners sometimes... 

- No individual (voter or Congressperson) is capable of mastering the breadth, depth, and interrelationships of the topics necessary to manage a country.

- In consequence, policy must be defined by teams of experts.

This seems obvious to me... but is completely ignored by almost everyone.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
2.2.9  author  TᵢG  replied to  Bob Nelson @2.2.8    8 months ago

I agree, but I still do not see how that relates to my point on the ability of the electorate to choose its own representatives.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
2.2.10  Bob Nelson  replied to  TᵢG @2.2.9    8 months ago

There's no relation, I don't suppose. But it all seems illusionary.

Congress seems pointless. Either Congress rubber-stamps the experts' work (and is therefore futile) or Congress overrides the experts, and we get crappy policy.

It seems unhealthy to not recognize the real processes that govern us.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
3  Perrie Halpern R.A.    8 months ago

Personally I am for proportional representation in the EC. This way it still conforms to the Constitution while better representing the people's wishes. Two states already have a proportional EC and I don't see why this could not be implemented across all 50 states. Winner takes all is just ridiculous. It does not reflect the will of the people. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
3.1  author  TᵢG  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @3    8 months ago
Winner takes all is just ridiculous.

I fully agree.   This also serves as a compromise since it more closely approximates the popular vote.

 
 
 
Texan1211
PhD Principal
3.2  Texan1211  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @3    8 months ago

Are you in favor of each state determining how the electors are chosen?

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
3.2.1  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Texan1211 @3.2    8 months ago

I think that there should be one national standard, so that we are all on an equal footing. Maybe this should be decided at some sort of national convention, since I don't trust our very partisan legislators to do this fairly. 

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Masters Participates
3.3  Greg Jones  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @3    8 months ago

The Founders of our country were very intelligent, well educated, and forward looking.

They came up with system that has worked well for all these years. Let the people decide by their votes if we should tamper with a method that has worked so well.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
3.3.1  Bob Nelson  replied to  Greg Jones @3.3    8 months ago
They came up with system that has worked well for all these years.

That statement is more than dubious.

 
 
 
Snuffy
Sophomore Participates
3.4  Snuffy  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @3    8 months ago

By proportional representation in the EC, do you mean the popular vote winner for a district would equal one EC vote for that candidate?   And then the total winner of the popular vote for the state would get the two EC votes that represent the US Senate?

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
4  Kavika     8 months ago

I'm in favor of proportional representation in the EC. IMO, it truly reflects the will of the people much more so than the winner take all that 48 of the states now have.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
5  Vic Eldred    8 months ago

What this question relates to involves two recent elections in which the winner lost the popular vote, yet won the electoral college. In both cases democrats lost.

Changing the Constitutional provision for the electoral college is hard - it was meant to be! The founders established a Constitutional Republic, not a radical democracy, in order to check and balance a volatile public opinion. When one looks at what the UK goes through with small extremist parties forming and breaking coalitions in order to select heads of state, makes our system look far superior and my progressive friends should remember that the more they erode the Constitution, the more likely we one day wake up to a government nobody will like.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
5.1  author  TᵢG  replied to  Vic Eldred @5    8 months ago

I think it is unfair to deem a change in the CotUS as 'erosion'.   This article presents both arguments.   I personally do not find either argument to be clearly wrong.   Having the PotUS elected by popular vote just as we do governors, senators, representatives, etc. is arguably nothing more than being consistent.   It is not wrong, it is different and has different objectives.

However, where I can agree with you is on the principle of federalism.   A popular vote would diminish the significance of statehood and thus the essence of our federal system.   Here that could be argued as 'erosion'.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
5.1.1  Vic Eldred  replied to  TᵢG @5.1    8 months ago
I think it is unfair to deem a change in the CotUS as 'erosion'.

It can and should only be done Constitutionally. Any of these end around schemes like “The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact,” which is the notorious agreement among states that would force state electors to vote in accordance with the national popular vote and ignore their own state tallies is an erosion.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
5.1.2  author  TᵢG  replied to  Vic Eldred @5.1.1    8 months ago

This article presumes that any change would be done properly with a constitutional amendment.  That is, a change in the CotUS is an actual change in the CotUS — an amendment.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
5.1.3  Vic Eldred  replied to  TᵢG @5.1.2    8 months ago

Ok, So this is strictly an argument on which serves us better.  Fair enough.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
5.1.4  author  TᵢG  replied to  Vic Eldred @5.1.3    8 months ago

Yeah I am trying to encourage everyone to seriously consider both sides.   Objectively consider the pros and cons and determine how we would do things today if we had the means to do so.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
5.1.5  Vic Eldred  replied to  TᵢG @5.1.4    8 months ago

Then this should be interesting

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
5.1.6  author  TᵢG  replied to  Vic Eldred @5.1.5    8 months ago

Hopefully 

manshrug.gif

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
5.1.7  Vic Eldred  replied to  TᵢG @5.1.6    8 months ago

You've figured out a way to discuss the merits of the EC, excluding any discussion of how we would get to make the change or consideration of traditional and time-honored elections.

Truly a what if it could be done kind of conversation.  In that way you have sort of legitimized the idea.

As Virgil Sollozzo said "Salute!"

 
 
 
Dulay
Professor Principal
5.1.8  Dulay  replied to  TᵢG @5.1.2    8 months ago

Why go through the machinations of an amendment when pushing states to change their mandates would and could be faster and gets the job done?

Proportional representation of the EC is just a day in each legislature and the stroke of a Governor's pen. Easy compared to an Amendment. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
5.1.9  author  TᵢG  replied to  Vic Eldred @5.1.7    8 months ago

Vic, if we factor in viability then there is no point in writing this article.   The strongest argument against the popular vote would then be that it would be impossible to change the CotUS to accommodate it.   That would make the article pointless and boring.

This is not a sinister plot by me to push one system over the other.   I honestly would like to see us (for a change) engage in thoughtful, intellectual discussion and put forth cogent arguments for how we would best see our nation progressing in terms of how we elect the PotUS.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
5.1.10  author  TᵢG  replied to  Dulay @5.1.8    8 months ago
Proportional representation of the EC is just a day in each legislature and the stroke of a Governor's pen.

What happens if all 50 states do not agree?   What happens to this idea if there are rogue states who refuse proportional representation and stick with winner takes all?

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
5.1.12  author  TᵢG  replied to  Dulay @5.1.8    8 months ago

By the way, my preferred solution is to have a proportional EC without human electors.   Just tally the votes of each congressional district and the state-wide popular vote and voilà we have the electoral college votes.   Then, if we can get all states to agree to proportional representation, we would have IMO a good system.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
5.1.13  Kavika   replied to  TᵢG @5.1.10    8 months ago
What happens if all 50 states do not agree?   What happens to this idea if there are rogue states who refuse proportional representation and stick with winner takes all?

Currently, we have 48 rogue states. Would it make a difference if 25 states went with the proportional and 25 with winner take all? 

 
 
 
Dulay
Professor Principal
5.1.14  Dulay  replied to  TᵢG @5.1.10    8 months ago
What happens if all 50 states do not agree?   What happens to this idea if there are rogue states who refuse proportional representation and stick with winner takes all?

As you pointed out, population centers in a minority of states represent the vast majority of the EC. If the 14 states with 10 electors or more go for it, that makes 258 EC proportional votes. That's a seed change IMHO. 

 
 
 
Dulay
Professor Principal
5.1.15  Dulay  replied to  TᵢG @5.1.12    8 months ago

So your posit is that each elector would represent a district and they would pledge to follow the popular vote of that district? Then the other two vote the state wide popular vote? All of this non-partisan? 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
5.1.16  author  TᵢG  replied to  Kavika @5.1.13    8 months ago

It would make a difference, but it would not be anywhere close to a system where all states had to play by the same rules regarding proportioning.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
5.1.17  author  TᵢG  replied to  Dulay @5.1.14    8 months ago

Do you think a state would voluntarily abide by proportional electoral votes if doing so reduces its net impact on the election of the PotUS?   

See, I am not at all surprised that we have but 2 states going proportional.   I am surprised that we do not see all 50 using a winner-takes-all approach.

However, if by some method we can get all 50 states to cooperate with a proportional system then that would make great sense to me.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
5.1.18  author  TᵢG  replied to  Dulay @5.1.15    8 months ago
So your posit is that each elector would represent a district and they would pledge to follow the popular vote of that district? Then the other two vote the state wide popular vote? All of this non-partisan? 

Actually, as noted, I see no reason for human electors.   So if a district votes for the R candidate, that means the R candidate gets that 1 electoral vote.  And if the next district votes for the D candidate, the D candidate adds one to the tally.   No human electors needed (or desirable).

The two state votes would be based on the popular vote for the state.  

Again, entirely non-partisan.   Strictly tallying up the votes from the demos.

 
 
 
Dulay
Professor Principal
5.1.19  Dulay  replied to  TᵢG @5.1.18    8 months ago

I'm pretty sure that the Constitution mandates 'human electors' since Article 2 mentions 'person' and requires them to meet, vote, sign and certify the result.  

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
5.1.20  author  TᵢG  replied to  Dulay @5.1.19    8 months ago

Yes it does.   I am in favor of a constitutional amendment that would eliminate human electors:

TiG @5.1.12By the way, my preferred solution is to have a proportional EC without human electors.   Just tally the votes of each congressional district and the state-wide popular vote and voilà we have the electoral college votes.   Then, if we can get all states to agree to proportional representation, we would have IMO a good system.

Anticipating your next question, I think it would be easier to replace human electors with tallies via amendment than it would be to get an amendment wherein all states are bound to proportional electoral votes.    Neither are likely, but the former is net positive for everyone (no downside).   The latter has serious political ramifications and thus would be a major effort to ratify.

But, as noted in the article, I do not want to get bogged down in ratification.   Rather, I would prefer we discuss what would be ideal regardless of the viability in terms of ratification.

 
 
 
Dulay
Professor Principal
5.1.21  Dulay  replied to  TᵢG @5.1.20    8 months ago

I thought your Red Box Rules made talk of a Constitutional Amendment off topic. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
5.1.22  author  TᵢG  replied to  Dulay @5.1.21    8 months ago

Yes, I am trying to dissuade people from dismissing an idea simply due to the difficulty of ratification.  I do not want an idea taken off the table simply because it requires ratification.

That is why I explicitly addressed that in my comment @5.1.20 immediately after sharing my viewpoint.

 
 
 
Snuffy
Sophomore Participates
5.1.23  Snuffy  replied to  TᵢG @5.1.18    8 months ago

IMO for this to be fair we really need to get rid of all gerrymandering also. The way each party has drawn borders for districts to try to insure their party continues to win that district needs to be done away with.  Of course I'm in favor of getting rid of all gerrymandering but how to do it is an entirely different discussion.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
5.1.24  author  TᵢG  replied to  Snuffy @5.1.23    8 months ago

Yeah, I wish I had an idea to offer but districts necessarily need to be adjusted over time.   The best think I can offer is an algorithm which automatically adjusts district boundaries based upon well-established criteria.   But I doubt the parties would ever agree to something so sensible.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
5.1.25  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Snuffy @5.1.23    8 months ago

I'm with you Snuffy. Here is an idea. Put the whole US on a grid system. That would take care of the problem.

 
 
 
gooseisgone
Senior Quiet
5.1.26  gooseisgone  replied to  TᵢG @5.1    8 months ago
Having the PotUS elected by popular vote just as we do governors

We have a popular vote now, the President is voted on and wins in each of the States, same as our US Senators. I believe we have a similar system on a State basis, what would happen to that, would the entire state vote on each State Senator and State Representative?

 
 
 
Dulay
Professor Principal
5.1.27  Dulay  replied to  TᵢG @5.1.22    8 months ago

That's a disconnect I'm unable to make. If it isn't viable, it can't be ideal. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
5.1.28  author  TᵢG  replied to  gooseisgone @5.1.26    8 months ago
We have a popular vote now, the President is voted on and wins in each of the States, same as our US Senators. I believe we have a similar system on a State basis, what would happen to that, would the entire state vote on each State Senator and State Representative?

Not sure how to even begin here.   I know that you know the PotUS is elected by the electoral college and not by popular vote.   So why do you lead with "We have a popular vote now, ..."?   What does that mean?

As described in the article, a popular vote for PotUS necessarily ignores state boundaries.   It literally would tally the votes made by individuals.   The candidate with the most votes (or the plurality of votes) wins.  

That is profoundly different than the extant electoral system wherein the voters vote for electors who in turn vote for the PotUS and their votes are then processed by the state.   Ultimately each state decides how to apply its electoral votes.   The states' electoral votes are then combined and the candidate with 270 or more electoral votes wins.

An entirely different system.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
5.1.29  author  TᵢG  replied to  Dulay @5.1.27    8 months ago

I am simply trying to mitigate dismissing the ideas of others simply because of the difficulty in achieving ratification of any constitutional amendment of significance nowadays.

I am not trying to tell you the criteria for something being ideal to you.

Just trying to avoid:  "well then how would you ever get this ratified?" discussion-killing arguments.   And I do not want this article to become a debate on what can or cannot be ratified.

Okay?

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
5.1.30  Bob Nelson  replied to  TᵢG @5.1.10    8 months ago

Agreement of "all 50"is not required, even for an amendment.

The "Proportional Compact" is a perfectly legal alternative. Why should we deprive ourselves of it?

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
5.1.31  author  TᵢG  replied to  Bob Nelson @5.1.30    8 months ago
Why should we deprive ourselves of it?

I am in favor of having all 50 states go to a proportional vs. winner-takes-all approach.  

Let's have the states all execute this now and we are good to go.

 
 
 
Freewill
Sophomore Participates
5.1.32  Freewill  replied to  TᵢG @5.1.10    8 months ago
What happens if all 50 states do not agree?   What happens to this idea if there are rogue states who refuse proportional representation and stick with winner takes all?

I would imagine that California would be one of those states, as that is how the State is run internally as well.  The big coastal cities have all the clout and the interests of the rest of the state are pushed aside.  The idea of continuing to ignore a great many potential EC votes in the northern and eastern parts of the state sets well with the powers that be here.  The people in those areas have little say in how the state is run, why should they have any voice in how the president is elected on the national level? /s

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
5.1.33  author  TᵢG  replied to  Freewill @5.1.32    8 months ago
I would imagine that California would be one of those states, as that is how the State is run internally as well.  

Given the divide I scratch my head trying to see how a D-controlled state like CA would ever grant the Rs any power.   What is the motivation for them to do so?    It is frustrating that most every option for improving our system is off the table.   Especially when a proportioned EC with tallies in place of human electors is incredibly easy to implement, less complex to operate and is both faster and cheaper.

 
 
 
gooseisgone
Senior Quiet
5.1.34  gooseisgone  replied to  TᵢG @5.1.28    8 months ago
Not sure how to even begin here.

Sorry, didn't do the best job of expressing my thoughts. Should have been,  IMO the President runs for office in 50 individual states(for the most part) which he is declared the winner (he wins all the electors). Those electors then on a limited representation basis place the votes of the state for President. That is the thought process behind "we have a popular vote know". To expand on that smaller groups have a voice in the process, they don't dictate the process they just have a say. 

If we elect to change to majority rules, do you feel people with minority opinions or lifestyles should then be silenced?

Voting by popular vote gives an advantage to small areas of the country.  Would it be fair to determine the President based on the Square Miles that vote for him......No.   

 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
5.1.35  author  TᵢG  replied to  gooseisgone @5.1.34    8 months ago
If we elect to change to majority rules, do you feel people with minority opinions or lifestyles should then be silenced?

No, we should have a system that holds the PotUS beholding to as many in the electorate as possible.   Minorities should not be squashed by the majority.

Voting by popular vote gives an advantage to small areas of the country.  Would it be fair to determine the President based on the Square Miles that vote for him......No.   

It gives the advantage to large cities at the expense of small cities.   That is certainly not ideal.    Have you noticed that a similar problem exists with winner-takes-all under our current system?


Out of curiosity, which system (or hybrid) do you presume I favor?   I ask because I have had a glimpse of what some here presume and it is fascinating to say the least.

 
 
 
gooseisgone
Senior Quiet
5.1.36  gooseisgone  replied to  TᵢG @5.1.35    8 months ago

I really prefer the current system. Haven't given enough thought to how the hybrid would effect things. 

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
5.1.37  Mark in Wyoming   replied to  Vic Eldred @5.1.1    8 months ago

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, would still need congressional approval even if they get enough states to sign on, and before it could be initiated . Congress has the sole approval authority of all compacts and treaties between the states .

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
5.1.38  Mark in Wyoming   replied to  gooseisgone @5.1.36    8 months ago

easy way to see how a hybrid would work vs the winner take all is to go look at the last presidential vote by county, there would actually be many purple states vs strictly red or blue , and in the last election  Trump would have had an even HIGHER Ec vote tally and still would have lost the popular vote.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
5.1.39  author  TᵢG  replied to  Mark in Wyoming @5.1.38    8 months ago

Here is a visualization of the point you made:

2016_House_Districts_by_Presidential_Party_Winner.png?1485791226

Of course this does not include the 100 EC votes derived from the states, but that is easy enough to visualize.

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
5.1.40  Mark in Wyoming   replied to  TᵢG @5.1.39    8 months ago

Thank you , that illustrates it well, and the point that Hillary , under an apportioned EC voting system would have had LESS than 200 EC votes  And trump would have had much more.

The main problem I see with winner take all in the states for the EC it does not accurately reflect the will of ALL the voters that voted. Which to me , in the case of the president , it matters very much.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
5.1.41  author  TᵢG  replied to  Mark in Wyoming @5.1.40    8 months ago
The main problem I see with winner take all in the states for the EC it does not accurately reflect the will of ALL the voters that voted.

I fully agree.

 
 
 
Dulay
Professor Principal
5.1.42  Dulay  replied to  Mark in Wyoming @5.1.40    8 months ago
The main problem I see with winner take all in the states for the EC it does not accurately reflect the will of ALL the voters that voted. Which to me , in the case of the president , it matters very much.

Here is a visualization of what you're talking about. 

512

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
5.1.43  author  TᵢG  replied to  Dulay @5.1.42    8 months ago

3d is much better than 2d.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
6  JohnRussell    8 months ago

If the result of the popular vote doesnt produce the same winner as the electoral, Take the vote totals from the five states that were closest in popular vote in the previous election and use their totals this year as a tie breaker. 

Everyone says the swing states decide it all anyway, so why not make that literally true , but only as a tiebreaker, if the same candidate wins both popular vote and electoral no need for the tie breaker. 

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
6.1  Vic Eldred  replied to  JohnRussell @6    8 months ago

Except that would be un-Constitutional.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
6.2  author  TᵢG  replied to  JohnRussell @6    8 months ago

I prefer systems that are elegant.   This seems like a patch and does not carry forth the voice of the people or of the states.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
6.2.1  JohnRussell  replied to  TᵢG @6.2    8 months ago

eh, right now they tell people in california, new york, and illinois, and to a lesser extent texas, that their votes don'y count much because the votes in those states are not close.  i would do it like this

Biden wins both the national popular and the total electoral college, he wins.  If Biden wins popular and Trump wins electoral we go to the "tiebreaker" . In 2020 the tie breaker states would be  the five states that had the closest result in 2016. I dont know what they are but for the sake of discussion lets say they were Wisconsin, Nevada, Florida, Michigan and North Carolina. The total votes from those 5 states in the current election would determine the 2020 winner.  

The five tie breaker states would be announced far ahead of the vote, say right before the Iowa caucuses. 

The beauty of this plan is that it does not put either candidate at a numerical disadvatage because they would be states with a recent roughly equal amount of Democratic and republican voters. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
6.2.2  author  TᵢG  replied to  JohnRussell @6.2.1    8 months ago

Understood.   I make the same comment as before.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
6.2.3  JohnRussell  replied to  TᵢG @6.2.2    8 months ago

Well, I think it is an 'elegant' plan.  I know some would rather debate the issue on this seed for 500 comments and in the end you are right back where you started. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
6.2.4  author  TᵢG  replied to  JohnRussell @6.2.3    8 months ago

I encourage others to opine on your approach.

 
 
 
Duck Hawk
Freshman Silent
7  Duck Hawk    8 months ago

If only "smart people" are allowed to vote half of the conservative voters could no longer vote. Are we going to have a Poll Test and a Poll Tax? Maybe we should revisit John Adams' idea that only property owners get to vote?

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
7.1  author  TᵢG  replied to  Duck Hawk @7    8 months ago
half of the conservative voters could no longer vote

Please do not make this partisan/ideological.  I do not want this topic derailed with partisan/ideological bickering.

 
 
 
gooseisgone
Senior Quiet
7.2  gooseisgone  replied to  Duck Hawk @7    8 months ago
If only "smart people" are allowed to vote half of the conservative voters could no longer vote.

Coming from the party that can't seem to figure out how to get a free photo ID and now can't find a mail box if the USPS moves it,

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
7.2.1  Tessylo  replied to  gooseisgone @7.2    8 months ago

Mailboxes weren't being MOVED, they were being REMOVED

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
7.2.2  author  TᵢG  replied to  gooseisgone @7.2    8 months ago

see @7.1

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Masters Participates
7.2.3  Greg Jones  replied to  Tessylo @7.2.1    8 months ago
Mailboxes weren't being MOVED, they were being REMOVED
mrz082620dAPR20200826034511.jpg
 
 
 
gooseisgone
Senior Quiet
7.2.4  gooseisgone  replied to  Tessylo @7.2.1    8 months ago

Ok "Removed" you can't vote now, is that what you're saying. 

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Junior Principal
8  Nerm_L    8 months ago

Perhaps the problem isn't the Electoral College.  Perhaps the real underlying problem is that the Presidency has been imbued with more power than originally intended.

The Electoral College serves purposes more important than electing a President.  Wasn't state representation in the Electoral College intended to be a check on the power of the Presidency?  The Constitution didn't just establish a form of government; the Constitution also establishes checks and balances on the corrupting influence of government authority and power.  Eliminating the Electoral College removes another check and balance that only risks elevating the corrupting influence of political power.

The one man, one vote myth ignores that those votes are only applicable within defined geopolitical boundaries.  A vote only counts within the region where one lives.  

The President being accountable to Congress really means the President is accountable to the states.  A Congressional seat is not a national office accountable to a national electorate, it is a state office accountable to a state's or district's population.  Congress is made up of elected state office holders who gather to perform national business.  That's an important reason why the Electoral College is needed and also why the Electoral College serves as a check and balance on the Presidency.

A President who claims accountability to a national electorate would be justified in dismissing any authority of Congress to impose limits on the Presidency.  The President is accountable to the national electorate and that national electorate supersedes state electorates.  Eliminating the Electoral College weakens the checks and balances between the branches of government.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
8.1  author  TᵢG  replied to  Nerm_L @8    8 months ago
The President being accountable to Congress really means the President is accountable to the states.

Where do you see the PotUS being accountable to Congress via the EC?

A President who claims accountability to a national electorate would be justified in dismissing any authority of Congress to impose limits on the Presidency. 

How?   The checks and balances have not been removed since the EC has nothing whatsoever to do with Congress.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Junior Principal
8.1.1  Nerm_L  replied to  TᵢG @8.1    8 months ago
Where do you see the PotUS being accountable to Congress via the EC?

Congress can impeach a President.  That authority is secure because the President is elected by states represented in the Electoral College.

A President elected by a national electorate can challenge the authority of Congress to impeach.  The President could claim that a national electorate supersedes and has authority over state or district electorates.  The Electoral College requires the Presidency to be a form of state office just as are Congressional seats.

How?   The checks and balances have not been removed since the EC has nothing whatsoever to do with Congress.

The Electoral College has everything to do with Congress.  The number of electoral votes are determined by the number of Senators and Representatives in Congress.  The Electoral College was devised to place state offices of Congressional seats on the same standing as the Presidency.

A national popular vote for the Office of President really would increase the power of the Presidency over Congress and weaken the checks and balances of the Constitution.  Congress (consisting of state offices) attempting to overturn the popular vote of a national electorate would certainly be challenged with a higher expectation of success.  The question becomes that of state's authority over a national electorate.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
8.1.2  author  TᵢG  replied to  Nerm_L @8.1.1    8 months ago
Congress can impeach a President.  That authority is secure because the President is elected by states represented in the Electoral College.

No, that authority is secure because the CotUS provides for it.   The EC has nothing whatsoever to do with this.

The Electoral College has everything to do with Congress.  The number of electoral votes are determined by the number of Senators and Representatives in Congress.  The Electoral College was devised to place state offices of Congressional seats on the same standing as the Presidency.

The EC was modeled after the Legislative branch (as described in this article).   That is why you see this consistency.   That consistency has no teeth.  It is simply consistency.   We can remove the EC and there will be no change in the checks & balances provided by our CotUS.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Junior Principal
8.1.3  Nerm_L  replied to  TᵢG @8.1.2    8 months ago
No, that authority is secure because the CotUS provides for it.   The EC has nothing whatsoever to do with this.

Under the current system, a President is elected by the Electoral College and not by ballots.  A Presidential election provides guidance for electors.  Over time the role of elector has become functionary but that was not how the Electoral College was set up to work.  In fact, the requirement that electors vote according to election results was established to protect state's rights.  

Removing the Electoral College provides an opportunity to overturn legal precedents and establish new precedents.  The Constitution is subject to interpretation and overturning precedents will allow the Constitution to be interpreted differently.  For over two hundred years the Democratic Party has argued that the Constitution is a living document that must be interpreted according to present need.  Past legal precedents serve as a check on political expediency.

TheEC was modeled after the Legislative branch (as described in this article).   That is why you see this consistency.   That consistency has no teeth.  It is simply consistency.   We can remove the EC and there will be no change in the checks & balances provided by our CotUS.

That only adds detail to what I said.  The Electoral College is about state's rights; placing the Presidency on that same level as elected state officers serving in Congress.

Haven't you noticed that the arguments to eliminate the Electoral College utilize a national electorate as justification?  Haven't you noticed that the effort to make the Presidency subject to a national popular vote completely circumvents state's rights?  Why rights do states have to overturn a national popular election?  Wouldn't that provide justification for the Presidency to be free of interference by states?  The legal challenge to the currently established checks and balances would be that states have no rights to interfere with the Presidency since the states have no rights or representation in electing the President.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
8.1.4  author  TᵢG  replied to  Nerm_L @8.1.3    8 months ago
Removing the Electoral College provides an opportunity to overturn legal precedents and establish new precedents. 

In what way?   Be specific.

That only adds detail to what I said. 

No, it illustrates that the EC merely matching the Legislative model (after all, it was modeled after it) does not mean that the EC has any impact whatsoever on federal checks and balances.

Haven't you noticed that the arguments to eliminate the Electoral College utilize a national electorate as justification? 

You do know I am the one who wrote this article.  So ...

Haven't you noticed that the effort to make the Presidency subject to a national popular vote completely circumvents state's rights? 

As per above, did you read the article?  This point is made and since I am the author, I am sorta aware of it.

Why rights do states have to overturn a national popular election? 

Overturn?

Wouldn't that provide justification for the Presidency to be free of interference by states?  The legal challenge to the currently established checks and balances would be that states have no rights to interfere with the Presidency since the states have no rights or representation in electing the President.

That is not a checks and balances issue Nerm.   You are conflating designed weighted participation in an election with checks and balances.   A popular vote would reduce the significance of statehood.   I make that point multiple times in the article.   But this has nothing whatsoever to do with constitutional checks and balances.


( I am about done with this line of reasoning so I will probably not respond to any further comments along these lines. )

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Junior Principal
8.1.5  Nerm_L  replied to  TᵢG @8.1.4    8 months ago
In what way?   Be specific.

You are asking for a specific WAG?  That would require assuming the xxth amendment abolishing the EC has been ratified.  I am guessing the amendment would include vague language similar to the 17th amendment that transformed selection of Senators to a popular vote referendum.  (BTW, the 17th amendment has been used to claim Senators are autonomous from state legislatures and has been used to thwart state legislatures recalling Senators.  The xxth amendment ending the EC would allow the President access to the legal precedents resulting from the 17th amendment.)

Let's guess that a future President, elected by popular vote, has used their authority to provide favorable government support to the 10 largest cities in the United States (which is a population similar in size to that of California).  The large cities provide a political advantage in a popular election so favoring those cities would be desirable.  Let's guess the President embarks on a public works programs that is limited to those ten cities.  Let's guess that the President adopts trade policy that is favorable for those ten cities.  Let's say the President begins consolidating Federal jobs in those ten cities.  The states and Congress challenges the President's authority to provide direct favorable support to cities while bypassing state governments.  The President answers those legal challenges by citing legal precedents established by the 17th amendment to claim autonomy from legislative oversight and thwart legislative efforts to remove or recall the President.  (That would be the consistency you mentioned in your article.)

There isn't any way to really guess the outcome.  But the 17th amendment has established legal precedent that would allow a President to claim autonomy from legislative oversight and thwart legislative efforts for removal.

No, it illustrates that the EC merely matching the Legislative model (after all, it was modeled after it) does not mean that the EC has any impact whatsoever on federal checks and balances.

Your citations of Madison's and Hamilton's arguments supporting the EC describes the EC as a check and balance.  Ignoring the claims of the people who creating the EC, after citing them, doesn't support a claim that the EC doesn't have any impact whatsoever on Federal checks and balances.

As per above, did you read the article?  This point is made and since I am the author, I am sorta aware of it.

Did you read your own article?  You seem to be conveniently ignoring what you cited.  What you wrote is that the Electoral College was created as a check and balance on Federal elections to protect state's rights.  And you've provided quotes from Madison and Hamilton expressly stating that point.  There may have been debate that included consideration of a popular vote election to select the President but the Electoral College was established; Madison and Hamilton explain why the Electoral College was established.

That is not a checks and balances issue Nerm.   You are conflating designed weighted participation in an election with checks and balances.   A popular vote would reduce the significance of statehood.   I make that point multiple times in the article.   But this has nothing whatsoever to do with constitutional checks and balances.

The 17th amendment changed the Constitution so that Senators would be elected by a popular vote instead of being elected by state legislatures.  Senators have used the 17th amendment to claim autonomy from state legislature oversight and have claimed the amendment removed the authority of state legislatures to recall Senators.  Why do you think changing the Constitution to make selection of a President by popular vote would not open the door for legal precedents established by the 17th amendment?

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
8.1.6  author  TᵢG  replied to  Nerm_L @8.1.5    8 months ago
Let's guess that a future President, elected by popular vote, has used their authority to provide favorable government support to the 10 largest cities in the United States

Then all you are saying that a PotUS selected by national vote would favor the cities that will be critical for reelection.   That is a point I bring up in the article.   But note that this exists today with the EC.   An R PotUS (like Trump) will not be concerned with California or New York but would be very concerned with Texas and Florida.   So your concern about favoritism exists regardless of the method.   No matter the system, I guarantee that campaign strategies will figure out the areas they will cater to and those that do not matter.  

Your citations of Madison's and Hamilton's arguments supporting the EC describes the EC as a check and balance.  Ignoring the claims of the people who creating the EC, after citing them, doesn't support a claim that the EC doesn't have any impact whatsoever on Federal checks and balances.

Where?   Nowhere in my article do I cite Madison or Hamilton speaking of the EC as a 'check & balance'.   The constitutional phrase 'check & balance' refers to the interrelationships of the executive, legislative and judicial branches.   It is a constitutional mechanism to ensure the branches have some level of control over each other to prevent one branch going rogue ... that is how the balance of power is achieved.

The electors of the EC serve as a buffer to ensure the people do not vote in a poor candidate.   This is a safeguard (call it a check if you wish) on the people, not on the government.   The two are very different and you are conflating them.

Did you read your own article?  You seem to be conveniently ignoring what you cited.  What you wrote is that the Electoral College was created as a check and balance on Federal elections to protect state's rights.  And you've provided quotes from Madison and Hamilton expressly stating that point.  There may have been debate that included consideration of a popular vote election to select the President but the Electoral College was established; Madison and Hamilton explain why the Electoral College was established.

Nowhere in my article will you find the word 'check' or the word 'balance'.   So what on Earth are you talking about?

You are taking concepts, applying the same labels to them (your personal act), and then arguing that two distinct concepts are the same.   You are, again, redefining terms to your liking.    It is offensive for you to ask if I have read my own article and then cite that which does not exist in my article and then accuse me of sophistry.   What a crappy way to operate.  And to what end?

The 17th amendment changed the Constitution so that Senators would be elected by a popular vote instead of being elected by state legislatures.  Senators have used the 17th amendment to claim autonomy from state legislature oversight and have claimed the amendment removed the authority of state legislatures to recall Senators.  Why do you think changing the Constitution to make selection of a President by popular vote would not open the door for legal precedents established by the 17th amendment?

Your argument then is that changing the system can introduce opportunities for people to gain advantage in particular areas.   No kidding Nerm.   Any change will impose restrictions in one area and lessen restrictions in another.

Have you ever played Chess?   Every move in Chess changes the dynamics of the game.   If you advance a Pawn it will now protect/attack two new squares on the board and will no longer protect two others.  

The fact that removing the EC would be a change and that change has consequences is not a brilliant observation.   And it certainly is not an argument to not engage in the change.   If one followed your reasoning then one would never change anything.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Junior Principal
8.1.7  Nerm_L  replied to  TᵢG @8.1.6    8 months ago
Then all you are saying that a PotUS selected by national vote would favor the cities that will be critical for reelection.   That is a point I bring up in the article.   But note that this exists today with the EC.   An R PotUS (like Trump) will not be concerned with California or New York but would be very concerned with Texas and Florida.   So your concern about favoritism exists regardless of the method.   No matter the system, I guarantee that campaign strategies will figure out the areas they will cater to and those that do not matter.  

Didn't Hillary Clinton try favoring cities that were critical for election?  Turned out Clinton needed electoral votes instead of popular votes.  Clinton's strategy didn't work because the EC prevented it.

The political strategy for winning an election (even for an R PotUS ???) would change with elimination of the EC.  The candidates would be more concerned with Los Angeles than California.  (Keep in mind that Los Angeles is a major oil producer, so don't assume Republicans couldn't be competitive.)  That would open the door for a return to political machines, wouldn't it?  Mayor de Blasio would have more influence on an election than Gov. Cuomo, wouldn't he?  State political party affiliates would become less important than city party affiliates, wouldn't they?

Where?  Nowhere in my article do I cite Madison or Hamilton speaking of the EC as a 'check & balance'.   The constitutional phrase 'check & balance' refers to the interrelationships of the executive, legislative and judicial branches.   It is a constitutional mechanism to ensure the branches have some level of control over each other to prevent one branch going rogue ... that is how the balance of power is achieved.

Adopting the idiomatic perambulations of the 18th century may be pedantically correct but doesn't invalidate the intervening evolution of language.

Your argument then is that changing the system can introduce opportunities for people to gain advantage in particular areas.   No kidding Nerm.  Any change will impose restrictions in one area and lessen restrictions in another.

My argument is that changing the system could likely result in greater Presidential autonomy.  Follow the evidence provided by the 17th amendment.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
8.1.8  author  TᵢG  replied to  Nerm_L @8.1.7    8 months ago
The political strategy for winning an election (even for an R PotUS ???) would change with elimination of the EC.

Where have I claimed that the political strategy for winning an election would NOT change if the EC were eliminated?    Where has anyone suggested that?   Who could possibly think that eliminating the EC would not trigger a change in strategy??

Adopting the idiomatic perambulations of the 18th century may be pedantically correct but doesn't invalidate the intervening evolution of language.

That is pure Gish-gallop.   jrSmiley_90_smiley_image.gif  

The terms of course evolve from the 18th century.  But there was no language of 'checks and balances' in my article or in my quotes so your allegation was an invention of your mind.   My point remains:  you are conflating the checks & balances of the three branches of federal government with the safety buffer of electors designed to guard against a mistake by an ignorant electorate.   Two entirely different things.

My argument is that changing the system could likely result in greater Presidential autonomy.  Follow the evidence provided by the 17th amendment.

Did you not read this?:

TiG @ 8.1.6 Then all you are saying is that a PotUS selected by national vote would favor the cities that will be critical for reelection.   That is a point I bring up in the article. 

The national elected PotUS would not be beholding to the states but rather to a finer clustering of voters; the obvious choice would be major cities.  This finer granularity provides more strategic options due to the increased complexity.   If you were to argue that then I think you have a point.  

I just made the argument in two sentences.   Is that the argument you have been trying to make with your lengthy posts?

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Junior Principal
8.1.9  Nerm_L  replied to  TᵢG @8.1.8    8 months ago
Where have I claimed that the political strategy for winning an election would NOT change if the EC were eliminated?    Where has anyone suggested that?   Who could possibly think that eliminating the EC would not trigger a change in strategy??

You are ignoring that what I wrote. I didn't say you claimed diddly squat concerning political strategies.

I claimed that Hillary Clinton adopted the strategy of winning the popular vote which she accomplished.  Clinton campaigned as if the EC wasn't in force.  The Clinton campaign provides evidence for how campaigns would change if the EC is eliminated.  The Trump campaign does not provide any such evidence because Trump campaigned to win electoral votes.  

The 2016 election should be ringing alarm bells about eliminating the EC.  The map shows county level results according to the popular vote.  ( source )

256

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
8.1.10  author  TᵢG  replied to  Nerm_L @8.1.9    8 months ago
I didn't say you claimed diddly squat concerning political strategies.

Okay, fine, I will ignore it then since it did not belong in a reply to me.

I claimed that Hillary Clinton adopted the strategy of winning the popular vote which she accomplished.  Clinton campaigned as if the EC wasn't in force.  The Clinton campaign provides evidence for how campaigns would change if the EC is eliminated.  The Trump campaign does not provide any such evidence because Trump campaigned to win electoral votes.  

I truly doubt that the Clinton campaign strategy was to win the popular vote at the expense of the electoral vote.   That would be about as dim-witted as one can get.   No professional presidential campaign would ever engage in such stupidity Nerm.

 
 
 
Ender
PhD Principal
8.2  Ender  replied to  Nerm_L @8    8 months ago

What I see today is people in congress being more loyal to a party than a state.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Masters Participates
8.2.1  Greg Jones  replied to  Ender @8.2    8 months ago

It's always been that way.

 
 
 
Sunshine
Senior Guide
8.2.2  Sunshine  replied to  Ender @8.2    8 months ago

Well it is the party that provides funds for their re-election and is it not the party the citizens voted for?

 
 
 
Ender
PhD Principal
9  Ender    8 months ago

Great article and well written TiG.

What bothers me is how the electors are chosen. I am trying to understand this. It seems like, say my state, that is all republican run, the electors will be chosen from the republican party.

It seems we have been perverted as it is the parties choosing the electors.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
9.1  author  TᵢG  replied to  Ender @9    8 months ago

The electors are indeed purely partisan today.  The parties pick their electors (in effect).   The voters will determine which party's electors get to cast their ceremonial vote.   So the voters are not really voting for a particular elector but rather picking which party wins their district (and state).

Compound this with winner-takes-all and we do indeed have a system quite different from what the framer's intended (albeit they allowed this to happen).

 
 
 
Ender
PhD Principal
9.1.1  Ender  replied to  TᵢG @9.1    8 months ago

That was my thought. The parties pick electors for loyalty to them.

I don't think that was what was initially intended at all.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
9.1.2  author  TᵢG  replied to  Ender @9.1.1    8 months ago

Definitely not the original intent.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
9.2  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Ender @9    8 months ago

It shouldn't matter what party the electors belong to. They are supposed to go the way the state voted. Hence why they got rid of the rogue electors. 

 
 
 
Dulay
Professor Principal
10  Dulay    8 months ago

IMHO, two things are missing from you analysis. 

Firstly, that the number of 'electors' was artificially limited by the The Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929. It is no longer based on population and therefore unrepresentative of the 'will of the people'. 

Secondly, as illustrated by Federalist 68, the electors were to exclude "all those who from situation might be suspected of too great devotion to the President in office" and "free from any sinister bias". 

As you pointed out, Madison recognized the "ignorance of the people", yet the vast majority of states have mandated that electors pledge their allegiance to party candidates based on the popular vote. Which IMHO, obviates Madison's stated purpose of the EC. 

I think it's ironic that Madison cited the 'voice of the people. and then the lack of suffrage for the "Negro". The South enjoyed outsized representation in the House because of the 3/5 compromise. No one pretends that any of the Representatives that the South garnered because of that compromise were there for the Negro's benefit. 

Gotta love the optimism.

I wouldn't call it optimism, I would call it naivete and Hamilton's next paragraph illustrates that naivete glaringly, especially in this era:

Talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity, may alone suffice to elevate a man to the first honors in a single State; but it will require other talents, and a different kind of merit, to establish him in the esteem and confidence of the whole Union, or of so considerable a portion of it as would be necessary to make him a successful candidate for the distinguished office of President of the United States. It will not be too strong to say, that there will be a constant probability of seeing the station filled by characters pre-eminent for ability and virtue. And this will be thought no inconsiderable recommendation of the Constitution, by those who are able to estimate the share which the executive in every government must necessarily have in its good or ill administration. Though we cannot acquiesce in the political heresy of the poet who says: "For forms of government let fools contest That which is best administered is best," yet we may safely pronounce, that the true test of a good government is its aptitude and tendency to produce a good administration.

WOW was Hamilton wrong about that one...

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
10.1  author  TᵢG  replied to  Dulay @10    8 months ago
Firstly, that the number of 'electors' was artificially limited by the The Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929. It is no longer based on population and therefore unrepresentative of the 'will of the people'. 

Electors (as with the House) are still proportional to the census-based population of each State.   At best the only case one can make here is that limiting the number of districts gives incrementally more power to the smaller states.   The smallest states (with one district) already have that advantage.   So you are correct, but this is one of several details that do not IMO make a substantial difference.

I would call it naivete

I was being nice.   It was just an light editorial comment.   My editorializing is not important.

WOW was Hamilton wrong about that one...

Sadly.   I was smiling and frowning while writing this article given I am considering content like you quoted while being painfully aware of who is PotUS and who has been running for PotUS over the past few decades.

 
 
 
Dulay
Professor Principal
10.1.1  Dulay  replied to  TᵢG @10.1    8 months ago
Electors (as with the House) are still proportional to the census-based population of each State.   At best the only case you can make here is that limiting the number of districts gives incrementally more power to the smaller states. The smallest states (with one district) already have that advantage.  

Exactly. By design, the 'voice of the people' is diluted in large districts/states.

So sure you are correct but this is one of several details that do not IMO make a substantial difference.

Originally, districts were capped at 50,000. Now some Congressmen represent over a MILLION people and by 2050, almost ALL of them will. 

I'm not advocating going back to 50,000 because it is unworkable [6,600 Congressmen] but I do support the Wyoming Rule proportional concept which brings us to around 550 or 650 total in the EC. 

If the purpose of the EC is to represent the 'voice of the people' changing the number of members to more closely reflect the population would make a substantial difference. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
10.1.2  author  TᵢG  replied to  Dulay @10.1.1    8 months ago

It only increases granularity.   The more electors simply makes the percentage of representation more precise.

For example take a hypothetical state with 52 electors (using a convenient number for illustration only).   In this hypothetical state, each of the 50 district electors represents 1 of 50 districts or 1/50th of the state population.  The other 2 electors come free for being a state.

Now let's increase the number of districts.   Let's just double the pool; every state now gets twice as many electors (smaller states, however, may still not warrant more than one district).   This would cause our hypothetical state to now have 100 districts and thus 102 electors.   Each of the 100 district electors represents 1 of 100 districts or 1/100th of the state population.

Seems to me that this will not make much of a difference except in cases where this granularity will free trapped clusters of voters (voters trapped in a district that is dominated by the other party).   But given gerrymandering (which I think would still take place in this scenario) I am pretty confident that the lines will be drawn by both parties to maximize their advantage and thus we will end up with basically the same results.

Proportioning electors, on the other hand, would make a mega difference.   In this case all those districts that fell into the minority and were converted into a vote for the other party are now still standing tall.   That, now, makes a difference far more than increasing granularity of the districts.

 
 
 
Dulay
Professor Principal
10.1.3  Dulay  replied to  TᵢG @10.1.2    8 months ago

They're not mutually exclusive. 

I want BOTH proportional representation AND proportional EC votes. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
10.1.4  author  TᵢG  replied to  Dulay @10.1.3    8 months ago
They're not mutually exclusive. 

?   I have not suggested they are.

I want BOTH proportional representation AND proportional EC votes. 

Same here.   That, to me, is doable (albeit difficult) and seems like a great compromise in the 100% popular vs. EC debate.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
10.1.5  Bob Nelson  replied to  TᵢG @10.1.2    8 months ago

This would be an improvement at the very edge. The smallest states would have smaller delegations. That would be good. More importantly, a huge (tenfold) increase in the number of Representatives would yield members much closer to the electors. And would imply serious changes in House processes!

The same problem exists, in spades, with the Senate. It is simply not reasonable for Wyoming and California to have the same number of Senators. And yet the need to "protect" the small states is real.

Perhaps there should be a logarithmic scale, with 1 Senator for Wyoming and 10 for California? Wyoming would still be over-represented, but not so egregiously.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
10.1.6  author  TᵢG  replied to  Bob Nelson @10.1.5    8 months ago
The smallest states would have smaller delegations.

I am not following.   All states would have larger delegations and the proportions would remain the same.

And it certainly would explode the size of Congress.

Perhaps there should be a logarithmic scale, with 1 Senator for Wyoming and 10 for California? Wyoming would still be over-represented, but not so egregiously.

Plausibly.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
10.1.7  Bob Nelson  replied to  TᵢG @10.1.6    8 months ago
All states would have larger delegations and the proportions would remain the same.

Not necessarily. Right now, the smallest states' populations are smaller than the number needed for an additional Representative for a larger state. If the overall House went from 435 to 4350, Wyoming would not have ten; it would have seven perhaps.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
10.1.8  author  TᵢG  replied to  Bob Nelson @10.1.7    8 months ago

Oh that is what you meant.

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
10.1.9  Mark in Wyoming   replied to  TᵢG @10.1.6    8 months ago
Plausibly.

and unacceptable to the citizens of Wyoming , and in direct violation of the terms of statehood agreed on when the state joined the union . constitutionally no state will gain or lose a senator without a major rewrite of the constitution that would have to pass the current ratification process, and the LAST time a constitutional convention was called to fix the governing document , they scrapped it and wrote a whole new one , I dont think either side trusts the other to let that happen ever again.  so those  true democracy pipe dreams are just that pipe dreams that will never happen .

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
10.1.10  author  TᵢG  replied to  Mark in Wyoming @10.1.9    8 months ago

You probably should direct this to Bob since this is his idea.

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
10.1.11  Mark in Wyoming   replied to  TᵢG @10.1.10    8 months ago

maybe so but I would be in line for numerous tickets , in any event I responded to your saying that the general idea was "plausible" and in a way also infer that it might also be acceptable , it would only be acceptable to those it would not affect. I simply pointed out WHY it is not plausible in the slightest..

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
10.1.12  author  TᵢG  replied to  Mark in Wyoming @10.1.11    8 months ago

I acknowledged Bob's idea as something that is possible and logical.   I do not want to explore this idea because I would be trying to infer his thought process (never a good idea).  

Yes it would no doubt be unacceptable to the smallest states unless there was some other factor that made up for the loss of power.

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
10.1.13  Mark in Wyoming   replied to  Bob Nelson @10.1.7    8 months ago
If the overall House went from 435 to 4350,

Talk about a bloated and non functional house of congress.

But funny thing I could agree with that number .

under the following conditions ,

no absolutely no federal retirement benefits and any and all current retirements are nullified , the members would have to live like the common citizen and purchase their own products such as insurance, housing and sustainance , NO CONGRESSIONAL benefits at all.

 members pay is dictated by the lowest paid US citizens income of the district they represent , and reimbursed by the state and not the federal government. 

No more security details paid by the government for any house member or leaders.

 I am sure I will come up with a few more to make a career as a HoR politician very very disenchanting and untenable .

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
10.1.14  author  TᵢG  replied to  Mark in Wyoming @10.1.13    8 months ago

Wikipedia has a nice compilation and from it I extracted the legislative body metrics from the most populous nations.   Below, the average constituency for this list is 322,881.   The USA is sitting at 596,060 so it would not be unreasonable, per this, to double this size of Congress.

Country Members Population Average Constituency
 China 2,980 1,355,692,576 454,930
 India 790 1,236,344,631 1,564,993
 European Union 778 511,434,812 657,371
 United States 535 318,892,103 596,060
 Indonesia 711 271,407,446 381,726
 Brazil 594 210,147,125 353,783
 Pakistan 446 196,174,380 439,853
 Nigeria 469 177,155,754 377,731
 Bangladesh 300 166,280,712 554,269
 Russia 616 142,470,272 231,283
 Japan 707 126,451,398 178,856
 Mexico 628 120,286,655 191,539
 Philippines 328 107,668,231 328,256
 Egypt 596 100,388,073 168,436
 Ethiopia 655 96,633,458 147,532
 Vietnam 500 93,421,835 186,844
 Turkey 600 84,339,067 140,565
 Germany 778 80,996,685 104,109
 Iran 290 80,840,713 278,761
 Congo, Democratic Republic of the 608 77,433,744 127,358
 Thailand 650 67,741,401 104,218
 France 925 66,259,012 71,631
 United Kingdom 1,443 63,742,977 44,173
 Italy 951 61,680,122 64,858
 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
10.1.15  Mark in Wyoming   replied to  TᵢG @10.1.14    8 months ago

Looking at that it does not appear we are really under represented , but one would have to remove the 100 senators since they do not represent the people.

 the issue that brings forth increased members for the house is the fact that the population is both centralized and dispersed in such a way that it appears to be unequal.

Bobs solution IMHO, is a blatant attempt to institute a pure or true democracy( Mob rule) , ( which we are not and never will be as the USA, we are a constitutional representative republic, and I think we shall stay that way short of a civil war ) , and an attempt to stack the EC in a way favorable to partisan politics , which is also  counter to the discussion of making sure and finding a way to make the EC more representative of how the voters actually voted..

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
10.1.16  author  TᵢG  replied to  Mark in Wyoming @10.1.15    8 months ago
Looking at that it does not appear we are really under represented , but one would have to remove the 100 senators since they do not represent the people.

The numbers are for the entire legislature for all nations (including those that are bicameral).   Per these numbers, the USA is in the lowest three in terms of representation.  Thus a case can indeed be made to increase the size of the House.

Bobs solution IMHO, is a blatant attempt to institute a pure or true democracy( Mob rule)

I do not believe that for a second, but you should ask Bob.

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
10.1.17  Mark in Wyoming   replied to  TᵢG @10.1.16    8 months ago

case can be made but it wont happen as we all know . because no compromise will ever be reached .

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
10.1.18  author  TᵢG  replied to  Mark in Wyoming @10.1.17    8 months ago

No doubt.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
10.1.19  Bob Nelson  replied to  Mark in Wyoming @10.1.13    8 months ago
Talk about a bloated and non functional house of congress.

US population at the 1790 census was 3 929 214.

The House had 105 Members.

That's 37 421 persons per Member.

If we applied the same ratio today (325 000 000 / 37 421) we would have 8 685 Members in the House of Representatives - that is to say... almost precisely twice the number I proposed.

The Fathers intended the House to be intimate with its electorate , which means having a manageable number of electors per Representative.

Obviously, House processes and procedures would have to evolve, but the idea that a few thousand is " bloated and non functional" makes no sense. There are zillions of organizations that have more people than that.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
10.1.20  Bob Nelson  replied to  Mark in Wyoming @10.1.15    8 months ago
Bobs solution IMHO, is a blatant attempt to institute a pure or true democracy( Mob rule)

It would be preferable to address your Comments on my suggestions... to me... (In fact, a third-party reference, as you have made here, is a CoC violation. I've received tickets for doing it, even when I quoted faithfully, which you have not done.)

When I hear "pure or true democracy", I cringe. My thought is,"Oh for God's sake! Here's another [insert word forbidden by CoC here] who knows nothing of history.

There has never been, in all the history of the world, a "pure or true democracy".

It is s-o-o-o-o fucking obvious that strict majority rule would lead to abuses, that no nation has ever made that mistake.

All democracies have integrated various methods for tempering majority rule. All democracies...

Saying that something so foolish is my intent... but not addressing yourself to me so that I may Reply... is both hypocritical and cowardly.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
10.1.21  Bob Nelson  replied to  Bob Nelson @10.1.19    8 months ago

Not incidentally... a big increase in the number of Representatives would go a long way toward resolving the EC problem.

Over-representation via the Senate would be diluted.

Wyoming's EC delegation would be ten, rather than twelve. Eight Representatives and two Senators.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
10.1.22  author  TᵢG  replied to  Bob Nelson @10.1.19    8 months ago
If we applied the same ratio today (325 000 000 / 37 421) we would have 8 685 Members in the House of Representatives - that is to say... almost precisely twice the number I proposed.

But there is no reason for us to apply that specific ratio;  it is simply historical.   If you notice the data I provided @10.1.4, the average ratio in modern nations is 322,881 constituents per representative (generic).    Thus I can see a case being made for doubling the House (at least that is the ballpark I would suggest).   If so, we would have 870 in House + 100 senators or 970 representatives (generic) with an average constituency of ~335,000 (using 325,000,000 as our current population).   That would put us in the average.

Once could also look at the U.K. ratio and make an argument for a Legislature of 7,357 representatives.   That would, clearly, be the extreme and I doubt the argument would be very strong.

Net, it is clear that we have poor representation in the House and have a decent argument to increase its size.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
10.1.23  author  TᵢG  replied to  Bob Nelson @10.1.20    8 months ago

(No need to make things personal.)

All democracies have integrated various methods for tempering majority rule. All democracies...

Correct.   Even Athens was not a true democracy.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
10.1.24  Bob Nelson  replied to  TᵢG @10.1.23    8 months ago
No need to make things personal.

There's very little that annoys me more than someone putting words in my mouth. And when they have me saying something completely contrary to what I actually think.... 

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
10.1.25  Bob Nelson  replied to  TᵢG @10.1.22    8 months ago
But there is no reason for us to apply that specific ratio... 

What? 

Would you dare question the infinite wisdom of the Fathers?? 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
10.1.26  author  TᵢG  replied to  Bob Nelson @10.1.24    8 months ago

I share that pet peeve, nonetheless, there are better ways to handle that and I need not explain how.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
10.1.27  author  TᵢG  replied to  Bob Nelson @10.1.25    8 months ago

jrSmiley_100_smiley_image.jpg

They were smart men, but not omniscient nor perfect.   We need methods that make sense today.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
10.1.28  Bob Nelson  replied to  TᵢG @10.1.27    8 months ago
... but not omniscient nor perfect.

Heresy!! 

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
10.1.29  Mark in Wyoming   replied to  Bob Nelson @10.1.20    8 months ago

You have every opertunity to reply , whether I directly make a statement to you , or to someone else , nothing hypocritical or cowardly about not addressing you  with a post , you still have the opertunity to correct or redirect what you wish to be relevant .

 Maybe the reason I wasn't ticketed yet for a 3rd person reference was because I precluded my statement  with IMHO, which in any discussion anyone is entitled too , and you STILL have the opertunity to reply and redirect , any peeves be damned .

My opinion is and has been formed by our past interactions and discussions , and because of them I simply decline to have any further interactions directly . this does not preclude  that I will not comment what my opinions are on something you may say , and yes because of past interactions and your own words  , those opinions are definitely biased against you .

 You have no worries about me vandalizing any of your  seeds or threads , but posts on others seeds and discussions are fair and open game , and if I have an opinion , I will state it , you of course are always free to reply and rebut

 And with that I take my leave of this seed .

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
10.1.30  Bob Nelson  replied to  Mark in Wyoming @10.1.29    8 months ago

You really should Reply to 10.1.19

 
 
 
Account Deleted
Freshman Quiet
11  Account Deleted    8 months ago

So - if we have a tie in the Electoral College - do we strictly follow the original wording of the Constitution.

The House votes for President (Biden)

And the Senate votes for Vice President (Pence)

Of course it the election gave us a Republican House and Democratic Senate - just turn all of that around.

But they have until March 2021 to decide - then if there would be another tie - the Vice President (selected by the Senate) would be acting president  and then of course if the Senate would be tied - the new Speaker of the House would be president unless he or she drops dead upon which the presidency probably goes to someone in the Bureau of Printing and Engraving...

 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
11.1  author  TᵢG  replied to  Account Deleted @11    8 months ago

I have not addressed special cases, but what you raise is perfectly valid for this article so I encourage discussion.

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
Sophomore Principal
11.2  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  Account Deleted @11    8 months ago

Oh... now wouldn't that be an interesting scenario. jrSmiley_91_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
11.3  Mark in Wyoming   replied to  Account Deleted @11    8 months ago

actually the line goes , from prez to Vp to SoH , to prez protemp of the senate to the sec of state , and that's just the top 5

 
 
 
The Magic 8 Ball
Masters Guide
12  The Magic 8 Ball    8 months ago
Interestingly, both sides can make decent arguments.

sorry but no.

your ONLY democracy is your state govt.  and it will be constrained by our federalist govt.

the federal (ist) govt is not a democracy and it never will be.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
12.1  author  TᵢG  replied to  The Magic 8 Ball @12    8 months ago
the federal (ist) govt is not a democracy and it never will be.

Our constitutional federal Republic operates on indirect democracy.   There is no disputing that.  

your ONLY democracy is your state govt. 

Nope, state government is indirect democracy.   Both federal and state run on indirect democracy (with the rare exception of referendums and propositions).  It is just that the method for indirect democracy varies with the election of the PotUS being rather unique.


Would you make any changes to our EC system?   If so, what?

 
 
 
The Magic 8 Ball
Masters Guide
12.1.1  The Magic 8 Ball  replied to  TᵢG @12.1    8 months ago
Would you make any changes to our EC system?

there will be no changes made to the ec.... get used to it.

but if fantasy is your thing?  id like to change the moon to something more purple

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
12.1.2  author  TᵢG  replied to  The Magic 8 Ball @12.1.1    8 months ago
there will be no changes made to the ec.... get used to it.

Read the Red Box rules:

Any constitutional amendment of significance is unlikely to be ratified, so comments on the viability of ratification are off topic.  Instead, debate the ideas in concept.

Yeah, 8-ball, I am quite aware that we will not see an amendment ratified on the EC.

but if fantasy is your thing?  id like to change the moon to something more purple

That is your last trolling comment on this article.

 
 
 
Freewill
Sophomore Participates
13  Freewill    8 months ago
The House, in this regard, provides  popular  representation for the people.   The senate, in contrast, is designed to represent the states themselves.   Each state, regardless of population, has two senators — two votes.    By constitutional design, the bicameral Legislative branch (Congress) represents both the will of the people and the significance of statehood.

That was the original intent but the 17th Amendment blew that notion of bicameralism right out the window.  No longer are Senators chosen by the State legislatures, they elected by popular vote just as are House Representatives.  So there really is little difference between the two chambers with respect to how they are selected for office.  So now all  those offices are filled by virtue of the popular vote, rather than the Senators being selected by the interests of the State legislatures.  The significance of statehood has lost its teeth.

As such I think the EC should remain but be tweaked to bring back into play the interests of the smaller states as well as rural parts of the larger states that are otherwise dominated by large cities. The winner take all approach in the states should be eliminated and electors should vote to best reflect the wishes of the people in their district, or in the case of those mirroring the senators they should vote as agreed by the State legislatures. Such a proportional arrangement would be more consistent with the original concerns of the framers of both the constitution (prior to the 17th Amendment) and of the EC who were concerned that the more rural States or areas would not have adequate representation if the larger states or cities dominated the Executive Branch election process.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
13.1  Bob Nelson  replied to  Freewill @13    8 months ago

We forget that the original USA was a small country, by population. Less than 4 million in 1789.

The original Senate was almost a club: it had only 26 members.

I doubt that the Founders ever imagined that their Constitution, almost unchanged, would be applied to a nation of 325 million.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
13.1.1  Vic Eldred  replied to  Bob Nelson @13.1    8 months ago
I doubt that the Founders ever imagined that their Constitution, almost unchanged, would be applied to a nation of 325 million.

Or that 60 million non-citizens would be residing within the country or that we would have cities crammed with non-assimilating immigrants and poor & homeless residents. Yup, I doubt the Founders could have imagined all of that.

 
 
 
Dulay
Professor Principal
13.1.2  Dulay  replied to  Vic Eldred @13.1.1    8 months ago
Or that 60 million non-citizens would be residing within the country

Actually it's only about 41 million. That's about 13% of the poplulation. The non-citizen percentage was WAY higher in the 1780's. 

or that we would have cities crammed with non-assimilating immigrants and poor & homeless residents. Yup, I doubt the Founders could have imagined all of that.

Judging from the immigration laws they codified, the Founders didn't gave a shit about whether immigrants were 'assimilated' or not. 

Since the African/Indian population was double that of the European, they seemed much more worried about whether they were adequately oppressed. 

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
13.1.3  Bob Nelson  replied to  Vic Eldred @13.1.1    8 months ago

Or that slavery would no longer exist...or that women would have the vote... even... Black women (Sally Hemings!) would have the vote...  OMG!!

Or that a plurality of Americans would be of German origin... or that many Americans would be Spanish-speakers... or that there would be a state in the middle of the Pacific Ocean...

Yes... lots of things that they probably did not imagine...

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
13.1.4  Vic Eldred  replied to  Dulay @13.1.2    8 months ago

I'm so glad that TiG didn't let this become political.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
13.1.5  Vic Eldred  replied to  Bob Nelson @13.1.3    8 months ago
Or that slavery would no longer exist..

To the contrary - "all men are created equal " is part of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Therefore they had envisioned that.

I would like to go on with what they never expected, but I thought the seeder requested no politics?  You see, I am one of those who has to follow the rules.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
13.1.6  Bob Nelson  replied to  Vic Eldred @13.1.4    8 months ago

You started this thread, Vic...

All vehemence aside, the USA today is a very different country from the USA of 1789. It's healthy to review all the differences, once in a while.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
13.1.7  author  TᵢG  replied to  Vic Eldred @13.1.5    8 months ago
I would like to go on with what they never expected, but I thought the seeder requested no politics?  You see, I am one of those who has to follow the rules.
I'm so glad that TiG didn't let this become political.

Not sure where you are reading these rules Vic.

In terms of content my request was to not dismiss an idea simply because of the difficulty in achieving ratification of a constitutional amendment.   We all know that a constitutional amendment of significance is next to impossible to ratify so there is no good to come from tossing that in as a discussion killer.   Instead, I am trying to encourage people to discuss and debate how our system should best work.

I am fine if people want to take related tangents into politics, etc.  as long as we are generally near the topic of the Electoral College debate (pros and cons of the stated approaches or new approaches offered by the participants).   I would step in if we started talking about Trump's handling of COVID-19, for example, but not when people are discussing the mindset of the founders (or the framers).

Please note the few Red Box Rules as stated upfront. 

Red Box Rules

  1. Any constitutional amendment of significance is unlikely to be ratified, so comments on the viability of ratification are off topic.  Instead, debate the ideas in concept.
  2. No trolling.  Do not come here and make things personal or simply complain. 
  3. Engage in thoughtful, adult discourse on the pros and cons of these approaches or be silent and let others attempt to do so.
 
 
 
Dulay
Professor Principal
13.1.8  Dulay  replied to  Vic Eldred @13.1.4    8 months ago
I'm so glad that TiG didn't let this become political.

Are you positing that my comment was political? 

How so? 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
13.1.9  author  TᵢG  replied to  Dulay @13.1.8    8 months ago

Does not matter, your comment was fine.   Let's not get into meta.

 
 
 
Dulay
Professor Principal
13.1.10  Dulay  replied to  Vic Eldred @13.1.5    8 months ago
To the contrary - "all men are created equal " is part of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Therefore they had envisioned that.

Wow, that's an unfounded presumption. Both the Articles of the Confederation and the Constitution codify inequality, not only for the enslaved but for American Indians, poor white men and ALL women too. 

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
13.1.11  Vic Eldred  replied to  Bob Nelson @13.1.6    8 months ago
You started this thread, Vic...

Actually Freewill did. You made it political.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
13.1.12  author  TᵢG  replied to  Vic Eldred @13.1.11    8 months ago

Vic this is pointless meta.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
13.1.13  Vic Eldred  replied to  TᵢG @13.1.9    8 months ago
Does not matter, your comment was fine. 

Everything is fine TiG. 


 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
13.1.14  Vic Eldred  replied to  TᵢG @13.1.12    8 months ago

Yup, whatever I say is meta or political. I'm leaving before I show you what meta really looks like.


 
 
 
Dulay
Professor Principal
13.1.15  Dulay  replied to  TᵢG @13.1.9    8 months ago

How could Vic's answer possibly have anything to do with how this site is run? 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
13.2  author  TᵢG  replied to  Freewill @13    8 months ago
The significance of statehood has lost its teeth.

I disagree.   The senators are selected by the people directly by the people of the state.   When the state legislatures made the decision, the people of the state only indirectly chose their senators.   The state significance is actually improved because in a Republic the supreme power rests ultimately with the people.   To wit, it is better for the people to choose, when practical (and here it is practical) rather than have an indirect body (albeit chosen by the people) choose.   It is better that the senators be beholding to the people of the state rather than to state legislatures.

Further, the significance of the state is its voting power.   By having 2 senators per state regardless of state population, each state has significance.  Even the smallest states.

The winner take all approach in the states should be eliminated and electors should vote to best reflect the wishes of the people in their district, or in the case of those mirroring the senators they should vote as agreed by the State legislatures.

I fully agree that the winner-take-all should not exist.   I would suggest that there is no need for human electors and that they should be replaced with the tallied results of each congressional district and the state-wide votes.

 
 
 
Sparty On
Masters Principal
13.2.1  Sparty On  replied to  TᵢG @13.2    8 months ago

Drove another one off.

Nice job Tig!

 
 
 
devangelical
PhD Principal
13.2.2  devangelical  replied to  Sparty On @13.2.1    7 months ago

zero loss.

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
Sophomore Principal
14  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)    8 months ago
Encourages politicians to consider needs beyond those of California, Texas, New York and Florida...

This is what makes me think that a simplified popular vote would not bode so well for those states with far less population. I personally don't want my "voice" to be spoken by the states with the most [and usually the loudest] voices. 

I think of how in high school the most popular people always won Homecoming King and Queen roles, which were also usually some of the better looking people. I've met plenty of adults that still think like a high school kid. Most people don't research on their own; in fact, most people are followers to whatever those around them decide. Just my opinion... take it for what it's worth.

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
Junior Expert
14.1  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka) @14    8 months ago
Just my opinion... take it for what it's worth.

Priceless.jrSmiley_13_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
14.2  Bob Nelson  replied to  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka) @14    8 months ago

That's why there are two houses of Congress. One (House of Representatives) is supposed to be proportional to population. The other (Senate) is two Senators per state.

Overall, small states are wildly over-represented. California has two Senators, for over thirty million people. Wyoming has two Senators for less than one million people.

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
Sophomore Principal
14.2.1  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  Bob Nelson @14.2    8 months ago

I get it. Doesn't mean that the "popular" vote is any good either.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
14.2.2  Bob Nelson  replied to  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka) @14.2.1    8 months ago

Exactly.

In another Comment, I looked up the population in the 1790 census. There was a ratio of a little under 12:1 between Virginia and Delaware. Today, between California and Wyoming, it's more than 66:1.

We need a better equilibrium.

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
Sophomore Principal
14.2.3  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  Bob Nelson @14.2.2    8 months ago

Agreed

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
15  author  TᵢG    8 months ago

Seems a number of participants would be happy if we just changed from a winner-takes-all approach (used by 48 states) to a proportional system used by the other 2.  Under a proportional system, each congressional district's decision would carry forward.   Under winner-takes-all, the minority congressional districts have their votes flipped to that of the majority.   So, for example, if Texas has 20 districts favoring an R candidate and 18 favoring a D candidate, the 18 D districts are flipped to R votes and the entire 38 goes to the R candidate.

A proportional system would mean, for example, that states such as California would no longer grant their entire 55 electoral votes to the D candidate and Texas would not grant its entire 38 electoral votes to the R candidate.   The minority voters would get a say and not be squashed by the majority.

Sounds fair to me.   I would also suggest we replace the human electors with a tally (one that we already have).   Human electors are pointless and entirely obsolete.

Any objections?

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
15.1  Bob Nelson  replied to  TᵢG @15    8 months ago

Huge improvement.

 
 
 
Freewill
Sophomore Participates
15.2  Freewill  replied to  TᵢG @15    8 months ago

Sounds reasonable.  

But the two electoral votes to mirror the senators from each state should be based on majority vote of the state legislatures (consistent with the original intent of the framers to have senators be selected by the state legislatures to represent the state at the Fed level).  I realize that the 17th Amendment changed the way that senators are selected to a popular vote which removes in my opinion at least some of the bicameralism that was intended between the chambers by having the members be elected in the same manner.  House members are to represent members of their district at the Federal level for 4 years, so popular vote for them makes sense.  Senators are supposed to represent the state government at the Federal level for 6 years, so being selected by the legislature makes more sense there than does the popular vote, which of course was upset by the 17th Amendment.

In the case of electoral votes we are talking about representation of the people (1elector per house member) and the states (1 elector per senator) in the selection of the heads of the Executive Branch.  The idea being to give the local people and the smaller State governments at least some say in those elections rather than a purely popular vote that could be overwhelmed by the interests of the largest population centers.  That concept has not changed over time and has in fact gained even more relevance as populations have grown.  I think the framers did indeed consider that in their design.  

So what say you in terms of how the two electoral votes per state, associated with the two senators, should be derived/tallied?

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
15.2.1  author  TᵢG  replied to  Freewill @15.2    8 months ago
But the two electoral votes to mirror the senators from each state should be based on majority vote of the state legislatures (consistent with the original intent of the framers to have senators be selected by the state legislatures to represent the state at the Fed level).

That would be consistent with framer's intent, but does that necessarily mean that is the best way to operate?   I am not against it, by the way, I just do not see much of a difference between that and merely assigning to the state popular vote winner.   It would take more time to have the legislatures vote, so what benefit do we get?

Senators are supposed to represent the state government at the Federal level for 6 years, so being selected by the legislature makes more sense there than does the popular vote, which of course was upset by the 17th Amendment.

To me it is better to be beholding to the people of a state rather than to their representatives.   This is a case where the people could vote and do not need their elected representatives to intercede on their behalf.   So why use a middleman when the demos is right there?

The idea being to give the local people and the smaller State governments at least some say in those elections rather than a purely popular vote that could be overwhelmed by the interests of the largest population centers.  

Okay.   Well if the intent is to give state governments a voice rather then the people they serve then having the legislatures vote for the federal senators rather than the people would make sense.

So what say you in terms of how the two electoral votes per state, associated with the two senators, should be derived/tallied?

I prefer a simple approach.   The winner of the state popular vote gets the 2 state-wide electoral votes.   If we did that and used an apportioned system we would have a system consistent with that used by the Legislative branch and it would be incredibly efficient.   To me this would also be a clean, fair system.   And parsimony certainly lends to effectiveness (and security).   The more complex, the more opportunities for things to go wrong (and for malicious behavior).

Note, the last part was clearly not trying to explain parsimony to a professional engineer.   That was more for other readers.  

 
 
 
Freewill
Sophomore Participates
15.2.2  Freewill  replied to  TᵢG @15.2.1    8 months ago
So why use a middleman when the demos is right there?

For the same reason they originally thought the senators should be selected by the state legislators who know better than the lay people what sort of representation the state government needs at the federal level in Congress.

Likewise the 2 state electors that mirror the senators are meant to represent the vote of the state legislature as far as selection of the federal executive branch. Again the state legislature is in a better position to understand the various needs of the state with respect to the selection of Federal executive power.

I don’t think it would take much more effort or complexity to tally the votes of the state legislatures than it would to tally the popular vote of the entire state.  Actually less chance of fraud, error or manipulation especially if legislators votes are made public just as their votes on other matters are.

By the way, when I consider the term “parsimony”, Government and their eagerness to spend tax dollars is the last thing that comes to mind.  (-:

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
15.2.3  author  TᵢG  replied to  Freewill @15.2.2    8 months ago
For the same reason they originally thought the senators should be selected by the state legislators who know better than the lay people what sort of representation the state government needs at the federal level in Congress.

I would then prefer the people vote directly.   They are, after all, the base of power given we are a Republic.   And today people are far more informed and certainly can get information in a flash if the sought to.  

Again the state legislature is in a better position to understand the various needs of the state with respect to the selection of Federal executive power.

I have not missed your point.  I understand what you are saying. 

I am not suggesting I am impressed with the electorates in the USA.   I am not.   But I am not all that impressed with those who the electorate put into power either. 

 
 
 
Freewill
Sophomore Participates
15.2.4  Freewill  replied to  TᵢG @15.2.3    8 months ago
But I am not all that impressed with those who the electorate put into power either.

Can’t argue with that, but see the part I added above about the tally.  I still think the legislators, who were elected by an even more granular representation of the people are in a better position to understand what the state needs from representation in the senate and the election of the executive branch.  There is no way, even with information available on the web, that the lay voter could possibly understand the intricacies of the relationship between the State and Federal governments as well as their elected legislators who deal with it every day do.

In the end, I suspect that your way and my way might end up with the same result in the vast majority of elections.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
15.2.5  author  TᵢG  replied to  Freewill @15.2.4    8 months ago

Does understanding the intricacies of the relationship mean that the two senators chosen by the informed legislature would necessarily be better for the people than those directly chosen by the people?

See I could answer that 'yes' if I thought state legislatures were populated with statespersons who truly worked everyday for the people of their state.

I have a difficult time trusting politicians and now we would have politicians picking other politicians.   Not an easy thing for me to accept even though I find nothing wrong with your argument as a whole.

 
 
 
Freewill
Sophomore Participates
15.2.6  Freewill  replied to  TᵢG @15.2.5    8 months ago
I have a difficult time trusting politicians

Can’t say I blame you on that brother, but in theory the idea was to put representation of the states needs at the federal level in the hands of those legislators who were elected by the people to represent them and best understand those needs by virtue of their job. 

Having said that, politicians have become so partisan and beholden to the most vocal special interests (and pandering to them) that perhaps I’m beginning to see the value of your approach a little better.

I still like the founders approach and I do believe they were looking forward to much larger populations where their approach would have worked even better or at least as effectively.  I think perhaps what they didn’t see coming was the rabid partisanship and disfunction that have permeated state and federal governments.  

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
15.2.7  author  TᵢG  replied to  Freewill @15.2.6    8 months ago
 I think perhaps what they didn’t see coming was the rabid partisanship and disfunction that have permeated state and federal governments.  

They had hints of it but, yeah, they probably did not expect the extreme we see today.

Another thing they probably did not anticipate is a wholesale shift from statesperson to career politician.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
16  Bob Nelson    8 months ago

A different point of view:

original
Fifty states of equal population

 
 
 
Freewill
Sophomore Participates
17  Freewill    8 months ago

Don't wish to spam this, but thought it might be more noticeable here rather than being buried in the middle of the article comments above.

TiG asked the following very good questions with respect to how do we implement a proportional vote counting system for EC votes given the fact that 48 of the 50 states currently employ a winner-take all approach:

How a 50-state proportional system might be accomplished is of course another matter.
The question really is how this could ever happen?

That is a good question.  If states like CA, FL, TX and NY all refuse to move to proportional EC voting and the rest agreed we would be no closer to a fairer division of overall EC votes.  The winner take all provision is not mandated in the Constitution Article II Section 1, nor in the 12th Amendment that stipulated that the two votes for each elector be split between President and Vice-President independently. 

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

In fact, it could be argued that the idea is at odds with the rest of Article 2 and the superseding 12th Amendment which indicate that each electoral vote should be counted.  From the Twelfth Amendment:

The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and all persons voted for as Vice-President and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate;

The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted   ;

The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President  , if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President.  

So one method that might be employed is to sue the states that have adopted the winner take all method as being unconstitutional, and returning the EC back to what was originally designed, such that each electoral vote is counted.  No Amendment needed just a return to original Constitutional intent via Federal Court precedent until all states comply.   Good article on this   HERE   .  This process may actually already be under way.  Check out   THIS website   .

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
18  Bob Nelson    8 months ago

 
 
Loading...
Loading...

Who is online

r.t..b...
evilgenius
Thomas
321steve - realistically thinkin or Duu
Tacos!
Ronin2
JBB


49 visitors