Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

The Brilliance of the Electoral College

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • The Brilliance of the Electoral College

    I've been strongly in favor of abolishing the EC...

    Originally posted by WhiskeySix View Post
    ... Why would direct voting ignore the rights and importance of less populated states??? It's already directly proportional to a states population, right? More populous states have more Representatives and thus more EC voters, right? For argument's sake, let's say each Representative in congress represents 100,000 people. Thus each EC vote represents (roughly) the will of 100,000 people. So uh... instead of having this 100,000:1 divider in there, why not just remove the middle man and vote directly?

    ... but this article in the Globe today got me wondering if it's so bad afterall:

    The brilliance of the Electoral College
    By Jeff Jacoby, Globe Columnist | July 16, 2008

    OVER THE LAST two centuries, constitutional amendments to abolish or alter the Electoral College have been proposed in Congress more than 700 times. None has ever come close to being adopted - an indication, perhaps, of the existing system's enduring value. The most recent such proposal, introduced by US Senator Bill Nelson of Florida, would eliminate the Electoral College in favor of direct popular election of the president. "If the principle of one-person-one-vote is to mean anything," Nelson declares, "the candidate who wins a majority of the votes should win the presidency."

    Actually, in no more than four of the nation's 54 presidential elections since 1789 has the electoral vote winner not been the candidate who won the popular vote - and in each case, the margin separating the candidates has been minuscule. If one-person-one-vote democracy is truly Nelson's highest civic value - he told the St. Petersburg Times that it is "the essential, fundamental principle" - his highest priority should be to abolish not the Electoral College, but the United States Senate.

    After all, states are represented in the Electoral College roughly in proportion to their population: Each state has as many electors as it has members of Congress - from just three for the smallest states to 55 for California. But in the Senate, all states are equal, which means all voters are not. California, with 14.2 million registered voters, is entitled to the same number of senators as Wyoming, which has 265,000 voters. That makes the vote of a Wyoming resident 53 times as influential as the vote of a Californian. Shouldn't so flagrant a violation of the one-person-one-vote standard be intolerable?

    Such concerns didn't trouble the framers of the Constitution, who did not believe that political contests should be decided by majority rule. They rejected "pure democracy," as Madison explained in Federalist No. 10. They knew that with "nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party, or an obnoxious individual," blind majoritarianism can become as great a menace to liberty as any king or dictator. The term "tyranny of the majority" was coined for good reason.

    That is why the framers went to such lengths to prevent popular majorities from too easily getting their way. They didn't concentrate unlimited power in any single institution, or in the hands of voters. They divided authority among the three branches of the federal government, and subdivided the legislative branch into two chambers. They reserved certain powers to the states. Time and again, the system they devised rejects simple majority rule. It takes only 51 senators (sometimes only 41) to block legislation that hundreds of lawmakers may support. The president can veto a bill passed by both houses of Congress - and it takes two-thirds of both the House and Senate to override his veto.

    The Electoral College (like the Senate) was designed to preserve the role of the states in governing a nation whose name - the United States of America - reflects its fundamental federal nature. We are a nation of states, not of autonomous citizens, and those states have distinct identities and interests, which the framers were at pains to protect. Too many Americans today forget - or never learned - that the states created the central government; it wasn't the other way around. The federal principle is at least as important to American governance as the one-man-one-vote principle, and the Electoral College brilliantly marries them: Democratic elections take place within each state to determine that state's vote for president in the Electoral College.

    To Senator Nelson's credit, he is trying to abolish the Electoral College properly: via constitutional amendment. Not so the backers of the so-called National Public Vote bill, a scheme to evade the Constitution by persuading a bloc of states to pledge their electors to whichever candidate wins the national popular vote, regardless of the outcome of the vote in each state.

    Neither effort is likely to succeed where 700 earlier efforts have failed. And a good thing too, for the Electoral College remains the best system for picking a chief executive suited to a nation like ours: a geographically large, ideologically diverse, socially complex federal republic. No political process is foolproof, but this one has survived 220 years and 54 peaceful presidential elections. "If the manner of it be not perfect," wrote Hamilton in Federalist No. 68, "it is at least excellent."

  • #2
    Re: The Brilliance of the Electoral College

    "or never learned "

    Those words need to be in large print, colored red, italicised, and perhaps flashing. That the electoral college is a reflection of the representative system seems to never get into the minds of the general population.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: The Brilliance of the Electoral College

      It is indeed brilliant. Too many people ignore the independent nature of our states.
      Become a supporting member!
      Buy a Tactical Duck!
      Take the world's smallest political quiz! "I was touched by His Noodly Appendage."
      TacticalGamer TX LAN/BBQ Veteran:

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: The Brilliance of the Electoral College

        Originally posted by CingularDuality View Post
        It is indeed brilliant. Too many people ignore the independent nature of our states.
        Indeed. Heh.. I'm a little embarrassed to say I just now made the connection between 'Federal Government' and the word 'Federation' <smack>

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: The Brilliance of the Electoral College

          I've always liked you Whiskey, but my respect for you just went up some more. It takes quite a man to bring up a point that is contradictory to his own opinion. I wish more people were like that, since I believe it makes for better debate. Good post!
          "Common sense is not so common." -Voltaire

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: The Brilliance of the Electoral College

            bump for election day :D

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: The Brilliance of the Electoral College

              Awesome.
              A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy. -F.A. Hayek

              "$250,000 a year won't get me to Central Park West."

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: The Brilliance of the Electoral College

                you must spread some rep...... blah blah blah....

                sorry six.
                Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. -Albert Einstein
                The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity. -Harlan Ellison

                If all else fails: "rm -rf /"

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: The Brilliance of the Electoral College

                  I've often thought it was flawed for that simple reason that voters would be discouraged to vote since their state was already decided.

                  This explains a lot and actually promotes people to get more involved statewide with their politics.

                  I have wondered why not make the system more detailed to represent counties. Since 220 years ago our population has grown immensely and I wonder if anyone has had this idea yet? Basicly electoral votes split down into counties as well. So a state could have a split vote on party. Does that make sense, what's bad or good about it?


                  - -

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: The Brilliance of the Electoral College

                    There are two states that do this already (Maine and I think Colorado?), and its not a terrible idea but it has some flaws. First you have to figure out how to assign the 2 votes that represent your state senators (given to the state-wide winner in both of those states), and secondly as long as only a few states adopt the policy you see national advertising budgets shifting away from the smaller 1-vote packages and towards the larger vote packages. So it CAN be done, but its tricky.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: The Brilliance of the Electoral College

                      Originally posted by Kerostasis View Post
                      ...and secondly as long as only a few states adopt the policy you see national advertising budgets shifting away from the smaller 1-vote packages and towards the larger vote packages.
                      You say that as if a lack of political advertising is a bad thing...
                      Become a supporting member!
                      Buy a Tactical Duck!
                      Take the world's smallest political quiz! "I was touched by His Noodly Appendage."
                      TacticalGamer TX LAN/BBQ Veteran:

                      Comment

                      Connect

                      Collapse

                      TeamSpeak 3 Server

                      Collapse

                      Advertisement

                      Collapse

                      Twitter Feed

                      Collapse

                      Working...
                      X