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Time for the Popular Vote!

Started by gkg, June 21, 2006, 06:07:41 pm

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gkg

June 21, 2006, 06:07:41 pm Last Edit: June 21, 2006, 06:08:48 pm by gkg
i have been saying this for decades - got shouted down in friendly debates as impractical, scolded by nuns as unreasonable, and schoffed at by those who \'know better\' - and still i have persisted.  here is a fairly eloquently put case for it - pinched the link from PP - obviously the folks at the press (including Mr. M. i would have to assume) see the wisdom of it as well.

one can only hope that enough people will start to see the light and move this program forward - it is really the only way to have a true vote, to get the entire population interested in the vote and knowing that their vote does INDEED matter & COUNT.

no, it won\'t be easy - damn near nothing worth doing is easy folks, remember that.  even sex takes effort (good sex anyway) and that\'s the easiest thing worth doing i can think of.

http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/rob_richie_and_ryan_odonnell/2006/06/making_every_vote_count.html
Peace.

image = <i>"Blue Velvet"</i> (front of 2-sided piece) (c) georgia k griffin - all rights reserved

buswolley

Couldn't agree more!  While I didn't get scolded by Nuns I have been touting this as well.  There is absolutely no reason to still use an out dated practice.  There was a need for it in our past, but not now.  We no longer wear powdered wigs, so why still use their system.

I like your sex analogy.  My husband always compares sex to pizza.  There's good pizza and there's great pizza, but in the end it is always pizza and pizza rocks!

gkg

LOL!!!  i could live on pizza.  well... and red wine.

it\'s funny how often i was told i was naive for thinking that abolishing the electoral college would be feasible.  the fact is to me NOT abolishing it is unfeasible.  it is the very reason we have such shitty voter turn out, but of course, there are many in the places of power who very much want us to have shitty voter turn out - and to keep the common man from determining his own fate.  that whole \'we know what\'s best for you so you just keep tilling the soil and shoeing the horses, we\'ll take care of the hard work of government\' mentality.
Peace.

image = <i>"Blue Velvet"</i> (front of 2-sided piece) (c) georgia k griffin - all rights reserved

sedagive

August 09, 2006, 04:15:52 am #3 Last Edit: August 09, 2006, 04:16:44 am by sedagive
QuoteLOL!!!  i could live on pizza.  well... and red wine.

it\'s funny how often i was told i was naive for thinking that abolishing the electoral college would be feasible.  the fact is to me NOT abolishing it is unfeasible.  it is the very reason we have such shitty voter turn out, but of course, there are many in the places of power who very much want us to have shitty voter turn out - and to keep the common man from determining his own fate.  that whole \'we know what\'s best for you so you just keep tilling the soil and shoeing the horses, we\'ll take care of the hard work of government\' mentality.

There is no guarentee this would increase voter turnout, and I don\'t think you can support your claim that the electoral college is the cause for low voter turnout.  Were you saying all of this when Bill Clinton was in office? Nice job of throwing out a bunch of unrealistic steretypes.

Why was the electoral college useful way back when but not now? I don\'t think it has anything to do with the absence of powdered wigs, as someone else here puts it. It would be nice to have a political discussion, even a heated arguement, but so far everything I\'ve read is irrational, emotional and lacks any logic.

buswolley

Yes, I personally have been saying this long before President Clinton and I think G has been as well due to the comment about the Nuns.  However, you are right I don't know of any empirical evidence that supports the argument regarding increased voter turn out for "one man one vote."  I don't feel that it is unrealistic stereotyping to say that more disenfranchised Americans would show up to the poles if they felt their vote counted more.  I do say shame on them if they don't, regardless of the process!

On to your second question..."Why was the Electoral College useful way back when but not now?"  The powdered wig comment is only to shine light on an out dated practice that, like the powdered wig, has seen it's day and needs to go or at least evolve.  In order to better understand this argument you need to know the rational behind the Electoral College as our founding fathers envisioned it.  The founders saw electors (they never used the term "Electoral College") as a way to protect small state interests. They also envisioned electors as educated and connected citizens who would have better insight on leaders in a nation beset by illiteracy and isolation.

"The Electoral College was necessary when communications were poor, literacy was low and voters lacked information about out-of-state figures, which is clearly no longer the case," Rep. Gene Green, Texas 2004

There were other reasons as well, but this is already going to take a while, remember you asked.  SO, clearly we are no longer a community of illiterates and isolated by our demographics.  These are the top four reasons to adopt a new system, at least from my keyboard:
1.  The Electoral College gives disproportionate weight to the votes of citizens of small states. For example, a vote by a resident of Wyoming counts about four times more--electorally--than a vote by a California resident.
2.  Most Americans believe that the person who receives the most votes should become president.  Direct election is seen as more consistent with democratic principles than is the Electoral College system.
3.  If presidents were elected by direct popular vote, they would wage a campaign and advertise all across the nation, rather than (as they do in the Electoral College system) concentrating almost all of their time and effort in a handful of battleground states.  The Electoral College system encourages candidates to pander to the interests of voters in a few closely contested states.
4.  When the winner of the Electoral College is not the candidate who received the most votes of the people, the new president will face questions about his legitimacy.

I know there are many reasons to keep the Electoral College as well the greatest of these, for me a least, is -- in close, contested elections, recounts will usually be confined to a state or two, rather than an across-the-country recount that might be required if we had direct election of the president.  I would like to see us adopt a system of compromise, keep the Electoral College, but give my vote weight as well.   If 80% of Texans vote Republican give them 80% of the electorates, but give the remaining 20% to us \'bleeding heart liberals.\'

And as for the rest of your comments, "It would be nice to have a political discussion, even a heated argument, but so far everything I\'ve read is irrational, emotional and lacks any logic."  I am sorry you feel this way.  I agree with you I love a good discussion/argument, but I think you will find in the future that most of the folks that post in this political discussion all feel the same way so reiterating their argument is kind of pointless, and, for the most part, all have the same basic facts whether they are right or wrong is for each individual to decide.  So please if you have a descending voice feel free to share with a well thought out argument or even an emotional rant, my last rant I am sure I was told in no uncertain terms I was not paying attention to the world around me - "my goodness buswolley! Where have you been?? These guys have been on headline news for many years now."

gkg

Quote

There is no guarentee this would increase voter turnout, and I don\'t think you can support your claim that the electoral college is the cause for low voter turnout.  Were you saying all of this when Bill Clinton was in office? Nice job of throwing out a bunch of unrealistic steretypes.

Why was the electoral college useful way back when but not now? I don\'t think it has anything to do with the absence of powdered wigs, as someone else here puts it. It would be nice to have a political discussion, even a heated arguement, but so far everything I\'ve read is irrational, emotional and lacks any logic.

yes, i\'ve been saying it since high school, m\'dear - back in the 70s.  as for the rest - buswolley covered it all.

to buswolley dear i will say that i really don\'t see a use for the electoral college, but i\'d be happy to hear what useful purposes you think that they serve.  me, i think they\'re just another tool of the lobbiests and backroom manglers.
Peace.

image = <i>"Blue Velvet"</i> (front of 2-sided piece) (c) georgia k griffin - all rights reserved

buswolley

I must admit to being a bit of a fence rider on this one.  I do whole hardily agree that the current system is out dated and does not address our modern day needs or concerns.  So on one side sits one man one vote popular vote wins, on the other is a modified system where in electorates are split proportionately.  There are pros and cons to both sides.

1.  In close, contested elections, recounts will usually be confined to a state or two, rather than an across-the-country recount that might be required if we had direct election of the president.  I think this is the most compelling reason to employ a modified Electoral College.  If the electorates are proportional to the popular vote your vote would count one man one vote and hopefully cut down on the recounts and law suits.
2.  The Electoral College encourages more person-to-person campaigning by candidates, as they spend time in both the big cities and smaller cities, however only in battleground states.  A modified system would work much the same way keeping the candidates eyes on the areas of greater population, but so would the popular vote.  
3.  The Electoral College, with its typical winner-take-all allocation of votes, often turns a small percentage margin of victory into one that appears much larger, thus making the victory seem more conclusive and adding to the winner\'s perceived legitimacy.  A modified system would make the margin closer, but the perceived legitimacy would still be there.  Note: pay close attention to the word perceived, I sure don't want it to sound like I think G.W. is legitimate anything. 8)
4.  The Electoral College, in recognizing a role for states in the selection of the president, reminds us of their importance in our federal system.
5.  Its fun on election nights to watch states light up in different colors on television network maps of the U. S.   I especially enjoyed Al Franken's drawings in 2004.

BUT, like I said above I am a wimp and sit on the fence on this one.  It infuriates me that my vote while heard does not count.  The popular vote would definitely insure that my vote at least had a fighting chance!  While I do sit on the fence about how to change I jump into the deep end when it comes to changing it!!

sedagive

Quote
1.  The Electoral College gives disproportionate weight to the votes of citizens of small states. For example, a vote by a resident of Wyoming counts about four times more--electorally--than a vote by a California resident.
2.  Most Americans believe that the person who receives the most votes should become president.  Direct election is seen as more consistent with democratic principles than is the Electoral College system.
3.  If presidents were elected by direct popular vote, they would wage a campaign and advertise all across the nation, rather than (as they do in the Electoral College system) concentrating almost all of their time and effort in a handful of battleground states.  The Electoral College system encourages candidates to pander to the interests of voters in a few closely contested states.
4.  When the winner of the Electoral College is not the candidate who received the most votes of the people, the new president will face questions about his legitimacy.

First forgive me for forgetting the laidback nature of these sites, they are supposed to be fun. Second, thank you for the indepth explanation well said.

1). Exactly, Wyoming has a voice. In a popular vote a candidate would concentrate efforts in the largest states. It would make no sense to worry about Wyoming where the vote differential could be 5-10 thousand votes if you could win in CA. by a margin of millions.  Someone could carry 10 or 11 states, lose 39 or 40 and still become President.  A popular vote would make votes almost meaningless for people in small states (talk about not showing up to vote).

2).  A popular vote would be a direct democracy, exactly what was intended to be avoided by our founding fathers. We are a republic with 51 seperate elections for President.

3).  See no.1 above.  Swing states change, I\'m from CO. which was a swing state in the last election even though it has only 9 electoral votes, but it wasn\'t always a swing state.  A popular vote would never see swing states change, there would have to be mass population migration for this to change. Candidates would pander to the state with the largest populations.

4).  The election in 2000 is the only election in my lifetime the pop. vote went to the loser ( I think).  It was a margin of less than 500 votes? 2004 was also close but Bush got the pop. vote by 60,000 or so and the electoral total.

I think its incorrect to assume that a popular vote is the cure for the percieved problems.  You brought up a good point though, it would be a disaster if there had to be a nation wide recount. It could take months to figure out who won in a close election.

gkg

where why and how do you equate doing away with the electoral college with losing the state counts?  votes would still be gathered and noted within the town/city/borough and state they are cast.

i\'m sorry but to me it makes no sense to have Wyoming have the same weight as California or New York - they don\'t have the same population, don\'t provide the same level of GNP, don\'t use the same number of tax dollars - giving them equal weight makes no sense at all.  each state should have the weight of their actual population.

the 2004 vote was a sorry excuse for a vote and the actual winner is unknown - far too much tinkering went on.  the 2000 vote is likely have been nearly as bad though it\'s hard to tell.  all in all - i don\'t frankly believe that Bush was ever truly elected, because we cannot trust the results that put him in office.  not to mention that the supreme court decided the 2000 election in the end, not the voters.

it makes absolutely no sense to perpetuate the electoral college, i\'m sorry - your arguments don\'t sway my view in the least.  especially that one about them trying to connect person to person.  the electoral college actually does discourage voters - please understand that.  everyone i have talked to has said it is discouraging because they basically believe that their vote does not count.  they do it because the feel it is their duty (although some in fact say this is why they do not vote).

it does not encourage candidates to do more person to person campaigning - it encourages candidates to try and sway the delegates, not the people on the street.  it is the province of the lobbyists.
Peace.

image = <i>"Blue Velvet"</i> (front of 2-sided piece) (c) georgia k griffin - all rights reserved

sedagive

Quotewhere why and how do you equate doing away with the electoral college with losing the state counts?  votes would still be gathered and noted within the town/city/borough and state they are cast.

i\'m sorry but to me it makes no sense to have Wyoming have the same weight as California or New York - they don\'t have the same population, don\'t provide the same level of GNP, don\'t use the same number of tax dollars - giving them equal weight makes no sense at all.  each state should have the weight of their actual population.

the 2004 vote was a sorry excuse for a vote and the actual winner is unknown - far too much tinkering went on.  the 2000 vote is likely have been nearly as bad though it\'s hard to tell.  all in all - i don\'t frankly believe that Bush was ever truly elected, because we cannot trust the results that put him in office.  not to mention that the supreme court decided the 2000 election in the end, not the voters.

it makes absolutely no sense to perpetuate the electoral college, i\'m sorry - your arguments don\'t sway my view in the least.  especially that one about them trying to connect person to person.  the electoral college actually does discourage voters - please understand that.  everyone i have talked to has said it is discouraging because they basically believe that their vote does not count.  they do it because the feel it is their duty (although some in fact say this is why they do not vote).

it does not encourage candidates to do more person to person campaigning - it encourages candidates to try and sway the delegates, not the people on the street.  it is the province of the lobbyists.

I really don\'t understand most of what you said. I never said anything about "connecting person to person".  Wyoming does not have the same weight as California.
Each state has 2 senators but varies on the number reps. based on the size of the population. The #of reps. and senators determines the #of electoral votes a state has. As far as the "tinkering" that went on in 2004, you\'re paranoid. If you really believe that sort of stuff without having any solid evidence (we would still be hearing about if there was any), then I can\'t take anything you say seriously, and I know I would never have a chance at changing your mind. Just because everyone you talk to says something, it does not necessarily make it so. I don\'t care about person to person campaigning, thats irrellevant, and lobbyists aren\'t going to disappear with the electoral college, they are a part of the system now and would be a part of the system with a national popular vote.

gkg

not everything was a response to your post - if you read Buswolley\'s you\'d see that much or most of it was actually directed toward that post and not your own.

i agree with the notion that lobbyists are a part of the system now and would likely continue to be, and there are differnt types of lobbyists, frankly, so i don\'t see that they should all be done away with.  however, having said that, i do find the notion that we are wedded forever to a system created two hundred years ago because of an inability to provide for an individual vote for several reasons that were legitimate 200 years ago and are now obsolete.

as you said, things change, and the electoral system in this country is one thing that should change to reflect the best interests of the populace.
Peace.

image = <i>"Blue Velvet"</i> (front of 2-sided piece) (c) georgia k griffin - all rights reserved

sedagive

Quotenot everything was a response to your post - if you read Buswolley\'s you\'d see that much or most of it was actually directed toward that post and not your own.

i agree with the notion that lobbyists are a part of the system now and would likely continue to be, and there are differnt types of lobbyists, frankly, so i don\'t see that they should all be done away with.  however, having said that, i do find the notion that we are wedded forever to a system created two hundred years ago because of an inability to provide for an individual vote for several reasons that were legitimate 200 years ago and are now obsolete.

as you said, things change, and the electoral system in this country is one thing that should change to reflect the best interests of the populace.

Sorry but I don\'t see anything in your post that addresses a difference of opinion with buswolley. It most certainly is directed entirely at my post.

 Attempts to circumvent the electoral college have been made by using tactics that avoid ammending the constitution. Two such attempts were soundly defeated in CO. recently. One of these was started by someone in CA.  Why would he want to change the way CO. works but not the way CA. works. Could it have been that CO. right now is a red state and CA. is solid blue. This attempt dealt with the proportional distribution of electoral votes so that its not a winner take all. Right now there are two states that award their votes this way. My point is, the reason these attempts were made to change CO. was completely partisan and those involved know that an attempt to ammend the constitution to do away with the electoral college, would have no chance of succeeding. The assertion that most people are in favor of a popular national vote is flatly wrong.

gkg

nope.  i was answering buswolley and you must realize that because your first statement was that you didn\'t understand the "person-to-person remark" - of course you didn\'t because it wasn\'t directed to your remarks it was directed to buswolley.  as was most of what i said, not all, but nearly all.

you\'re out for an argument not a discussion, so i\'m just going to have to let you have your little steam vent on your own.
Peace.

image = <i>"Blue Velvet"</i> (front of 2-sided piece) (c) georgia k griffin - all rights reserved

sedagive

Quotenope.  i was answering buswolley and you must realize that because your first statement was that you didn\'t understand the "person-to-person remark" - of course you didn\'t because it wasn\'t directed to your remarks it was directed to buswolley.  as was most of what i said, not all, but nearly all.

you\'re out for an argument not a discussion, so i\'m just going to have to let you have your little steam vent on your own.

I read what buswolley wrote. I also read what you wrote. If was not directed at me you don\'t do a good job of making yourself clear. Also, an arguement is half of a discussion.

I feel that I have come in here and disrupted a comfort zone for you and buswolley. so I will let you have it back.

My predictions: electoral college stays. Iraq will get on its feet eventually and become a strong and productive peaceful country. And far left liberals will continue to be disappointed because the glass is half empty.

gkg

you\'re right, an argument is half a discussion - you are seeking to argue rather than discuss, taking an offensive position rather than simply putting points forward.  comfort zones aren\'t necessary bad, but i think you miss my point.  if i didn\'t make myself clear enough for you then i apologize.

QuoteMy predictions: electoral college stays. Iraq will get on its feet eventually and become a strong and productive peaceful country. And far left liberals will continue to be disappointed because the glass is half empty.

my response to your predictions is: the electoral college will stay until enough people come to terms with the serious depths of its flaws.  Iraq will take a damn long time to be what anyone could view as strong and productive peaceful country, and we are to blame for that.  far left liberals will continue to fight the good fight on behalf of those who don\'t see that with some group effort the glass could be full.
Peace.

image = <i>"Blue Velvet"</i> (front of 2-sided piece) (c) georgia k griffin - all rights reserved