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  1. #1
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    It's the 21st Century -- Time for Popular Election of the President



    Taken from TMQ, Greg Easterbrook makes a strong case for doing away with the electoral college.

    Practically anything could happen in today's election. Some projections suggest Mitt Romney will win the popular vote, while Barack Obama will keep the White House by winning the Electoral College. If this happens, please let it be the spark that sets fire to that anachronistic institution.

    In 2000, Al Gore won the popular vote, but George W. Bush took the Electoral College. In 2004, Bush won the popular vote while John Kerry came within an eyelash of taking the Electoral College. If either Romney or Obama takes the White House today while losing the popular vote, please let this catalyze change.

    The system of having the president chosen by electors was designed partly to protect slavery. Slave states worried that the populous North would elect an abolitionist president. The Electoral College, combined with denying slaves the vote but counting them as three-fifths of a person for the purpose of allocating electors, helped preserve an abomination for another seven decades.

    Some of the Framers opposed slavery but favored the Electoral College, because they did not trust average people. The Constitution was written to have average people represented in the House, via direct election; the landed gentry represented in the Senate, with senators chosen by state legislatures it was assumed the well-off would control; and presidents chosen by councils of electors isolated from what Thomas Jefferson called "the passions" of the illiterate masses.

    Maybe that was the right call in 1789. But then, average people were uneducated. Today literacy is universal, and nearly everyone has some education. Direct election of senators was adopted in 1913, with ratification of the 17th Amendment. A century later, there's still no direct election of the president. The United States preaches one-person, one-vote to the world, yet here at home, uses a system that makes a voter in Florida, Ohio or Pennsylvania much more important than a voter in California, Texas or New York.

    In current application, the Electoral College over-represents some states, under-represents others, and discourages voter turnout in California, Texas and New York, the nation's most populous states. Sunday, Obama made his seventh campaign appearance in New Hampshire, population 1.3 million -- the president has made no campaign appearances in Texas, population 26 million. Hundreds of votes in California, Texas or New York can mean less than a single vote in Wisconsin. This is what the United States wants to tell the world is a democratic ideal?

    Because of the anachronistic Electoral College, issues that matter in battleground states -- coal use in Ohio and Pennsylvania, anti-Castro sentiment in Florida -- get more attention during elections than issues involving much larger numbers of people, such as the quality of public education in California and Texas. And the attention doesn't even help battleground states. In the past three presidential election cycles, both parties have treated Ohio as the center of the known universe. Yet Ohio remains a troubled state, with industrial decline and government corruption.

    A destructive dynamic exists between the Electoral College and modern techniques of targeted lobbying and ZIP code analysis of voter tendencies. The better campaign consultants become at manipulating votes, the more the Electoral College becomes a tool for special interests, favoring them versus the overall national interest.

    The Electoral College locks the country into a two-party system in which true alternative voices are not heard. If a third-party candidate cannot take all the electors of a state, that candidate cannot be anything but a spoiler. This forces third parties into a negative role, draining the creativity from national politics.

    The problem could in theory be solved if every state legislature switched to awarding electors proportionate to votes, rather than winner-take-all. Currently, only Nebraska and Maine use this enlightened approach. The trouble is that if many states began enacting proportional-elector laws, each four years as the presidential endgame became clear, Republican-controlled or Democratic-controlled states would change their laws to put their candidates over the top. That's the fatal flaw of this otherwise worthy initiative.

    The solution is a constitutional amendment establishing direct popular election of the president. This is needed to bring the United States into the 20th century, to say nothing of the 21st century. We can't lecture the world about representative democracy when we still don't have it here. Yes, popular vote would make big cities more important than rural states -- but big cities are more important than rural states, and at any rate, the composition of the Senate adjusts for small-state concerns. There's just no reason to keep the antiquated Electoral College. The only ones who benefit from keeping the system the way it is are campaign consultants, lawyers and corrupt politicians.

    If there were direct election of the president, nonsense like the 2000 Florida recount-of-the-recount-of-the-recount would not happen, nor would nonsense like this. The whole reason for the 2000 Supreme Court decision effectively choosing the president was that the Electoral College disenfranchises some while magnifying the votes of others. Was the George W. Bush presidency legitimate? Will the Mitt Romney or second Obama presidency be legitimate? With popular-vote election, we'd be sure.
    "I got this." - Justin Tucker




  2. #2
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    Could not disagree more.

    I don't want LA, NYC and Chicago having that much influence on a national election.

    The whole point of the electoral college is so large population centers don't hold a monopoly on voting, thus holding the majority of power over everyone else.

    I want the farmer in Nebraska to have a voice as well as the San Francisco hippie and not one dominate over the other.
    WARNING: This post may contain material offensive to those who lack wit, humor, common sense and/or supporting factual or anecdotal evidence. All statements and assertions contained herein may be subject to literary devices not limited to: irony, metaphor, allusion and dripping sarcasm.




  3. #3

    Re: It's the 21st Century -- Time for Popular Election of the President

    I agree it should be popular vote so everyones vote actually matters, as opposed to tossing away those that didnt win the state. Honestly though how many times has that happened in history? typically the electoral college has worked besides 2000, and frankly with what went down in florida, its possible it worked there before outside sources.
    -JAB




  4. #4
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    Re: It's the 21st Century -- Time for Popular Election of the President

    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonRaven View Post
    Could not disagree more.

    I don't want LA, NYC and Chicago having that much influence on a national election.

    The whole point of the electoral college is so large population centers don't hold a monopoly on voting, thus holding the majority of power over everyone else.

    I want the farmer in Nebraska to have a voice as well as the San Francisco hippie and not one dominate over the other.


    Could not agree more. This is the United States of America, not just America. Each state should have it's say.

    Like you said HR, I don't want CA, TX, FL, NY, OH, IL picking the Pres for the rest of the states.

    I would however, have no problem with states awarding electoral votes baes on congressional districts like Nebraska an Maine do it, I think that makes the most sens.

    Here is a good article about the Electoral College.

    http://www.heritage.org/research/rep...ar-vote-scheme
    We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid. - Benjamin Franklin




  5. #5
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    Re: It's the 21st Century -- Time for Popular Election of the President

    Quote Originally Posted by NCRAVEN View Post


    Could not agree more. This is the United States of America, not just America. Each state should have it's say.

    Like you said HR, I don't want CA, TX, FL, NY, OH, IL picking the Pres for the rest of the states.

    I would however, have no problem with states awarding electoral votes baes on congressional districts like Nebraska an Maine do it, I think that makes the most sens.

    Here is a good article about the Electoral College.

    http://www.heritage.org/research/rep...ar-vote-scheme
    Good article.

    I just want a more balanced system that doesn't "punish" one voter for being in a big city or in a rural area. When the candidates for POTUS spend almost all of their campaign time in a handful of states something is wrong.

    I like the idea of electoral votes based on districts instead of winner take all. There just has to be a better solution to make everyone's vote count equally.
    "I got this." - Justin Tucker




  6. #6
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    Re: It's the 21st Century -- Time for Popular Election of the President

    Quote Originally Posted by Dade View Post
    Good article.

    I just want a more balanced system that doesn't "punish" one voter for being in a big city or in a rural area. When the candidates for POTUS spend almost all of their campaign time in a handful of states something is wrong.

    I like the idea of electoral votes based on districts instead of winner take all. There just has to be a better solution to make everyone's vote count equally.
    Yup, county or congressional district or something.
    We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid. - Benjamin Franklin




  7. #7

    Re: It's the 21st Century -- Time for Popular Election of the President

    Id be alright with that. My vote still wouldnt have mattered that way but its at least better.
    -JAB




  8. #8

    Re: It's the 21st Century -- Time for Popular Election of the President

    I'll chime in and say that the Electoral College is a horrible system. Winner takes all is a terrible way to do proportional representation. It's certainly a fantastic way to lock out third parties though.




  9. #9
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    Re: It's the 21st Century -- Time for Popular Election of the President

    Quote Originally Posted by CptJesus View Post
    I'll chime in and say that the Electoral College is a horrible system. Winner takes all is a terrible way to do proportional representation. It's certainly a fantastic way to lock out third parties though.
    I'd argue it's the political parties that are doing their best to keep third parties down.

    Not sure how a system keeps anything down, especially one specifically designed FOR giving the "little guy" a voice at the table.
    WARNING: This post may contain material offensive to those who lack wit, humor, common sense and/or supporting factual or anecdotal evidence. All statements and assertions contained herein may be subject to literary devices not limited to: irony, metaphor, allusion and dripping sarcasm.




  10. #10
    In a winner takes all system, he third party has to beat both the other candidates to get any votes. In proportional representation, Gary Johnson (my vote), would have gotten a small portion of the electorate

    Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2




  11. #11
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    Re: It's the 21st Century -- Time for Popular Election of the President

    Quote Originally Posted by CptJesus View Post
    In a winner takes all system, he third party has to beat both the other candidates to get any votes. In proportional representation, Gary Johnson (my vote), would have gotten a small portion of the electorate

    Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2
    Are you saying we should have more than President?
    We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid. - Benjamin Franklin




  12. #12
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    Re: It's the 21st Century -- Time for Popular Election of the President

    Quote Originally Posted by CptJesus View Post
    In a winner takes all system, he third party has to beat both the other candidates to get any votes. In proportional representation, Gary Johnson (my vote), would have gotten a small portion of the electorate

    Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2
    I voted for him too.

    And his best shot is not a popular vote, but an electoral system. It's designed for candidates like him.

    A candidate like him can focus on the state level and get recognition by winning a state or two. In a strict popular vote, he would have to compete nationally just to get noticed.
    WARNING: This post may contain material offensive to those who lack wit, humor, common sense and/or supporting factual or anecdotal evidence. All statements and assertions contained herein may be subject to literary devices not limited to: irony, metaphor, allusion and dripping sarcasm.




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