Here we go again

Is it time to scrap the Electoral College?

Funny how some pundits think they know better than the Founding Fathers.

For the record, I wouldn’t really mind doing away with the actual electors and the ceremonial voting in the college process itself. But the allocation of electoral votes by state needs to stay.

I’d even be willing to listen to arguments along the lines of “each congressional district gets its one vote based on the results within that district, with both senate vote going to the candidate that carried the popular vote in that state” like Maine and Nebraska.

For all we hear in the media about how Obama has such a huge lead with two weeks to go, there sure seems to be an awful lot of “battlefield prep” going on to play the “McCain stole the election” game.

Comments

  1. I hate arguing with people over the “popular vote”.

    I can’t think of any major nation that has a popular vote for their leader. Take the UK or Canada, in both nations you vote for your member of parliament and then the party that controls parliament picks the prime minister. There is no national vote for the PM. Basically if you want a specific guy to be the PM, you have to vote for his party’s candidate in your district whether you like him or not.

    In the US we have 50 states and each state conducts its own popular vote. I like MO’s take of dividing the state’s electoral votes by congressional district with the popular vote winner in each state getting the 2 votes representing the Senate.

    I do like our system because without it, it would be easier to cheat. For example, if you exclude the city of Chicago, George Bush won the electoral and popular vote in 2000. Chicago voted so overwhelmingly for Gore that it made him carry the state of IL and the popular vote.

    Because IL is limited in its electoral votes, the damage done to the integrity of the system by having the dead vote in Chicago was limited to costing Bush IL. Therefore, to steal an election you would need to cheat in several states to obtain the necessary electoral votes.

    If we ever moved to a national popular vote, republicans would never win the Presidency again.

  2. My take on it is one taxpayer=one vote. If you’re not paying the bills………….you shouldn’t be calling the shots. And I’m in favor of a popular vote…………not the electoral college……….or is that collage? :)

  3. I’ve always said the same thing as you Murdoch. If they want to do away with the electors and the possibility of them voting against the voters will, that’s OK. But the distribution of votes by electoral points is too important to discard. Under a popular vote system, no candidate would have to bother campaigning in middle America. Win overwhelmingly New York, Florida, Texas, and California, and the rest of the country doesn’t even remotely mater. Granted, getting Texas to go the same direction as California is unlikely any time soon, but anything that increases the chances of a tyranny of the majority is bad news to me.

  4. Flanker,

    You miss the point about the Electoral College. Having the Electoral system makes every vote important, and requires the candidates to pay attention to EVERY state, rather than just a handful with large populations.

    If the Electoral College is done away with (which would require a Constitutional Amendment, if not a Constitutional Convention) then politicians could ignore the interests of states like Maine, South Dakota, Mississippi, Idaho, etc. They would be free to pander to a few states’ populations, thus nullifying the remaining states. It would result in a de facto environment of “Taxation without Representation” which, as you might remember, was the driving force behind out own original Revolution.

    Now, it could be said snarkily that such conditions are already in existence, and to a certain extent that would be correct. However, removing the Electoral College would be a disaster for both our Constitutional Rights and our Natural Rights, and set us a course of mob rule.

    Respects,

  5. This is a great line of debate, the founding fathers were very clear on their intention to found a Republic, not a Democracy. Our Republic is based on the rule of law and seperation of powers. Both the left and right wing are protected from the whims of the mob.

    While googling the subject, I found this question by Walter Williams on Worldnetdaily … “Do Americans share the republican values laid out by our founders, and is it simply a matter of our being unschooled about the differences between a republic and a democracy? Or is it a matter of preference and we now want the kind of tyranny feared by the founders where Congress (special interests) can do anything it can muster a majority vote to do?”. Thoughts?

  6. Gets back to what I said earlier. Too many constituencies who aren’t paying the bills franchised to vote. They’re more interested in benefits for themselves, and vote accordingly. This attitude scales up much larger than personal “welfare”. Just read an article in one of the Detroit papers about how “all earmarks aren’t bad”. The author went on to cite several earmarks Michigan got, and how they were not only justified, but vital to MI citizens, who didn’t have the funding to pay for the marvelous benefits themselves (is that a classic example of taking money from you to pay for stuff for me or what??). So………basically your earmarks are wasteful, foolish, and unjustified but ours are responsible and necessary! :) Just drives me beserk! One taxpayer=one vote!

  7. Flanker,

    Part of the problem (a good part of it) started in 1915 when Senators became elected officials. Before that time, they were appointed by the governors and their salaries were paid by the state they represented. Thus, they were on a shorter leash and not nearly as big a political animal as they are now.

    This is all a part of the Federal government seizing power from the states, in the same manner as the Borg Collective.

  8. I agree that something needs to change. Right now the Cities (with the usual moochers living off welfare and such) are voting for the politicians (looters) that promise to give them the most goodies. Going back to the senators being appointed by the governer of a state is one thing. Removing anyone getting a welfare check or government assistance from the voting rolls might be another. There is an obvious conflict of interest there.

  9. AW1 Tim. that’s not the point of the US Electoral College, it’s why it’s linked to the States. Other places have Electoral Colleges too, e.g. the Vatican (for the Pope) and Britain (for the monarch and for bishops), in each case using a different system to get to the vote of the Electoral College, not necessarily trying to emulate what a popular democratic vote would do. The point of them is actually to have enough physical support on side and visible that the winner is generally accepted, the same as the point of juries. It works like a fuse, so if the colleges (or juries) don’t do what they “should”, the only failure is localised and you don’t get a “right” result that won’t stick – in its own way that is even more wrong than a “wrong” result. The system works well enough that the fuse only blows on a time scale of centuries, and a lot of people don’t even know it is there.

  10. Flanker,

    Thanks for the lesson on how the Senate is elected, did not know that. My question is how do we make them more accountable to the people and balance the power of the executive?

    My vote is for a system like Heinlein had in Starship Troopers. Every one has rights but only Citizens vote. You become a Citizen by doing national service.

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