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The Electoral College

Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by Real World, Oct 11, 2007.

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Do you support the Electoral College?

  1. Yes, our Founding Fathers had it right.

    63.2%
  2. No, those old bags were way off.

    36.8%
  3. Electoral College? Is that who BC is playing week? What's the spread?

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Real World

    Real World Moderator Staff Member

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    So, which is it people? Thumbs up, or thumbs down? Is it time to move to a popular vote for president, or were our Founding Fathers there usual exceptional selves in structuring our nation for the long haul?
     
  2. Holy Diver

    Holy Diver Pro Bowl Player

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    #80 Jersey

    Its like the difference between the BCS and every other college sport's championship. The presidential election is the only BS election that changes the rules, why? Follow the $$$$$.
     
  3. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think there's no perfect system and the electoral college helps make the president accountable to more than just high population urban areas. (That said, I recognize that election by popular majority would probably be good for progressive candidates.)
     
  4. Real World

    Real World Moderator Staff Member

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    I actually think it is a great system, and a must considering our federalist structure. It preserves the value of states, as it rightfully protects their strengths versus the power of popularity.
     
  5. STFarmy

    STFarmy In the Starting Line-Up

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    I voted Yes, they had it right. I have a Master's degree in history, and one of my primary areas of interest was the creation of the Constitution and the political theory behind it. Scrapping it in favor of a true democracy was exactly what ALL of the Founders feared. The Federalist Papers are astounding, they give a pretty good look into what thought processes went into creating the Constitution; likewise, the "Anti-Federalist" papers (just a collection of anti-federalist writings) give a good view into the opposition. Almost all agreed however that true democracy was frightening. "Tyranny of the majority" is a constant term that comes up. In fact, many agreed that a benevolent monarchy was the best way to go, the problem was that there was no way to ensure it stayed benevolent. I'll curb this rant before it gets out of hand (I could talk forever about this stuff), but suffice it to say that I cringe when people say that we should just get rid of the Electoral College. Patters is right, there is no perfect system, but I think this one is pretty good, provided our society keeps vigilant (which it has a problem with).
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2007
  6. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    I don't like it. The only value to me is that if you need a re-count like we almost did in 2000 it's easier to handle it for one state than the whole country. The accountability thing is useless now, IMO, as candidates don't have to ride into town on a horse and carriage to get their points across to the voters. Personally I feel disenfranchised by the electoral college because, living in CA, my vote means literally nothing. If it were a popular vote at least I'd have a tiny chance of making an impact.
     
  7. FreeTedWilliams

    FreeTedWilliams pfadmins PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #75 Jersey

    First Off, you would have to amend the Constitution, which would take ratification by more than 75% of the states, so it is not going to change.

    Secondly, they absolutely got it right, if not all you would have to do is play to the cities to win the Presidency and the rural areas (you know the ones where the food is grown) would be unrepresented and diaster would soon loom.
     
  8. QuiGon

    QuiGon Banned

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    I don't mind this debate for hypothetical purposes, but it just ain't ever happening in our lifetimes. If we switched to a straight up popular vote, I believe something like 13 states (the largest ones) would gain proportionally and 37 states would suffer. In order to ratify the Constitution, you need 38 states (assuming the ratification got past Congress, which it never would). So even if we assume all 13 "big states" supported ratification, we would need 25 of 37 "small states" voting to decrease their own power in Presidential elections.

    Probably not gonna happen ;)
     
  9. STFarmy

    STFarmy In the Starting Line-Up

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    Of course it would, that's why the term "tyranny of the majority" was brought up so often. Most intellectual minds throughout WORLD history (not just U.S. history) distrust a true democracy. Even many Greeks were critical of it in 6th-5th century Athens. Dumping the Electoral College is a horrible idea.
     
  10. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    So why should the electoral college be state to state and not district to district ? I realize there's no constitutional requiement for this but most states do it and it sucks. Most of CA, by area, votes (R) but our vote is nullified by all the big cities. The electoral college should be by House district not winner takes all.
     
  11. STFarmy

    STFarmy In the Starting Line-Up

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    You're right actually. And some states are trying to pass legislation to distribute their Electoral College votes by district (CA just had some kicking around I think). This is being fought by some however, mostly by Democrats, as they know that their advantage of having the cities carry so many Electoral College votes would then be nullified; almost exactly like the example you give.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2007
  12. sdaniels7114

    sdaniels7114 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    My beef is with the College itself, not the all or nothing per state system. Lets say a miracle happens and the nominated Republican carries enough states next year to garner 290 Electoral votes. That should put this Republican in right?

    Actually no. It just means that the winning candidate's party gets to pick the electors who actually vote and the electors can still vote for whomever they want,

    like Brittany Spears.

    We get to decide who gets to decide who gets to pick the next President. IE the people are three levels removed from the lever of power. That needs to be scrapped. IMO the candidate who earns the electoral votes wins, and the actual college members become ceremonial only.
     
  13. FreeTedWilliams

    FreeTedWilliams pfadmins PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #75 Jersey

    Most states have this as law, meaning the electors must vote for the person who won the state.
     
  14. QuiGon

    QuiGon Banned

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    I don't buy that. You sound like those guys in NH who say the income tax is unconstitutional... maybe from a ridiculously perverse interpretation of such-and-such a passage, such a thing could theoretically be possible but it isn't even remotely within the realm of feasibility.

    Oh, and Brittney Spears is Constitutionally ineligible to be President as she is not yet of the required age. Any votes for her would be immediately disregarded.
     
  15. Real World

    Real World Moderator Staff Member

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    Very interesting discussion everybody. I'm a supporter of the EC. I think a popular vote would result in NY and LA persay, deciding who runs the country. Having been to both cities, and having friends in each, that's a serious NO THANKS! :eek:

    I enjoy reading books about the Founding Fathers and the years around the creation of the Constitution. For anyone who follows politics, such books are must reads. When you consider the undertaking, the fact that they were actually committing treason, and none had the luxury of email, a cell phone, or a 1 hour flight to meet in DC, what they accomplished is pretty amazing. With that in mind, it reminds you of how embarrassing our current crop of politicians has become. :(

    I think North Carolina in 2008 is splitting it's delegates by district or county, as opposed to awarding them to the winner of the state.
     
  16. sdaniels7114

    sdaniels7114 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Some rough Arithmetic at this site put the number of un-bound Electors at around 260 or so. That's near half. There's no Federal law, I have to wonder what could be done at the state level if someone violated a state law. Let's say some rouge Elector did put Brittany's name on his ballot (the first time she's eligible of course, she seems to be aging fast nowadays though) what would the repercussions be? A fine? I'm not so sure a state law has all that much effect on a federal election. There's nothing in the Constitution about the Supreme Court jumping into disputed elections, yet they did and acted about 12 times faster than they normally do. Don't be so sure the laws that do exist regarding the other 280 or Electors would amount to anything.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2007
  17. STFarmy

    STFarmy In the Starting Line-Up

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    So true. The Federalist Papers (and Anti-Federalist Papers for that matter) should be REQUIRED in schools so that people understand where our government actually came from and why it exists as it does. A historian named Gordon Wood wrote a wonderful book called "The Creation of the American Republic" which talks a lot about this subject as well. As I said in one of my previous posts, this is a topic close to my heart that I studied in grad school, so I could talk about it for hours.
     
  18. Real World

    Real World Moderator Staff Member

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    Don't you understand that our school system, and it's ciriculum, is more content with banning cupcakes, removing CHRISTmas, drugging kids, and teaching 7 year olds about homosexual love, than they are with educating our youth with stuff they can actually use like what our country was actually founded on, and why, or how to eat good foods, balance a check book, and learn to live within your means.
     
  19. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I agree it will probably never happen. I also agree that it's an anachronism.

    As I argued elsewhere, same question, the "Tyranny of the Majority" is much more pertinent to individual rights, such as religion and free speech, and much less pertinent to the question of the Electoral College.

    The Electoral College is, in fact, one of the most blatant examples of the Tyrany of the Majority, in that the institution negates the vote of each state's minority party or parties, in all but two states.

    Now, retaining the EC, but apportioning the electors by popular vote, would do away with this feature. However, it would also leave open the possibility of the guy with the fewer votes winning, as in the 2000 election.

    But since Nebraska and Maine apportion their electors proportionately, perhaps that is a way forward without a constitutional amendment. It would take a grass-roots movement, but I think it would be a more attainable goal to slowly bring the EC closer to a democratic model, state by state.

    PFnV
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2007

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