Breaking Up the United States

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby ucim » Thu May 11, 2017 11:35 pm UTC

Ranbot wrote:- EC is inherently undemocratic, arbitrarily moving political power from one group to another.
This is not true. Democracies come in many forms, layered democracies are necessary where the population is too big, and while the EC (one form of a layered democracy) is not necessary, it is not antithetical either. Also the US is not a democracy, it's a republic. There are some differences.

Ranbot wrote:- EC distorts where politicians campaign and what issues they campaign on.
This is not true. It certainly affects where politicians campaign, but absent the EC, other things would affect where politicians campaign. Calling it "distortion" implies, incorrectly, that there is some ideal method for politicians' campaigns.

Ranbot wrote:- EC fosters our polarized two-party system and all the nasty things that come with it.
This is not true. What fosters the two-party system is the existence of primaries, which appeal more to extreme views than centrist ones, and feed the main election with extremist candidates. Further exacerbating this is the FPTP election system (which rewards the most-liked over the least-hated candidate). It is also the nature of FPTP systems that ganging up against the leader is effective; taken to the end this leaves two parties: the winner, and the almost-winner.

Ranbot wrote:- EC is a huge barrier to having viable third parties
Perhaps. But the bigger thing is what I mentioned above. And money.

Ranbot wrote:- The historical constitutional reasons for the EC no longer exist
True. However, remember that the nation was (and still is) a union of States and the EC reflects this fact; that the election was considered to be an election by the states, not by the people directly. Whether it should be is a valid question, but that question is independent of the EC itself. Using the EC's shortcomings to upend the idea of election by states is invalid reasoning.

Ranbot wrote:- There is a fully constitutional alternative to reform the EC, which is currently in use by two US states: The Congressional District Method.
Interestingly, that very website says "However, if expanded to all 50 states, the Congressional District Method would make the presidential election even less competitive, and it would increase the likelihood of a candidate winning the election without winning a majority of the national popular vote." Be careful what you wish for.

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby morriswalters » Thu May 11, 2017 11:39 pm UTC

It isn't, and you know it isn't.
No, I don't. I'm trying to understand the distinction your making. But I won't waste anymore time with it.
Ranbot wrote:Agreed, we are better than at the founding, but that's not reason to stop improving and defeatist logic. The Civil War ended slavery, should we all just say "I believe [it] is way better than where we were at the founding" and leave it at that? That's a hyperbolic example but it's to make a point.
That is an interesting take on things. If I knew someone who thought that way it might be meaningful.

My rebuttal would be that you have a higher burden than I do, if I took the position that that the EC shouldn't be changed. You accept that it is working to some degree or the other. The mismatch between the popular vote and the EC has only happened five times since the founding, three times in the 1800's. Certainly the country had a chance to repudiate Bush in the modern era, yet he won in his second term.

Ranbot wrote:EC is inherently undemocratic, arbitrarily moving political power from one group to another.
We do these types of transfers all of the time. Set asides of one type or another(affirmative action) would be one example. I presume what you are actually talking about is the supposed transfer of power from urban areas to rural areas.
Ranbot wrote:EC distorts where politicians campaign and what issues they campaign on.
Well maybe. Certainly all the states that got attention in the last election were all populous states. I didn't see a lot of campaigning in the farm belt. So you would need to convince me that it would have been different had the popular vote counted instead of the EC. Not the outcome but where they campaigned. Given that it is impossible for a candidate to campaign everywhere, economics dictates that they campaign where people are.
Ranbot wrote:EC fosters our polarized two-party system and all the nasty things that come with it... entrenched partisan politics, politics that swing between extremes without pausing in the moderate middle where most Americans are, stonewalling, flow of money, gerrymandering, etc.
You're on a very thin limb and a squirrel is trying to cut it off. In order. Partisan politics happens everywhere and gets really ugly. Come on down to Kentucky. We elect everybody by popular vote. The political landscape moves because the minds of the people do, those that can be bothered to participate at all. Expecting it to be static is wishful thinking. If you can provide an example that would show otherwise I would love to hear about it. Gerrymandering is a problem unrelated to Presidential politics at all. I don't really understand how you think that moving to direct elections would change that.
Ranbot wrote:EC is a huge barrier to having viable third parties
How many states have a robust third party. In so far as I know they all elect by popular vote.
Ranbot wrote:"Rural" states already have extra protections from more populous "urban" states by the existence of the US Senate.
Such as? I hear this tossed around, a lot. It would seem to be more true that urban areas have structural advantages that less populated areas can't hope to match. More jobs, more heath care, more money, more pretty much of everything. I would continue but...

Anyway I'm tired and don't really have anything else relevant to add at this point.

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