Breaking Up the United States

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:12 pm UTC

Sex discrimination gets less scrutiny than race discrimination because it's generally accepted, rightly or wrongly, that there are some sex differences that are relevant in ways that racial differences aren't.
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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby Zohar » Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:31 pm UTC

There are also arguments for separation - keeping girls safe, for instance. Those arguments are usually wrong and misguided (sexual assault, for instance, is no less prevalent in all-girl colleges), but they exist.
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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby Chen » Thu Apr 13, 2017 11:45 am UTC

I meant more legally. Suppose a girl wants to go to the boys only school or vice versa. I presume they're not allowed, but how does this get around discrimination law? I suppose if the schools are private they may have less regulation? But even private businesses aren't allowed to discriminate based on sex...

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby Belial » Thu Apr 13, 2017 3:26 pm UTC

The relative merits of segregation are not a relevant digression. Also, evil. Back to the topic.
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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby ivnja » Thu Apr 13, 2017 5:00 pm UTC

I don't support the idea of breaking up the United States, even if there are significant regional differences (a topic that a reporter at our local major paper, Colin Woodard, wrote a book about - WaPo synopsis article here - and revisited in an article examining Trump's victory). If nothing else, I think having a single military - if used properly, for national defense and for ensuring freedom of navigation on the seas - is much better for all of us than having two or six or ten region-national militaries trying to do the same thing. I also think (as does Woodard) that the idea of just Red America and Blue America is way over-simplified. As far as fact that people keep voting Red or Blue and regional parties haven't formed, my guess is that it's for the same reason the Greens and the Libertarians don't get votes - not that there aren't people that would vote for them, but with first past the post elections, a vote for a third party is often counterproductive.

I do wish that some of the more contentious single issues that tend to serve as red-blue wedges were left to the states (or regions - there's nothing, as far as I know, preventing the New England states from setting up their own multi-state insurance exchange, is there?) to figure out. Full disclosure, I lean libertarianish, and I acknowledge that philosophically, I'm already sympathetic to the idea of more local control and less centralization, even if I don't agree with what others may do with their local control. But philosophy aside, when a man like Donald fucking Trump can get elected to the presidency of the United States of America and the Republican Party holds both houses of Congress and now has a sympathetic Supreme Court, I do not trust the federal government to not fuck us over. I think the left has overall been on the correct side of these major issues, like LGBT rights and abortion, and over time they've been successful at securing and defending these rights at the federal level. But that can be undone, and the party in power vehemently wants to see it undone and reversed. Individual states banning abortion would be abhorrent; a federal ban on abortion would be devastating. The fights at the federal level become even more high stakes when neither side has anywhere to fall back, and everything is all-or-nothing. I'm sitting in a state where state-level abortion laws are pretty permissive, and where marijuana was legalized despite the federal ban, and where gay marriage was passed by referendum before the Supreme Court decision, and where, if the status quo remains, I will be able to legally change markers on my ID, and those things would all still be the case if there were power devolution from the federal level to states. It's selfish, but I'm afraid of losing that and having nowhere to retreat to if the religious right gets their way when all the big decisions are federal and all-encompassing.
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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Apr 14, 2017 4:45 am UTC

The big argument for secession is that some regions are being heavily taxed to subsidize the others. California will bitch that they pay so much in tax to support the others, but are silent when it's pointed out that all their wealth comes from selling fruits, tech and movies/tv to the other states at exhorbitant prices. If California seceded, do you think for five seconds the US would respect Apple's patent on a rectangle with rounded edges?

So no, California is not going to be so goddamn stupid as to secede.

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby elasto » Fri Apr 14, 2017 1:49 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:If California seceded, do you think for five seconds the US would respect Apple's patent on a rectangle with rounded edges?

Of course they would else India, China et al. would turn even more of a blind eye to US patents on drugs and tech etc.

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Apr 14, 2017 4:30 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:If California seceded, do you think for five seconds the US would respect Apple's patent on a rectangle with rounded edges?

Of course they would else India, China et al. would turn even more of a blind eye to US patents on drugs and tech etc.


That's only if the US ignores Chinese patents. Even if the US decides to respect the rectangle with rounded edges patent, these Californian assholes come out with new patents every single year, and there's no reason for the US to be so lenient in assigning new patents to a foreign company.

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby sardia » Fri Apr 14, 2017 7:29 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:The big argument for secession is that some regions are being heavily taxed to subsidize the others. California will bitch that they pay so much in tax to support the others, but are silent when it's pointed out that all their wealth comes from selling fruits, tech and movies/tv to the other states at exhorbitant prices. If California seceded, do you think for five seconds the US would respect Apple's patent on a rectangle with rounded edges?

So no, California is not going to be so goddamn stupid as to secede.

That's an interesting way of putting it. Can't you say the same thing of Texas? Selling fermented algae juice and overpriced protein to others for exorbitant prices? Those secessionists aren't much better.

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Apr 14, 2017 8:08 pm UTC

sardia wrote:
That's an interesting way of putting it. Can't you say the same thing of Texas? Selling fermented algae juice and overpriced protein to others for exorbitant prices? Those secessionists aren't much better.


"Fermented algae juice" sounds like something from Whole Foods, which is incidentally HQ'd in Texas. Would've gone with "organic natural energy products". But yes, pretty much the same as with Texas. And Vermont.

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby eran_rathan » Sat Apr 15, 2017 6:52 pm UTC

I think if one state was allowed to secede, you'd see a rapid balkanization of various areas forming regional governments with differing ideas as to what are civil liberties and fundamental freedoms. I don't think it would be unheard of for certain sections of the country to go full Fundamentalist Christian Theocracy, for instance.
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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby morriswalters » Sat Apr 15, 2017 7:50 pm UTC

but are silent when it's pointed out that all their wealth comes from selling fruits, tech and movies/tv to the other states at exhorbitant prices.
Which they would continue to sell at those prices. If not inland than elsewhere.

So no, California is not going to be so goddamn stupid as to secede.

Never, ever, underestimate the stupidity of anyone.

We have a good case study in what happens when a state secedes. Civil war.

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby commodorejohn » Sun Apr 16, 2017 1:20 am UTC

eran_rathan wrote:I don't think it would be unheard of for certain sections of the country to go full Fundamentalist Christian Theocracy, for instance.

No, that wouldn't happen. Barring an actual successful insurrection by a religious organization, any government with its own bureacracy and power structures already in place is never going to go full theocracy, because that would involve politicians ceding power and status to something other than themselves. What you'd see instead is a standard political structure of some stripe or another with any elected officials pandering to religious interest groups on issues where they benefit from it (or at least are not inconvenienced by it,) and brushing them off with weasely excuses on anything else. In other words, exactly what those areas have right now.
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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby Ranbot » Wed Apr 26, 2017 1:05 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:I've read a handful of articles recently that have discussed the problem in the United States that the division between "Red America"* and "Blue America"* has become so severe that the two sides may be irreconcilable.

I think this assertion is fundamentally flawed as shown in the second post in this discussion by the county-level voting map, which is not as starkly blue vs red as many think. Furthermore the second post mentions what I think is the root cause of what we think are irreconcilable differences: The Electoral College.
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The division between 'red america' and 'blue america' is not so simple as a division between states. Electoral votes are decided in most cases by the entire state, but the divide is more urban vs rural than something simply decidable geographically.

The winner-takes-all electoral college supports our entrenched 2-party politics. The party rhetoric and platforms will naturally be very polarized to differentiate each other. Every few years the pendulum of political power swings back and forth between blue and red, skipping over the moderate middle where vast majority of citizens' opinions actually are. However voters at the polls have no other realistic option and are forced to pick a side based on the issues that are most important to them and hold their nose against the other crap in the party platform. Strong 3rd parties or independent votes could bridge this gap and serve as moderators to the polarized parties by splitting their power bases and force them to negotiate, but the Electoral College puts those candidates at an incredible disadvantage. America is not as divided as our electoral college system makes us. If you want to reconcile the differences in the US start with reforming [or getting rid of] the Electoral College. I admit that won't be easy, but it will be a heck of a lot easier and cause less bloodshed than breaking up the US into separate countries.

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby ucim » Wed Apr 26, 2017 1:15 pm UTC

Ranbot wrote:Strong 3rd parties or independent votes could bridge this gap and serve as moderators to the polarized parties by splitting their power bases and force them to negotiate, but the Electoral College puts those candidates at an incredible disadvantage.
How is it the electoral college itself, and not the FPTP voting system, that does this?

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby Ranbot » Wed Apr 26, 2017 2:42 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Ranbot wrote:Strong 3rd parties or independent votes could bridge this gap and serve as moderators to the polarized parties by splitting their power bases and force them to negotiate, but the Electoral College puts those candidates at an incredible disadvantage.
How is it the electoral college itself, and not the FPTP voting system, that does this?

Jose

FPTP is part it, but US voting participation revolves around the presidential election and voters typically a do party vote down the line for or against the president, even when the president is not up for election. Furthermore, most people don't want to vote for a third party knowing that party will never have a shot at the coveted president's office. They shouldn't view things that way but that is reality and human nature. So, in that way the electoral college permeates all politics.

On a more practical level the US Electoral College is an easier target for reform, because most people can generally understand the inaccuracies and problems with the electoral college system. If you try to explain the problems with FPTP voting to people, you'll most likely get a bunch of blank stares in return.

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby Whizbang » Wed Apr 26, 2017 2:44 pm UTC

FPTP causes third parties to not have a chance, therefore the Electoral College causes third parties to not have a chance?

Seems legit.

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby Chen » Wed Apr 26, 2017 3:21 pm UTC

Doesn't the electoral college only affect the President choice anyways? With a FPTP system even if there were no electoral college, you'd still have two party dominance. It might shift who ends up being president one way or the other but it won't shift it to a third party. I don't see how abolishing the electoral college would do anything to help get more third party senators or house members elected either, which is probably more important than the presidency anyways.

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby Ranbot » Wed Apr 26, 2017 3:31 pm UTC

Whizbang wrote:FPTP causes third parties to not have a chance, therefore the Electoral College causes third parties to not have a chance?

Seems legit.

I admit the electoral college and FPTP are related but I don't think they are equal and I think one can still separate them to some degree.

Consider this piece of election history... The 1992 Presidential election: Clinton vs Bush vs Perot. Perot won 18% of the popular vote, but zero electoral votes. That's the electoral college's undemocratic influence more than FPTP. It's a prime example of why people feel like voting third party anywhere down-ticket is throwing away their vote or at best a protest vote. Reforming the electoral college would be a big step to changing that mindset.

Also consider that other countries have FPTP voting systems and have more than two parties, like the UK and Canada. So, maybe something else is in the US system that makes our 2-party politics so enduring? What could that be?

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby Sizik » Wed Apr 26, 2017 3:48 pm UTC

The electoral college causes there to be (effectively) multiple FPTP votes, not one, since most states are FPTP for who ALL of their electors (are pledged to) vote for. For a third party to win the presidency, they have to both win a FPTP vote on a state-by-state basis, and in doing so get enough electors to win a FPTP vote in the college.
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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby Chen » Wed Apr 26, 2017 5:05 pm UTC

Ranbot wrote:Also consider that other countries have FPTP voting systems and have more than two parties, like the UK and Canada. So, maybe something else is in the US system that makes our 2-party politics so enduring? What could that be?


I don't think its the electoral college. Here in Canada our members of parliament (MPs) are voted for based on district (ridings). The leader of the party who has the most MPs elected is the Prime Minister. Each of the MPs gets a vote on laws. If you consider ridings basically the same as states, you run into the exact same electoral college problem. For reference, our current majority government in Canada (i.e., they have a majority of MPs and thus do not need any other party support to pass laws) was elected with ~40% of the popular vote. If you had a problem with the electoral college being "undemocratic" what do you think of that?

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby ucim » Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:42 pm UTC

Ranbot wrote:...voters typically a do party vote down the line for or against the president, even when the president is not up for election...
... which has nothing to do with the Electoral College; they'd do that anyway.
Ranbot wrote:...most people don't want to vote for a third party knowing that party will never have a shot at the coveted president's office.
Again, nothing to do with the Electoral College. The reason a third party doesn't have a shot is that with FPTP voting, it draws voters away from their second-best choice. Only one person can be president; it's a legitimate question as to whether it should be the favorite of most voters, or the most tolerable to most voters. They tend to be different crowds.
Ranbot wrote:On a more practical level the US Electoral College is an easier target for reform, because most people can generally understand the inaccuracies and problems with the electoral college system.
No, they don't, and your post is evidence of this. Granted, the Electoral College instantly failed at its initial premise (having intelligent and informed people choose the president, rather than it being a popularity contest), but what it does do is help ensure that majority interests don't overrule the minority interests (if you have power, you also have responsibility) by forcing candidates to have broader appeal. In practice the divide has been between urban and rural states, and it gives extra power to that (otherwise possibly overlooked) minority. In the most recent election that power helped elect a spoiled child to the presidency, but that isn't the problem, it's the symptom. The problem is the indifference government is felt to have shown to those rural groups, and the gullibility and susceptibility of Americans to simple answers offered glibly.
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This power shift is also an effect of the Senate, whose representation is based on simply being a state, not on the population underlying it. (A side effect of splitting a state in two, such as N. and S. Dakota, is to increase Senate representation of the population of that area). And all of this is predicated on the US being the United States of America. Each individual state is a more-or-less sovereign entity in itself, which has quite a bit of latitude in determining the rules its citizens live under. In the early history of the US, there was much debate as to how unified the United States should be; in the end a strong union won out and arguably because of that the US became a major superpower.

An alternate version of history in which the states were less united and more sovereign is being played out right now in Europe. Another exit may doom the EU; a stronger union (with countries giving up some sovereignty in the process) could lead to the EU being a superpower itself. If both the EU and the US break up, the superpowers left will be Russia, China, and (perhaps) ISIS.

But I digress.
I find it amusing that those who bash the Electoral College have no problem with the way the World Series is scored, which is pretty much the same way. The team with the most overall runs can easily lose the series; I've never heard anybody kvetch about that.

The Electoral College is an easy target for rallying people to the cause, because people don't understand what it is, what it does, and why it does it. Not that it's all good, but I'm not convinced that the alternative would not generate significant adverse unintended consequences.

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby Ranbot » Wed Apr 26, 2017 8:05 pm UTC

Chen wrote:For reference, our current majority government in Canada (i.e., they have a majority of MPs and thus do not need any other party support to pass laws) was elected with ~40% of the popular vote. If you had a problem with the electoral college being "undemocratic" what do you think of that?

It's a good counter-point. In my view the polarized two-party politics is worse than a president being elected with less than 50% of the popular vote, because no one is willing to support a third party (i.e. an alternative view). Also in the 1992 election example I gave above Bill Clinton won the presidency with 43% of the popular vote, similar to the Canadian example you gave; and we have the 2000 and 2016 elections where the candidate with fewer popular votes won the electoral college, so it's not like the electoral college is helping democracy.

In my view though, the biggest benefit of breaking up the electoral college is not a vastly improved presidential election (although I think it would improve that too), but down the ballot voters would seriously consider third parties, which could fit their opinions better than settling on one of two polar options. When legislators don't have a clear majority they will be forced to negotiate and we get more moderate legislation. Whereas in the US's current two-party system whatever party is "winning" at the time attempts to jam legislation through, while the other "losing" party stonewalls and obfuscates waiting for the pendulum to swings back in their favor. The down-ballot effect of the electoral college props up this dysfunctional system.

Also, pardon my ignorance of Canadian gov't, but can they really pass law in Canada with only 40% majority? In the US passing laws requires at least 50% +1 votes from members in both houses of Congress regardless of party affiliations.

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby Ranbot » Wed Apr 26, 2017 8:23 pm UTC

ucim wrote:The Electoral College is an easy target for rallying people to the cause, because people don't understand what it is, what it does, and why it does it. Not that it's all good, but I'm not convinced that the alternative would not generate significant adverse unintended consequences.

Jose

I understand I won't convince you. I appreciate you understand the history of the electoral college (as do I) and that you acknowledge it's drawbacks. I take away that you just think the problem is bigger than the electoral college, and it probably is. So, here's my last pitch... There are many institutions that make the US government the great and ones that make it a total mess. When people/states/regions are actually considering secession [like the OP], it's time to look for substantial reforms, and in my opinion reforming the electoral college is a lower hanging fruit and less risky than other paths.

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby ucim » Wed Apr 26, 2017 8:50 pm UTC

Ranbot wrote:When people/states/regions are actually considering secession [like the OP], it's time to look for substantial reforms, and in my opinion reforming the electoral college is a lower hanging fruit and less risky than other paths.
Change! Change something! Quickly!

It's important to recognize:
1: Whether secession is actually being considered seriously,
2: if so, why, and
3: whether or not the change being proposed actually addresses any of this, and if so...
4: whether it does so successfully, with a good outcome.

Changing or eliminating the Electoral College will not do this, and would be a distraction to the (not insubstantial) mental effort required to actually address the issue in question. It's a sound byte. It is a manifestation of the problem.

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby Chen » Thu Apr 27, 2017 12:07 pm UTC

Ranbot wrote:Also, pardon my ignorance of Canadian gov't, but can they really pass law in Canada with only 40% majority? In the US passing laws requires at least 50% +1 votes from members in both houses of Congress regardless of party affiliations.


They had 39.5% of the popular vote which got them 184 out of 338 (54%) of the seats in parliament. So they have the 50% +1 votes needed to pass law.

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:38 pm UTC

Ranbot wrote:Also, pardon my ignorance of Canadian gov't, but can they really pass law in Canada with only 40% majority? In the US passing laws requires at least 50% +1 votes from members in both houses of Congress regardless of party affiliations.


Well, Canada's government is basically just Parliament, which is the probably closest to the House of Representatives in terms of function. The Prime Minister is the equivalent of majority leader. You need 50%+1 support of sitting members to pass legislation, but each individual member of Parliament doesn't need 50% support to be elected... it's just whoever has the most votes in that particular riding, which, with 3 or 4 or sometimes 5 parties running, could conceivably be as low as 20-25% popular vote (such examples are extremely rare, but 3 way splits with a ~35% winner are not). So you can get 50%+1 of the seats in Parliament quite easily without 50% of the popular vote. In fact, getting 50% of the popular vote would be a crushing landslide by Canadian standards--you would probably expect to sweep virtually every seat in Parliament.

Canada's Senate and Governor General (equivalent to the President) are essentially ceremonial roles. While the former has in principle the powers to introduce and block legislation, since it's an unelected body, in practice, it is basically never able to prevent legislation from the elected part of government from passing. The latter likewise has a veto power over all legislation, but this power has only been used once or twice in all of Canadian history. So yeah, with 35-38% of the popular vote, a government often gains enough seats in the elected part of government to pass any law that they want. The main backstop to the government is the Supreme Court.

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby Bane Harper » Tue May 02, 2017 6:20 am UTC

This discussion some how reminds me of a the Amazon Prime series "the man in the high castle" where the divide between Red and Blue is depicted

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby reval » Fri May 05, 2017 3:05 pm UTC

The US states can fix the electoral college disaster without a constitutional amendment: National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

This is an actual thing, with states accounting for 165 electoral votes having signed up; when it gets to 270 electoral votes it takes effect. Then these states throw all their electors to the candidate who has won the national vote, and we're done with the unspeakable electoral college.

Except, of course, that the unspeakable people in the states who like the current sick system ... like the current sick system.

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby Chen » Fri May 05, 2017 5:32 pm UTC

reval wrote:The US states can fix the electoral college disaster without a constitutional amendment: National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

This is an actual thing, with states accounting for 165 electoral votes having signed up; when it gets to 270 electoral votes it takes effect. Then these states throw all their electors to the candidate who has won the national vote, and we're done with the unspeakable electoral college.

Except, of course, that the unspeakable people in the states who like the current sick system ... like the current sick system.


To cover the handful of elections where there was a difference between the Electoral college and popular vote you essentially damn all rural and low population areas to no representation at all. Why spend time and money courting rural votes? Just hit NYC, LA and other big urban hubs and forget about the rest of the country.

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby Zohar » Fri May 05, 2017 6:14 pm UTC

What's so special about rural areas that they should have more power in a vote, again?
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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby nicklikesfire » Fri May 05, 2017 6:17 pm UTC

Chen wrote:To cover the handful of elections where there was a difference between the Electoral college and popular vote you essentially damn all rural and low population areas to no representation at all. Why spend time and money courting rural votes? Just hit NYC, LA and other big urban hubs and forget about the rest of the country.


I don't understand this argument. Are you saying that politicians wouldn't physically visit rural areas? Or that they wouldn't have a media presence there?

Candidates would still need to appeal to a majority of voters. I don't think anyone will win any elections by damning rural populations.

Furthermore, I don't want candidates "courting" any voters. I want them focusing on the issues, and I want every speech to be recorded and broadcast live online so that anyone can listen in, regardless of where they're located.

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby cphite » Fri May 05, 2017 7:01 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:What's so special about rural areas that they should have more power in a vote, again?


What's so special about rural areas that they should have no power whatsoever in a vote?

Even with the electoral college, politicians focus an inordinate amount on heavily populated regions. Without the electoral college, there would be little reason for politicians at the national level to even consider the wants and needs of people living outside of major population centers.

So the question is, should entire communities (including entire states) with one set of wants, needs, and values; be completely without say in their government at the national level? And should they be completely subject to the whims of people with entirely different wants, needs and values; who might live a thousand miles away and have a completely different way of life?

Granted, an argument can be made that the electoral college overcompensates and needs to be twerked, to lean less heavily towards rural states. But that doesn't mean it has to go away.

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby Zohar » Fri May 05, 2017 7:14 pm UTC

Can you show me any proof of that? There are about 46 million Americans living in rural areas, that's 15% of American population. However, in 2012 at least, they were over-represented in the national elections (21% of voters were from rural areas). The number of rural voters was much larger than the gap between Obama and Romney. While I can't easily find the data for the 2016 election, I don't think this trend has changed significantly. Point being, if a candidate completely ignores rural areas, even in a popular national-level vote, the opposing candidate could easily gain a lot of very easy votes just by mentioning "rural" a few times.
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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby DaBigCheez » Fri May 05, 2017 8:19 pm UTC

One could also argue that the disproportionate representation of smaller-population/rural states in the Senate is a sufficient mechanism to address this without needing to carry that over into the Presidential elections as well.
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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby Thesh » Fri May 05, 2017 8:49 pm UTC

One can also argue one person one vote is sufficient.
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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby Liri » Fri May 05, 2017 10:08 pm UTC

And, looking at where politicians campaign with the current system, rural states remain ignored. The EC hasn't solved, at all, the problem it purportedly fixes.
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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby dg61 » Sat May 06, 2017 1:24 am UTC

cphite wrote:
Zohar wrote:What's so special about rural areas that they should have more power in a vote, again?


What's so special about rural areas that they should have no power whatsoever in a vote?

Even with the electoral college, politicians focus an inordinate amount on heavily populated regions. Without the electoral college, there would be little reason for politicians at the national level to even consider the wants and needs of people living outside of major population centers.

So the question is, should entire communities (including entire states) with one set of wants, needs, and values; be completely without say in their government at the national level? And should they be completely subject to the whims of people with entirely different wants, needs and values; who might live a thousand miles away and have a completely different way of life?

Granted, an argument can be made that the electoral college overcompensates and needs to be twerked, to lean less heavily towards rural states. But that doesn't mean it has to go away.



I think the argument kinda falls flat both ways actually. Consider:

1. As high profile as an EC-PV divergence is, it's kind of rare. So I'm not sure how much the EC helps.

2. As commented elsewhere(I think), it's not at all clear that the EC actually helps rural states all that much. Many rural states don't have many EVs(making them poor targets) or are dyed-in-the-wool Republican(making them not terribly worthwhile targets to try to win-they're in the bag for one party and out of reach for another. The states that are favored are really larger and demographically balanced enough to not be a safe state(Texas or California, say).

3. Would rural areas be disenfranchised in favor of urban areas in a straight PV(FPTP or other system of your choice)? If we want to show that we'd have to show that urban areas are sufficiently populated to decisively outvote rural areas; I am not sure about this(I've seen analyses that say taht if you take the largest metro areas and/or cities in the US, even sweeping them would not win you an election; conversely I have seen statistics taht a majority of the US population is urbanized although that seems to hinge on the definition of "urbanized"

4. Who actually benefits? I'm not sure, but I've long had a hunch that things would be as-is but on a smaller scale with "swing districts" rather than "swing states". Even without the EC, some localities are going to be more competitive than others. At any rate, I'm not sure this would be a panacea or a disaster.

Out of curiosity, which do you thing would have more dramatic effects-ditching the EC and going straight PV or going for a non-plurality ish system, say if we adopted France's system?

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby ucim » Sat May 06, 2017 4:37 am UTC

Zohar wrote:What's so special about rural areas that they should have more power in a vote, again?
Thesh wrote:One can also argue one person one vote is sufficient.
To illustrate, consider a spherical cow.

The population is split 52% green, 48% yellow. There are five major issues to be decided each year, and on each of them greens want (100%) high, and yellows want (100%) low. Without considering voting systems, gerrymandering, electoral colleges, and any other methods of allocating voting power, what outcome would best match the overall will of the populace?

a: 100% of the time, on every issue, high wins.
b: 52% of the time, on every issue, high wins.
c: 100% of the time, on 52% of the issues, high wins.

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby Zohar » Sat May 06, 2017 11:40 am UTC

I'm not sure how that's a useful analogy. For starters, as I already mentioned, only 15% of the US population lives in rural areas, not 48%.

Again - what's so special about rural communities? Why not give more voting power to the poor? To racial and ethnic minorities? To women? To LGBTQ people? To people whose name start with a C? What's so unique about rural areas?
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