Breaking Up the United States

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ucim
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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.

Jose
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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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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby P13808 » Sun Jul 09, 2017 5:33 pm UTC

Ranbot wrote:Yeah, I've seen you try to take the discussion down that path, but I think that's a cop-out to avoid addressing a specific issue. It's a classic debate tactic to talk about larger socio-political or philosophic issues of the whole to move the goalposts and avoid talking about a specific issue at hand. It's the equivalent of sending an issue to a committee to die. Therefore I do not feel any need to engage you [or others] in that sort of debate. It's a distraction, it's avoidance, and I'm not supporting it by engaging. I will go as far as agreeing that complicated political systems like the US's are difficult and dangerous to overhaul (I am inferring from discussions above that you would agree, but feel free to correct me), but I believe history shows the whole system can be made better [or worse] by making small changes to the parts. Further, in regards to electoral college specifically I feel there's plenty of evidence to act on reforming/improving this relatively small part of the system, despite flaws in the whole system.



Not actually having a problem in mind when discussing solutions just makes for a useless going in circles. Whether we want the best governors or more representative or some other thing will determine what sorts of voting systems make sense.

If having a discussion about the goal is just a distraction, then you should have no problem with the argument that the best voting method is to just let me decide. I.e. only I get a vote. You might respond by wheeling out some alternative you prefer that aims at a different goal, and we can talk past each other, but until you address the goal (in this case, my goal would be maximizing my personal power) we're going nowhere.

Pretty much any line of reasoning on the question of voting systems will go

1. We should try to achieve set of goals G. (G may be a singleton.)
2. Method M is the best way to achieve G.
3. Therefore, use M.

Note that if we have two different sets of goals G1 and G2 we may well agree M1 is the best way to get G1 and M2 G2. You probably agree giving me the only vote is the best way to bring about the maximization of my personal power. The disagreement, then, is on whether that's a good goal.

In the EC versus popular vote argument, most items falling under 2 are known. EC focuses on state power, increases the relative voting power of people in unpopulated states, etc. Popular vote would encourage candidates to give more attention to dense areas. Trying to skip to 3 citing these reasons is pointless when the real disagreement is in 1.

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby xkcdhatguy » Sun Aug 27, 2017 9:47 am UTC

this seems a bit too impossible and unlikely to happen but i just wanna say i think that it's really smart if we could separate people by their beliefs into territories a bit more directly. get lots of diversity in terms of what different states can do. that way one group of people can keep their beliefs and another can do whatever they want and no one gets hurt.

but people are dumb and wanna assume that USA is "united under God." we don't have to be fucking united, screw that. ofc, this premise should apply to the whole human race in terms of not hurting people who choose to be different or come from someplace different. freedom to be with or without. we should be able to live any way at all that we choose without limit as long as it makes people happy. but really i don't know how to sympathize with people who put so much emphasis on where they live instead of how they live (except to the degree it's not dangerous or major things like weather).

nationalistic tendencies pretty much just suck imo. but hey, we're all slowly drowning thanks to our inability to cooperate. just keep on living in a world of symbolism and bullshittery instead of organizing ourselves better and more efficiently.

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby qvxb » Fri Sep 29, 2017 12:21 am UTC

Keep the citizens happy. The more differences they have, the more chances they will have to say the satisfying phrase "Told you, a--hole!"

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby ucim » Fri Sep 29, 2017 2:18 am UTC

xkcdhatguy wrote:but people are dumb and wanna assume that USA is "united under God." we don't have to be fucking united, screw that.
Uh... there are some advantages to being united that it would be dumb to forfeit. The simplest to describe is that it's really easy for a hostile nation (yes, they exist) to invade (e.g.) California, if California is a standalone "nation". What makes California as strong as the entire United States is that it has all of the other states united with it, including the entirety of the armed forces. If we separate people (will they actually want to uproot and move to a different location?) by their beliefs, each resulting territory will have nobody that is especially willing to put themselves on the line to defend them. To paraphrase... "First they came for the athiests, but I said nothing, because I believed in Allah..."

There are many other reasons; I'll leave them as an exercise to the reader. But if you manage to create the utopia you'd need to make your vision reality, you would no longer need your vision in the first place.

Unity ("cooperation") is important, as you already intimate:
xkcdhatguy wrote:nationalistic tendencies pretty much just suck imo. but hey, we're all slowly drowning thanks to our inability to cooperate.
But unity is not accomplished by division.

Jose
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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby cphite » Fri Sep 29, 2017 2:50 pm UTC

xkcdhatguy wrote:this seems a bit too impossible and unlikely to happen but i just wanna say i think that it's really smart if we could separate people by their beliefs into territories a bit more directly. get lots of diversity in terms of what different states can do. that way one group of people can keep their beliefs and another can do whatever they want and no one gets hurt.


How do you plan on separating people? Are you going to force people to move if they don't want to? And who gets to decide where each group is placed? And, what makes you think putting people in separate territories is actually going to solve anything? Are you planning to erect walls between them? And how are you separating people by "belief" in the first place? What beliefs? What are the criteria? Most people don't fall into neat little buckets when it comes to their politics. Hell, even our political parties, as opposed to one another as they supposedly are, have overlapping beliefs and interests.

This whole idea is silly... mainly because it's completely unworkable, but also because it addresses a problem that doesn't actually exist. We live in a world where, unfortunately, fringe elements on all sides of the political spectrum tend to have the loudest voices; most people just don't care, certainly not enough to uproot themselves and move into your hypothetical territories.

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby slinches » Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:35 pm UTC

ucim wrote:What makes California as strong as the entire United States is that it has all of the other states united with it, including the entirety of the armed forces. If we separate people (will they actually want to uproot and move to a different location?) by their beliefs, each resulting territory will have nobody that is especially willing to put themselves on the line to defend them.

I think we can be united in some ways and amicably differ in others. If people in Europe can retain their national identity and still be a proud member of the EU, then why couldn't the US have proud citizens who also identify strongly with their state? There's no need to drop the unity in defense in order to have different approaches to things like healthcare and taxes.

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby ucim » Fri Sep 29, 2017 9:40 pm UTC

slinches wrote: There's no need to drop the unity in defense in order to have different approaches to things like healthcare and taxes.
Absolutely. But that's not what was being proposed. To wit:
xkcdhatguy wrote:i think that it's really smart if we could separate people by their beliefs into territories a bit more directly.
He's talking about physically separating people. Presumably by force:
xkcdhatguy wrote:i don't know how to sympathize with people who put so much emphasis on where they live instead of how they live
He's not talking about living with people who have different approaches. He's pretty much talking about building a wall between them, turning them into little nation-states. There's no way this stands up against Russia or China or Iran or even Korea. And never mind what "differing approaches to trade agreements" would produce.

Divide to conquer.

Jose
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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby slinches » Fri Sep 29, 2017 10:41 pm UTC

Yeah, I agree that forcibly separating people ideologically has some very severe and obvious problems.

I was implicitly suggesting an alternative. Allow the states more autonomy and people can freely choose to live somewhere that more closely matches their political philosophy. No force necessary and it still achieves the desired outcome of allowing more diverse government within the country.

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby cphite » Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:12 pm UTC

slinches wrote:Yeah, I agree that forcibly separating people ideologically has some very severe and obvious problems.

I was implicitly suggesting an alternative. Allow the states more autonomy and people can freely choose to live somewhere that more closely matches their political philosophy. No force necessary and it still achieves the desired outcome of allowing more diverse government within the country.


You mean actually treat the states like the sovereign entities they were intended to be?

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby Thesh » Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:15 pm UTC

And exactly what would be the result of that? Do we need lessons on (recent) history again?
Honesty replaced by greed, they gave us the reason to fight and bleed
They try to torch our faith and hope, spit at our presence and detest our goals

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby slinches » Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:39 pm UTC

What are you referring to, Thesh? When have we given the states more sovereignty in recent history?

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby Thesh » Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:45 pm UTC

Honesty replaced by greed, they gave us the reason to fight and bleed
They try to torch our faith and hope, spit at our presence and detest our goals

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Re: Breaking Up the United States

Postby dg61 » Sun Oct 01, 2017 5:37 pm UTC

Have states been sovergin entities since 1789? I'm quite serious, given the limited reach of doctrines like nullification and the existence of the Supremacy Clause.


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