Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

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btilly
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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby btilly » Sun Nov 09, 2008 12:30 am UTC

seladore wrote:North Dakota has 3 EVs, which is ~0.5% of the full 538. What I don't understand is how the EV system gives North Dakotans more of a say than simply using the popular vote (by population, ND is ~0.3% of the US).

Your number of electoral votes is the number of senators and congressmen you have. Congress is divided by population (with a minimum of 1 congresscritter per state), and you get 2 senators per state. So the minimum representation in the electoral college is 3.

lorenith wrote:You don't seem to understand the idea behind the electoral college in the first place based on what you have said.

I don't like with the electoral college, but there's nothing "wrong" with it if the person who won the popular vote loses through the electoral college. The electoral college was originally put in place to balance out the "excitable masses." People picked out the electoral college, and the electoral college picks the president, the electoral college is supposed to pick who they objectively think is the best for president, not who won the popular vote.

Close but not quite right. The electoral college was supposed to pick a slate of candidates for Congress to decide between. What the founding fathers missed is that people who want to become president would run national campaigns to outright become president, and not regional campaigns to get on that final slate.
lorenith wrote:Granted the electoral college now doesn't work the way it was originally meant to, because if someone "wins" the popular vote in a state, they also automatically "win" all the electoral college votes unless it's in a state that does them by proportion. Not to mention people I think are at least a little bit more educated now than they were when the electoral college was first put into place, although I guess there still are "excitable masses".

Originally the electoral college was not supposed to be decided by popular vote at all. It is up to each state to decide how it wanted to choose its electors. However as the nation evolved, states kept on deciding to choose electors by popular vote. The last time that a method other than popular vote was used was Colorado in 1876. It was discussed as a possibility in Florida in 2000 if the recounts took too long, but the Supreme Court intervened in time to keep that from happening.

There is incidentally a move to decide the election by the popular vote, and it does not require a Constitutional amendment to do it. We are apparenty 19% of the way there already. See http://www.nationalpopularvote.com/ for details.
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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby william » Sun Nov 09, 2008 1:15 am UTC

Jedifreak wrote:I would like to ppoint out that GWB's favorable rating was much higher than the DEMOCRAT controlled Congress.

Mainly because of REPUBLICAN filibusters.
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The Rumpled Academic
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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby The Rumpled Academic » Sun Nov 09, 2008 1:16 am UTC

lorenith wrote:Whether it matters to you or not isn't the point, the point is that being a dick to someone just because of where they happen to live is still dickish and uncalled for, just like being a dick to someone just because they happen to be a certain race is dickish and uncalled for.


Believe me when I say that blind anti-Americanism pisses me off hugely ~ I just don't think that anyone in this thread (least of all the non-Americans simply expressing happiness and renewed togetherness with y'all) is guilty of it.
The sort of prejudicial treatment you're describing is, of course, unquestionably dickish, and I'm sorry that you suffer it.

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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby telcontar42 » Sun Nov 09, 2008 2:04 am UTC

lorenith wrote:Whether it matters to you or not isn't the point, the point is that being a dick to someone just because of where they happen to live is still dickish and uncalled for, just like being a dick to someone just because they happen to be a certain race is dickish and uncalled for.

The difference between living in the US and being a certain race, is that Americans actually did something to provoke the dickishness. We elected Bush. Twice. Not everyone voted for him, but at least half us did. The actions of Americans had a significant effect on the rest of the world. Its still not nice for people to be dicks about it, but its not the same as racial dickishness.

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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby 4=5 » Sun Nov 09, 2008 8:20 am UTC

You are right, it is much more like traditional anti semitism. They killed jesus so the dislike was justified. (not trying to be inflammatory here, I just saw a potential counter example and ran with it. If my analogy was too extreme I have no problem with you correcting it)

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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby seladore » Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:24 am UTC

Kachi wrote:
What I don't understand is how the EV system gives North Dakotans more of a say than simply using the popular vote (by population, ND is ~0.3% of the US).


I'll put it to you this way. Let's say we do it based purely on popular vote, Obama wins. North Dakota is now just any other state, and what they think as a state doesn't mean anything.

Whereas in the electoral system, if North Dakota doesn't vote a majority for Obama, then they're a red state. In other words, it's not enough to get 49% of the votes, and definitely not 13% of their votes, to get their vote. Kind of a united we stand, divided we fall perspective, by state.

Maybe I'm not explaining this well, or maybe I'm full of shit. Lil help?


I think I follow you... so the EV system is a way of maintaining state identities?

Sorry, I'm not really into to pokemon.


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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby Julien » Sun Nov 09, 2008 1:13 pm UTC

That's it, Seladore. The Electoral system in the US einhances its federal idea : even if you're a small state, you still have the right to express yourself equally. That's also why every state has 2 senators, regardless of its importance.

That avoids situation such as in France, where a President can be elected just with the support of Paris (which concentrates something like 1 up to 6 electors in the country) and a few major cities, forgetting all the rural areas.
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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby seladore » Sun Nov 09, 2008 1:56 pm UTC

But (and sorry if I'm being obtuse) the number of EVs accorded to each state is proportional to the population, which was my earlier point.

So it doesn't actually matter, except for maintaining state identities in a kind of abstract, 'we are a red state' kind of way.

What I want to see is a plot of electoral vote fraction (e.g. x(EV) / 538) against population fraction (e.g. n(people) / 300 million). If it's non-linear then I can see what you mean, but based on my (limited and auto-didactic) understanding of the system, it would be linear.

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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby Julien » Sun Nov 09, 2008 2:00 pm UTC

Even if the number of electors depends of the states' population, it still give a more important weight to the state than a single popular vote. Some mathematician here could explain me better than I would.
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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby seladore » Sun Nov 09, 2008 2:09 pm UTC

OK, having way too much time on my hands I have made said plot.

I see the point now... states with low populations are awarded proportionally more EVs than those with higher populations. Based on California's population (the highest point), you would expect it to have ~0.12 of the EV fraction, or 65 EVs, if the relationship was strictly linear.

The system works (ish).

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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby psyck0 » Sun Nov 09, 2008 4:28 pm UTC

Your axes are wrong. EV is the dependent variable and should be on the vertical axis.

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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby seladore » Sun Nov 09, 2008 4:56 pm UTC

psyck0 wrote:Your axes are wrong. EV is the dependent variable and should be on the vertical axis.


Well not really, it's not a dependent variable because nothing is changing.

This isn't an experiment, changing the population of a state and finding out how many EVs it ends up with as a function of population. 'Population fraction' isn't an independent variable - it's not a variable at all, in the real sense of the word. Nothing is varying here.

They are just two parameters with some relationship between them. So it doesn't matter which way round they go.

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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby telcontar42 » Sun Nov 09, 2008 5:53 pm UTC

Well, the EVs are determined from the population, so I think the convention would be to put the EVs on the vertical axis (The EVs are a function of the population). It doesn't really matter though and is kind of off topic.

How do you think the a purely popular vote would change American politics? For one thing, I'm think that cities tend to be much more liberal than rural areas. If a popular vote would place the campaigning emphasis on cities, would that shift politics to the left?

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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby apricity » Sun Nov 09, 2008 6:39 pm UTC

telcontar42 wrote:How do you think the a purely popular vote would change American politics? For one thing, I'm think that cities tend to be much more liberal than rural areas. If a popular vote would place the campaigning emphasis on cities, would that shift politics to the left?

More people would vote, for one. As it is now, people in swing states have a heightened motivation to vote, because there's actually a battle. In safe [red/blue] states, everyone knows where they're going to go, so the turnout is probably a bit lower overall. It's possible it could also increase votes for third-party candidates, maybe even help eliminate the two-party system entirely. Right now people don't vote for third parties because they know it won't affect the EVs. But if it were by popular vote, even though people do know that the third party probably won't win overall, it would make a percentage difference that people could actually see.
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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby Kain » Sun Nov 09, 2008 6:46 pm UTC

If we really wanted to reform the system, we would have a two stage election. That way third parties would actually have a chance, and we wouldnt have to wait for either the Republican or the Democratic party to self destruct before we would have new choices. On that note, have any of you noticed how the Republican party seems to be having some issues between its religious conservative members and its fiscal conservatives?
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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby telcontar42 » Sun Nov 09, 2008 6:59 pm UTC

lanicita wrote: It's possible it could also increase votes for third-party candidates, maybe even help eliminate the two-party system entirely. Right now people don't vote for third parties because they know it won't affect the EVs. But if it were by popular vote, even though people do know that the third party probably won't win overall, it would make a percentage difference that people could actually see.

I don't know. It seems like it might have the opposite effect. For example, I'm from Massachusetts. I voted for Nader. It was much more important to me to support a third party candidate that more acuratly represented my views than to add one more vote for Obama in a state where he was guaranteed a landslide victory. In a popular vote, my vote would contribute to the national total which would probably be much closer. I would have to think more carefully about whether I wanted to vote Nader or Obama.

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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby The Great Hippo » Sun Nov 09, 2008 7:00 pm UTC

Kain wrote:If we really wanted to reform the system, we would have a two stage election. That way third parties would actually have a chance, and we wouldnt have to wait for either the Republican or the Democratic party to self destruct before we would have new choices. On that note, have any of you noticed how the Republican party seems to be having some issues between its religious conservative members and its fiscal conservatives?


I'm actually pretty fascinated to see what's going to happen to the Republican party. I'm pretty sure the fiscal Republicans will avoid making a break with the religious Republicans, because if it came down to religious values versus fiscal values--religion would win in a landslide, vote-wise. So, I definitely think a split isn't going to happen (and that's a good thing, because in any split, it would be the religious conservatives who would win--and they'd immediately start tapping religious democrats or others who held back from joining the Republican party because, well, you know, it's the Republican party). But what I do expect to see is the Republicans basically having a very confused, very murky next few years. They're either going to have to pick one side of this coin or forge a whole new identity, and I'm really curious to see which way they're eventually going to go.

Anyway, as far as the whole 'leading to interesting times' go, Obama's election was the best possible result.

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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby TiPerihelion » Sun Nov 09, 2008 7:30 pm UTC

lorenith wrote:Whether it matters to you or not isn't the point, the point is that being a dick to someone just because of where they happen to live is still dickish and uncalled for, just like being a dick to someone just because they happen to be a certain race is dickish and uncalled for.


...Except that you can choose where you live. You can't choose what race you are.

In regards to electoral reform, Single Transferable Voting.

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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby Belial » Sun Nov 09, 2008 7:36 pm UTC

TiPerihelion wrote:...Except that you can choose where you live. You can't choose what race you are.


Well....

Not really.

The ability to reliably and freely choose where you live is the prerogative of the rich (or at least the not-poor). Take it from someone who just moved: shit is expensive. Only gets moreso if you have to cross an ocean.
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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby TiPerihelion » Sun Nov 09, 2008 7:53 pm UTC

Belial wrote:Well.... Not really. The ability to reliably and freely choose where you live is the prerogative of the rich (or at least the not-poor). Take it from someone who just moved: shit is expensive. Only gets moreso if you have to cross an ocean.


Granted, there are limitations. But except in cases where one is a minor or one's government does not allow one to leave, I think you exaggerate. My family is middle-class, and we've moved seven times in my life. Yes, it put us into debt, but we did it. I've moved three times just since leaving home (4.5 years ago), and my income is well below the poverty line.

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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby Belial » Sun Nov 09, 2008 8:21 pm UTC

Yes, it put us into debt, but we did it.


Presumably your family has okay credit, so that's even an option.

When Girl™ and I moved halfway across the country recently, it probably cost us about 2-3k (plus another 4-6k worth of living expenses while we got on our feet in the new place and had no income to speak of), which is more than a *lot* of people can put forth above and beyond their day-to-day necessary expenditures. Moving outside the country is only going to get more ridiculous in terms of money and effort. Considering that there are people in this country who barely make a living wage, and therefore likely have absolute shit credit and no savings worth mentioning, that's going to be pretty much impossible, and sure as hell not something you do as an ideological stand against a government that isn't directly persecuting you, just so that foreigners won't look down their nose at you.

Also, keep in mind that the poverty line is formulated based on households, and the assumption that there are probably kids. Living below the "poverty line" can be quite comfortable and free for someone who only has to take care of their own living expenses (me, and probably you), while it's grinding and barely liveable for someone who also has to support two or three kids at the same time.
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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby apricity » Sun Nov 09, 2008 8:58 pm UTC

Belial wrote:Moving outside the country is only going to get more ridiculous in terms of money and effort. Considering that there are people in this country who barely make a living wage, and therefore likely have absolute shit credit and no savings worth mentioning, that's going to be pretty much impossible, and sure as hell not something you do as an ideological stand against a government that isn't directly persecuting you, just so that foreigners won't look down their nose at you.
Not to mention immigration laws. The countries that I've looked into (the UK, Canada, etc.) have strict immigration laws that won't allow people without good qualifications to work there. (As an example, I'm trying to move to England right now, but with only a BA in psych and no full-time work experience, I don't qualify for any of their work visas.) So unless you're chill with working illegally or rich enough to not work at all, it's really hard to move to another (desirable) country.
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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby Outchanter » Sun Nov 09, 2008 9:02 pm UTC

Not to mention that if the 150 million Americans who didn't vote for Bush all decided to leave, they would create the biggest refugee population ever. Even a paltry one million refugees fleeing real oppression can put a strain on neighboring countries.

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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby Belial » Sun Nov 09, 2008 9:03 pm UTC

Yeah, at that point you'd be better off all concentrating on one side of the US and seceding.
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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby Outchanter » Sun Nov 09, 2008 9:21 pm UTC

Taken to its illogical extreme:

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jesusland.jpg (16.96 KiB) Viewed 3273 times


Or Americans could have trusted in the democratic system, which is kind of designed to reduce the need for revolutions and secessions. It worked, didn't it?

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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby telcontar42 » Sun Nov 09, 2008 9:24 pm UTC

Let's do it. Everyone to the north east. We can call it wedidntvoteforbushland.

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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby Intercept » Sun Nov 09, 2008 9:57 pm UTC

Damnit, why didn't we have this idea four to eight years ago!? To the time machines!
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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby TiPerihelion » Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:15 pm UTC

Belial wrote:Presumably your family has okay credit, so that's even an option.


Not after the first few moves.

Belial wrote:When Girl™ and I moved halfway across the country recently, it probably cost us about 2-3k (plus another 4-6k worth of living expenses while we got on our feet in the new place and had no income to speak of), which is more than a *lot* of people can put forth above and beyond their day-to-day necessary expenditures.


Clearly the devil is in the details. I've moved 3000 miles across the country twice, and the total was about $2K each way.

Belial wrote:Moving outside the country is only going to get more ridiculous in terms of money and effort. Considering that there are people in this country who barely make a living wage, and therefore likely have absolute shit credit and no savings worth mentioning, that's going to be pretty much impossible, and sure as hell not something you do as an ideological stand against a government that isn't directly persecuting you, just so that foreigners won't look down their nose at you.


I don't necessarily advocate leaving the country. But some parts are better than others. Parts where children don't go around saying things like, "My grandma says Obama is a terrorist."

Belial wrote:Also, keep in mind that the poverty line is formulated based on households, and the assumption that there are probably kids. Living below the "poverty line" can be quite comfortable and free for someone who only has to take care of their own living expenses (me, and probably you), while it's grinding and barely liveable for someone who also has to support two or three kids at the same time.


I am well aware of that, which is why I looked up the poverty statistics for a single individual. I am still several thousand dollars below the poverty threshhold. My fiance and I, as a couple, are even further removed, relatively.

lanicita wrote:Not to mention immigration laws. The countries that I've looked into (the UK, Canada, etc.) have strict immigration laws that won't allow people without good qualifications to work there.


Given. We'll add that to the prior list. Being a minor, having a paranoid home government, and strict immigration laws.

We can go back and forth on this indefinitely. The point remains that changing one's location is significantly easier than changing one's race. I would put the decision to move on par with the decision to change jobs. Sometimes you get a job that involves questionable ethics. Sometimes you live in a place with questionable ethics. The decision whether to stay or not is up to you - it depends how much it matters to you. There might be no good alternatives. But it's still your decision.

I simply dislike cognitive dissonance. Yes, sometimes people have to stay in bad places and bad jobs to take care of their families. But that doesn't mean these jobs and places magically become ok. (These assessments are subjective. If the person in question thinks it's a bad job or bad place, it is. It doesn't matter whether it really is bad, as long as the person thinks it is and stays nonetheless.) It's a choice between two evils - just because a person chooses the lesser doesn't mean it's not still evil.

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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby Belial » Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:28 pm UTC

TiPerihelion wrote:I simply dislike cognitive dissonance. Yes, sometimes people have to stay in bad places and bad jobs to take care of their families. But that doesn't mean these jobs and places magically become ok.


At the same time, neither does the person become magically bad for living there.

Working a job is another thing entirely, because you're actively contributing to whatever it is you don't like. If it's a matter of where you live....you're just hanging out nearby.
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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby TiPerihelion » Mon Nov 10, 2008 3:40 am UTC

Belial wrote:If it's a matter of where you live....you're just hanging out nearby.


And funding your typical sampler plate of local corrupt politicians and state institutions; the homophobic, racist community members; not to mention the Christmas decorations the public schools put up every year. Tax dollars well spent, for sure.

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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby Belial » Mon Nov 10, 2008 4:15 am UTC

And if everyone who disagrees moves out, there's pretty much zero chance of it ever changing.

If we were talking about a dictatorship, then yes, there's no chance of changing it anyway. But they tend to have rules about leaving anyway. But in a democracy....
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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby Quixotess » Mon Nov 10, 2008 4:25 am UTC

TiPerihelion wrote:
Belial wrote:If it's a matter of where you live....you're just hanging out nearby.


And funding your typical sampler plate of local corrupt politicians and state institutions; the homophobic, racist community members; not to mention the Christmas decorations the public schools put up every year. Tax dollars well spent, for sure.

But - but - is there a place you can live where there aren't those things?
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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby Noc » Mon Nov 10, 2008 4:26 am UTC

Quixotess wrote:
TiPerihelion wrote:
Belial wrote:If it's a matter of where you live....you're just hanging out nearby.


And funding your typical sampler plate of local corrupt politicians and state institutions; the homophobic, racist community members; not to mention the Christmas decorations the public schools put up every year. Tax dollars well spent, for sure.

But - but - is there a place you can live where there aren't those things?

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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby Woxor » Mon Nov 10, 2008 6:05 am UTC

Where were all you secessionists BEFORE we elected a good president?

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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby btilly » Mon Nov 10, 2008 6:18 am UTC

Belial wrote:Also, keep in mind that the poverty line is formulated based on households, and the assumption that there are probably kids. Living below the "poverty line" can be quite comfortable and free for someone who only has to take care of their own living expenses (me, and probably you), while it's grinding and barely liveable for someone who also has to support two or three kids at the same time.

Actually "the poverty line" in the USA was originally defined as, "If you follow the best budget we can think of, you can live and eat healthy food." It is regularly updated and still supposedly means roughly the same thing. The poverty line therefore varies according to your household composition. As a result a single person living below the poverty line is going to find life sucking in similar economic ways to a family living below the poverty line - but where the line is will differ.

See http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/povdef.html for confirmation of that.
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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby Belial » Mon Nov 10, 2008 7:45 am UTC

Ahh, good to know. I must have only been hearing the poverty statistics for a family of four, for the most part, then.
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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby Endless Mike » Mon Nov 10, 2008 4:35 pm UTC

It's really interesting to read up on the original intent of the Electoral College. Essentially it was created such that most Presidential races would NOT be chosen by them, but by the House (functionally meaning that, in theory, the People would be picking the President, rather than the States, despite the original intent being that the States were choosing the President), since the Electors were intended to be voting independently (i.e. withoutside influence) for President, with the runner-up being VP. Initially, there was no popular vote at all, and the electors were chosen by the State Legislatures.

It's actually *really* interesting to compare the original government as created in the Constitution to what exists today. The Senate was intended to represent the States, hence them being elected as the State Legislatures decided (rather than direct vote as they are today).

Personally, I think the Electoral system works well in theory, but I think more states should switch to something more like what Maine and Nebraska have.

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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby william » Mon Nov 10, 2008 6:44 pm UTC

I think the Maine/Nebraska method would be a disaster, basically giving even more power to the backwater regions than they already have. 2 EVs for each state, but no automatic California to compensate. It's winner-take-all that protects the Electoral College from being a complete disaster. Perhaps if the two extra EVs per state were slated to either George Washington* or proportionally with the popular vote, but even then, if you think gerrymandering is bad now... (and California's Prop 11 would actually make it worse, not better)

*So that he's the only president who ever gets to have a unanimous EV.
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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby Woxor » Mon Nov 10, 2008 11:00 pm UTC

william wrote:It's winner-take-all that protects the Electoral College from being a complete disaster.

I don't see how. Proportional distribution would make it closer to the popular vote, and would maintain the existing slight advantage to smaller states, which is good because it keeps campaigns from focusing solely on major population centers. I don't see how it would increase the influence of small states any more than it already does.

Another idea would be to award the representatives proportionally and let the senators themselves cast their own electoral votes, since that's at least closer to keeping with the intent (representatives represent the people, senators represent the state and are granted more autonomy).

Anyway, after considering all the crazy alternate options, I think I favor a proportional system, like with the Democratic primary.

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Re: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

Postby btilly » Mon Nov 10, 2008 11:36 pm UTC

Endless Mike wrote:Personally, I think the Electoral system works well in theory, but I think more states should switch to something more like what Maine and Nebraska have.

Unless you're a swing state or are overwhelmingly one way, the system Maine and Nebraska have will hurt whoever most of the people in your state like. Most of the people in that state won't like that.

For an extreme example take CA. 55 electoral votes, solidly Democratic. If we went to a proportional system, about 60% of them would go Democratic, and 40% Republican. That would give the Republicans an extra 22 or so electoral votes in every election. Why would the majority of Californians help the Republicans like that?

Texas is the same story the other way. Perhaps it would be fair if both Texas, California, and a third Republican state switched at once, but how do you coordinate such a thing?

In both Maine and Nebraska it is doable because everyone knows that those states probably won't swing an election. Plus they are solidly enough one way that they probably won't split their vote anyways unless the election is clear. (Admittedly Obama did just pick up one vote from Nebraska. But that was in a landslide.)

http://www.nationalpopularvote.com/, which I already pointed out, solves this problem. If you think that something closer to the popular vote is better than the electoral college, that's the proposal that you should look at. If you don't like that exact proposal, the form it takes is still worth looking at for ideas.
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