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  1. #1
    Per Ardua Metamorphosis's Avatar
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    "You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit."

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    than to serve and obey them. - David Hume

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    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    How can that even work? Aren't electors still allowed to vote their consciences? They aren't technically required to vote for the candidate who won the popular vote in their state. Besides, the Electoral College was a brilliant idea, and I hope other states shoot these efforts down. Frankly, I'd like to see the 17th Amendment repealed, too.
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    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    What purpose does it serve today, really? It may have made sense when the majority of the American population lived in rural areas, but we're long past those days.

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    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    What purpose does it serve today, really? It may have made sense when the majority of the American population lived in rural areas, but we're long past those days.
    It has nothing to do with rural vs. urban areas. I don't where you're getting that idea. The main reasons were to put more distance between the electorate and the presidency (remember, the United States is a constitutional republic, not a strict democracy; the Founding Fathers didn't want mob rule) and to compromise on the power of big states in comparison to smaller states. It's a federalism issue.


    EDIT: Here is a link to something expanding on what I wrote.

    Why was the Electoral College Created?
    Last edited by pure_mercury; 07-21-2010 at 08:03 PM. Reason: Found pertinent link
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    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    It has nothing to do with rural vs. urban areas. I don't where you're getting that idea. The main reasons were to put more distance between the electorate and the presidency (remember, the United States is a constitutional republic, not a strict democracy; the Founding Fathers didn't want mob rule) and to compromise on the power of big states in comparison to smaller states. It's a federalism issue.
    Sure it does. Less-populated states have disproportionately more electoral power than more-populated states. When most of the population didn't live in cities, it made no sense for the cities to dictate the president simply because of their density. Nowadays, as our population is urbanized and suburbanized, and metropolitan issues cover several states, this makes less sense.

    Were this the same country as it was in 1789, your Framers' intent argument would make more sense. However, it is radically different, both in circumstance and structure, from that day. As such, their intentions hold far lesser weight than the practical concerns of the present. A constitutional republic is a form of government, not an ideal of government. The ideal was "a more perfect union".

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    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    Sure it does. Less-populated states have disproportionately more electoral power than more-populated states. When most of the population didn't live in cities, it made no sense for the cities to dictate the president simply because of their density. Nowadays, as our population is urbanized and suburbanized, and metropolitan issues cover several states, this makes less sense.
    I don't see how the principle has changed at all. The less-populated states are SUPPOSED to have more electoral power (relatively) than the more-populated ones. That was part of the compromise.


    Were this the same country as it was in 1789, your Framers' intent argument would make more sense. However, it is radically different, both in circumstance and structure, from that day. As such, their intentions hold far lesser weight than the practical concerns of the present. A constitutional republic is a form of government, not an ideal of government. The ideal was "a more perfect union".
    I completely disagree. The constitutional republic isn't outdated. It's what we have, and it's what we should have. We have our system for a reason, and the reason is not "because it's expedient," Besides, when has the Electoral College been a practical failure? The presidential election of 1876 is really the only one that has been seriously tainted, and that was because of two sets of electors and a backroom deal that ended Reconstruction. In 1824, 1888, and 2000, the system worked.
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    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    I don't see how the principle has changed at all. The less-populated states are SUPPOSED to have more electoral power (relatively) than the more-populated ones. That was part of the compromise.
    And in this day and age, the compromise has no real relevance, and hasn't for nearly 150 years.

    I completely disagree. The constitutional republic isn't outdated. It's what we have, and it's what we should have. We have our system for a reason, and the reason is not "because it's expedient," Besides, when has the Electoral College been a practical failure? The presidential election of 1876 is really the only one that has been seriously tainted, and that was because of two sets of electors and a backroom deal that ended Reconstruction. In 1824, 1888, and 2000, the system worked.
    I know you do. I have no clue why, other than the ideals of men from a far different place and time.

    You'd agree that 1876 was a pretty catastrophic failure, then? It failed in 2000 as well, because one state's laws and procedures determined the outcome of a federal election (which was the real travesty of Bush v. Gore, and why it remains a terrible decision).

    Why "should" we have a constitutional republic? Is that not a question of practicality and expediency?

  8. #8
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    And in this day and age, the compromise has no real relevance, and hasn't for nearly 150 years.
    Why not? We still have bigger/more populous states and smaller/less populous states, do we not?


    I know you do. I have no clue why, other than the ideals of men from a far different place and time.
    Well, that document was written in my hometown, so the place wasn't any different for me. Time-wise, of course; it was 200 years before I arrived thee. I don't think the principles have changed, though. To me (and to many fans of the positive aspects of Western Civilization), rights are not transitory. Neither are principles of government. How is that difficult to understand? The government isn't there to solve everyone's problems; it's there to perform specific and clearly delineated duties that cannot otherwise
    be performed in a large nation-state.


    You'd agree that 1876 was a pretty catastrophic failure, then? It failed in 2000 as well, because one state's laws and procedures determined the outcome of a federal election (which was the real travesty of Bush v. Gore, and why it remains a terrible decision).
    1876 was a failure because of serious corruption and a quid pro quo deal (and because Samuel Tilden was awesome, but that is another story). If you are arguing for more uniform electoral procedures across the country, I think you have a point. As to the 2000 election, I find it ironic that you state that it was a travesty that "one state's laws and procedures determined the outcome of a federal election," because Bush's argument was that each of the counties of Florida had their own recount procedures, and that was a 14th Amendment violation, right? I think Gore's "intent of the voter" standard was exceedingly weak. I have not been to law school (yet!), but the particulars are interesting. In any event, Bush would have won the state by most counting standards, and the election was SO close that we probably will never know how many legal votes were cast that day. There are other elections involving shenanigans, too (like 1960). I'd like to see more transparency and uniformity, but the Electoral College per se is not the problem.

    Why "should" we have a constitutional republic? Is that not a question of practicality and expediency?
    Because it's the system that most compatible with constraining and decentralizing power through the different levels and branches of government, and it allows democratic elections without creating a tyranny of the majority. I guess that is partly practical reasoning and partly ideological/philosophical reasoning, but that is just icing on the cake for me.
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  9. #9
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Why not? We still have bigger/more populous states and smaller/less populous states, do we not?
    State lines have little relevance in the interests of Americans nowadays. You think the interests of someone in Hackensack, NJ are all that different than someone in New York City? How about Liberal, KS and Guymon, OK?

    Well, that document was written in my hometown, so the place wasn't any different for me. Time-wise, of course; it was 200 years before I arrived thee. I don't think the principles have changed, though. To me (and to many fans of the positive aspects of Western Civilization), rights are not transitory. Neither are principles of government. How is that difficult to understand? The government isn't there to solve everyone's problems; it's there to perform specific and clearly delineated duties that cannot otherwise be performed in a large nation-state.
    Given that I'm a 15 minute train ride away from that building, it isn't all that different either... except for the skyscrapers, highways, rail lines and other forms of development that have transformed the Delaware Valley. Rights absolutely are transitory - they depend on what society agrees they are. Otherwise, we wouldn't have had to act to extend those rights to African-Americans and Native Americans.

    It's difficult to understand because you're asserting an opinion as God-given fact. Rights are an abstract concept, bound by none of the laws of science (unless you are a hard materialist, and then, it's iffy). What happens when we decide that solving some of those problems are part of the duty of the federal government? What prevents the population from doing such a thing?


    1876 was a failure because of serious corruption and a quid pro quo deal (and because Samuel Tilden was awesome, but that is another story). If you are arguing for more uniform electoral procedures across the country, I think you have a point. As to the 2000 election, I find it ironic that you state that it was a travesty that "one state's laws and procedures determined the outcome of a federal election," because Bush's argument was that each of the counties of Florida had their own recount procedures, and that was a 14th Amendment violation, right? I think Gore's "intent of the voter" standard was exceedingly weak. I have not been to law school (yet!), but the particulars are interesting. In any event, Bush would have won the state by most counting standards, and the election was SO close that we probably will never know how many legal votes were cast that day. There are other elections involving shenanigans, too (like 1960). I'd like to see more transparency and uniformity, but the Electoral College per se is not the problem.
    If the system does not prevent a given harm from occurring, then the system is at fault. You can't just say that because of shenanigans, that we should absolve the system's role in it - part of its purpose is to correct such errors and flaws.

    The big issue in Bush v. Gore was that there had been a federal injunction prior to the state deadline, and that the court ruled there to no applicable remedy, since that deadline passed. In essence, state law trumped federal law, in clear violation of the Supremacy Clause, after the court ruled that the state law violated the 14th. That's a terrible miscarriage of justice. It may have been the right result, but the way it was done was horribly wrong.

    Because it's the system that most compatible with constraining and decentralizing power through the different levels and branches of government, and it allows democratic elections without creating a tyranny of the majority.
    If you believe that's the purpose of government, which is not a question of practicality, but of ideological belief. I'd prefer not to debate ideology, because it's as pointless as debating the validity of one's religion.

    I guess that is partly practical reasoning and partly ideological/philosophical reasoning, but that is just icing on the cake for me.
    If anything, why is it the MOST compatible system with these goals? Can you not think of anything that would be a better way of doing this?

  10. #10
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Maybe we shouldn't get rid of the electoral college, but I really don't like giving people entire states when they are the "first past the post". I would prefere that in all states the districts would count for themselves, regardless of how the rest of the state went.
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