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  1. #21
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saturned View Post
    Ok, I am feeling punchy and bold and here is a thread.

    The Electoral College system is an interesting one, but I often wonder if it should be replaced by the simplicity of population vote.

    My main thoughts have lined up on the fact that it could make the irritation of election ads more evenly distributed since there will no longer be "battleground states" going on. (My main impetus for this thread is because Minnesota is jealous of all the attention Ohio gets.)

    I freely admit that my knowledge of politics is more of a meme such as "Read article on yahoo news. Is now informed voter."

    So to those who have far more knowledge of such things, what are your thoughts?
    These days I'm erring on the side of some kind of council communism.

    If the economy got sorted out by some kind of popular sovereignty then politics would become, increasingly, the side show it ought to be.

  2. #22
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    I came to the realization recently that the electoral college (and the laws related to it) are the reason why we have a two party system. If no candidate gets a majority of the electors then the House of Reps. picks the president. So if we had three truely viable parties (viable enough so that each party won at least some of the electoral votes), then a lack of a majority would become fairly common. And in the end even though our current system is frustrating, having Congress pick the president would be even more frustrating.

    So I would prefer we amend the constitution. I would like a three party system, but we'd have to change the constitution to do so (the part dealing with electors). Changing to a popular vote would be one way to make a three (or more) party system viable, so I'm all for that.
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  3. #23
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Liquid_Laser View Post
    I came to the realization recently that the electoral college (and the laws related to it) are the reason why we have a two party system. If no candidate gets a majority of the electors then the House of Reps. picks the president. So if we had three truely viable parties (viable enough so that each party won at least some of the electoral votes), then a lack of a majority would become fairly common. And in the end even though our current system is frustrating, having Congress pick the president would be even more frustrating.

    So I would prefer we amend the constitution. I would like a three party system, but we'd have to change the constitution to do so (the part dealing with electors). Changing to a popular vote would be one way to make a three (or more) party system viable, so I'm all for that.
    You're completely right.
    Even if you didn't change to a popular vote, simply having each district allocated individually rather than with the state majority would also make it much easier for other parties. Another thing that should be instituted at all levels is a single transferable vote, that way votes can't be wasted and people don't do strategic voting. It would even essentially eliminate the need for a run-off at the presidential level.
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  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    You could just literally limit the amount of campaign funding one can even get. Have something like matching funds that the candidates are bound to. I'd love to overturn the Citizens United ruling, but the fact is we could spend all day blacklisting sources of funding. It's much easier to make a white list of funding instead.
    That alone might make the difference, but if it doesn't, we could actually adopt serious airtime controls. If this is done at every level, it would even somewhat lower to power of lobbyists.
    Agree that campaign spending is sort of out of control. Are you aware of any examples of limited, public funding in other countries' political systems? Somehow a party or candidate would need to qualify for that funding, right?

  5. #25
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gromit View Post
    Agree that campaign spending is sort of out of control. Are you aware of any examples of limited, public funding in other countries' political systems? Somehow a party or candidate would need to qualify for that funding, right?
    There are all kinds of approaches around the world, differing in how much money is given and what is restricted. I don't know if any country prohibits campaign donations from individuals, but some like France for example prohibit any funding from corporations outright, and many provide funds to match individual contributions so an imbalance does not emerge between campaigns.

    The USA does actually have matching funds to an extent, but it's very limited and candidates are not restricted to it (or much of anything) for funding.

    In terms of earning it, it's usually done by party. The party somehow qualifies, say by getting 5% of the vote one year, and in subsequent elections they will receive funds. It's up to the party officials to figure out how to allocate funding, but we can presume that they will pick they candidate they want and throw the funding behind their choice.
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  6. #26
    Honor Thy Inferior Such Irony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Risen View Post
    I agree that the electoral college is an antiquated system that served the early days of the republic (democratic republic), but is no longer necessary or beneficial. However, direct voting would only be practical if the entire voting system was done electronically. Otherwise, since every vote really WOULD matter, you could easily get into problems when the race gets very close (ala Gore and Bush), necessitating all manner of long and arduous vote recounts. Unfortunately, computers are too easily tampered with as well. The entire fate of the nation could be changed by one skilled hacker.
    Quote Originally Posted by kelric View Post
    I think that there was a reason back in the early days of the US, to ensure that smaller, more remote states had a say in the matter, but this is one of those things where technological advances have rendered the reasoning for such things more or less moot. Communication is essentially instantaneous now, and although we still have areas of the country that are physically remote, candidates can get their messages to those communities with *vastly* less effort and time-commitment than when the college was instantiated. Fast train/air travel, telegraph, broadcast communication, and now internet access have eroded the need for such separation.

    But honestly, like Jennifer suggests... either with or without the electoral college, you're still going to have populations of voters who are considered irrelevant, and those that are considered important when it comes to the allocation of political effort and power. Under the electoral college, the concerns of voters in Ohio, Florida (etc.) come out on the important side, and those of voters in Utah, New York (etc.) don't. In a popular vote, highly populated cities would come out ahead. One could argue that would be more democratic (one person, one vote), but I think that's too simple.

    The most important thing is, I think, to get rid of the system where a candidate gets *all* votes from that state for winning the state. Split'em up within the state. I live in Missouri -- so although Missouri used to be a "swing" state, it's now considered Republican. Which basically means that my vote for Obama meant nothing. Same goes on the other side for Zarathustra and his (presumed, based on his post) vote for Romney in California.


    This is why electronic voting is a bad idea (especially with the "no paper trail" versions that are amazingly, legal). Paper voting is more tedious, sure. But the goal here isn't "easy", or "fast". It's to get it right, and minimize the risk of anyone being able to cheat. Paper voting wins that contest hands-down - especially as the number of voters increases.

    I agree with all this. I'm not sure it's the electoral college itself that's the problem. It's that all states with the exception of Nebraska and Maine, have winner of popular vote take all of the electoral votes. Some highly populated state wins the popular vote by a very small margin and gets *all* of the electoral votes. This is not very representative of the voting public. I think all states should have the option of splitting the electoral votes.
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  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    There are all kinds of approaches around the world, differing in how much money is given and what is restricted. I don't know if any country prohibits campaign donations from individuals, but some like France for example prohibit any funding from corporations outright, and many provide funds to match individual contributions so an imbalance does not emerge between campaigns.

    The USA does actually have matching funds to an extent, but it's very limited and candidates are not restricted to it (or much of anything) for funding.

    In terms of earning it, it's usually done by party. The party somehow qualifies, say by getting 5% of the vote one year, and in subsequent elections they will receive funds. It's up to the party officials to figure out how to allocate funding, but we can presume that they will pick they candidate they want and throw the funding behind their choice.
    I dated someone who was super pessimistic about the coporate funding of campaigns basically thought that, since Citizens United, there's no hope for US elections (I paraphrase). I think that was a bit extreme, but do wonder what is the likelihood of some sort of change here.

    Quote Originally Posted by SuchIrony View Post
    I agree with all this. I'm not sure it's the electoral college itself that's the problem. It's that all states with the exception of Nebraska and Maine, have winner of popular vote take all of the electoral votes. Some highly populated state wins the popular vote by a very small margin and gets *all* of the electoral votes. This is not very representative of the voting public. I think all states should have the option of splitting the electoral votes.
    Yeah seems like a good step.

  8. #28
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuchIrony View Post
    I think all states should have the option of splitting the electoral votes.
    If they decided to do that, it would make it unlikely for Republicans to lose any election absent an extreme popular vote loss....hell, I don't think that even I would support that, after considering the matter.

  9. #29
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    If they decided to do that, it would make it unlikely for Republicans to lose any election absent an extreme popular vote loss....hell, I don't think that even I would support that, after considering the matter.
    That's not necessarily true. Democrats have many districts in currently red states, practically anywhere there is a city, and allocating votes in that manner would remove the senator votes, which definitely favor Republicans more than Democrats.
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  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuchIrony View Post
    I agree with all this. I'm not sure it's the electoral college itself that's the problem. It's that all states with the exception of Nebraska and Maine, have winner of popular vote take all of the electoral votes. Some highly populated state wins the popular vote by a very small margin and gets *all* of the electoral votes. This is not very representative of the voting public. I think all states should have the option of splitting the electoral votes.
    I've thought about that too. I think it makes way more sense, and would be a step towards popular vote period.

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