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Evan Bayh: Abolish Electoral College

Indiana senator Evan Bayh* was interviewed by a reporter from the News & Observer and made the statement that the Electoral College should be abolished, that the majority of the American people should choose the president.

Evan Bayh might as well have recommended abolishing the Senate. The Electoral College and the Senate were created for the express purpose of preserving states rights. Without them, small states would have no say in what laws are passed by the federal government or in who wins presidential elections. They would be ignored and trampled on by the larger states. Eliminating the Electoral College is a typical position taken by those politicians who favor an omnipotent federal government over states rights.

Without the Electoral College, small states would never see another presidential candidate again. Instead, the candidates would simply spit their time between the two coasts and large cities because that's where the majority of Americans live. As a population, we would become more segmented and balkanized than ever before.

The Democrats' calls for the elimination of the Electoral College is no small thing. Abolishing it would completely upend our form of government just for their political ends. They are still simmering over the 2000 election and are desperate to get the White House back. They obviously will do and say anything.

The elimination of the Electoral College would mean changing the Constitution, which requires two-thirds vote from congress and the ratification of three-fourths of the states. Obviously, states would never vote to eliminate what power they have and the amendment would go down to defeat.

However, there is a movement to circumvent the Electoral College without changing the Constitution. It's called the National Popular Vote. The folks behind the NPV assert that the president is chosen by a handful of "battleground states" causing other states to be left out. While this may be true some of the time, it's not true all of the time. Battleground states have changed over the years as the population shifts and changes. Besides some states aren't battleground states because their citizens overwhelming support one candidate over another. On the other hand, the NPV would create a compact between 11 large states that would agree to give its Electoral College votes to the candidate who won the popular vote. This does nothing to solve the problem NPV proponents say is inherent in the Electoral College. Rather than some battleground states determining who becomes president some of the time, these eleven states will determine who becomes president all of the time, forcing those citizens' votes on the remaining states.

Tara Ross in an article published in National Review explains it this way:

If enacted, the NPV bill would create an interstate compact among consenting states. Each participating state would agree to allocate its entire slate of electors to the winner of the national popular vote. The compact would go into effect when states representing 270 electoral votes (enough to win the presidency) have agreed to the compact. The eleven most populous states have 271 electoral votes among them, and could thus make this change on their own. If one populous state failed to enact the plan, it could easily be replaced by a handful of medium-sized states.


NPV touts the ease of this change as one of the plan's best features. Electoral College opponents have tried and failed many times in their efforts to obtain a constitutional amendment. Such a process requires the consent of two thirds of Congress and three-fourths of the states. It's much easier to obtain the consent of a mere eleven states. And if eleven states get to change the rules of the presidential-election game, without so much as a nod to the remaining thirty-nine states, then why should NPV supporters care? After all, presidential elections can already be won with the votes of only eleven states. So any unfairness in the NPV plan merely reflects the inherent unfairness of the Electoral College system.

With the Electoral College, candidates must build coalitions of voters, which also allows smaller states to have some power in the election process. The NPV undermines coalition building:

[T]he proposal gives the eleven largest states incentives to work against the remaining states: Getting rid of the Electoral College would allow presidential candidates to win with positions that are not at all in the interest of less populous states.

Eliminating the Electoral College would be a disaster for our form of government (we are a representative republic not a democracy) and for the citizens the NPV proponents say they care about.

*Corrected: I accidentally called Senator Bayh "Former senator."


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Comments (40)

Hmmm.It'll be inte... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

It'll be interesting to see how constitutional this is.

I think these NPVers are wh... (Below threshold)
david:

I think these NPVers are whistling in the dark. First, Although it doesn't happen often, we can't even force electors to vote for their pledged candidates. Second, in a presidential election, one is really voting for a slate of electors, not a presidential candidate. What happens if one party's slate announces that it is going to vote for its candidate if elected regardless of the national popular vote outcome? Third, consider the "outrage" when Bush won the EC but lost the popular vote in 2000. Imagine an election under NPV rules, where the Republican won the overall popular vote, but the Democrat won California, and that furthermore, if California violated the NPV, the Democrat would win the EC. Is there anybody who doubts that the Californians would vote for the Democrat?

There is no Constitutional ... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

There is no Constitutional issue here, unfortunately. The Constitution only addresses the fact that the Elector will select the President. It says nothing about how the states go about choosing those electors. We already have different systems in different states. The argument cold be made (validly in my opinion) that this is just another method for selecting electors.

An absolutely absurd idea. ... (Below threshold)
virgo:

An absolutely absurd idea. but im sure the lefties would glob onto it desperately. after all Gore won the popular vote in 2000 right? well okay only if we accept all the fraud and dont count the Military ballots.

Bayh just lost my (potentia... (Below threshold)

Bayh just lost my (potential) vote. Talk about disenfranchising a hell of a lot of people when the Presidential ballot comes around...

No matter what else he might come up with as a platform, this knocks the supports out from under it...

J.

The only change to the curr... (Below threshold)
kbiel:

The only change to the current system that I would even consider is asking each state to change their laws to divide their electors in proportion to the popular vote of their residents. Of course, the Dems could never comtemplate such a change since it would mean that they would not get all of CA, NY, and IL even though they would pick up electors in TX, FL, and other states in the South.

There is one constitutional... (Below threshold)
Moon:

There is one constitutional issue...there can be no interstate compacts. From Article 1, Section 10:

No state shall, without the consent of Congress, lay any duty of tonnage, keep troops, or ships of war in time of peace, enter into any agreement or compact with another state, or with a foreign power, or engage in war, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay.

Does anyone think the timin... (Below threshold)
virgo:

Does anyone think the timing of this has anything to do with the millions of illegal immigrant votes that Byah and the Dems think they have in their back pockets?

The Electors shall ... (Below threshold)
stan25:

The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one Vote; A quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President.

When did the junior Senator... (Below threshold)
Hoosier:

When did the junior Senator from Indian become "Former Indiana senator Evan Bayh"?

Fix your article!

The minute He made this rid... (Below threshold)
katie couric:

The minute He made this ridiculous suggestion!

Sounds to me like the NPV m... (Below threshold)
mojo:

Sounds to me like the NPV might actually belong under the aegis of "Inter-State Commerce"...

"Abolishing it would com... (Below threshold)

"Abolishing it would completely upend our form of government just for their political ends."

This is the left's S.O.P. no matter what the issue.

Kim - Unless there is very ... (Below threshold)
Brian the Adequate:

Kim - Unless there is very happy news today I have not heard yet, Evan Bayh is still a senator.

Looky <a href="http://www.n... (Below threshold)

Looky here:

Article I, section 10 of the United States Constitution grants states the authority to enter into an "agreement or compact with another state" with the consent of Congress. The constitution contains no restrictions on the subject matter of a compact and is silent about the process by which states may enter into compacts, with the exception of the required consent of Congress. The United States Supreme Court (359 U.S. 275 at 285) opined in 1959 that an interstate compact is a "contract" protected by the Constitution's contract clause forbidding a state legislature to enact a "law impairing the obligation of contracts." A compact may involve parts or all of two states or all 50 states, as well as the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, United States territories, and Canadian provinces. As examples, the Interstate Compact on Juveniles has been enacted by all 50 state legislatures, and the Interstate Compact on Education has been enacted by 48 state legislatures, the District of Columbia City Council, and the legislatures in three territories. Many other compacts have been enacted by a smaller number of states, and a significant number of compacts have been enacted by only a single state legislature.

Kim, thank you for writing ... (Below threshold)
jdavenport:

Kim, thank you for writing this. You are correct on all counts.

The electoral college produ... (Below threshold)
Tom:

The electoral college produces a different result than the popular vote less than 5% of the time.

Because of low voter turnout, the result of the election isn't an accurate reflection of the will of the nation.

So, eliminating the electoral college won't make much difference. The popular vote doesn't reflect the true will of the nation any more than the college in close elections.

A potentially serious problem is that there is no mechanism to ensure that the electors vote in accord with the state results. I would imagine this is a fair subject for amendment.

I can never grasp the hysterical mindset of the right. The electoral college is a small part of the mechanism of state's rights. It has little effect on the result of elections (whenever it is important, the contest is close, and get out the vote drives and anomalies are more important than the disembodied notion of popular will).

It's silly to rant about this as if it is dismantling the constitution, or unAmerican to suggest that the result that obtains 95% of the time should obtain 100% of the time. Do you just get off on calling people unAmerican? Are you just so paranoid that simple disagreement must always be characterized as "upending" the government or wanting omipotent federal government to trample small states? Because one senator expressed an opinion there is some dramatic movement by Democrats to subvert the constitution?

This sort of blog entry degrades the tenor of political discourse. What's wrong with just saying you disagree with Bayh, and explaining why, without all the hysteria or bashing of Democrats? Disagreement is legitimate in a free country. Try to stay calm.

Tom, ...h... (Below threshold)
wave_man:

Tom,

...hysterical mindset of the right...silly to rant...unAmerican to suggest...paranoid...degrades the tenor...hysteria or bashing...Try to stay calm.
How do you read all this into Kim's post? Do you imagine that anyone from the right that pens anything is sitting in from of their keyboards, eyes bulging, red faced, profusely sweating, neck veins protruding, about to have a stroke? Sounds kinda stereotypical to me.

I've read some comments on this blog and others, from both sides, that cause me to imagine that that's the writer's demeanor when they penned their tirades. I've done that at times, but I'm trying not to do it, and just ignoring those that constantly churn out insults and bashing, spewing the same thing over and over, with the intention of baiting someone into a heated argument. But nothing I read in the post suggested that. Neither did any of the comments that followed, until yours. Sounded to me like she was just presenting her case for discussion.

The US may be a Representat... (Below threshold)
mak44:

The US may be a Representative Republic, but then we should give up the palaver in public spoutings abouth the "Greatest Democracy" because it simply does not function as a Democracy in practice.

Yes the Great Compromise was necessary in the 18th century w/ regard to the nature of the Senate, and it was quite clear that the Founding Fathers, with their abiding cynical view of the masses, never intended anything like a direct popular vote; hence the Electoral College. Nonetheless, there is no reason to think that progress in governing must stop w/ the 18th century. If what is past is eternally the best forever on, then we'd never have progressed beyond the Magna Carta.

Initially, only males were granted the right to vote and, for the sake of allocation of House seats, African American males were counted as 60% of a human being and even less as a voter, in that they did not receive the right to cast even 60% of a ballot. So much for the Founding Father's belief in the dignity of Man, unles just men is exactly what they intended.

The Founding Fathers may have been enlightened about self-government for the 18th century, but in today's values, they are severely deficient by any standard apart from a conservative's tendency to retard the forces of progress or change. Fortunately for mankind's sake , conservatism does not always prevail or we would, more than likely, have found our original Constitution hewn on some darkened cave wall, transcribed in the form of grunts.

The absurdity of the situation viz-aviz " One man, one vote" is illustrated by the states of Wyoming & California.

Wyoming, with its population of less than 500K, receves 3 electoral votes. At the rate of 3 electoral votes/500K population, California should be entitled to 204 electoral votes rather than its disenfranchised 55 votes.

The Electoral College is absurd in today's world and, in the matter of fairness, not to mention democratic values that we purport to uphold, must be ameliorated if this country is ever to be able to represent itself to the World as the World's Greatest PRACTICING Democracy.

Otherwise, we should just shut up about representative democracy & leave the rest of the world to its own devices. We have no business attempting to export something we do not even oractice, i.e. democracy.

I would add that it sounds ... (Below threshold)
wave_man:

I would add that it sounds like those that are behind the movement to abolish the College have bought the line that we live in a democracy. We don't, we live in a constitutional representative republic. We elect leaders that are supposed to carry out our will, within the confines of the constitution. If they don't, we turn them out.

The founding fathers envisioned a country built on the rule of law, a novel concept at the time, and still today in most of the world. They knew that, in a democracy, if 50 people were in a room, and 49 want to violate the law, without the rule of law, they procede. That's the democracy, you know, majority rule.

If we want to change the law, and it violates the constitution as written, then there is a procedure, already ably described above, to make modifications that fit the current desires. Unfortunately, too many people have bought this 'democracy' idea that's been taught for the last 70 or so years, and all 3 branches of government have chosen to ignore the rule of law as a result, most of the time with impunity.

Thanks, Michael, for mainta... (Below threshold)
wave_man:

Thanks, Michael, for maintaining the tone while presenting the opposing view.

I think the elecotral colle... (Below threshold)
mikebdot:

I think the elecotral college was a decent idea back in the 1800s and well into that century, but now that we have 50 states I think all it really does is allow rounding error into the equation. I think Evan Bayh is an idiot, but I agree with him here. I am even from Indiana.

If you look at the original constitution there ought to be 9800 members of the house of representatives, which would basically wash out any say of the 100 senate electors for each state. It makes no sense to continue using the electoral college. In a conservative state (like Indiana) my vote doesn't matter at all because it almost always goes Republican. I did vote in the last election though, but it is very discouraging. It makes me want to move to a different state, and therein lies the problem. If you concentrate all the "blue" folks in a small number of states, guess what? We're screwed. If it were a popular vote I think voter turnout would improve dramatically.

mikebdot,In theory y... (Below threshold)
wave_man:

mikebdot,
In theory you may be right about voter turnout. But I'm afraid, that with the failure to teach responsibity at home and in school, even to teach real civics like I had in the 9th grade [thanx, Mr. Rubidoux], the results would be the same. Most people either don't feel their voice really matters, or they don't give a rat's hind quarters about what happens politically anyway. They're too concerned with who wins American Idol.

JoelThought the ca... (Below threshold)
mak44:

Joel

Thought the cave & grunts might have rattled you just a tink. lol

For the most part, this has been a reasoned discussion, altho, as typical, Virgo & a couple of others have already engaged in shit-slinging, and, apparently LarryCurlMoe, the triple-headed hydra has yet to hit the boards w/ his/their poo flings.

It doesn't matter much that the Founding Fathers envisioned a Representative Republic. Apart from white-male only election of State Legislatures & the House of Representatives, they were not intended to have any additional say in governance.

In the true Conservative spirit, we should be repealing the direct election of Senators, dispensing w/ popular presidential votes and wiping the registration lists clean of all women and all African-Americans , altho we could still use 60% of their male body count for the sake of representative distribution of House seats. Afterall, if it was good enough for the all-forever-wise and enlightened FF, it ought be the only way for all times forward.

If the EC is essentially inviolate for all time beacause our FF knew what was best for us, or even just because the FF were-small minded for the 21st century but brilliant for the 18th, we should nonetheless, leave 18th century circumstance well enough alone.

For gawd's sake, at the very least, if Democracy is merely the talk of the rabble in the past 70 years, we should shut the FU about democracy in the Middle East and elsewher. Perhaps, if we began more simply in the spirit of the FF, we could encorage the Iraqis to begin a Representative Republic where no women voted (they'd love that and at least they would have moved forward to the 18th century). The Iraqis could count Sunnis and Kurds as 60% of a person for the sake of determining regional seats comprising some sort of National Assembly w/ elected officials of local counsels appointing members of the 2nd Legislative body.

The Turks would probably endorse this plan as the Iraqi Kurdish regions would have 2/3 body count but no vote in the National Assembly.

The point is, our government continuously talks of bringing Democracy to oppressed peoples when that's what we really don't mean because we are a Representative Republic.

A republic where one's vote in one state is worth 1/69th of another man's vote in another state is not a democracy & it is definitely not representative.

CorrectionMake the... (Below threshold)
mak44:

Correction

Make the CA voter value 1/4 th, not 1/69th that of his WY counterpart.

At the very least, CA shoul... (Below threshold)
mak44:

At the very least, CA should have 68 members in the House to be equally as represented as the WY citizen in the US House of Representatives.

Tom, if removing the electo... (Below threshold)
jdavenport:

Tom, if removing the electoral college makes no difference, then why would we change it?

Particularly since many of us care about it.

The reason there is little difference between the electoral vote and popular vote is because of the electoral college. Get rid of the electoral college, and all the lower population states will immeadiately get the shaft.

If the electoral vote was then reinstated, the power structure in place would be immediately booted, because 2/3 of the states would have poplulations that had been COMPLETELY IGNORED.

You probably think federalism is stupid too, no?

mak44, dont you have some s... (Below threshold)
virgo1:

mak44, dont you have some socialism classes to attend? better not be late commie..

jadvenport -I don'... (Below threshold)
Tom:

jadvenport -

I don't particularly care if the electoral college stays or goes.

Go to wikipedia and look over the pro and con arguments. Particularly note the statistical studies at the bottom of the page - one claims that the college favors large states. By any measure, the beneficiaries change over time. Currently, campaigning is confined to a handful of battleground states, to the detriment of the largest and the smallest states. When the Democrats held the South, it was probably to their advantage; now it is probably to the Republicans' advantage. However, it has only differed from the popular vote in a handful of cases, and, as I mentioned, the popular vote is subject to a great many anomalies that show it isn't a reflection of the will of the people, either. So, the popular vote isn't really "more accurate" or "more democratic" for a host of reasons.

So, as I said, I see no point in abolishing it. If you look at it objectively, the result of its abolition is unclear, and probably will change over time, just as the effect of the college changes election to election.

However, what IS silly is the idea that debating this very minor, eminently debatable point is a battle between good and evil, between anti-constitutionalists who want to squash small states and constitutional purists who are fighting for the basic pillars of federalism, as your post (I never said anything about federalism, much less that it's stupid) and the blog entry do. And the blog entry hardly adds anything to the debate - the wikipedia entry covers the pros and cons much more eloquently and fairly.

In the true Conservative... (Below threshold)
Proud Kaffir:

In the true Conservative spirit, we should be repealing the direct election of Senators, dispensing w/ popular presidential votes and wiping the registration lists clean of all women and all African-Americans , altho we could still use 60% of their male body count for the sake of representative distribution of House seats. Afterall, if it was good enough for the all-forever-wise and enlightened FF, it ought be the only way for all times forward.

The best foresight shown by the forefathers was to allow a method for the constitution to be amended but make the process difficult. This way the constitution could not be changed with every pasting fad but also would not need to be torn up as society evolved.

I will ignore your absurd attacks on conservatives and point out that all of the things you mentioned were changed via constitutional amendment. The proper way to change or abolish the Electoral College is through the process of amendment.

The EC, as you note, gives greater weight to smaller states. That is the purpose, since the samller states feared becoming irrelevant if power was based solely on population. They would likely revolt against changing the EC in this way.

The "compact" process could also easily devolve into chaos. If it was in effect in 2004, GWB would have won in an electoral landslide despite only winning by a few percentage points. Let's say a Dem wins CA overwhelming but the Republican wins the popular vote by a squeaker. The CA state assembly could simply annouce they they are leaving the compact and giving their EC votes to the Dem. Other states may follow, or determine the compact had become null and void, leading to a major constitutional crisis.

At the very least, CA sh... (Below threshold)
stan25:

At the very least, CA should have 68 members in the House to be equally as represented as the WY citizen in the US House of Representatives.

We have enough people here in Wyoming to have another Represenative in the Congress, but there are people elsewhere that don't want to see that. They are afraid that there will another Republican in the House. You know how bad that scares the Democrats who are afraid that they will not regain power.

Stan25I don't know... (Below threshold)
mak44:

Stan25

I don't know how you claim that there ought to be 1 more rep in WY w/ a population of 506K in 2004. If there were 1 rep for every 506K in estimated 2004 US population of 293,000,000, the House would have to have an increased number of seats to 579, Giving WY 2 seats would necessitate a boost the House to 1158 members to maintain any form of equity.

Clearly, the addition of a 2nd member would grossly increase the disproportionate representation that you already have.

VIRGO-why don't you toodle down to Palm Beach & tongue clean Rush's toilet bowl? He's been w/o his housecleaner for far too many months.

A republic where o... (Below threshold)
JD:
A republic where one's vote in one state is worth 1/69th of another man's vote in another state is not a democracy & it is definitely not representative.

Let's turn Mak44's analogy around a bit. I live in California. During the last presidential election, W won 38 of California's 50 counties, comprising better than 75% of the land mass of the state of California, yet Kerry got ALL 58 electoral votes. Is this fair? Probably not. But did it count that way? Yup. Why?

Because them's the rules.

The rules of presidential election are there for all to see. If you don't like the rules, there are ways to change them (67% of both houses, 75% of the several states). It's been changed for women, for minorities, for direct election of senators. If the EC is such an all-fired boondoggle, then surely there would be support to change that as well.

Unless, of course, the nice folks who comprise the entire nation between the Sierra Nevada and the Appalachians want the citizens of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston and New York City choosing their president for them - then it becomes a twidge of a problem. Of course, in Makworld, that would be just fine and dandy.

Stan25 quoted from the constitution above...

...A quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice...

If the NPV thing were to come to pass (not likely but just saying), then the states that are NOT included in the NPV could void the NPV's choice of POTUS by their representatives simply not showing up when the Electoral College meets - 11 states being much less than is required to acheive Quorum.

The NPV is a smokescreen for the Donks to keep screaming about what happened in 2000, even though it happened twice before that, and the Republic managed to dodder along just the same after those two previous instances.

Abolish the Electoral Colle... (Below threshold)
cubanbob:

Abolish the Electoral College and the equal number of senators per state and what incentive do the small population states, particularly the resource rich small states, have to stay in the union?
Does Oklahoma really need Illinois? Does Alaska really need California?
If the dimms need this kind of chicanery to win maybe they ought to realize they are selling a product that fewer and fewer people are buying.


I think there are some misp... (Below threshold)
jeffrey:

I think there are some misperceptions regarding this issue.

A) The electoral college does not necessarily favor small states. The allocation of a larger number of electoral votes than the exact percentage of population does favor smaller states. However, this is offset by another facctor. The allocation of all electoral votes to the winner of the plurality of state votes (rather than a proportional allocation) will favor large states at the expense of small states. An extreme example would be three large states with 50,45 and 40 electoral votes and three small states with 3, 4 and 5 electoral votes. The winner of two of three large states is always the winner. The small states effectively have no vote. Large states will also tend to be more diverse and be more closely divided and therefore the winner-take-all system magnifies their influence.
The key is the possibility of each state to actually be the deciding vote in an election. The exact "bias" of the electoral college is not obvious and depends on many factors. I seem to remember that some studies indicate that our system slightly favors very small and large states and disadvantages mid-size states. It is interesting that a Senator from a mid-size state is raising this issue.

B) I think it is a myth that abolishing the electoral college will result in candidates ignoring small states. Currently, candidates will completely ignore states that are not battleground states. If the electoral college is abolished, will candidates ignore small states? The cost of travel, etc. to small states may be larger proportionate to the population, but the proportionate impact is also larger in a small state. A presidential visit to NYC or LA can pass almost unnoticed by the local media, while a visit to Wyoming is big news and has more chance of actually swaying voters.
Overall, abolishing the electoral college would almost certainly more "fairly" distribute the campaign's attention.

C) There is another important reason for the electoral college that has nothing to do with state size. It is also one of the reasons we have single-member districts in Congress. There is an incentive for a candidate to have broad-based support in a large part of the nation in the electoral collegeg system, that is unrelated to state size. Consider 50 states of equal population each with one electoral vote. Candidate A wins 15 states by an average margin of 80-20% and loses 35 states by an average margin of 60-40%. Candidate A would then win the popular vote by 52-48%. However, is it not at least possible that the electoral system would be better to award the election to Candidate B. Allowing a candidate to win an election with big but concentrated margins in a small minority of the nation while being the clearly least-favored candidate in the vast majority of the nation is not necessarily the best result.

D) To assume that the electoral college result would have differed from the popular result method based on the popular vote results in an election based on the electoral college is not necessarily accurate. It assumes the use of a different system (i,e, popular vote) would not have influenced the voting.
Consider the 2000 election. If we had used the poular vote method, who would have won? It is not clear. Bush's popular vote was depressed slihjtly by the electoral college system in many ways. The tighter and more interesting congressional contests were in Democratic leaning states. In Texas, for example, the heavily gerrymandered redistricting (this was a very partisan Democratic gerrymander then), produced few close contests and the Senate race was boring and a runaway. Compare this to NY where there are closer House contests and the Senate race was closer and more interesting. As Texas was not marginal, a voter had less incentive to turn out. If it was a popular vote method,there would have been greater incentive. In addition, Bush's vote was depressed (and turnout for both candidates somewhat) by the erroneous call of Florida for Gore. As East coast polls had already closed (and some West coast polls were still open when the call was changed), the vter suppresion effect was felt most heavily in the middle of the nation, which was the most pro-Bush area. If it was a popular vote system, there could not have been such an mistaken call of one state convincing some voters the election was over.

cubanboobBecause w... (Below threshold)
mak44:

cubanboob

Because we're all Americans. Or what the hell does a nation mean?

Why afterall, was there the uproar over 9/11? It wasn't even a state that was attacked... just a city. Possibly not even that, but merely a building.

If you insist on the most regional of identification, then why worry about illegal immigration? It's predominantly a handful of SW states being affected & why should the rest of us care?

What seems apparent here in this thread is that there are any number of people here who would be perfectly satisfied to keep the choice of selecting our reps as limited as possibly can be maneuvered thru reliance on arcane devices.

You same people would have supported George III because you despise any change that broadens more participation of the entire people. You would never have been the Revolutionaries because you never find need for improvement or change. Afterall, change and/or improvement all too often means having your hands loosened from the reins of power & wealth. Those occupying positions of power & wealth rarely see the need for change because they realize that that threatens privilege.

No one has been suggesting some change in the EC by fiat. But most bloggers here are more than content w/ the way the EC distorts or thwarts the will of the people.

What is contemptible here, is that so many of you are more than willing to bash other nations over the issue of democracy when actual democracy in this country is exactly what you despise, instead falling back on the old saw that this is a "Representative Republic." And not even that is actually accurate, given that all representation in this country is not wqual.

Just as the FF's objected to taxation w/o representation, there are many citizens who are less than satisfied today w/ distorted representation simply because small-staters love to revert to thinking of themselves in terms of individual units as it suits their purpose when that distinction has become fundamentally a non-distinction in a 21st century world.


We appear to be somewhat dual personalities at one time or another, choosing to think of ourselves as Ohioans or Idahoans when the purpose suits us but as Americans when that purpose suits us. Ohio happens to be a location where I live, not some territory w/ uniquely different set of interests that put me at odds w/ my fellow Americans. That type of parochial mentality only leaves us more poorly prepared to understand the challenges facing our nation in the 21st century.

I know you would like to pa... (Below threshold)
jp2:

I know you would like to paint this as a Democrat issue - but didn't Arlen Specter propose the same thing in actual legislation?

...didn't Arlen Sp... (Below threshold)
wave_man:
...didn't Arlen Specter propose the same thing in actual legislation?
Arlen Specter, RINO/PA
I just think it's funny as ... (Below threshold)

I just think it's funny as hell that California is trying to adopt an idea that, if it had been implemented in 2004, would have seen California's 55 electoral votes go to George W. Bush.

Sounds like democracy to me... (Below threshold)
Glenn Friedman:

Sounds like democracy to me: one man, one vote. They should at least reform the electoral college so that each state gets a proportionate number of electors. Now each state gets one elector for each senator and representative. Since all states have two senators and at least one represenative regardless of size, the small states get more electors per capita.

- A guy in New York who is tired of paying more to the federal government than he gets back.




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