The U.S. Electoral College: A travesty of democracy
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03-10-2012, 10:23 AM
The U.S. Electoral College: A travesty of democracy
In case anyone hasn't heard, the U.S. is having an election.

What may not be so well known to outsiders is the method by which we choose our presidents: the Electoral College. It's enshrined in our Constitution: each state has "electors," the number of which is based on representation in Congress--one elector for each member of the House (based on population) plus an elector for each senator (two per state). The electoral votes actually decide who the president will be, not the popular vote.

This would just be an odd and perhaps charming quirk if the electoral vote always reflected the popular vote. But it doesn't! Several times in our history, most recently--and notoriousy--in 2000, the candidate who indisputably had the most people in the country voting for him lost the election. Gore lost. Bush won. Even though more people voted for Gore! In a country that prides itself on its democracy, that is just fucking crazy.

Think how different the world would be today if Bush hadn't had been in a position to start an unjustified war with Iraq. We have the Electoral College to thank for that.

The problem resides in the winner-take-all system (not required by the Constitution!) in place in all but two states. in 48 states it doesn't matter if a candidate gets 51% of the popular vote or 99%. ALL the electoral votes go to that candidate. It's easy to see the consequences. First and foremost, the mathematics can work out so that the candidate with fewer popular votes actually gets the majority of electoral votes--like Bush in 2000. Also, "safe" states (like my own, California, which is heavily for Obama, or Texas, heavily for Romney) are marginalized. Virtually no campaigning takes place here; we never see a candidate, since there's no point in trying to get 60% of the state's vote if you already have 55%. The election winds up depending on the outcome in a handful of "swing states," like Ohio, where the results are uncertain. That's where the effort goes, and people there have a disproportionate say in who the next president is.

This entertaining video by Mo Rocca, Electoral College 101, shows how even kids understand the unfairness of the system.

Why aren't people marching in the streets over this? Why is the self-proclaimed greatest democracy in the world so complacent about its demonstrably undemocratic method of choosing its leader?

I. Just. Don't. Get. It. No

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03-10-2012, 10:41 AM (This post was last modified: 03-10-2012 11:06 PM by PoolBoyG.)
Exclamation RE: The U.S. Electoral College: A travesty of democracy
Are you willing to risk your livelihood? You have an incredibly comfortable life. Your life is not so disastrous that you would be willing to demand change.

That is why the learned population feebly sit by as the executive branch of the government is allowed to murder US citizens ("Targeted Killings") without authority from the Judicial branch or Congress. And why corruption (all branches) and murder will be more prevalent, and more blatant. It has to get much worse - MUCH WORSE - before anything resembling real change will be demanded for.
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03-10-2012, 10:42 AM
RE: The U.S. Electoral College: A travesty of democracy
Yeah, that's a terrible system.
We used to have this system until 1994, is curious how we never had another military coup since then... Tongue

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03-10-2012, 10:48 AM
RE: The U.S. Electoral College: A travesty of democracy
(03-10-2012 10:23 AM)cufflink Wrote:  Why aren't people marching in the streets over this? Why is the self-proclaimed greatest democracy in the world so complacent about its demonstrably undemocratic method of choosing its leader?

Easy: disenfranchisement.

I think most voters in the US already don't think their vote matters. I know mine doesn't. I live in Utah but I'm neither Mormon nor republican. Since our state always always always votes in favor of those two things, well, my vote really doesn't matter. I can run down and vote for Obama, if I feel so inclined, but since he'll get about 20% of the popular vote in this state, why bother?

Yes, moving toward a true democracy where every voter gets an equal say would un-disenfranchise me, but oddly enough, I can't vote for that - I have to wait for it to happen. Until then, I remain sadly disenfranchised.

"Whores perform the same function as priests, but far more thoroughly." - Robert A. Heinlein
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03-10-2012, 10:58 AM
RE: The U.S. Electoral College: A travesty of democracy
(03-10-2012 10:23 AM)cufflink Wrote:  The U.S. Electoral College:
In a country that prides itself on its democracy, that is just fucking crazy.

These are completely true words and though I would have used at least ten times more swear words, I concur.

I got no problem whatsoever with doing something about it... but first, somebody's gotta tell me who to kill. Evil_monster

I think in the end, I just feel like I'm a secular person who has a skeptical eye toward any extraordinary claim, carefully examining any extraordinary evidence before jumping to conclusions. ~ Eric ~ My friend ... who figured it out.
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03-10-2012, 11:24 AM
RE: The U.S. Electoral College: Dissenting Opinion
There are rational arguments for having the Electoral College.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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03-10-2012, 11:35 AM
RE: The U.S. Electoral College: Dissenting Opinion
(03-10-2012 11:24 AM)Chas Wrote:  There are rational arguments for having the Electoral College.

Yes, I've seen those arguments. For me, they pale into insignificance before one basic principle: in a democracy, it's supposed to be one person, one vote. Doesn't matter if you're part of the minority or the majority, or if you live in a big city or in the middle of nowhere. One person, one vote. No one's vote should count more or less than anyone else's. That's what's subverted by the Electoral College.

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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03-10-2012, 11:45 AM (This post was last modified: 03-10-2012 11:51 AM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: The U.S. Electoral College: A travesty of democracy
I thought that the idea that the electors changed Florida has been proven false.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Stat...tion,_2000
If Gore had asked for a statewide recount, the electors would have gone to him.
The Supreme Court handed it to their crony. Just as with the Kennedy assassination, the Right Wing changed the government, and shoved it down the throats of the people.
BTW, my personal rant, is "why the fuck do ONLY 18 y.o. males have to STILL register for the Selective Service System ?".

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03-10-2012, 03:25 PM
RE: The U.S. Electoral College: Dissenting Opinion
(03-10-2012 11:35 AM)cufflink Wrote:  
(03-10-2012 11:24 AM)Chas Wrote:  There are rational arguments for having the Electoral College.

Yes, I've seen those arguments. For me, they pale into insignificance before one basic principle: in a democracy, it's supposed to be one person, one vote. Doesn't matter if you're part of the minority or the majority, or if you live in a big city or in the middle of nowhere. One person, one vote. No one's vote should count more or less than anyone else's. That's what's subverted by the Electoral College.

The U.S.A. is not a democracy, it is a constitutional republic. Get over it.

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Science is not a subject, but a method.
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03-10-2012, 04:02 PM
RE: The U.S. Electoral College: A travesty of democracy
It would be best to commence the drafting of a new constitution.

For the record the Electoral Collage was a necessary system back then when communications was by travel, and the political representatives were supposed to represent people and state governments that were then difficult to contact for up to date information.

What you and the school children do not understand is that the Electoral Collage had a lot more pertanence when there was an actual difference between the states - most notably, the slave states versus the free states.

You would probably understand it better if we were to actually practice theist states versus atheist states - it will be coming, and most of you will probably have to move.

Humanism - ontological doctrine that posits that humans define reality
Theism - ontological doctrine that posits a supernatural entity creates and defines reality
Atheism - political doctrine opposed to theist doctrine in public policy
I am right, and you are wrong - I hope you die peacefullyCool
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