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Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: Dennis S
Date: October 24, 2011 01:26PM
I saw somewhere that 62% of Americans were in favor of abolishing it. I like the status quo, but I could be persuaded. Do y'all see a push coming soon, especially if the next election is screwy?
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: Acer
Date: October 24, 2011 01:31PM
Not with Republican legislators in sufficient numbers to stop it. The big cities are full of liberals.

The other thing that ought to be abolished is gerrymandering.
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: rjmacs
Date: October 24, 2011 01:39PM
No.



rj
AKA
Vreemac, Moth of the Future
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: SDGuy
Date: October 24, 2011 01:57PM
Quote
rjmacs
No.

agree smiley
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: October 24, 2011 02:06PM
Definitely not. I'm highly amused how many different political groups yammer about 'abolish' one amendment or another. As if there is some magic political wand that they can wave to do that.

Amending the constitution is HARD. DAMN Hard. Deliberately so.

After all, California is a perfect example of WHY it should be hard to amend one's Core Law.
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: swampy
Date: October 24, 2011 02:17PM
If this is a poll, I say no.



If you don't stand for something, you'll probably fall for anything.t
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: rjmacs
Date: October 24, 2011 02:18PM
Quote
swampy
If this is a poll, I say no.

Haha, good catch, swampy. Probably should have been a poll in the original post.



rj
AKA
Vreemac, Moth of the Future
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: davester
Date: October 24, 2011 02:30PM
I think there's a much better chance that the National Popular Vote bill will be passed in a sufficient number of states to make electoral votes irrelevant. They're already halfway there.

[www.nationalpopularvote.com]



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: billb
Date: October 24, 2011 02:32PM
I hope not.



The Phorum Wall keeps us safe from illegal characters and words
The doorstep to the temple of wisdom is the knowledge of one's own ignorance. -Benjamin Franklin
BOYCOTT YOPLAIT [www.noyoplait.com]
[soundcloud.com]
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: rjmacs
Date: October 24, 2011 02:33PM
Quote
davester
I think there's a much better chance that the National Popular Vote bill will be passed in a sufficient number of states to make electoral votes irrelevant. They're already halfway there.

[www.nationalpopularvote.com]

Rehash after the jump:

http://forums.macresource.com



rj
AKA
Vreemac, Moth of the Future
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: Ted King
Date: October 24, 2011 02:35PM
Can anyone provide a good argument for retaining the Electoral College?



e pluribus unum
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: swampy
Date: October 24, 2011 02:45PM
A good argument might be that it's the Constitutional way we do things. Until there is an amendment to the Constitution it will be the way we continue to do it.

I don't see how any Congressional bill can just up and change the Constitution. It may be a popular aspiration of the liberal elite, but I doubt it can pass in Congress.



If you don't stand for something, you'll probably fall for anything.t
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: davester
Date: October 24, 2011 02:49PM
Quote
swampy
A good argument might be that it's the Constitutional way we do things. Until there is an amendment to the Constitution it will be the way we continue to do it.

I don't see how any Congressional bill can just up and change the Constitution. It may be a popular aspiration of the liberal elite, but I doubt it can pass in Congress.

That's not an argument at all since the thread is about whether we will have a constitutional amendment. A constitutional amendment must be ratified by 75% of the states after it gets passed by the congress, so I don't know why you are talking about it as though it's only a congressional matter. Also, what does this have to do with the "liberal elite"? The electoral college system can hurt both conservatives and liberals by causing unrepresentative election results.



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/24/2011 02:55PM by davester.
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: rjmacs
Date: October 24, 2011 02:55PM
Quote
Ted King
Can anyone provide a good argument for retaining the Electoral College?

How about: it's worked for 235 years, and all in all, that's a pretty good record.



rj
AKA
Vreemac, Moth of the Future
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: Ted King
Date: October 24, 2011 03:04PM
Quote
swampy
A good argument might be that it's the Constitutional way we do things. Until there is an amendment to the Constitution it will be the way we continue to do it.

I don't see how any Congressional bill can just up and change the Constitution. It may be a popular aspiration of the liberal elite, but I doubt it can pass in Congress.

There is nothing unConstitutional about the National Popular Vote bill(s) and those bills are passed by states not Congress.



e pluribus unum
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: billb
Date: October 24, 2011 03:07PM
At least with what the Framers of the Constituition gave us , in a worst case scenario ( like the bit for shtrains in Florida in 2000 counting chads and ghosts) we get hung up recounting just one state.
I can't imagine recounting 51 (50 +DC) and the insanity that would ensue.

It's a good compromise system that has served us well since its inception.



The Phorum Wall keeps us safe from illegal characters and words
The doorstep to the temple of wisdom is the knowledge of one's own ignorance. -Benjamin Franklin
BOYCOTT YOPLAIT [www.noyoplait.com]
[soundcloud.com]
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: Ted King
Date: October 24, 2011 03:19PM
Quote
rjmacs
Quote
Ted King
Can anyone provide a good argument for retaining the Electoral College?

How about: it's worked for 235 years, and all in all, that's a pretty good record.

The Roman Empire worked a lot longer than that, so I guess that's a good argument for us going to an imperial system of government. (I'm actually guessing that you were kidding, though.)



e pluribus unum
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: rjmacs
Date: October 24, 2011 03:23PM
Quote
Ted King
Quote
rjmacs
Quote
Ted King
Can anyone provide a good argument for retaining the Electoral College?

How about: it's worked for 235 years, and all in all, that's a pretty good record.

The Roman Empire worked a lot longer than that, so I guess that's a good argument for us going to an imperial system of government. (I'm actually guessing that you were kidding, though.)

I wasn't kidding. And despite the fact that the U.S. operates as an empire globally, there's no evidence that imperial rule would work domestically. I think that stability has served the American experiment well over time, and the Framers intentionally (and wisely) made it very difficult to tinker with the Constitution.

There are many problems with the American electoral system today, and a limited amount of political capital to spend. The Electoral College system is very low on my list of priorities when it comes to "what we should change about American elections."



rj
AKA
Vreemac, Moth of the Future
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: swampy
Date: October 24, 2011 03:25PM
Quote
Ted King
Quote
swampy
A good argument might be that it's the Constitutional way we do things. Until there is an amendment to the Constitution it will be the way we continue to do it.

I don't see how any Congressional bill can just up and change the Constitution. It may be a popular aspiration of the liberal elite, but I doubt it can pass in Congress.

There is nothing unConstitutional about the National Popular Vote bill(s) and those bills are passed by states not Congress.

Agree, nothing unConstitutional about it, but the Constitution is pretty clear about how we elect Presidents and the electoral college is only used in presidential elections. No vote by Congress alone can change that.

Obama may try to change that by Executive Order like he's changing so many things with the swipe of his pen. /sarc



If you don't stand for something, you'll probably fall for anything.t



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/24/2011 03:25PM by swampy.
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: $tevie
Date: October 24, 2011 03:29PM
Quote
Ted King
Can anyone provide a good argument for retaining the Electoral College?

The argument is that we are not a democracy, but a Constitutional Republic, which the Founding Fathers created on purpose in an effort to have small low population areas have at least some of the clout of large highly populated areas. Also, as billb pointed out, to make an election taking place in multiple states manageable.

"Hence it is that democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and in general have been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths... A republic, by which I mean a government in which a scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect and promises the cure for which we are seeking." ~~James Madison



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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: Ted King
Date: October 24, 2011 03:35PM
Quote
swampy
Quote
Ted King
Quote
swampy
A good argument might be that it's the Constitutional way we do things. Until there is an amendment to the Constitution it will be the way we continue to do it.

I don't see how any Congressional bill can just up and change the Constitution. It may be a popular aspiration of the liberal elite, but I doubt it can pass in Congress.

There is nothing unConstitutional about the National Popular Vote bill(s) and those bills are passed by states not Congress.

Agree, nothing unConstitutional about it, but the Constitution is pretty clear about how we elect Presidents and the electoral college is only used in presidential elections. No vote by Congress alone can change that.

Obama may try to change that by Executive Order like he's changing so many things with the swipe of his pen. /sarc

Under the National Popular vote system, it would still be the Electoral College that decides who becomes president - it's just that enough states would agree to cast their votes in the Electoral College in a manner to assure that the person with the plurality of votes nationwide gets enough Electoral College votes to become president.

I have no idea what you are referring to in relation to the Electoral College with your comment about Obama and an executive order.



e pluribus unum
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: davester
Date: October 24, 2011 03:46PM
Quote
swampy
Obama may try to change that by Executive Order like he's changing so many things with the swipe of his pen. /sarc

Complete non sequitur.



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: Ted King
Date: October 24, 2011 03:48PM
Quote
$tevie
Quote
Ted King
Can anyone provide a good argument for retaining the Electoral College?

The argument is that we are not a democracy, but a Constitutional Republic, which the Founding Fathers created on purpose in an effort to have small low population areas have at least some of the clout of large highly populated areas. Also, as billb pointed out, to make an election taking place in multiple states manageable.

"Hence it is that democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and in general have been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths... A republic, by which I mean a government in which a scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect and promises the cure for which we are seeking." ~~James Madison

Essentially all of these "arguments" say that it was a good idea at the beginning so we should keep doing it. Well, they came to a compromise allowing slave states to count each slave as 3/5's of a person for purposes of giving slave states more Electoral College votes even though slaves couldn't vote. That lasted 90 years. I guess 90 years isn't long enough to become sacrosanct. Women didn't have the right to vote originally either. That lasted 140 years. I guess that wasn't long enough to become sacrosanct either. Maybe if the misogynists could have held on for just another 10 years, then maybe 150 years would have been enough to make women not voting a sacrosanct part of the Constitution.

Can anyone name one example in the last 150 years where having the Electoral College resulted in the U.S. having a clearly better person elected president than the person who would have been president under a "plurality of the popular vote wins the presidency" way of doing things? (I can definitely think of an example within the last 11 years where we ended up with someone worse as president because of the Electoral College.)



e pluribus unum



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 10/24/2011 03:53PM by Ted King.
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: davester
Date: October 24, 2011 03:49PM
Quote
billb
It's a good compromise system that has served us well since its inception.

Throwing the election to GW Bush (with a little help from a corrupt supreme court) despite the popular vote being clearly against him and thus causing us to dive deeply into deficit spending, unjustified wars, and thousands of deaths is not what I would call "served us well".

"We've always done it this way so we should keep doing it" is a refrain I often hear, and it is seldom valid, so arguments that use that line of reasoning are bogus IMHO.

Quote
$tevie
The argument is that we are not a democracy, but a Constitutional Republic, which the Founding Fathers created on purpose in an effort to have small low population areas have at least some of the clout of large highly populated areas.

Actually it's large low population areas and small highly populated areas. However, that's beside the point. Why should a single person who lives in a low population density state have much more political power than a single person who lives (potentially just a couple of miles away) in a high population density state?



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 10/24/2011 03:56PM by davester.
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: rjmacs
Date: October 24, 2011 03:53PM
Quote
Ted King
Can anyone name one example in the last 150 years where having the Electoral College resulted in the U.S. having a clearly better person elected president than the person who would have been president under a "plurality of the popular vote wins the presidency" way of doing things?

Why limit us to the last 150 years?

Oh, right - because if you go back much further you have to say that John Quincy Adams ought to have lost to Andrew Jackson.



rj
AKA
Vreemac, Moth of the Future
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: Carnos Jax
Date: October 24, 2011 04:10PM
Quote
$tevie
Quote
Ted King
Can anyone provide a good argument for retaining the Electoral College?

The argument is that we are not a democracy, but a Constitutional Republic, which the Founding Fathers created on purpose in an effort to have small low population areas have at least some of the clout of large highly populated areas. Also, as billb pointed out, to make an election taking place in multiple states manageable.

"Hence it is that democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and in general have been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths... A republic, by which I mean a government in which a scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect and promises the cure for which we are seeking." ~~James Madison

In reference to both you and Bill's posts, I thought the reason the Electoral College came about was as a comprimise between Congress and the people. The people wanted the right to elect the President. Congress wanted the right to elect the president. This coupled with another reason historically referenced (the only other one I can find) is the logistics of running a pure popular vote (whatever that may mean).

In modern times, that shouldn't be an issue. And recounts of every state/county shouldn't be required unless the margin was required for a victory was within the statistical possibility of error (for that precinct?).
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: Ted King
Date: October 24, 2011 04:13PM
Quote
rjmacs
Quote
Ted King
Can anyone name one example in the last 150 years where having the Electoral College resulted in the U.S. having a clearly better person elected president than the person who would have been president under a "plurality of the popular vote wins the presidency" way of doing things?

Why limit us to the last 150 years?

Oh, right - because if you go back much further you have to say that John Quincy Adams ought to have lost to Andrew Jackson.

No. Unless someone wants to argue that the Constitution was perfect at the beginning, then there comes a time when what made sense then doesn't make sense any more. I had just mentioned the 150 year number just prior and it sounded like a good number of years away from the beginning where there was presumably a good rationale for what ended up in the Constitution but also a good number of years from the present so that people wouldn't think I'm trying to advocate something based strictly on recent history. Besides, do you really think that Andrew Jackson would have been significantly worse as a president if elected then? And that election happened over 180 years ago anyway.



e pluribus unum
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: $tevie
Date: October 24, 2011 04:14PM
The Constitution is filled with compromises. If we are going to start second guessing the Constitution, this country is going to go to hell in a handbasket. If it hasn't already.

As for W being elected by the Electoral College: W was elected by the Supreme Court. Are we going to get rid of the Supreme Court because of it?



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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: davester
Date: October 24, 2011 04:28PM
As far as I'm concerned, the electoral college has only one function...to make the votes of one group of people have less worth than the votes of another group of people. A vote in Wyoming has 3.7 times the power of a vote in California. (http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/against-the-electoral-college-disparity-citizens/ ). That is absolutely ridiculous and even worse than the original constitution's apportioning of a worth of 3/5ths of personhood to slaves.

We have second-guessed and changed many aspects of the constitution since it was originally drafted and the country has not gone to hell in a handbasket. Do you really think that we should have kept the constitution intact (which would mean that women and blacks would not be able to vote today)?



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/24/2011 04:30PM by davester.
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: Ted King
Date: October 24, 2011 04:33PM
Quote
$tevie
The Constitution is filled with compromises. If we are going to start second guessing the Constitution, this country is going to go to hell in a handbasket. If it hasn't already.

As for W being elected by the Electoral College: W was elected by the Supreme Court. Are we going to get rid of the Supreme Court because of it?

The Constitution was made to be "second guessed"; it not, they wouldn't have put in rules for making amendments to it. Aren't you glad that we second guessed the Constitution and changed it so that women could vote?

If we had election by popular vote instead of the Electoral College, the issue never would have gone to the Supreme Court.



e pluribus unum
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: rjmacs
Date: October 24, 2011 04:40PM
Quote
Ted King
No. Unless someone wants to argue that the Constitution was perfect at the beginning, then there comes a time when what made sense then doesn't make sense any more.

We don't change the Constitution simply because we've figured out a better way to do things. We change the Constitution to remedy serious flaws, to guarantee specific rights, occasionally to change the powers of government.

So, what is the fundamental failure of the Electoral College you wish to remedy? Personally i don't find the case of the 2000 election, by itself, to be a compelling argument for Constitutional amendment. As best i can tell, the Electoral College has generally reflected the will of the people in presidential contests. Is there a serious error, injustice, or denial of fundamental rights that demands correction? If not, why should we spend the enormous amount of time and attention it would take to amend the Constitution, rather than working on improving other parts of our electoral system?



rj
AKA
Vreemac, Moth of the Future
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: Ted King
Date: October 24, 2011 04:43PM
I'll be sure to link back to this thread if Obama wins the popular vote next year but loses the presidency because of the Electoral College (and that is not at all an unlikely event).



e pluribus unum
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: davester
Date: October 24, 2011 04:45PM
Quote
rjmacs
So, what is the fundamental failure of the Electoral College you wish to remedy? Personally i don't find the case of the 2000 election, by itself, to be a compelling argument for Constitutional amendment. As best i can tell, the Electoral College has generally reflected the will of the people in presidential contests.

The last two sentences are contradictory. The 2000 election clearly did not reflect the will of the majority of the people. The electoral system gave an inordinate amount of power to a small group of people in states with low population densities, enough power to control an election. There is no justification for that. That is a fundamental flaw in the electoral college.



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/24/2011 04:47PM by davester.
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: J Marston
Date: October 24, 2011 04:51PM
The anti-majoritarian provisions of the constitution were useful compromises in the eighteenth century, but they are starting to interfere with good government.

I think davester is right in thinking that it's simpler at this point to render the effect of the electoral college nugatory than it is to try to amend it, simply because we've mythologized the founders so much that it's difficult to get around key provisions.

But the electoral college has been a problem for a long time: the twelfth amendment is a direct response to a flawed electoral system. It could hardly be argued that the candidates who won an electoral majority but lost the popular vote represent an array of very great political talent. And the electoral college means that elections are determined by Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, and Michigan, while New York, Texas, and California can be safely ignored.

It's an embarrassment.
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: Ted King
Date: October 24, 2011 04:54PM
Quote
rjmacs
Quote
Ted King
No. Unless someone wants to argue that the Constitution was perfect at the beginning, then there comes a time when what made sense then doesn't make sense any more.

We don't change the Constitution simply because we've figured out a better way to do things. We change the Constitution to remedy serious flaws, to guarantee specific rights, occasionally to change the powers of government.

So, what is the fundamental failure of the Electoral College you wish to remedy? Personally i don't find the case of the 2000 election, by itself, to be a compelling argument for Constitutional amendment. As best i can tell, the Electoral College has generally reflected the will of the people in presidential contests. Is there a serious error, injustice, or denial of fundamental rights that demands correction? If not, why should we spend the enormous amount of time and attention it would take to amend the Constitution, rather than working on improving other parts of our electoral system?

The Electoral College has already been changed by amendment - the 12th Amendment. That happened in 1804. Was the "flaw" they fixed more serious than electing a person president who didn't get the most votes? If so, why do you think so?



e pluribus unum
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: rjmacs
Date: October 24, 2011 04:55PM
Quote
Ted King
I'll be sure to link back to this thread if Obama wins the popular vote next year but loses the presidency because of the Electoral College (and that is not at all an unlikely event).

Okay, but this isn't an answer.

Quote
davester
Quote
rjmacs
So, what is the fundamental failure of the Electoral College you wish to remedy? Personally i don't find the case of the 2000 election, by itself, to be a compelling argument for Constitutional amendment. As best i can tell, the Electoral College has generally reflected the will of the people in presidential contests.

The last two sentences are contradictory. The 2000 election clearly did not reflect the will of the majority of the people. The electoral system gave an inordinate amount of power to a small group of people in states with low population densities, enough power to control an election. There is no justification for that. That is a fundamental flaw in the electoral college.

Okay. As i stated above, i don't consider the 2000 election alone to be sufficient grounds for amending the Constitution, but it's okay if we disagree about that. I completely concur that the Electoral College system for presidential elections means that mathematically, individual votes in states with smaller populations have greater weight than those in states with larger ones. However, i don't think this constitutes a grave injustice that merits amending the Constitution. Simply passing the National Popular Vote bill in a sufficient number of states would solve that problem, and is far more achievable than a constitutional amendment.



rj
AKA
Vreemac, Moth of the Future
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: rjmacs
Date: October 24, 2011 05:02PM
Quote
Ted King
The Electoral College has already been changed by amendment - the 12th Amendment. That happened in 1804. Was the "flaw" they fixed more serious than electing a person president who didn't get the most votes? If so, why do you think so?

I'm not interested in 'comparing the merits' of constitutional amendments, Ted. I understand what you are asking, but i don't think going at it from this angle moves the argument forward. It's an argumentative parry to get me to defend or condemn the 12th Amendment, which is wholly off point.

The present question is: does the imperfection of the Electoral College process merit amending the Constitution. Nobody here is arguing that the process is perfect or optimized as it is. I have argued that it does not rise to the level of constitutional amendment, and you have argued otherwise. I think it's fine if we disagree on that point.



rj
AKA
Vreemac, Moth of the Future
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: davester
Date: October 24, 2011 05:03PM
Quote
rjmacs
Okay. As i stated above, i don't consider the 2000 election alone to be sufficient grounds for amending the Constitution, but it's okay if we disagree about that.

This makes me wonder what state you live in. I live in California, so my vote is not worth much, which is why the candidates don't bother to campaign very hard here. Heck, they have to spend four times as much per vote here than they do in some other states.



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/24/2011 05:03PM by davester.
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: Ted King
Date: October 24, 2011 05:04PM
Quote
davester
Quote
rjmacs
So, what is the fundamental failure of the Electoral College you wish to remedy? Personally i don't find the case of the 2000 election, by itself, to be a compelling argument for Constitutional amendment. As best i can tell, the Electoral College has generally reflected the will of the people in presidential contests.

The last two sentences are contradictory. The 2000 election clearly did not reflect the will of the majority of the people. The electoral system gave an inordinate amount of power to a small group of people in states with low population densities, enough power to control an election. There is no justification for that. That is a fundamental flaw in the electoral college.

I totally agree but would say it more flawed than that even. Under the current system, look at how much sway voters like Cuban Americans in Florida have. In the Gore election all it took was a very small event like the Elián Gonzá@#$%& affair to make the vote close enough to flip Florida's Electoral votes to Bush. Because of the Electoral College and Florida being a close swing state, the relatively small number of Cuban Americans in Florida have a way, way more disproportionate say in who becomes president than someone living in California. That is a significant problem.



e pluribus unum
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: Bill in NC
Date: October 24, 2011 05:08PM
Eliminate the Electoral College and every presidential election will be determined by the courts.

Our voting system will never be accurate enough to ensure every single vote gets counted correctly - there would always be enough statistical error for the losing candidate to sue.
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: rjmacs
Date: October 24, 2011 05:09PM
Quote
davester
Quote
rjmacs
Okay. As i stated above, i don't consider the 2000 election alone to be sufficient grounds for amending the Constitution, but it's okay if we disagree about that.

This makes me wonder what state you live in. I live in California, so my vote is not worth much, which is why the candidates don't bother to campaign very hard here. Heck, they have to spend four times as much per vote here than they do in some other states.

I don't think that has anything to do with how much candidates spend in California, but with how California apportions its electoral votes (see below).

Quote
Ted King
I totally agree but would say it more flawed than that even. Under the current system, look at how much sway voters like Cuban Americans in Florida have. In the Gore election all it took was a very small event like the Elián Gonzá@#$%& affair to make the vote close enough to flip Florida's Electoral votes to Bush. Because of the Electoral College and Florida being a close swing state, the relatively small number of Cuban Americans in Florida have a way, way more disproportionate say in who becomes president than someone living in California. That is a significant problem.

The reason for this disproportionality has nothing to do with the Electoral College, per se, but with how Florida and other large states apportion the votes of their Electors. It's the 'winner-takes-all' model that produces this problem.

As noted above, passage of the National Popular Vote bill in a sufficient number of states would fix this problem.



rj
AKA
Vreemac, Moth of the Future




Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/24/2011 05:10PM by rjmacs.
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: Ted King
Date: October 24, 2011 05:11PM
Quote
rjmacs
Quote
Ted King
The Electoral College has already been changed by amendment - the 12th Amendment. That happened in 1804. Was the "flaw" they fixed more serious than electing a person president who didn't get the most votes? If so, why do you think so?

I'm not interested in 'comparing the merits' of constitutional amendments, Ted. I understand what you are asking, but i don't think going at it from this angle moves the argument forward. It's an argumentative parry to get me to defend or condemn the 12th Amendment, which is wholly off point.

The present question is: does the imperfection of the Electoral College process merit amending the Constitution. Nobody here is arguing that the process is perfect or optimized as it is. I have argued that it does not rise to the level of constitutional amendment, and you have argued otherwise. I think it's fine if we disagree on that point.

That is the question I was pursuing. You say that the Electoral College process isn't flawed enough to merit amendment to the Constitution and I was providing you with an example of when the Electoral College has already been deemed as flawed enough to merit an amendment as a way to illustrate that your claim is questionable.

You said, "We don't change the Constitution simply because we've figured out a better way to do things. We change the Constitution to remedy serious flaws, to guarantee specific rights, occasionally to change the powers of government." So either what happened with the 12th Amendment was serious enough to warrant a change or your claim isn't true. If it was serious enough, then why aren't the issues I'm bringing up serious enough?



e pluribus unum



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/24/2011 05:22PM by Ted King.
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: Ted King
Date: October 24, 2011 05:15PM
Quote
rjmacs

As noted above, passage of the National Popular Vote bill in a sufficient number of states would fix this problem.

Well, as long as the Electoral College is made irrelevant then I don't care about whether there is a Constitutional Amendment or not. But the problem certainly is significant enough that the Electoral College does need to be made irrelevant by some means.



e pluribus unum
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: Ted King
Date: October 24, 2011 05:16PM
Quote
Bill in NC
Eliminate the Electoral College and every presidential election will be determined by the courts.

Our voting system will never be accurate enough to ensure every single vote gets counted correctly - there would always be enough statistical error for the losing candidate to sue.

Your evidence for this is...?



e pluribus unum
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: swampy
Date: October 24, 2011 05:19PM
Quote
Ted King


Obama may try to change that by Executive Order like he's changing so many things with the swipe of his pen. /sarc

Under the National Popular vote system, it would still be the Electoral College that decides who becomes president - it's just that enough states would agree to cast their votes in the Electoral College in a manner to assure that the person with the plurality of votes nationwide gets enough Electoral College votes to become president.

I have no idea what you are referring to in relation to the Electoral College with your comment about Obama and an executive order.[/quote]

You don't see the /sarcasm notice?

But to your argument. In other words, the people in Florida vote for XXX, but because candidate YYY won the popular vote nationally, Florida's Electoral votes would have to go to YYY? Are you saying that our 29 electoral votes (which may decide the presidency) cannot be cast for XXX because YYY won a popular vote?

Ain't gonna happen.



If you don't stand for something, you'll probably fall for anything.t
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: rjmacs
Date: October 24, 2011 05:22PM
Quote
Ted King
Quote
rjmacs
I'm not interested in 'comparing the merits' of constitutional amendments, Ted. I understand what you are asking, but i don't think going at it from this angle moves the argument forward. It's an argumentative parry to get me to defend or condemn the 12th Amendment, which is wholly off point.

The present question is: does the imperfection of the Electoral College process merit amending the Constitution. Nobody here is arguing that the process is perfect or optimized as it is. I have argued that it does not rise to the level of constitutional amendment, and you have argued otherwise. I think it's fine if we disagree on that point.

That is the question I was pursuing. You say that the Electoral College process isn't flawed enough to merit amendment to the Constitution and I was providing you with an example of when the Electoral College has already been deemed as flawed enough to merit an amendment as a way to illustrate that your claim is questionable.

Whether a constitutional amendment is merited is not simply a question of the flaw, but of the proper use of political resources in the time the flaw is being addressed. Perhaps in 1804 it was an appropriate time to spend the time and resources on changing the Constitution. I don't thing that in 2011, the cost-benefit argument favors an amendment. We have more pressing issues to address.

Quote
Ted King
Quote
rjmacs

As noted above, passage of the National Popular Vote bill in a sufficient number of states would fix this problem.

Well, as long as the Electoral College is made irrelevant then I don't care about whether there is a Constitutional Amendment or not. But the problem certainly is significant enough that the Electoral College does need to be made irrelevant by some means.

Was i ever defending the Electoral College? I'm not a fan of it - at all. I've just been arguing against amending the Constitution.



rj
AKA
Vreemac, Moth of the Future
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: Ted King
Date: October 24, 2011 05:24PM
Quote
rjmacs
Quote
Ted King
Quote
rjmacs
I'm not interested in 'comparing the merits' of constitutional amendments, Ted. I understand what you are asking, but i don't think going at it from this angle moves the argument forward. It's an argumentative parry to get me to defend or condemn the 12th Amendment, which is wholly off point.

The present question is: does the imperfection of the Electoral College process merit amending the Constitution. Nobody here is arguing that the process is perfect or optimized as it is. I have argued that it does not rise to the level of constitutional amendment, and you have argued otherwise. I think it's fine if we disagree on that point.

That is the question I was pursuing. You say that the Electoral College process isn't flawed enough to merit amendment to the Constitution and I was providing you with an example of when the Electoral College has already been deemed as flawed enough to merit an amendment as a way to illustrate that your claim is questionable.

Whether a constitutional amendment is merited is not simply a question of the flaw, but of the proper use of political resources in the time the flaw is being addressed. Perhaps in 1804 it was an appropriate time to spend the time and resources on changing the Constitution. I don't thing that in 2011, the cost-benefit argument favors an amendment. We have more pressing issues to address.

Quote
Ted King
Quote
rjmacs

As noted above, passage of the National Popular Vote bill in a sufficient number of states would fix this problem.

Well, as long as the Electoral College is made irrelevant then I don't care about whether there is a Constitutional Amendment or not. But the problem certainly is significant enough that the Electoral College does need to be made irrelevant by some means.

Was i ever defending the Electoral College? I'm not a fan of it - at all. I've just been arguing against amending the Constitution.

I guess I wasn't quick enough to make this edit to my post above, "You said, "We don't change the Constitution simply because we've figured out a better way to do things. We change the Constitution to remedy serious flaws, to guarantee specific rights, occasionally to change the powers of government." So either what happened with the 12th Amendment was serious enough to warrant a change or your claim isn't true. If it was serious enough, then why aren't the issues I'm bringing up serious enough?"



e pluribus unum
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: rjmacs
Date: October 24, 2011 05:27PM
Quote
Ted King
I guess I wasn't quick enough to make this edit to my post above, "You said, "We don't change the Constitution simply because we've figured out a better way to do things. We change the Constitution to remedy serious flaws, to guarantee specific rights, occasionally to change the powers of government." So either what happened with the 12th Amendment was serious enough to warrant a change or your claim isn't true. If it was serious enough, then why aren't the issues I'm bringing up serious enough?"

Because they can be fixed with plain old non-Constitution-amending laws. Which is easier, faster, simpler, and just as effective.



rj
AKA
Vreemac, Moth of the Future
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: Ted King
Date: October 24, 2011 05:28PM
Quote
swampy

You don't see the /sarcasm notice?

Even sarcastic comments normally have some relevance to the issue at hand.



e pluribus unum
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Re: Are we close to a tipping point for a Constitutional Amendment to end the Electoral College?
Posted by: Ted King
Date: October 24, 2011 05:33PM
Quote
rjmacs
Quote
Ted King
I guess I wasn't quick enough to make this edit to my post above, "You said, "We don't change the Constitution simply because we've figured out a better way to do things. We change the Constitution to remedy serious flaws, to guarantee specific rights, occasionally to change the powers of government." So either what happened with the 12th Amendment was serious enough to warrant a change or your claim isn't true. If it was serious enough, then why aren't the issues I'm bringing up serious enough?"

Because they can be fixed with plain old non-Constitution-amending laws. Which is easier, faster, simpler, and just as effective.

Okay, I agree with that, but if there were no non-Constitutional way of changing the situation, you seem to think that it's not a big enough issue to bother going through the process of a Constitutional amendment. In that case, plug in our disagreement, rinse and repeat. smiling smiley



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