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Friday, November 25, 2016

The Electoral College was created for two reasons. The first purpose was to create a buffer between population and the selection of a President. The second as part of the structure of the government that gave extra power to the smaller states.

The first reason that the founders created the Electoral College is hard to understand today. The founding fathers were afraid of direct election to the Presidency. They feared a tyrant could manipulate public opinion and come to power. Hamilton wrote in the Federalist Papers:

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It was equally desirable, that the immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice. A small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations. It was also peculiarly desirable to afford as little opportunity as possible to tumult and disorder. This evil was not least to be dreaded in the election of a magistrate, who was to have so important an agency in the administration of the government as the President of the United States. But the precautions which have been so happily concerted in the system under consideration, promise an effectual security against this mischief.

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It was a way to get Southern slave States to buy into a union by counting non-voting slaves as 3/5ths of a person when allocating electoral college votes. Explaining the Electoral College by just distinguishing small and large States is a way of sanitizing it.

#1 | Posted by nutcase at 2016-11-26 07:11 AM | Reply

Sore loserism is the only reason anyone cares.

Obama won handedly without needing the rules changed. Hillary did awesome in some states and sucked in others because she was polarizing.

She was a ---- candidate, as told here thousands of times before said ---- was nominated. ---- candidates lose.

#2 | Posted by LIVE_OR_DIE at 2016-11-26 07:43 AM | Reply

They BOTH are --- candidates. It was a lesser evil choice.

#3 | Posted by nutcase at 2016-11-26 08:06 AM | Reply

"It was a lesser evil choice"

I don't think so. Evil had nothing to do with it or Trump would have lost.

Enough people wanted to just blow the system up. And it's going to be spectacular.

#4 | Posted by YAV at 2016-11-26 08:12 AM | Reply

Statement of statistical fact: The modern day application of the Electoral College process of electing our POTUS over-represents the votes of white people while diminishing the votes of minorities.

While votes are roughly proportionately distributed, since even the smallest states are guaranteed three votes, the people in these states end up being over-represented in the Electoral College.... The states that are over-represented in the Electoral College also happen to be less diverse than the country as a whole. Wyoming is 84 percent white, North Dakota is 86 percent white, and Rhode Island is 74 percent white, while in California only 38 percent of the population is white, in Florida 55 percent, and in Texas 43 percent. White people tend to live in states where their vote counts more, and minorities in places where it counts less. This means that the Electoral College not only can produce results that conflict with a majority vote, but it is biased in a way that amplifies the votes of white people and reduces the voice of minorities.

The figure illustrates the gap in Electoral College representation for minority voters. Based on the weight of each vote in each state and given the fact that most minority voters reside in states where each person's vote counts less in the Electoral College, the result is minority voters are grossly underrepresented. African American votes on average have a weight that is 95 percent as much as white votes, Hispanic votes are on average 91 percent, and Asian American votes, 93 percent as much of a white vote. In the Electoral College, white votes matter more.

#5 | Posted by tonyroma at 2016-11-26 08:52 AM | Reply

Ridiculous premise Tonyroma. It over values voters regardless of skin color in rural areas while devaluing votes in urban areas, regardless of skin color.

It does this on purpose..... To ensure that rural voters have an equal shot at getting their needs met by the federal government as compared to urban voters.

The founders rightfully feared the tyranny of the majority.... Any majority.

As has been pointed out repeatedly... The president wields tremendous power over domestic issues through his influence in Congress with the agenda they take up for action, as well as through the veto. The quickest path to election and re-election is to win the high density urban centers and ignore the time , effort, and expense it takes to win rural voters. Ignore the needs of rural voters and cater only to urban voters is a recipe for disaster.

#6 | Posted by ABH at 2016-11-26 09:18 AM | Reply

To ensure that rural voters have an equal shot at getting their needs met by the federal government as compared to urban voters.

No, it gives rural voters a greater shot of getting their needs met. A Wyoming resident has 3.6 times the voting power to choose a president as a California resident.

There's no defense for this system unless you believe proximity to cows makes a person more capable of choosing a president.

We use one-person, one-vote everywhere else in our voting system. Nobody argues in governor's races that rural counties deserve more voting power than urban ones.

The founding fathers did some things wrong. The Electoral College was one of them. Let's not pretend that men who owned slaves and denied the vote to non-whites and women were exemplars of how to run a fair and free election.

#7 | Posted by rcade at 2016-11-26 12:33 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

The quickest path to election and re-election is to win the high density urban centers and ignore the time, effort, and expense it takes to win rural voters.

The Electoral College ensures that candidates spend almost all of their time in around 12 states and ignore 38 others.

Most of the rural states are in those 38. Neither Trump nor Hillary was going to places like Wyoming or Idaho. They were a lock to pick the GOP.

So if you're afraid of a system in which rural places are ignored during a campaign, you should already be afraid.

#8 | Posted by rcade at 2016-11-26 12:40 PM | Reply

The founders rightfully feared the tyranny of the majority.... Any majority.

They feared "the tyranny of the majority" because they themselves were all representatives of the privileged minority of elites unwilling to cast their lot with those outside of their immediate control, even their wives and daughters. As rcade mentions above, our Founders were nakedly self-serving when this nation was formed, not altruistic arbiters of equality for the masses expressly because women, indigenous populations and imported slaves were not considered citizens while being held to the dictates of this nation's laws when it served the purposes of those same elites.

Today the Electoral College is deferent not only to small states, in practice, it devalues the vote of those in more populous states which obviously include more minorities than found in lower populated states. This reality is a fact that cannot be denied although I'm not making any case that this express purpose of inequality was intended more than the other purposes already established.

#9 | Posted by tonyroma at 2016-11-26 12:52 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Okay so now instead of 12 states being truly up for grabs, will now mean that only city dwellers will be important... And therefore only governmental priorities meeting their needs well be important. Let's just ignore the needs of the people that make our goods and grow our food because it won't make political sense to divert money away from the voters you need to the voters you don't in urban areas.

No system is perfect, but don't pretend that a direct popular vote is the perfect answer. You are trading one set of problems for another even larger set.

The bottom line, the electoral college is an elegant and brilliant solution to the problem.

#10 | Posted by ABH at 2016-11-26 12:59 PM | Reply

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"As has been pointed out repeatedly... The president wields tremendous power over domestic issues through his influence in Congress with the agenda they take up for action, as well as through the veto. The quickest path to election and re-election is to win the high density urban centers and ignore the time , effort, and expense it takes to win rural voters. Ignore the needs of rural voters and cater only to urban voters is a recipe for disaster."

Who benefited from NAFTA? If you don't realize it was the farming economy then you don't really know anyting about NAFTA. It cost millions of American factory workers jobs while, at the same time, destroyed Mexico's family farm economy to be replaced by American factory farms that could undercut prices on corn and other commodities. We have allowed our rural neighbors to have too much power, the electoral college is part of the imbalance. And please don't trot out that tired argument that we are favoring urban dwellers over rural because the biggest farms are owned by big corporations not families.

#11 | Posted by danni at 2016-11-26 01:11 PM | Reply

"The bottom line, the electoral college is an elegant and brilliant solution to the problem."

If you wanted to keep the slave states in the union yes, otherwise absolute nonsense. The electoral college was created to insure that the slave states would have equal power to the non-slave states even though they had far less population. America was built on slavery, it was constructed to insure the institution endured, we are still paying for that mistake by allowing rural voters to have more power than city dwellers. We need to abolish it once and for all. One man, one vote, every vote should have the same importance as any other vote. Hillary Clinton got 2,000,000 more votes than trump, it is completely undemocratic that he should now be anointed President. He's never going to be my President. He wasn't really elected. And hey, remember that last President who wasn't really elected? He sure made a huge mess of things, didn't he?

#12 | Posted by danni at 2016-11-26 01:16 PM | Reply

#10

Here's the deal: No, city dwellers will not become anything more than they already are - citizens who feel that their vote for President should be counted equally with every other citizen's vote throughout the entire country. Stop. Period.

The entire arbitrary reality of "states" was never considered in our modern context by our Founders in the 18th Century. They started with 13 contiguous states, and now we have 50 of various sizes and geographical shapes. It seems odd that so many Americans always ignore the wisdom our Founders showed in making sure our Constitution could adapt to the needs of future times as an entire ideology/mythology has been created nominally out of viewing every single current issue of law and constitutionality through the lens of the 18th Century.

Because we've had no modern experience in constitutional amendments, this nation is so divided we're incapable of any objectivity in forwarding common sense solutions for modern issues without placing every single movement on a scale to see which political party stands to benefit the most from either change or stasis. Then we actively oppose ideas of change unless they're self-serving to our personal interests or desires.

With a nation approaching 350 million people spread out over thousands upon thousands of discontiguous square miles of territory, does any person with a knowledge of our Founders actually believe they would contemporaneously recreate the Electoral College as we're still using it today? I'd entertain that argument but it seems rather specious on its face. But I admit, this is all conjecture except for the part that the very nature of "states" would keep any constitutional amendment to scale back the electoral power of the same DOA in today's reality.

Doesn't make the logic wrong, but it cannot happen in our hyper-partisan environment and there's no desire to relinquish power even if it's for the goal of equalizing the defacto impact of each and every citizen's vote. I see little wrong in making candidates speak to each and every citizen instead of focusing on random anomalies called "swing states."

#13 | Posted by tonyroma at 2016-11-26 01:29 PM | Reply

So you would be totally okay with going from 12 swing states being catered to that represent the nation as a whole with both urban and city voters in those states influencing the needs of the nation, to only a couple dozen cities deciding the outcome of the election every campaign.... And only their needs from the federal government being important.

Unless you think that farmers in Idaho have the same needs as city dwellers in California from the federal government.

#14 | Posted by ABH at 2016-11-26 03:47 PM | Reply

The bottom line, the electoral college is an elegant and brilliant solution to the problem.

There's nothing brilliant about a system that gives voters more power based on cow proximity.

Get serious. No one designing a presidential election today would create the Electoral College. It's a joke that only is defended by anyone because of their own perceived political gain.

The Electoral College is so bad that electors aren't even bound to the result in their state. The will of the voters as expressed on Election Day could be completely disregarded.

#15 | Posted by rcade at 2016-11-26 04:36 PM | Reply

And still everyone ignores the fact that urban voters would become the only worthwhile demographic, and the needs of rural voters could and would be ignored.

#16 | Posted by ABH at 2016-11-26 07:10 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Electoral college or not Hillary ran a terrible campaign. Her commercials did nothing to inspire people to vote for her and she ignored key states. She just assumed Wisconsin was hers. In Pa she killed herself with the comments about coal mines. Donald was easy to beat and she couldn't do it.

#17 | Posted by byrdman at 2016-11-26 07:21 PM | Reply

*And still everyone ignores the fact that urban voters would become the only worthwhile demographic, and the needs of rural voters could and would be ignored.

#16 | POSTED BY ABH

*Why should a President only feel compelled to only represent the desires of one "worthwhile demographic" when most issues cut across all Americans as US citizens/taxpayers, regardless of where we reside?

In our more diverse and egalitarian society, every citizen's vote for President should be equal to all others, with the majority of voters choosing the winner regardless of which state the individual voters live in. We do not divide local or state elections into arbitrary neighborhoods or county's with established proportional extrapolation for varying populations, do we? How can we justify such a construct for the most important job in our country? Name another election where we make proportional allowances for the tabulation of the results. Personally, I can't think of one with only one singular winner.

As everyone else has already said, why can't we admit the rationale for the Electoral College (slaves - while not citizens allowed their owners an additional 3/5ths vote per, while females and most indigenous Americans were not allowed to vote) no longer exists and our honorable Founders would encourage us to adopt direct election of the POTUS on our never-ending quest to become their more perfect union.

#18 | Posted by tonyroma at 2016-11-26 07:30 PM | Reply

And still everyone ignores the fact that urban voters would become the only worthwhile demographic, and the needs of rural voters could and would be ignored.

No one is ignoring it. We just don't find it remotely persuasive.

Your argument could be used in every other election in this country, not just president. There are urban/rural divides everywhere.

Why do you favor a system where some people are a privileged voting class and others are not? What's so special about Wyoming?

One person, one vote is the standard across democracies all over the world.

#19 | Posted by rcade at 2016-11-26 07:42 PM | Reply

Your argument could be used in every other election in this country, not just president. There are urban/rural divides everywhere.

Why do you favor a system where some people are a privileged voting class and others are not? What's so special about Wyoming?

One person, one vote is the standard across democracies all over the world.

Posted by rcade at 2016-11-26 07:42 PM | Reply

It's easy to understand if you acknowledge the Popular vote satisfies the house portion of the equation and the electoral college satisfies the Senate portion of the equation. After all the offices higher up the governmental food chain are decided by the senate.

#20 | Posted by LauraMohr at 2016-11-26 08:11 PM | Reply

It's easy to understand if you acknowledge the Popular vote satisfies the house portion of the equation and the electoral college satisfies the Senate portion of the equation.

Too bad it doesn't work that way.

#21 | Posted by REDIAL at 2016-11-26 08:54 PM | Reply

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