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Old 16th September 2020, 08:15 AM   #1
rockysmith76
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News Article: Abandoning the Electoral College still a bad idea

https://nypost.com/2020/09/15/sorry-...terrible-idea/
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Old 16th September 2020, 08:18 AM   #2
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The media is not your friend, rocky.
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Old 16th September 2020, 08:28 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by rockysmith76 View Post
Very poor reasoning in that piece.
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Old 16th September 2020, 08:45 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Distracted1 View Post
Very poor reasoning in that piece.
Like this:

Quote:
The first problem with its elimination is purely pragmatic. Electing presidents via popular vote would be a logistical disaster, rendering every recount a national recount.
No, it would not mean that. Each state runs its own elections, eliminating the EC would not change that. Recounts would occur at the state level, not national and only among those states that had reason to doubt the accuracy of their vote counts.
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Old 16th September 2020, 08:47 AM   #5
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QED.
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Old 16th September 2020, 08:50 AM   #6
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//Holds sealed envelope to head ala Johnny Carson//

- The "We need the EC to protect the small states from the big states (even though it was never meant to do that and doesn't do that)" fallacy.
- The "We need the EC to protect the rural areas from the big cities (even though it was never meant to do that and doesn't do that)" fallacy. Bonus points for claiming that without the EC all the candidates are just going to focus on New York and Los Angeles.
- The "We need the EC to protect some vague, undefined 'Real America' from the rest of America." fallacy.
- The "We need the EC to stop populist demagogues" argument without a hint of irony.
- "But it would be so haaaaaard to change it" whining.
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Old 16th September 2020, 08:58 AM   #7
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There would be some issues raised by states controlling voting rather than there being uniform national standards. Really, without some comprehensive changes in voting rights law it would create some nightmares, but the system is already a nightmare for the same reasons so who cares.

The rest of it is essentially the silly claim that the remedy for the tyranny of the majority is the tyranny of the minority. As long as it is the right minority, in this case mostly rural white people.
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Old 16th September 2020, 09:09 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by crescent View Post



No, it would not mean that. Each state runs its own elections, eliminating the EC would not change that. Recounts would occur at the state level, not national and only among those states that had reason to doubt the accuracy of their vote counts.

States where the vote is close have historically done shady stuff. Florida for example. Ohio got weird a bit in 2004. A popular vote would have the effect that every state would act like that if the national election were close.

As it is, the system lets each state choose a slate of electors. That is an internal affair with extremely limited federal oversight as there is no right to vote in federal law, just laws governing how states can handle things. Making it a federal matter would put a legal significance on a vote total that is not uniform and not based on rights given at the level where the vote totals are significant.

I'm not saying this is a reason to keep the EC, but it is a reason why switching would create some serious issues about federalism that would have to be addressed.
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Old 16th September 2020, 09:13 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by rockysmith76 View Post
False dichotomy. There are more options that just a straight national vote (presumably on a FPTP basis) or the EC.
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Old 16th September 2020, 09:25 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
False dichotomy. There are more options that just a straight national vote (presumably on a FPTP basis) or the EC.
agreed.
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Old 16th September 2020, 09:30 AM   #11
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That's not even a "news article". It's an opinion piece. Some of us need to learn the difference.
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Old 16th September 2020, 09:43 AM   #12
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"News article" in the thread title made me suspicious, and a NY Post editorial by Jonah Goldberg is just about what I expected to find at the link.

Actual news article - Only 9% of 15-year-olds can distinguish between fact and opinion. [quartz magazine / qz.com] Teens in the USA fare a little better than the global average at 13.5%.

Quote:
In the US, 13.5% of 15-year-olds can distinguish between fact and opinion when trying to interpret a complex reading task. In the UK, it’s just 11.5%.

Those results are both better than the OECD average of 9%, according to the latest results of PISA, or the Programme for International Student Assessment, an international test of math, science, and reading which is administered by the OECD every three years.
ETA - the red box at the top of that Post column that says "Opinion" would probably help 15-year-olds score higher.

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Old 16th September 2020, 10:03 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Suddenly View Post
States where the vote is close have historically done shady stuff. Florida for example. Ohio got weird a bit in 2004. A popular vote would have the effect that every state would act like that if the national election were close.
....
Why? States play games now to push their electoral votes to one side or another when the popular vote is close. What incentive would they have to add a few more votes to one side when they wouldn't affect the outcome?
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Old 16th September 2020, 10:06 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
That's not even a "news article". It's an opinion piece. Some of us need to learn the difference.
That's a fundamental flaw in the contemporary media landscape. A lot of people aren't able to grasp the distinction between fact and opinion, especially when everything looks the same on Facebook and Twitter.
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Old 16th September 2020, 10:16 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
//Holds sealed envelope to head ala Johnny Carson//

- The "We need the EC to protect the small states from the big states (even though it was never meant to do that and doesn't do that)" fallacy.
- The "We need the EC to protect the rural areas from the big cities (even though it was never meant to do that and doesn't do that)" fallacy. Bonus points for claiming that without the EC all the candidates are just going to focus on New York and Los Angeles.
- The "We need the EC to protect some vague, undefined 'Real America' from the rest of America." fallacy.
- The "We need the EC to stop populist demagogues" argument without a hint of irony.
- "But it would be so haaaaaard to change it" whining.
I don't think those are fallacies but expressions of values. But they do lack evidence that the electoral college actually does that or what it even means to do that.
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Old 16th September 2020, 10:45 AM   #16
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It's always amusing when Republicans say people want to abolish the EC just to give themselves a better chance at winning. And what are the great principled reasons to maintain this ridiculous institution? Because a recount will be messier? This year's election could get messy precisely because we have an EC.
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Old 16th September 2020, 10:57 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Cain View Post
It's always amusing when Republicans say people want to abolish the EC just to give themselves a better chance at winning. And what are the great principled reasons to maintain this ridiculous institution? Because a recount will be messier? This year's election could get messy precisely because we have an EC.
Which one. I'm partial to 31 myself.
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Old 16th September 2020, 11:16 AM   #18
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Honestly I'm surprised Jonah Goldberg is coming out in favor of keeping the EC. He went all-in on anti-Trumpism. I would have expected him to advocate abolishing the EC in order to give the country a chance to get back to partisan politics as usual - even if it means a Democrat administration.
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Old 16th September 2020, 11:20 AM   #19
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If we didn't have the EC, candidates would campaign differently.
And Parties would find new ways to "misinterpret the rules" to bend the election in their favor.

But I'm all for abolishing the EC ... once I know what the proposed alternative is.
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Old 16th September 2020, 11:25 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Elagabalus View Post
Which one. I'm partial to 31 myself.
Mark.

ETA - his #11 was retired by the Oilers.

Last edited by carlitos; 16th September 2020 at 11:26 AM.
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Old 16th September 2020, 11:25 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by crescent View Post
Quote:
The first problem with its elimination is purely pragmatic. Electing presidents via popular vote would be a logistical disaster, rendering every recount a national recount.
No, it would not mean that. Each state runs its own elections, eliminating the EC would not change that. Recounts would occur at the state level, not national and only among those states that had reason to doubt the accuracy of their vote counts.
Even if recounts were done nation-wide...

The fact that the vote difference in the popular vote tends to be measured in the millions of votes (as opposed to individual states, where the margin of victory is sometimes in the hundreds or thousands) means that recounts will be required on a much less frequent basis.

Something fishy about a few hundred votes in some district? Its likely not going to affect how close the popular vote is nationally, so there no need to do a recount. And if the popular vote actually is that close? Then a national recount is probably warranted.
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Old 16th September 2020, 11:30 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
agreed.
Proportional Representation.
Why is the USA sacred of actual democracy?

Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
That's not even a "news article". It's an opinion piece. Some of us need to learn the difference.
I got to "nypost.com" and said nuh-uh. I can think for myself and don't need to be told by a Murdoch rag that no-one with a working brain takes seriously.
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Old 16th September 2020, 12:08 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Bob001 View Post
Why? States play games now to push their electoral votes to one side or another when the popular vote is close. What incentive would they have to add a few more votes to one side when they wouldn't affect the outcome?
If there is a popular vote total, every vote is equally important. Which is good. It just raises some issues that would need addressed because if the popular vote ends up within the margin of error it truly would cause a nightmare given the current legal framework. Every vote matters as much as every other one.



With national standards that can be enforced in federal court, this is manageable. Without that, yikes.
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Old 16th September 2020, 12:16 PM   #24
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News Article: Abandoning the Electoral College still a bad idea

Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
If we didn't have the EC, candidates would campaign differently.
And Parties would find new ways to "misinterpret the rules" to bend the election in their favor.

But I'm all for abolishing the EC ... once I know what the proposed alternative is.


Yeah. I hadn’t realized that some here are thinking of a true national popular vote. I’m not sure how I feel about that. For all of its faults, the EC makes national standards unnecessary, which increases local control of local elections.

If we had one big national election for president, maybe it should run completely separate from local election. Maybe they could build the infrastructure needed on top of something existing, like Selective Service or Social Security. ETA - or the Post Office!

Last edited by carlitos; 16th September 2020 at 12:18 PM.
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Old 16th September 2020, 12:24 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
I got to "nypost.com" and said nuh-uh. I can think for myself and don't need to be told by a Murdoch rag that no-one with a working brain takes seriously.
The NY Post is where Murdoch and company funnel the nonsense that's too ridiculous for Fox News. Then, once in print, it is by definition credible and can then be quoted by the characters on Fox News.
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Old 16th September 2020, 12:26 PM   #26
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Here is the other thing. Without national standards the bright red states are going to figure out ways to pump up voting. Be ready for Idaho and the like to decide that the voting age is five. It will be fine to have a parent in the booth to help them navigate and introduce them to the glory of democracy so no worries there about them accidentally voting for the wrong candidate.

I'd like to say that is absurd, but I'm not sure I can.
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Old 16th September 2020, 12:30 PM   #27
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The 26th amendment only applies to those 18 and over. Congress could keep Idaho from doing that. Theoretically.
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Old 16th September 2020, 12:33 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Suddenly View Post
Here is the other thing. Without national standards the bright red states are going to figure out ways to pump up voting. Be ready for Idaho and the like to decide that the voting age is five. It will be fine to have a parent in the booth to help them navigate and introduce them to the glory of democracy so no worries there about them accidentally voting for the wrong candidate.

I'd like to say that is absurd, but I'm not sure I can.
https://thehill.com/homenews/state-w...ting-age-to-16
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Old 16th September 2020, 12:34 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Suddenly View Post
Here is the other thing. Without national standards the bright red states are going to figure out ways to pump up voting. Be ready for Idaho and the like to decide that the voting age is five. It will be fine to have a parent in the booth to help them navigate and introduce them to the glory of democracy so no worries there about them accidentally voting for the wrong candidate.

I'd like to say that is absurd, but I'm not sure I can.
The minimum voting age is a federal law. It could perhaps be argued that it rightly only applies to elections for constitutional offices (POTUS and Congress), but then your hypothetical scheme would only affect elections for local/state offices/issues.

Also, it's easy to pigeonhole everybody in a red state as being a Republican, but the color simply represents the majority of voters. So, increasing the number of people voting [generally] is a potentially dangerous move in that maybe people who haven't been voting have chosen not to because they don't feel like their vote matters. Make them feel like they need to vote (and help their children vote) and perhaps those states start looking a bit more purple than red or blue.
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Old 16th September 2020, 12:41 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by rockysmith76 View Post
Rocky, I know ad homs aren't the done thing around here, but I thought maybe this would resonate: Are you sure you want to cite Jonah Goldberg? He's a rabid anti-Trumper and emphatically pro-Democrat in this cycle.
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Old 16th September 2020, 12:47 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Rocky, I know ad homs aren't the done thing around here, but I thought maybe this would resonate: Are you sure you want to cite Jonah Goldberg? He's a rabid anti-Trumper and emphatically pro-Democrat in this cycle.
That won't be problem for him, since he pretends both sides are equally bad.
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Old 16th September 2020, 12:52 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Suddenly View Post
If there is a popular vote total, every vote is equally important. Which is good. It just raises some issues that would need addressed because if the popular vote ends up within the margin of error it truly would cause a nightmare given the current legal framework. Every vote matters as much as every other one.

With national standards that can be enforced in federal court, this is manageable. Without that, yikes.
Same as it ever was: “In 1800, Aaron Burr circumvented New York's requirement that voters own a minimum amount of property by persuading landless Republicans to pool their funds and purchase enough as "joint tenants" to meet the requirement. The special magic of the joint tenancy was that each tenant, no matter how large the group or how small his contribution, "owned" the entire estate. The Federalists responded by locating a loophole in New Jersey law, which did not specifically exclude women from voting. They marched their wives, daughters, and any other females they could find to the polls and buried the male Republican vote.”

https://www.theatlantic.com/past/doc...t/deadlock.htm
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Old 16th September 2020, 01:11 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
//Holds sealed envelope to head ala Johnny Carson//

- The "We need the EC to protect the small states from the big states (even though it was never meant to do that and doesn't do that)" fallacy.
- The "We need the EC to protect the rural areas from the big cities (even though it was never meant to do that and doesn't do that)" fallacy. Bonus points for claiming that without the EC all the candidates are just going to focus on New York and Los Angeles.
Let's focus on these a bit more:

According to this source, the percentage of the US population only passed 50% in the period between 1910 and 1920 - keeping in mind that the definition of "urban" may itself have changed. It's conceivable that the founding fathers forsaw this, and created the electoral college more than a century in advance of such issues - but this strikes me as highly unlikely.

And as you say, the end result of the EC is to cause presidential candidates to focus on 5-6 specific "swing states" in order to ignore all others. The major modern exception is Dolt 45, who insists on DC-area ads because he's ignorant enough to waste campaign money to watch other people praise him on the tv machine.

Quote:
- The "We need the EC to stop populist demagogues" argument without a hint of irony.
Indeed, this is the sole remaining justification for the EC, and much like the founders intended a political system without parties, yet put in place a system that guarantees two, and only two, competitive parties, and a Supreme Court that did not determine constitutionality of congressional acts, yet created a system that allows them to do exactly this, the EC has failed miserably in this regard.

(In other words, eliminating the EC is only one of many reforms I would introduce. Supreme Court reform, a massive move away from "first past the goalpost" voting, and a massive overhaul of the US Senate, are also much needed)

Last edited by Mumbles; 16th September 2020 at 01:34 PM.
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Old 16th September 2020, 01:38 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Babbylonian View Post
The minimum voting age is a federal law. It could perhaps be argued that it rightly only applies to elections for constitutional offices (POTUS and Congress), but then your hypothetical scheme would only affect elections for local/state offices/issues.
.
Not quite. Federal voting law is a mish-mash of a few constitutional amendments none of which establish a right to vote in and of themselves but do place restrictions on what states can do.

The closest it comes is that congress must be selected "by the people" and those people must have at least the same qualifications as the larger house of the state legislature. For president, there is no such restriction. There are equal protection concerns and the several amendments preventing the state from discriminating in certain ways, but that is it.

So if a state wants to make 12 the minimum voting age, they can... but for those votes to matter in congressional races the state would have to make 12 the minimum age to serve in the larger state legislative house.
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Old 16th September 2020, 01:57 PM   #35
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Old 16th September 2020, 02:05 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Suddenly View Post
Not quite. Federal voting law is a mish-mash of a few constitutional amendments none of which establish a right to vote in and of themselves but do place restrictions on what states can do.

The closest it comes is that congress must be selected "by the people" and those people must have at least the same qualifications as the larger house of the state legislature. For president, there is no such restriction. There are equal protection concerns and the several amendments preventing the state from discriminating in certain ways, but that is it.

So if a state wants to make 12 the minimum voting age, they can... but for those votes to matter in congressional races the state would have to make 12 the minimum age to serve in the larger state legislative house.
It's all irrelevant since there is no significant desire (among voters or politicians) to allow even 16-year-olds to vote, let alone tweens. Also, the [probably erroneous*] belief that youth=liberal would probably be enough to kill any such idea in a largely conservative state.

*My experience has been that kids tend to adopt the politics of their parents until they move out of the house and engage with points of view outside of their childhood experience.
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Old 16th September 2020, 02:50 PM   #37
Galaxie
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Option 3 is to keep the EC but revise enough state constitutions to pledge their EC votes to the popular vote winner. Once you reach the tipping point, the EC vote becomes meaningless.
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Old 16th September 2020, 03:12 PM   #38
Babbylonian
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Originally Posted by Galaxie View Post
Option 3 is to keep the EC but revise enough state constitutions to pledge their EC votes to the popular vote winner. Once you reach the tipping point, the EC vote becomes meaningless.
No, it doesn't. Not even a little bit.

ETA: What you've described is how the electoral college currently works. Win a state's popular vote (plurality) and you get all the electoral college votes for that state.

In other words, the problem isn't "faithless electors," members of the electoral college who vote for somebody besides the person who won the popular vote in their state. The problem is the configuration of the electoral college which, thanks in part to Congress capping the total number of representatives in the House, is not representative of the population of the United States.

Last edited by Babbylonian; 16th September 2020 at 03:19 PM.
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Old 16th September 2020, 03:54 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by Galaxie View Post
Option 3 is to keep the EC but revise enough state constitutions to pledge their EC votes to the popular vote winner. Once you reach the tipping point, the EC vote becomes meaningless.
Originally Posted by Babbylonian View Post
No, it doesn't. Not even a little bit.

ETA: What you've described is how the electoral college currently works.
Babbylonian - I think you misunderstood what Galaxie was proposing. The popular vote - at the national level. If states making up more than half the EC pledge to do that, then the EC does indeed become meaningless.

National Popular Vote Interstate Compact
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Old 16th September 2020, 04:07 PM   #40
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Galaxie didn't specify, but that compact means that the states pledge their electors to the national popular vote winner. Big difference in how that sentence reads.
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