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Tags electoral college , instant runoff voting , Ranked Choice Voting , voting issues , voting systems

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Old 1st November 2004, 10:57 AM   #41
daenku32
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Quote:
Originally posted by toddjh
Well, for starters, it puts control into the hands of the states rather than the people. All the states have seen fit to tie their electoral votes to the outcome of the statewide election, which is a smart move right now. In the future, though, if things get weird, they might want to alter the way the system is set up. The electoral college is one of the only powers the state governments have left in the federal arena, now that the Senate is elected directly too.

Jeremy
I thought moving power from individuals to the government is bad. We end up with a president selected by politicians who are very easily corrupted in large numbers.
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Old 1st November 2004, 11:07 AM   #42
toddjh
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Quote:
Originally posted by daenku32
I would be open to public election of judges to SCOTUS.
That's a bad, bad idea. The Supreme Court is the last defense for the rights of the minority. The position demands the utmost thoughtfulness and objectivity, and we have enough trouble with that even when they're appointed. Making them elected directly would mean that national policy would be completely determined by public opinion. For starters, separation of church and state would be gone in an instant. Segregation would likely still be in place, or at the very least would've lasted many years longer.

Just as the republic assumes that our elected officials are more capable of governing than the general population, it also assumes that they are more capable of making responsible appointments. Despite the Scalias and Thomases, it has historically worked rather well.

Quote:
And I seriously doubt that the differentiation of opinions from one state to the next matter at all to the rest of the world. To them, whatever the President says goes for all of america.
I'm not sure I understand what you're saying. What does it matter what people in other countries think? Can you clarify?

Quote:
I also believe that multiple party system would be better than a simple two party system. And EC only works against that idea.
Is that because of the "winner-take-all" system most states have for electoral votes? If so, I agree with you whole-heartedly. But that's independent of the electoral college in general.

My ideal setup would be to have an electoral college, with the electoral votes in each state cast by Congressional district rather than winner-take-all, with the two "Senate" votes cast based on the overall state vote, or maybe even a vote by the state legislature. I'd also like to see instant-runoff voting or some other similar system used to determine the winner in each district. I don't see how that would discourage multiple parties at all.

Jeremy
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Old 1st November 2004, 11:18 AM   #43
toddjh
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Quote:
Originally posted by daenku32
I thought moving power from individuals to the government is bad. We end up with a president selected by politicians who are very easily corrupted in large numbers.
Giving extra executive power to the government is a bad thing. This is completely different.

And yes, politicians can be corrupted. It happens all the time, and it's a major problem. An even bigger problem, however, is the short-term perspectives of most of the voting public. Ever notice how all politicians chant about lower taxes, but none of them ever give them to us? That's because people will vote for lower taxes, even if it's not the fiscally responsible thing to do, and even if it's pretty damn clear the guy is lying through his teeth about it.

The people want it all. They want more services, lower taxes, and a big American flag waving in the background. Most people, strangely enough, don't seem to understand that more services and lower taxes now means fewer services and a huge tax hike later on, when the interest from the debt hits us. The fact that Congress is beholden to public opinion has already hit us with a gigantic national debt because voters want to run up the country's credit card so they can get what they want right now without raising taxes as much, instead of paying as we go or waiting until we can actually afford it.

For more evidence, consider the Bill of Rights. If we could really trust our elected officials to do the right thing, there would be no need for rights built in to the Constitution. They were put there specifically because they knew elected politicians could not be trusted.

Jeremy
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Old 1st November 2004, 05:53 PM   #44
Cain
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That did not just happen. I'm writing from someone's dorm room and my original reply has been lost.

It doesn't matter because I only got half way down before realizing the truly misguided and uninformed nature of your postings.

Comparing me a creationist was amusing.

Quote:
You seem to have some difficulty separating the way things work from the way you think they should work.
Your reading comprehension skills are in worse shape than I thought. See again the poll question.

QED

Skimming below (the above quote) I noticed a great irony: You compare me to a fundamentalist and then cite the Constitution by Article and Section. Funny, that.

From my post I more or less argued the following. Unfortunately I must quickly summarize the main themes:

I wish to (quickly) emphasisze an elementary point: One can still advocate a hippy-skippy Rawlsian constitutional democratic republic while believing in the principles of separation of powers, checks and balances.

I'm not sure how to address your reality-challenged view on the role of the presidency. Executives today initiate domestic policy, enforce the laws, and conduct foreign affairs.

It's not a question of whether or not she's representative -- she is -- but a matter of who she represents. The Electoral College over-represents certain states (in this election cycle FL, OH, and PA get special attention), and favors smaller states in general.

Your focus on intention and history also misses the point. One can easily point to the intent and law with respect to women, blacks, and poor white males. Thankfully our cultural and moral politics has progressed. The idea of "one person, one vote" is itself a relatively recent notion backed up by law (but not in the case of presidential elections, or the upper house).

You repeated the same howlers on rural mid-west states, and failed to grasp symbolic representation and action in its most rudimentary form. Too bad.
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Old 1st November 2004, 07:28 PM   #45
easycruise
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I also believe that multiple party system would be better than a simple two party system. And EC only works against that idea.

..Is that because of the "winner-take-all" system most states have for electoral votes? If so, I agree with you whole-heartedly. But that's independent of the electoral college in general.

My ideal setup would be to have an electoral college, with the electoral votes in each state cast by Congressional district rather than winner-take-all, with the two "Senate" votes cast based on the overall state vote, or maybe even a vote by the state legislature. I'd also like to see instant-runoff voting or some other similar system used to determine the winner in each district. I don't see how that would discourage multiple parties at all.


You guys fail to realize how bad your ideas are. The "winner take all" electoral system is a good idea because it stops the formation of splinter groups, which is the main cause of the governmental problems in Europe, especially in countries like Italy. You also fail to understand that elimination of the "winner take all" electoral system would be the death knell for the Democratic Party. The Democartic Party is made up of a consortium of different interest groups such as the labor wing, the environmental wing, the African-American wing, etc. (The Republican party isn't so diversified) These different factions would then go it alone, just like they do in Europe. Take an issue such as drilling for oil in Alaska. The labor groups wanted it (jobs) but the environmentalists hated it. Even Democratic senator Diane Feinstein (Cal.) agrees with me on these points, and she is a pretty smart person.
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Old 1st November 2004, 07:47 PM   #46
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There's also a strong correlation between conservative, anti-government "red states" and states that are most dependent on federal spending.

The original intent of the founding fathers was to have the House represent the total population and the Senate represent the "property owners". Read your history. Today, in the U.S., the income tax situation is that the top 50% of the income earners are paying 96% of the income taxes. With that in mind, it would seem right that the Senate only represent people that are actually paying income taxes, just as the founding fathers originally intended.
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Old 1st November 2004, 07:54 PM   #47
toddjh
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cain
That did not just happen. I'm writing from someone's dorm room and my original reply has been lost.

It doesn't matter because I only got half way down before realizing the truly misguided and uninformed nature of your postings.
It also doesn't matter because I don't indulge in internet flame wars. If you can keep your tone civil, I'm happy to respond. Until then, we've both said our piece. I'm content to let others decide for themselves about this issue based on what's been said already.

Jeremy
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Old 1st November 2004, 08:06 PM   #48
toddjh
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Quote:
Originally posted by easycruise
You guys fail to realize how bad your ideas are. The "winner take all" electoral system is a good idea because it stops the formation of splinter groups, which is the main cause of the governmental problems in Europe, especially in countries like Italy. You also fail to understand that elimination of the "winner take all" electoral system would be the death knell for the Democratic Party. The Democartic Party is made up of a consortium of different interest groups such as the labor wing, the environmental wing, the African-American wing, etc. (The Republican party isn't so diversified) These different factions would then go it alone, just like they do in Europe.
That's why it's critical to include a modern voting system, such as instant-runoff voting. This would allow these splinter groups to run against each other without dividing the vote.

I also find it hard to believe that the system couldn't adapt. For starters, I'd also foresee a split in the Republican party between the social conservatives and the fiscal conservatives. Perhaps not as big as the Democrats, but it would effectively remove the kooks from the GOP and make what remains far safer. Hell, get rid of the religious right, and I might start voting Republican. I don't believe the problems would be insurmountable.

Jeremy
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Old 1st November 2004, 08:20 PM   #49
easycruise
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For starters, I'd also foresee a split in the Republican party between the social conservatives and the fiscal conservatives. Perhaps not as big as the Democrats, but it would effectively remove the kooks from the GOP and make what remains far safer. Hell, get rid of the religious right, and I might start voting Republican. I don't believe the problems would be insurmountable.

Good observation. I always vote republican only because of the fiscal policies and a little of the social policy. The Laffer curve has indeed replaced the Phillips curve. And I am for civil unions. I treat the religious right of my party as the crazy uncle you only bring out at Thanksgiving! LOL! When I boil it down, the supply-side economic policies of the GOP is far more desirable (and trumps anything else) than anything the democrats have to offer.
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Old 1st November 2004, 08:47 PM   #50
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My concern (alarm?) about the idea of eliminating the Senate is similar to the lesser reservations I have about eliminating the EC.

It is a good idea to somehow give the various geographic areas of the country a 'louder' voice in some government representation, though definitely not all.

I look at other countries and note that a basic barrier to peacefully living together is a tendency of the majority to tyrannize the minority. Although sometimes flawed, I can respect the founding father's intelligent application of history in forming the US government to avoid this tendency.

Yes, given a very close election the candidate who has a broader appeal to various geographic regions of the country could win the EC while losing the popular vote. I respect the wisdom of the bigger picture that the EC brings to bear on the long term good of the country over the short term.

Eliminating the EC is a small step toward the majority exercising influence over the minority, though maybe not a large enough one to really concern me if it were gone. Maybe it is no longer needed, or needs some changes like disallowing 'unfaithful' electors.

Eliminating the Senate would be a step that would concern me a lot. A United States where certain regions of the country were disenfranchised in places of power would not be the peaceful country we know today. This would be a prescription for violent action by citizens.
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Old 1st November 2004, 09:06 PM   #51
toddjh
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kopji
Eliminating the Senate would be a step that would concern me a lot. A United States where certain regions of the country were disenfranchised in places of power would not be the peaceful country we know today. This would be a prescription for violent action by citizens.
I'd be very nervous without a second legislative body to act as a check on the House. I like the idea of a bicameral Congress, especially with the upper house having longer terms so they are somewhat less beholden to the tides of re-election campaigns -- even if they are chosen the same way as Representatives (although hopefully there would be a manageable number of them). Ideally, I'd like to see a Senate with a single-term limit to make re-election a non-issue. Make it eight years to be fair.

Jeremy
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Old 2nd November 2004, 01:42 AM   #52
Cain
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Quote:
Originally posted by toddjh
It also doesn't matter because I don't indulge in internet flame wars. If you can keep your tone civil, I'm happy to respond. Until then, we've both said our piece. I'm content to let others decide for themselves about this issue based on what's been said already.

Jeremy
That's fine. Now I should add: if you could understand the purpose of this thread and the nature of my posts -- that is, distinguish between "is" and "ought," matters of law versus normative values -- then I would be more than happy to reply in the kindest possible manner. The unfortunate combination of stubborness and stupidity on your part sends me into paroxysms of rage. Furthermore, comparing someone to a fundamentalist or creationist on these boards cannot be construed as anything but inflammatory. To make matters worse you instantiated to a fair extent the very slur used against me.

I want to repeat a line from the previous post because it deserves to be rubbed in (for wasting my time).

Cain: "Should the Electoral College be abolished?"

Toddjh: "You seem to have some difficulty separating the way things work from the way you think they should work."

Difficulty indeed.


This recent article in Slate offers a reasonable (but limited) defense of the Electoral College. I suggest you read it. Judging by your previous replies, I suggest you read it twice.

Timothy Noah uses the above item to launch part five in his ongoing series, "America's Worst College". See here.
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Old 2nd November 2004, 09:18 AM   #53
daenku32
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Quote:
Originally posted by easycruise
There's also a strong correlation between conservative, anti-government "red states" and states that are most dependent on federal spending.

The original intent of the founding fathers was to have the House represent the total population and the Senate represent the "property owners". Read your history. Today, in the U.S., the income tax situation is that the top 50% of the income earners are paying 96% of the income taxes. With that in mind, it would seem right that the Senate only represent people that are actually paying income taxes, just as the founding fathers originally intended.
Are you implying that people in conservative red states pay proportionally more in taxes?

The current tax code benefits old-fashion married couples where one person stays at home. This allows the one working person to claim HUGE tax exemptions. My work collegue pays virtually zero federal income taxes because of it. Even though he makes more than me. There is no question that conservatives are more inclined to have a stay at home person.

Also, areas of high population also have much higher cost of living. And since Fed taxes don't change much if you live in large metropolis area where average rent is over $1000 month compared to many mid-western states where cost of living is fraction of that.

In short, blue states are net contributors and red states are net receivers of federal monies.
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Old 2nd November 2004, 09:27 AM   #54
daenku32
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kopji
My concern (alarm?) about the idea of eliminating the Senate is similar to the lesser reservations I have about eliminating the EC.

It is a good idea to somehow give the various geographic areas of the country a 'louder' voice in some government representation, though definitely not all.

I look at other countries and note that a basic barrier to peacefully living together is a tendency of the majority to tyrannize the minority. Although sometimes flawed, I can respect the founding father's intelligent application of history in forming the US government to avoid this tendency.

Yes, given a very close election the candidate who has a broader appeal to various geographic regions of the country could win the EC while losing the popular vote. I respect the wisdom of the bigger picture that the EC brings to bear on the long term good of the country over the short term.

Eliminating the EC is a small step toward the majority exercising influence over the minority, though maybe not a large enough one to really concern me if it were gone. Maybe it is no longer needed, or needs some changes like disallowing 'unfaithful' electors.

Eliminating the Senate would be a step that would concern me a lot. A United States where certain regions of the country were disenfranchised in places of power would not be the peaceful country we know today. This would be a prescription for violent action by citizens.
It is my very strong opinion that EC does nothing to prevent any form of tyranny. The senate with it's power to stop bills might be a form of controlling tyranny, but EC that selects the president does nothing to keep the president from tyrannyzing anyone. And what's worse it enables situations where minority can tyrannize the majority.
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Old 2nd November 2004, 10:29 AM   #55
toddjh
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cain
Cain: "Should the Electoral College be abolished?"

Toddjh: "You seem to have some difficulty separating the way things work from the way you think they should work."

Difficulty indeed.
Except I was never responding directly to the poll topic. I was responding to a variety of statements you made, such as, "People are still determining the president, it's just that some votes count for more than others."

Your opinion that people ought to be determining the president is very clear. However, your use of the indicative verb "are" seems to indicate you think this is currently the case, which is demonstrably untrue. Hence, my confusion about which of the two you're attempting to talk about.

Anyway, in the interest of rational discussion, I'd appreciate it if you could try to keep your anger under control. This is just an internet forum; it's not worth it. And if your goal is to convince me of your position, it's certainly not helping. If, on the other hand, your goal is simply to make me feel bad by insulting me, then congratulations, you have succeeded.

Jeremy
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Old 2nd November 2004, 10:41 AM   #56
thaiboxerken
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I think presidents should be appointed by the great spider.
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1. He'd never do that. 2. Okay but he's not currently doing it. 3. Okay but he's not currently technically doing it. 4. Okay but everyone does it. 5. He's doing it, we can't stop him, no point in complaining about it. 6. We all knew he was going to do it which... makes it okay somehow. 7. It's perfectly fine that's he's doing it.
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Old 2nd November 2004, 10:46 AM   #57
toddjh
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Quote:
Originally posted by thaiboxerken
I think presidents should be <strike>appointed</strike> eaten by the great spider.
Note spelling correction.

Jeremy
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