Electoral college


#1

The debate has started again as to whether the US Constitution should be amended in order to change the presidential election process. Some promote
eliminating the Electoral College in favor of a direct popular vote for president while others believe the Electoral College should remain unchanged. Just as compromise solved the initial problems of the framers so it is that compromise can solve this problem. The solution is to change the electoral votes to electoral points and reward each candidate a percentage of points based on the percentage of popular votes received in each state.
This would eliminate the “winner take all” system thus allowing for all the votes to count. A voter is more apt to believe their vote counted when a percentage of popular votes are taken into account rather than the “all or nothing” system currently in existence. Further, this new system would integrate the desire for a popular vote for president with the need for the individual states to determine who actually gets elected.
As for political primaries the number of delegates awarded in each state should be determined by the percentage of votes won by each candidate.
For 2016 multiplying the percentage of votes each candidate received {in each state} times the number of electoral votes {in each state} results in the following: Clinton 256.985 and Trump 253.482.


#2

There weren’t any complaints from Democrats when Democrats won the electoral college. But one thing we ought to consider in all of this. Sometimes the popular vote doesn’t necessarily mean voter preference either. Let’s say you are a conservative in Massachusetts. If you vote for the person you really prefer, it won’t matter at all because the state is so liberal (or thought to be) that your vote is nothing but a protest. So will you really be motivated to vote at all? Maybe not.

How many otherwise conservative people have we seen here on CAF who defended a vote for a third party candidate, or Mickey Mouse or themselves because it wouldn’t matter anyway since they are in an overwhelmingly liberal state?

Where I live, it’s so overwhelmingly conservative that Democrats might as well not vote at all, and probably some don’t bother, because what difference would it make in anything other than the presidential race? But if Hillary Clinton, for example, wasn’t all that attractive to you other than just being a Democrat, would you vote? I think a lot don’t.

I’m not saying that’s an argument for or against the electoral college, but I am not persuaded that popular vote in the nation as a whole tells us all that much about what people really prefer.


#3

Regarding the nomination process, that is determined by the parties themselves, not by law, to my knowledge. The DNC predetermined to grant “superdelegates” to Clinton, which gave her a huge unearned lead going into the primaries. She got surprising competition from a 74 year old Sanders, but without the backing of the DNC, it is likely other candidates would have entered the primaries, more attractive than Clinton or Sanders. But I like your idea of eliminating superdelegates.

A further problem with primaries is that you may send delegates for someone who is not in top 2. Which voters control those delegates in future rounds at the convention? How do voters’ second choices get heard? In 2016 Trump won because the conservatives had several somewhat similar attractive candidates competing against each other.

As far as abolishing “winner take all”, actually Maine and Nebraska already do that, they vote by district, with overall winner getting 2 bonus electors. But I can’t imagine California for instance giving up the “winner take all” as long as the Democrats control CA.

The EC has some benefit as an “affirmative action” program. It ensures that the flyover states get heard. The popular vote tends to follow the media, especially in the big cities, which favors the Democrats. You can take a short walk in Manhattan and walk by the headquarters for half the nation’s media. Kansas doesn’t have such neighborhoods. The extreme concentration of the media in a very few corporate hands is a good reason for keeping the EC, in some shape or form.


#4

I would propose the following system: keep the EC but allocate electors according to the percentage of electors received. If a state was roughly divided, electors would be split appropriately. Every vote would matter because margin matters, but you couldn’t simply run up the tally in a few states.


#5

It used to be that delegates were split according to the popular vote of the state. Over time, state legislatures changed it to a winner take all scheme. Only Maine and Nebraska still split their delegates. State legislatures have the authority to do that, so if you have a beef with it, then you need to take it up with them.

In years past, state legislatures used to pick senators. Again, over time, things evolved to where they are now elected by popular vote. Thats the system and thats just the way it is. I personally do not think that the electoral college needs to be tinkered with though I could sign on to splitting the delegates according to the state results only if all the other states did it, too. California cast over 11,000,000 votes this election cycle. If one candidate got just 50.1% of the vote, they get the whole delegate count of 55. I don’t think that’s fair. Nearly 4,000,000 votes in California do not matter. And that perfectly illustrates the reason why it would be insane to elect the president by popular vote. Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by over 3.3 million votes in California alone. That is more than the amount that she beat him by nationally. If we went by popular vote, a candidate could simply win Southern California, The New York City area, Chicago and the Miami area and win. How is that fair? Why should the entire nation be subject to the whims and views of population areas that do not take them into consideration? The electoral college works exactly as it was intended. It isn’t and doesn’t need to go anywhere.


#6

Well stated.


#7

No link to a news story


#8

washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/11/15/in-defense-of-the-electoral-college/?utm_term=.fd8fc11f6456

Just to keep the discussion going.


#9

There is a problem with splitting the vote “appropriately.” Let us take a hypothetical example of a state with 10 electoral votes and where one million people voted.
Say 450 K voted for A.
550 K voted for B.
Then does A get 4 and B get 6 electoral votes.
Or
does A get 5 and B get 5 electoral votes?
Where is the cutoff?.


#10

It’s up to Americans whether they bother or not. If they don’t vote, that is their choice. But there is no reason for Democrats to complain when they win the EC since when Democrats win the EC they also win the popular vote. And yes I know about CA and NY. Citizens in those states are every bit as much Americans as those in PA OH MI WI or KS and FL or TX. As are voters in the New England states and mid-Atlantic states and MN and the western states of CO NV OR and WA. Some people seem to want to discount CA. That’s like saying lets discount TX. Without TX, Donald Trump would have fallen short of 270 and Clinton would have still won the vote of the American people who chose to vote. She won it by about 3 million as it is. Maybe why a poll shows 54% do not have a positive outlook for a Trump Presidency. Which interestingly is the same % of voters that did not vote for him. None of this is to say that DT is not the next POTUS. The system is what it is.


#11

Agree with the bold. NY and CA aren’t less American because of EC, the EC was designed as a check and balance against majority mob rule.

As far as not counting CA, it does count. It’s 55 electoral votes, and despite some of the GOP bemoaning they can’t ever win it, they ought to look at how popular Condi Rice is in the state. The republicans have proven they can win most anywhere and should not be so dismissive of CA and no one should say 32 million Americans don’t count, even if it’s “just sayin”—a phrase I dislike, btw. :mad:

Republicans and Trump voters would be very wise to understand that not winning the popular vote is not a good thing. It tells me the silent majority in this country may not really be there.

Anytime a candidate wins with less than 50%, it should be taken as an indicator that they need to work to win over the American people. It can be done without sacrificing core principles.


#12

Also, what if in a state with 10 electoral votes, 4 million people vote in total. Candidate A wins 2.5 million votes, but only a majority in 2 districts. Candidate B wins the remaining 6 districts with 1.5 million votes.

Under the winner takes all model, Candidate A wins all 10 votes. Candidate A “wins” the state.

But if the state was using the Nebraska/Maine method, Candidate A would receive 2 votes for the districts he/she won, plus the 2 votes for winning the popular vote for a total of 4 votes. While candidate B would receive 6 votes. Canididate B “wins” the state.

If we change the electoral college, it should go back to a system like Maine & Nebraska. Otherwise, leave it alone.

For the people who want the popular vote, this is why the electoral college is genius

Trump Won in Electoral Vote count 306 to her 232 as opposed to “Popular” vote of her 2.5 million over Trump. Let’s put it into perspective regarding why we need to keep the Electoral College System.

  1. There are 50 States. Trump won 30 of the States to Hillary’s 20 States.

2.There are exactly 3,141 Counties contained in all 50 States. Trump won 3,094 Counties in the US to Hillary’s 57 Counties. So Trump won 3,094 Counties to her 57

  1. Lets look at the State of New York. There are 62 Counties in New York State. Trump won 46 of them to Hillary’s 16.

  2. Clinton won the national “Popular Vote” by approximately 2 Million+. In the 5 Counties that encompass New York City alone (Bronx, Kin, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island), Clinton received well over 2 million more votes than Trump, It should be noted that Clinton won 4 of these Counties and Trump only won Staten Island (aka Richmond County).

  3. Therefore these 5 Counties alone - which are entirely inside New York City, more than accounted for Clinton winning the 2 Million+ “Popular” Vote of the entire Country.

  4. These 5 Counties (aka NYC) comprise 319 Square Miles. Total Square miles of the USA is 3,797,000 Square Miles. (319 vs. 3,797,000)

  5. When you have a Country that encompasses almost 4 million square miles, it would be ludicrous to even suggest that the vote of those who inhabit the 319 square miles should dictate the outcome of a National Election.

Large, densely populated states, counties & cities do not and should not speak for the rest of the Country. This is exactly why the founders created the electoral college in the first place and also why the New Jersey Compromise was put into place, giving each state in the Senate 2 votes instead of the upper house being based on population like the US House.

The founders wanted a system where the president won the pularity of states, not the pularity of the total population because the founder knew that some states would be have more people than others. After all, we are a federation of states, not unitary nation.

God Bless


#13

In a one person, one vote system, conservative voters in Massachusetts and liberals in Wyoming would have more incentive to vote. Instead of the influence of your ballot depending off of state – every last voter would count equally.


#14

So it was a landslide for Trump.


#15

If the US did not have the EC system, I think Trump would have run his campaign much differently and still had a chance at winning. But because he considered the system under which he was actually running, he won by careful allocation of resources.

One reason I like the EC system which has not yet been mentioned, is that if there is some fraud going on, it has to take place in a large number of areas. Under a popular vote, fraud in just one area could derail the election.


#16

There is nothing in the Constitution about “winner take all”. There is noting to amend with respect to that. It is up to the States to decide how their electoral votes are handled. Two States are not winner take all and there are several States that have changed to give their electoral votes to the national popular vote winner, but only to take effect after a majority of states do likewise.


#17

I agree with both points!


#18

The thing about Clinton winning the popular vote is that many who would normally vote along party lines either did not vote or voted for other party candidates. It is difficult to say that if in a less contentious election year who would actually have won the popular vote.

I agree the EC should stay in place–I think it prevents relatively small geographical areas of the country from constantly winning election after election. And we have to remember, Clinton did not win by a majority–she won by a plurality. If we do away with the EC, would the requirement be for a majority or plurality? That makes a big difference, esp. if there are multiple candidates who take enough votes away from the major parties to prevent a majority win. Winning a popular vote does not necessarily mean that the majority or even a plurality of American voters wanted that particular candidate. I think the concept of the EC in the long run is more fair and prevents more problems than it poses.


#19

I think the electoral college should remain.


#20

I don’t like the fact that some think some people’s vote don’t count. All the votes count in their state. Some voters vote for the winner and some people vote for the loser. All votes count within the state. All votes counting is just a smoke screen for somebody who voted for the eventual loser, within the system.


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