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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez & Chris Hayes: Constitutional Scholars
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Old 10-24-2019, 02:52 AM
mjr mjr is offline
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Default Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez & Chris Hayes: Constitutional Scholars

Two people misinforming people and showing just how little they know about why we have an electoral college.

Betcha they wouldn't be upset if the situation were reversed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XFIIVScvls
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Old 10-24-2019, 07:40 PM
Daskinor Daskinor is offline
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First of all AoC will not make you a socialist if you say her name 3 times while looking in a mirror.

Second, we have random YouTube guy trying to explain the constitution to a lecture/essay news segment about why the Electoral College needs to go away.

Also he cuts into the essays arguments in such of a way to make point I can only summaries as "You disagree with the constitution and want to change it so you are wrong". Again this is an opinion piece to why the Electoral College is not a good system. All the YouTube poster is doing is making an appeal to tradition.

Also the reasons he uses to why we have the electoral college is wrong. He is implying the founders intentions are the same as current reasons to keep the system in place. The reason we have the electoral college is to cement the state as the entity that will hold elections. And the fact the fledgling country was VERY HUGE. And that news and people moved slowly. So he is parroting inaccurate information as well.

Last edited by MadMike; 10-24-2019 at 10:52 PM. Reason: Merge consecutive posts
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Old 10-24-2019, 11:11 PM
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"It's always been that way," is not a good argument by itself.
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Old 10-26-2019, 12:42 AM
mjr mjr is offline
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"It's always been that way," is not a good argument by itself.
Counterargument:

Neither is "It worked like it's supposed to, but we didn't get our way, so let's change it."

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Originally Posted by Daskinor View Post
The reason we have the electoral college is to cement the state as the entity that will hold elections.
Exactly. So what's the problem? Each state, separately, votes for who they want to be President. The candidate who gets the most votes in that particular state gets the electors for that state.

You're not actually voting for President, though. You're voting for electors, who have pledged to vote for whoever gets the most votes in that state. The U.S. isn't, for the most part, a "direct democracy". We're a Constitutional Republic.

Last edited by MadMike; 10-26-2019 at 01:22 AM. Reason: Merge consecutive posts
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Old 10-26-2019, 03:16 AM
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Originally Posted by mjr View Post
Counterargument:

Neither is "It worked like it's supposed to, but we didn't get our way, so let's change it."
Politicians have spent at least my entire life telling me "it's majority rule" so when the majority votes for person A and person B is put in office instead thanks to an antiquated system. I do indeed take issue with that. Even if the person I voted for got in. The Electoral college takes a lot of meaning out of voting.

It shouldn't come down to "key" states it should be will of the people. In a time when I can video chat with someone in DC from my home in the West Coast we've moved past the need for a middle man on the Presidential vote. Our founding fathers designed the constitution to be able to be changed when parts of it failed to account for something they couldn't have foreseen.

At the time the Electoral college was a good way to vote. Now we know the results the same day we vote. I'd say we can start relying on the popular vote now.
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Old 10-26-2019, 03:26 AM
mjr mjr is offline
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it should be will of the people.
It is. In each state. That's the basic point of the EC. The "electors" pledge to do the will of the people in each state.

It's still "majority rule", but it's by state.
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Old 10-26-2019, 02:20 PM
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It is. In each state. That's the basic point of the EC. The "electors" pledge to do the will of the people in each state.

It's still "majority rule", but it's by state.
That's not majority rule. The popular vote by its very nature cannot be gerrymandered. You can't redraw lines for electors to stack the deck if you're going by the will of the people.

The current system has a large potential for corruption and is absolutely not held in check since laws that did so were gutted. The Electors aren't pledged to do the will of the people in the state. They're pledged to do the will of districts. With the redrawing of a few lines you can actively change which candidate will win the state.

The Electoral college does not take into account The Popular vote. Even on the state level unless the state has decided that's how they choose their electors.

If I had to rely on badly drawn neighborhoods to decide which of our judges sit on the bench I would be protesting at the local level too.

I mean can you imagine living in a city and all of the parts of town responsible for the blue collar crime vote for the fair but firm judge while the wealthier parts of town responsible for most of the drug crime votes for the corrupt as hell judge but because they have more Electors their judge wins even if most people want the fair judge.

It would create local systems rife with corruption. There is a reason the Electoral college was only for the Presidential election. At the time it was the most effective system for a national election. We never used it for local and state elections because the popular vote is better.

Now we have the technology to conduct national elections in much the same way we do local and state. We should thus do so. I've been saying the Electoral college was a bad thing since I was a high school student in the 90s and I saw how it worked. My stance on this has nothing to do with who's in office.

The very same people I see treat the Constitution like it's religious doctrine that can never be challenged in a changing world ignore large chunks of the bible because they're not relevant to modern living.

Arguing for an antiquated system is like yelling at cars and light bulbs being a thing. We can now have a better way. We should embrace it.
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Old 10-26-2019, 04:26 PM
mjr mjr is offline
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That's not majority rule. The popular vote by its very nature cannot be gerrymandered.
Popular vote is something entirely made up, at least nationally in the U.S.. The U.S. doesn't operate on a popular vote, except on the state and local level. And in the case of the EC, the electors are awarded to the candidate who wins the popular vote in that state, in most cases. Some have "proportional" apportionment, but many are winner-take-all.

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You can't redraw lines for electors to stack the deck if you're going by the will of the people.
Correct. Except in this case the "will of the people" is at the state level (i.e. the popular vote of that particular state). And actual "will of the people" in a "true" democracy is mob rule, isn't it? Which is why we're a Constitutional Republic.

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The Electors aren't pledged to do the will of the people in the state. They're pledged to do the will of districts. With the redrawing of a few lines you can actively change which candidate will win the state.
I don't think this is true. The electors are supposed to vote based upon who wins the state, in most cases (see above about apportionment). You're correct in that they don't have to, but they generally do, because they're generally people of the same party that wins the state. You're technically voting for electors and not for President.

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The Electoral college does not take into account The Popular vote. Even on the state level unless the state has decided that's how they choose their electors.
Well, I think I get what you're saying, but I don't think this is quite right. The electors are awarded (again, in most cases) by popular vote of the state. Like here in Texas, there are 38 Electoral Votes. The winner of the popular vote in Texas in a Presidential General Election gets those votes. In a Senatorial race, it's a statewide popular vote.

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If I had to rely on badly drawn neighborhoods to decide which of our judges sit on the bench I would be protesting at the local level too.
But that has little to nothing to do with the Electoral College.

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At the time it was the most effective system for a national election.
Yes. And it still is.

Quote:
Now we have the technology to conduct national elections in much the same way we do local and state.
That would require a massive change to both federal and state laws. That's not likely to happen.

Last edited by mjr; 10-26-2019 at 04:32 PM.
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Old 11-02-2019, 06:18 PM
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D_Yeti_Esquire D_Yeti_Esquire is offline
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The problem is if you get right down to it, you can't account for state Gerrymandering.

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Well, I think I get what you're saying, but I don't think this is quite right. The electors are awarded (again, in most cases) by popular vote of the state. Like here in Texas, there are 38 Electoral Votes. The winner of the popular vote in Texas in a Presidential General Election gets those votes. In a Senatorial race, it's a statewide popular vote.
And the fact you (the general you) can't, makes those electors suspect. At a state level, where single party control has existed for decades (first as Democrats before they became Republicans (Goldwater-Regan) the lines exist to benefit the party. Not represent the district. Here's Texas 6th. Why Tarrant (heavily republican) also is associated with Ellis is anybodies guess. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas%...ince_2013).tif

It would be fine if it stopped there - but it doesn't. Now all of a sudden, national election influencing decisions exist. Where do we put the polling stations? Do we make it easier for some people to vote vs. others. What are the rules to be eligible for voting? What programs exist to turn out voters and are they equally applied?

So take this early voting map. For those of you not familiar, Highland Park/University Park are heavily Republican. That weird gap around White Rock is more mixed, Democratic. That line that you can basically draw across the map to the south where all of a sudden if you go further south there's nothing, that's heavily Democratic. https://dall1229.maps.arcgis.com/app...bc19a35e8c7f58

So now you get to election day - theoretically some of those people could have made the long trek to a polling place but many haven't. So then on election day their individual voting precinct overloads. People give up and leave. And at the end of the night we have an election tally that is supposedly representative with very, very different circumstances person to person. That sort of soft suppression is hard to quantify and even though people like to pretend it isn't, it absolutely is. As you said in another thread, use the veil of ignorance as a test. Do we really think both sides have an even shot?

In Texas, it's winner take all so all of those votes go to the incumbent party. The last time Texas voted for a Democrat? Jimmy Carter. That's close to 40 freaking years. There hasn't been a Democrat in the governer's office for 20. So yea, I'm not so sure "will of the people" is something you can just count on by simply voting at numbers. You have to consider the factors influencing those numbers.

Last edited by D_Yeti_Esquire; 11-02-2019 at 06:22 PM.
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Old 11-03-2019, 11:33 AM
mjr mjr is offline
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Originally Posted by D_Yeti_Esquire View Post
And the fact you (the general you) can't, makes those electors suspect.
But couldn't you (in the general sense) make that same argument regarding a non-EC based vote? That still won't prevent gerrymandering.

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Here's Texas 6th. Why Tarrant (heavily republican) also is associated with Ellis is anybodies guess. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas%...ince_2013).tif
That's true, but notice, though, that Ellis and Navarro counties are represented, and about a quarter of Tarrant County is. The district is also mostly considered "urban", as far as population goes, with an estimated total population of 770,255. I'm guessing it's a population distribution thing as well. What's even more strange about the district is that some cities there (Cedar Hill, for instance) are in both Dallas AND Ellis County.

Quote:
It would be fine if it stopped there - but it doesn't. Now all of a sudden, national election influencing decisions exist. Where do we put the polling stations? Do we make it easier for some people to vote vs. others. What are the rules to be eligible for voting? What programs exist to turn out voters and are they equally applied?
These are all valid questions and concerns worth debate, but I don't think switching from the EC would prevent that.

Quote:
So take this early voting map. For those of you not familiar, Highland Park/University Park are heavily Republican. That weird gap around White Rock is more mixed, Democratic. That line that you can basically draw across the map to the south where all of a sudden if you go further south there's nothing, that's heavily Democratic. https://dall1229.maps.arcgis.com/app...bc19a35e8c7f58

So now you get to election day - theoretically some of those people could have made the long trek to a polling place but many haven't. So then on election day their individual voting precinct overloads. People give up and leave. And at the end of the night we have an election tally that is supposedly representative with very, very different circumstances person to person. That sort of soft suppression is hard to quantify and even though people like to pretend it isn't, it absolutely is. As you said in another thread, use the veil of ignorance as a test. Do we really think both sides have an even shot?
I certainly understand your argument here, and again, it's worth debating, but I'm not sure I understand what it has to do with a debate around getting rid of (or keeping) the EC. Debating the problems above is fine, and it's a debate that probably should be had. Again, not sure that going to a "national popular vote" (that doesn't exist) would fix that particular issue.

I would argue, though, that going to a "national popular vote" would cause issues as well, because then I believe that the election would be determined by the major cities (NY, LA, SF, etc), mostly on the coasts, every single election. Do you believe that's fair?

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In Texas, it's winner take all so all of those votes go to the incumbent party.
Well, that's not quite right. Both parties appoint electors, and the Presidential candidate who gets the most votes gets the electors.

Quote:
The last time Texas voted for a Democrat? Jimmy Carter. That's close to 40 freaking years. There hasn't been a Democrat in the governer's office for 20. So yea, I'm not so sure "will of the people" is something you can just count on by simply voting at numbers. You have to consider the factors influencing those numbers.
True, but again, would the same thing happen with a popular vote?

One other anecdotal tidbit to consider:

I don't watch the show, but apparently Sean Spicer is on "Dancing with the Stars". My understanding of this show is that there are "audience votes" (i.e. people call/text/whatever to vote) and there is a panel of 3 judges.

Well, apparently people are complaining because the "audience votes" are keeping Sean Spicer on the show. In other words, people are complaining about a "popular vote" system, and basically want to have a "safeguard" where the judges/producers (or whoever) can step in. Because they don't like the results.

Last edited by mjr; 11-06-2019 at 11:51 AM.
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