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Should the American Electoral College System be abolished?

For discussion and debate about anything. (Not a roleplay related forum; out-of-character commentary only.)

Should the US Electoral College System be abolished?

Yes (I am American)
55
36%
Yes (I am not American)
38
25%
No, but it should be reformed (I am American)
16
10%
No, but it should be reformed (I am not American)
6
4%
No (I am American)
33
21%
No (I am not American)
6
4%
 
Total votes : 154

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Neon Lunar Eclipse
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Should the American Electoral College System be abolished?

Postby Neon Lunar Eclipse » Sat Jul 02, 2022 2:35 am

I remember when watching the American Presidential Election result back in 2016, I was very confused. I saw that Hillary Clinton had a lot more votes than Donald Trump, but he still won. As I learned about the American election system and the electoral college, I was dumbfounded. It seems very unfair and undemocratic that a person that the people did not vote for can become their leader.

Granted, I am not American so my understanding of it might be limited, but I think that it is a bad system that should be replaced by a popular vote system. After all, democracies are supposed to be by the people, of the people, and for the people.

What do you think?
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Diuhon
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Postby Diuhon » Sat Jul 02, 2022 2:39 am

Yes.

/thread

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Radiatia
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Postby Radiatia » Sat Jul 02, 2022 2:42 am

Oh wow it's this thread again, and not even on a Presidential election year!

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Neon Lunar Eclipse
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Postby Neon Lunar Eclipse » Sat Jul 02, 2022 2:44 am

Radiatia wrote:Oh wow it's this thread again, and not even on a Presidential election year!


Well, America is having some big elections this year and already some people are declaring themselves as candidates for 2024.
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The Archregimancy
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Postby The Archregimancy » Sat Jul 02, 2022 2:49 am

Just for a little bit of historical context, the Electoral College is often seen as an institution unique to the United States, but in fact they were common in post-colonial Western Hemisphere nations in the immediate aftermath of independence, seen almost universally as a necessary means of offering a check on direct democracy.

The last Western Hemisphere country other than the United States to abolish its electoral college was Argentina, which last held a presidential election under an electoral college system in 1989.

So other Western Hemisphere countries have moved on, though conceding that post-independence instability in Latin America meant that their constitutional systems have been subject to rather more flux than in the United States.

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Neon Lunar Eclipse
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Postby Neon Lunar Eclipse » Sat Jul 02, 2022 2:51 am

The Archregimancy wrote:Just for a little bit of historical context, the Electoral College is often seen as an institution unique to the United States, but in fact they were common in post-colonial Western Hemisphere nations in the immediate aftermath of independence, seen almost universally as a necessary means of offering a check on direct democracy.

The last Western Hemisphere country other than the United States to abolish its electoral college was Argentina, which last held a presidential election under an electoral college system in 1989.

So other Western Hemisphere countries have moved on, though conceding that post-independence instability in Latin America meant that their constitutional systems have been subject to rather more flux than in the United States.


Oh, interesting. Thanks for the historical context. So it was seen as necessary back then?
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Free Algerstonia
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Postby Free Algerstonia » Sat Jul 02, 2022 3:35 am

the electoral college is just another means of referencing the extremely high egos of the intellectuals that graduated from high school, so it should either be renamed or abolished
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The Archregimancy
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Democratic Socialists

Postby The Archregimancy » Sat Jul 02, 2022 4:20 am

Neon Lunar Eclipse wrote:
The Archregimancy wrote:Just for a little bit of historical context, the Electoral College is often seen as an institution unique to the United States, but in fact they were common in post-colonial Western Hemisphere nations in the immediate aftermath of independence, seen almost universally as a necessary means of offering a check on direct democracy.

The last Western Hemisphere country other than the United States to abolish its electoral college was Argentina, which last held a presidential election under an electoral college system in 1989.

So other Western Hemisphere countries have moved on, though conceding that post-independence instability in Latin America meant that their constitutional systems have been subject to rather more flux than in the United States.


Oh, interesting. Thanks for the historical context. So it was seen as necessary back then?


Yes. Most newly independent countries in the Western Hemisphere took steps to restrict direct democracy, though this took different forms in different countries. In the United States, the president was chosen by electoral college, and senators were initially chosen the state legislatures; and both electors and senators were initially chosen by state legislatures rather than by popular vote (only the House of Representatives was chosen by direct election). And that was in a system where only property owning males (and usually only white property owning males) had the franchise. We've already seen that Argentina had an electoral college through 1989, at least when presidential elections were taking place. Another fine example of the phenomenon is Simon Bolivar's 1826 Bolivarian Constitution for Bolivia, which instituted a president for life (who could nominate his own successor), a tricameral legislature chosen via an electoral college (so no direct democracy at all), and which specifically banned domestic servants and those not literate in Spanish from the franchise.

The concept that liberty and democracy are necessary congruent is a fairly recent development, one initially arising (within limits) in the 18th century, and only really becoming firmly established in the 19th century. As Charles I famously said in the second half of the 17th century before his execution, "For the people. And truly I desire their Liberty and Freedom as much as any Body whomsoever. But I must tell you, That their Liberty and Freedom, consists in having of Government; those Laws, by which their Life and their Gods may be most their own. It is not for having share in government, Sir, that is nothing pertaining to them. A subject and a soveraign are clean different things, and therefore until they do that, I mean, that you do put the people in that liberty as I say, certainly they will never enjoy themselves."

So the US Electoral College is a vestige of a period when even a limited franchise was distrusted by those who were responsible for framing new constitutional systems of government, and it manifestly failed in 2016 from performing its primary intended task: protecting the US constitutional system from the election of dangerous populist demagogues.

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Neon Lunar Eclipse
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Neon Lunar Eclipse » Sat Jul 02, 2022 4:22 am

The Archregimancy wrote:
Neon Lunar Eclipse wrote:
Oh, interesting. Thanks for the historical context. So it was seen as necessary back then?


Yes. Most newly independent countries in the Western Hemisphere took steps to restrict direct democracy, though this took different forms in different countries. In the United States, the president was chosen by electoral college, and senators were initially chosen the state legislatures; and both electors and senators were initially chosen by state legislatures rather than by popular vote (only the House of Representatives was chosen by direct election). And that was in a system where only property owning males (and usually only white property owning males) had the franchise. We've already seen that Argentina had an electoral college through 1989, at least when presidential elections were taking place. Another fine example of the phenomenon is Simon Bolivar's 1826 Bolivarian Constitution for Bolivia, which instituted a president for life (who could nominate his own successor), a tricameral legislature chosen via an electoral college (so no direct democracy at all), and which specifically banned domestic servants and those not literate in Spanish from the franchise.

The concept that liberty and democracy are necessary congruent is a fairly recent development, one initially arising (within limits) in the 18th century, and only really becoming firmly established in the 19th century. As Charles I famously said in the second half of the 17th century before his execution, "For the people. And truly I desire their Liberty and Freedom as much as any Body whomsoever. But I must tell you, That their Liberty and Freedom, consists in having of Government; those Laws, by which their Life and their Gods may be most their own. It is not for having share in government, Sir, that is nothing pertaining to them. A subject and a soveraign are clean different things, and therefore until they do that, I mean, that you do put the people in that liberty as I say, certainly they will never enjoy themselves."

So the US Electoral College is a vestige of a period when even a limited franchise was distrusted by those who were responsible for framing new constitutional systems of government, and it manifestly failed in 2016 from performing its primary intended task: protecting the US constitutional system from the election of dangerous populist demagogues.


That's interesting. Also sad and horrifying I think.
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Exxosia
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Postby Exxosia » Sat Jul 02, 2022 4:28 am

It should be extended to gubernatorial elections within the states.

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Neon Lunar Eclipse
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Postby Neon Lunar Eclipse » Sat Jul 02, 2022 4:29 am

Exxosia wrote:It should be extended to gubernatorial elections within the states.


Why?
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Ifreann
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Postby Ifreann » Sat Jul 02, 2022 4:32 am

Just directly elect your president, its easy.
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Countesia
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Postby Countesia » Sat Jul 02, 2022 4:59 am

Abolish electoral college

Change voting so its preferential, but instead of voting for a president you only vote for a member of congress.

Whoever holds the most seats in Congress becomes the party in power. The minority becomes the opposition.

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Grinning Dragon
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Postby Grinning Dragon » Sat Jul 02, 2022 6:28 am

NO
/end thread.
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Neon Lunar Eclipse
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Postby Neon Lunar Eclipse » Sat Jul 02, 2022 6:30 am

Grinning Dragon wrote:NO
/end thread.


Why not?
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Ifreann
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Postby Ifreann » Sat Jul 02, 2022 6:32 am

Neon Lunar Eclipse wrote:
Grinning Dragon wrote:NO
/end thread.


Why not?

Because then Republicans wouldn't win.
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San Lumen
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Postby San Lumen » Sat Jul 02, 2022 7:16 am

Yes popular vote is the only thing that should matter. The electoral college is a relic of slavery and was created as a check on the people. To claim anything else is rewriting history. It needs to go.

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San Lumen
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Postby San Lumen » Sat Jul 02, 2022 7:17 am

Exxosia wrote:It should be extended to gubernatorial elections within the states.


Why? How would that be fair or democratic?

What would be the requirements? Win a majority of counties or state legislative districts?

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Forsher
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Postby Forsher » Sat Jul 02, 2022 8:24 am

Yes, but the whole electoral system also needs reforming as well. A lot of the problems don't have much to do with the Electoral College, though it creates some of the biggest issues.
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Alcala-Cordel
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Postby Alcala-Cordel » Sat Jul 02, 2022 9:39 am

The Electoral College should absolutely be abolished. Bourgeois electoralism is already a horrible system, but allowing pieces of land to vote definitely makes it work.
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Informed Consent
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Postby Informed Consent » Sat Jul 02, 2022 11:49 am

The best graphic illustration of democracy is that of a serpent eating its own tail; its body length representing a spectrum shifting from autocracy to mobocracy, and back again.
It is simply a matter of compartmentalization.
Too many partitions, and the system is not very representative; too few, and you have the same problem.
Direct democracy is hardly the evolutionary step many imagine it to be, but like a revolution, it is just a joy ride through the roundabout that eventually deposits you back where you started.
It takes a rebel to truly change the old into the new, and far too many of us these days has enshrined conformity as a virtue to recognize the proper time and place for rebellion, while at the same time being quick to board a revolutionary bus to nowhere.

Any who, for a while, the American experiment in Republicanism (not the party) had the best makings of the perfect fulcrum on which to balance the democratic wheel.
In spite of a seemingly archaic genesis, looking something more like the senate of ancient Rome, its constitution has proven highly adaptable to expanded inclusiveness, resisting and surviving less than nobly inspired reactionary efforts to subvert it entirely either through violence, or rhetoric.

By constitutional dictate, POTUS is elected by the state legislatures, but before you write off the popular vote entirely, consider that the electors of the college are positionally synonymous with the local district representatives of the House.
In essence, the citizen's vote informs an already popularly elected district rep how to vote for their district.
If it were up to me, I would allow the actual house reps act as the electors instead of confusing the issue by appointing a body that simply mirrors them.
Anyway, not only is there little representation lost in this device, but in actuality much of it is preserved.
Without the college, POTUS would be consistently elected by the three or five most populous states regardless of party affiliation or ideological inclination.

I not only approve of the college, but I would expand it as well.
The cracks in the plaster are becoming harder to ignore as the weight of the current US population becomes too unwieldy for 500 and something delegates to handle.
Particularly in light of their decades long bad habit of surrendering too much of their legal obligation and authority to electorally unaccountable regulatory bodies.
Fortunately as of late, the Supreme Court has shot the first warning over the bows of Congress and the alphabet soup of bureaucracy to heave to and return to the original premise that if you want to screw around with American lives, then pass law and be held to account for it.

So I propose a dramatic expansion of the House by having states partition more districts around smaller population demographics.
Preferably to a point where there is not enough room in the dark side cave of cultural corruption that is Washington DC to house them all, and forces them to work from home, leaving only the Senate as the popularly elected body of uni-party elitists bought off by K Street.
Meanwhile, your Representative remains your neighbor not only in body, but in spirit as well, and all of them will meet and legislate in a virtual space observable by all of us all of the time.
A sort of cyberspace C-Span that is more participatory for the audience.
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Thomasi
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Postby Thomasi » Sat Jul 02, 2022 12:10 pm

Yes, and it can be achieved via democratic states passing laws saying they will give their electors to the winner of the popular vote when the total number of states doing so reaches the number needed 270.

History Lesson

The origin of the electoral college starts at the constitutional convention, it wasn't a stroke of genius, it wasn't planned, it wasn't even wanted, it simply came to be because the large states wanted a popular vote and or the house to elect the president and the small states wanted each state to have one vote for the president. Well that wasn't going to work, so they decided that each state would get the same number of electors as reps and senators and that the state governments would decide how they wanted the election of the president to happen. That's it they literally punted the issue. Same with the supreme court lol.

In the early republic states mostly just let the state legislatures vote for president very few states used a popular vote. Eventually states started using the popular vote to pick the president.

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The Archregimancy
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Postby The Archregimancy » Sat Jul 02, 2022 12:24 pm

Thomasi wrote:Yes, and it can be achieved via democratic states passing laws saying they will give their electors to the winner of the popular vote when the total number of states doing so reaches the number needed 270.

History Lesson

The origin of the electoral college starts at the constitutional convention, it wasn't a stroke of genius, it wasn't planned, it wasn't even wanted, it simply came to be because the large states wanted a popular vote and or the house to elect the president and the small states wanted each state to have one vote for the president. Well that wasn't going to work, so they decided that each state would get the same number of electors as reps and senators and that the state governments would decide how they wanted the election of the president to happen. That's it they literally punted the issue. Same with the supreme court lol.


This is incorrect.

The compromise brought about by disputes over the ability of larger states to outvote smaller states on the basis of population led to the Great Compromise of 1787, whereby each state was granted two senators regardless of population.

The intent of the Electoral College is clearly laid out in the Federalist Papers, notably Papers 10 and 68, whereby the College is supposed to protect the republic from both party factionalism and the risk of uninformed voters giving rise to popular demagoguery by placing the final selection of president in the hands of a disinterested elite.

It's true that Madison also argued in Federalist Paper 39 that the Electoral College allowed for combining the state-based electoral system of the Senate with the popular vote-based system of the House, but this was retrospective rather than initial intent.

Essentially, you've confused the Great Compromise with the rationale for the existence of the College. If it makes you feel better, it's a common enough error.

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Uiiop
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Uiiop » Sat Jul 02, 2022 12:57 pm

At this point it's just "tyranny of the majority is an state not federal power" so i have no truck with it.
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Concejos Unidos
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Postby Concejos Unidos » Sat Jul 02, 2022 1:03 pm

Thomasi wrote:Yes, and it can be achieved via democratic states passing laws saying they will give their electors to the winner of the popular vote when the total number of states doing so reaches the number needed 270.

History Lesson

The origin of the electoral college starts at the constitutional convention, it wasn't a stroke of genius, it wasn't planned, it wasn't even wanted, it simply came to be because the large states wanted a popular vote and or the house to elect the president and the small states wanted each state to have one vote for the president. Well that wasn't going to work, so they decided that each state would get the same number of electors as reps and senators and that the state governments would decide how they wanted the election of the president to happen. That's it they literally punted the issue. Same with the supreme court lol.

In the early republic states mostly just let the state legislatures vote for president very few states used a popular vote. Eventually states started using the popular vote to pick the president.

As Arch said, much of the controversy about the electoral college derives from the way it is disproportional due to being tied to Congressional representation, but it wasn't tied in that way for the sake of creating disproportionality.
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