Author Topic: we do not run a democracy, lets get that straight  (Read 5780 times)

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Re: we do not run a democracy, lets get that straight
« Reply #15 on: August 08, 2019, 11:25:27 AM »

Offline bellerephon

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A couple of thoughts

1. Political Parties: The founding fathers were well aware of political parties, they were an important part of political life in the UK and a major force in Parliament. They had mixed feelings about parties, Washington was vehemently opposed to them, he referred to them as factions and thought they were divisive and would lead to factionalism. Madison and Jefferson actually became intimately involved with party politics.

2. Our system can be referred to as a democracy. It is not a direct democracy, but rather a representative democracy sometimes called a republic.

3. Our federal system does create a situation where small states have more weight in certain situations than their population would warrant. I think it is a problem to try to get rid of them, however. States have their own history and culture that can't be ignored.

4. The Electoral College has become a big issue recently. On the one hand it does result in states that are solidly red or blue not getting much attention from candidates and gives out-sized influenced to smaller states. At the same time, however, going to a single national popular vote has dangers too. Now recounts and lawsuits are limited to specific districts that might sway a swing state one way or another. In a national popular vote recounts and lawsuits would be more numerous and complicated. Other possible solutions have problems as well, the current flavor of the month, the compact to give all a states votes to the winner of the popular month is flawed IMHO. I do agree the system needs to be reformed, but I haven't yet seen a solution that looks promising.

Re: we do not run a democracy, lets get that straight
« Reply #16 on: August 08, 2019, 12:12:27 PM »

Offline keevsnick

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You've been pretty vocal prior to the Trump administration about your dissatisfaction of how it was leaning.

I was?

You realize we’ve had a conservative leaning court for decades?  Scalia (a conservative) was replaced by Gorsuch (a conservative) and Kennedy (mostly a conservative) was replaced by Kavanaugh (a conservative).

As for the Electoral College, I think Federalism is a good thing.  Voters in California have different issues than those in Montana.

The senate and the electoral college are in some ways hedges against the same problem, which is concentrating governing power in large populous states at the expense of smaller less populous states. And in principal I don't think thats awful, its good that smaller states have a voice. Its just that we've reached an equilibrium breaking point where essentially a minority of the country is holding a majority of the country hostage because the majority live in the wrong places to acheive power.   

Re: we do not run a democracy, lets get that straight
« Reply #17 on: August 08, 2019, 12:24:15 PM »

Offline nickagneta

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You've been pretty vocal prior to the Trump administration about your dissatisfaction of how it was leaning.

I was?

You realize we’ve had a conservative leaning court for decades?  Scalia (a conservative) was replaced by Gorsuch (a conservative) and Kennedy (mostly a conservative) was replaced by Kavanaugh (a conservative).

As for the Electoral College, I think Federalism is a good thing.  Voters in California have different issues than those in Montana. 
you've been pretty vocal about how you viewed the court as one that doesn't strictly apply the constitution as it's written and is more of an activist court.  You've used a different term than 'activist' but I can't recall it off the top of my head but it covers the gist of your prior posts regarding how the court had been ruling.   

I'm not following your point of different states having different issues.  of course they would.  my thinking is that 40 million people with a national issue in California probably should carry more weight than 1 million people having an issue in Montana.  I don't have an issue with that.  I don't see why the Reps in California should have their national votes dismissed because they're outnumbered in their state.  Same for Dems in Texas.  I just don't think that's right and it's caused by the Electoral College.

Our system is based upon preserving the individual autonomy of the States. Ending the EC would make small states completely irrelevant.
But in it's current construct, the Electoral College is making millions and millions voters irrelevant in states all across the nation.

So who's rights are more important, states rights or individual rights? I think it time to at least look into a one person/one vote system where every vote counts, so that we aren't having a majority of the country voting for someone and that someone losing.

Hillary won by 2.8+ million votes. That's more votes than there are people in 15 states, not registered voters but people. The amount of states with less registered voters than the amount of votes Hillary won by is much greater than 15.

That's as many votes as the state of Wisconsin had people voting for both parties in the 2016 election. So in essence, a group of voters that would be the size of the state of Wisconsin, Washington or Massachusetts didn't have their votes count.

There is definitely something wrong with that.


Re: we do not run a democracy, lets get that straight
« Reply #18 on: August 08, 2019, 01:34:46 PM »

Offline Csfan1984

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I like the EC as a backup plan. I felt it was always meant to be a backup once better voting systems came into place. Yet in the era of hacking and manipulation I don't want to get rid of it and just make it a backup.

Can there a compromise between the two? Like if the vote is scewed by over x amount of votes the EC is voided and if it is under x amount of votes the EC is used? Would that help?
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Re: we do not run a democracy, lets get that straight
« Reply #19 on: August 08, 2019, 02:01:22 PM »

Offline bellerephon

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I like the EC as a backup plan. I felt it was always meant to be a backup once better voting systems came into place. Yet in the era of hacking and manipulation I don't want to get rid of it and just make it a backup.

Can there a compromise between the two? Like if the vote is scewed by over x amount of votes the EC is voided and if it is under x amount of votes the EC is used? Would that help?
It was never meant as a backup, it was always intended to act as a check against the rise of a demagogue. Also keep in mind that the office of the Presidency and the federal government in general are far more powerful now than the founders ever envisioned or intended. The original intention was for the vast majority of governing to be done at the state level. The federal government was for defense, interstate issues, and matters too big for any one state to handle on its own. It was really thought to be a union of independent states. The independence of the states has waned over time, with good reason. The founders were mostly concerned with the central government abusing its power, but over time it became clear that state governments also could be abusive. Moreover, people became more mobile and began to think of themselves as Americans rather than citizens of a state.

Re: we do not run a democracy, lets get that straight
« Reply #20 on: August 08, 2019, 02:09:11 PM »

Offline Sophomore

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Quote
You've been pretty vocal prior to the Trump administration about your dissatisfaction of how it was leaning.

I was?

You realize we’ve had a conservative leaning court for decades?  Scalia (a conservative) was replaced by Gorsuch (a conservative) and Kennedy (mostly a conservative) was replaced by Kavanaugh (a conservative).

As for the Electoral College, I think Federalism is a good thing.  Voters in California have different issues than those in Montana.

People in rural areas deserve to be represented. But they now have a vastly greater influence on law and policy than people living in more populous states.

We have a minority President (again), and one party has a structural advantage in the Senate that the other can only overcome with very large victories.  Even worse, this minority can then pack the court with conservative justices who have lifetime appointments. Judge Kavanaugh was nominated by a minority President and confirmed by Senators representing about 44% of the US population (143 million people); senators representing the other 56% of us (181 million) had to go pound sand. He will sit on the court for decades, among other things telling Boston and Los Angeles what the law allows.

At some point this system is going to break.

Re: we do not run a democracy, lets get that straight
« Reply #21 on: August 08, 2019, 02:50:35 PM »

Offline slamtheking

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You've been pretty vocal prior to the Trump administration about your dissatisfaction of how it was leaning.

I was?

You realize we’ve had a conservative leaning court for decades?  Scalia (a conservative) was replaced by Gorsuch (a conservative) and Kennedy (mostly a conservative) was replaced by Kavanaugh (a conservative).

As for the Electoral College, I think Federalism is a good thing.  Voters in California have different issues than those in Montana. 
you've been pretty vocal about how you viewed the court as one that doesn't strictly apply the constitution as it's written and is more of an activist court.  You've used a different term than 'activist' but I can't recall it off the top of my head but it covers the gist of your prior posts regarding how the court had been ruling.   

I'm not following your point of different states having different issues.  of course they would.  my thinking is that 40 million people with a national issue in California probably should carry more weight than 1 million people having an issue in Montana.  I don't have an issue with that.  I don't see why the Reps in California should have their national votes dismissed because they're outnumbered in their state.  Same for Dems in Texas.  I just don't think that's right and it's caused by the Electoral College.

Our system is based upon preserving the individual autonomy of the States. Ending the EC would make small states completely irrelevant.
As opposed to giving them excessive representation?  I'm fine with 1 person-1 vote.   I could accept a compromise where the EC is based on each state's count of representatives in the HOR --> doing away with the counting of senators towards electoral votes. 

As someone born and raised in RI, I'm used to residents in small states being considered irrelevant but it doesn't change the belief each person's vote should count the same.  EC doesn't do that.
-->looking at the latest census for the states, it's looking like RI is going to lose it's second HOR rep to Montana which has passed it in population (and Montana currently has just 1 HOR rep)

there's a balance between state's autonomy and federal governance.  having a senate and HOR to present the 2 types of representation (equal per state and base on population) addresses state representation.  The presidency should be based on voter count so each person counts the same.

here's an example of the imbalance of the EC using the most populous and least populous states:
California has a 2018 population of 39,557,045.  It has 55 electoral votes.  an average of .00000139 votes per person per electoral vote.
Wyoming has a 2018 population of 577,737.  it has 3 electoral votes.  an average of .00000519 votes per per per electoral vote. 
that gives Wyoming voters 3.7 times more voice/power in the presidential voting.  that's just not right. 

even taking my possible compromise into account, that's 53 votes which averages .00000134 for California and Montana has 1 vote which averages .00000173.  It still work out in Montana's favor per person but it's a heck of a lot closer to a 1 person-1 vote equality.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2019, 02:55:54 PM by slamtheking »

Re: we do not run a democracy, lets get that straight
« Reply #22 on: August 08, 2019, 03:01:54 PM »

Offline rocknrollforyoursoul

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I guess I don't totally understand the EC. Some people say it gives too much power to small states, but I don't see how that can be. Candidates don't really care about small states like Maine, which has only 4 electoral votes; they care mostly about big states with large numbers of electoral votes, like California, Texas, Pennsylvania, New York, and Florida. If anything, it seems to me like rural, conservative voters are the ones who get slighted, and the states with big, liberal urban populations are favored (but I guess they'd be favored even in one-person-one-vote elections as well).
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Re: we do not run a democracy, lets get that straight
« Reply #23 on: August 08, 2019, 03:19:08 PM »

Offline nickagneta

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I guess I don't totally understand the EC. Some people say it gives too much power to small states, but I don't see how that can be. Candidates don't really care about small states like Maine, which has only 4 electoral votes; they care mostly about big states with large numbers of electoral votes, like California, Texas, Pennsylvania, New York, and Florida. If anything, it seems to me like rural, conservative voters are the ones who get slighted, and the states with big, liberal urban populations are favored (but I guess they'd be favored even in one-person-one-vote elections as well).
Except what you are thinking is demonstrably untrue. As pointed out above when you go state by state and do an Electoral College votes to population ratio for each state smaller states have a higher ratio which shows their votes carry much more weight. There are also a lot more small rural states than there are large populous states and so, because of this, if most small states vote the same way, and they tend to do so, it creates a situation where a minority of the nation's population controls the government. Of course, that was always the Founding Father's desire anyway, to keep power in the hands of the minority group of rich, white men that we wrote the laws.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2019, 04:19:17 PM by nickagneta »

Re: we do not run a democracy, lets get that straight
« Reply #24 on: August 08, 2019, 04:03:00 PM »

Online The Oracle

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I guess I don't totally understand the EC. Some people say it gives too much power to small states, but I don't see how that can be. Candidates don't really care about small states like Maine, which has only 4 electoral votes; they care mostly about big states with large numbers of electoral votes, like California, Texas, Pennsylvania, New York, and Florida. If anything, it seems to me like rural, conservative voters are the ones who get slighted, and the states with big, liberal urban populations are favored (but I guess they'd be favored even in one-person-one-vote elections as well).
Except what you are thinking is demonstrably untrue. As pointed out above when you go state by state and do an Electoral College votes to population ratio for each state smaller states have a higher ratio which shows their votes carry much more weight. There are also a lot more small rural states than there are large populous states and so, because of this, if most small states vote the same way, and they tend to do so, it creates a situation where a minority of the nation's population controls the government. Of course, that was always the Founding Father's desire anyway, to keep power in the hands of the minority group of rich, white men that we wrote the laws.
Getting rid of the electoral college means the dissolution of the United States.  The states with a smaller rural population will in no way be willing to accept a reduction in their voice and be ruled over by the large coastal populous.  If you think our electoral college is bad go take a look at the European Union in which the less populous countries receive as much as 12 times the representation as others.  Those countries would not have agreed to the union if not for the added representation.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2019, 04:19:43 PM by nickagneta »

Re: we do not run a democracy, lets get that straight
« Reply #25 on: August 08, 2019, 04:21:58 PM »

Offline jambr380

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I guess I don't totally understand the EC. Some people say it gives too much power to small states, but I don't see how that can be. Candidates don't really care about small states like Maine, which has only 4 electoral votes; they care mostly about big states with large numbers of electoral votes, like California, Texas, Pennsylvania, New York, and Florida. If anything, it seems to me like rural, conservative voters are the ones who get slighted, and the states with big, liberal urban populations are favored (but I guess they'd be favored even in one-person-one-vote elections as well).
Except what you are thinking is demonstrably untrue. As pointed out above when you go state by state and do an Electoral College votes to population ratio for each state smaller states have a higher ratio which shows their votes carry less weight. There are also a lot more small rural states than there are large populous states and so, because of this, if most small states vote the same way, and they tend to do so, it creates a situation where a minority of the nation's population controls the government. Of course, that was always the Founding Father's desire anyway, to keep power in the hands of the minority group of rich, white men that we wrote the laws.
Getting rid of the electoral college means the dissolution of the United States.  The states with a smaller rural population will in no way be willing to accept a reduction in their voice and be ruled over by the large coastal populous.  If you think our electoral college is bad go take a look at the European Union in which the less populous countries receive as much as 12 times the representation as others.  Those countries would not have agreed to the union if not for the added representation.

Dude, what? Your example of the EU is extremely flawed as they are all actual countries. I am sorry, but a state like Wyoming is already over-represented since they have two U.S. Senators; there is no fathomable reason that being a resident (not citizen, resident) of that state should grant you more rights (and that's what it does) than any other state in this country.

If people in rural states really want the 'Coasters' to call their bluff, we can all move out there so that the votes can be spread out evenly. This argument that rural states should have more representation than more populous states is asinine. Residents in those states are not worth more just because density is less.

Re: we do not run a democracy, lets get that straight
« Reply #26 on: August 08, 2019, 04:23:06 PM »

Offline keevsnick

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I guess I don't totally understand the EC. Some people say it gives too much power to small states, but I don't see how that can be. Candidates don't really care about small states like Maine, which has only 4 electoral votes; they care mostly about big states with large numbers of electoral votes, like California, Texas, Pennsylvania, New York, and Florida. If anything, it seems to me like rural, conservative voters are the ones who get slighted, and the states with big, liberal urban populations are favored (but I guess they'd be favored even in one-person-one-vote elections as well).
Except what you are thinking is demonstrably untrue. As pointed out above when you go state by state and do an Electoral College votes to population ratio for each state smaller states have a higher ratio which shows their votes carry less weight. There are also a lot more small rural states than there are large populous states and so, because of this, if most small states vote the same way, and they tend to do so, it creates a situation where a minority of the nation's population controls the government. Of course, that was always the Founding Father's desire anyway, to keep power in the hands of the minority group of rich, white men that we wrote the laws.
Getting rid of the electoral college means the dissolution of the United States.  The states with a smaller rural population will in no way be willing to accept a reduction in their voice and be ruled over by the large coastal populous.  If you think our electoral college is bad go take a look at the European Union in which the less populous countries receive as much as 12 times the representation as others.  Those countries would not have agreed to the union if not for the added representation.

I'm not sure that subjecting the will of the majority to a rule of the minority is a better way to preserve the union. I mean how long before a state like California which is overwhelming liberal and also 14% of our GDP gets tires of its vote counting less. Or New York which is like 8% of our GDP. Both of those states also give more to the federal government than they take.

Re: we do not run a democracy, lets get that straight
« Reply #27 on: August 08, 2019, 04:30:47 PM »

Offline nickagneta

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I guess I don't totally understand the EC. Some people say it gives too much power to small states, but I don't see how that can be. Candidates don't really care about small states like Maine, which has only 4 electoral votes; they care mostly about big states with large numbers of electoral votes, like California, Texas, Pennsylvania, New York, and Florida. If anything, it seems to me like rural, conservative voters are the ones who get slighted, and the states with big, liberal urban populations are favored (but I guess they'd be favored even in one-person-one-vote elections as well).
Except what you are thinking is demonstrably untrue. As pointed out above when you go state by state and do an Electoral College votes to population ratio for each state smaller states have a higher ratio which shows their votes carry much more weight. There are also a lot more small rural states than there are large populous states and so, because of this, if most small states vote the same way, and they tend to do so, it creates a situation where a minority of the nation's population controls the government. Of course, that was always the Founding Father's desire anyway, to keep power in the hands of the minority group of rich, white men that we wrote the laws.
Getting rid of the electoral college means the dissolution of the United States.  The states with a smaller rural population will in no way be willing to accept a reduction in their voice and be ruled over by the large coastal populous.  If you think our electoral college is bad go take a look at the European Union in which the less populous countries receive as much as 12 times the representation as others.  Those countries would not have agreed to the union if not for the added representation.
So when it comes to electing a president, small states would much rather control the power to determine who gets elected even though they are the minority? So if Biden beats Trump by 15 million votes but loses the Electoral College, you think it's fair because the vast minority of people in rural states controlled the Electoral College because the huge populations in coastal urban centers turned out like crazy but their votes had no power because of the limitations of proper representation in the Electoral College. All men are created equal according to the Declaration of Independence but not all votes are created equal and there is something seriously very Animal Farm wrong with that.

Re: we do not run a democracy, lets get that straight
« Reply #28 on: August 08, 2019, 04:33:01 PM »

Offline bellerephon

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Mathematically the EC gives more weight to the votes of people in smaller states, because they get a minimum of 3 electoral votes no matter how small their population is. In practice, they do not get any extra time from candidates because most of those states are either solidly blue or solidly red. The real issue is that the EC allows for a person to get fewer votes in total and still win the election, that strikes many people as wrong. I understand that point of view, but what people often forget is that the president is elected by the states, not individual voters. Perhaps that should change, but if it does, care needs to be taken that the smaller states don't get cast aside. Going to a straight popular vote is not a good solution IMHO, nor is the interstate compact, in which states would give their electoral votes to whichever candidate wins the national popular vote.

Re: we do not run a democracy, lets get that straight
« Reply #29 on: August 08, 2019, 04:37:19 PM »

Offline bellerephon

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I guess I don't totally understand the EC. Some people say it gives too much power to small states, but I don't see how that can be. Candidates don't really care about small states like Maine, which has only 4 electoral votes; they care mostly about big states with large numbers of electoral votes, like California, Texas, Pennsylvania, New York, and Florida. If anything, it seems to me like rural, conservative voters are the ones who get slighted, and the states with big, liberal urban populations are favored (but I guess they'd be favored even in one-person-one-vote elections as well).
Except what you are thinking is demonstrably untrue. As pointed out above when you go state by state and do an Electoral College votes to population ratio for each state smaller states have a higher ratio which shows their votes carry much more weight. There are also a lot more small rural states than there are large populous states and so, because of this, if most small states vote the same way, and they tend to do so, it creates a situation where a minority of the nation's population controls the government. Of course, that was always the Founding Father's desire anyway, to keep power in the hands of the minority group of rich, white men that we wrote the laws.
Getting rid of the electoral college means the dissolution of the United States.  The states with a smaller rural population will in no way be willing to accept a reduction in their voice and be ruled over by the large coastal populous.  If you think our electoral college is bad go take a look at the European Union in which the less populous countries receive as much as 12 times the representation as others.  Those countries would not have agreed to the union if not for the added representation.
So when it comes to electing a president, small states would much rather control the power to determine who gets elected even though they are the minority? So if Biden beats Trump by 15 million votes but loses the Electoral College, you think it's fair because the vast minority of people in rural states controlled the Electoral College because the huge populations in coastal urban centers turned out like crazy but their votes had no power because of the limitations of proper representation in the Electoral College. All men are created equal according to the Declaration of Independence but not all votes are created equal and there is something seriously very Animal Farm wrong with that.
I understand that concern, but it is important to understand that states are not merely administrative districts. Each state has rights and the president is not directly elected by the people but rather by the states. The states decide how to determine which candidate gets their electoral votes. Right now, that is done through voting, but it was not always that way. I would support reforming the system to help prevent the situation where a person that gets fewer national votes wins the election, but I think it needs to be done in a way that respects the states, which by the way are made up of people.

 

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