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Charlotteman

Time to end the Electoral College?

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I've always been a foe of the American Electoral College system of electing presidents. It doesn't seem democratic to me, nor does it seem fair.

Here is a short roundup of the last 30 years' presidential elections;

1976: Jimmy Carter (D) 40,832,000

Gerald Ford 39,148,000 winner:Carter

1980: Ronald Reagan 43,903,000

Jimmy Carter (D) 35,480,000 winner: Reagan

1984: Ronald Reagan 54,455,000

Walter Mondale (D) 37,577,000 winner: Reagan

1988: George H.W. Bush 48,886,000

Michael Dukakis (D) 41,809,000 winner: Bush

1992: Bill Clinton (D) 44,909,000

George H.W. Bush 39,104,000 winner: Clinton

1996: Bill Clinton (D) 47,400,000

Bob Dole 39,198,000 winner: Clinton

2000: Al Gore (D) 51,003,000

George W. Bush 50,460,000 winner: Bush

Up until 2000, the Electoral College seemed rather quaint and benign, and not of much significance. But the election of 2000 shows how our electoral process can be thrown on its head. We have President George W. Bush because of the Electoral College system. The numbers clearly show Gore got the most votes.

How do you urbanplanet folks feel about this?

OOOPS! I meant this to go on the urbanplanet main coffeeshoppe forum. Can someone transfer it there for me? Thanks

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I couldn't agree more. This is one of a number of ways that our current government is nothing like what our founding fathers had in mind.

Feel free to move my response along with this post. Thanks.

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The 2000 election was not the first time a President lost the popular vote but won the electoral college. This of course would require an amendment to the US Constitution which isn't likely to happen.

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It's really hard to push through amendments and they take forever... well I'm sure they'd pass one about their own pay increases. But it's not a true democracy with that system. The forefathers who created the system didn't trust the public with their vote and they still don't. How can we have democracy when who we vote for wins but doesn't? Is that the kind of democracy they're trying to push across the world? A real one or fake one?

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The 2000 election was not the first time a President lost the popular vote but won the electoral college. This of course would require an amendment to the US Constitution which isn't likely to happen.

You're right. We'll have a ban on gay marriage, abortions, sex, dancing, men having long hair, and the separation between church and state before we get rid of the electoral college...

As long as a Republican doesn't win the popular vote and give hte election to the democrats.. then there will be such an uproar by the reactive right that we'll have this thing passed in an instant.

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Makes you wonder how Bush got reelected though. I mean, looking back through the years, only clinton and reagan got reelected when running for a second term in that stretch. Ford, Carter, GHWBush all lost their campaigns for reelection. I know I'm stating the obvious, but Dubya "rewon" too despite his low approval rating and the mega-cult that was Anti-Bush.

I still find it funny that, even though the system was messed up and Gore won by popular vote, it all came down to hanging chads in a single county in a single state. Yet, despite this fact, the american public didn't vote him out of office. The media, hollywood, the dixie chicks, it seemed everybody was against Bush. And yet he still won? I don't get it.

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I couldn't agree more. This is one of a number of ways that our current government is nothing like what our founding fathers had in mind.

Feel free to move my response along with this post. Thanks.

It's exactly what the founding fathers had in mind. The electoral college was set up in part to give smaller states more of a voice than they would have in a parliamentary system. The Senate has 2 seats per state for a good reason. If you would rather live in a country with a straight 1 person 1 vote system, Canada isn't far away at all. That country is pretty much run by Ontario. I don't think it would be fair to have California and New York make the decisions for everyone in this country. If you don't like the guys in charge that's fine. Go ahead and try to see to it that your guys win next time. Don't change the system just to see your guys win.

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..... But it's not a true democracy with that system. .....

That's very true because the United States is a republic, not a democracy. Most people don't understand the difference (I guess they don't teach it in the schools anymore), but having a republic is much more important to an individual's rights over that of a pure democracy. I won't bother to explain it here as it is easy enough to look up.

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I've always thought it was a weird system. I voted for Bush in '04 (wasn't voting age yet in 2000), but as much as I dislike Gore, I thought he should rightfully have had it in 2000 owing to the popular vote - which, in the end, is the reason you vote, right?. I don't think the electoral college is going away anytime soon, though.

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I don't think it would be fair to have California and New York make the decisions for everyone in this country. If you don't like the guys in charge that's fine. Go ahead and try to see to it that your guys win next time. Don't change the system just to see your guys win.

Good point...that would be specifically, LA, San Francisco, and NYC :-) In California, the San Joaquin Valley, The Sierras, and pretty much every place north of SF vote quite differently than the urban centers that run the state.

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Or Washington which is split down the middle, west more liberal and east more conservative... or New York.. upstate conservative, city liberal.. or Minnesota, north liberal, suburbs conservative, city liberal, south conservative... or really anywhere.

Unfortunately, it's the republicans in our legislature that pull money out of rural areas and give it to the cities.. I mean, suburbs. It isn't called "Democratic-Farmer-Labor" for nothing.

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The 2000 election was not the first time a President lost the popular vote but won the electoral college. This of course would require an amendment to the US Constitution which isn't likely to happen.

Exactly, they're too busy trying to amend the constitution to keep me from getting married.

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I personally think the reason Bush won in 2004 is because Kerry was so ....er....bad (!)

I voted for Kerry, but I think he was a very weak candidate. (and he's running in 2008????????????)

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I voted for Kerry, but I think he was a very weak candidate. (and he's running in 2008????????????)

If the Dems want to win, then they should have learned their lesson with Kerry. I mean, in no other time can I think of a more despised president at the time of an election. It was the perfect opportunity for the Dems to be handed the election. I doubt Kerry would be able to stand against Clinton, Edwards, and the like in the primaries anyway.

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who cares about giving the smaller states more of a chance. I don't want to sound cold or anything, but is that even fair? Fair means everyone gets a vote. Whether you are a pro-Bush cowboy from Dallas or a hippy from Vermont... every vote counts for one person. It's the only way for the country to be run how the people want it to be.

The Electoral College is, and has always been, a stupid idea.

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That's very true because the United States is a republic, not a democracy. Most people don't understand the difference (I guess they don't teach it in the schools anymore), but having a republic is much more important to an individual's rights over that of a pure democracy. I won't bother to explain it here as it is easy enough to look up.

I can't take it any more. I'm fed up with this. This 'argument'. This framing. Someone always comes along in these threads and brings up the "we're a republic, not a democracy" bit.

News for ya pall: a republic IS a democracy. A republic requires proportional representation still. We're not a republic. We're an unwritten kleptocracy.

Direct Democracy is not the only type of democracy. Nor is it implied in any arguments against the electoral college, or our form of representative government that the minority should be 'crushed', in any way shape or form. Minorities deserve protection, and it is universally understood. However, the interests of the majority can't be ignored. A system that is conducive to those interests is more dynamic, and generally more accountible over a period of time. We're not protecting any minorities with the electoral college. We're protecting a majority that existed 50 years ago, and has long since vanished.

Our system of government was a 'grand experiment'. It succeeded compared to the dictatorships of its time, but it fails when matched against any modern parliamentary democracy.

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who cares about giving the smaller states more of a chance. I don't want to sound cold or anything, but is that even fair? Fair means everyone gets a vote. Whether you are a pro-Bush cowboy from Dallas or a hippy from Vermont... every vote counts for one person. It's the only way for the country to be run how the people want it to be.

The notion of giving smaller states is indeed unfair, in that a person from a smaller state would have their vote count more than one from a larger state. Regardless, though, that isn't even how the system works. Less populous states have fewer electoral votes than more populous ones, as the numbers are set by population. California matters much more than Wyoming in presidential elections.

The US Senate was indeed created to give smaller states a voice. The Electoral College, on the other hand, is nothing more than a holdover from the days when news traveled slowly and the general population couldn't be expected to know much about the candidates' platforms. It was the electors' responsibility to do that research and vote on their constituents' behalf.

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The smaller and less populates states were concerned they they would become bananna republics-- economically dominated by the larger ones. It was necessary to give them equal representation in the Senate in order to form a united government.

Personally I think Federal power is too strong and intrusive, and that's the real problem with our government today. The perfection of our voting system isn't a front burner.

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The smaller and less populates states were concerned they they would become bananna republics-- economically dominated by the larger ones. It was necessary to give them equal representation in the Senate in order to form a united government.

Personally I think Federal power is too strong and intrusive, and that's the real problem with our government today. The perfection of our voting system isn't a front burner.

...I'm a chiquita banana and I'm here to say...... :whistling:

Yes, that's true; the early government wanted the smaller states to be well represented so they essentially received proportionally more power than the larger states did.

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...I'm a chiquita banana and I'm here to say...... :whistling:

Thank you, and now I will have that stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Connecticut would have all been very misrepresented in the original congress. That was why they designed the Senate and House as they did. I guess in creating these areas of the government, the smaller states pushed the electoral college concept through at the same time as the senate.

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Our system of government was a 'grand experiment'. It succeeded compared to the dictatorships of its time, but it fails when matched against any modern parliamentary democracy.

I guess we must be pretty lucky to have the strongest economy in the world, a very high standard of living, and to still be a leader on the world stage in terms of innovation.. you know, when you consider how inferior our system is to the rest of the world. If anything, a lot of the perceived problems (outsourcing, trade gaps)over the recent years have to do with us having such a high standard of living and foreign markets with lower wages being opened.... thus seeing them beating us at our own system. Still, this country has the strongest IT sector in the world...

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who cares about giving the smaller states more of a chance. I don't want to sound cold or anything, but is that even fair? Fair means everyone gets a vote. Whether you are a pro-Bush cowboy from Dallas or a hippy from Vermont... every vote counts for one person. It's the only way for the country to be run how the people want it to be.

The Electoral College is, and has always been, a stupid idea.

You know, the Gore-Bush election margin in the popular vote was razor thin by presidential election standards. IMO, however, I don't think we should banish the Electoral College. If we do, we might as well let the blue states run the country and take voting rights away from everyone else. All a candidate would need to do is make sure he does well in the most populous states and, like Kerry, practically ignore whole regions of the country.

The system isn't perfect, but I doubt it's going anywhere. I do think the Electoral College caters more to "rural citizens," but that just means that the candidate needs to be aware and concerned with their issues as well.

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Actually, the fact that the south pretty much runs presidential politics now days pretty much shows how ineffective the electoral college is. The system has become lop-sided... and it's getting more lop-sided. People are moving out of hte populous states and moving into the rural ones, making their voice even bigger in comparison.

I agree that candidates should not ignore certain regions.. but, let's face it... a NE democrat is not going to get much of the vote in the south... because it has become clear that southerners will only vote for southerners.

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who cares about giving the smaller states more of a chance. I don't want to sound cold or anything, but is that even fair? Fair means everyone gets a vote. Whether you are a pro-Bush cowboy from Dallas or a hippy from Vermont... every vote counts for one person. It's the only way for the country to be run how the people want it to be.

The Electoral College is, and has always been, a stupid idea.

So you want to get rid of the Senate too? One of the founding points of this nation was the compromises made among the states to balance rights and interests with our inventive government. Separation of powers, balancing big states and small states' interests. From the founding fathers' perspective, this balance was fair enough.

I sense this topic wouldn't be an issue on this board anyway if the results were completely reversed and the electoral college helped a liberal get into office. The system is the way it is, it's almost impossible to change it, you know about the rules going in, play and win within the given context.

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Actually, the fact that the south pretty much runs presidential politics now days pretty much shows how ineffective the electoral college is. The system has become lop-sided... and it's getting more lop-sided. People are moving out of hte populous states and moving into the rural ones, making their voice even bigger in comparison.

I agree that candidates should not ignore certain regions.. but, let's face it... a NE democrat is not going to get much of the vote in the south... because it has become clear that southerners will only vote for southerners.

Well, I am going to have to completely disagree. I think there are several candidates from other areas of the country that could do well in if not win the south. I think where the problem lies is that many "liberal" candidates don't feel comfortable addressing issues that tend to trend higher profile in the south, midwest, and mountain regions. Kerry put a southerner on his ticket and it did little to help his election campaign. Edwards was a poor representation of Southern ideals. Someone can find the middle ground, which must be done.

I still say the electoral college is the best way to help find that middle ground.

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