National Popular Vote

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Trotter, Sep 24, 2011.

  1. Trotter

    Trotter
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    I heard about this on the radio tonight on the way home. It is basically replacing the Electoral College with the popular majority. At first blush it sounds like a good idea but not after I heard some of the discussion on it.

    The US is a Republic, not a democracy. "Majority rules" is not the way it always works, but this movement would make it that way. The problem comes in that a candidate would only have to win the major urban areas to win the entire election and what the rest of the nation wants wouldn't matter. One comment really stuck with me which called this "Mob-ocracy" as it would be the mob making all the choices. We all know how that would work: who ever promises the most ice cream for free would get the popular majority.

    Find the discussion here: http://www.aproundtable.org/ listen to the 60-minute program from 24 September.

    Here is the website for the National Popular Vote: http://www.nationalpopularvote.com/

    From the NPV site: "The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the entire United States. The bill preserves the Electoral College, while ensuring that every vote in every state will matter in every presidential election." Which sounds good, but not when you realize how dense urban centers (NYC, LA, Chicago, etc.) would be the sole determinants in every presidential election.

    Look it over and post your thoughts.
     
  2. billwald

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    >The US is a Republic, not a democracy

    The two terms refer to different government characteristics. It is like saying a pot is not a stove.

    If you got your wish then the US would be controlled by a half dozen metro areas. Except for Dallas-Ft Worth, all seaport cities. Being a city person, that's fine with me.
     
  3. Trotter

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    I think you got me backwards. I am fine with the current Electoral College setup and opposed to the popular vote method.

    A republic is a government of representatives elected by the people to represent the people. A true democracy is "majority rules" and everyone else has to get over it.
     
  4. Salty

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    Here is a general breakdown of US population:

    9 Cities of 1 million or more: 24 million
    24 Cities of 1/2 million to 1 mill 16 million
    28 cities of .3-.5 million 10 million

    Top 61 cities account for about 50 million population
    which is approximately 1/6 of the entire US.

    32 States account for those to 61 cities. Therefore 28 States do not have a city with at least 300,000 population. California has 11 cities in the top 61, and Texas has 8! What two States do you think would see the candidates most often

    Bottom line - candidates basically will forsake those 28 States- as the "money" is in the big cities.

    Here is another Stat - the top Ten Metropolitan Statistical Areas account for about 75 Million
    people. Even some of those cities in the top 60 would be left out with the to 10 MSA's

    And as Trotter said: "We all know how that would work: who ever promises the most ice cream for free would get the popular majority"

    In addition - I would like to see more states get away from the winner take all in the Electoral College. Currently Maine and Neb (w/Pa considering) award 2 votes to the Statewide winner and the other votes are based on winning the votes in the congressional dinner. Personally I would prefer proportional representation. For example, if Ron Paul ran on the Libertarian ticket and received 10%* of the vote in Texas he would received 10% of the EC from Texas, which currently would be about 4 votes.

    Thoughts?

    Salty

    * I write great fiction, don't I!
     
    #4 Salty, Sep 25, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2011
  5. Magnetic Poles

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    IMO, a better reform would be to amend the Constitution to give the President, Senators and Representatives a fixed term of six years, limited to one term. This would do away with decisions being made with re-election in mind. While we're at it, limit SCOTUS justices to 20 years. Either that, or go to a Parliamentary government.
     
  6. Salty

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    I do go along with term limits - but reps should stay at 2 years, in addition I would like to see the House be more of a proportional representation of a true cross section of the country - based on political leaning instead of race, religion,creed, union...

    And I wouldn't have a problem with term limits now for SCOUS- seeing that the average age in 1800 was about 50 years - now its more like 80
     
  7. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    I can't think of a constitutional reform I would be more opposed to than changing to a popular vote for president.

    I also oppose term limits. What can't people have the right to vote for the qualified candidate they like.
     
  8. Salty

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    Because of politics
     
  9. mandym

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    Would you be for stopping term limits for the President?
     
  10. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    Yes, I would go back to pre-FDR if I had my druthers.
     
  11. mandym

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    Term limits are a very good protection of the American people from abuse. It does not stop all abuse but works very well for some. Term limits should be on every office.
     
  12. Havensdad

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    A Republic is a government of representatives. We have a "Democratic Republic" which means those representatives are supposed to be selected by majority vote.

    As far as the other; it is already that way. Candidates already focus on certain population dense states, because they get more electoral votes. The only difference is, what the people said would matter.

    Understand, that when the electoral system was implemented, it was not due primarily to principal, but practicality. Having a nation wide tally of votes in the 1800's that was not subject to deception, would have been nigh impossible. But every other election is already held by popular vote. When you vote for your mayor, it is not decided by a group of rich businessmen that can completely ignore your vote. It is popular vote/majority wins.
     
  13. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    This is a new concept to me. I would like to learn more. I had been taught and read often that the Electoral College was a way to allow states to choose the executive. Could you point me to some sources that say that it was done because it was impractical to conduct a nationwide poll please?
     
  14. carpro

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    It's unconstitutional and will never happen.
     
  15. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    They are trying to work around this. Each state can choose how to appoint their electors. Some states are trying to create a system that gives all of their electors to whoever wins the national popular vote. For it to work every state would have to agree and I don't see that happening.
     
    #15 NaasPreacher (C4K), Sep 25, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2011
  16. billwald

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    The electoral college may have been for practical reasons but giving 2 senators to each state was so that the North would not outvote both houses in every election.

    When the Constitution was written the senators and electors were appointed by the state governments.

    It would take a constitutional amendment to put term limits on the Congress.
     
  17. rsr

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    The Electoral College was conceived of as a way to limit direct democracy and deal with practical issues. While it gave a nod to the states, the Constitutional Convention rejected having the states elect the chief executive, likely because it would leave the president beholden to the states and not to the nation. In addition, the Constitution does not require a popular vote for president, leaving that question up to the states (which could, and sometimes have, let the state legislatures pick the electors.)

    The electors, ideally, were supposed to be respected men who would 1) put aside parochial interests 2) would be more knowledgeable about the issues and candidates than the general public. They would be a check on popular passions.

    The practical aspect dealt with the fact was that there was as yet no national system of communication. How would a farmer in Georgia, for example, know anything of a candidate from Massachusetts?

    Remember that candidates were not supposed to campaign in those days; it was unseemly to show too intense a desire for high office. And it wasn't practical because transportation was so slow and difficult.

    It is a bit odd that the Electoral College actually ends up choosing the president at all. Given the original structure, the Electoral College was most likely to nominate, not elect, a chief executive. Since the members never met outside their state, what was the likelihood that a candidate would receive a majority of all the votes? More likely, they would reduce the number of candidates, which would then be chosen by the Legislature.

    Washington was a shoo-in, of course, but by the time of the third election, antagonistic political parties had already formed, and the assumption of disinterested electors had become a fiction. National political parties seized control of the process, and mass media and electronic communication allowed campaigns to be waged on a national basis.

    The advantage of the system from a practical standpoint is that it can tend to magnify winning margins, thus legitimizing close elections. Kennedy, for example, outpolled Nixon by only 0.1 percent of the popular vote but piled up a 3-2 margin in the Electoral College. It militates against third-party candidates (not surprising, since the parties control the process); Ross Perot received 19 percent of the popular vote in 1992 but not a single electoral vote.

    A brief history of the Electoral College (and some of the oddities it has produced) is at http://www.fec.gov/pdf/eleccoll.pdf.

    Another analysis focusing on the Constitutional Convention and the history of the Electoral College's operation is at http://www.thegreenpapers.com/Hx/ElectoralCollege.html.
     
    #17 rsr, Sep 25, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2011
  18. carpro

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    Exactly. :godisgood:
     
  19. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    Excellent post, especially the section quoted - that is a perspective I had not considered before.
     
  20. Trotter

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    The thing that got me was the fact that there have been several presidents that lost the "popular" vote but won the presidency. Bill Clinton lost the popular vote both times, Kennedy lost it, Bush lost it in 2000.
     

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