PDA

View Full Version : How electorial votes work



humanalien
7th November 2012, 16:14
The process by which we elect our president today actually originated in the Constitution as a compromise; some of the founding fathers wanted the president to be elected by Congress, and others wanted it to be based on the popular vote.

What does that mean to us now? The Electoral College chooses the president. But we help choose the electors.

Each state’s number of electors is equal to its number of members of Congress (representatives plus senators). Washington also has three electors, so the total number of Electoral College members is 538.
So this means that only congressmen vote in our next president,
not the people of america. Our vote doesn't even matter.



The electors vote based on the popular vote in the state they represent — and all but Maine and Nebraska have a “winner-take-all” system, in which the presidential candidate with the most votes in the state gets all the Electoral College votes. So, yes, the president can (and has in the past — think 2000) win the election without winning the popular voteSource:
http://www.refinery29.com/electoral-college

So, if a presidential candidate gets 6 out of 10 electoral votes from one
state then that presidential candidate gets all 10, without actually winning
them all. This is such a bad system.

Presidents should be voted in by popular vote, not by electoral votes.
The government decided that americans were to stupid to make an
educated vote, so they went to the electoral voting system...

RMorgan
7th November 2012, 17:32
Hey mate,

I agree.

In a democracy, every one should be treated equally, right?

This system, with different "weights" for different states is completely unfair, in my opinion.

Popular vote is the way to go.

In fact, I don´t actually know why the voting system in the US is so complicated. It shouldn´t be.

Most countries, including my own, use the popular voting system. People vote, they count the votes and the candidate who gets 50% + 1 vote (or more) is the winner. Anyway, it doesn´t work as well because usually all candidates are totally corrupt.

Raf.

TargeT
7th November 2012, 19:12
Popular vote is the way to go.

Raf.

I don't know many people I would want voting on matters that effect me, what your advocating for is called the Tyranny of the masses. in the US we (supposedly) protect individual rights OVER mob mentality & whims.

for example, when 3 wolfs and a sheep vote for what is for dinner, in the US the sheep goes uneaten, in a democracy mutton is on the menu.

of course this is all hypothetical since it is not how the US actually is, its a good concept though.

Dennis Leahy
7th November 2012, 20:08
Popular vote is the way to go.

Raf.

I don't know many people I would want voting on matters that effect me, what your advocating for is called the Tyranny of the masses. in the US we (supposedly) protect individual rights OVER mob mentality & whims.

for example, when 3 wolfs and a sheep vote for what is for dinner, in the US the sheep goes uneaten, in a democracy mutton is on the menu.

of course this is all hypothetical since it is not how the US actually is, its a good concept though.
I have heard that one so many times...

Let's try this:
In a constitutional republic with 300 million sheep and 20 million wolves, with one individual representing many, based on numbers, most of the representatives would be sheep; some of the representatives will be wolves.

In every district represented by wolves, mutton is on the menu.

When the wolves have all of the advantages (let's say they possess 80% of the wealth and land and businesses, own all the banks, own 95% of all mass media, and by tradition and clout they control both of the political parties), then only wolves ever get elected to office. Mutton is served from coast-to-coast.

The pejorative phrases "tyranny of the masses" and "mob rule" are used by some folks (I think typically, Libertarians), to express their fear of democracy. At best, stifling democracy by using representatives rather than direct democracy and electoral college rather than popular vote are like having a waiting period to buy a gun: it might put off the slaughter for a few days, but won't prevent it. Worse, it is STILL mob rule, only this time, the entire mob is not consulted and a small subset of the mob (who are themselves a mob) get to be the deciders for everyone. Doesn't this naturally lead to decisions being made that positively affect the small, inner mob, at the expense of the entire group?

If a group of Libertarians go together on a camping trip, and need to put their heads together to make a decision about something, do they do it democratically, or do they elect a spokesperson who will make the decision for the group? What if "the decider" makes a decision that more than half the campers don't agree with?

If you actually study the history of the United States, you'll find that there were heated arguments among the "founding fathers" about the issues of whether simple farmers and furriers and blacksmiths had any business electing presidents and senators and representatives. These 'founding fathers' were pretty much all rich guys, landowners (when it was much less common to be a landowner), who could afford the time to sit around arguing. The farmers had no such luxury of time - they had crops and animals to tend to. In fact, Senators were NOT elected but were selected by State legislators up until 1913.

In our current system, where virtually every congressperson elected is a wolf, er, I mean is politically connected to one faction of the duopoly, already accepts the status quo of corporatocracy, has accepted the support (financial and mass media) to make a candidacy possible, and is thus already beholden to corporations that will extract their pound of flesh by sending lobbyists to "ask a favor...", well, I have to turn around your phrase, TargeT, and say "I don't know many congresspersons I would want voting on matters that affect me." They sure as hell don't represent me (and I'll bet they don't represent you either.) So, to me, the arguments for keeping citizens as far away from the deliberative and legislative process as possible only works great if you're a member of the Elite. For the rest of us... not so much.

Dennis

TargeT
7th November 2012, 21:35
Again, I preface this by saying: I was speaking conceptually & the following mostly follows suit (Conceptual government function, not actual) so the disagreement here is really pointless.





Popular vote is the way to go.

Raf.

I don't know many people I would want voting on matters that effect me, what your advocating for is called the Tyranny of the masses. in the US we (supposedly) protect individual rights OVER mob mentality & whims.

for example, when 3 wolfs and a sheep vote for what is for dinner, in the US the sheep goes uneaten, in a democracy mutton is on the menu.

of course this is all hypothetical since it is not how the US actually is, its a good concept though.
I have heard that one so many times...

Let's try this:
In a constitutional republic with 300 million sheep and 20 million wolves, with one individual representing many, based on numbers, most of the representatives would be sheep; some of the representatives will be wolves.

In every district represented by wolves, mutton is on the menu.

in a constitutional republic mutton would never be on the menu as the rights of the sheep are the basses of all law (the rights of the wolf also), and since our constitution is based on common law, this is very simple and easy to grasp (it's when you start thinking about what is actually happening that it starts to get confusing).




When the wolves have all of the advantages (let's say they possess 80% of the wealth and land and businesses, own all the banks, own 95% of all mass media, and by tradition and clout they control both of the political parties), then only wolves ever get elected to office. Mutton is served from coast-to-coast.

again, a constitutional republic (the constitution lists the limits of government) this would not happen unless the constitution was written very poorly.


[
The pejorative phrases "tyranny of the masses" and "mob rule" are used by some folks (I think typically, Libertarians), to express their fear of democracy. At best, stifling democracy by using representatives rather than direct democracy and electoral college rather than popular vote are like having a waiting period to buy a gun: it might put off the slaughter for a few days, but won't prevent it.

So you equate guns to slaughter? Most waiting periods I know of are for background checks to be completed etc.. but regardless that's a terrible analogy and gives me a lot of insight into your mind set.



Worse, it is STILL mob rule, only this time, the entire mob is not consulted and a small subset of the mob (who are themselves a mob) get to be the deciders for everyone. Doesn't this naturally lead to decisions being made that positively affect the small, inner mob, at the expense of the entire group?

This is the reason for terms in office, no position is held indefinitely by anyone. If your "dumb enough" to vote Obama back into office (for example), well then you must not really think he's doing anything bad to you right?



If a group of Libertarians go together on a camping trip, and need to put their heads together to make a decision about something, do they do it democratically, or do they elect a spokesperson who will make the decision for the group? What if "the decider" makes a decision that more than half the campers don't agree with?

Apparently you do not understand Libertarianism at all


Libertarianism is the group of political philosophies that advocates minimizing coercion and emphasizes freedom, liberty, and voluntary association. Libertarians generally advocate a society with significantly less government compared to most present day societies.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarianism

Again, not a very good example.. lets keep our comparisons to apples and apples, not apples and camping.


[
If you actually study the history of the United States, you'll find that there were heated arguments among the "founding fathers" about the issues of whether simple farmers and furriers and blacksmiths had any business electing presidents and senators and representatives. These 'founding fathers' were pretty much all rich guys, landowners (when it was much less common to be a landowner), who could afford the time to sit around arguing. The farmers had no such luxury of time - they had crops and animals to tend to. In fact, Senators were NOT elected but were selected by State legislators up until 1913.


I actually have studied it, but thanks for the inference; "these founding fathers" were not imperfect, that is true, but they did a very good job at a difficult task, and Senators SHOULD BE selected by state legislators, SENATORS represent the STATE, not the people of the state, that is for congress (and also why the term is much shorter so the bad apples can be weeded out faster). Of course the major failing of the founding fathers is assuming that most people act from a state of Integrity & honesty, we have had 200+ years of proof that this is NOT the case.



[
In our current system, where virtually every congressperson elected is a wolf, er, I mean is politically connected to one faction of the duopoly, already accepts the status quo of corporatocracy, has accepted the support (financial and mass media) to make a candidacy possible, and is thus already beholden to corporations that will extract their pound of flesh by sending lobbyists to "ask a favor...", well, I have to turn around your phrase, TargeT, and say "I don't know many congresspersons I would want voting on matters that affect me." They sure as hell don't represent me (and I'll bet they don't represent you either.) So, to me, the arguments for keeping citizens as far away from the deliberative and legislative process as possible only works great if you're a member of the Elite. For the rest of us... not so much.

Dennis


Since you choose to talk about reality here at the end and not the concept of a constitutional republic; I will completely agree with you here ;)

it is not the fault of the system "constitutional republic" that the general population are moronic, it is partly the general public’s fault and those in power that choose to keep them so.


I suppose a constitutional democracy could be appeasable, but it would have to have a VERY VERY strong constitution; giving over to a pure democracy is lunacy, Lord of the Fly's comes to mind.



Now the real argument against a constitutional repbulic (in my mind) is who authorized the creation of this constitutional republic... why was it forced on everyone?

Libertarianism is the natural state that humans function in from day to day (even you), government (GOVERN, MENT = control, mind) is a perversion of that natural state.

KiwiElf
7th November 2012, 22:28
I agree Human - that's what a "true" democracy is (or should be?). But the reality is, the "people" - at least a fair few of them - are easily sucked in by a "believable", well-acted, orchestrated, horse & pony show. Who puts on the best American Idol impersonation? ;)

RMorgan
7th November 2012, 22:40
Hey folks,

I still think it´s better when the majority of the people of a nation has direct choice over their directors than to give this control to a select minority.

This, in my opinion, is classicist (prejudice among different classes) ideology.

I might not always agree with what the majority of Brazilians choose, but I´d rather allow everybody to make a choice than to give it up to a small bunch of corrupt people.

Anyway, I guess both systems would work under ideal circumstances, however, in real life things are different...We all know it. The power always remains in the hands of a select small group, independently of the system.

Cheers,

Raf.

KiwiElf
7th November 2012, 22:43
As with all things... the key perhaps is balance... ;)

Ellisa
7th November 2012, 23:39
If you think that's a complicated system try the Aussie systems. The lower house is elected by preferential voting which means, put simply, that voters must vote for EVERY candidate in decreasing order of preference until one of them achieves a majority. This has some consequences that may not have been foreseen when this system was devised with the aim of fairness for all. It means that a 2 party system with few independents is inevitable, and voters can end up with their preferences electing someone whom they would never have chosen!

However in the upper house we have yet another system! We have proportional representation. Our senate is a state house, and we vote, again numbering in order of preference. There can be a multitude of candidates and until recently each had to be numbered correctly or the vote was invalid. With 50-60 candidates the informal votes were getting ridiculously high so now we can vote for our first choice only if we wish. This system encourages independent candidates, and as the Senate is a house of review the whole 2 systems work quite well for the majority of the time.

We vote on paper with pencils! It seems more private that way I think, though recently in local government elections we all had to vote by mail. Voting is also compulsory here.

The Electoral College system would be OK if every college had the same rules. Also the actual voting methods and organisations seem to vary from State to State, so conditions are not the same everywhere (as in the 'hanging chads' incident). Our elections are overseen by appointed officials with the same guidelines throughout the electorate, which I think is a very good idea and take for granted.

Actually I think that whilst democracy seems sometimes tedious it remains the best for involving all of us. Other systems may have more advantage for select groups, and dictatorships may be more efficient, but in successful democracies our leaders do submit themselves to the people, and go away peacefully if that is the will of their electorate. There is such a thing as peaceful people power and we should use it!

Dennis Leahy
8th November 2012, 05:08
TargeT, I should have said "If one actually studies the history of the United States," rather than "If you actually study the history of the United States,"...I had already drifted off into talking about concepts - really I was more or less dissecting the phrase that kinda set me off, (which I have heard used as if it is a good analogy to modern civilization or government), rather than trying to convince you personally or wag a finger at you personally. Any implication that you personally have not studied US history was unintended. Hell, for all I know, you could be a historian - amateur or pro - and know 100 times what I do.

If that Wiki article is a good explanation of Libertarianism, you're right, I don't really understand it very well. In my defense, the article does say there are multiple interpretations and ambiguities. I actually fundamentally agree with a lot of the Wiki article (with a few things that would take a full discussion to flesh out.) The people I have personally met that tell me they are libertarian only seem to understand (or expound on) part of that article as well (generally the freedom and ownership part.) I actually resonate with the personal freedom part a lot; I generally have the biggest disagreement on the ownership part, if taken too far. For example, I resonate with folks that work harder (or longer, or faster, or smarter) do deserve more - they have earned more, and I would not like to see any 100% socialist system where there is no private ownership. On the other hand, how do we deal with the reality that if we stop right now and analyze all ownership, we would find that much of it was not earned by working harder. A lot was stolen, the product of deception, or the product of old family wealth - often originally stolen or the product of deception. I don't have a specific answer, (a simple 'wealth redistribution' would only "work" temporarily), but that big old pile of stuff in the hands of the few is the exact kind of thing that triggered revolutions in the past, so just leaving a hundred million poor and working poor (US) or billions (worldwide) while a few claim complete ownership of pretty much the entire planet is not a working solution.

Another factor in the US is that there is a lot of public property (federal lands, public lands and buildings, roads, bridges, etc.) I don't want to see that divided up and distributed (a good example would be federal forests and mineral resources on federal lands) - it should stay where it is as a resource as long as possible. But it does belong to all of us, and that makes them social assets. We also have social liabilities and social responsibilities. So, the Libertarian folks I have spoken with that get very defensive at the word "socialism" need to recognize that having some well-defined areas of socialism and some well-defined areas of property ownership can (and I believe, must) be considered as an overall solution.

The guns comment using the word 'slaughter' was a reference to "mob rule", you know, torches and pitchforks, split-second, poorly thought-out decisions based on emotion. It is hyperbole, and probably does not define my mindset the way you may be thinking. The word "mob" in "mob rule" is a deliberately emotionally charged word. The phrase is not "group rule" but "mob rule", and the distinction speaks to unchecked emotional response. If someone had decided to murder someone with a gun, and had to wait for a few days, they could still complete their plan - just as a cluster of representatives representing a block of voters could still make the same bad decision that the voters would have made more quickly and more directly. (In fact, the more honestly and accurately the representatives represent their constituency, the more alike the representatives vote should be to a direct democratic vote.)

As for your thoughts that Senators should be chosen by the state legislature, because they represent the state, isn't it equally valid to say that Senators should be chosen by the state's voters, because they represent the state's voters? That actually seems more Libertarian to me as well - instilling as much responsibility on the individual (and the least amount on the state) as possible. Taking it a step further, the "Virginia Plan", which was the original basis for the Constitutional Convention, called for Congress to directly elect the president.

I'm not too thrilled about the prospect of such a hierarchical approach, with the president and congresspersons (at least Senators) insulated from the people's voice. I like the Libertarian concept of a smaller government, more direct, less insulated, more accountable, and with much more direct involvement of the individual. Since the Electoral College runs opposite to that concept, I would like to see the Electoral College eliminated.

Dennis

TargeT
8th November 2012, 07:25
TargeT, I should have said "If one actually studies the history of the United States," rather than "If you actually study the history of the United States,"...I had already drifted off into talking about concepts - really I was more or less dissecting the phrase that kinda set me off, (which I have heard used as if it is a good analogy to modern civilization or government), rather than trying to convince you personally or wag a finger at you personally. Any implication that you personally have not studied US history was unintended. Hell, for all I know, you could be a historian - amateur or pro - and know 100 times what I do.

Gotta love text, I'm sure I projected an adversary persona on you and read into your comments what wasn't there ;)



If that Wiki article is a good explanation of Libertarianism, you're right, I don't really understand it very well. In my defense, the article does say there are multiple interpretations and ambiguities. I actually fundamentally agree with a lot of the Wiki article (with a few things that would take a full discussion to flesh out.) The people I have personally met that tell me they are libertarian only seem to understand (or expound on) part of that article as well (generally the freedom and ownership part.)

Unfortunately there are a lot of intellectually lazy people out there, most the "conservatives" I know are anything but, they wear the label because their friends do or their parents or because it gives them some sort of identity, but don't understand what the word conservative means (sort of like how we have polluted the word "economy" to mean anything but "economy", very orwellian, war is peace etc...)

Libertarians seem to be no different, the philosophy itself is great and actually addresses every issue I've ever come up against, the people, are people.



I actually resonate with the personal freedom part a lot; I generally have the biggest disagreement on the ownership part, if taken too far. For example, I resonate with folks that work harder (or longer, or faster, or smarter) do deserve more - they have earned more, and I would not like to see any 100% socialist system where there is no private ownership. On the other hand, how do we deal with the reality that if we stop right now and analyze all ownership, we would find that much of it was not earned by working harder. A lot was stolen, the product of deception, or the product of old family wealth - often originally stolen or the product of deception. I don't have a specific answer, (a simple 'wealth redistribution' would only "work" temporarily), but that big old pile of stuff in the hands of the few is the exact kind of thing that triggered revolutions in the past, so just leaving a hundred million poor and working poor (US) or billions (worldwide) while a few claim complete ownership of pretty much the entire planet is not a working solution.

Fraud is addressed in Common law (a very libertarian approach to how we conduct ourselves in a society (notice I did NOT say government) we have had small implementations of common law in Alaska that were very interesting experiments.) and Fraud is exactly what you speak of, I think we could correct a lot of it via common law (which requires restitution for crimes, not pointless punishment as we currently do).




Another factor in the US is that there is a lot of public property (federal lands, public lands and buildings, roads, bridges, etc.) I don't want to see that divided up and distributed (a good example would be federal forests and mineral resources on federal lands) - it should stay where it is as a resource as long as possible. But it does belong to all of us, and that makes them social assets. We also have social liabilities and social responsibilities. So, the Libertarian folks I have spoken with that get very defensive at the word "socialism" need to recognize that having some well-defined areas of socialism and some well-defined areas of property ownership can (and I believe, must) be considered as an overall solution.

Public spaces are an interesting one, I agree with a lot of libertarian mentalities but do not study the philosophy myself so I don't know how that particular issue would be handled, however I have found the answers I get on questions like this to be very common-sense & logical that I find hard to disagree with; you have peaked my interest and I'll have to give it some study and see how that concept would be handled, though it undoubtedly would heavily hinge on the fraud issue as so much of "our land" is anything but.



The guns comment using the word 'slaughter' was a reference to "mob rule", you know, torches and pitchforks, split-second, poorly thought-out decisions based on emotion. It is hyperbole, and probably does not define my mindset the way you may be thinking. The word "mob" in "mob rule" is a deliberately emotionally charged word. The phrase is not "group rule" but "mob rule", and the distinction speaks to unchecked emotional response. If someone had decided to murder someone with a gun, and had to wait for a few days, they could still complete their plan - just as a cluster of representatives representing a block of voters could still make the same bad decision that the voters would have made more quickly and more directly. (In fact, the more honestly and accurately the representatives represent their constituency, the more alike the representatives vote should be to a direct democratic vote.)

Guilty! I did use a specifically charged word to guide an out come of thought. Grammar is powerful is it not ;)



As for your thoughts that Senators should be chosen by the state legislature, because they represent the state, isn't it equally valid to say that Senators should be chosen by the state's voters, because they represent the state's voters? That actually seems more Libertarian to me as well - instilling as much responsibility on the individual (and the least amount on the state) as possible. Taking it a step further, the "Virginia Plan", which was the original basis for the Constitutional Convention, called for Congress to directly elect the president.

well the senators represent the state as an entity, not the voters, they are supose to look out for the best interests of the state vrs the federal government (sort of an office that is there to check federal government power) this is a constitutional republic mechanism, I do not defend it from a libertarian point of view since it is not that at all.

To me if there is a system, then it should be followed, to say things are one way then do them a different way is Fraud to me, and fraud is the root of so many problems in our current society (as I see it).



I'm not too thrilled about the prospect of such a hierarchical approach, with the president and congresspersons (at least Senators) insulated from the people's voice. I like the Libertarian concept of a smaller government, more direct, less insulated, more accountable, and with much more direct involvement of the individual. Since the Electoral College runs opposite to that concept, I would like to see the Electoral College eliminated.

Dennis

I completely agree with you there, I was not trying to advocate for a constitutional republic, simply explain "how it is suppose to be", which clearly is not how "it is".

if anything were to be eliminated then you are advocating for a Constitutional Convention (re-writing the constitution basically), else the system should not be altered, perhaps we should try and actually follow it before we throw it out?

until the common man becomes interested in this topic in more than a passing way the current problems will continue.

Ellisa
9th November 2012, 02:44
Denis I notice you make the very salient point that you would not want the public preserves and assets distributed and divided. You state that they belong to all. Whilst I do agree with you in principle, here in Australia we have the same situation you do in the US. When our forebears came from elsewhere (I am actually assuming yours did, feel free to correct me), the land was given to them by the government of the day. In your country with some opposition, in mine- not so much- our cultures were too far apart for either to understand the others' point of view regarding land ownership. In fact much of Australia was declared 'Terra Nullis', which means no one's land, which was obviously untrue!

The result is that now we are trying to acknowledge that mistake and admit that there were original owners and they probably did not come from Wapping or Exeter, but had been here for 50,000 years- at least and probably should have some say on its future.

Philosophically- do any of us own the land? Perhaps we just borrow it for a while, and use it, hopefully looking after it a little better than we have been recently.

Dennis Leahy
9th November 2012, 03:55
Excellent point. I have no idea how to address that issue, and I have spoken to indigenous people ("Indians" - I hate using such a stupid, erroneous word to describe the people who were in what we call North America for millennia before the Europeans arrived) about it and they too realize there is no easy answer.

There is a lot of timber on federal (public) lands in the US, and quite a bit of mineral resources as well. If it is agreed that whatever is extracted from these lands is jointly owned by all the citizens (and this would be a good time to acknowledge and include the tribal societies as well), then the sale of these raw materials should benefit all citizens. I do want some of these lands left in the most wild and pristine condition possible, but some extraction will take place. Currently US taxpayers pay for logging roads to be built into the forests, the logging companies are then charged a "stump fee" of $1 (at least, that is what it was not too long ago), and the timber companies get all the profits. Mining companies similarly get raw materials from public lands without compensating the public. Since I do believe in social services, this is where some of the money should be coming from. US citizens are getting ripped off.

Yeah, the big picture, philosophically, is a conundrum. The day I was born, most of the land in my country was already claimed as being owned by someone - and yet all of it was taken by force from, or "sold" by (probably with coercion) indigenous people. Whose land is it? Is it Gaias?

Dennis