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  #281  
Old 21 February 2019, 08:04 AM
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ganzfeld ganzfeld is offline
 
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United States

All modern democracies are representative democracies. All federations and unions share power unequally between populations and votes in the regions represented by design, as in the US, in order to share power between states as well as between voting individuals.

In the constitution, that distribution of power is also reflected in the representation of the Senate (and other parts) so you'd have to throw out a rather giant chunk of the constitution to change that. It's a fallacy to call that particular aspect of the electoral college (the aspect that gave you this unpopular result) undemocratic.

The constitution has had its share of terrible parts but the idea that there would be a new constitution in which each person shares power, as opposed to each state, is a pipe dream. (I also happen to think it's a terrible idea. The fact that such a system exists in no country, Brexit votes excluded perhaps, should be a clue.)

Also, it has nothing to do with the other issues of the college system so it's another logical fallacy to lump those other issues in there.
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  #282  
Old 21 February 2019, 02:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mouse View Post
Out of curiosity, is the Electoral College one of those things the Founding Fathers put in to appease the slaveowners, like the whole thing counting slaves as 3/5ths a person? I know it’s probably a reflection of their belief that the vote should only go to rich, property-owning White Males, but I wondered if slavery was also involved.
I'm not a historian, and may just be missing something here; but I suspect that what they were trying to do was set up a system in which at each point those actually doing the voting would be choosing among people they actually knew.

Bear in mind that there was a much lower total population at the time (not to mention that most of the population, being female or enslaved or not property owners or whatever, couldn't vote.) And communications were by modern standards terrible. The chances that most of the population of New York knew much of anything about who was running in Virginia, say, must have been pretty slim.

The Electoral College wasn't in all states chosen by popular vote anyway; the method of choosing electors was left up to the states, and in some states they were originally chosen by legislators.

So I think what they were doing may have been trying to set up a system in which people in a given state were voting for legislators who they knew personally, or at least had some chance of finding out about; and those legislators would then choose electors, who they knew or could find out about; and those electors would choose a President, who they knew or would find out about during the process of, quite possibly, repeated Electoral College votes before they settled on somebody.

Trying to set up a direct national popular vote would have run into the problem that most voters would vote for someone they'd at least heard of -- and that would have been entirely different people in each area, due to the communications problem. It would have been next to impossible to get any consensus.

There was also of course the problem of balancing the interests of the different states against each other. We're so used to thinking of the states as relatively minor political units that it's easy to forget that what was happening in the late 1700's was still mostly a matter of setting up a treaty among independent nations.
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  #283  
Old 22 February 2019, 01:37 AM
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Yes, I think you're right about that. I do think much of the constitution was constructed to at least not interfere with, if not support, slavery. But the reason for the unpopular result of that election was the distribution of power. Was that influenced by slavery? I think it all was. But it's also a fundamental feature of every large-scale democracy.

If the states made a bad decision, I don't think it's right to "fix" that by taking away power from the states you don't agree with, nor to blame it on the mode of representation (which, in this case, was not at fault).

The states each have the power to impose constraints on that mode if they wish.
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  #284  
Old 22 February 2019, 01:58 AM
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Looking back on an election in representative democracy and deciding the person with the most votes should have won is like look at a Chess match after Check mate and deciding that the person who took the most pieces should have won. Sure it often ends up that way, but neither player is trying to take the most pieces just as neither Trump nor Hillary were trying to get the most votes nation wide.

If we were to remove the the representative part of the democracy elections and campaigning would be starkly different to the extent that we have know way of knowing how it would have changed things. We almost certainly wouldn't have even had the same candidates much less a similar outcome.
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  #285  
Old 26 February 2019, 03:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
There was also of course the problem of balancing the interests of the different states against each other. We're so used to thinking of the states as relatively minor political units that it's easy to forget that what was happening in the late 1700's was still mostly a matter of setting up a treaty among independent nations.
Thanks for your post, I really enjoyed it. Learning is always good! I only quoted a small part of it out of courtesy to my fellow Snopesters.

Still, while maybe the Electoral College worked for the dictates of its time, well, a considerable amount of time has passed, complete with major historical events that forever reshaped our country. The role of states is much different today than it was when the Constitution was drafted, as are the various roles played by the Executive, Judicial, and Legislative branches.

I think it’s perfectly reasonable to look at stuff like the Electoral College and reevaluate it, question its necessity and use. Maybe not completely throw the thing out, not without a lot of careful thought and debate, but maybe see if it needs to be reformed to fit the times.

I mean, the Founding Fathers did basically consider the original Constitution to be a stop-gap measure, a patch job to keep things together, until another convention could meet a few years down the road and come up with something better. Jefferson supposedly felt that the Constitution should be revisited every twenty years with each new generation. I’m not saying we should go with Jefferson’s advice—it sounds like an insane headache—but I just wanted to further point out that while the Constitution is treated as sacrosanct, those who drafted it, were more like, “Eh, it’ll hold for now,” about it.
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  #286  
Old 26 February 2019, 12:25 PM
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I'm getting sick of the Willy Wonka meme; that same photo with Gene Wilder's snarky grin has been used a million times and it's gotten beyond tiring.
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  #287  
Old 26 February 2019, 01:47 PM
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Mouse, I note that the people who wrote the Constitution did definitely include an amendment process -- and one of the first things they did was throw ten amendments at it.

While they obviously didn't mean to make the amendment process something extremely easy that could be done at a whim, I very much doubt they intended it to become next to impossible. And after the first 10 there were five in the following hundred years; and then 11 or 12 (depending on how you date the 27th) during the 20th century.

I think the idea that the Constitution is something sacred written in stone would puzzle the original writers. (But then, I think there's a whole lot about the modern USA that would puzzle them.)

And yeah, I think we should ditch the Electoral College. The only plausible reason to still have it would be to prevent electing someone utterly unfit for the office even if that person had popular support; and, um, it obviously doesn't work that way -- it can't really even if they'd wanted to, now that most of the states legally bind their electors to follow the results of the vote. The extra proportional weight that small-population states carry in the Senate should be enough to get attention paid to their interests; I do think we should keep that.
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  #288  
Old 26 February 2019, 05:06 PM
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I just saw the one with all the “non-racist” things that one must have an ID for, “so why is showing an ID to vote racist?”
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  #289  
Old 26 February 2019, 05:12 PM
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Because it was done for the specific purpose of reducing the number of black people (and other minorities) who can vote?
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  #290  
Old 10 March 2019, 08:02 PM
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“Gender confusion?
Look in your underwear.
You’re welcome.”
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  #291  
Old 10 March 2019, 10:08 PM
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According to my underwear, my gender is 50 minus 20 in Roman numerals.
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  #292  
Old 16 March 2019, 11:11 AM
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My gender seems to be UK 10 EU 38 KEEP AWAY FROM FIRE.

It annoys me how these nitwits seem to think they're using common sense and keeping things simple, but confusing gender with biological sex actually makes things more complicated. What does it make intersex people? Why then do we describe other things, like cartoon characters or dolls as having genders when they have no sex organs? Oh, and people mostly aren't 'confused'. They bloody well know what their gender is, it's just that imbeciles keep insisting they're wrong about their own minds.

If you really want to keep things simple it's this:

Want to know somebody's gender? It's what they identify as but quite often you can make a guess based on their outfits or hairstyle.

That's how we've been establishing people's gender since humanity invented clothing/ not staring at people's genitals. It's not a new and difficult to grasp concept.
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  #293  
Old 16 March 2019, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blatherskite View Post
My gender seems to be UK 10 EU 38 KEEP AWAY FROM FIRE.
Which is weird because it also seems to double as commentary on Brexit.
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  #294  
Old 16 March 2019, 01:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
Which is weird because it also seems to double as commentary on Brexit.
Really? *Squints. Rereads. Turns kindle on its side.* Nope. Don't see it.
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