Regarding the Electoral College and Other Quirks of the US Democratic Republic

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Pdxfashionpioneer
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Regarding the Electoral College and Other Quirks of the US Democratic Republic

Post by Pdxfashionpioneer »

Some time ago the wisdom of our Electoral College system was debated on this forum. One or more of our members pointed out that the Electoral College was created to even out the political power of people throughout the country so that the smaller states, by population, wouldn't be trampled by the larger. In short, it was a stroke of genius meant to save the country from becoming a tyranny of the minority. This is more or less what we were all taught in our civics classes in our K-12 schools.

Unfortunately, that does not track with the realities of our Constitutional Convention. As intelligent and high-minded as that assembly was, the fact remains, they were all politicians who were representing their respective states. Their challenge was squaring the circle of coming up with a form of government that would promote both the ideals of the Revolution and the interests of each of the states that all 13 states would agree to. This last was critical if the United States was to survive as an independent nation.

A fundamental challenge was that while our Declaration of Independence declared that "All men are created equal," the economies of the southern states were directly dependent on slavery. In addition, at least for representation purposes, it was clear that the populations of the Northern states were going to grow faster than those of the Southern states. In short, from the very beginning of the United States the leaders realized that the issues around slavery were irreconcilable, but they all needed to stick together.

So, they kicked the can and put the fundamental issues aside and didn't even mention slavery in the Constitution, and in the closing days of the Convention agreed on a number of compromises that as a group are referred to as the Great Compromise. One element of which was the Electoral College. So, the Electoral College was devised as one of several kluges, to borrow a software development term, to make sure the Southern states would unite with the Northern. Looked at in that light, it had outlived its usefulness by 1865.

But, no one thought to repeal it so it has hung on as a sort of quaint artifact of the Founding Fathers wisdom.

However, over the last several Presidential elections there has been a growing spread between the popular and the Electoral College results. The most egregious being the last two elections. In 2016, the Republican candidate lost the popular vote by over 2,000,000 votes but narrowly won the Electoral College vote and that's the one that decides the issue. In 2020, the Democratic candidate obtained exactly the same number of Electoral College votes as the Republican had obtained in 2016, but this time the Democrat had won the popular vote by over 9,000,000 votes. If, in a handful of states, the popular vote had swung by some 20,000 votes, the Republican would have won.

Looked at another way, each of the citizens of Wyoming, our least populous state, has 3.8 times the influence on the Presidential election as the citizens of Texas, our second most populous state. Why did I choose Texas? Because even with the additional Representatives the Lone Star State was apportioned as the result of the 2020 Census, they still have only one Electoral College vote per 742,583 inhabitants as opposed to the 193,692 Wyomingans.

Some have argued that eliminating the Electoral College would put the election of the President in the hands of a handful of states. Not really, our two most populous states are California and Texas; in the political slang, the first is Navy Blue and the second is Ruby Red. Eliminating the Electoral College would restore meaning to the votes of the Conservatives who live in California. And the Liberals who live in Texas for that matter. It would also make more sense and eliminate the phenomenon of battleground states.

But what about protecting the less populous states from being totally ignored when enacting laws. In the first place the President doesn't enact laws, the Congress does. And it takes both houses, the House of Representatives and the Senate agreeing to pass a law. While the number of Representatives is more evenly spread than you might think, that is not the case in the Senate. One half of the Senators represent states that only amount to 18% of the population. How much more over-representation do the good people of those states need or deserve?

Finally, one of our Dutch friends said that our system is flawed for lack of proportional representation of the splinter parties. Interestingly, the Independent Party of Oregon says that with 4.7% of the registered voters they hold 6.5% of the local elected offices throughout the state. On the national level we have 2 Senators (5% of the total) who are Independents. So, as I see it, even though we have a 2-party system we Americans still manage to elect enough officials to create proportional representation.

Or Winston Churchill put it, "You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing ... but not until they have tried everything else!"

No one in 1787 could have predicted that the Electoral College they had created would produce such incongruous results. In fact, they would probably wonder why it had been retained so long.
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Re: Regarding the Electoral College and Other Quirks of the US Democratic Republic

Post by r.m.anderson »

What an interesting oxymoron where the winner of the popular vote could lose in electoral votes.
The folks voting for the winner of the popular vote are denied their choice.
And to have a partisan leaning supreme court decide the rules in the aftermath telling the majority their vote did not count.
Never mind the state county local elections - the majority of the country voters want their winner to run the country.

Yes time for a change - what part of a simple majority do you not understand !
OH and the votes are by and for the people - not business corporations financial stock interests !

This isn't OZ anymore (late 1700's) time to redo the rules regulations protocol - - - stumbling blocks of voting
Time to get out of the gridlock in dodge - - -

Of course it doesn't help if you don't exercise your vote to change alter amend the system !

But then just maybe it is politics as usual - what is the use - a voice in the quagmire of the wilderness of civics - - - - -
"YES SKIRTING MATTERS"!
"Kilt-On" -or- as the case may be "Skirt-On" !
WHY ?
Isn't wearing a kilt enough?
Well a skirt will do in a pinch!
Make mine short and don't you dare think of pinching there !
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Re: Regarding the Electoral College and Other Quirks of the US Democratic Republic

Post by rode_kater »

I would argue that the problem with the electoral college is not so much the distribution of seats amongst the states. These are the compromises required to get smaller states to join a union with large members. The European Parliament has a similar way of assigning seats (each state gets 6 and the rest is proportional).

The issue I have with the electoral college is that all the seats for a state are assigned to whichever party wins that state. There is nothing in the constitution that requires this and a few states don't. Assigning all the seats to one party is unfair and basically wastes the vote of anyone in a state with a significant majority either way. This is disenfranchisement on a massive scale, though I would say this is not limited to the electoral college. It happens apparently at every level in the US.

I would argue that if each state apportioned the college seats proportionally to the votes in the state, the end result would be much fairer and we wouldn't be having this discussion.

(As an aside, I think the partisanship of the Senate is actually a bigger problem than the Electoral College. Supreme Court judges being elected for life being another big one.)
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Re: Regarding the Electoral College and Other Quirks of the US Democratic Republic

Post by crfriend »

rode_kater wrote:
Fri Apr 29, 2022 9:08 pm
(As an aside, I think the partisanship of the Senate is actually a bigger problem than the Electoral College. Supreme Court judges being elected for life being another big one.)
There is no "partisanship" in the US Congress. All of it is show, circus, and distraction. There is one system, and that system now takes the form of oligarchy, the same as it is in Russia. Note that what benefits the oligarchs passes with no dissent; what might benefit the Common Welfare gets eternally tied up in the charade. There is no political recourse to this, as the entire electoral system is rigged -- and whilst one of the most observable and verifiable ones in the world, is entirely run, owned, and operated by the oligarchs. The common citizen has precisely zero say in the way the country is run, and hasn't for over 20 years and likely longer.
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Re: Regarding the Electoral College and Other Quirks of the US Democratic Republic

Post by TheRod »

The problems in the US can all be traced to its early colonial history including slavery and the pernicious effects of very dated constitution which was designed to make itself extremely difficult to change. The political system is inherently undemocratic (well down this list in the Flawed Democracies category here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy_Index. Short of a complete rewrite or revolution, I can't see any solution to this.
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Re: Regarding the Electoral College and Other Quirks of the US Democratic Republic

Post by Uncle Al »

OK - Wet Blanket Time :twisted:

How does this thread relate to men wearing skirts :?:

Rule #2 - No politics, unless related to skirts/kilts. No religion, unless related to skirts/kilts.
These topics were banned because they lead to endless flame wars.


PLEASE Show HOW this thread relates to men wearing skirts.

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Re: Regarding the Electoral College and Other Quirks of the US Democratic Republic

Post by Pdxfashionpioneer »

Al,

If you aren't interested in or dislike political posts, DON'T READ THEM. There can be no question that I made it crystal clear that my post related to politics so you can't claim that you didn't know what the post was about it and that you unknowingly stumbled into it.

In my opinion, the general structure of our political system has everything in the world to do with male skirt wearing because the politicians who are inciting the so-called culture wars and the far-right culture warriors make no distinction between us and the members of the queer community. Consequently, I feel we all need to be aware of how such people get into and retain their political power.

As an aside, I am impressed by how much so many of our international brethren know about the American political system. I take it as an indication of the outsize influence that my homeland exerts on the rest of the world right down to the opinions of the average individuals.

In this "Off Topic" section we have had posts on popular music, trains and nearly every other topic under the sun without your all caps, large font objection. It seems to me that you reserve that treatment for me. I feel that is an unjustifiable misuse of your position as moderator and I'm sick and tired of it.

I ask the other moderators to look into this matter and make a determination of whether or not Al should remain a moderator.
David, the PDX Fashion Pioneer

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Re: Regarding the Electoral College and Other Quirks of the US Democratic Republic

Post by rode_kater »

Pdxfashionpioneer wrote:
Wed May 04, 2022 7:13 am
As an aside, I am impressed by how much so many of our international brethren know about the American political system. I take it as an indication of the outsize influence that my homeland exerts on the rest of the world right down to the opinions of the average individuals.
Well yes, it's unavoidable. The impact of which president is elected immense. The US is also the only country that can do (and does) sanctions against us and actually make it hurt. Various groups here take inspiration from the American right wing, right down to the language. Fortunatly the language barrier blocks most of the direct influence.

For the same reason we know more about the French system than the German one. Parliamentary systems tend not to create as many surprises. But why do we know less about how Russia works?

China, for all its economic power, is more predictable than the US (and much further away). Though I imagine in the future we're going to have to learn much more about how the Chinese system works.

Shower thought: the five permanent members of the Security Council are all states with a high level of centralisation and powerful executives.
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Re: Regarding the Electoral College and Other Quirks of the US Democratic Republic

Post by Pdxfashionpioneer »

rode kater said,
the five permanent members of the Security Council are all states with a high level of centralisation and powerful executives.


I think the proponents of the Common Core educational system and our several state legislatures and governors would take strong exception to that! Like King Canute, the powers of the US President are very definitely limited; ask former Presidents Obama and Carter.
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Re: Regarding the Electoral College and Other Quirks of the US Democratic Republic

Post by Uncle Al »

Pdxfashionpioneer wrote:
Wed May 04, 2022 7:13 am
Al,

If you aren't interested in or dislike political posts, DON'T READ THEM. There can be no question that I made it crystal clear that my post related to politics so you can't claim that you didn't know what the post was about it and that you unknowingly stumbled into it.
Dave -

I didn't unknowingly stumble on this post.

You blatantly flaunted the rules by posting this.

I was hoping someone else would be an adult and put a throttle on this post.

You are not God and you can't re-write the Rules, to suit your desires, governing this forum.

You tried this about 3 +/- years ago and you were put on probation(Moderated Status).

Are trying to gain this status again :?: :?: :?: :?:

Uncle Al
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2018-2022(and the beat goes on ;) )
When asked 'Why the Kilt?'
I respond-The why is F.T.H.O.I. (For The H--- Of It)
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Re: Regarding the Electoral College and Other Quirks of the US Democratic Republic

Post by Fred in Skirts »

Pdxfashionpioneer wrote:
Wed May 04, 2022 7:13 am
Al,

If you aren't interested in or dislike political posts, DON'T READ THEM. There can be no question that I made it crystal clear that my post related to politics so you can't claim that you didn't know what the post was about it and that you unknowingly stumbled into it.

I feel that is an unjustifiable misuse of your position as moderator and I'm sick and tired of it.

I ask the other moderators to look into this matter and make a determination of whether or not Al should remain a moderator.
Dave as I see it the rules are there for a reason and as for Al picking on you, I don't see it.

Al has been here and as a moderator far far longer than you or I have been members here. You are as I see it trying to start a war between the membership and the moderators. Don't it will only cause you grief.
Fred
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Re: Regarding the Electoral College and Other Quirks of the US Democratic Republic

Post by Coder »

A post in support of the moderators and forum rules.

While it's sometimes useful to bring politics into the discussions, especially when they directly relate to skirt wearing or fashion freedom, I've found them to be quite distracting at times and very unhelpful. For one, a lot of the time it's a matter of opinion, and not fact (facts are rarely represented in political discussions, but I digress), and people treat politics like a religion. Number two, these discussions often revolve around the USA which, last I checked, was not the only country represented here by membership. Three, and maybe my final point, I detect a scolding tone from many who post political opinions online (this could just be in my head, and not just here at SK) which lead to hurt feelings and eventual flame wars. If I want politics, I'll go to a political forum - and I avoid those like the plague.

I dunno - we have so many opinions/differences around here - but we do have some common ground and should build on that rather than "fight". I put fight in quotes because I don't think the discussion has devolved yet, but it would certainly head that way given enough time.
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Re: Regarding the Electoral College and Other Quirks of the US Democratic Republic

Post by Ray »

Dave,

Your post may relate distantly to the wearing of skirts, but it appears to make no reference to skirts or clothing. Therefore I believe your defence is weak.

Al is right. Politics - as a stand-alone subject - do not belong here. Especially US politics as you all seem to be utterly bipartisan. I have no interest in US politics, by and large, although I’ll pile in when there are some specific debates about certain issues rather than the wider overarching issue of politics.

This is one issue, perhaps, to avoid. Unless you make it overtly skirt-specific. I defer to the Mods on this one though.
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Re: Regarding the Electoral College and Other Quirks of the US Democratic Republic

Post by moonshadow »

I've met very few people who didn't "know everything" when it came to solving the world's problems. I admit to being guilty quite a number of times over my life.

The fact is, most people view their own opinion as superior to all others. Again.... I am extremely guilty of this, so I'm not pointing fingers (rather looking in a mirror at the moment).

I think many political discussions fail for this reason, and I think the internet makes it worse as it injects an element of anonymity of all those involved. It's more difficult to gauge the room to determine if you might be taking it too far.

If I may cut a slice of humble pie for a moment....

I don't know what to do about the problems of the world. I admit if I were in charge, society would likely collapse. I just know that today.... today I'm free, healthy, and grateful to be alive.

I cherish every minute of this, because tomorrow is certainly not guaranteed, but I hope for the best nevertheless.

Godspeed gentleman.
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Re: Regarding the Electoral College and Other Quirks of the US Democratic Republic

Post by Sinned »

We have had political discussions before that have got heated and we've had ones that have died that haven't. Yes there is a rule forbidding politics but, as I see it, if we were gathered in meat space around the potted palm would all our discussions be about dresses and skirts? I think not. This thread appears to be rather good natured so far. Boring even. Whether you lock it or not wouldn't bother me as I am not really involved with it. I skim the content just to keep up with it.
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