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#302 Nov 29 2016 at 8:38 AM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
So in our pizza analogy, group 4 is the most populous, but they're just bringing the entertainment for the nights meal (and a ton of hungry people), while groups 1, 2, 3, and 5 are bringing the actual food that's going to be turned into pizza and consumed by everyone.
Lower population groups have higher rates of under/unemployment so in this scenario they'd be less likely to bring something to the overall group, not more. It'd be most accurate to say Group 4 brought 51% of the total cost of the food while the rest each brought in 12%. Trying to paint the more populous group as leeches is nothing but irrelevant emotional rhetoric that adds nothing to the conversation.

Edited, Nov 29th 2016 10:46am by lolgaxe
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#303 Nov 29 2016 at 9:44 AM Rating: Excellent
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It also suggests that some people are of lesser value than others so their votes should be considered less important.

Which is a pretty conservative viewpoint and explains why Gbaji is fine with disenfranchising people, I suppose.
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#304 Nov 29 2016 at 10:31 AM Rating: Excellent
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Allegory wrote:
someproteinguy wrote:
Force open primaries
I disagree. I don't see need for the government to regulate this aspect of a private organization. The primaries are shape to a significant extent by how the ballot is played out.
The reason for government intervention on this level is the same as for basically any other situation where you have a monopoly or similarly non-competitive environment. This would be less of a concern if there was a greater variety of competitive political parties in the country, but with the current de-facto 2-party system the vast majority of the meaningful decisions are made prior to the general election.

To point is to give a greater number of voters a larger say in who represents them. Just look at the major 2 candidates from this previous election cycle. For example there was no anti-abortion candidate, there was no fiscally conservative candidate, there was no religiously inclined candidate, etc. The only place these kinds of candidates showed up was in the early primary voting. The only ones with a chance to cast a meaningful vote for these candidates were a small minority of the population in a handful of states. For everyone else the candidate had either withdrawn from the race, or had been all but eliminated from contention. So how do you make sure people who would have supported those candidates have a reason to participate in the election? There was some degree of bucking the trend of course, Utah had an additional major candidate, of course, but for the most part there were simply disenfranchised voters.

I mean, don't get me wrong, it's fine to have a run-off election between 2 candidates where not every view is represented, that's basically what we have now in the general election. Other countries do that, and there's nothing wrong with it. It's only a problem when people don't get a chance to say who's in that run-off, which is the vast majority of the country at this point. It's not like this is choosing the board of directors for a private corporation, this is choosing who's supposed to be representing all of country, or all of a district. The idea that only a subset of the country gets a say in who represents them is wholly undemocratic.
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#305 Nov 29 2016 at 12:23 PM Rating: Excellent
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Government intervention in monopolies is about limiting their ability to stifle competition. The government doesn't get involved to say how a privately held business selects its CEO however. That's the issue here: the two major parties are private organizations and have no onus to provide for a primary election process at all. They could select their candidate by drawing lots and then just go about the business of obtaining ballot access and running commercials and it would all be on the up and up. There's no requirement that a general election candidate was picked via some (quasi-)democratic means aside from having the implicit support of enough signatures.

States streamline the process by allowing major parties ('major' being above whatever threshold) to skip some of the more onerous ballot access requirements but eliminating that wouldn't help. The RNC/DNC would still easily have the resources to still get their preferred candidate on the ballot and smaller parties would never get the boost from hitting the threshold.

I can't imagine a fix to that which doesn't involve tearing the whole system down. It's not as though the RNC/DNC are going to be favorably inclined to legislation putting them under the control of the government and, from what I hear, they know a lot of guys in Congress.

Edited, Nov 29th 2016 12:24pm by Jophiel
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#306 Nov 29 2016 at 2:17 PM Rating: Excellent
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Jophiel wrote:
I can't imagine a fix to that which doesn't involve tearing the whole system down.
Me either, TBH. But that's what I'd advocate for nonetheless. I don't disagree with anything you wrote, as those are generally the reasons the system needs a shake up. We generally have low voter turnout in this country and a government many Americans don't approve of.

I mean, obviously as long as the general population is represented there's not a huge problem in using an imperfect method, in the end you're getting reasonable results and that's what matters. One could argue however, that those voting in the political primaries/etc as a whole are much less representative of general populace than in previous years, and it leads to more extreme candidates. More extreme candidates make it harder for them to turn towards the middle come general-election time; which means instead of moderating a message you end up making it more worthwhile to discourage turnout outside your party instead, a.k.a. "both these candidates look like **** why should I even bother voting?" The system become more insular and less representative at this point, which is arguably the position we find ourselves in.

In the end you end up with the argument for change being similar to the anti-electoral college one, the goal is to get more accurate representation, but I'd argue the primaries are a much more important place to direct change because of the already limited number of choice present in the general election. No doubt any political system can be manipulated by the parties in power of course, but anything that brings more accurate representation is a step in the right direction.
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#307 Nov 29 2016 at 3:01 PM Rating: Excellent
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So, hi everybody. Haven't been around much, was off rigging elections and what not.

Any takers on when the Second Amendment becomes the First?
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#308 Nov 29 2016 at 3:02 PM Rating: Excellent
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The more things change....


Edited, Nov 29th 2016 1:03pm by Samira
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#309 Nov 29 2016 at 3:49 PM Rating: Decent
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Professor stupidmonkey wrote:
I disagree, I happen to read the news quite a bit, and I see stories about the goings on all over the world.


Uh huh. The parts of the world almost entirely representing the major population centers of those areas though. There's only so much time in a day to read news. You're going to hear about the one or two major stories going on in country A or country B. You are *never* going to read about Ms O'Malley's cat getting stuck in a tree, or Farmer Joe's prize winning rutabaga at the local produce fair. Your idea of international news (or even just national news) consists entirely of "big stories", which almost always revolve around major events occurring in major population centers and having to do with effects on the whole nation. And that's the problem. You only see the tip of the iceberg.

My point is that people living in small towns also see this same national and international news. And they see every day what goes on in their small town communities. They actually see a much more balanced view of the world as a result.

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In addition, it is now possible to have friends in very remote places that you can now talk too, INSTANTLY, at any time of the day or night!


Yup. And I'm sure you're sitting on the edge of your seat to hear all about the local corn harvest and festival, right? You get that they're also mostly going to talk about the current national events, what celebrity is doing what, their favorite films, musicians, artists, games, etc? You're communicating, but only about the same topics. Because that's what people all over the nation actually have in common to talk about. The mistake is in thinking those topics are all that matter to everyone.

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But please see my above response regarding, oh, the telephone, the internet, twitter, Facebook, etc ad nauseam.


And see my response to your response. Such communication tends toward a common denominator style. And that tends towards pop culture and major current events. Which, um... tends to be very much about what's going on in the big cities, and not much at all about what the folks in the small towns and farming communities are doing or thinking.

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gbaji wrote:
Our higher population centers have become increasingly the cultural and informational centers of our nation. So much so that those living there have almost no clue at all how the rest of the population in their country lives. And increasingly, it appears as though they don't care, either. They simply deride those who live in small towns, call them hicks, knuckle draggers, etc.

Anecdotal and prejudicial. Move to strike from the record.


Anecdotal, but backed up by posts on this forum. So there!

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If we keep this on the record, I move we add the reverse, as well. "People living in their country lives call us city folk faggot jews, who worship the devil."


And you know that by actually hearing people in rural communities say these sort of things, or people in urban communities telling you that's what they say and think? I'm betting the latter. Again: echo chamber.

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gbaji wrote:
More information does not necessarily mean "better" information, and certainly doesn't always mean "complete" information.

Well thank god that's not what I said, strawman. I said "Better Informed" and better informed is better then less informed, by DEFINITION.
A person now knows a lot about a subject or a situation, where as before they would have known next to nothing.


Yes. I get that. My response was to challenge your assumption that because you have access to a lot of information via the internet that this actually makes you "better informed". You can't respond by just repeating the starting assumption. Well, you can, but it's a terrible response that doesn't actually accomplish anything. What the internet is very very good at is spreading the same relatively narrow set of information to an even broader audience than ever before. Just look at all the garbage that gets bounced around in circles on social media sometime. It's like the 24 hour news cycle, but without any sort of fact verification at all.

When our information comes to us in the form of memes, it's not actually making us better informed. It's just increasing our exposure to the most popular (or even just "loudest") opinions. Which tend to just act to drown out everything else.

We just went through an election cycle where a large portion of the population was completely surprised to discover just how many people in diverse areas of the country don't agree with them. Maybe the correct response to that is to figure out what you're missing in your information intake that caused this. Doubling down by insisting that you're really seeing the whole picture, and it's really all those other people who are un or misinformed, is maybe not a good way to go here.

Just saying.

Edited, Nov 29th 2016 2:44pm by gbaji
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#310 Nov 29 2016 at 4:01 PM Rating: Decent
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Professor stupidmonkey wrote:
gbaji wrote:
And in a Republic, people vote locally to elect representatives, who then represent that whole geographic or legal region.

Hmm, I don't remember seeing the representatives name on the ballot. Pretty sure I voted for the candidate, not the representative.


I think I commented in an earlier post (maybe in this thread, maybe in the other), how they used to actually write "Elector for <candidate name>" on the ballot. Sometime in the last 15-20 years, they changed the ballots to just put the candidate's name in there. Probably just because people who don't understand the EC process would get confused every year. But that does not change the fact that you are actually voting for the makeup of your state's electoral college delegation, not directly for the candidate.

The parallel I was trying to make is that you don't vote directly for *any* decision or office at the federal level. You elect a set of representatives from your state, who then go to Washington and vote on various things. Those things could be legislative bills, or executive appointments, or for who sits in the oval office. The Electoral College follows the same pattern. Since the President, just like executive appointees, is not a representative of a single state, you don't get to vote directly for that position. You vote for your states delegation, which in turn votes for president. Just like every other thing done at the federal level of our government.
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#311 Nov 29 2016 at 4:05 PM Rating: Default
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lolgaxe wrote:
gbaji wrote:
So in our pizza analogy, group 4 is the most populous, but they're just bringing the entertainment for the nights meal (and a ton of hungry people), while groups 1, 2, 3, and 5 are bringing the actual food that's going to be turned into pizza and consumed by everyone.
Lower population groups have higher rates of under/unemployment so in this scenario they'd be less likely to bring something to the overall group, not more. It'd be most accurate to say Group 4 brought 51% of the total cost of the food while the rest each brought in 12%. Trying to paint the more populous group as leeches is nothing but irrelevant emotional rhetoric that adds nothing to the conversation.


I was playing on the comparison to high population versus low population density areas in the country. Admittedly a stretch to the analogy of people going out to dinner, but there you have it. The country folks may be poorer, but if we're following the analogy to what is actually produced in the different areas, they are more likely to bring food to the table, while the city folks will be providing the table, and the entertainment, etc. But not actually bringing food, since they don't produce enough to feed their population.

You know, if we're bringing this back somewhat to the actual differences at hand.
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#312 Nov 29 2016 at 4:10 PM Rating: Decent
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Jophiel wrote:
It also suggests that some people are of lesser value than others so their votes should be considered less important.


Only because you can't wrap your head around the fact that people don't vote for president. State delegations do. There's no devaluation of your vote, because you don't individually or directly vote for that office. The entire flaw you're complaining about is based on your own misunderstanding of the process. Once you fix that, you'll find that there is no flaw here.

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Which is a pretty conservative viewpoint and explains why Gbaji is fine with disenfranchising people, I suppose.


The people have never been franchised with directly voting for President though. Thus, there is no disenfranchisement by still not having them directly vote for President. You have to have something before it can be taken away.
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#313 Nov 29 2016 at 4:15 PM Rating: Excellent
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Only because you can't wrap your head around the fact that people don't vote for president. State delegations do. There's no devaluation of your vote, because you don't individually or directly vote for that office. The entire flaw you're complaining about is based on your own misunderstanding of the process. Once you fix that, you'll find that there is no flaw here.
This is disingenuous. The entire campaign messaging is that you are voting for a president directly, pretty much everyone considers they are doing that and so the outcome is that you are functionally voting for the president, just with this weird layer that weighs some people votes much more highly than others. Why don't you actually address the issue instead of playing BS word games to score some kind of point. I'm sure you understand what it is.

Edited, Nov 29th 2016 4:16pm by Xsarus
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#314 Nov 29 2016 at 4:21 PM Rating: Decent
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someproteinguy wrote:
... We generally have low voter turnout in this country and a government many Americans don't approve of. ...

... One could argue however, that those voting in the political primaries/etc as a whole are much less representative of general populace than in previous years, and it leads to more extreme candidates. More extreme candidates make it harder for them to turn towards the middle come general-election time; which means instead of moderating a message you end up making it more worthwhile to discourage turnout outside your party instead, a.k.a. "both these candidates look like **** why should I even bother voting?"


Then those "many Americans" need to start showing up for the primaries and voting in more moderate candidates. It's really that simple. Well, simple to say, not so much to actually get people to get out of their couches and vote though. Elections are won by those who show up. If you didn't participate in the primary process you kinda can't complain that the only two major party candidates don't sufficiently represent you.

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The system become more insular and less representative at this point, which is arguably the position we find ourselves in.


I'm not sure that there's any solution that really fixes this problem though. As long as we have a two party system, there's simply no way that those two candidates will ever adequately represent a perfect match to more than a small percentage of the total voting public. There's just too many different issues, and too many variations in positions on those issues for two people to encapsulate them all (or even, arguably, like 10 people). And going to a multi party system (like a Parliament) introduces other problems, and also tends to not result in more than a small percentage of voters getting exactly what they want.

What do you propose we do instead?

Quote:
In the end you end up with the argument for change being similar to the anti-electoral college one, the goal is to get more accurate representation, but I'd argue the primaries are a much more important place to direct change because of the already limited number of choice present in the general election. No doubt any political system can be manipulated by the parties in power of course, but anything that brings more accurate representation is a step in the right direction.


I'll ask again. What changes would you make to the primary process, and how would that improve representation?
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#315 Nov 29 2016 at 4:36 PM Rating: Decent
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Sir Xsarus wrote:
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Only because you can't wrap your head around the fact that people don't vote for president. State delegations do. There's no devaluation of your vote, because you don't individually or directly vote for that office. The entire flaw you're complaining about is based on your own misunderstanding of the process. Once you fix that, you'll find that there is no flaw here.
This is disingenuous. The entire campaign messaging is that you are voting for a president directly, pretty much everyone considers they are doing that and so the outcome is that you are functionally voting for the president, just with this weird layer that weighs some people votes much more highly than others.


Ignorance of the election process isn't a valid argument IMO. And frankly, I suspect a lot of that is "after the fact" invention by those who lost. There's plenty of talk of electoral college votes and "winning battleground states" in the period leading up to the election. It's not like this EC thing swoops in from out of no where and takes over. Campaigns consistently speak about winning various states to get them to 270 EC votes as their path to victory. They don't talk about winning the popular vote as the path to victory. To claim otherwise is what's disingenuous.

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Why don't you actually address the issue instead of playing BS word games to score some kind of point. I'm sure you understand what it is.


I am addressing the issue. The issue is a whole lot of people pretending that they never knew about the EC before the election snatched their popular vote victory away from them. It's just that: pretending. Those arguing right now new a year ago how the EC worked. They knew through the entire election process that the winner needed to get a majority of EC votes to win the election. They knew that each state had a set number of EC votes that contributed to that total. They knew that each states EC votes were based on the popular vote in just that state.

And those who are complaining all assumed that Clinton would win by that EC vote methodology and are only now complaining because she didn't. But instead of looking at why she lost several key battleground states, they're instead complaining that the very process that they knew and accepted right up to election day was magically "unfair" and should be tossed out.

I have made a number of arguments as to the reason why the EC vote is the best way to elect a president. I'm still waiting for someone to provide any counter argument that isn't purely circular (ie: my candidate lost despite winning the popular vote, so let's change it). Can you give me an objective argument as to why we should elect presidents by pure nationwide popular vote rather than by majority of state EC votes? In your response analyze the effect of using one versus the other on both how this affects national representation and how candidates would change their campaigning methodologies if said change were made.


Don't just complain. Give me a good counter argument.
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#316 Nov 29 2016 at 4:40 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Well, simple to say, not so much to actually get people to get out of their couches and vote though.
Why would people need to leave their couches to vote? Smiley: dubious

gbaji wrote:
Elections are won by those who show up. If you didn't participate in the primary process you kinda can't complain that the only two major party candidates don't sufficiently represent you.
You can if other people got to vote first, and the outcome was all but inevitable by the time you get your turn to vote. I mean, that critique might work on someone in New Hampshire, but not so much if you're in a state with a late primary.

gbaji wrote:
What do you propose we do instead?
Most importantly: have all states primary voting happen on the same day. There are other things we could do, but that alone would go a long way.
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#317 Nov 29 2016 at 4:58 PM Rating: Decent
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someproteinguy wrote:
gbaji wrote:
Well, simple to say, not so much to actually get people to get out of their couches and vote though.
Why would people need to leave their couches to vote? Smiley: dubious


Hah! Ok. Fair enough. Smiley: lol

Quote:
gbaji wrote:
Elections are won by those who show up. If you didn't participate in the primary process you kinda can't complain that the only two major party candidates don't sufficiently represent you.
You can if other people got to vote first, and the outcome was all but inevitable by the time you get your turn to vote. I mean, that critique might work on someone in New Hampshire, but not so much if you're in a state with a late primary.


Your vote counts exactly as much if it's on the same day or a month later. Yes. I get the whole momentum thing, and you may have some small point there. But is the alternative better?

Quote:
gbaji wrote:
What do you propose we do instead?
Most importantly: have all states primary voting happen on the same day. There are other things we could do, but that alone would go a long way.


That would eliminate the whole momentum thing, but is that actually better? There's something to be said about seeing how a candidate reacts to the up and down process of a primary season. Having a single vote on a single day may just result in a lot more buyer's remorse.

I'm actually not totally opposed to that suggestion. Again though, as Joph mentioned, this is up to the party's themselves. They chose to have these long rolling primary processes instead of a single nationwide single day decision. One would assume that they do it that way because they believe that it increases the odds of producing a nominee with the best chance of winning in the general election. Now maybe they're wrong, but they've had a lot of time to tweak their systems, and this is what they've come up with. It may be possible that they know a bit better than we do which is a "better" method.

Remember that the party more or less has two objectives in a primary:

1. Produce a candidate with the best chance to win the presidency.

2. Produce a candidate who will use that office to effectively push the party's platform.


Note that "produce a candidate who best represents the individual political ideals of the largest number of people" isn't one of them. We could argue that if they fail too badly at that then objective number 1 is less likely to be reached, but there is an old saying: "You can please some of the people all the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't please all the people all the time". You're never going to find a perfect match in there. It's always going to be a balance between the hardest held party positions and the issues that resonate with the general voting population.

And yeah. Occasionally, you get a candidate like Trump who more or less tosses out the rules, ignores the party, and appeals directly to the people. Which is why right now the GOP is falling over themselves to more or less genuflect at Trump's feet to try to get him to meet the criteria of objective 2 above. It'll be interesting how well that works though.
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#318 Nov 29 2016 at 5:28 PM Rating: Good
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someproteinguy wrote:
gbaji wrote:
Well, simple to say, not so much to actually get people to get out of their couches and vote though.
Why would people need to leave their couches to vote? Smiley: dubious
Well, my couch is kind of heavy and it would be awkward to try and fit through the town hall doors.

Allegory wrote:
But if you won't even agree that that electors should be forced to vote the way you want them to, then it sounds to me like you don't even believe in your own system.
I say I don't really care because I don't have a strong opinion one way or the other. I haven't seen or read enough instances of it happening to make me think it is good or bad. Because there are so few of them. If it were changed so they had to vote their pledged way, I would have no problem with it.

As for the disenfranchisement issue... I don't have any problem with Electors being split up. Rather than by congressional district (subject to gerrymandering), just off the top of my head I imagine a system where the 2 EC votes from Senate allocated spots go to popular winner of the State. Remaining EC votes from House would be divided between candidates by popular vote, rounded to whole numbers favoring the winner of the State's popular vote. States with only 1 Rep would be all or nothing. (Sorry minority vote Wyoming voters, maybe if the vote is withing "X" percentage points 1 Rep EC goes to the minority vote winner? 2 Senate EC votes would still go to popular vote winner). States with 2 or more reps may need something to allow 1 Rep to go to minority voter choice under circumstances. Have I done the math to see if that would change the outcome of this election? No. Have I done any math to see how much of a popular vote swing from densely populated states this could offset, if at all? No. But off the top of my head it would still provide some incentive to the smaller population areas, while allowing more minority votes in more States to actually matter.

But really I can't see anything changing, at least not in my lifetime (or, the life time of the US maybe). I don't see congress or the States getting any agreement made, not to the level any change of this type would require. Don't see things changing at the State level. Cause why would Democrats want to split up big blue States to the red? Why would Republicans want to split up big red States to the blue, or possibly give up any portion of the small States?

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#319 Nov 29 2016 at 6:02 PM Rating: Excellent
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Ignorance of the election process isn't a valid argument IMO. And frankly, I suspect a lot of that is "after the fact" invention by those who lost. There's plenty of talk of electoral college votes and "winning battleground states" in the period leading up to the election. It's not like this EC thing swoops in from out of no where and takes over. Campaigns consistently speak about winning various states to get them to 270 EC votes as their path to victory. They don't talk about winning the popular vote as the path to victory. To claim otherwise is what's disingenuous
the fact that people understand the EC and build strategies about it doesn't in any way address my point. It's not that people are ignorant about the system or think that a president is elected via popular vote, it's that all the messaging from everyone is about you voting for the president and that's how people approach it. And given how elections play out you are essentially voting for a president, it's just that some peoples votes matter more than others, which is a problem. Again, you're ignoring the argument because you have no response.

Quote:
I am addressing the issue. The issue is a whole lot of people pretending that they never knew about the EC before the election snatched their popular vote victory away from them.
No one is doing this, people are just upset about the system. That's the point that you're not addressing. You're hand waving aside criticisms based on the way they describe their issue because you don't have a response.

Edited, Nov 29th 2016 6:02pm by Xsarus
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#320 Nov 29 2016 at 6:59 PM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
You're wrong and I'm right, so NYAH NYAH, here's zero facts to back it up

Well, shit, since you can read my mind, and know everything that I have ever read, thought or seen, no sense in arguing with you, you win! So glad you are here to tell us all how wrong we are about anything and everything.

But now I remember why I don't usually respond to your posts. If I said "Oh, I have a friend who was just in a car accident" you would reply "That may be, but he wasn't in the RIGHT kind of car accident, so you don't really know what you're talking about." It's get's stupid on your part super fast.

I mean, really? You know what my friends and I discuss? What did I talk about with my friends on thanksgiving?

You get that you're an idiot, right?

Just saying.
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#321 Nov 29 2016 at 7:05 PM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
Yes. I get that. My response was to challenge your assumption that because you have access to a lot of information via the internet that this actually makes you "better informed".


I actually concede this point to you, since you are such a shining example of your argument. You wield lot's of information, and you are definitely not better informed than anyone.
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#322 Nov 29 2016 at 8:40 PM Rating: Decent
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TirithRR wrote:
As for the disenfranchisement issue... I don't have any problem with Electors being split up. Rather than by congressional district (subject to gerrymandering),...


Electors are not voted by district, and are thus not subject to gerrymandering. The candidate who receives the most total votes in a state wins the entire states electoral delegation. That's our "winner takes all" system, which is in effect in all but two states (Maine and Nebraska). Unless you're speaking of state lines themselves being subject to gerrymandering? Given that we don't change state lines every 10 years that's really not an issue IMO.

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... just off the top of my head I imagine a system where the 2 EC votes from Senate allocated spots go to popular winner of the State. Remaining EC votes from House would be divided between candidates by popular vote, rounded to whole numbers favoring the winner of the State's popular vote. States with only 1 Rep would be all or nothing. (Sorry minority vote Wyoming voters, maybe if the vote is withing "X" percentage points 1 Rep EC goes to the minority vote winner? 2 Senate EC votes would still go to popular vote winner). States with 2 or more reps may need something to allow 1 Rep to go to minority voter choice under circumstances.


Which is how Maine and Nebraska do it. They use a proportional allocation system. Every state gets to decide how to determine its own EC delegation. Because, as I've been trying to point out all along, the people don't actually elect a President, the states do (well, the electors from that state do). The people may vote to determine how a state's delegation is made up, but they don't directly vote for the President. They never have.

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Have I done the math to see if that would change the outcome of this election? No. Have I done any math to see how much of a popular vote swing from densely populated states this could offset, if at all? No. But off the top of my head it would still provide some incentive to the smaller population areas, while allowing more minority votes in more States to actually matter.


Yeah. I haven't done the math either. I suspect it would still usually result in a benefit for the candidate who won pluralities in more states (cause of those two bonus electors) over the candidate who got the highest total popular vote. Don't underestimate that in "normal" election cycles, this may very well make it so that the Democrats never win the Presidency, like ever again. California alone is an issue. You're handing over a pretty large minority vote to the GOP that they normally lose out on entirely in the existing electoral college process.

And again, this is more about changing how the electoral college delegations are determined. The arguments for using popular vote instead of the electoral college should be completely different. And frankly, I think a lot of people are missing another major point. If you change the way we determine who won the election, it will change the way the candidates campaign. You can't just look at the fact that if we used a different methodology to make that determination the result would have been different to argue that had we actually used that methodology, the result would actually have been different.

You have a valid point in that it would give more people incentive to get out and vote, especially among states where there's a clear majority for one party. But that's kind of the point. It would change the ratio of voters and almost certainly reduce significantly the margins currently present in those states with clear majorities. We can't possibly predict how that would change things in terms of which party may or may not benefit, despite what many protesters today may think.

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But really I can't see anything changing, at least not in my lifetime (or, the life time of the US maybe). I don't see congress or the States getting any agreement made, not to the level any change of this type would require. Don't see things changing at the State level. Cause why would Democrats want to split up big blue States to the red? Why would Republicans want to split up big red States to the blue, or possibly give up any portion of the small States?


Yup. Honestly though, that's not really the whole issue. I've mentioned several times that it's really the states that are electing the President, and it's really the states that have the most direct interest in that selection. The question is not just about what effect such changes would cause (whether going to more proportional EC allocation, or full on direct popular vote) in terms of the outcomes of the elections themselves (which is what it seems like most people care about most right now), but also how this changes the basic concept of representation of a president.

All other elected offices at the federal government represent specific geographical regions within specific states. Whether it's a state as a whole in the case of Senators, or whether it's a district within a sate in the case of the House. The President is the one elected office that is supposed to represent *all* of us. Not just people, but also the regions we live in. And especially the individually sovereign states. I know that some will reject this as some kind of quaint states rights argument, but there really are valid reasons for maintaining the concept that the states put delegations into the federal government and not just the population as a whole.

States are distinct legal entities. They have their own laws and boundaries. Thus, there are specific policy positions that directly affect states differently based on the mere fact that state A may have different rules than sate B. The federal government has as one of it's primary powers the power to regulate interaction between the states themselves, and between the states and other nations. This can have a *massive* effect on any given state's economy. An easy example is a trade tariff on any given good that may be predominantly produced or consumed by a given state. Changes to federal law, or even just classifications in federal administrations can either conflict with or align with existing states laws.

Treating the entire US population as a single homogenous set is simply wrong. People are affected differently by federal decisions based entirely on which state they may live in. It is for the exact reason that we place weight on each state as a state, both in our Senate and in the Electoral College. Because our systems recognize that states themselves have a strong vested interest in the rules and regulations they are bound by. Remember that the federal government was not originally intended to directly interact with individual citizens at all. It's a relatively recent thing to have federal funding for education, healthcare, social security, welfare, etc, etc, etc. And yes, to some degree a good portion of this was specifically because the founders didn't like the idea of a federal government that might place onerous regulations or taxes on the citizens of one set of states, in order to benefit the citizens of another. And they realized that if you had a system where the federal government directly engaged in that sort of selective benefit handing system and you coupled it with direct voting for offices like president, you could run the risk of popular self interest in some regions of the country pushing for policies that benefit them, while harming those in the less populated regions.

Unfortunately, over time we have expanded the power and role of the federal government as it pertains directly to citizens. I happen to think that's a very bad thing, btw. But it's happened. IMO, moving even further to direct popular voting for president would only make such things worse. I don't believe that the federal government should be involved at all in what is essentially charity. It should stick to regulating between the states and between the US and other countries and that's it. I would love for us to simply eliminate social security, and medicare, and welfare, and the department of education, and pretty much all social spending programs. Except perhaps as standard setting bodies, the federal government simply should not be involved in such things. Directly funding them is just plain a bad idea. It fosters the idea that it's desirable to take from one group to give to another. Which is never a good idea for a government to get involved in. And yes, it further fosters the idea that "the people" should be voting directly on such things (which is just a small step from "mob rule" IMO).

All of those things can be done at the state level, if the citizens of a given state desire. It's bad enough already that if a majority of representatives in congress decides to impose some new rule on the citizens of the states that don't agree with them, they get to do it anyway. It would be infinitely worse if that majority didn't even require a majority of state representatives in said legislative and executive bodies, but a mere majority of the population as a whole. Again, the purpose of using a Republic rather than a Democracy is specifically to divide voters into regions in which each region has an equal say in things. It's designed to favor broad geographical appeal over narrow but deep popular appeal. And IMO, that's a very very good thing. It's likely why there are no nations I'm aware of that actually practice direct Democracy as their national political system. Which is what makes it all the more baffling when people make a huge deal about how the popular vote didn't match the EC vote. Um... That's not something that is broken. That's a system that's working exactly as it's intended to work.

Edited, Nov 29th 2016 6:42pm by gbaji
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#323 Nov 29 2016 at 8:59 PM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
I would love for us to simply eliminate social security, and medicare, and welfare, 1*and the department of education, and pretty much 2*all social spending programs.


1* So if a given state decides that it's citizens will have to figure out how to educate their kids because the state defunded all public schools, you're OK with that?

2*. So you advocate crippling the US military by removing (among other things) school lunch programs, you're OK with that?

Do you advocate for anything that doesn't further your own personal self-interest?
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#324 Nov 29 2016 at 9:20 PM Rating: Decent
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Sir Xsarus wrote:
It's not that people are ignorant about the system or think that a president is elected via popular vote, it's that all the messaging from everyone is about you voting for the president and that's how people approach it.


Eh? Does that messaging make them think that the president should be determined by popular vote, or not? Just seems like you more or less contradicted yourself there.

You can think of it as voting for the president if you want. But your votes only determines the allocation of your states electoral college delegation. If you are not ignorant of how this works, then all the messaging about "voting for candidate A over candidate B" should not in any way confuse you, or make you think that a popular vote that doesn't match the EC vote is somehow "wrong". You either understand that you are voting for your states EC delegation, or you are not. Pick one.

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And given how elections play out you are essentially voting for a president, it's just that some peoples votes matter more than others, which is a problem. Again, you're ignoring the argument because you have no response.


I have a response. I've stated my response multiple times. Maybe you missed it the first handful of times? People's votes don't matter any more or less than other people's votes any more than they do in anything else you vote for at the federal level. Whether your congressional district vote 100% for the pro-choice candidate or only 51% for that candidate, your representative only has one vote in the House on any issue related to abortion, right? And whether your state voted 100% for a given Senator, or 51% for that Senator, similarly does not change that said Senator only gets one vote, even if that Senator if from a state with 10 million people in it or only 100k.

This is how Republics work. Your vote is always going to matter more in either a small population state (where the whole "two Senators per state" and "two bonus electors per state" benefit you, or in a state or district where the vote on any given thing is "close". Again, that's the nature of a Republic. But that trade off is more than worth it for the benefits of ensuring that one portion or geographical region of a country can't just control everything because they happen to have the bulk of the population. When these kinds of results occur, it's not a failure of the system, but the reason it exists.

I'll also point out, just for the record, that we use a similar methodology of evening out extreme results in lots of things. Imagine a World Series in which one team scored 2 points in all 7 games (14 total points), while the other team scored 1 point in 4 games and 10 in the other 3 (34 total points). The first team wins the series because they won the most games. But the second team significantly outscored the first in terms of total points. Again though, the reason for using these methods is to avoid giving an advantage to the team who runs up the score in a game they already won. Just as we don't give an advantage to the candidate who runs up the vote count in a state they already won. Same concept applies. We reward consistency across multiple games in sports, just as we reward consistent majorities across multiple states/regions in elections.

This is really not some alien concept. It's embedded in most of our competitions we engage in. And yes, that includes elections.

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I am addressing the issue. The issue is a whole lot of people pretending that they never knew about the EC before the election snatched their popular vote victory away from them.
No one is doing this, people are just upset about the system.


Ok. But when someone says that the people are upset because the "messaging" made them think they were voting for a president but the popular vote winner didn't win the election, it sorta sounds like they're saying those people didn't understand that we elect votes by electoral college votes and not popular votes. You can't rationally argue that since the ballot lists the candidates names that this makes people think they're voting directly for that candidate and then also claim that these people knew how the electoral college system works. Those are completely incompatible statements.


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That's the point that you're not addressing. You're hand waving aside criticisms based on the way they describe their issue because you don't have a response.


Response to what? The way they describe the issue? WTF does that even mean? Look. If someone understands the EC, then they can argue about why they think it should be changed, or eliminated, or whatever. But then make that freaking argument. I'm not sure what response you think I should have to an argument that basically says "My candidate didn't win despite something happening that is unrelated to whether she wins or not". Um... Ok. it rained yesterday, so that means that Clinton won the election, right? I'm going to be ****** off because I think that it raining means that Clinton should have onw. Boo hoo!

Unless you can actually make an objective rational argument as to why a direct popular vote would be a better method for electing presidents, not just in this one case and this one election because you wanted a different result, but in all election cycles, every 4 years, and are able to include at least some analysis of how this would affect campaigning and nationwide representation in our executive branch, then all you're doing is whining about a single election results you didn't like. I'm still waiting for someone to make that actual objective argument.

Until that happens, I can only respond with broad points. Heck. I'm the only one who's made any kind of actual argument on this issue at all so far. I've presented at least 3 or 4 different reasons why using the EC instead of direct popular voting is a good method to use. Not one person has made a counter argument in favor of popular voting that extends beyond simply declaring it to be "better" or "more fair" or whatever. Surely, someone out of all the super smart and well educated people on this board could at least take a crack at this? Maybe?
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#325 Nov 29 2016 at 9:25 PM Rating: Excellent
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The thing that always worries me about scrapping social programs, not to mention schools, is that we've been there before and it didn't work out for most people. There was hunger, there was ignorance, there were seemingly intractable social problems that public education and welfare programs demonstrably helped.

Do publicly funded programs need to be curated? Of course. Should they be scrapped? That depends on how far you want the poorest citizens among us to regress, and how fast.

Secondarily, putting money into the hands of poor and working class people is good for the economy. Giving it to CEOs is not.


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#326 Nov 29 2016 at 9:40 PM Rating: Decent
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Friar Bijou wrote:
gbaji wrote:
I would love for us to simply eliminate social security, and medicare, and welfare, 1*and the department of education, and pretty much 2*all social spending programs.


1* So if a given state decides that it's citizens will have to figure out how to educate their kids because the state defunded all public schools, you're OK with that?


Sure. You know, since that would require the citizens of that one individual state voting to decide not to spend tax dollars on education, right? Was that supposed to be a trick question? Cause it's not. My solution gives the citizens of each state the power to decide how much to spend on their education system, and what form it will take. The current system puts their kids education in the hands of a set of federal education programs that were voted on by people elected by 49 other states in addition to theirs. Heaven forbid we give the power back to the people!

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2*. So you advocate crippling the US military by removing (among other things) school lunch programs, you're OK with that?


How does eliminating school lunch programs cripple the US military? Or are you under the impression that the military is a social spending program? Or that it does not fall squarely in the federal government's purview of "interactions between the collected United States and foreign nations"?

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Do you advocate for anything that doesn't further your own personal self-interest?


That's strange, since my position is that the federal government should not be involved in furthering anyone's self interest. You get that funding things like medicare, social security, education, etc, is all about providing for individual citizen's self interests, right? Vote for me and I'll pay for your health care. Vote for me and I'll send your kids to college. Vote for me and I'll provide for your retirement. Surely you can see the pattern here. All of those are about self interest. They just happen to be self interests that you are ok with fulfilling.

I'm for getting the federal government out of that business entirely. Not because I'm some cruel evil guy who wants people to suffer, but because I believe that a government that has the power to provide those things also has the power to hold those things over its citizens and use them as a means of control in other areas. So it's not even just "vote for me and I'll provide you with X", but "support me in voting for Y, because my opponent wants to stop providing you with X". When you become dependent on government funded services, you become controlled by that government. Obviously, we can't eliminate all government influence on us, but we can do what we can to make that influence as small as possible and as local as possible. The federal government's social programs are neither of those.

Edited, Nov 29th 2016 8:51pm by gbaji
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