The Electoral College can be changed without changing the Constitution

GDPR

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The ideal option for American democracy is to abolish the Electoral College completely. However, this may be difficult as it is included in the Constitution and some State governments would oppose changing it.

The Electoral College has twice, in recent times, allowed two candidates to become POTUS who did not win the popular vote: Al Gore lost to Bush despite having c500,000 votes more, and HRC lost to Don "Capone" Trump despite a popular vote close to 3 million more. She lost by 77,000 EC votes.

Under the EC, one vote in a POTUS election in Wyoming is worth 3.6 votes in California; one vote in Vermont is worth 3.5 votes in Texas. This is clearly wrong. It is undemocratic.

However, in the interesting article cited below, I have discovered that outside of the Constitution some elements of the Electoral College system can be changed, particularly the "winner takes all EC votes" which many States practice in POTUS elections. Thus, HRC got all of Minnesota EC votes despite beating Trump by only 45,000 votes, and Trump did likewise in Michigan, beating HRC by 10,000 votes out of 4.6 million cast. The winner takes all rule is determined by State governments, and this practice can be declared invalid by the SCOTUS.

The author, Laurence Lessig, points out that
[t]he Supreme Court has made it clear that the principle of “one person, one vote” applies in the “Presidential selection process”—first in a set of cases in the 1960s, and most recently, in 2000, in a case called Bush v. Gore. But the Court has not yet considered whether “winner take all” rules are themselves consistent with “one person, one vote.”

Lessig mentions that Thomas Jefferson did not like the "winner takes all" practice:
States initially adopted “winner take all” because it amplified the power of that state’s votes. This troubled even Jefferson, who recognized the incentive to try to expand a state’s influence. As he wrote, “[a]n election by districts would be best if it could be general, but while ten States choose either by legislatures or by [winner take all] it is folly and worse than folly for the other States not to do it.”
In his view (and mine) Lessig (and others) believe that there is a change needed, and the SCOTUS can do it. I hope it does, hopefully before the next POTUS election in 2020.

The Time Has Come: Reform the Electoral College Now
The founders created the Electoral College, but the states made it winner-take-all. And that's the Achilles Heel where a new group has aimed its arrow.

What do you think?
 


razorblade

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If Hillary had won would you even be starting this thread i doubt it somehow they were the rules that are in place they were accepted at the time but because the favoured candidate didnt win and instead it was the black sheep Trump all of a sudden its a problem and needs to be changed, can you just a you Hillary fans let your bitterness go its not good for your mental health.
 

GDPR

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If Hillary had won would you even be starting this thread i doubt it somehow they were the rules that are in place they were accepted at the time but because the favoured candidate didnt win and instead it was the black sheep Trump all of a sudden its a problem and needs to be changed, can you just a you Hillary fans let your bitterness go its not good for your mental health.
This is a question of a need for political reform not sour grapes, but you clearly do not have the nous to realise that. Instead you keep cutting yourself razorblade.
 

razorblade

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This is a question of a need for political reform not sour grapes, but you clearly do not have the nous to realise that. Instead you keep cutting yourself razorblade.
Yes and had it been Hillary who had been elected and not the big bad wolf Trump this wouldnt even be an issue but because the media darling Hillary was defeated it suddenly needs to be changed, so it looks like its actually sour grapes from Clinton fans who cant accept she got beaten fair and square in a presidential election.
 

silverharp

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then the leftists will have even more incentive to flood the country with illegals and get them voting on the Dem plantation. Cant see it changing anyway, far too divisive. Im sure plenty of countries have a system where votes don't get translated into seats, its just a different way of doing it.
 

razorblade

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Hillary herself had no issue with the college system at the time, if she had been elected she would never in a million years entertain the idea of reform but now that she lost its seen as unjust despite being in favour of it prior to the election.
 

silverharp

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next election will be a landslide to Trump, the issue will quietly go away :D
 

gleeful

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The simplest solution would be for states to allocate EC votes proportionately rather than on a 'Winner-takes-all' approach. States themselves already have this power, and until around 100 years ago, thats how it was done.
 

NYCKY

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For the umpteenth time, it's a Union of States and it's from the states that the Union gets its power.


The small states will never give this up.
 

NYCKY

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The simplest solution would be for states to allocate EC votes proportionately rather than on a 'Winner-takes-all' approach. States themselves already have this power, and until around 100 years ago, thats how it was done.
Had this been done in 2012, Romney would have been elected POTUS.
 

silverharp

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For the umpteenth time, it's a Union of States and it's from the states that the Union gets its power.


The small states will never give this up.
Funny that Irish people are urging for a system in the US where in the EU case "we" enjoyed that we had more votes than our population would indicate
 

livingstone

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Yes and had it been Hillary who had been elected and not the big bad wolf Trump this wouldnt even be an issue but because the media darling Hillary was defeated it suddenly needs to be changed, so it looks like its actually sour grapes from Clinton fans who cant accept she got beaten fair and square in a presidential election.
If Hilary had won both the popular and EC vote, then you're right - few people would be raising it.

If she lost the popular vote and won the EC vote, plenty people would be raising it (probably the same people telling us it's not an issue now).

And if you think the problems with the electoral college are a recent discovery, you're wrong. Clearly those problems are more clearly obvious when a candidate becomes president despite more people voting for the other candidate.
 

Betson

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Why change a system that is working perfectly well?

I don't recall any calls from the democrats to reform it pre-election.
 

livingstone

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then the leftists will have even more incentive to flood the country with illegals and get them voting on the Dem plantation. Cant see it changing anyway, far too divisive. Im sure plenty of countries have a system where votes don't get translated into seats, its just a different way of doing it.
It doesn't really address the fundamental question about what democracy should be about. You're right it's an issue in other countries too: FPTP meant that Wilson ended up as Prime Minister in February, and with more seats than Heath, despite Labour winning fewer votes. Even where parties win a plurality of the votes, the fact that that translates so clearly into a majority of the seats is problematic (e.g. Blair having a large majority but only winning over a third of the vote).

If anyone proposed introducing FPTP in Ireland, the same people defending the electoral college in the US because they are fans of Trump, would be telling us that it would be wrong because we'd get disproportionate results that did not reflect the wishes of the public.
 

GDPR

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For the umpteenth time, it's a Union of States and it's from the states that the Union gets its power.


The small states will never give this up.
It seems the SCOTUS has the power to tell them they have to give this up, as it is contrary to one person one vote. If the SCOTUS does so rule, do you know how the States can circumvent this? This is for POTUS elections, not State ones.
 

NYCKY

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Why change a system that is working perfectly well?

I don't recall any calls from the democrats to reform it pre-election.
There weren't any.

In fact Clinton was deploying resources to places like Missouri and Indiana in the final days of the campaign, to ensure that as well as winning the electoral college vote she also had a healthy popular vote victory.

Oh dear! it didn't quite end that way.
 

GDPR

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It doesn't really address the fundamental question about what democracy should be about. You're right it's an issue in other countries too: FPTP meant that Wilson ended up as Prime Minister in February, and with more seats than Heath, despite Labour winning fewer votes. Even where parties win a plurality of the votes, the fact that that translates so clearly into a majority of the seats is problematic (e.g. Blair having a large majority but only winning over a third of the vote).

If anyone proposed introducing FPTP in Ireland, the same people defending the electoral college in the US because they are fans of Trump, would be telling us that it would be wrong because we'd get disproportionate results that did not reflect the wishes of the public.
No voting system is truly democratic, but the Electoral College as it is now practised in the USA is somewhat more contrary to democracy that other systems, don't you agree?
 

GDPR

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There weren't any.

In fact Clinton was deploying resources to places like Missouri and Indiana in the final days of the campaign, to ensure that as well as winning the electoral college vote she also had a healthy popular vote victory.

Oh dear! it didn't quite end that way.
She was trying to work within the current system, which failed her and the three million extra voters
 


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