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View Diary: If Husted's Electoral College plan for Ohio in '16 was now in place everywhere, Mitt would have won (171 comments)

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  •  so are PA's (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    spooks51, Sister Havana, vidanto

    I Support Puerto Rican Statehood

    by InsultComicDog on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 05:57:42 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Popular Vote is a BAD Idea! (9+ / 0-)

      Just think how elections would be fought! Nobody would care about swing states because the margin of victory is so small (after all the effort spent on FL, over 8 million votes were cast and Obama's margin was 50,000 votes).

      Instead Republicans would spend all their efforts turning out votes in deep red states like Texas and Georgia, while Democrats would spend all their efforts getting every last vote out of CA, NY, and WA.

      But, the deep red states have right wing media monopolies! They never hear any competing views! It's easy to propagandize them and stir the useful idiot rednecks into a real state of fear and drive them to the polls.

      A popular vote system given our current media and culture war climate is VERY dangerous.

      We just have to defeat fascists like Husted and turn him out of office and prevent the legislatures from dividing up the votes along federal district lines.

      Vote out the Republican state legislatures like we just did in Colorado and we won't have this problem!

      •  So instead they ignore the largest states (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        happymisanthropy, Albanius

        And cater to the politically necessary. The dems wouldbenefit greatly from a popular vote, as would progressive ideals. Sure, the pres might not pay as much attention to Wyoming, but the have senators.

        The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

        by AoT on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 06:43:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I agree, Cugel: In the USA, (5+ / 0-)

        a straight national popular vote (which the National Popular Vote proposal would be) presents a real danger of providing the Christian-talking Money-led Right the opportunity to win "the last free election" in the republic.  

        The original reasons for the Electoral College are not entirely the same as its justification today.  Anyway, it doesn't help that everyone oversimplifies the Founders' plan as "we don't trust the masses."  Listen to Hamilton in Federalist #68 explaining the rational for the Electoral College - and consider the post-Citizens United increased national monetization of the most recent election and the character of Mitt Romney:

        Talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity, may alone suffice to elevate a man to the first honors in a single State; but it will require other talents, and a different kind of merit, to establish him in the esteem and confidence of the whole Union, or of so considerable a portion of it as would be necessary to make him a successful candidate for the distinguished office of President of the United States.
         Blame the EC idea for outdated idealism, perhaps; but the same basic concern for the power of demagogues holds at least as true today.  The more centralized the nominating and election process has become, the greater the danger a man of "low intrigue and the little arts of popularity" like the say-anything Romney will succeed.  N.P.V. increases the likelihood.

        Hamilton says, Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption - a danger much more likely in a single election than in its division among 51 separate elections (or 52 - welcome aboard, Puerto Rico...).  Corrupt interests would be served by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the Union in a single, manipulable election.

        The practical potential for manipulation of a national vote has only grown more powerful, not less.  Our objection to the Electoral College essentially comes down to the rare instances where it only closely, but imperfectly, mirrors the popular vote, missing the fine grain of a half percent difference in the overall electorate (as in 2000 - but that was as much a political failing as a failure of the Electoral College).  Solving that problem by creating a much bigger one seems unwise.  Look to our future liberty, not the last election; let's work to defeat the money-equals-speech plutocratic principle - and as we all just demonstrated: let's continue to organize, organize, organize.

        •  80% of Americans are Politically Irrelevant (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          J Orygun

          The current state-by-state winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but since enacted by 48 states), under which all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who gets the most votes in each separate state, ensures that the candidates, after the conventions, in 2012 did not reach out to about 80% of the states and their voters. Candidates had no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they were safely ahead or hopelessly behind.

          80% of the states and people were just spectators to the presidential elections. That's more than 85 million voters, 200 million Americans.

          Policies important to the citizens of non-battleground states are not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing.

          The precariousness of the current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes is highlighted by the fact that a shift of a few thousand voters in one or two states would have elected the second-place candidate in 4 of the 13 presidential elections since World War II.  Near misses are now frequently common.  There have been 7 consecutive non-landslide presidential elections (1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012). 537 popular votes won Florida and the White House for Bush in 2000 despite Gore's lead of 537,179 (1,000 times more) popular votes nationwide. A shift of 60,000 voters in Ohio in 2004 would have defeated President Bush despite his nationwide lead of over 3 million votes.    

          The current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes maximizes the incentive and opportunity for fraud, coercion, intimidation, confusion, and voter suppression. A very few people can change the national outcome by adding, changing, or suppressing a small number of votes in one closely divided battleground state. With the current system all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who receives a bare plurality of the votes in each state. The sheer magnitude of the national popular vote number, compared to individual state vote totals, is much more robust against manipulation.

          National Popular Vote would limit the benefits to be gained by fraud or voter suppression.  One suppressed vote would be one less vote. One fraudulent vote would only win one vote in the return. In the current electoral system, one fraudulent vote could mean 55 electoral votes, or just enough electoral votes to win the presidency without having the most popular votes in the country.

          The closest popular-vote election in American history (in 1960), had a nationwide margin of more than 100,000 popular votes.  The closest electoral-vote election in American history (in 2000) was determined by 537 votes, all in one state, when there was a lead of 537,179 (1,000 times more) popular votes nationwide.

          For a national popular vote election to be as easy to switch as 2000, it would have to be two hundred times closer than the 1960 election--and, in popular-vote terms, forty times closer than 2000 itself.

          Which system offers vote suppressors or fraudulent voters a better shot at success for a smaller effort?

          •  Well stated arguments - of course, there is a but (0+ / 0-)

            1.  It stands to reason that one does not go after the states where the outcome is predictable, but those that can be shifted.  I don't feel resentment toward that strategic truth just because I live in New York (which, remember, went to Reagan in 1980 and 1984).

               We seem to assume that that the politics and boundaries of the current red-blue divide are permanent and immutable.  I don't think so.  Parties may not shift seismically from one election to the next, but they do over 30- or 50-year periods.  I think it's misguided to forecast today's math onto the election of 2040, and base our longterm system on that thinking.

            2.  I see no civic benefit to national campaigns that would smooth over local, interest group, and constituent interests that are amplified at the state level contests to a bland, uncontroversial, strive-for-the-center national campaign that would, I think, serve up even more political pablum than we're used to now.  As Jim Hightower said, the only thing you'll find in the middle of the road is a yellow line and a dead armadillo.

            3.  I think concerns about voter suppression and corruption in a NPV vs current system are a wash.  Is the danger of nefarious practices stealing an election greater in a national system or one divided among the separate colleges?  Your math is sensible - until strategies are developed by plutocrats to steal an NPV election, a prospect I find much more worrying.  In either case, the answer is voting reform and vigilance.

            4.  The demogogic dangers of mass money and the national interests of capital in a mass media universe - with or without Citizens United - are exponentially greater when playing for a single NPV outcome.  If I were the Koch brothers or Sheldon Adelson, I think I'd find that $50 million is more efficiently spent in a single national strategy than parceled among the various states.

            5.  The principal that we are a federal and not a unitary system is basic to our form of government.  I think it will always present challenges, and will always present a bulwark against the ultimate danger of national tyranny that it was designed for.

            6.  Without a constitutional amendment (yikes for a lot of reasons) here's what will happen under the NPV system:  if enough states pass it to participate, then those remaining outside it are the ones that will get all the electoral attention since those are the ones whose votes still matter outside the aggregate.  The ideal position to be in to maximize your own voice would be to remain outside the NPV system; hence, it will crumble.  In a related concern, I think the NPV will lock our nation even more firmly into a national permanent 2-party system.

            7.  Finally, it is not undemocratic to hold that a nation of our size and complexity may not always function most democratically under the most democracy.  We temper democracy with, for example, a Bill of Rights.  We all know that if it could be put to a vote Christianity would be our official religion, English our official language, etc.  Those positions would win "democratically."  Would that be best for "democracy?"  Is democracy our only value?  Or is it one of our bedrock principles, sometimes in conflict with others, like liberty or fairness?  It's a complex dance.

               Sure, small states, in a sense, have an amplified voice in the current system (as they most certainly do in the Senate, and then some!).  But whether that is more important than the votes of a big state with lots more EVs depends on the election.  Sure, many small states are currently Red; a hundred years ago, many of those same states were hotbeds of Populism.  

            I don't discount your arguments at all;  all systems present potential dangers.  But I'm not swayed at all that the NPV proposal ends them without presenting new ones that may surpass the old.

            •  # and Pop of Swing States is Shrinking (0+ / 0-)

              Policies important to the citizens of non-battleground states are not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing.

              In 1960, presidential campaigns paid attention to 35 states. In 2008, Obama only campaigned in 14 states after being nominated. In 2012, the presidential campaigns only cared about 9 swing states.

              The number and population of battleground states is shrinking.

              States' partisanship is hardening.

              Some states have not been been competitive for than a half-century and most states now have a degree of partisan imbalance that makes them highly unlikely to be in a swing state position.
              •  41 States Won by Same Party, 2000-2008
              •  32 States Won by Same Party, 1992-2008
              •  13 States Won Only by Republican Party, 1980-2008
              •  19 States Won Only by Democratic Party, 1992-2008
              •  9 Democratic States Not Swing State since 1988
              •  15 GOP States Not Swing State since 1988

              •  But is the cause of this partisan divide (0+ / 0-)

                the Electoral College, or does the EC just provide a convenient way to organize the data?  And is it wrong for parties to have regional appeal?  What would it say about the parties or the electorate if the majorities in most states were switching back and forth between distinct ideologies every 4 years as though deciding between Coke and Pepsi?  If we did see states swinging unpredictably between the parties randomly in each presidential election year, I think that would only mean that the cynics had won and there really was just a Demopublican Party or Oceania vs Eurasia (presumably both fronting for the Chamber of Commerce).  

                Perhaps a better explanation than the Electoral College for the hardening partisanship of the states is the departure of the Right from post-New Deal American consensus positions, from the Reagan years on and especially  post-'92.  In other words: Yes, America has gotten more partisan with more fundamentally distinct parties.  If THAT is the problem, then I don't think the fix would be in the Electoral College.  But if (you and) I are right and the main culprits of partisanship are the Right, then I don't  want to unilaterally surrender fighting the partisan good fight to win.

                Would a nationalized Presidential election smooth out the differences between the parties and make us less partisan?  Maybe:  by finding common denominator approaches that would play evenly across the land, like a wave of political muzak.  And that would be the lowest common denominator, I'm pretty sure; that is what always happen when you scale up a market for mass appeal.  WalMart elections, if you will.  Instead of Philly Cheese Steak, Cincinnati Chili, and New Orleans Po'Boys, it would just be the political equivilant of Applebees from coast to coast.  We wouldn't see more campaigning in more areas; we'd see less, but more mass-marketing.  

                Perhaps another point to consider is demographics.  America is changing, but the main wave of New Immigrants only started in the 1980s, picking up steam in the 90s and 00s; as second- and third-generation Americans, they will continue to disperse across the land, shaking up the status quo; meanwhile, the attitude adjustment we are seeing in gay rights is now spreading beyond the urban areas, too, and is part of a process of opening minds.  I don't buy that America is static, and I definitely don't buy that it's the Electoral College that somehow freezes us in position.  

                The left can win elections by 1) having clear and good ideas and 2) organizing.  We've proven that.  We don't need to change the rules of the game - and if we do, those rules will last long after the underlying game has changed.  And the new game of one-big-national-election would be spelled M-O-N-E-Y in letters big enough to impress even Karl Rove.

            •  Every Vote Would Be Politically Relevant (0+ / 0-)

              Under National Popular Vote, every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election. Every vote would be included in the state counts and national count.

              The candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC would get the 270+ electoral votes from the enacting states. That majority of electoral votes guarantees the candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC wins the presidency.

              Every vote, everywhere would be counted equally for, and directly assist, the candidate for whom it was cast.

              Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in a handful of swing states. The political reality would be that when every vote is equal, the campaign must be run in every part of the country.

              When and where voters matter, then so are the issues they care about most.

              •  "Every vote everywhere.." (0+ / 0-)

                would be the generic same.  And that's a good thing? Mathematically pure.  Bad civics.  Reminds me of the joke about economists: "First, imagine people are perfect spheres..."

                I also have to ask again:  is democracy our only value?  It is a value.  It must be balanced against others, like liberty, and fairness, and civic virtue, to name some.  And those don't always support the same outcomes; they are sometimes in conflict with each other. This is why, while supporting democratic principles, we were also warned by the Founders to guard against "the tyranny of the majority" - which is another way of saying "democracy run amok" or "democratic demogogery."  I have a hard time thinking of a system less problematic than the imperfect Electoral College.

                You make awesome, highly focussing arguments, mvymvy.

      •  It is worse than that... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Steve Magruder
        But, the deep red states have right wing media monopolies! They never hear any competing views! It's easy to propagandize them and stir the useful idiot rednecks into a real state of fear and drive them to the polls.
        It is worse that that. Remember, that deep red states have election systems run by republican super-majorities. It isn't a problem at this point as we tend not to care about the results in deep red states.
        •  Wrong: more red states have extra electoral votes (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT, Denver11, acnetj, Theodore J Pickle

          Under the current system, voters in mostly red low pop rural states like Wyoming & ND, which still have 2 Senators,  count 2 to 3x as much in the electoral college as voters in bluer big urbanized states with 2 Senators but 10-50x the population.

          There's no such thing as a free market!

          by Albanius on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 12:26:47 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Small State Realities (0+ / 0-)

            In 2008, of the 25 smallest states (with a total of 155 electoral votes), 18 received no attention at all from presidential campaigns after the conventions.  Of the seven smallest states with any post-convention visits, Only 4 of the smallest states - NH (12 events), NM (8), NV (12), and IA (7) -   got the outsized attention of 39 of the 43 total events in the 25 smallest states.  In contrast, Ohio (with only 20 electoral votes) was lavishly wooed with 62 of the total 300 post-convention campaign events in the whole country.

            In the 25 smallest states in 2008, the Democratic and Republican popular vote was almost tied (9.9 million versus 9.8 million), as was the electoral vote (57 versus 58).

            Now with state-by-state winner-take-all laws (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but since enacted by 48 states), presidential elections ignore 12 of the 13 lowest population states (3-4 electoral votes), that are non-competitive in presidential elections. 6 regularly vote Republican (AK, ID, MT, WY, ND, and SD), and 6 regularly vote Democratic (RI, DE, HI, VT, ME, and DC) in presidential elections. Voters in states that are reliably red or blue don't matter. Candidates ignore those states and the issues they care about most.

            Kerry won more electoral votes than Bush (21 versus 19) in the 12 least-populous non-battleground states, despite the fact that Bush won 650,421 popular votes compared to Kerry’s 444,115 votes. The reason is that the red states are redder than the blue states are blue.  If the boundaries of the 13 least-populous states had been drawn recently, there would be accusations that they were a Democratic gerrymander.

            Support for a national popular vote is strong in every smallest state surveyed in recent polls among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group.  Support in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK -70%, DC -76%, DE --75%, ID -77%, ME - 77%, MT- 72%,  NE - 74%, NH--69%, NE - 72%, NM - 76%, RI - 74%,  SD- 71%, UT- 70%, VT - 75%, WV- 81%,  and WY- 69%.

            Among the 13 lowest population states, the National Popular Vote bill has passed in nine state legislative chambers, and been enacted by 3 jurisdictions.

      •  We need to imprison Husted (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wbr, Prospect Park, Steve Magruder

        There are plenty of Republican officials I'd settle for defeating.  But here we have the chief elections officer of the state abusing his power in unprecedented ways in an attempt to rig an election.  From sending out official mailings with lies about voting dates, to defying court orders, to firing elections officials who tried to let Ohioans vote.  If there's not at least one criminal act in the litany of his abuses, that's a severe indictment of our criminal statutes.

        "And the President of the United States - would be seated right here. I would be here. And he would be here. I would turn - and there he’d be. I could pet ‘im." - Lewis Black

        by libdevil on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 02:47:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

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