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View Diary: Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 2/22 (373 comments)

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  •  philosophical arguments for the electoral college? (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stephen Wolf, jncca, Chachy, Inoljt, MichaelNY

    After any of the world wars, revolutions or democracy movments of the world, has anyone from this country ever advocated: "Hey, you should create an electoral college."

    Nope, and the reason is because it is a truly stupid, archaic concept that makes no sense whasoever in the modern world.

    Good ideas get copied and stolen and reused.  No one has ever thought to pattern even their junior high school elections after the electoral college.

    Mr. Gorbachev, establish an Electoral College!

    by tommypaine on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 01:18:33 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  In fact pretty much every element of our govt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chachy

      including presidentialism, plurality elections, etc. has not been copied by successfully democratizing states, and if it has it's led to crises over individuals (particularly presidentialism).

      Our institutions blow and it's incredibly telling that countries such as nearly every European one that democratized after WW2 didn't adopt them and that the ones that did, such as Latin America, have had countless coups and civil wars.

      •  Our institutions do not blow (0+ / 0-)

        When taken into context with American culture. They work for us. It just also happens that they work for literally no other country or culture worldwide.

        23 Burkean Post Modern Gay Democrat; NM-2 (Raised), TX-20 (B.A. & M.A. in Political Science), TX-17 (Home); 08/12 PVIs

        by wwmiv on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 01:47:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Like they worked during the civil war? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Skaje, MichaelNY, gabjoh

          like they worked during Bush v Gore?

          Like they worked out to give Republicans control of the House last year?

          Or how about if Republicans ever lose the electoral college but win the popular vote, do you think that won't result in a constitutional crisis?

          No, our institutions blow compared to the realistic alternative that nearly every European country has chosen to adopt, namely proportional representation and parliamentary government.

          •  ... (0+ / 0-)

            Like I said when they are taken into context with American culture.

            1. Bush v. Gore as a decision sucked, yes, but one decision does not tar the entirety of how the court operates. The typical position in opposition to the court is that judges should be elected. Are judges elected in most places? No. In fact, judges are elected at higher frequency in the U.S. than almost anywhere else - and there are bigger problems with judicial election than non-election.

            2. In this case, it is the lack of institutions (non-partisan redistricting boards) that did so in combination with the relative distribution of partisan voters.

            3. No, I do not. Just as it didn't when Hayes beat Tilden.

            4. Do you think that Americans would want proportional representation? Or even a mixed-system? No. They wouldn't, because American cultural and the American cultural heritage very much supports and idealizes the direct link to their representative through a districted and first-past-the-post approach.

            23 Burkean Post Modern Gay Democrat; NM-2 (Raised), TX-20 (B.A. & M.A. in Political Science), TX-17 (Home); 08/12 PVIs

            by wwmiv on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 01:59:17 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Oops (0+ / 0-)

              Scratch the Tilden example.

              23 Burkean Post Modern Gay Democrat; NM-2 (Raised), TX-20 (B.A. & M.A. in Political Science), TX-17 (Home); 08/12 PVIs

              by wwmiv on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 02:00:12 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Has there ever been a time (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Berliozian

                Where the Republican won the popular vote but lost the electoral college?

                No. But I still don't think they'd cause a constitutional crisis.

                23 Burkean Post Modern Gay Democrat; NM-2 (Raised), TX-20 (B.A. & M.A. in Political Science), TX-17 (Home); 08/12 PVIs

                by wwmiv on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 02:01:35 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Lack of institutions are the same thing (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MichaelNY

              as the institution itself. That's like saying "it's the lack of the 13th amendment that caused slavery!"

              I'm not talking just about the Bush v Gore decision by itself, but the fact that A) We had a candidate who was clearly the preference of the majority and B) won the fucking election but saw it stolen by the opposition. That shit should never happen and wouldn't have had such dire consequences if we didn't have a winner takes all and fucks the other side over system.

              And yes, I absolutely think Americans would want proportional representation, but more than anything they most likely have no concept of it. Who the hell wouldn't want the ability to make more choices and when they do make a choice to have it count regardless of where they live instead of the vast majority seeing their votes "wasted."

              Your cultural heritage argument reminds me of the defense of Jim Crow laws and it's not even accurate. In poll after poll that bothers to ask it, respondents like the idea of having a viable third party to chose from even if they're already hard partisans.

              And finally, culture is heavily impacted by institutions and you can just look at the difference between the politics of the northeastern united states and Canada in the 1800s when they had a very common cultural origin but different outcomes, or today you could look at the differences between demographically similar states.

          •  I think the Civil War was unavoidable (0+ / 0-)

            not matter what system of government we had. Ours probably postponed it for much longer than just about any other would. Founding a United States that included slavery was like swallowing something toxic; it was allows going to come back up, and when it did, it was always going to be ugly.

            I actually think Bush v. Gore was an example of our system working well. Look at the map, and it's amazing what a limited base of support Gore had. He was unable to win anywhere but the West Coast and Northeast (both liberal strongholds), and upper Midwest. Oh, and New Mexico. That, to me, is not a national coalition. The two coasts, far apart as they may be geographically, are very similar in terms of their advanced economies, (relative) lack of religiosity, and other attitudes. A candidate who barely make inroads in the country's interior doesn't deserve to win.

            And as for the way the election was settled in the Supreme Court, let me say that if that doesn't prove America is something special, nothing will. In 9 out of 10 countries, that's a civil war or armed uprising right there. It's a miracle (and I don't use that word lightly) that people have so much faith in America's institutions and political culture, and that they respect judicial independence and the finality of rule of law so instinctively. No one would expect half the country to accept the result of the 2000 election and treat Bush as a legitimate president. And yet they did.

            I'll give you that gerrymandering sucks as much as advertised.

            •  ahh I love this argument! (6+ / 0-)

              "well you don't deserve to win because you can't appeal to real 'murrica, dammit!"

              Living in Kyoto-06 (Japan), voting in RI-01, went to college in IL-01.

              by sapelcovits on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 02:23:12 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  No, that's just not true (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Skaje, MichaelNY

              I'll point you and everyone else to Juan Linz's seminal paper, the Perils of Presidentialism which in a nutshell demonstrates how almost every single western hemisphere country that adopted presidentialism upon democratization either had a coup or a civil war, ours included.

              Then you can look at all of the European states that had newly installed democracies after WW2 or other post-colonial countries that didn't adopt presidential systems and pretty much none of them have had the same thing happen.

              The civil war was caused because we have a winner take all system and it gives the losing side zero incentive to cooperate and the winning side zero incentive to compromise. The clear majority of the electoral power in this country was opposed to slaveholder interests, yet our institutions purposefully and continually made sure that slaveholding interests had perpetually equal say.

              •  Well, we might be saying the same thing (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                MichaelNY

                About the Civil War. Certainly, a parliamentary or otherwise more majoritarian system would have ended slavery sooner. But since I'm convinced the South wouldn't have ended slavery without calling to arms, in practice that just means the Civil War would have happened sooner.

                As it was, features specific to our system (I'm thinking especially of equal representation in the Senate and dual federalism) almost certainly postponed the Civil War—but, as you say, preserved slavery for longer.

            •  Oh god (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Stephen Wolf, James Allen, MichaelNY

              You're really trying to say that Bush had a better national coalition than Gore did?  That somehow Bush's ability to win all the lightly populated interior states is more significant than Gore's ability to win California, New York, etc.?  You really are just arguing that rural people's votes should count more than city people's votes.  You're basically arguing that Democrats should not be allowed to run Illinois since all they win is Chicago, and Republicans largely win the rest of the state.  I'm surprised you aren't pulling out the old Bush-Gore county-winner map that was so popular in conservative circles after the election.

              Obama barely made any other advances into the country's interior, aside from Colorado and Nevada.  McCain and Romney won almost all of the interior states that Bush did.  The county map is pretty similar.  It all just comes down to this idea that Democrats should be punished for living close together in cities, and Republicans rewarded for spreading out over larger geographical areas.

              As for the "miracle" that we avoided civil war over a contested election, I think it's along the same reasons that riots are generally rare in America, but more common elsewhere.  I just chalk that up to Americans being ignorant and not caring about government as much.  I can't imagine what would actually get Americans in the street in a proportion similar to Greece.

              •  Obviously, I don't think people's votes (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                BoswellSupporter

                should be weighted more heavily based on where they happen to live. It is true, though, that big cities are largely homogenous with on another in a way that isn't true of the country at large. Once again, the operative words for me are "broad coalition." New York and Chicago have more in common than various parts of the Bush coalition—say, the Deep South, Utah, and a white collar suburb—have with one another.

                Personally, I think any Democrats ought to take a look at that county map before they go to bed each night :)
                Seriously. Doesn't it bother you that so much of the country is off limits to us? Are we even asking for rural America's votes? Is there anything in our platform for them?

                (The parallel exercise for any Republican who wants to do some soul-searching, by the way, is asking himself why urban voters and minorities are rejecting them by 60-80% margins. We talk about that plenty, but we seem to lack self-awareness when it comes closer to home.)

                As for the second bit—you seem to be seeing the glass more than half-empty... Greece riots and America doesn't, and somehow this is laudatory for Greece?

                •  Yeah, New York City is definitely more (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Skaje, sapelcovits, MichaelNY

                  homogeneous than rural Kansas.

                  20, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (school)
                  politicohen.com
                  Socially libertarian, moderate on foreign policy, immigration, and crime, liberal on everything else.
                  UC Berkeley; I think I'm in the conservative half of this city. -.4.12, -4.92

                  by jncca on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 03:07:21 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Greece (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Berliozian, Stephen Wolf, MichaelNY

                  The line about Greece was just a comparison point, saying that America isn't as prone to mass civil disobedience in recent times.  Not making a value judgment on Greece, or saying we should emulate that.

                  Anyway, I really can't express just much strongly I disagree with you on your opinion that somehow Gore's coalition was more homogeneous and less varied than Bush's.  jnnca's above remark just about sums up how off-base that viewpoint is.

                  Gore won African-Americans in the Deep South, Native Americans in the Dakotas, Mexican-Americans in Texas, Puerto Ricans in New York, Pacific Islanders in Hawaii, Japanese-Americans in California, and Jewish voters in Florida.  And yeah, he won a ton of white voters as well, from Oregon to Iowa to Maine.  He won the auto workers of Detroit, the casino workers of Las Vegas, the professors of Berkeley, the steelworkers of Duluth.  Gore showed he was the choice of cities as varied as Little Rock, Albuquerque, Buffalo, Miami, Nashville, Madison, and Kansas City.  He won gays and lesbians, atheists, Catholics, Buddhists.  51 million Americans voted for him, and his coalition was every bit as broad as Bush's.  How can you say that he didn't deserve to win, just because he didn't win Nebraska?

                  •  You know what? (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Skaje, Stephen Wolf

                    You're really making me think hard about my ideas right now, and I love that. I also hadn't realized until just now that if you take away the "extra" two points for each state that weights the EC towards smaller states, Gore wins in 2000. Which means that I sort of was arguing for giving undue weight to rural areas without knowing it (I'm all for giving due weight, but not undue weight.)

                    I'm not ready at all, though, to abandon the countryside to Republicans. And I think this is an area where Democrats need to do a MUCH better job selling themselves, rather than chasing people away with talk about "clinging" guns and religion, etc.—if only because the House maps aren't changing anytime soon!

                    Anyway, I'm heading out now, but I want you to know I really enjoyed this little exchange...

                •  In any case (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  MichaelNY

                  The reason we lose rural voters is because they favor low taxes, reduced spending on education and healthcare, foreign military intervention, restrictions on abortion and gay rights, teaching creationism in schools, free access to firearms, and doing nothing to control emissions.

                  We can ask for their votes, but we won't get it.  There is nothing in our platform for them, and that is the way it should be.  No party can appeal to the entire country unless it truly stands for nothing more than winning at any cost.

        •  "they work for us" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Stephen Wolf

          we can disagree on that.

          ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

          by James Allen on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 02:26:00 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  It's funny (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lordpet8, Stephen Wolf, MichaelNY

        how American History class for me in high school basically consisted of non-stop gushing about how perfect and superior the American system of government was compared to the rest of the world, that our president, constitution, electoral college, and other oddities made us so much better than, say Great Britain.

        It was a strange realization for me a few years afterwards that what I had learned was more akin to propaganda.  Real education would come from me basically unlearning everything from before, and looking at things with a more critical eye.

        And then of course there's the way the history classes in general gloss over stuff like the USA's treatment of Native Americans, slavery's role in the Civil War, segregation and racism, the USA's invasions of other countries in the 1980s, etc.  It's a strange feeling indeed realizing that you've basically been lied to for years.

        •  It's honestly very frightening (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          James Allen, Skaje, MichaelNY, gabjoh

          American high school history and civics is pure bullshit designed to make people complacent with what is a very imperfect system. And yes, our history books consistently gloss over the genocide and war crimes we committed against Native Americans, Filipinos, even German and Japanese civilians in WW2, etc, etc.

          And that doesn't even begin to touch on how it indoctrinates people into believing that capitalism is totally perfect. I will always remember how my history teacher defended Herbert Hoover and in retrospect it makes me want to scream wtf.

        •  I think it depends on the teacher (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MichaelNY

          We didn't gloss over anything that you say was glossed over in your class.

          20, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (school)
          politicohen.com
          Socially libertarian, moderate on foreign policy, immigration, and crime, liberal on everything else.
          UC Berkeley; I think I'm in the conservative half of this city. -.4.12, -4.92

          by jncca on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 02:28:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's probably because you went to school in CA (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MichaelNY

            I'm assuming (if not then maybe it doesn't apply) which due to its size and liberalness relative to the country is rather autonomous for textbook purposes, or at least was when the majority of us went to high school. In general though, southern states, even including Democratic controlled North Carolina at the time, and pretty much anywhere that Republicans have significant influence have text books and mandated (at the state level) curriculum that has a very imperialistic or "pro-American" bias.

          •  The teacher matters (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Stephen Wolf, MichaelNY

            but moreso the textbook.  Our textbooks were insanely jingoist, and that was basically what was lectured on, tested on, etc.

            This was true for me from middle school on to high school.  (Hawaii and South Carolina respectively).

            •  it did help that my teacher was (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Stephen Wolf, MichaelNY, pademocrat

              a former hippie.

              20, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (school)
              politicohen.com
              Socially libertarian, moderate on foreign policy, immigration, and crime, liberal on everything else.
              UC Berkeley; I think I'm in the conservative half of this city. -.4.12, -4.92

              by jncca on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 03:08:05 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

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