Author Topic: [Video] The Sneaky Plan to Subvert the Electoral College for the Next Election  (Read 264 times)

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Offline XJDenton

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This video came up on my youtube feed and I thought it presented an interesting topic/idea:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUX-frlNBJY

Long story short: the video summaries this idea/initiative, which to summarize even further is "an agreement among a group of U.S. states and the District of Columbia to award all their electoral votes to whichever presidential candidate wins the overall popular vote in the 50 states and the District of Columbia once enough members of the compact join such that they have a controlling vote in the EC".

My thoughts: firstly, while I don't think its likely to happen in the near future, it is from my point of view a good idea, as I find the entire idea of the electoral college to be profoundly undemocratic, since degressively proportional systems greatly empower minority rule when there is only one winner, and secondly I think it is an interesting starting point for discussion of the electoral college since it a) doesn't actually require any changes to federal law or the constitution, making it a far more likely proposal than constitutional change to a more proportional system and b) given that, it demonstrates how the systems of the EC can be subverted under current law.

So, thoughts?
« Last Edit: November 21, 2019, 10:31:44 AM by XJDenton »

Offline lordxizor

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I'm not opposed to the idea, but it will never happen. Not when there's one party that has benefited from the electoral college significantly over the last 20 years.

Offline Stadler

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The country has been around for 230 years.  It's kind of difficult to go all the way back to 1789 in terms of ideology, but certainly, since the 1960's, it's a little specious to claim that "one party has benefited significantly over the last 20 years".   

The rules are the same for everyone.  Sure, the electoral college seems to engender battle-ground states, but by definition they are BATTLE GROUND states.  Democrat and Republican candidates can campaign proportionally and make their case.  I will also note that nominally (disregarding exact politics and time-shifting of ideologies) we've had 15 elections since (and including) 1960; we've had seven electoral decisions in favor of Democrats, and eight in favor of Republicans.  We've had 28 years of Democratic Presidents, and - not including Trump's term (it's incomplete) - 28 years of Republican Presidents.

Forgetting about "partisan politics" and "I want! I want!" agendas, I'm actually a HUGE fan of the give and take. I think the system is brilliant in its fairness.  Any candidate can potentially win (for a supposed racist, conservative, bigoted country, an AFRICAN AMERICAN won two successive terms, under the electoral college, with record turnouts, and the two highest vote totals that any candidate has ever received in an American Presidential election) and yet the system cannot be gamed with traditional "ballot box" stuffing, etc.  That's good for all of us.

In contrast, the alternative, majority rule, will be a disaster for all involved. 

Offline XJDenton

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The country has been around for 230 years.  It's kind of difficult to go all the way back to 1789 in terms of ideology, but certainly, since the 1960's, it's a little specious to claim that "one party has benefited significantly over the last 20 years".

Since 2000, only the republicans have had presidents elected with LESS votes than the opposing party, so I don't think that is an unreasonable statement.

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The rules are the same for everyone.  Sure, the electoral college seems to engender battle-ground states, but by definition they are BATTLE GROUND states.  Democrat and Republican candidates can campaign proportionally and make their case.

And ignore states whose votes are poor value for money.

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I will also note that nominally (disregarding exact politics and time-shifting of ideologies) we've had 15 elections since (and including) 1960; we've had seven electoral decisions in favor of Democrats, and eight in favor of Republicans.  We've had 28 years of Democratic Presidents, and - not including Trump's term (it's incomplete) - 28 years of Republican Presidents.

Which would have been 9-7 or 36/20 (at least) in the case the votes reflected the wishes of the citizens. Your definition of fairness could be achieved by forgoing the election completely and just going with a coin flip.

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In contrast, the alternative, majority rule, will be a disaster for all involved.

Considering most modern liberal democracies function on this principle, I fail to see why this is the case. Either way, a proportional presidential election is still beholden to a proportional(ish) house and a degressive senate, so I fail to see what would be lost, other than citizens with less voice due to no other reason than geography having more of voice in how their country is governed.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2019, 03:02:47 PM by XJDenton »

Offline Chino

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Forgetting about "partisan politics" and "I want! I want!" agendas, I'm actually a HUGE fan of the give and take. I think the system is brilliant in its fairness.  Any candidate can potentially win (for a supposed racist, conservative, bigoted country, an AFRICAN AMERICAN won two successive terms, under the electoral college, with record turnouts, and the two highest vote totals that any candidate has ever received in an American Presidential election) and yet the system cannot be gamed with traditional "ballot box" stuffing, etc.  That's good for all of us.


I have always been curious what voter turnout would look like without the electoral college. There are tons of people that don't bother going to the polls because of how one sided their state appears to be. I know republicans who didn't vote in 2016 because they knew CT was in the bag for Hillary.

Offline eric42434224

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I have honestly not heard a persuasive argument for the Electoral College (in its current state).

EDIT: and let me clarify.  The reasons the Founding Fathers had for using it....things like the "Tyranny of the Majority", and other reasons like "Equal representation for States" are simply not addressed properly in today's EC.  The Tyranny of the Majority was based on the population being almost entirely uninformed, and vunerable to influence by a few.  Today, with the availability of information, it simply is not the case anymore.  Sure there are issues with echo-chambers, Super PACs, biased News networks.....but the solution of having EC representatives that will vote even if the dumb population has been "coerced" is moot as they simply delegate all the EC votes as determined by the popular vote anyway.
As for the "equal" representation of the States, well that is simply a cluster-fuck.  States simply are not equal, but even if they were then they would have an equal amount of votes.  But the votes  aren't equal...they get more EC votes due to difference in population right?.  That makes sense, except for the EC votes are not based on population, making some citizens votes unequal in value.

So to summarize, the reasons the EC exists are being completely ignored due to very poor design of the EC.
1) The Tyranny of the Majority fear of the popular vote is not addressed as the EC votes of each State are decided by...Popular Vote?
2) The Equality of State representation is not addressed as each State is not given equal EC representation.
3) The value of each citizens vote is not treated as equal due to the completely illogical design of awarding EC votes by Number of Congressmen and Senators....which also exacerbates #2

Thus the EC (in its current form), a monumental failure, when addressing the issues it intended to address.

Lets look at some hypothetical examples.  To prevent the Tyranny of the Majority, we have to believe that a few bad actors have influenced the population of say Wyoming.  The EC Delegate is supposed to be able to make the decision to go against the will of the people, and award the EC votes to what he/she thinks is appropriate.  So now an entire State populations votes can be in the hands of a few delegates?  That doesn't seem to be Ok....it seems easier to corrupt a few EC delegates than to coerce the majority of a population, right?  Either way, the problem isn't really addressed today anyway...as Delegate in 99.99% of the time, simply award EC votes as the popular vote goes.

With the States' representation, the EC fails either way you look at it.  States should be equal, or the individual vote should be equal.  There is no other way to look at it.  Either each State gets 1 Electoral vote, or it is decided by population.  Going by the number of Congressmen works, as it is done my population, right?  But when you add the arbitrary number for Senators, that skews the representation DRASTICALLY.  This way allows for equal representation for NO ONE....neither State NOR individual citizen.
So it fails to achieve equal representation for anyone or anything!  Completely useless.
It also doesn't address the issue of candidates not campaigning in lesser populated States.  Even with the EC votes in small states being artificially inflated by the Senator numbers, it is STILL too small to make POTUS candidates spend equal time campaigning there...they simply don't go.

The issues come into light when a candidate loses the popular vote to the EC.  What did the EC prevent from happening in these situations?  Was some outrageous candidate prevented from winning due to influence of the uninformed population?  No.  Did it prevent some states from having more influence than others?  Of course not, as the EC actually CREATES the system where some States have more influence than others.  What it DOES create is creating a system where each citizens vote is NOT equal....and to me, that is FAR more important.
And as Chino stated above....it actually can create scenarios where citizens might not even vote, as in the end, their vote, in a manner of speaking, won't count!

I mean seriously.....there really is no argument, based in fact, that I have seen, that justifies the Electoral College IMO (it its current form).  I am more than happy to hear any, but damn it just looks like an extremely moronic application of an antiquated safeguard.  JMO.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2019, 09:33:15 PM by eric42434224 »
Oh shit, you're right!

rumborak

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Offline eric42434224

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Forgetting about "partisan politics" and "I want! I want!" agendas, I'm actually a HUGE fan of the give and take. I think the system is brilliant in its fairness.  Any candidate can potentially win (for a supposed racist, conservative, bigoted country, an AFRICAN AMERICAN won two successive terms, under the electoral college, with record turnouts, and the two highest vote totals that any candidate has ever received in an American Presidential election) and yet the system cannot be gamed with traditional "ballot box" stuffing, etc.  That's good for all of us.

In contrast, the alternative, majority rule, will be a disaster for all involved.

With all due respect, there is literally nothing "fair" in the EC.  State representation is not equal or fair, and neither is the value of individual vote.  It is precisely UN-fair.  At least it could be fair to States OR Individual voter...but it is so f-ed up, it makes it fair for neither.
Also, what exactly about the popular vote that precludes "any candidate from winning"? 
As far as "ballot box stuffing"?  How does the EC prevent that?  And how exactly does a Popular Vote encourage it?
And please enlighten us on how Majority rule will be a disaster?  The EC merely puts the Majority Rule at the state level, then inserts a completely arbitrary system to value each of those smaller Majority Rule results.  What exactly did it protect us from?
Oh shit, you're right!

rumborak

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The country has been around for 230 years.  It's kind of difficult to go all the way back to 1789 in terms of ideology, but certainly, since the 1960's, it's a little specious to claim that "one party has benefited significantly over the last 20 years".

Since 2000, only the republicans have had presidents elected with LESS votes than the opposing party, so I don't think that is an unreasonable statement.

It is entirely unreasonable, since "total votes" is not the standard by which the President is elected.  You might as well say "Since 2000, only the Republicans have had Presidents elected with LESS parking tickets than the opposing party".   

The Founding Fathers were clear and explicit that pure vote totals were NOT to be the standard by which the President was elected. 

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And ignore states whose votes are poor value for money.

No, not exactly.  They still count toward the total.  They just won't be swayed.  There is a difference.

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Which would have been 9-7 or 36/20 (at least) in the case the votes reflected the wishes of the citizens. Your definition of fairness could be achieved by forgoing the election completely and just going with a coin flip.

Okay, but if there's no material difference in outcome, and there is a material difference in terms of "vulnerability" of the election, why change?  You're making my argument; there's no upside, only downside to changing.

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Considering most modern liberal democracies function on this principle, I fail to see why this is the case. Either way, a proportional presidential election is still beholden to a proportional(ish) house and a degressive senate, so I fail to see what would be lost, other than citizens with less voice due to no other reason than geography having more of voice in how their country is governed.

Most Americans are on social media; that doesn't make it a good thing. I frankly do not understand that idea of "not having a voice".  It's an incongruous comment to make.  There will still be a sector of our society whose voice is not fully heard no matter what the outcome is or the system used . 

I think what some fail to understand is that the "tyranny of the minority" IS the fairness. It's SUPPOSED to work that way in the context of the larger system.  It's part of the checks and the balances.  The House is purely a popularity contest.  Pure vote totals, and in fact, pure numbers of seats, established by population and geography.  The Senate is the exact opposite, in the sense that there is an equal voice for each state (still the fundamental building block of our nation) regardless of size.  And the Presidency - the only true "national" election this nation has - is a bridge between the two.   

Offline eric42434224

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Combining the two does not create a bridge between the two, it actually causes them to cancel each other out.
Where one gives equal voice to the State, and one gives equal voice to the individual, the combination gives equal voice to neither.
It then becomes arbitrary, and serves no real purpose.  There is no Fairness in that system.

EDIT:  Also. the Tyranny issue was addressed by the inclusion of the EC delegates, which could cast their vote regardless of popular vote.  That is a system that is not used today, and with the availability of information, it really isn't needed.  The Tyranny issue was not meant to be solved by the NUMBER of EC votes....that was to create Fairness....but due to population changes, it has simply become very UNfair.
Oh shit, you're right!

rumborak

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Offline Stadler

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Forgetting about "partisan politics" and "I want! I want!" agendas, I'm actually a HUGE fan of the give and take. I think the system is brilliant in its fairness.  Any candidate can potentially win (for a supposed racist, conservative, bigoted country, an AFRICAN AMERICAN won two successive terms, under the electoral college, with record turnouts, and the two highest vote totals that any candidate has ever received in an American Presidential election) and yet the system cannot be gamed with traditional "ballot box" stuffing, etc.  That's good for all of us.


I have always been curious what voter turnout would look like without the electoral college. There are tons of people that don't bother going to the polls because of how one sided their state appears to be. I know republicans who didn't vote in 2016 because they knew CT was in the bag for Hillary.

But why would it be any different?  Whether I say "fuck it" and don't vote because in Connecticut there is no hope of a electoral win, or because knowing California is going to drive us into socialist oblivion (I'm kidding.  Sort of.)?  Your vote tallies on a sheet.   Whether it's a "+1" on a total of 62,984,828 (Trump's national total) or a "+1" on a total of "673,215" (Trump's Connecticut total) neither one is going to bridge the gap between that and 65,853,514 or 897,572 (Hillary's totals).

I'm sure there will be push-back on this, but I think a big part of this is a by-product of "I didn't get my way".  If the vote total/electoral discrepancy was over Abe Lincoln and John Kennedy instead of George "Iraq War" Bush and Donald "Fake News" Trump we wouldn't be having this conversation. 

Online El Barto

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Forgetting about "partisan politics" and "I want! I want!" agendas, I'm actually a HUGE fan of the give and take. I think the system is brilliant in its fairness.  Any candidate can potentially win (for a supposed racist, conservative, bigoted country, an AFRICAN AMERICAN won two successive terms, under the electoral college, with record turnouts, and the two highest vote totals that any candidate has ever received in an American Presidential election) and yet the system cannot be gamed with traditional "ballot box" stuffing, etc.  That's good for all of us.


I have always been curious what voter turnout would look like without the electoral college. There are tons of people that don't bother going to the polls because of how one sided their state appears to be. I know republicans who didn't vote in 2016 because they knew CT was in the bag for Hillary.

But why would it be any different?  Whether I say "fuck it" and don't vote because in Connecticut there is no hope of a electoral win, or because knowing California is going to drive us into socialist oblivion (I'm kidding.  Sort of.)?  Your vote tallies on a sheet.   Whether it's a "+1" on a total of 62,984,828 (Trump's national total) or a "+1" on a total of "673,215" (Trump's Connecticut total) neither one is going to bridge the gap between that and 65,853,514 or 897,572 (Hillary's totals).

I'm sure there will be push-back on this, but I think a big part of this is a by-product of "I didn't get my way".  If the vote total/electoral discrepancy was over Abe Lincoln and John Kennedy instead of George "Iraq War" Bush and Donald "Fake News" Trump we wouldn't be having this conversation.
My wasted Texas vote would count in relation to your wasted Connecticut vote. Texas threw 3,877,868 votes in the dumpster in 2016, and plenty of intelligent people, plus myself, didn't bother including ours just to be dismissed.

Generally I've supported proportional electoral voting. Ideally I think the best option would be congressional districts plus 2 statewide (senate) votes for the loser states (Montana, Kansas, etc.). Everybody's vote would count, and you'd still maintain the state's interest ostensibly represented by the EC. Of course the problem is that now nationwide elections would be just as borked by gerrymandering as the state's (which will only be getting worse now that party-based gerrymandering is legal).
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Offline Stadler

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I don't understand your comment in the context of this discussion.  You say 3,877,868 votes went in the dumpster, presumably because they are Hillary votes and Trump won.  In the alternate scenario, 4,685,047 go in the dumpster.  The only difference is that it isn't YOUR vote, it's the guy across the street or the woman you work with.

It's bad analysis to assume that the will of the people is outright subverted by a gross (in the sense of total) vote count.   40 out of 50 states/districts trended MORE Republican in this last election (that doesn't mean they all resulted in electoral votes for Trump, or vice versa).  No one state swayed the election in either actual votes or electoral votes in either direction, with ONE EXCEPTION: the difference in California was itself enough to sway the total vote category (in other words, Clinton won California by a margin greater than the margin by which she beat Trump in the popular vote).

Tackling gerrymandering would be a FAR better way of addressing quirks in the electoral process than dickering with the electoral college. 
« Last Edit: November 22, 2019, 01:49:59 PM by Stadler »

Online El Barto

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Tackling gerrymandering would be a FAR better way of addressing quirks in the electoral process than dickering with the electoral college.
I agree, but sabotaging the EC is possible and resolving partisan gerrymandering is not.
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Offline Stadler

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Tackling gerrymandering would be a FAR better way of addressing quirks in the electoral process than dickering with the electoral college.
I agree, but sabotaging the EC is possible and resolving partisan gerrymandering is not.

Okay, but - and this is better said over a beer so you can see the laugh - just because something is possible doesn't mean its a good thing.   Sabotaging the EC is pointless and doesn't solve any problems.    Gerrymandering will.  :)

Offline Podaar

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Speaking of gerrymandering. Have you guys seen The Atlas Of Redistricting at FiveThirtyEight?

You can see your State (or even the entire nation) and remap it by several criteria to see what the effects of redrawing districts would be. It's an interesting rabbit hole to jump in.

Online El Barto

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Speaking of gerrymandering. Have you guys seen The Atlas Of Redistricting at FiveThirtyEight?

You can see your State (or even the entire nation) and remap it by several criteria to see what the effects of redrawing districts would be. It's an interesting rabbit hole to jump in.
It would be child's play to have computers draw perfectly fair maps for every district at this point. The problem is that neither party would allow it. Even the ones that are currently fucked by the existing lines. Rom summed it up nicely: You don't understand. Ferengi workers don't want to stop the exploitation, we want to find a way to become the exploiters.
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