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How the President of the United States is “Elected”
Posted: 29 October 2006 09:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Bebelicious - 29 October 2006 02:24 PM

I realize the US is a Republic and not a Democracy, and I don’t want to vote on every single issue, but I feel in electing those officials, the person with the most votes should be the winner without any possible/obvious loopholes.

The problem with that is that the election is supposed to be determined by not who has the most votes, but rather by who has the majority (at least 50.000001%) of the votes.  Even if one candidate has ten times the votes of the runner-up, if he has only 50% of the votes he doesn’t win.  That way the person elected President really is the popular candidate (in theory, at least), rather than some guy who only got 2% of the votes being elected because every other candidate only got 1% each.  It’s the difference between having the President who most people chose, or the President chosen by the most people.

The majority vote process runs into trouble, though, when more than two popular candidates are campaigning.  In a close-run three-person race, it would be easy to have no candidate win more than 40% of the votes.  With four or five popular candidates, it’s virtually certain that none of them will get a majority.  The electoral college does help in that it usually minimizes the less popular candidates.  The candidates that it “weeds out” wouldn’t have won anyway, and would only serve to draw votes away from the others.  It’s a way to still get a majority vote, even when otherwise there wouldn’t have been one.  And if one of the candidates does get the majority of popular votes, then he should also get the majority in the electoral college.  Assuming that the electors act in good faith.

If the election was determined directly by how many voting citizens chose each candidate, then you would often end up with no candidate getting a majority.  In which case the House of Representatives gets to choose who the President is (thus taking on the same role as the electoral college), and it would be like the 2000 Presidential election over and over again.

I suppose that you could have the election by popular vote, and then if no candidate had a majority then there would be a second election with only the two top-scoring candidates.  That way the people would be acting as their own vast electoral college, but it would be one that was only formed during elections in which it was needed rather than functioning in every election.  With only two possible choices, that would make it almost certain that one or the other would get a clear majority.  This plan would not have been practicable back in 1784, but should be possible now.

Of course, what would be even better would be if we could do without any President or government at all, and just do what needed to be done properly and conscientiously out of a sense of social duty, but sadly Marx and Engels and their pals apparently didn’t get out much among real people very often when they came up with those ideals. . .

Any alternative to the current system is going to involve some major and drastic re-writing of the Constitution.  Which is not likely to be a popular notion; just look at the popularity of Bush’s suspension of some parts of the Constitution, even though those are supposed to be (we can hope) just temporary suspensions.

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Posted: 05 November 2006 12:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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I’m pretty sure the States have a lot of control over how they want to run elections. 

Doesn’t at least one state have a proportional system rather than the winner-take-all system that most states use?

Another option is an instant run-off—you can avoid the expense of a second election, but still have that info in case no candidate gets a majority.

Also, I understand doing away with the college of electors would require a Constitutional Amendment, but if there were a grassroots campaign to do so (and just use a simple popular election), I can’t imagine anyone being able to mount much of a defense of the old system.

I still think drastic campaign reform could be done first.  We have got to get rid of the legalized bribery and obscene amounts of money involved in elections—and toss out the notion that money is the same thing as free speech.

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Posted: 08 November 2006 09:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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JoeDaJuggler - 05 November 2006 05:34 PM

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I still think drastic campaign reform could be done first.  We have got to get rid of the legalized bribery and obscene amounts of money involved in elections—and toss out the notion that money is the same thing as free speech.

Actually, that’s probably the key….those with the deepest pockets get to scream louder. 

We just had the midterm elections, and these are a more proportionate playing field, reflecting majority desire.  In fact, these are really more important even than presidential elections because these determine the ruling House and Senate, who in turn wield heavy power over what the president can and cannot do.  These are the folks who hold the majority voice more fairly. 

I am happy to say….we are winning, winning, WINNING!!!

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Posted: 08 November 2006 10:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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So, umm, you’re a Democrat?............Any way, funny how that is working out.  Was happy with PA results in House and Senate (Casey over Santorum, esp), and there’s speculation now, that Virginia might come out with the tilting vote in the Senate.  My, what a happy time this is - and, all women take note - the U.S. will now have the first female Speaker of the House in our history, Nanacy Pelosi.  garrffff - oh, and congrats on a milestone, ladies.

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Posted: 08 November 2006 10:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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I thought for sure that the electoral college would be abolished after the 2000 fiasco.  Apparently…they wanted to keep on going with it…

I understand that 100 years ago…heck even 50 years ago, not every person would have access to information about the candidates or about the issues…Sure, make sure that someone who understands the meaning behind the speeches can vote smartly.

But today…with access for all, let the people decide.  Any bum can come in off the street & get a periodical, or get online in a public library.

There will always be people that will simply vote strictly to one party…but to those who have done their research, they’ll pick the people they feel will do the best job.

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Posted: 09 November 2006 12:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Maegan - 09 November 2006 03:50 AM

There will always be people that will simply vote strictly to one party…but to those who have done their research, they’ll pick the people they feel will do the best job.

Amen to that, however, we could all be wrong at the same time, and have been.  Richard Nixon comes to mind.

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Posted: 09 November 2006 09:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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stork - 09 November 2006 03:24 AM

So, umm, you’re a Democrat?............Any way, funny how that is working out.  Was happy with PA results in House and Senate (Casey over Santorum, esp), and there’s speculation now, that Virginia might come out with the tilting vote in the Senate.  My, what a happy time this is - and, all women take note - the U.S. will now have the first female Speaker of the House in our history, Nanacy Pelosi.  garrffff - oh, and congrats on a milestone, ladies.

I’m actually philosophically an arnachist.  I’m not registered with either of the two popular parties.  You always use the ammunition at your disposal as wisely as you possibly can.

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Posted: 10 November 2006 11:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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I’m actually philosophically an arnachist.  I’m not registered with either of the two popular parties.  You always use the ammunition at your disposal as wisely as you possibly can.

If you vote, you are not a true anarchist.  Perhaps a pseudo-wannabe anarchist, like most young people around here, but not true (No offense intended, I like and respect you.  That’s just what came to mind).

Dan in PA - enjoying my paid-for Veteran’s Day holiday

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Posted: 10 November 2006 12:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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stork - 10 November 2006 04:37 PM

If you vote, you are not a true anarchist.

First, check out the No True Scotsman fallacy.

Second, there is a wide range of different belief systems regarded by their practitioners as anarchism. No one actually has sole claim to the term.

Third, it is not true that an anarchist does not or should not vote. An anarchist seeks ‘self-rule’, i.e. they are against any sort of rule by the state. How they choose or hope to bring about a stateless society is not part of anarchism. A particularly committed group of anarchists might decide to contest every seat of both houses and accept a voluntary leader to run for president, if, between themselves, they believe that through this they can in concert effect the move towards self-rule they desire. This would be entirely in keeping with anarchism.

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Posted: 10 November 2006 12:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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I suggest we bring back the Know-Nothing party.  Maybe they could build us a monument to human stupidity in Washington.

Yea!! First post, page 2.

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Posted: 10 November 2006 01:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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There already is one. It’s at the east end of National Mall.

We had our own British monument to stupidity alongside Westminster Bridge for many years. But it was considered too small to reflect how truly stupid modern Britain is, so we built a new one at Greenwich (a bargain at $1.5 billion).

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