The Electoral College – Fix it, scrap it or leave it alone?

posted at 8:31 am on October 27, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

Before you ask, yes… this topic was already touched upon in the Green Room yesterday. But since the comments section isn’t up and around yet, (edit: Comments are back up! Great job, tech geeks!) you may as well have the chance to weigh in along with my own, long standing take on it. Democratic rep Steve Israel came up with what may be one of the silliest ideas ever put forward in terms of restructuring American elections.

The head of the House Democratic campaign arm this week proposed a constitutional amendment that would give the winner of the popular vote in the presidential race an additional 29 electoral votes.

Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) did not offer an explanation in the joint resolution filed in the House for why he was proposing to change the way elections in the U.S. are decided.

This suggestion fails on two levels. First, if you’re going to propose an amendment to fix the electoral college, you’re admitting that it’s broken. And if you’re willing to go so far as to say that it’s not working, perhaps you should just admit that it’s not needed in the modern era.

Second, even if we are to assume that the EC is worth fixing, you should at least propose something which actually addresses its many, obvious shortcomings. The suggested solution simply seems to say, “Hey! this system ignores the popular vote. So we should give the popular vote more power!” Well, Steve, if that’s your argument then all you’re proposing is to make an already convoluted and distorted system more complicated.

I’ve opposed this appendix in the American body politic vigorously since the 2000 election, but there was never much resonance among Republicans since it would have resulted in an election loss for George W. Bush. However, we’re now seeing a situation where Barack Obama could, in theory, pull off the same dubious achievement that Bush did twelve years ago. (As I briefly noted yesterday morning.)

I’ve heard the arguments in favor of keeping the Electoral College in place. In fact, Doug Mataconis published a roundup of them this fall, including the only argument I’ve ever found persuasive, as written by Daniel Foster.

In short, the College reflects the formal and constitutional fact that the president is elected chief executive of a union of states — federated but sovereign — and not a conglomeration of people. The executive of the Constitution, of the Founders, is president of the United States, not president of America. Its detractors consider it an anachronism, but if federalism still means anything — and sadly, that’s something of an open question — then the College is as vital as ever. It affirms that we vote as citizens of the several states, not mere residents of arbitrarily drawn administrative districts.

I get that part of it. There’s a natural inclination among those who favor the original vision of states’ powers to keep hold of the idea that each state should vote as a a single entity. But that’s hardly the only reason that the founders put it in place. It was also a measure to ensure that the unwashed masses didn’t do something foolish. Further, it eased the logistical problems of reporting election results in a nation which still relied on horses to get official results transmitted over long distances. But America has grown past those problems with instant results being available to every cable TV viewer on a minute by minute basis in multicolored charts and holographs.

The people of the several states still get to elect their own representatives and nothing is changing that. The executive branch is unique, with the Oval Office resident representing everyone. And that, I think, is where even Foster’s persuasive argument falls apart. The President most certainly is not the “chief executive of a union of states — federated but sovereign — and not a conglomeration of people.” In fact, the idea of Washington being the boss of the individual states should be an idea abhorrent to most conservatives. But he is elected by the people of all the states.

As things stand now, your vote doesn’t really count unless you live in one of roughly ten states. If you live in New York or California, your vote doesn’t count. It’s going to Obama whether you like it or not. And if you live in Georgia or Alabama, your vote doesn’t count either. It’s going to Romney. And your voices are not heard by presidential candidates, They don’t visit you and they don’t pay attention to your concerns unless you live in one of those ten aforementioned states.

Other common arguments include the cry of, “National Recount!!!” (eleventy!) Why? Each state can still report their own numbers and determine how close the vote would be before a recount would be required. But instead of sending in electors with scraps of paper, they could record the total vote.

Finally, (you may applaud now, Bill Clinton fans..) what does the current system have to say on the issue of faithless electors? While no election has been overturned by them, there have been a few in the past several decades. And with the stakes this high – particularly in an electoral college vote as close as this one may well be – do you really like the odds? What if, as some observers are now speculating, Romney wins the popular vote and the electoral college vote comes down to a gap of only two or three in either direction? What if three or four “patriots” from states which have just flipped back into the red column decide that kicking out the historic figure of America’s first black president is too great a burden for history to bear and change their vote? A few slips of the pen and Barack Obama is on his way to a fully constitutionally supported second term, even if he lost both the popular vote and the EC.

This system is long past its Best Sold By date. Steve Israel is on the wrong track. He recognized that there is a problem, but the solution is to abandon a system which hasn’t served a real purpose in centuries. (And don’t even get me started on the possibility of turning over the decision to Congress – a body with an approval rating only slightly higher than foot fungus.) Let the candidates make their case to all of the American people. And let them decide national elections on a national level.

You may now fire up the torches and break out the pitchforks.


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The popular vote is not ignored.
It happens at the state level.
And need we say that we are a representative Republic & NOT a Democracy for a reason?

Badger40 on October 27, 2012 at 8:37 AM

Let the candidates make their case to all of the American people. And let them decide national elections on a national level.

No.

maverick muse on October 27, 2012 at 8:37 AM

If Obama wins the electoral college and loses the popular vote, we’re going to witness the most hilarious complete reversal of every partisan from 2000. Republicans will suddenly claim that the popular vote reflects the “will of the people” and Democrats will suddenly become strict constitutionalists. No one, absolutely NO ONE on either side will admit their own hypocrisy, but will instead accuse the other side of hypocrisy. Its going to be delicious and yet also super boring and predictable.

libfreeordie on October 27, 2012 at 8:37 AM

Badger40 on October 27, 2012 at 8:37 AM

that.

maverick muse on October 27, 2012 at 8:37 AM

It all went to hell when Senators became elected officials instead of appointees of the Governors.

Spliff Menendez on October 27, 2012 at 8:38 AM

Leave the EC alone.

Here’s a better idea: Only citizens who actually pay taxes are allowed to vote.

petefrt on October 27, 2012 at 8:38 AM

libfreeordie on October 27, 2012 at 8:37 AM

You need to vote for Mitt.

hawkdriver on October 27, 2012 at 8:39 AM

I say leave it alone.

But, if anything is to be changed, I think Rep. Israel’s idea is actually a good one. In fact, I had the same thought — even about the number 29 being a good number — earlier in the week before I read about Rep. Israel’s proposal.

The point of the electoral college is (partly) to ensure that smaller states are not ignored, but recognizing that larger population states do get more representation. It’s reflecting the same balance that is evident in the Senate and the House being organized the way they are. We cannot get rid of that without significantly altering the balance of power that was carefully set up in the constitution, which would be to the clear detriment of the smaller states.

The main concern people have with the electoral college is that occasionally the popular vote winner doesn’t win. Rep. Israel’s idea would make it significantly less likely for that to happen again, but would still leave smaller states with (almost) the same proportional representation that they have in the EC now. I think it’s not a bad idea. (Although I do favor leaving things as they are.)

acasilaco on October 27, 2012 at 8:39 AM

Here’s a better idea: Only citizens who actually pay taxes are allowed to vote.

petefrt on October 27, 2012 at 8:38 AM

So no senior citizens on Social Security?

libfreeordie on October 27, 2012 at 8:40 AM

Keep it –
BUT – Split California in Half
.
The anomaly of California is what makes Electoral college not so practical-
I mean c’mon – spotting the liberals 25% to 270 is just not ” fair”

FlaMurph on October 27, 2012 at 8:40 AM

Change the rules and the math so that the candidate that wins a super majority of states wins the election. The current process that yields to the large populations in liberal urban enclaves must go.

rplat on October 27, 2012 at 8:40 AM

As things stand now, your vote doesn’t really count unless you live in one of roughly ten states.

Yeah, it just so happens every four years, it’s a different ten states…Montana or Wyoming would have only, basically, one vote for President, if that…now it has three?

Not ideal, but it does even out the states…and if it was straight popular vote, 5 states would be the ones that count…

right2bright on October 27, 2012 at 8:40 AM

It all went to hell when Senators became elected officials instead of appointees of the Governors.

Spliff Menendez on October 27, 2012 at 8:38 AM

I think it was state Legislatures.

acasilaco on October 27, 2012 at 8:40 AM

But since the comments section isn’t up and around yet,

Actually, I was just reading the comments in the new Green Room section.

Count to 10 on October 27, 2012 at 8:40 AM

Without the Electoral College, America is a Democracy, and the majority—no matter how misguided, ill-informed, mis-informed, or deluded by a current fashion of thought—rules. It’s the express lane to despotism and tyranny.

Thanks, I’ll keep my Republic guided by the rules of law, not men.

ahem on October 27, 2012 at 8:40 AM

libfreeordie on October 27, 2012 at 8:37 AM

Speaking of predictable & boring.
Why is it liberals whine about the electoral college at all?
There’s a reason it was created.
So the majority cannot impose tyranny upon the minority.

Badger40 on October 27, 2012 at 8:40 AM

Keep it –
BUT – Split California in Half
.
The anomaly of California is what makes Electoral college not so practical-
I mean c’mon – spotting the liberals 25% to 270 is just not ” fair”

FlaMurph on October 27, 2012 at 8:40 AM

Max, and Minimum…minimum, 3, max…figure it out, but take away these “super states”…

right2bright on October 27, 2012 at 8:41 AM

You would see automatic recounts in just about all fifty states. And no candidate for any reason would ever campaign outside of say, Chicago, New York, Atlanta …. Big cities would be the only electoral areas that ever mattered.

Arssanguinus on October 27, 2012 at 8:41 AM

Fhooh! Aproaches Jazz Shaw with a blazing Tiki Torch.

Eliminate voter fraud first. The Electorial College prevents an exclusive cities vs rural popular vote gambit. It also prevents fragmintaion of broad colititions ala parlemtary parties. Finally, it’s traditionally American.

NaCly dog on October 27, 2012 at 8:43 AM

…the president is elected chief executive of a union of states — federated but sovereign — and not a conglomeration of people.

The whole thing in a short sentence.

Here’s a better idea: Only citizens who actually pay taxes are allowed to vote.

petefrt on October 27, 2012 at 8:38 AM

Then what?

An issues test?

IQ test?

Its like liberal ideas, sounds good…superficially.

cozmo on October 27, 2012 at 8:43 AM

libfreeordie on October 27, 2012 at 8:37 AM

Keep dreaming hater of all things Constitution.

Spliff Menendez on October 27, 2012 at 8:43 AM

So no senior citizens on Social Security?

libfreeordie on October 27, 2012 at 8:40 AM

Get your facts straight, there are many senior citizens drawing Social Security and paying considerable federal income taxes. . . and I’m one of them.

rplat on October 27, 2012 at 8:44 AM

but there was never much resonance among Republicans since it would have resulted in an election loss for George W. Bush.

Care to take that back, Shaw? Conservatives support the EC because this is supposed to be a Republic and a Union of States, not a democratic conglomerate. You argue like a lefty.

Valkyriepundit on October 27, 2012 at 8:44 AM

The democrats have been trying to “fix” it every election since at least 1962.

Flange on October 27, 2012 at 8:44 AM

After what we saw in Bush/Gore in just Florida, I cannot imagine the carnage of a nationwide recount. Keep the college.

doufree on October 27, 2012 at 8:45 AM

so, again, ed is a communist rears its head. campaigning in new york, chicago, miami, and L.A., in spanish only mind you, will elect the president. how is that good?

tm11999 on October 27, 2012 at 8:47 AM

[T]he idea of Washington being the boss of the individual states should be an idea abhorrent to most conservatives.

How so? Is it any more abhorrent than the idea of Washington being the boss of the individuals? I think not.

I’m in the leave it alone camp.

Syzygy on October 27, 2012 at 8:48 AM

Here’s a better idea: Only citizens who actually pay taxes are allowed to vote.

petefrt on October 27, 2012 at 8:38 AM

The problem with that is that it allows Congress to determine who can vote. A bare majority of Congress could eliminate taxes on an unfavored constituency, thereby disenfranchising them and drastically altering the balance of power.

sadarj on October 27, 2012 at 8:48 AM

keep it….

cmsinaz on October 27, 2012 at 8:49 AM

Depends on who wins .

Lucano on October 27, 2012 at 8:49 AM

It all went to hell when Senators became elected officials instead of appointees of the Governors.

Spliff Menendez on October 27, 2012 at 8:38 AM

I think it was state Legislatures.

acasilaco on October 27, 2012 at 8:40 AM

As far as I know.
Throwing it to the general populace just stripped the state governments of any check on federal power. It would be nice if the Senators had to follow the orders of their respective governors.

Count to 10 on October 27, 2012 at 8:49 AM

Leave it alone!
It was designed that way for a good reason.
IF any customizing IS needed, I suggest that the Electoral College count electoral votes based upon COUNTIES! That indeed will fix it.
Dems out of power until the end of time – what could go wrong?
*grin*
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on October 27, 2012 at 8:49 AM

Yeah lets fix the EC.

While we are at it lets fix that pesky second amendment.

And lets fix that pesky first amendment too.

And we can add a bunch of amendments guaranteeing all the goodies the founders left out.

bgibbs1000 on October 27, 2012 at 8:49 AM

If Obama wins the electoral college and loses the popular vote, we’re going to witness the most hilarious complete reversal of every partisan from 2000.

libfreeordie on October 27, 2012 at 8:37 AM

The difference this time around is that if the reverse happens, you likely won’t see Mitt win the PV by only half a million votes. His leads in the national polls is high enough that he’s on track for a few million more votes than Obama. If he still loses the election thanks to the stupidity of a handful of Ohioans, people will be justifiably PO’d at the current system(and the state of O-I-H-O).

Doughboy on October 27, 2012 at 8:49 AM

predictable: abolish the Electoral College……mmmmm, since its the Progressive Democrats that are in favor of this I say……..no thank you scum.

Yawwwwwwwwn.

PappyD61 on October 27, 2012 at 8:50 AM

Liberals bring this up every election they stand to lose and lose big. Weren’t a lot of complaints from the Libs in 2008 that I recall. The “system” drawn up by a lot of old dead white guys appeared to work out just fine for all the Obamatrons.

Folks should be careful what they wish for.

Contrary to what so many believe, we are not a Democracy. We are a Republic…if we can keep it.

coldwarrior on October 27, 2012 at 8:50 AM

Dear God: Romney Landslide please.

PappyD61 on October 27, 2012 at 8:50 AM

Amen. :-)

PappyD61 on October 27, 2012 at 8:51 AM

Leave it alone. You think there’s fraud now? Wait until every vote counts.

The Count on October 27, 2012 at 8:51 AM

libfreeordie on October 27, 2012 at 8:40 AM

That’s a good question. Obviously the idea needs some fine tuning. Seniors who worked all their lives now on SS? People with track record of working who are temporarily out of work?

But the general idea is to restrict voting to people who have skin in the game and to disincentivize some people from voting themselves other people’s money. A useful analogy may be corporate governance and shareholders.

petefrt on October 27, 2012 at 8:51 AM

I think perhaps the strongest argument in favor of the EC in these times is it serves to compartmentalize the effect of large-scale urban vote fraud. Right now, for example, the combined efforts of political machines in Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia could only flip PA’s electoral votes, since IL and NY would go Dem anyway. Get rid of the EC, and the floodgates open.

sadarj on October 27, 2012 at 8:51 AM

The Electoral College only seems to be a “problem” when the Democratic Party is going to lose. 2008′s results were the “will of the people,” right?

DarthBrooks on October 27, 2012 at 8:51 AM

If Obama wins the electoral college and loses the popular vote, we’re going to witness the most hilarious complete reversal of every partisan from 2000.

libfreeordie on October 27, 2012 at 8:37 AM

Um, no. Unlike liberals we actually believe in these institutions. We dont stop defending them, when they become unconvenient. This is as true of the EC as it is of free speech.

Valkyriepundit on October 27, 2012 at 8:52 AM

Keep it –
BUT – Split California in Half
.
The anomaly of California is what makes Electoral college not so practical-
I mean c’mon – spotting the liberals 25% 20% to 270 is just not ” fair”

FlaMurph on October 27, 2012 at 8:40 AM

.
FIFM

Sorry- Everything past seventh grade was a blur for me.

FlaMurph on October 27, 2012 at 8:52 AM

The electoral college means that one state’s fraud cannot pollute the vote in another state. This prevents a race to ever greater and greater fraud as states figure the other guy is cheating anyway so what the heck. I could see going by the majority in each congressional district and dropping the extra two for each state as that could be closer to the people but Dems would say their vote is too concentrated to be fair; however, dropping the extra two for each state would hurt the GOP since they get the vote of more small states; thus, it might be fair. If the fraud is greater in Dem districts and the only way to keep other voters from disenfranchisement by it is to wall off each congressional district to protect the others, then the Dems have no one but themselves to blame.

KW64 on October 27, 2012 at 8:53 AM

The Electoral College – Fix it, scrap it or leave it alone?

Leave it alone.

1.) Nationwide recounts are going to invite horrific recount fraud

2.) The electoral college reduces the influence of money in our politics by allowing candidates to concentrate their buys in a few markets, rather than having to buy nationally

3.) The electoral college reduces the ability of Democrats to demean (which they already do greatly) “flyover country” by making sure that a few big states don’t simply gang up and ignore / screw the people living in the smaller states

Stoic Patriot on October 27, 2012 at 8:53 AM

there are many senior citizens drawing Social Security and paying considerable federal income taxes. . . and I’m one of them.

rplat on October 27, 2012 at 8:44 AM

I ignored livelikeaslaveanddie bcs I have noticed you cannot reason with it.
It clearly has no respect for the founding principles & documents that make up the law of this country.

Our Republic has turned into a bad game of Monopoly. You get all of these people who b!tch & whine about changing the rules bcs they aren’t fair enough wah wah wah.
Everything the Founders did was pretty much as good as it gets here on Earth.
These guys fought & worked their a$$e$ off to get this thing right.
They didn’t get everything they all wanted, but I would say that what they did was pretty good. And it was a system for all times.
New technology & different times does not change the usefulness of what they have set in motion.
The founding documents are timeless.
There are no new ideas in the world. We are just constantly rehashing old things & putting them in new packages.
This talk of trashing the EC is nothing but toying with the idea of tyranny.
This is a worthless subject to have to debate over & over again. I don’t care if it’s conservatives or liberals doing it.
The EC needs to stay put bcs that is how our Republic was founded.
Those dead white guys were a hell of a lot smarter than pretty much anything the world’s got going now.
People are not smarter. They are dumber.
And it will probably take several hundred more years until we get back to being as intelligent & well versed as they were in the ideas of Liberty.
If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!

Badger40 on October 27, 2012 at 8:55 AM

Some states allow felons to vote, other states do not. Some states have voter-id laws, other states do not.

How do you expect to solve that problem? Every state is not counting the same thing.

ninjapirate on October 27, 2012 at 8:56 AM

I am a fan of the split Electoral State – ala Maine and Nebraska.

And you don’t need a federal Constitutional Amendment to achieve it.

What isn’t mentioned is population shifts within states and across states. Split EV would represent this. As a native “upstate NY’ker” – the fact Liberal NYC – with 50% transient residents can vote a 6 month resident to Senator – and perform a Presidential Election junta is ripe for change.

Odie1941 on October 27, 2012 at 8:57 AM

Oh, and I forgot one:

The electoral college reduces the ability to register and count illegal voters. New York, California, and Massachusetts would register illegal aliens by the buckets and then have their votes count towards the national tally.

Stoic Patriot on October 27, 2012 at 8:57 AM

The popular vote is not ignored.
It happens at the state level.
And need we say that we are a representative Republic & NOT a Democracy for a reason?

Badger40 on October 27, 2012 at 8:37 AM

Winner, winner, chicken dinner … Straight out of the gate.

pambi on October 27, 2012 at 8:58 AM

If we’re looking for ideas for reform, we could do as NE and ME do, and award single electoral votes for the winner of each congressional district, and two “senatorial” EVs for the winner of each state.

The problem of faithless electors could be fairly simply solved. Either change state laws or amend the Constitution to automatically “lock” electoral votes and remove the discretion of the electors. I can’t imagine that either Congress or the state legislators would be interested in protecting the rights of electors to screw over the voters of the states / congressional districts.

sadarj on October 27, 2012 at 8:59 AM

If we shifted to “National Popular Vote”, then Cook County would suddenly have about 1 Million more Democrat voters than ever before, and no state in the union would be able to fight it. States without voter ID laws would use fraud in support of more statism.

The big 3 liberal states- California, Illinois and New York, they would have total control via vote fraud. Anyone who says otherwise is an idiot or a liar.

Spartacus on October 27, 2012 at 8:59 AM

As someone who spent much of her life living on the less populated side of Washington State, I say keep the electorial college.

Split California? I know people who live in Northern California who would like to see that.

Nevada is low population density except in 2 metropolitan areas. Still it’s a swing state. The people that moved into the cities from other states have not yet taken over from the rugged westerners who still open carry.

DarrelsJoy on October 27, 2012 at 9:00 AM

A bare majority of Congress could eliminate taxes on an unfavored constituency, thereby disenfranchising rewarding them with other people’s money them and drastically altering the balance of power.

sadarj on October 27, 2012 at 8:48 AM

The horrific reality.

Badger40 on October 27, 2012 at 9:00 AM

leave it alone. times may have changed but our founding fathers were quite frankly smarter than us. Our system protects the minority. wether its small states/races/genders

gerrym51 on October 27, 2012 at 9:01 AM

I don’t like the idea of all or nothing with the EC. A state should be able to split the EC votes between the candidates. If a large state has a 49.99% vs 49.98% result, then it is unfair to give all of the EC votes to the candidate with the .01% lead. Some states split the vote, why not all?

DAT60A3 on October 27, 2012 at 9:02 AM

One reason to keep it would be to imagine the possibility of a national recount in the case of a close election. In such a case the result might not be certified before June.

Annar on October 27, 2012 at 9:02 AM

you should at least propose something which actually addresses its many, obvious shortcomings.

Obvious to who?

I like things just the way they were originally made. There is almost nothing this generation is going to do to fix the constitution. Not this generation. Not ever.

Without the EC, large cities would gain incredible influence over the election. Much much more than they do now. Candidates would ignore small states and less populated areas. Our nation would now be held hostage by the whims of New York, L.A., Philadelphia, and every other large city.

I live in a small city.. or a large town. Whatever you want to call it. We always have Presidential candidates visit us. Never again if the EC is repealed. What would be the point? They’d visit Philadelphia, Erie and Pittsburgh and skip over everything else. Democrats would have a huge advantage. The laws of our nation would begin looking more and more like the laws in large cities because the large cities would write the rules. It could not be any other way. Appease and appeal the the cities and you’ve got such an advantage.
But even if my argument is flawed… I don’t want this corrupt lazy ignorant backwards generation doing a blasted thing to “improve” the constitution. If anything.. we need to repeal the 17th amendment. This has destroyed the Senate.

JellyToast on October 27, 2012 at 9:03 AM

Fixing the ec would only be the second dumbest idea in the history of our republic.

traye on October 27, 2012 at 9:04 AM

Scrap it and hand wads of undeserved power to political machines and media in the big markets/states. NY, CA, IL would dominate completely, rather then just margianlly like now. Then again the First and Second Amendments et al are in the process of circling the bowl so why not flush the Electoral College with the rest. It’s the most genius innovation the Founders left us. They knew they were making a strong executive, but they wanted to be sure the election of same still came through the principles of a Republic. If there come GOP majorities in states that have already passed those loathesome trigger laws to ditch the Electoral there should be concerted efforts to repeal them. Not holding breath.

curved space on October 27, 2012 at 9:04 AM

Pennsylvanians outside of Philthadelphia would welcome a split EC vote.

petefrt on October 27, 2012 at 9:05 AM

Sorry, the popular vote will give us the tyranny of the large states. No longer will the small states matter, for the most part. Rather, candidates will have to put their time and money into the states and cities where the highest concentration of people are located. We’ll get an electoral version of the high school textbook elections, where a handful of large states drive the agenda for the nation.

Now, since California is going blue, they don’t drive the election.

Popular vote? No Thanks.

STL_Vet on October 27, 2012 at 9:05 AM

It’s an absurd notion that switching to a popular would expand the places the campaigns would concern themselves with in any meaningful fashion. In fact it would obliterate the voices from small states and rural areas.

As long as we use the EC I’ll continue to ignore the popular vote and will even with a reversal of 2000, but amongst the libs you already saw that spin on a dime transition they’re so known for in 2004. How many of us endured their arguments that a few of what they called fraudulent votes cost Kerry Ohio when Bush handily won the national popular vote? It was as if their arguments from 2000 had never even happened.

The only consistent argument from a Democrat is that they’ll support whatever happens to give the Democrat an advantage in an election, although they aren’t really concerned with setting those rules in advance of the election. They’re just as content to see the vote counts and then set the rules.

RW_theoriginal on October 27, 2012 at 9:05 AM

Here’s a better idea: Only citizens who actually pay taxes are allowed to vote.
petefrt on October 27, 2012 at 8:38 AM

Then what?
cozmo on October 27, 2012 at 8:43 AM

Only men, age 30 and up, with an exception for younger servicemen.

whatcat on October 27, 2012 at 9:06 AM

As someone who spent much of her life living on the less populated side of Washington State, I say keep the electorial college.

DarrelsJoy on October 27, 2012 at 9:00 AM

I was going to college at Bellevue in the early 90s for a while.
I loved the geography, hated the living conditions.
If you are/were poor living in W. WA state, you were constantly harassed by the police. I drove old vehicles bcs it was all I could afford. I was constantly being pulled over for nothing, though my vehicles were in working order.
When I visited places like Ellensburg or Moses Lake, etc., I was treated with respect.
E. WA is much like W. ND where I live now.
E. ND is like W. WA: full of busy body liberals.
I’m in Wahpeton right now, near the MN border on some family business.
I went from mostly Republican yard signs to mostly Democrat yard signs as I crossed the state.
Rural versus city = Conservative versus Liberal.
I have seen this scenario time & again & it’s no coincidence.

Badger40 on October 27, 2012 at 9:07 AM

So no senior citizens on Social Security?

libfreeordie on October 27, 2012 at 8:40 AM

You will have to pay federal taxes on your Social Security benefits if you file a federal tax return as an individual and your total income is more than $25,000.

http://ssa-custhelp.ssa.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/493/~/paying-income-tax-on-social-security-benefits

Libfreeordie you’re a prof?

You kid.

CW on October 27, 2012 at 9:09 AM

Ed, Allah seriously: why the hell did HotAir ditch a whole Green Room of interesting conservative voices and kept Jazz Shaw of all people?

Valkyriepundit on October 27, 2012 at 9:11 AM

Some states split the vote, why not all?

DAT60A3 on October 27, 2012 at 9:02 AM

I guess I’m ignorant of this.
Do some states split their electoral votes?
But the last part of your comment begs me to reply, it doesn’t matter what other states are doing. The states are sovereign entities. They can make their own laws & should not be pressured to do what other states are doing to make things more even.
The people of the states are allowed to make their own rules to do things by. 10th Amendment.

If anything.. we need to repeal the 17th amendment. This has destroyed the Senate.

JellyToast on October 27, 2012 at 9:03 AM

As someone said above, the Senators need to be held directly accountable by their state legislatures.
This is how you retain state power like the 10th intended.

Badger40 on October 27, 2012 at 9:13 AM

You overlook the impact of the 17th Amendment. State legislatures no longer have representation in the federal government.

The issue to me all boils down to the winner takes all problem. I think electoral votes should be apportioned per district and the 2 senate slots should be awarded to the winner of the overall popular vote within the entire state.

That way people’s votes in California, New York, etc. actually do matter.

ButterflyDragon on October 27, 2012 at 9:13 AM

I don’t like the idea of all or nothing with the EC. A state should be able to split the EC votes between the candidates. If a large state has a 49.99% vs 49.98% result, then it is unfair to give all of the EC votes to the candidate with the .01% lead. Some states split the vote, why not all?

DAT60A3 on October 27, 2012 at 9:02 AM

Take that up with your state legislature ….

Govgirl on October 27, 2012 at 9:14 AM

As things stand now, your vote doesn’t really count unless you live in one of roughly ten states. If you live in New York or California, your vote doesn’t count. It’s going to Obama whether you like it or not. And if you live in Georgia or Alabama, your vote doesn’t count either. It’s going to Romney. And your voices are not heard by presidential candidates, They don’t visit you and they don’t pay attention to your concerns unless you live in one of those ten aforementioned states.

Your vote always counts. What you are saying is that your vote doesn’t count if you don’t agree with most of your friends and neighbors. What happens with the Electoral College is that the politicians have to pay attention to all areas of the country, except those that are “on their band wagon.” Why else would any politician spend time in Iowa or New Hampshire. The distortion comes with the very large states with . Unfortunately, the very large states tend to have large, controllable, portions of the population that are traditionally on the dole, and the very small states with help from their senator elector. The inclusion of the electors for two Senators helps level the election field. Go back and look at Great Britain in the 1700s with the tension between the old country population and the new industrialized areas. The EC helps ameliorate this.

Every time I see proposals like this, it is just an attempt to marginalize the countryside, outside the big population areas.

Old Country Boy on October 27, 2012 at 9:14 AM

In my mind, the problem lies with the practice of assigning the number of delegates per state based upon that state’s population, so in effect we are trying to as closely as possible make it seem a popular vote contest. If we are truly a federation of states then each state should have one vote and only one vote. As it is now, it’s a half bred system. Scraping the electoral college and making the elections a popular vote would at least more honestly accomplish what the process is trying to do now. My view is do one or the other – popular vote OR one state, one vote, make your choice, but the half bred system does not work right.

redhead on October 27, 2012 at 9:15 AM

The horrific reality.

Badger40 on October 27, 2012 at 9:00 AM

Understood. And granted that the current feedback loop is positive, while the feedback loop from a system that requires taxation for voting would be negative. Still, I don’t fancy the idea of Congress being able to take away my vote by taking away my taxes. Also, there’s that pesky obstacle of the 24th Amendment.

sadarj on October 27, 2012 at 9:16 AM

…the president is elected chief executive of a union of states...

This.

Knott Buyinit on October 27, 2012 at 9:16 AM

livelikeaslaveanddie, why do like the tyranny of mob rule?

Badger40 on October 27, 2012 at 9:17 AM

It warms my heart to see the comments of so many who “get” the Constitutional structure of our government as originally designed. I spend my life explaining it to ” young skulls full of mush” as Rush would call them … but at a rate of 30 per year, I can’t possibly keep up with the liberal indoctrination system.

Govgirl on October 27, 2012 at 9:20 AM

Ridiculous posts, like this one are a blemish to HotAir. If there’s a problem with the EC, tell us what it is in the first paragraph. Instead, we get an accepted presumption it’s broken and then we get a couple hundred words on…nothing.

If we’re contemplating changes to the Constitution I’d like to suggest there are about ten things more important to discuss than this little piece of belly button fluff. No, more.

MTF on October 27, 2012 at 9:20 AM

Part of the problem is that people want “instant fixes” to things that are meant to evolve over time. Sure, some states are “too large” (to fail?) but as we see in California, people are moving out of the state, slowly changing the balance, 10 years at a shot.

There is nothing wrong with the Electoral College. It does a fine job of averaging out the desires of the country. States get to decide how electors are chosen, as envisioned by our Founders, with a revision in the 12th Amendment to fix the “two vote” issue.

It is a defense against Democracy (turns head; spits) at the Federal level. (Mob rule works only when it is “your” mob.)

A representative republic is a compromise between the totalitarian and anarchist approaches of government. And while there are some flaws, it is better than anything else out there so far.

That’s the thing: It is a compromise, not a perfect solution. And as such, it will have problems. But it sure as heck is better than any of the proposed alternatives.

ProfShadow on October 27, 2012 at 9:20 AM

Let’s distributed the EC by congressional district rather than by states.

Kjeil on October 27, 2012 at 9:22 AM

I vote to keep the Electoral College. Do not underestimate the wisdom of our Founding Fathers.

They wanted a clunky federal government, and a clunky election process for a reason. (or several reasons.)

rbj on October 27, 2012 at 9:25 AM

If everything in the Universe were exactly the opposite of the way it actually is, then YOU would all be crazy and stupid, instead of me!
libfreeordie on October 27, 2012 at 8:37 AM

When liberalism is consigned to the dustbin of history, this will be its epitaph.

logis on October 27, 2012 at 9:25 AM

You may now fire up the torches and break out the pitchforks.

They don’t let us play with matches or sharp pointy objects…

I’ve always been torn on the whole electoral college issue. There are pros and cons to keeping it or ditching it. If the electoral college was formed to prevent rural rubes from voting with no or bad info on a candidate, then that purpose, even today, is still being served…voters today are inundated with too much info it’s hard to distinguish what is true or not.

If I had to choose, I’d fall into the “keep it” group.

JetBoy on October 27, 2012 at 9:26 AM

It was also a measure to ensure that the unwashed masses didn’t do something foolish.

You mean like electing a street organizer with zero executive experience whom wants to fundamentally transform the greatest country in history?

Russ in OR on October 27, 2012 at 9:27 AM

Why is Obama so liked? He lies, tells the masses what they wish to so badly and foolishly hear. He hands out everyone’s favorite candy to buy their vote. The popular vote is a poor horse to lead the cart.

“The masses are a$$es” a wise man said and the barrier of the electoral college-vs-the popular vote, may simple provide a slightly harder barrier to our destruction.

Our real problems go far deeper than poltics and its machinations.

Don L on October 27, 2012 at 9:29 AM

Also, there’s that pesky obstacle of the 24th Amendment.

sadarj on October 27, 2012 at 9:16 AM

We have a poll tax measure here in ND up for vote. I’m suspicious of it only bcs the last vote period they voted down being able to abolish property taxes.
I’m not sure a poll tax is necessarily a bad thing overall.
Bcs property taxes have the same types of effects.
You are denied owning your property by the state.
They literally steal it from you if you don’t pony up money to them every year.
I think the introduction of this measure in ND may have something to do with the last measure that failed about abolishing property taxes.
I wonder if it isn’t setting things up to never be able to address the abolition of property taxes again. They’ll use the idea that revenue cannot be gained by a poll tax in replacement & so the abolition of property taxes can never be done.
It’s something I haven;t decided yet on which way to vote.

Badger40 on October 27, 2012 at 9:30 AM

The whole “Mitt wins the popular vote and ‘the one’ wins the EC” is more wishful thinking by the LSM.

Animal60 on October 27, 2012 at 9:31 AM

libfreeordie on October 27, 2012 at 8:37 AM

Actually, you only see that from Libbies who don’t get their way and cry about it.

IF Romney was to win the popular vote and lose the electoral vote, are you and your liberal ilk going to be saying “dump the electoral college…Mitt won the popular vote!” Yeah, I bet your tune would change.

Republicans, in general, respect the rule of law. Liberals only respect the rule of their emotional desires.

ProfShadow on October 27, 2012 at 9:34 AM

Perhaps if electors were from counties and not states. Then you wouldn’t have, say, Republicans in eastern California being disenfranchised like they basically are now.

Thoughts?

Dunedainn on October 27, 2012 at 9:35 AM

Can I suggest a Best of 7 Series?

BobMbx on October 27, 2012 at 9:35 AM

The popular vote is not ignored.
It happens at the state level.
And need we say that we are a representative Republic & NOT a Democracy for a reason?

Badger40 on October 27, 2012 at 8:37 AM

Exactly !

Axion on October 27, 2012 at 9:35 AM

Badger40 on October 27, 2012 at 9:30 AM

I find property taxes only slightly less abhorrent than estate taxes, especially given the perverse incentive against improving your own property.

I assume any poll tax would only be for local/state elections?

sadarj on October 27, 2012 at 9:36 AM

Why is Obama so liked? He lies, tells the masses what they wish to so badly and foolishly hear. He hands out everyone’s favorite candy to buy their vote. The popular vote is a poor horse to lead the cart.

“The masses are a$$es” a wise man said and the barrier of the electoral college-vs-the popular vote, may simple provide a slightly harder barrier to our destruction.

Our real problems go far deeper than poltics and its machinations.

Don L on October 27, 2012 at 9:29 AM

Winner winner, chicken dinner.

bgibbs1000 on October 27, 2012 at 9:36 AM

Libfreeordie you’re a prof?

You kid.

CW on October 27, 2012 at 9:09 AM

Everything with that one is theoretical from the standpoint of what was taught him in a class. He doesn’t seem to know how the real world works. It’s what makes him write stupid things like this …

If everything in the Universe were exactly the opposite of the way it actually is, then YOU would all be crazy and stupid, instead of me!
libfreeordie on October 27, 2012 at 8:37 AM

So, a hard-working tax-payer couldn’t possibly be upset that so much of their money is taken by the government and spent foolishly. No, he thinks in his orderly universe, that would make a taxpayer more productive. Also in that universe, it would be impossible for businesses not hamstrung by the government to florish, creating more commerce and jobs and making more people successful. Nope, in his universe only government can create jobs.

That’s why the economy is in such a mess. A man who never ran a budget bigger than his own checkbook is in charge of running an entire nation. But we’re all crazy and stupid. His answer to improving the economy in a debate was hire more teachers?

College professor my azz.

hawkdriver on October 27, 2012 at 9:37 AM

The electoral college gives us a Representative Republic.

However, if we set a limit on the large states to apportion electoral votes for every so many million voters, or states with 20 or more electoral votes, some people would feel MORE represented. The largest states do make this cumbersome, mostly California, NY, even PA, but Texas also has its areas that would like an electoral vote, when republicans continually overshadow them in that big red state. As far as I know states can choose this, Maine has it and another mid west state, but liberal legislatures in the big BLUE states have absolutely no interest, chat about the popular vote to the contrary.

Fleuries on October 27, 2012 at 9:38 AM

Leave the EC alone for all the reasons already articulated.

If you want to fix something, then return the Senate to the States. As it stands, it is the liberal enclaves of the cities that get to elect our Senators in most states. The Senate was originally intended to serve as protector of State’s rights, a function no longer performed by the Senate. Here is a great example of the negative consequences of messing with the Founders’ original design.

Let’s not accelerate further the concentration of power by further eroding the protections enshrined by the original Constitutional design. Leave the EC alone!

FerrousOxide on October 27, 2012 at 9:39 AM

Rasmussen Saturday

R 50
O 46

And didn’t I read on here yesterday that Rasmussen increased his democrat over sample to D+6?

bgibbs1000 on October 27, 2012 at 9:39 AM

There’s a reason it was created.

So the majority cannot impose tyranny upon the minority.

Badger40 on October 27, 2012 at 8:40 AM

Leave it alone. Times may have changed but our founding fathers were quite frankly smarter than us. Our system protects the minority. Whether it’s small states/races/genders.

gerrym51 on October 27, 2012 at 9:01 AM

This. This is what I was taught in fifth grade. I remember being fascinated by the concept and have been interested in government and politics ever since.

Fallon on October 27, 2012 at 9:39 AM

Scrap it! We saw this incumbent visit Ohio 50 times in 3 years. He has courted them his entire term. His gang believed all along keeping his job was a two or three state proposition.
Scrap it.

FireBlogger on October 27, 2012 at 9:41 AM

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