Who will the next US President be?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by The Gatherer, Jul 14, 2002.

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  1. Imrahil Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 22, 2000
    star 4
    Re: Darth Fierce

    Gore: 51,003,238 votes
    Bush: 50,459,624 votes

    Who got more?
  2. The Gatherer Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 2, 1999
    star 6
    TRUE!

    Is the United States a true democracy if you can't directly vote for the President... you have to vote for the Electors!
  3. Aurra_Sting Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 2002
    star 1
    I know! I have yet to truly hear a good argument for the electoral college.
  4. Dusty Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 27, 2002
    star 1
    OK here's an argument for the electoral college. Do you live in LA,NY,SF, or Chicago(I believe those are the towns)? If not, you would have no say in who becomes president. Those four cities decide who is in charge of the entire country for the next four years.
  5. StarFire Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2001
    star 4
    Is the United States a true democracy if you can't directly vote for the President... you have to vote for the Electors!

    The United States is, and always has been, a representative democracy. So we're not truly democratic.

    The Electors in the Electoral College serve the same function as Senators and Representatives.
  6. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    OK here's an argument for the electoral college. Do you live in LA,NY,SF, or Chicago(I believe those are the towns)? If not, you would have no say in who becomes president. Those four cities decide who is in charge of the entire country for the next four years.

    Actually, this is not what we learned during Election 2000, when this subject came up. I'm going to attempt to spell this out very thoroughly so our international readers will understand completely (they probably have studied our govt more than we have, actually, but just in case!)

    Your state gets one Elector per each state Congressperson (Senator or Representative). Because every state has one rep per X number of citizens, PLUS 2 senators, SMALL states benefit. A Wyoming citizen - very small state - has a vote that's worth more than any Californian, Texan, New Yorker, etc. (the big states). Because of the two extra senators. See what I mean?

    I hope this is clear. Ultimately, my vote as a Californian counts less than someone in Wyoming, or West Virginia.

    And it is because those small states have an equal vote in the Constitutional Amendment process that we can't repeal or alter the Electoral College. Which is too bad, because straight popular vote is practical now, and there's no reason not to have it.
  7. Imrahil Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 22, 2000
    star 4
    I hope this is clear. Ultimately, my vote as a Californian counts less than someone in Wyoming, or West Virginia.

    And that is wrong, everyonr's vote should be equal. It shouldn't matter what state you are from, it's your vote as an individual. My vote for a Democrat in Idaho is meaningless, just the same as a vote for a Republican in Hawaii. That should change.
  8. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    Yep, that's another good argument for getting rid of it.... if your state goes 51% for one guy, it's as if your vote for the other just falls off the roadmap.

    I was taught about the Electoral College in high school. My teacher showed us a documentary on it where a statistician argued that it really didn't matter because on those rare occasions when the popular vote is not the same as the Electoral College result (like 2000 - Gore won popular, Bush technically got Electoral), the margin of difference could not possibly be more than 300,000 votes, and that was extrapolating for lots more population growth than we've had. Even then, I thought, "300,000 votes don't matter?"

    But in reality, Gore's margin over Bush was about 540,000 according to all the credible sources I've found (not counting Tom Daschle's claim of 700,000, as he's not credible, LOL). So the electoral college can misrepresent the voters' wishes by quite a margin.

    I've heard a lot of arguments why the Electoral college is good, but nothing has convinced me. It was the best they could do in an era where they couldn't possibly count all the votes as efficiently as they can with technology now, and we're stuck with it due to the amendment process requiring votes from the small states who get more say than big states.

    As for small states getting more say than others: who contributes more to the well-being of the US? California, New York and Texas? Or Wyoming, West Virginia and Hawaii? There is simply no way you can argue the voters in smaller states deserve their votes to count more. And I wouldn't argue the big states should have more say just because they contribute - but they sure as heck shouldn't be punished for it.
  9. StarFire Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2001
    star 4
    Basically, the Electoral College was put in place to guarantee that each State in the Union would have an appreciable voice. Arguably, individual states don't need as much independance today as they wanted then.

    But the argument for getting rid of the Electoral College is just as valid an argument for getting rid of the Senate. Rhode Island gets two Senators, the same amount as California or Texas. So each individual person in Rhode Island technically holds more sway over the United States Congress than a person from Texas does.

    Why aren't people complaining about that?
  10. WiseOldProphet Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2002
    He that would govern others, first should be the master of himself.
  11. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    Star Fire, good point. I personally have always wondered if we really need both a Senate and a House anymore. However, any change would still have to keep a two-layer process for passing bills, and other procedures Congress is used to. I don't really see how we could change it without massively restructuring the federal govt.
  12. Maveric Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 17, 1999
    star 4
    Treecave

    Think how screwed up our system of government is now, and then imagine getting rid of one of the branches of the legislature. The result? A governmental system twice as screwed up (at least) as what we have now. The framers knew what they were doing when they crafted the legislature.

    The Senate is the cooling dish for the cup that is the House of Representatives. Issues and bills overflow from the impetuous House, only to be tempered by the cooler heads of the Senate."
    I forget who first coined this phrase but I believe it is aptly put.

    Having a bicameral legislature makes it much more difficult for legislation to pass, and at least for me, that is a good thing.
  13. Imrahil Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 22, 2000
    star 4
    Well said Maverick.

    I beleive that a bicameral legislature is important. It allows twice as much discussion and the more discussion, the better. As for the claim that a person from Rhode Island has more voice in Congress then a person from Texas, I disagree. They both have three persons representing them, do they not?
  14. StarFire Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2001
    star 4
    They each have two Senators.

    Think of it this way:

    Rhode Island has 4 citizens; Texas has 20 citizens (I'm not trying to be exactly proportional).

    In each election for Senator, the Texan's vote only counts for 1/20 of the total. The Rhode Island citizen on the other hand holds an entire quarter (1/4) of the total vote in his hand, so he has more voting "oomph" than the Texan (i.e., he has more direct control over the election of the Senator, and thus more direct control over the Senate).

    Just so you know, I'm only drawing parallels between the Senate and the Electoral College here. I don't support getting rid of either until I see considerable evidence that it would be beneficial.
  15. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    A governmental system twice as screwed up (at least) as what we have now.

    That's why I said it would require massive restructuring of the govt - it would not greatly resemble our current set up at all, which is why it's not practical. It would be simpler to abolish Congress completely, take "representatives" out of the mix entirely, and let people vote for bills on the internet. :D

    My point was, the abolishment of the Electoral College does NOT require massive restructuring. I think it would actually make things easier.
  16. AJA Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 1998
    star 4
    Out of the seven Presidents we've had in the last 40 years, three have been from Texas, and two from California. 5 out of 7 is a pretty good record for the two largest states, so I don't think they should complain too much.
  17. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    I'd say that's a factor of campaign contributions - another practice which needs abolished. CA has enough money and resources to stick Pauly Shore in the White House if it decides to. That's not a comforting thought.
  18. AJA Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 1998
    star 4
    It's a result of electoral math. If the candidate can carry California or Texas, there's a good chance they can win the election. The Vice Presidential choice is usually made on the same basis.

    A conservative Republican from California is almost unbeatable. The problem is finding one. :D
  19. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    Yeah, but what would be wrong with just a straight popular vote? Why does it need to be a chess game?

    I mean, if the country were being founded today, don't you think it would just be a straight popular vote?
  20. AJA Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 1998
    star 4
    The electoral college is still based on the population, which is why a scenario like the one that happened last time is improbable. California has 54 electoral votes, while smaller states only have two or three. It seems like a good system to me. It expresses the will of the overall population, while still ensuring that each state has a say in the process.
  21. Darth Fierce Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 6, 2000
    star 4
    Sorry if I got this thread off-topic. I thought Imrahil might have had a better argument than that. :( ;)

    And one critical factor is always overlooked: It's by no means a foregone conclusion that Gore still would have won the popular vote if both candidates and the voting public knew the results would be decided on the popular vote.

    It's like the Bears losing 15 - 14 by giving up 5 field goals, then saying they would have won if field goals didn't count as much.

    Texans alone could have swamped the voting booths for Bush, rather than staying home knowing Texas's set number of electoral votes were surely going to Bush.
  22. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    Fierce, that to me is the primary argument for getting rid of the thing. No more strategic campaigning where they suck up to one state and ignore another. No more "I don't need to vote, I know where my state's votes are going".

    By the way, counting ballots according to the laws of TX on vote counting, both the CNN group who counted FL's ballots and another group (can't think, very tired) conceded that Gore won Florida - this is the basis *I* use for claiming he won the election (as opposed to Imrahil's popular vote count, which is more debatable for the reasons you gave). TX's voting code - adopted under W. Bush - is very well-written, and should be an example to states with "oh, you know, just talk amongst yourselves and see what you come up with" laws like what FL had.
  23. Imrahil Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 22, 2000
    star 4
    Re: AJA

    The electoral college is still based on the population, which is why a scenario like the one that happened last time is improbable. California has 54 electoral votes, while smaller states only have two or three. It seems like a good system to me. It expresses the will of the overall population, while still ensuring that each state has a say in the process.

    The electoral college is based on the silly idea that states as entities should have some say in the Presidential elections. To me, that is wrong. States are represented in the Senate, the President should represent all people, not just the 30 states they won.

    Re: Darth Fierce

    Sorry if I got this thread off-topic. I thought Imrahil might have had a better argument than that.

    I thought my argument was simple and to the point. :p

    And one critical factor is always overlooked: It's by no means a foregone conclusion that Gore still would have won the popular vote if both candidates and the voting public knew the results would be decided on the popular vote.

    Texans alone could have swamped the voting booths for Bush, rather than staying home knowing Texas's set number of electoral votes were surely going to Bush.

    I think the same could be true of New York and California for Gore. And if people don't bother to vote, I don't beleive they have a right to complain about our elected officials, I will always vote, even though I know it won't matter in Idaho, it's my duty as a citizen.

    Anyway, before this thread get's locked for being off-topic, I suggest that if there is more discussion, that we move it here to the thread actually about the EC. :)
  24. The Gatherer Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 2, 1999
    star 6
    Also, why is the membership of the House of Representatives SET at 435 members?

    As population grows and recedes in certain states, the number of representatives changes as well. This is stupid. The House membership should be able to grow as the population grows. It should be something like 1 Representative per 500,000 people.
  25. Imrahil Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 22, 2000
    star 4
    The House membership was set at 435 to prevent an astronmical amount of members as the country grew. This occured in the 1920s, I think. Every census, they just readjust the number of people it requires to have a Representative.

    And currently, I think the level for I Representative is about 500,000. Idaho has about a million residents and we have two.
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