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Why Isn't The Presidential Election Decided By Popular Vote?  Rate Topic 
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 Posted: Tue Apr 12th, 2016 02:20 am
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beejmi
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Does the 'electoral college' make sense?

If I lived in a small state I would have no incentive to vote. Especially if my state traditionally and historically went in one direction or the other?

And how about these large states and one person wins 51-49%. Doesn't make sense to give one person all of that state's electoral votes.

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 Posted: Tue Apr 12th, 2016 02:48 am
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mike3775



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The biggest reason why is because the founding fathers knew that by doing it that way, then only a few states(with bigger cities) would actually matter in the Presidential election.

Think about it, look at the 3 biggest cities in the nation, New York, LA, and Chicago. New York City has 8.4 million people, LA has 3.8 million and Chicago has 2.9 million. The total population of those 3 cities alone equal 15.1 million people. New York City has a higher population than 39 other states(and makes up 8.4 million of New York State's 19.6 million population) So if they went by popular vote, the state of New York would have a bigger say in the election than states like Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, Iowa, etc. But thats where the electoral college comes in, because that is based on the US House members of each individual state plus its two senators, and those numbers can change every 10 years due to the census, so states like New York and Illinois, which have the 1st and 3rd largest cities, actually lost US house seats in 2010(new york lost 2, Illinois 1), which means they lost 2 and 1 electoral votes compared to 2000.

Basically it is to prevent the biggest cities from electing the President. Think of it like this, if the populations of New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago were to be combined, they would have 15.1 million people, placing it above Illinois in total population in 5th place. But because it is not a popular vote, smaller states(ironically Washington DC has a bigger population than two states) actually have as much of a say as the bigger states. (which is the way it is supposed to work, but rarely does)

Last edited on Tue Apr 12th, 2016 02:50 am by mike3775

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 Posted: Tue Apr 12th, 2016 03:04 am
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The electoral college is designed to have the two parties control the election, or at least that is the latest and greatest use of it. It's indicative of a republic and not a true democracy, which would support the popular vote.



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 Posted: Tue Apr 12th, 2016 03:13 am
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mike3775



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HBF wrote: The electoral college is designed to have the two parties control the election, or at least that is the latest and greatest use of it. It's indicative of a republic and not a true democracy, which would support the popular vote.
I always get a kick out of politicians who say we are a democracy, which this country is not.  It even states so in the Pledge of Allegiance, yet many still assume we are a democracy for some stupid reason

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 Posted: Tue Apr 12th, 2016 05:14 am
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gwlee7
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Popular vote would potentially give 5 states (California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois) the ability to determine the presidency as they have more people than the other 45 combined. Electoral college levels the field more sort of like the Senate as compared to the House.



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 Posted: Tue Apr 12th, 2016 10:47 am
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Because the founders didn't trust the general populace to make that decision. It wasn't meant for the average, uneducated fool who can be persuaded by pretty rhetoric, catchy slogans and empty promises to have the final say on the cheif executive. They have house of representatives for that

Last edited on Tue Apr 12th, 2016 10:49 am by BayouBoogie

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 Posted: Tue Apr 12th, 2016 04:50 pm
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HBF



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gwlee7 wrote: Popular vote would potentially give 5 states (California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois) the ability to determine the presidency as they have more people than the other 45 combined. Electoral college levels the field more sort of like the Senate as compared to the House.Best explanation yet.



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 Posted: Tue Apr 12th, 2016 06:34 pm
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dogfacedgremlin34
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HBF wrote: gwlee7 wrote: Popular vote would potentially give 5 states (California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois) the ability to determine the presidency as they have more people than the other 45 combined. Electoral college levels the field more sort of like the Senate as compared to the House.Best explanation yet.

Well, that's a great explanation, but it's not at all accurate in 2016.  Remember, Electoral votes for the most part are doled out as a product of a state's population, so all things being equal, proportionally, one should equal the other.

By way of specific example, out of 538 total Electoral votes, the 5 states you mentioned (CA, TX, NY, FL and IL) have a total of 171 electoral votes, or 31.8% of the total.  In terms of population (2010 census), those 5 states have 119.6 million people, or 37.2% of the country's population (321.4 million).  So, while the population percentage is in fact slightly larger than the electoral percentage, it's not nearly as skewed as you presented above, and probably not enough of a discrepancy to justify still having an electoral college (especially when you factor in voter turnout by state statistics).  Even if you expand it to the top 10 states (adding PA, OH, GA and NC), which does in fact make up half the country's population (51.1%), they still account for 44.7% of the electoral votes--so the percentage discrepancy is holding steady.


Conversely, the bottom 10 states in terms of population, (WY, VT, DC, AK, ND, SD, DE, MT, RI and ME) make up 2.7% of the total population.  Their total electoral votes (32) account for 5.9% of the electoral votes.  So again, a swing in favor of slightly more electoral power, albeit a very, very marginal one.

End of the day, the electoral college is a product of a bygone era which may not be as significant as it was 200 or even 100 years ago.  Is it still needed?  I don't know, but the gut test says probably not, as it really seems to cause more problems than it solves. 

Last edited on Tue Apr 12th, 2016 07:09 pm by dogfacedgremlin34



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 Posted: Tue Apr 12th, 2016 07:56 pm
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HBF



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dogfacedgremlin34 wrote: HBF wrote: gwlee7 wrote: Popular vote would potentially give 5 states (California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois) the ability to determine the presidency as they have more people than the other 45 combined. Electoral college levels the field more sort of like the Senate as compared to the House.Best explanation yet.

Well, that's a great explanation, but it's not at all accurate in 2016.  Remember, Electoral votes for the most part are doled out as a product of a state's population, so all things being equal, proportionally, one should equal the other.

By way of specific example, out of 538 total Electoral votes, the 5 states you mentioned (CA, TX, NY, FL and IL) have a total of 171 electoral votes, or 31.8% of the total.  In terms of population (2010 census), those 5 states have 119.6 million people, or 37.2% of the country's population (321.4 million).  So, while the population percentage is in fact slightly larger than the electoral percentage, it's not nearly as skewed as you presented above, and probably not enough of a discrepancy to justify still having an electoral college (especially when you factor in voter turnout by state statistics).  Even if you expand it to the top 10 states (adding PA, OH, GA and NC), which does in fact make up half the country's population (51.1%), they still account for 44.7% of the electoral votes--so the percentage discrepancy is holding steady.


Conversely, the bottom 10 states in terms of population, (WY, VT, DC, AK, ND, SD, DE, MT, RI and ME) make up 2.7% of the total population.  Their total electoral votes (32) account for 5.9% of the electoral votes.  So again, a swing in favor of slightly more electoral power, albeit a very, very marginal one.

End of the day, the electoral college is a product of a bygone era which may not be as significant as it was 200 or even 100 years ago.  Is it still needed?  I don't know, but the gut test says probably not, as it really seems to cause more problems than it solves.
The abuse by the left with Super Delegates is the byproduct of the electoral college and of their own creation. At the moment, the GOP wishes that they had established Super Delegates themselves.  That's indicative of how bad a problem both parties are.



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 Posted: Wed Apr 13th, 2016 01:14 am
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mike3775



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it is outdated DGF, but these days just deciding between what brand of light bulbs to use in a light fixture is a political issue in DC, so good luck even trying to bring that up for change

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 Posted: Wed Apr 13th, 2016 02:21 am
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This is the first year that I have really paid a lot of attention to the primary elections. What a clusterf##k!!! What should be a simple and straightforward process (cast your ballot, candidate with the most votes wins) has been twisted into a convoluted, inconsistent, ridiculously complicated mess...

Some states have a caucus which seems to be a glorified show of hands at each polling site. How they are able to get an accurate vote count with this method is beyond me.

Superdelegates suck! The only purpose that I see them having is selling their vote to the highest bidder.

Every single Democratic primary so far seems to have had some sort of controversy:
1) some sites ran out of ballots
2) some sites had ridiculously long wait times (3-5 hours)
3) voter registrations had not been changed to Democrat
4) caucus goers told to go home before their vote officially counted
and on...and on... and on...

I don't know how much of the above is fact or fiction. Most of the claims have not been covered by a major news outlet (CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, Associated Press, etc.) but they have been posted all over social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc). It makes me wonder if the voting process is really legit.


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 Posted: Wed Apr 13th, 2016 02:52 am
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gwlee7
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I can't find my source that I had seen previously in regards to those 5 states having more people than the others combined. If that fact doesn't hold, then DFG is correct. I will see if I can find it.



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 Posted: Wed Apr 13th, 2016 05:09 am
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gwlee7 wrote: I can't find my source that I had seen previously in regards to those 5 states having more people than the others combined. If that fact doesn't hold, then DFG is correct. I will see if I can find it.The point on population is still true because an electoral voter is not bound by popular voting results. They can choose whatever candidate. That being said if they go against the grain come next cycle they may not be part of the electoral college. Conversely in a popular vote situation it becomes winner take all. 
If you want to take a deeper dive into population numbers you will see that it's not the State as a whole dictating results it is smaller metro regions. So for Illinois it would be the Chicagoland area driving the outcome vs.the State itself. The same could be said for New York and etc. 

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 Posted: Wed Apr 13th, 2016 05:56 am
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gwlee7
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mrwaukegan wrote: gwlee7 wrote: I can't find my source that I had seen previously in regards to those 5 states having more people than the others combined. If that fact doesn't hold, then DFG is correct. I will see if I can find it.The point on population is still true because an electoral voter is not bound by popular voting results. They can choose whatever candidate. That being said if they go against the grain come next cycle they may not be part of the electoral college. Conversely in a popular vote situation it becomes winner take all. 
If you want to take a deeper dive into population numbers you will see that it's not the State as a whole dictating results it is smaller metro regions. So for Illinois it would be the Chicagoland area driving the outcome vs.the State itself. The same could be said for New York and etc. 

I know that the electoral college delegates aren't bound and an interesting tidbit of information is that Lloyd Bailey, who voted for Wallace instead of Nixon in 1968,  is from here where I live. 
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lloyd_W._Bailey

Last edited on Wed Apr 13th, 2016 05:59 am by gwlee7



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