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15 November 2016


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The Porkchop Express

"whorish MSM" -- nailed them on all vectors of their spleen. Loved it.

It's amazing the lack of civic education on display, particularly amongst my "enlightened" cohort who imagine themselves quite smart and well informed. I am also confused as to why we go through a beginner's course on the electoral college and how federalism is supposed to work every four years--which is then somehow not retained in any form or fashion.


Amazing isn't it? People who are supposed to be sooo liberal and democratic are calling for what is basically a "coup" (demanding the electoral college to vote for Hilary) against Trump.


The Dems and their riled-up followers are having a temper tantrum at the moment, fueled by a desire to blame their own failures on someone, anyone, else. It, and the MSM's attempt to make of it a movement or other such nonsense, is more sad than comical.


My party lost this election. As the campaigning progressed, there was a constant criticism that Trump would not "accept" the vote, suggesting such a thing would be a rejection of democracy. I have even heard rumors that some Republicans are trying to get the electors to vote for Ryan. Some on the left who criticized Trump for being undemocratic are wishing to game the Electoral College. They are the real undemocratic ones. Trump won the electoral college votes and he should get all he won.

The Great Compromise was a stroke of political genius that, though the majority has often not "won" the presidency, the nation has "won" because the compromise makes our nation a nation of all of the states and requires politicians to attend to all of the territory and citizens of the nation, regardless of the population density. Direct democracy of a simple majority gives no protection to those who are in rural areas. Just look at some of the Catching Fire films to get a view of what a country might look like if it were dominated by the urban Capitol.

After all, the decision of that minority who elected Trump may have more collective wisdom than I might think. It must be respected. That obligation of respect flows from our social contract made in 1797. We do not need a coup from either the Republican establishment or from any other group.

Edward Amame

Of course the Electoral College will stay -- Dems would have the advantage with the popular vote.


The electoral college keeps the country together. It's as simple as that. What state would sign up for or stay in a union that was eternally at the mercy of a different region's political preferences?

That said, I read somebody saying Trump should create some new Republican states - Jefferson sliced away from Cal, and rural New York partitioned from NYC. LARPing of course, but symbolic of the way each side is openly calculating in tribal terms now. The wages of diversity.


I am fine with the electoral college system, but it should be fixed. The ratio of people to votes in the electoral college should be the same for every state. AS an example, set it at one vote for every 100,000 people. A state with 1 million people gets 10 votes. 2 million gets 20.


"to be replaced by a national popular system in which the states played no role. What would the system be like?"

That could be a normal system with local paper ballots. No need for some vulnerable electronic stuff. There are reasons why the German Supreme Court demanded a paper ballot system and forbid any electronic shenanigan. A vote where the people can no longer understand and follow how the outcome was really determined will lose its acceptance in the electorate.

But the whole "popular vote" nonsense is ignoring a big factor. In a popular vote competition the campaigns would be oriented to the popular vote. There is no reason to think that Clinton would have won such a fight. What those people demand today is to annul a competition that was about A and instead change it, after the fact, into a putative decision about B just because B now fits their wanted outcome. Bollocks.

Trump said today he would have won a real popular vote contest. I think he is right.


Col. -- I think that the most interesting way to look at the electoral college v. popular vote issue is to ask the question
"What would change?" Perhaps the actual candidates chosen to run by the parties would be different and perhaps the campaigns would be different? How would strategies change? Could the campaign be shorter? How would primaries be affected? Could it be a way to wring some of the money out of politics?

It could be better for all of us and for our electoral process...worth a conversation.



Well, it was just a rhetorical flourish on my part. I don't want the system changed and neither will the less populous states. pl


Your nom de plum makes me very hungry.

While I agree that the electoral college is one of those things most Americans learn about in public school and then promptly forget, one also needs to point at the MSM with their constant pushing of the national horse race polls. It's easy to forget that it's not all about the popular vote.

Last cycle with sites like 538, and especially this cycle with a plethora of poll average sites, the spotlight was firmly on the likely electoral college outcome. Overall a positive direction for civics.



The US is not a "country" in the sense that that it is, in fact a confederation of semi-sovereign and autonomous bodies, not the unitary state that many want it to be and that was the basis on which the US Constitution was ratified. It is a contract among the states and the outcome of the WBS did not change that in spite of the BS about the "United States is." pl



Very funny. Your change would never be ratified as an amendment and if it were would make this a unitary country and relegate the inhabitants of the smaller states to a subordinate position. pl



Trump will not have the power to do that. The constitution forbids the dividing of a state without its agreement. pl



Of course. The EC exists to prevent domination by the big states. The Republican Party dominates the smaller states as you Dems do the big ones. The factor of admixture is unimportant. pl



One could suppose that the electoral college is an outgrowth of the thinking in Fedaralist 51, a bulwark against the "tyranny of the majority." It is however a different idea -- judicious men deliberating on whether a person has the necessary qualities to be the executive -- as put forth by Hamilton in Federalist 68.

I put it to you that no serious deliberation will take place amongst the electors. If it cannot fulfill its primary function, what purpose does it have?

I myself would like to see rank order voting introduced at all levels of government. Only so can we move from a system where we make coalitions before the election to one where we make them after the election.



As you must know it is impossible to return to restricting the franchise to the able and the virtuous. That die was cast long ago so what are you really talking about? pl



We are talking here not of the great unwashed, but rather of the electors, who should, in theory at least, be men and women of quality that discuss the qualifications of the winner, lest someone of bad character ascend to the presidency. If we can agree that that is its purpose, we should ask if it is fulfilling that purpose. If not, should we not simply abolish it and let the popular vote decide?

scott s.

Keep in mind that until reconstruction, South Carolina's legislature picked its Electors. Also, the Territorial legislature in Colorado agreed to appoint its electors in 1876 in exchange for the Congress approving Colorado's statehood admission -- those 3 votes went to Hayes and ensured his election. USSC has given wide latitude to the state legislatures in carrying out their appointment power, most recently seen in Gore v Bush.

In 1845 US Congress exercised its power under Art II/1 to set the Time of chusing the Electors by establishing the Tues after the First Mon in Nov as the uniform date for all states. This was in response to complaints of election fraud in the 1844 presidential elections. Congress likewise under Art I/4 authority established a nationally-uniform date for voting for Congress (representatives) for the Mar 1873 term (Nov 1872 elections). At that time, the regular session of Congress convened on the first Mon of December, then ran until the following March (of odd-years). In Presidential election years, the Senate would typically meet in executive session in Mar for a few days to consider Presidential nominations, then recess until the regular Dec session.

A problem with voting mechanics in the US that doesn't seem to be so common in other countries is the large number of races and questions which all appear on the same ballot. Note that the current system of state-mediated access to to secret ballots was not created until the adoption of the so-called Australian ballot in the period 1890-1892.



Yes, I would be a good elector, and you probably and even EA, certainly TTG and my tribe here. How do you propose that we get to that point? pl

PF Khans


I agree with you 100% that the outcome of this election needs to be respected and that the compromise that created this country requires a balance between the needs of less populous and more populous states.

However, this is an election where the candidate who won more votes will likely win more votes on an unheard of scale. As bad as its been in the past, this is not a healthy place for the country to be, and I hope Trump and the Republicans, at the very least, offer a solution to it.

The fact is that the less populous states have never been less populous and the most populous have never been more populous, the discrepancies are large. An updated compromise is in order. It won't favor the smaller states, but they are less powerful and important to the country than they used to be.

There is a real problem here that won't go away. A solution is needed, but I hope that it could be as simple as giving states with populations over X an extra electoral vote for every 1 million people or so.


Colonel, what about keeping the EC but stop, abolish the winer take it all, that will make the candidates fight for every vote in all states including Ca. , like orange county is a republican county but no republican president candidate bothers to campaign since the state is take it all.

Ex-PFC Chuck

Scott, you have an idiosyncratic view of the Bush-Gore decision. It took the resolution of the disputed votes out of the hands do the state of Florida. This was a blatant political decision, not one based on legal precedent. The tell is that the majority opinion explicitly stated that Bush-Gore should NOT be used as a precedent going forward. The degree to which this was done because of the political preferences of the majority as opposed to being done at the behest of the Borg will likely never be known.


We are talking here not of the great unwashed, but rather of the electors

I am not sure, if you aren't talking about the former in a roundabout way? Anyway?

But thanks for the hint.


I'm always bothered when people attack the electoral college.

The consequence of the electoral college, rather than straight popular vote, is that it requires construction of a broader, more "diverse" coalition, at least in geographic terms. Capturing an electoral college majority without something approaching a near popularity vote majority at the very minimum is impossible. But it is possible to construct a narrow popular vote majority, on the strength of support from populous, but very "narrow" geographies is quite conceivable.

I tend to be sardonically amused when people who seem to think that forced diversity is a good thing in general have issues with the electoral college, precisely it forces the diversity of the kind that they don't want. To capture an EC majority, they only need to broaden their coalition a little bit. To his credit, Obama did exactly that. HRC fell short. Now, EC is unfair?

I've had the theory that the greatest threat to democratic rule comes not from people who will seek to rule without a majority, but a narrow and controversial majority (or plurality) that seeks to rule unbridled by restraints. The Ikhwan in Egypt struck me as an example of that: they did have a legitimate plurality. They had the organization to win elections. But they felt that that plurality was good enough to run everyone whom they disagreed with roughshod. Sisi's coup might have been a bad thing, but it was the kind of response where everyone left outside the "illiberal plurality" could welcome, and welcome they did. Something analogous can be said about Allende's Chile. Yes, he did win election fair and square--with a rather small and narrow plurality that had trouble building bridges outside their bubble. Outside intervention might have tipped the scale over, but Chile was already in deep trouble for years with many discontented factions seething against Allende government when the coup came along. Stable democracies with broad bases don't topple so easily. If narrow majorities, in the name of short sighted "democracy" starts cutting at that base, the stability suffers.

Electoral college helps stabilize politics by forcing the political coalitions to be just a little bit more diverse and accommodating of different factions, counters this sort of problem. Maybe, if the Democrats don't like the results, they should try becoming a bit more diverse for change. Obama did it. Trump actually did make Republicans more diverse, by winning over many former Obama voters in right states, and that's how he won, not just because he got the Republicans. Maybe the next generation of Democrats should try some real diversity--that's good for winning elections, or so I heard, not change electoral rules so that you don't need diversity to win.

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