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Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Jesse Wegman: The main problem with the Electoral College today is not, as both its supporters and detractors believe, the disproportionate power it gives smaller states. Those states do get a boost from their two Senate-based electoral votes, but that benefit pales in comparison to the real culprit: statewide winner-take-all laws. The effect is to erase all the voters in that state who didn't vote for the top candidate.

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The Electoral College as it functions today is the most glaring reminder of many that our democracy is not fair, not equal and not representative. No other advanced democracy in the world uses anything like it, and for good reason. The election, as Mr. Trump would say - though not for the right reasons - is rigged.

The corrosiveness of this system isn't only a modern concern. James Madison, known as the father of the Constitution, was very disturbed by the state winner-take-all rule, which he considered one of the central flaws of the Electoral College as it took shape in the early 19th century.

As Madison wrote in an 1823 letter, states using the winner-take-all rule "are a string of beads" and fail to reflect the true political diversity of their citizens. He disliked the practice so much he called for a constitutional amendment barring it.

Under these laws, which states adopted to gain political advantage in the nation's early years, even though it was never raised by the framers - states award all their electors to the candidate with the most popular votes in their state. The effect is to erase all the voters in that state who didn't vote for the top candidate.

I'd never really looked at this issue from this perspective. How did we create a system that effectively erases the votes of millions solely based upon which arbitrary boundaries the voters happen to live within? Though this author's fix is the national popular voting compact, I see another one that doesn't have be an end run around the Electoral College concept.

Why shouldn't each state's electoral votes be proportioned based on the percentage of the vote each candidate gets within the state? All of a sudden Republicans in California become important again, as do blue cities in red states as well. It's certainly something to think about and consider since nowhere in the Constitution does it mandate that state electors have to be determined by winner-take-all races.

#1 | Posted by tonyroma at 2020-09-09 07:29 AM | Reply

#1 | Posted by tonyroma

Of course, that makes sense, but...

Here's the rub: the electoral college benefits one group only - conservatives. Conservatives, by name and by nature, do not care for change.

They will never, ever, voluntarily relinquish that advantage.

#2 | Posted by Angrydad at 2020-09-09 08:08 AM | Reply

The fairness of the idea is why Conservatives would always oppose it. They don't want fair, they want to win.

#3 | Posted by danni at 2020-09-09 08:09 AM | Reply

Reforming winner take all could be an easier more realistic fix to the issue. It is an issue in state primary elections as well.
There was a productive discussion and articles linked examining how previous elections would have worked out with minor changes such as reforming WTA in a thread a couple months ago

#4 | Posted by GOnoles92 at 2020-09-09 08:31 AM | Reply

I've always been for proportional allocation of EC electors.

You want to see voter participation go up? Make their votes actually mean something.

#5 | Posted by jpw at 2020-09-09 09:59 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

We have discussed this before, even right after Trump won the last time. I am fairly certain there was even a study with figures showing that with proportional allocation Trump still would have won, but I could be wrong on that point. I think it is definitely the direction we should be advocating for.

#6 | Posted by justagirl_idaho at 2020-09-09 10:18 AM | Reply

"I've always been for proportional allocation of EC electors."

"Maine and Nebraska both use an alternative method of distributing their electoral votes, called the Congressional District Method. Currently, these two states are the only two in the union that diverge from the traditional winner-take-all method of electoral vote allocation."

www.fairvote.org

To me it does seem to be how we could overcome the terrible affects of WTA.

#7 | Posted by danni at 2020-09-09 10:23 AM | Reply

Between California, New York and Illinois, over 9.4 million Americans voted for Donald Trump. Their votes meant nothing. Their votes had zero application to the election results. Why do Republicans think this is okay?

#8 | Posted by JOE at 2020-09-09 10:27 AM | Reply

Electoral college probably isn't going anywhere anytime soon since an amendment requires a super-majority and cooperation of the small conservative states that benefit from it the most. What can be done is drastically increasing the size of the House of Representatives by revisiting the Reapportionment Act of 1929. This requires only a majority vote.

Any increase in the number of reps would almost certainly make the electoral college vote more similar to the popular vote. A tripling or quadrupling of the number of reps could render the electoral college results consistent with the popular vote since the inequity of the current Electoral College would be swamped by additional reps primarily for the larger states.

This increase in the number of reps would also have additional helpful results like reducing gerrymandering and creating a more representative House of Representatives that actually is more likely to respond to local concerns.

#9 | Posted by censored at 2020-09-09 10:32 AM | Reply

I am fairly certain there was even a study with figures showing that with proportional allocation Trump still would have won, but I could be wrong on that point.

Correct to a point. Under the PPV (Proportional Popular Vote) tabulation the EC would have broken down Trump - 267; Clinton - 265; 3rd Party - 6.

So the election would have been decided by 3rd Party faithless defectors or it would have been thrown to the House of Representatives; so in 2017 Trump still wins.

#10 | Posted by tonyroma at 2020-09-09 10:42 AM | Reply

#10 | POSTED BY TONYROMA

Thanks Tony, I thought I had seen something to that effect. I am also all for Censored post in #9 to increase the reps. If people felt more represented and like they had a voice we would see more participation. The two combined would certainly go a long way to making our elections more fair.

#11 | Posted by justagirl_idaho at 2020-09-09 10:56 AM | Reply

Correct to a point. Under the PPV (Proportional Popular Vote) tabulation the EC would have broken down Trump - 267; Clinton - 265; 3rd Party - 6.
So the election would have been decided by 3rd Party faithless defectors or it would have been thrown to the House of Representatives; so in 2017 Trump still wins.

#10 | POSTED BY TONYROMA

Which still would not have been a fair representation of the actual popular vote... Neither this method or the current system represent the will of a significant majority of the people.

#12 | Posted by Whatsleft at 2020-09-09 11:42 AM | Reply

Which still would not have been a fair representation of the actual popular vote... Neither this method or the current system represent the will of a significant majority of the people.

Exactly. No matter how you slice it, the EC exists to accord different weight to votes from different states, which is fundamentally anti-democratic. And before some Boaz type idiot chimes and and says "wE aReN't A dEmOcRaCy We'Re A rEpUbLiC," i don't care, any discussion about the value and fairness of the electoral college is by design a fantasy because the states that serve to benefit from it will never, ever agree to abolish it.

#13 | Posted by JOE at 2020-09-09 11:54 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

"the states that serve to benefit from it will never, ever agree to abolish it."

Exactly.

I was watching Nightline back in 2000 when Jimmy Carter was on. Ted Koppel brought up the EC, and the possibility of eliminating it, and Carter paused for a second...then leaned forward and started talking in that "Okay, let's cut the bullshirt" manner. The EC is never going away, he said, because it would take a handful of states to voluntarily give up parliamentary power.

#14 | Posted by Danforth at 2020-09-09 12:32 PM | Reply

"before some Boaz type idiot chimes and and says "wE aReN't A dEmOcRaCy We'Re A rEpUbLiC,""

Except Boaz doesn't actually believe that. I asked him, point-blank, if Republicans got the majority of votes in his home state of North Carolina, would he be okay if Democrats ran the state?

He refused to answer, claiming it was a "trick question".

The reason I brought it up:
www.dailytarheel.com

#15 | Posted by Danforth at 2020-09-09 12:35 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

The EC is never going away, he said, because it would take a handful of states to voluntarily give up parliamentary power.

Yep. Which is why Dems need to stop playing nice, pack the Supreme Court, and unilaterally admit DC and PR as new states.

#16 | Posted by JOE at 2020-09-09 12:48 PM | Reply

#13 | Posted by JOE

Surprised nobody has hit you with the "Well America isn't a democracy, it's a repbulic" bit yet.

#17 | Posted by GalaxiePete at 2020-09-09 05:15 PM | Reply

#15 | Posted by Danforth

Nice article. Never heard about that until now personally. "Trick question" indeed. Hypocritical answer refused... lol

#18 | Posted by GalaxiePete at 2020-09-09 05:19 PM | Reply

But you idiots do know we are a Federation of States, right? 50 states that banded together. We are NOT one country that thinks alike, which is why we have the EC. I dont want California setting policy for me in NC nor should it be the other way around.

Anything that makes you liberals keep your turds where you are is fine by me.

And we do have mob voting at the local level, where it should be.

#19 | Posted by boaz at 2020-09-09 06:25 PM | Reply | Funny: 1

Except Boaz doesn't actually believe that. I asked him, point-blank, if Republicans got the majority of votes in his home state of North Carolina, would he be okay if Democrats ran the state?

I didnt answer because your question was stupid. I dont talk to stupid.

NC, like other states, is mob rules We are a democracy at the local level, as it's supposed to be.

#20 | Posted by boaz at 2020-09-09 06:27 PM | Reply | Funny: 1

"I dont want California setting policy for me in NC"

More to the point, you don't want the majority of NC residents setting policy for you in NC.

"I didnt answer because your question was stupid. "

------------. You didn't answer because the truth exposes you as a raging hypocrite, who doesn't really believe in the ideals of America.

"NC, like other states, is mob rules"

Not if you control the gerrymandering, as has been proven in real life. Rs got the minority of the votes, and majority of the seats...which if fine with you.

Tell us: what percentage of votes should Democrats have to attain, to control the statehouse? Clearly 51% isn't enough.

#21 | Posted by Danforth at 2020-09-09 06:44 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

yep, lots of people in southern illinois refuse to vote in presidential elections as they know their votes "don't count" as chicago has the lions share of the vote and votes overly D.

it would be great if illinois 20 electoral votes were to be awarded as a percentage of the popular vote. would be real easy...get 5% of popular vote, let an EC vote. get 100%, get 20 votes. get 4%, get 0 votes.

this would accurately reflect the will of the people and would stimulate greater turn out. sadly, that is exactly what our ruler for life does not want.

voter suppression is alive and well in illinois. if it was a GOP state it would be the poster child of bad everything but since it is DEM it is allowed to fester.

Madigan, Pritzker, Durbin, Biden.

#22 | Posted by visiter at 2020-09-09 06:47 PM | Reply

Boaz...

Please retire the "I don't want -blank- setting policy for North Carolina."

The Electoral College does not set policy for any state in America. It's solely about creating a biased system that intentionally negates "one person-one vote" because the founders were afraid of mobs like today's GOP would elect a buffoon unfit for the office.

If you bothered to read the article, there is no constitutional requirement for states to apportion their electors in a winner-take-all manner. If the majority of your state's democratically-elected legislators decide to do so, there's not a freaking thing you can do about it.

But the Electoral College was instituted by the US Constitution - a FEDERAL DOCUMENT that operates equally for every state and every citizen.

You're no different than anyone else, so stop trying to imply that where you live is something more sacrosanct than anyplace else. Each state gave authority to the federal government equally in regards to the EC, something you obviously are incapable of understanding.

#23 | Posted by tonyroma at 2020-09-09 07:00 PM | Reply

More to the point, you don't want the majority of NC residents setting policy for you in NC.

I never said that. So stop saying I did. The state election system isnt like the Federal presidential system. You are being obtuse.

#24 | Posted by boaz at 2020-09-09 07:03 PM | Reply

Please retire the "I don't want -blank- setting policy for North Carolina."

Nope. It's true. And why the EC was created. You keep forgetting we are 50 individual, SEPARATE states, with individual wants and needs.

#25 | Posted by boaz at 2020-09-09 07:06 PM | Reply

And why the EC was created.

Back when there were 13 states.

#26 | Posted by REDIAL at 2020-09-09 07:15 PM | Reply

You keep forgetting we are 50 individual, SEPARATE states, with individual wants and needs.

No it's YOU who keep forgetting that the Electoral College has nothing to do with each state's autonomy. It has one purpose, which is this: It dictates when and how each state chooses it's electors who will cast that state's electoral votes for the President of the United States, period. It has NOTHING to do with any other policy or issues in each state.

How is this different in your state compared to mine except that different citizens are involved in the process? The only thing unique about the EC is that the states and territories do it separately.

#27 | Posted by tonyroma at 2020-09-09 07:30 PM | Reply

You are wrong Tony. The Electoral College is the only thing making sure each states vote is counted. The President is a check on the other two branches. The EC makes sure that it's not always one sided in the branches.

I'm surprised you dont get this, you are usually smarter than this.

#28 | Posted by boaz at 2020-09-09 08:27 PM | Reply

#27 is this the case? Last I knew it was up to the states on how they chose their electors, but that was a long time ago. I'm not sure the popular election of presidential electors is a good idea, and direct election for senators. Seems like we have more problems the way we do it now.

#29 | Posted by Charliecharles at 2020-09-09 08:53 PM | Reply

The Electoral College is the only thing making sure each states vote is counted.

It's not the only thing, and the Electoral College is nothing but another layer of representation. It reflects the voting preference decided democratically by each state.

The President is a check on the other two branches. The EC makes sure that it's not always one sided in the branches.

I have no idea what that means. Tripartite government is not defined as a purpose for the Electoral College, though since it's the manner in which the President is constitutionally chosen, perhaps that is what you're alluding to and something I wasn't remotely referring to in my comments. If the President were chosen by the popular vote, we'd still have 3 different branches that could act as checks on the others.

Here is the Electoral College defined:

The Electoral College is a body of electors established by the United States Constitution, which forms every four years for the sole purpose of electing the president and vice president of the United States.

Following the nationwide presidential election day, on the Tuesday after the first Monday of November, each state counts its popular votes according to that state's laws to designate presidential electors.

Each state's electors meet in their respective state capital on the first Monday after the second Wednesday of December to cast their votes.[7] The results are counted by Congress, where they are tabulated in the first week of January before a joint meeting of the Senate and House of Representatives, presided over by the vice president, as president of the Senate.

en.wikipedia.org

Here's what I said:
(T)he Electoral College has nothing to do with each state's autonomy. It has one purpose, which is this: It dictates when and how each state chooses it's electors who will cast that state's electoral votes for the President of the United States, period. It has NOTHING to do with any other policy or issues in each state.
I stand by my statement since it's almost verbatim as the EC is defined above.

#30 | Posted by tonyroma at 2020-09-09 09:24 PM | Reply

"I never said that. So stop saying I did."

You called my question about majority rule stupid. Because the minority rules in NC, and that's fine with you.

You pretend to speak for the majority of Americans, when the truth is you don't even speak for the majority of North Carolinians.

And if Dems get the most votes, you think Republicans should control the statehouse. You can't get more Un-American than that.

#31 | Posted by Danforth at 2020-09-09 10:21 PM | Reply

Republicans only believe in majority rule when they are in the majority.

#32 | Posted by WhoDaMan at 2020-09-09 11:10 PM | Reply

Maybe the problem is Americans are not good losers.

People become sour grapes and just don't give it up.

I've seen that over and over.

Some people can't lose and get over it.

#33 | Posted by BillJohnson at 2020-09-10 10:49 AM | Reply

That goes for both sides.

#34 | Posted by BillJohnson at 2020-09-10 10:49 AM | Reply

And not even just politics.

Frankly...I think good mental health is on the decline.

I guess to drugs, TV and radio consumer brain washing, each other, on and on

Then we look for scape goats.

The EC isn't working in my favor so it must be bad.

#35 | Posted by BillJohnson at 2020-09-10 10:57 AM | Reply

"The EC isn't working in the majority's favor so it must be bad."

FTFY

#36 | Posted by danni at 2020-09-10 11:09 AM | Reply

"Maybe the problem is Americans are not good losers."

Maybe the problem is most Americans get angry when they get the most votes but still lose. And let's examine the results of the last two Presidential elections when the minority of voters won the election: disastrous Iraq invasion and a collapsed economy. Then it happened again: we got a President who ignored a pandemic and an even more collapsed economy.

#37 | Posted by danni at 2020-09-10 11:15 AM | Reply

I dont want California setting policy for me in NC nor should it be the other way around.

But it is the other way around. Because of the electoral college. Moron.

#38 | Posted by JOE at 2020-09-10 11:20 AM | Reply

The Electoral College is the only thing making sure each states vote is counted.

No it isn't. The Electoral College is what makes sure votes from different states are weighted differently. It doesn't have anything to do with what "counts," it has to do with what "counts more."

#39 | Posted by JOE at 2020-09-10 11:23 AM | Reply

Some people can't lose and get over it.

#33 | POSTED BY BILLJOHNSON

I suppose you didn't know about the whole Russian collusion thing? And Trumps attempts at involving foreign adversaries in our electoral process?

When an election result is undermined by allegations of cheating and fraud and foreign interference and the candidate reinforces this suspicion by his words and deeds and even threatens to LOCK UP his opponents after the election what the heck did you expect?

And then that same candidate begins to undermine the integrity of the next election because it worked so well last time.

You would have to be living under a rock to not be able to see this and be concerned. At least a little...

#40 | Posted by donnerboy at 2020-09-10 11:24 AM | Reply

Joe,

For some reason, the system doesn't register my flags. I gave #39 a Newsworthy.

#41 | Posted by Danforth at 2020-09-10 11:26 AM | Reply

#41 Are you flagging via mobile? If so, I've noticed that if you flag it, wait a second, then click the drop down box again, it says "received" and then the flag registers.

#42 | Posted by JOE at 2020-09-10 11:30 AM | Reply

For those who claim the EC forces presidential candidates to campaign in a wider array of states, I'd like to point out that two-thirds of presidential campaign events in the 2016 race were in just six states, and per that same link 94% of campaign events were in 12 states.

Tell me again how the EC forces candidates to appeal to a broad spectrum of voters. It doesn't.

#43 | Posted by JOE at 2020-09-10 11:32 AM | Reply

Russia is related to the EC how?

#44 | Posted by BillJohnson at 2020-09-10 12:22 PM | Reply

"Russia is related to the EC how?"

The EC gives them a much smaller group of voters to concentrate on so they can cause an election to go for the candidate they choose. Without the EC those voters would be no more important than any other voter in the United States and thus their affect would be negated by numbers.

#45 | Posted by danni at 2020-09-10 12:46 PM | Reply

#45
Yes.

Our whole horse-and-buggy EC contraption is a fat juicy target for 21st century data science and foreign troll farms.
The entire presidency can be won by focusing on a handful of states, and a handful of counties within those states.

#46 | Posted by schifferbrains at 2020-09-10 01:03 PM | Reply

Russia is related to the EC how?

77,000 voters out of 330 million people decided who would become President in 2016. And it just so happened to be many of those 77,000 lived in the exact counties prioritized by Russian micro-targeting campaigns.

This was not a coincidence and it would have been impossible if the nationwide popular vote winner became the President.

PS: This is also why the internal polling data that Paul Manafort passed to his Russian handler was so instrumental in assisting Trump's narrow win. The information was used to make sure the Russians would aim their efforts where they would deliver the greatest possibility of success. Mission accomplished.

#47 | Posted by tonyroma at 2020-09-10 01:04 PM | Reply

"This is also why the internal polling data that Paul Manafort passed to his Russian handler was so instrumental in assisting Trump's narrow win."

And so many of the Trump supporters still claim the whole Russian colusion accusations were just Fake News. The ones of them who aren't just incredibly stupid are liars. To them, they believe that if they don't admit something is true then it isn't true. That's what most liars do to sooth their consciences.

#48 | Posted by danni at 2020-09-10 02:22 PM | Reply

"Why shouldn't each state's electoral votes be proportioned based on the percentage of the vote each candidate gets within the state? All of a sudden Republicans in California become important again, as do blue cities in red states as well. It's certainly something to think about and consider since nowhere in the Constitution does it mandate that state electors have to be determined by winner-take-all races."

So...correct me if I'm wrong, but don't the states have the right to determine how the EC votes are allocated? As Danni mentioned earlier, Nebraska and Maine already use a different method, and Colorado is already leading the way on establishing a National Popular Vote Interstate Compact that would give all of the state's EC votes to the winner of the popular vote. So it would seem that the states are currently hindered from altering how they allocate their votes.

#49 | Posted by madbomber at 2020-09-11 04:47 AM | Reply

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