r/NoStupidQuestions Sep 24 '22

Why is the Electoral College defended? Unanswered

With midterms coming up in the U.S., the age-old topic of the EC being useless is coming back. I've heard responses to the notion that the EC should be abolished with the point that "people in NY, TX and CA would run the country", but if it switches to a popular vote system, I simply don't see how that's true? Everyone's vote would be equal to one another, and currently, couldn't the point be made that a Nebraska vote is worth more than a New Yorkers vote? Is there truth to this idea, or is it more posturing to maintain the status quo?

62 Upvotes

143

u/mugenhunt Sep 24 '22

When the United States was created, it wasn't seen as being a single country, but more like how the European Union works, where you have independent countries that collaborate on larger issues.

The electoral college made more sense in that regard, as a compromise to get the smaller states to agree to join the United States. It meant that smaller States would still have a voice in the government and not just be overruled by the bigger ones.

Since then, the United States has shifted to be more of a single nation, with a stronger federal government. But our election system hasn't changed.

There are many people who feel that the electoral college is necessary because it ensures that the smaller States still matter politically.

54

u/Nulono Sep 24 '22

Since then, the United States has shifted to be more of a single nation, with a stronger federal government. But our election system hasn't changed.

It's probably worth adding that the people who support the Electoral College generally see this trend as a bad thing, and view the Electoral College as one of the few things blocking it from continuing even further.

20

u/Frackenpot Sep 24 '22

It's the old Federalist and anti-Federalist argument that's been going on since the founding of our country. The anti's are for the EC the Federalist want it abolished.

→ More replies

1

u/rossiskier13346 Sep 24 '22

That is probably partially true… Maybe I’m cynical but I think the defense of EC is a bunch of platitudes but the true motivation of defenders in the modern day is that they feel it gives them an advantage when it comes to controlling the stronger federal government.

11

u/Plupert Sep 24 '22

I’m sure you’ve watched the video since you know this much about it. But CGP Grey made a video on it and it’s possible now to win the presidency with only 22% of the vote if they’re in the right places

12

u/colexian Sep 24 '22

I actually did my PoliSci final on CGP Grey's video, he also points out that even if presidents visited the top 50 largest cities and got their vote, it would hardly change the outcome at all.
The swing states are the only ones that matter, getting 50.1% of the vote is the only thing that matters, having a majority vote means your state doesn't matter at all in an election.
The US may have some really large cities like NYC or LA, but people are actually really spread out in general. The idea that the electoral college benefits small states isn't true, and it simply makes a handful of states entirely control the outcome.
It also basically ensures Puerto Rico never becomes a state, because republicans are never likely to win again with the electoral college tipped that far blue.

9

u/Plupert Sep 24 '22

Yep, shows you how uneducated and uninformed most people really are regarding politics. I live in Ohio, fuck the electoral college. Make the candidates do less rallies here so there’s less traffic during that time of year.

My perfect world is ranked choice voting and at least 5 major political parties. Including splitting the current democrat and republican parties

Yeah I really don’t understand why Puerto Rico isn’t a state. It should be a state but it won’t be because politics.

1

u/[deleted] Sep 24 '22

[deleted]

2

u/asunamyag Sep 24 '22

Puerto Rico has voted on this three times in the past decade: 2012, 2017, and 2020. Each time the question was structured differently. Statehood won every time.

1

u/Plupert Sep 24 '22

Enlighten me, genuinely curious as to why

1

u/Soulcatcher74 Sep 24 '22

Probably tax benefits

2

u/OvertSpy Sep 24 '22

I mean its theoretically possible to win with 12 votes total.

A states turnout has no impact on how many votes the state gets. As such the lower the turnout the more each individual voters vote counts. If only one from the twelve most populous states vote, their votes allocate their entire states EC votes. Sure the chance of that happening is pretty much nil, but it IS possible. Though most states go by county, so maybe it will take 1 vote in 51% of the counties, I dont know what the rules would be if a county has zero turnout.

→ More replies

2

u/BeepBoopSnoop1 Sep 25 '22

I thought the electoral college was just made so that states with a lot of slaves had more power.

5

u/atleastitsnotthat Sep 24 '22

It meant that smaller States would still have a voice in the government and not just be overruled by the bigger ones

But doesn't the way that the electoral college mean that states with larger populations have much more pull than ones with smaller populations? California has 55 votes compared to Alaska's 3

7

u/opal_moth Sep 24 '22

No, while the amount of votes for California is larger than Alaska's, it is not proportionate to population. California has 39,000,000 residents. Alaska has 710,000. This makes California 55 times bigger in population than Alaska. In order for it to be equal according to population, California would need to have like 150-160 votes, or Alaska would need to have only one.

1

u/atleastitsnotthat Sep 25 '22

So...California gets more power because it has more people? Isn't that what you are trying to prevent?

3

u/Fine_Baseball6921 Sep 25 '22

No, it means all of the people in the state are heard. Imagine living somewhere with a 51/49 split. That means nearly half the people don’t get a say.

8

u/opal_moth Sep 25 '22

No. I am against the electoral college. I am simply explaining the current system. California has a lot of people and therefore it should have more power proportionate to its population. A vote in Cali should matter just as much as a vote in a small state. It should not be possible to lose the popular vote yet win the election.

2

u/kooshipuff Sep 25 '22

The state as a whole does, but smaller states are still overrepresented. There are nearly 40M people in California, while there are more like 737K in Alaska, or 53x as many, but they don't get 53x the representation in the electoral college.

This was an intentional choice early on to ensure the smaller states had some representation while still letting the larger states have more, and it does that. Whether that's a bad thing depends on how you see the election- is it a country voting or 50 states?

Legally, it's the latter and always has been, but people are increasingly looking at it as the former.

1

u/GiraffeWeevil Human Bean Sep 24 '22

It meant that smaller States would still have a voice in the government and not just be overruled by the bigger ones.

How does the electoral college do this? I see why this would be the case if each state sends only one elector. But the larger states get more electors.

14

u/ProLifePanda Sep 24 '22

So the electoral college appropriates electoral votes by the the number of senators and representatives for each state.

So for example, Wyoming has 3 electoral votes (1 for their single House seat, and 2 for each Senator). California has 55 electoral votes (2 for each Senator and 53 for their House seats).

So in California, each elector represents 706k people. In Wyoming, each elector represents 200k people. So the people of Wyoming get more per capita representation in the electoral college than larger states.

Certainly larger states have more votes, but per Capita the electoral college gives smaller states more weight.

→ More replies
→ More replies

1

u/123bigtoe Sep 24 '22

Thank you, that is a very good explanation.

→ More replies

21

u/SwAeromotion Sep 24 '22

The Electoral College isn't used in midterms.

-1

u/PapaBradford Sep 24 '22

Of course, but because an election comes up, the topic came up in conversation and someone said "California and New York would run the country" and I'm just not seeing how that's completely true.

5

u/SwAeromotion Sep 24 '22

I am in agreement with you. Candidates heavily campaign in 6-10 swing states and mostly gloss over the rest, which is just a variation on hitting population centers if it was a popular vote.

I was just pointing out something in case you or others that come along didn't/don't know this.

6

u/colexian Sep 24 '22

just a variation on hitting population centers if it was a popular vote.

Even though the US has some large population centers like NYC and LA, there are no population centers large enough to swing a vote.
Even if they visited the largest 25 cities and secured 100% of the vote there, that would barely be 11% of the popular vote.
The idea that population centers can control the election isn't founded in stats, just a talking point from people in rural areas being scared into thinking cities would control their fate without an electoral college. The vast majority of Americans don't live in the top 100 largest cities. (Only around 19.5% of the population)

→ More replies

4

u/PapaBradford Sep 24 '22

Oh I have no ego invested in this, it's no worries. L Honestly I'm surprised no one has called me a "liberal shill" or some variation for asking folks to expand on their ideas a bit more. I just genuinely don't see how the EC is worth keeping. It feels like abolishing it would either lead to similar results we have now, or better, with stronger voter motivation

4

u/JejuneEsculenta Sep 24 '22

You liberal shill! 🤣

Just kidding.

Seriously, though, certain political factions know that they are the minority, and would lose without gerrymandering and the EC.

They'll fight tooth and nail to defend the EC for that reason alone.

1

u/Frackenpot Sep 24 '22

The major cities would rule over the masses that choose not to live in a city. Look at a map of states that is sized by population. I don't know how to link one. This will show you how your statement is true.

→ More replies

40

u/TehWildMan_ Test Sep 24 '22

The point is deliberately to give less populated states a larger share of the vote in presidential elections.

36

u/illogictc Unprofessional Googler Sep 24 '22

And the concept behind doing it like that is an attempt to balance rural and urban interests.

3

u/matts1 Sep 24 '22

In most of the elections of the last 30 years, the difference between the two major candidates popular vote totals has been in the range of 3-5M. I would be shocked if a significant portion of that difference was centered in a large populated area like a city.

Meaning, getting rid of the electoral college would not change the balance, because rural areas vote too.

0

u/CaptainLucid420 Sep 25 '22

It would change the results. Only Republicans lose the popular vote but win the rigged game.

1

u/matts1 Sep 25 '22

I was only talking in the context that illogictc was referring to. They were advocating for keeping the electoral college because cities are why the popular vote almost always goes to the left. Which doesn't make sense because there are people on the left in rural areas as well.

4

u/PapaBradford Sep 24 '22

Can you expand on that? Why is it believed rural interests will simply vanish if the EC is abolished?

26

u/Fun-Dragonfruit2999 Sep 24 '22

This happened in California.

California is 58 counties, 7 populated counties in the LA area, 5 in the Bay area, and 46 poor cow counties in the north. The cow counties have used to have almost all the water. Previously, the California Senate was divided one state senator per county, and House members one per 100k people. The State Supreme Court changed this to one Senator per 250k. This removed all the power from the cow counties. Then the heavily populated cities took control. Shortly thereafter, the state water projects started sending the northern farmer's water to LA and San Francisco Bay to make the land developers wealthy. Now the cities are huge, many of the farms are dry and defunct, and if the Central Valley were a separate state, it would be the poorest state in the US. In other words, the big cities beat up the poor cow counties, took their water.

Previously, the fees from logging trees were used to fund schools. The schools in the northern cow counties with lots of trees were the wealthiest schools in the state ... but then big city environmentalists shut down the logging, and the cow counties have the poorest schools. Of course, the logging companies maintained the roads, and prevent fires ... and you can read the headlines about how that worked out. And the big city environmental groups do a lot of other environmental damage through 'feel good' but misguided laws, such as reducing power line clearance, then we have power line sparked fires, which is only recently become the top cause of summertime fires in California.

45

u/Wolfe244 Sep 24 '22 Take My Energy

Because it will. Cities will suddenly have 10x the voting power of rural areas due to just having more people. Politicians then will have no interest in actually doing anything for rural citizens because they can just pander to cities

7

u/Doomas_ Sep 24 '22

https://www.statista.com/statistics/985183/size-urban-rural-population-us/

Approximately 57 million Americans live in rural areas, about 1/6th of the population. It’s ridiculous to assert that cities would somehow gain 10x the voting power than rural populations, and assuming that politicians could somehow appeal to only urban voters is ridiculous considering how vastly different cities are from one to another and considering that ignoring ~17% of the population is a recipe for electoral suicide. Do better.

3

u/Wolfe244 Sep 24 '22

It would vastly change the political landscape. Suddenly California is one of the most important states in the entire country, instead of having its votes be worth significantly less than someone in Michigan.

24

u/PapaBradford Sep 24 '22

It's one of the most populous states already...? In a democracy?

2

u/Ancient_Edge2415 Sep 25 '22

It's a republic not a democracy

1

u/Wolfe244 Sep 24 '22

what?

0

u/PapaBradford Sep 24 '22

Ahh, you edited the comment to make it look like I'm not making sense. Well played.

4

u/Wolfe244 Sep 24 '22

?? no i didnt?? edited comments have a *, i didnt edit anything

→ More replies

-11

u/Select-Wash8633 Sep 24 '22

I think that’s one major hang up, we’re not a democracy. We’re a democratic republic. Yes we vote for the president and our state governing officials, but a raw democracy is a bad idea. “Democracy is govermnent by the people, of the people, for the people. But, the people, are retarded” -Indian man I assume who’s name I don’t remember. No I don’t think that logic only applies to libertarians or democrats or republicans. If the people were smarter we wouldn’t have 2.1 parties only

10

u/VenoSlayer246 Sep 24 '22

The 2 party system is a result of the voting system we use. It's an inevitable result of a lot of voting systems, including both the electoral college and the popular vote.

4

u/GiraffeWeevil Human Bean Sep 24 '22

Democracy is when you vote people in for a few years, they make decisions, and then are held accountable by being re-elected or not re-elected. That is what a democracy is.

3

u/Cris1275 Sep 24 '22

Yes because Allah Forbid We expand democracy and Make the people more educated by showing the impacts of living in society.... Instead the current system is better

7

u/Far_Information_885 Sep 24 '22

A democratic republic is a form of democracy. I'm tired of hearing this same stupid refrain from people making shit arguments about keeping a bastardized system even the founding fathers didn't intend to create or really support.

→ More replies

3

u/PapaBradford Sep 24 '22

I think regardless of the voting system, it doesn't help that 65%+ of the eligible population doesn't vote. :/ all this discussion is moot without it.

6

u/Doomas_ Sep 24 '22

God forbid the biggest state in the country becomes politically relevant haha

5

u/illogictc Unprofessional Googler Sep 24 '22

Isn't having over 10% of the say while being 2% of the amount of states already politically relevant? But I'm pretty sure Cali is considered a "safe state" anyway so any irrelevancy is mainly because there's not much need to try pandering since they reliably vote in a particular way.

5

u/Doomas_ Sep 24 '22

This would be a bigger deal if states were more diverse than they actually are.

1

u/Wolfe244 Sep 24 '22

look man, I agree with you, I would prefer the popular vote to matter more. I live in california, I hate that my vote doesnt matter for president.

Im just explaining the logic of the system, which does make sense in the context that it was created

0

u/Far_Information_885 Sep 24 '22

No, it doesn't. The electoral college system as it exists today is nothing like the original system or the intent behind it.

2

u/patriotgator122889 Sep 24 '22

Lol your arguments keep getting worse, even when faced with facts.

1

u/Wolfe244 Sep 24 '22

What? I'm not making arguments, I'm just stating why the electoral college exists. Id prefer the popular vote

2

u/[deleted] Sep 24 '22 edited 18d ago

[deleted]

3

u/Wolfe244 Sep 24 '22

I feel like people think I don't want popular voting, I do

I live in a rural area. I've never been pandered to with anything rural based.

you're not a farmer, they're the main targets for this sorta stuff

2

u/Bryguy3k Sep 25 '22

It’s funny how mobs are good if you call it democracy.

2

u/Whisperwyf Sep 25 '22 edited Sep 26 '22

Underrated comment. The EC, like the Senate, is also a mechanism for preventing a ‘tyranny of the majority.’ The majority of us is not always correct.

Majorities can be awful, across history and cultures, and a stable democracy that aims to protect individual liberty needs some circuit breakers to stop us from being idiots, at least some of the time.

0

u/KaziOverlord Sep 24 '22

We aren't a democracy.

2

u/[deleted] Sep 25 '22 edited 18d ago

[deleted]

0

u/KaziOverlord Sep 25 '22

We are a constitutional republic. A system where a democratic process elects representatives who do the politicking and a president that is separate from the legislature who acts similarly to a monarch and who are all subordinate to the constitution of the land.

The people don't hold supreme power, the elect the people who hold the power who in turn are limited by the constitution on how they can act.

The systems are similar but not the same. The key difference being the presence of a constitution.

2

u/atleastitsnotthat Sep 24 '22

Doesn't the EC still effectively give states with more population more power than ones with less people? California has 55 electoral votes vs Alaska's 3

2

u/Wolfe244 Sep 24 '22

Sure, but those numbers are based on a very outdated population count

4

u/PapaBradford Sep 24 '22

I think that effect is overestimated. If every vote counts as 1:1, politicians will still want to campaign in the Rust Belt because leaving millions of votes on the table is simply foolish. I don't think it's nearly as cut and dry as that.

And, as I said before, the current system favors a rural vote over an urban one due to weighting.

7

u/Wolfe244 Sep 24 '22

Millions of votes are already left on the table. It's pointless for Republicans to campaign in California or New York for example, because the electoral college guarantees the states are blue.

7

u/PapaBradford Sep 24 '22

because the electoral college guarantees the states are blue.

You see my point, then? If it was just on an individual vote, it would still be worth campaigning for every red vote, because their votes would actually count, rather than have their state just give Electoral votes to the blue candidate.

8

u/Wolfe244 Sep 24 '22

right, but i'm saying it would matter SIGNIFICANTLY less than it does now. Suddenly population density becomes the most important factor in choosing where you campaign, and many places that are now extremely important become next to useless

-2

u/PapaBradford Sep 24 '22

Can you give an example? Someone else posted a stat in this thread that shows 1/6th of the country is a rural vote, which is a huge swath of voters to leave hanging. No campaign in their right mind would just ignore the rural vote. cough cough Hillary cough cough

10

u/Wolfe244 Sep 24 '22

No campaign in their right mind would just ignore the rural vote. cough cough Hillary cough cough

you're aware hillary won the popular vote right? If the electoral college wasnt around, she would have been 100% correct to ignore the rural vote, right? As she did, and still got the most votes? Thats actually an amazing argument for the thing i'm trying to show you

Beyond that, let me give you a state example. In terms of voter count, New hampshire is completely useless. Its empty, and barely has over a million voters. Because of the electoral college, it actually has a reasonably important role to play in who gets elected, and because of that politicians are inclined to pay attention to it. You have to admit, if suddenly they were only worth their voter amount, politicians would put much more effort into states where they could grab that many voters in one city, right?

→ More replies

3

u/Doomas_ Sep 24 '22

Hillary didn’t “ignore” the rural vote. She ignored the Midwest which has massive urban areas (Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Detroit, etc.).

→ More replies

0

u/dangleicious13 Sep 24 '22

Except that's not true at all.

3

u/Wolfe244 Sep 24 '22

How is it not true?

22

u/dangleicious13 Sep 24 '22

For starters, cities aren't monoliths (and their are rural areas). There are a lot of conservatives in cities and vice versa.

The current system already does what your are describing. Why would a Democrat care about campaigning in Alabama or Mississippi? Why would a Republican care about campaigning in California or New York? All they care about now are the ~10 toss up states. You can fill in a map for the 2024 election right now, without knowing who the candidates are, and you will be extremely close to the eventual results.

Getting rid of the stupid ass electoral college would actually make both sides care more about everyone. Everyone's vote counts the same. If you're a political minority in your area, your vote now counts. The 35% of Alabama that votes Democrat now gets to have their vote heard. The 35% of California that votes Republican now gets to have their vote heard (and there are more voting Republicans in California than there are total people in Alabama). Getting 5% of people in Kansas to switch from R to D will matter. Getting 5% of people in Connecticut to switch from D to R will matter. Suddenly everyone matters, not just a few thousand people in a few purple states.

7

u/Wolfe244 Sep 24 '22

I feel like you think im supporting the electoral college, im not.

-1

u/MormonUnd3rwear Sep 24 '22

Wait, you mean that people will have more voting power than other people? Politicians pandering to the majority of people is a bad thing?

3

u/BubblyBoar Sep 25 '22

Because they will screw over people in the minority. California is the perfect example of this and why the EC is important. I understand that a popular vote feels good because it makes it feel like every vote matters and it's winner take all, but that leads to problems the system was set up to prevent.

The easiest way to think about this is thus. If the EC was done away with, why would a state like Idaho even bother staying a part of the US when that states needs no longer matters or has a say? Would they still feel represented and if they don't, do they have the right to no longer contribute to the federal tax burden?

If your answer is any version of "screw them because they didn't get the most votes" you are exactly the person the EC is trying to prevent from taking power

2

u/Wolfe244 Sep 24 '22

My vote for president in California has less worth than someone voting in a swing state. I never said anything about good or bad

→ More replies

3

u/OvertSpy Sep 24 '22

more populated states still have a larger share of the presidential vote, its just a smaller share per person in the state.

2

u/PapaBradford Sep 24 '22

How does that help? If the system switched to a popular vote on an individual level and not states, why would population matter?

8

u/Wolfe244 Sep 24 '22

Cities have more people than rural areas

3

u/atleastitsnotthat Sep 24 '22

And? its not like some people in cities and rural areas don't vote the same way some times

5

u/Wolfe244 Sep 24 '22

They traditionally don't, cities tend to lean much more left

2

u/kimscz Sep 24 '22

I will try. If you have a more rural state like Montana and the popular vote in that state is republican but nationally the popular vote is for the democrats, their vote isn’t heard. With the EC their EC votes go to the republicans so they are heard. Conversely, the more populous states have more sway without the EC just by virtue of the fact that they have more people.

5

u/PapaBradford Sep 24 '22

I will try. If you have a more rural state like Montana and the popular vote in that state is republican but nationally the popular vote is for the democrats, their vote isn’t heard.

Still not sure how that works. The voters who vote for the R candidate would get their vote counted and added to the pile. None of this "winner take all" nonsense the EC currently offers.

2

u/kimscz Sep 24 '22

I don’t disagree with you. While I have a vague understanding of how the EC works, I am not sure that I support it. It seems to me if the majority of the nation supports one candidate/one party over the other that is who should be elected. I think I’ve had enough of the EC shenanigans.

1

u/illogictc Unprofessional Googler Sep 24 '22 edited Sep 24 '22

"winner take all" is present in 48 states because those states chose that method. Maine and Nebraska separate it into Congressional District. It's like that because the Constitution specifically empowers the states to run their own elections. This is part of the fed-state balance of power that the Constitution was intended to give.

Which they don't have to put it to vote at all technically, used to be the state legislatures chose which electors to send. That changed over time to putting it to the people, and in a sense is a popular vote, just done on a state-by-state basis.

I'm not sure I entirely understand the obsession with the election procedures of the President. They're not a King, it's not He-Man I Have The Powwweeeeerrrrrr type shit, and they can do almost nothing without Congress first doing something. Which Congress doesn't use EC.

2

u/PapaBradford Sep 24 '22

Okay, granted, it's not the EC doing that. Still doesn't make that idea any good, because that actually nullifies votes.

2

u/illogictc Unprofessional Googler Sep 24 '22

How does it nullify votes?

3

u/PapaBradford Sep 24 '22

If you vote for the candidate that loses your state, your state gives all its votes to the winning candidate. Your vote for the loser is never really counted and affects nothing.

5

u/illogictc Unprofessional Googler Sep 24 '22

Isn't that the same way it would work in a national popular vote? If 52% vote R, the 48% who voted D or other "never gets counted."

2

u/HKittyH3 Sep 24 '22

No. Because they would have to count each vote and “all” of the votes from each state would not go to one candidate. Each vote would count on its own, regardless of the state the person who cast it lives in.

→ More replies

1

u/[deleted] Sep 24 '22 edited 18d ago

[deleted]

5

u/illogictc Unprofessional Googler Sep 24 '22

Executive order can only shape existing law. It cannot create new law, cannot spend money that isn't already allocated, etc.

1

u/[deleted] Sep 24 '22 edited 18d ago

[deleted]

4

u/illogictc Unprofessional Googler Sep 24 '22

That's partially on purpose. The system is desired to allow change but not just be on a whimsy. Otherwise every time someone else gets in all the rules change. I feel a place with some stability in the law is better than one that is in a constant state of tug-of-war, get the tugging done behind the scenes before it becomes law. If one side proves popular enough to be able to secure enough Congressional seats with their platform or various platforms, then things can become more streamlined as apparently more people want whatever XYZ Party has to offer.

0

u/atleastitsnotthat Sep 24 '22

California has 55 electoral votes vs Alaska's 3, California still has more power

5

u/TehWildMan_ Test Sep 24 '22

I should have mentioned that I meant to emphasize per capita.

California nuas 52.5 times the population (2010 census figures) but only 18.3 times the electoral vote.

0

u/atleastitsnotthat Sep 24 '22

And? if the idea was for these states to have equal power, you'd think they'd have the exact same amount of votes. As it stands, California still has 18.3 times more power

0

u/[deleted] Sep 24 '22

The question is why giving rural states more political power than their proportional population is a good thing. The bottom line answer is that those states and the political party they overwhelmingly support selfishly defend their privilege because it gives them more power.

People will say that rural interests would lose some consuderation if it changed. Which is true, they would lose the undeserved power that is currently disproportionate to their population. The common Complaint that the cities will override the rural areas desires is little more than blood and soil nonsense about the need to protect the superior rural culture from the corrupt urban others.

→ More replies

3

u/AtHomeInTheUniverse Sep 24 '22

The main difference with a popular vote system would be that swing-states (where the votes are usually close) would have much less influence. In the current winner-take-all electoral system (that most, but not all, US states have adopted), nearly every election comes down to those swing states, because in the solidly red or solidly blue states, it doesn't matter if you win 51% or 90% of the vote - you get all the electoral votes, period.

A popular vote system would force/allow politicians to campaign more equally across the country. It would make a difference, for instance, if you campaigned to get more votes even in a state you knew you would "win", because those additional votes above 50% would help you overall. Similarly, it would also help to campaign even in states you knew you would 'lose', because every additional vote you get, even if less than 50%, would help you overall.

5

u/PapaBradford Sep 24 '22

Well said, precisely my idea. I don't see how folks get this concept that Montana or Utah votes would no longer matter, if it's not about the state or district you live in anymore.

3

u/colexian Sep 24 '22

For anyone who isn't aware, check out the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.
Basically, it is a killswitch on the electoral college, once enough states agree and join it will activate and all states in the compact will agree to always vote with the popular vote, effectively killing the electoral college. It has a ways yet to go, but is getting really close.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National\_Popular\_Vote\_Interstate\_Compact

5

u/KaziOverlord Sep 24 '22

NYC has more people than 3 southern states combined.

3 entire states would have their votes basically nullified by one city.

1

u/Fine_Baseball6921 Sep 25 '22

No, they wouldn’t. You’re assuming everyone votes the same way. We need a system that reflects the will of most of the people.

6

u/ChaoticAaronStout- Sep 24 '22

People in densely populated cities have different priorities than mire rural farmers and ranchers. The farmers and ranchers can't live in densely populated cities because they need the land to grow the food to feed the people in the cities.

In simple majority rule the cities would take advantage of the rural people. See the whiskey rebellion for an example. Unless you live in one of the large metro areas, you should be in favor of the electoral college.

6

u/THEeyehead Sep 25 '22

The electoral college was in place when the Whiskey Rebellion occurred, so it didn't prevent it. I don't know why you would bring it up.

And why is the rural/urban divide so important? What about the racial divide? Race is significantly more predictive of party affiliation than geography. Should black people get two votes to stop the white majority from oppressing them?

→ More replies

10

u/Ghostusn Sep 24 '22 edited Sep 24 '22

My belief is a true democracy is mob rule, and with mob rule well often times it goes very badly. So an electoral college is a way to limit it.

6

u/CaptainLucid420 Sep 25 '22

The electoral college is why trump lost the popular vote but because of the electoral college we got stuck with him. And 4 years later the EC result did become mob rule.

→ More replies

3

u/jetogill Sep 24 '22

Except what used to take a majority to do can be done with a minority under thr EC. Look at the Supreme Court nominees during the last presidential term, a president who received less than half the vote nominating justices who were confirmed by senators representing far less than half the vote.

4

u/Ghostusn Sep 24 '22

That was just bad timing or lucky timing depending on your political views that many Supreme Justices was replaced in 1 term. They have been a bunch of presidents that didn't even get to nominate any justices.

→ More replies

-2

u/kckroosian Sep 24 '22

Well said

2

u/WesternTruffle Sep 24 '22

The idea is that states have unique interests that must be represented even when those states are not very densely populated compared to others. Especially in terms of economic interests — suppose theoretically that some states are agricultural and produce a large portion of the food that Americans eat. Those states happen to be some of the less populated ones. Densely populated states with big cities depend on the food produced by the smaller states, but since they do not farm they have no motivation to support the interests of farmers. That was a theoretical example, but for better or worse the U.S. is not borderless. Our economy as it is depends on trade agreements between states and it gets pretty complicated.

Personally, I'm strongly for ranked choice (preferential) voting. But until that time, I also think the electoral college is probably better than straight first-past-the-post.

2

u/[deleted] Sep 24 '22

It prevents mob rule election. Democracy is not what we are. It's a spin word to push people unwittingly into a pure democracy which is popular vote on all matters wins all. Minorites are then effectively cut out of the picture and have no power. We are a Republic. We rule by and through representation, not democracy.

2

u/JackLSauce Sep 24 '22

Are you asking about the motivations of the people defending it or for a reasonable pro-EC argument?

2

u/cappotto-marrone Sep 25 '22

Those are not the only options though. I would prefer a proportional EC distribution the way it’s done in Maine and Nebraska. I live in a red state with a band of blue. A proportional EC distribution would recognize the votes of this area, rather than winner take all. It would provide a truer representation of voters.

2

u/Adventurous-Rich2313 Sep 25 '22

Idk it seems like it’s the opposite to me If I were to rally my state and some show get every vote from the state the most I can get is 5 (NEBRASKA) But if New York had a rally, and they all voted the same they get all the New York votes they get (29)

So Nebraska is already a useless state for politicians because our 5 votes won’t be a significant enough swing

My favorite part about Nebraska is we split our electoral votes it the districts, vote that way. I think only Maine does the same thing. I think going smaller is the way to go, maybe districts first and then we can go to pure popular vote

2

u/kad202 Sep 25 '22

Cuz the wining party will defend it while the losing party bashing it

2

u/[deleted] Sep 25 '22

I’ll just vote for the tallest person.

2

u/gapfreealt Sep 25 '22

The entire doesn’t doesn’t need to be controlled by 9 port cities. That’s why.

2

u/pedrocol18 Sep 25 '22

Aside form all the reasons given before, it prevents centralization. If it were simply popular vote, candidates would only focus on the large cities and States with larger populations rather than smaller rural areas. This is actually extremely important. Decentralizing a country is great (I'm from Venezuela and wish it was more separated).

2

u/CJ-Me Sep 25 '22

Without the EC candidates would only need to campaign in a handful of states. Therefore the needs of those states would be the only needs considered. The rest of the country (the overwhelming majority of the states) wouldn't matter nearly as much. As we see in our government, the needs of those who aren't that important to them are tossed aside.

6

u/Nulono Sep 24 '22 edited Sep 24 '22

Because federalism is a game of balancing acts.

A founding principle of the United States was that the states would have a level of sovereignty, mostly allowed to govern themselves except for matters such as trade and war where there's power in greater numbers. In order for this to work, however, countermeasures were put in place to prevent the larger states from using the power of the national government to bully the smaller states.

Imagine if America were to propose a trade deal with Canada, but then insisted that because America has nine times as many people as Canada, America would decide all of the terms of that deal. Canada would feel pretty insulted at that suggestion, and would insist on ensuring that the terms are acceptable to both countries, even if in some sense that would mean that "one Canadian is worth nine Americans" in some sense. The same principle applies to America's founding; there's no reason for New Jersey to agree to joining the Union if that means Virginia has free reign to override New Jersey's laws.

Imagine if every time America tried to pass a law to govern itself, China, with its larger population, could just veto it. Even if Americans were technically able to vote, they would be pretty angry about that.

0

u/CaptainLucid420 Sep 25 '22

Here is the difference. Canada and America are 2 sovereign nations. If one doesn't like the deal they are free to not sign. In America one state cannot just refuse to sign. In California it is like Canada ruling America.

-2

u/ApartRuin5962 Sep 24 '22

But using the same logic, couldn't police be oppressed by the laws passed by the majority of people who aren't police? Should police get extra electors? Couldn't I be oppressed by laws passed by the overwhelming majority of people who aren't me? Should I get extra power in choosing the president?

The rights of minority groups should be protected by the constitution and substantive due process, not by skewing every election in their favor and effectively disenfranchising the majority. Or, minority groups like rural farmers can try to convince the majority of citizens that by helping them will be better for the common good. Arguing that small states will always lose out if the majority of voters gets their way is tacitly implying that, to use a metaphor, those states "only came to the party for the free food".

1

u/backyardengr Sep 24 '22

Well for starters police is a public servant job, not a class of people. So your analogy falls completely flat.

What’s more appropriate is to look at rural farming communities. In a national popular vote system, their voting power would get drowned out and the more numerous city voting bloc will hold all the cards and elect a potus to serve their own interests, not the farmers. Why would the farmers want to stay in the Union if they don’t get a say in the federal government?

Keep in mind this is only for electing POTUS, which has an equal impact in all 50 states, sea to shining sea. This is why it’s so important to give Wyoming a seat at the table. Why would we want to give Californians outsized leverage over Wyomingites, when the two groups of people lead very different ways of lives? The 1000 Californians live one way and vote one way, and so do the 10 Wyomingites. So, its more fair to cut down on the difference by allowing only 100 Californians to vote. Still a large sample size, but reduces their unfair advantage so to speak. The President only oversees national issues anyways, so California (should) free reign over 95% of their own policy. It’s not reasonable to allow them to impose their will over Wyoming.

0

u/ApartRuin5962 Sep 24 '22

Well for starters police is a public servant job, not a class of people

My brother or sister in Christ, "farmer" is also a job, not a protected class of people.

Why would the farmers want to stay in the Union if they don’t get a say in the federal government?

As you just pointed out, Wyoming would still be represented in Congress and, if you legitimately believe that SCOTUS is a truly apolitical entity, then you also believe that SCOTUS would defend the people of Wyoming against any intrusive national legislation which violates substantive due process and/or the equal protection clause, regardless of who the president is. If you really think that only 5% of California's policies are affected by a Republican POTUS, then why would it be such a big deal for Wyoming to be forced to accept 5% of their policies being decided by a Democrat POTUS?

reduces their unfair advantage so to speak.

The "advantage" that big states have comes from entire states voting as blocs. The abolition of the electoral college would allow tens of millions of conservative votes in California to finally affect who actually becomes president. There is nothing inherently "unfair" about each person having the same amount of power to elect POTUS wherever they live.

→ More replies

1

u/CaptainLucid420 Sep 25 '22

The current situation is where all the voters get counted for one candidate. Popular vote would mean if you win the state by 1000 that is how much your lead goes up. Is it responsible for Wyoming to control California? California has about 11% of the population. Assuming we could get everyone to vote the same we would need another 40 % of the country. Add texas with about 8 % who will vote against California and it is impossible for California to have free reign.

2

u/backyardengr Sep 25 '22

Wyoming will never control a more populous state. The current system merely reduces the delta between states with differing populations, and it makes a ton of sense if you expand your view past something as flawed as popular vote.

→ More replies

15

u/slash178 Sep 24 '22

It's the only way Republicans can win.

-6

u/Electronic_Rub9385 Sep 24 '22

This really isn’t true since the president has been elected by the popular vote almost every single time. I think the EC favors Democrats more than Democrats realize in the last 30 years. There are large pools of independents and right of center voters that just don’t vote in CA and NY and other high density “Blue” states. They don’t vote because they know their vote won’t count. But at the end of the day I’m 100% in favor of removal of the EC because we need a modernized system that fits our modern country. Although I don’t necessarily think it will change who gets elected very much compared to who is elected with the EC.

8

u/kpluto Sep 24 '22 edited Sep 24 '22

The presidents who lost the popular vote in the last 30 years are:

Trump (R)

Bush (R) first term

Clinton x2 (D)

Winners of popular vote:

Biden (D)

Obama x2 (D)

Bush (R) 2nd term

Clinton x2 (D)

According to https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_presidential_elections_by_popular_vote_margin

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_presidential_elections_by_popular_vote_margin#/media/File%3APartyVotes-Presidents.png

9

u/RuleNine Sep 24 '22

Clinton never lost the popular vote. It's true he never had a majority, but he had a plurality of the vote in both cases.

2

u/kpluto Sep 24 '22

Oh I'm sorry, you're right

2

u/soldforaspaceship Sep 24 '22

Clinton won the popular vote both times. The first was 43% (D) 37% (R) with Ross Perot getting an astounding 18% as an independent. The second was 49% to the Republican 40%.

1

u/kpluto Sep 24 '22

Yeah, I updated it. Someone else pointed that out

→ More replies

4

u/Far_Information_885 Sep 24 '22

The EC is why Bush and Trump won, 2 out of the 3 times the EC decided against the popular vote, in all of America's history.

→ More replies

2

u/Jlpanda Sep 24 '22

Got any data to back those claims up?

0

u/Electronic_Rub9385 Sep 24 '22

Well my flippant response is that this is Reddit (a social media site for opinions) and not The New England Journal of Medicine.

But topically, a quick Google search will show that there are 10s of millions of registered Independents and Republicans in all strongly held Blue states.

I believe professor Steinhorn talks about in in this webinar but it’s his position that the EC favors Democrats by at least 10 points.

2

u/Jlpanda Sep 24 '22

That’s something to go off of - thanks for giving a real response to my equally flippant comment.

I’m skeptical of this idea because there are also many millions of democratic in red states who do not vote for the same reason. I can also easily imagine an effect where people in states that match their preferences do not vote because they feel no urgency to. Registered independents can also be a lot of things. I am a registered independent in a blue state, but I consistently vote democratic. There are also many millions of people who aren’t registered to vote for various reasons.

Overall, I just don’t believe that we can predict how abolishing the EC would affect turnout among all these different groups with any degree of accuracy. I will watch Steinhorn’s argument when I have time though.

2

u/jetogill Sep 24 '22

How do you feel about the ranked choice voting idea?

→ More replies

3

u/WirrkopfP Sep 25 '22

Two main reasons:

1) The electoral college was set in place by the founding fathers. Many Americans tend to place the founding fathers on an unreasonably high pedestal and see it as un-american to change anything they have done.

2) The current system benefits Republicans more than Democrats. So any Republican (voter) who understands the system well enough is willing to defend it.

4

u/HowLittleIKnow Sep 24 '22

Other comments have already provided the correct answers, but I just wanted to add that I think we should clarify what we're talking about in these debates. The electoral college is largely a passive body. They just vote the way the people in the states have already voted (usually). Abolishing the electoral college would change nothing about how electoral votes are allocated among the states. So people who say "abolish the electoral college" generally don't mean that. Instead, they mean "elect the president via a national popular voting system" which could still involve an electoral college, or not. In fact the most likely means by which we'll switch to a popular vote (the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact) actually depends upon keeping the electoral college.

The electoral college itself has introduced its own issues in the past, including faithless electors and competing slates of electors, so it might be worth abolishing in its own right. Introducing ANOTHER vote, even what's supposed to be a superfluous one, in between Election Day and the president taking office is bound to create problems in this hyper-partisan climate.

In summary, abolishing the electoral college and switching to a popular voting system are two different, not necessarily related debates, and they shouldn't be confused by saying one when you mean the other.

→ More replies

2

u/Night_Hawk69420 Sep 24 '22

This question comes up often so let me explain. The United States is a collection of states that decided to form a union. Each state gets to decide how they vote and who they will choose to be the leader of the country that they decided to join.

The electoral college is simply a group of people sent to cast a vote for their states chosen president of the country. If you had a national popular vote you would be taking the states interests out of it. People in Wyoming don't have the same interests as people in California and vice versa. It is a brilliant system designed so that the 51% in the country can't always dictate who os president for the other 49 %. It works as designed and a popular vote is just mob rule

4

u/ApartRuin5962 Sep 24 '22

If one political party consistently chooses presidential candidates who 51% of people hate, why do they deserve to win? Why can't they just pick candidates and platform positions who are favored by a majority of citizens?

1

u/Night_Hawk69420 Sep 24 '22

What political party consistently chooses presidential candidates that 51% of people hate? I am not aware of any the pendulum swings back and forth

-1

u/ApartRuin5962 Sep 24 '22

The GOP has only won the popular vote in 1 of the 8 presidential elections since the 1980s

6

u/Night_Hawk69420 Sep 24 '22

Oh I get what you are saying now. So the the issue is that no GOP candidate runs to win the popular vote. They spend zero dollars campaigning in the mega population blue states that will not go red anytime soon such as California and New York. There is almost no turn out the vote effort or GOP campaign ads run in those states. If the popular vote was the name of the game that would be a whole different story so you can't really say just because the GOP lost the popular vote that necessarily means they have less support overall

→ More replies

0

u/jetogill Sep 24 '22

This sounds great, except when you get a president and senate who represent a minority of the population dictating to the minority. If Republicans should get a majority in the next senate and pass a bill restricting abortion, for example, they will do so while representing far less than 50 percent of the population. How is allowing a minority to dictate to the majority the answer to a majority dictating to a minority?

4

u/backyardengr Sep 24 '22

First off, only the President is elected by the EC.

Next, the President oversees the interest of all 50 states. If a simple majority vote was used, the people of Wyoming would have a virtually nonexistent say in electing the President, yet they are just as much as part of this Union. Even though they have less people than many of the cities in California. It would be unfair to allow California and the other populous states to freely impose their will on the smaller states.

0

u/jetogill Sep 24 '22

So we allow smaller states to freely impose their will on larger states? That makes sense to you? Because with the electoral college and the senate system that happens.

3

u/backyardengr Sep 24 '22

No, the more populous states still have a greater influence in deciding the President. But this influence is curbed a bit to give Wyoming a seat at the table. Doesn’t that seem reasonable?

1

u/Night_Hawk69420 Sep 25 '22

It's literally only the president decided by the electoral college. The senate and congress are not. Plus who say that the lower of the popular vote is actually a minority? We don't know that at all. Republican spend almost nonmoney in liberal states with huge populations like California or New York to campaign or turn out the vote because that would be a waste of resources since the popular vote doesn't matter. If the goal was to when the popular vote Republicans could win it but they don't try to because it is irrelevant

→ More replies

2

u/Then-Ad1531 Sep 24 '22

If we got rid of the electoral college then only high population states would matter at all in an election and small population states would get no love. You are better off getting 5% more votes in California than 80% more votes in Montana.

1

u/Silencer271 Sep 24 '22

So make voting mandatory close everything down that day and make every vote matter. Get a 80% voter rate and be nice. Majority should rule. Sucks but if 55% of people vote for someone and the 45% voted for someone else and that person wins Id be pissed to.

1

u/JJdaCool Sep 25 '22

People move between states, ideals sometimes follow. I've met many people now in ca that were from small population states, and I've met people who were from ca who later moved out to small population states.

With the mixing of the populace, the united states is a melting pot of many cultures and ideals; having only 538 persons to cast a nation's vote would seem at face value to not completely encompass or correctly represent the ideals and cultures of the nation in total nor in earnest estimation.

We are one nation, are we not?

→ More replies

1

u/Windturnscold Sep 24 '22

It allows the conservative minority to maintain its hegemony.

2

u/[deleted] Sep 24 '22

Both Donald Trump and George Bush lost the popular vote, so you wouldn't have had a Republican president for the last 20 or so years.

This is why the Republicans don't want it removed.

2

u/Arndt3002 Sep 24 '22

And what about the democrat voting people who support it, at least in principle?

1

u/dangleicious13 Sep 24 '22

Because it benefits them.

1

u/[deleted] Sep 24 '22

Motivated reasoning. The people who defend it usually benefit from it.

0

u/Johnnyonthespot2111 Sep 24 '22 edited Sep 25 '22

If we ran strictly on popular vote alone, states with very small populations would be completely ignored by politicians seeking the Presidency.

1

u/xiaolinfunke Sep 25 '22

Instead, states that lean hard left or right are completely ignored, no matter their size. I'm not sure that's better

0

u/Johnnyonthespot2111 Sep 25 '22

But they aren't ignored. At all.

→ More replies

1

u/ToddHaberdasher Sep 24 '22

You have different values than they do.

Their objective is to maintain a buffer between the electorate and the presidency. A sort of emergency brake to stop the rabble from getting carried away by their passions.

Of course, one could make a strong argument that Trump was exactly the situation that the Founders were worried about when establishing the Electoral College. However, the system has been perverted over the years to force electors to blindly rubberstamp the will of the voters.

1

u/Educational-Candy-17 Sep 24 '22

Because the electoral college gives more weight to some people's votes than other people's and said people like that.

1

u/twitch_delta_blues Sep 24 '22

Because it benefits the minority, who want to remain powerful.

1

u/ApartRuin5962 Sep 24 '22

Because their political party fails to appeal to the majority of people and that's somehow everyone else's fault. Also, status quo bias: "It's crazy that something in America would be broken and wrong for so long, so clearly it must be somehow not broken or wrong"

1

u/theRemRemBooBear Sep 24 '22

Well it’s stupid, the next alternative everyone tosses around is stupid too. We rly need RCV but even the Dems won’t do that bc it’d mean they’re giving up power

1

u/Apprehensive-Cry-376 Sep 24 '22

My state is solidly blue. That means national blue candidates don't bother coming here because they can't lose. Red candidates don't bother coming here because they can't win.

I see that as a good thing. It means fewer candidates causing traffic jams and airport delays, fewer TV ads and billboards. When they just leave us alone it's a win for everyone.

That said, I am in favor of letting go of the electoral college. The red/blue media-invented dichotomy has always been silly; we've been purple all along.

1

u/EvilNoobHacker Sep 24 '22

The concept is that it's an institution that prevents the concept of a "mob rule" where states with massive amounts of people get a disproportionate number of votes. The electoral college gives a general benefit to states with smaller populations, so the idea is that in a country where over 150,000,000 people vote, a state with 700,000 people is still relevant, and has to be considered. It's supposed to protect the little guy, and keep states like FL and CA in check with their massive populations.

The issue is similar to what most would consider gerrymandering- you can win the actual election with a minority vote. You can win lots of smaller states with a close vote, and simply ignore a couple bigger states, where you can lose in a landslide, and end up winning the actual election with like 45% of the vote.

There seems to be a shifting movement against the EC right now, and it's likely that there will be some changes within these upcoming years.

1

u/Kellosian Sep 24 '22

Because it lets Republicans win without the popular vote. It happened in 2000 with Bush II and in happened in 2016 with Trump, and they're banking on it happening again.

That's it. That's the defense. Generally it's stated as "California and New York would run the country!" which is wrong on so many levels (namely population distribution and voting patterns) but the key factor is that those are both blue states; the entire defense is "If every vote counted equally, Republicans would win less elections and that's bad (because I'm a Republican)".

Any argument about "protecting the voice of small states" is nonsense, the EC only protects the voice of swing states which are states whose population by sheer happenstance are nearly 50/50 Red/Blue. If major population states (CA, TX, FL, NY, and PA) were swing states then politicians would spend all their time there to get the most bang for their buck; if the EC is good for small states, why don't politicians go to Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska, and the Dakotas? They don't go because those states are pretty safe for one party or the other so they can be ignored. And hey, look at those top 5 population states. Pennsylvania is generally considered a swing state and a top 5 population state, so under the EC politicians spend a lot of time there because the nature of their demographics arbitrarily means that they get to matter. Again, if the EC is supposed to prevent this then why is Pennsylvania so important?

The average American is about 38 years old, meaning the average year of birth is 1984. So the average citizen has lived through 10 elections, 9 if you don't count the 1984 election and even then the average person probably only remembers elections after they turn 8 which brings the number down to 8 elections. 1/4 of those remembered elections Republicans have won without the popular vote; in fact, no Republican has won an election with the popular vote that wasn't a re-election (incumbents get bonuses) since Bush I way back in 1988.

That sounds like some qualifying statements, but think of it this way. For almost as long as the average voter has been alive and definitely as long as they've been politically aware, Republicans only win the popular vote after initially losing it but gaining power regardless. So if you're a Republican strategist who isn't at least in his 50s (18 to vote in 1988 means you're 52 now), then the popular vote has always been either irrelevant or an embarrassment to your party in every election you've participated in. Why wouldn't you defend the electoral college? It's how you've won elections for as long as you can remember.

1

u/townsleyye Sep 25 '22

Americans are some of the most successfully propogandized people in the world.

1

u/JJdaCool Sep 25 '22

A better question: why in this modern age has the ec not been disbanded though a needed constitutional amendment, there does not seem to be a logical reason for the ec to still be around?

1

u/DiggityDanksta Sep 25 '22

The people who defend the EC do so because it benefits them by enabling them to win elections with fewer votes than their opponent. It is entirely self-serving. Never, ever make the mistake of giving a conservative the benefit of the doubt.

1

u/EatShitLeftWing Sep 25 '22

Well, for one thing, "popular vote" defenders usually fail to address the details of how it would work. Currently there are no nationwide elections other than President/VP, and the EC is specifically for that election. So to get rid of the EC you have to replace it with something.

If you replace it with national popular vote, you have to have rules in place for things like:

Who gets to request a recount, under what conditions, and can recounts be selective by state or would all states have to recount. If some states don't have to recount then how is that fair (e.g. if a recounting state takes 100 votes away from a candidate, but if a non-recounting state would have added 150 votes for that same candidate, etc)

Who is eligible for voting - specifically, are felons eligible (states have a wide variety of rules regarding this)

And if we were to keep it simple and say each state gets to continue using its own rules, then surely that would cause some states to change their rules in order to maximize their influence in the new system.

And probably the most important thing: You have to prevent the media from reporting East Coast results while West Coast voting is still occurring. I'm surprised no one is doing anything about that in the current EC system tbh, although it has less of an effect because states are all-or-nothing in that system.

→ More replies

1

u/MLMLW Sep 25 '22

I think the Electoral College is a good thing because as somebody else stated it makes sure the smaller states have a voice when it comes to voting.

→ More replies

1

u/BigChonkyPP Sep 25 '22

EC is just a compromise to maintain 3/5ths post abolition. It should therefore be abolished as well.

1

u/NewThrowaway741 Sep 25 '22

The biggest reason that one party has a massive investment in keeping the EC is because they have won the popular vote 1 time in he last 32-36ish years. But held the Presidential administration for 12 of them.

If we go to a straight popular vote, or 'worse' ranked choice, they'd have to actually have policy that appeals to a majority of voters.

1

u/SolSercher54 Sep 25 '22

It’s time for popular vote to count. Electoral College is out dated. Let’s us have our individual votes count!

0

u/Very-Expired-Milk Sep 24 '22

It is the only possible way for republicans to win , So they keep defending it.

0

u/toughguy375 Sep 24 '22

It gives an unfair advantage to republicans, so republicans defend it. Don't believe any of their excuses, they just want the unfair advantage.

0

u/Sellier123 Sep 24 '22

Ppl tend to vote along with where they were raised. So big cities vote mostly the same way.

The point of the electoral college system is to stop those big clumps of ppl from running the country.

Edit: basically, unless we take almost all powerd away from the federal gov and give them to local govs, the electoral college has to stay so federal politics dont skew 100% towards what cities want.

0

u/AGuyWhoBrokeBad Sep 24 '22

The electoral college was s mainly defended by people from smaller states who like having a disproportionate amount of power compared to their population. Look up how many Wyoming voters it takes to get a vote in the EC compared to how many California voters.

0

u/froggit0 Sep 24 '22

EC was designed to favour rural areas and states over cities (as was the Senate). Ethnic minorities (from the American perspective- Swedes and German are not ethnic) live in cities…

0

u/asunamyag Sep 24 '22

Simple explanation: they are Republicans. They know that their party is unpopular and has little chance of winning a fair election, so they find every possible excuse to rationalize a system that's rigged in their favor.

0

u/username11862 Sep 25 '22

Because our government is purposefully designed to move very slowly and not allow a mob rule.

But another reason is that elections that effect the entire country should not be based on a handful of cities. Each state gets their say in regards to the federal government, and most things are supposed to be handled on a state and local level. problem is now the federal government is extremely overreaching.

popular vote system would just ensure that a handful of cities are the only places that matter. party's would dump nearly their entire purse into winning those cities and largely ignore the rest of the country.

1

u/bottomlesxpectations Sep 24 '22

It serves its purpose well. We need to start thinking about electoral college-like systems in states that have larger land masses and populations. People who don't vote with the masses in these states are probably the main source of voter apathy. Otherwise you're going to have more people talking about seeding from those states, which could be on the table if necessary but these states should be trying to look for ways to promote American interests before telling them to move or secede. Both of those things cause instability potentially both for the state they're leaving and the state they're leaving too.

1

u/Joe_Q Sep 24 '22

The US system started to make far more sense to this Canadian once I realized that the federal government is elected by the states, not by the people.

It explains why the Electoral College works the way it does (the states vote for President, and each state gets to decide which candidate it votes for, even if the votes are not equally weighted).

It explains why each state gets to set its own rules for how votes are cast and how its electoral districts are formed (which TBH looks like lunacy to those of us outside the USA).

It even explains unusual sounding terminology like "the Virginia congressional delegation", which sounds like a group sent by one government or entity to another. Which it kind of is.

Overall, the basic political unit in the US federal government is not individual citizens, but rather individual states. And at the state government level, the basic political unit appears to be counties.

This arrangement no doubt made far more sense when the US was young and decentralized, but as it has grown and become a superpower, its limitations are definitely showing.

1

u/Bo_Jim Sep 25 '22

The Constitution does not give the federal government authority to run elections. That power belongs to the states. Since nearly every elected office is limited to voters within a single state, there was no conflict in this. Iowa can have caucuses to choose primary candidates, and California can have a "jungle primary" system where the two candidates from any party that get the most votes moves on to the general election. Maine can allow convicted felons to vote even while they're in prison, while Virginia can permanently bar convicted felons from voting. Each state runs it's own elections.

But this leaves one problem...

There are two offices which must be elected nationally. These are President and Vice President. A fair way had to be found that allowed the states to control their elections while providing a way to elect the President and Vice President that was the same in every state. The Electoral College was that solution. It provides each state with a number of seats in the Electoral College equal to the number of representatives each state had in both chambers of Congress. How each state chooses the electors to fill those seats is up to each state.

Abolishing the Electoral College can't be done through legislation. It would require a constitutional amendment.