END THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE

Below is my column today in USA Today. We are now just a month away from the presidential election and our continued inexplicable use of the Electoral College. I have previously discussed steps that we can take to reform our political system. However, the starting point should be the elimination of the electoral college and the requirement that our presidents be elected by a direct and majority vote. As with other leading countries, we should allow for a runoff to guarantee that every president enters office with the support of over half of the voters.

Vladimir Putin had one in Russia. This week, Hugo Chavez had one in Venezuela. Last spring, Nicholas Sarkozy lost one in France.

In each case, the outcome was decided by the majority of voters in their country. Such direct democracy is a foreign concept in the USA, where we require neither direct voting nor a majority to lead our nation. The reason is an arcane institution: the Electoral College.

In the U.S., presidents are not elected by the people but by 538 “electors” who award blocks of votes on a state-by-state basis. The result is that presidents can be — and have been — elected with fewer votes than their opponents. Indeed, various presidents have taken office with less than 50% of the vote. The question is whether a president should be elected by a majority of voters of at least one free country before he can call himself the leader of the free world.

The Electoral College is a relic of a time when the Framers believed that average people could not be trusted with selecting a president, at least not entirely. This was consistent with a general view of the dangers of direct voting systems. Until 1913, U.S. senators were elected not by their constituents but by the state legislators. When we finally got rid of that provision with the 17th Amendment, we failed to change its sister provision in Article II on the indirect election of presidents.

Slavery’s legacy

Notably, while James Madison agreed that direct election of the president would be superior, there was one primary obstacle to pursuing this option in the Constitutional Convention: slavery. Madison noted that the North-South divide presented an obstacle of a “serious nature” to direct democracy. He concluded that the use of electors that gave each state a set number of votes “seemed on the whole to be liable to fewest objections.” Now slavery is gone, yet the Electoral College remains.

We have retained this dysfunctional institution even after the calamity of the 2000 election, in which a few “hanging chads” in Florida determined the outcome. Not only did the college effectively negate half of the votes in Florida by giving all the electoral votes to George W. Bush, but it also delivered the entire election to him despite his loss in the national popular vote. Direct elections lessen such controversies by counting the votes of all Americans equally and directly. Though such vote counting controversies could continue, the size of the nation usually guarantees that the popular vote is rarely in doubt. Even in that “close” election, Bush trailed by more than a half million votes.

Ignoring voters

The greatest irony of the Electoral College is that it does precisely the opposite of what the Framers intended: Rather than encouraging presidential candidates to take small states seriously, it results in turning most states into near total irrelevancies. With our two-party monopoly on power in the United States, candidates spend little time, if any, in states that are clearly going to go for the other party — or even for their own party. Thus, there is little reason for President Obama to go to Utah or for Mitt Romney to go to Vermont. The result is that elections are dominated by swing states while campaigns become dominated by the issues affecting those states.

Thus, while the majority of Americans support tougher immigration laws, both candidates this year are struggling to adopt new policies to capture swing states with large Latino populations. Whatever the merits of the immigration debate, the campaign looks as if it is for the United State of Florida as opposed to the country as a whole. The irony is palpable given the original desire of Madison to use the college to avoid the “mischiefs of faction.” He did not want presidents to be effectively captured by factional or insular interests. However, that is precisely what has occurred: The interests of the majority of country are subservient to the insular interests of key voting blocks in swing states.

The reason that the Electoral College is still with us is that it is a critical protection for the two-party monopoly on power in the USA. The Democrats and Republicans effectively keep presidential candidates of the opposing party out of their states — deterring the expenditure of time and money in organizing these states. Opposing candidates and parties face even greater obstacles because most voters view the result as irrelevant to the outcome of elections.

Undemocratic relic

Ultimately, the Electoral College should be rescinded as a fundamentally undemocratic institution. John Quincy Adams was elected by just 32% of the popular vote. He is among the 15 presidents who have taken office with less than 50% of the vote:

James Polk
Zachary Taylor
James Buchanan
Abraham Lincoln
Rutherford Hayes
James Garfield
Grover Cleveland (twice)
Benjamin Harrison
Woodrow Wilson (twice)
Harry Truman
John Kennedy
Richard Nixon
Bill Clinton (twice)
George W. Bush.
Some presidents like Bush were elected not only by less than a majority but also with fewer votes than his opponent. For the many Americans who are unhappy with this political system and want change, a key and obtainable reform is a constitutional amendment requiring the direct and majority election of presidents in either a general or, if necessary, a runoff election. A president represents all Americans, and he or she should be elected by the vote of citizens as Americans, as a whole.

It is time for the United States to embrace true democracy. It is time to kill the Electoral College.

Jonathan Turley, the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University, is a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors.

121 thoughts on “END THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE

  1. Most of your arguments seem spurious to me.

    Who cares if candidates “spend time” in any particular state. Have you not heard of television or the Internet? There is essentially no chance that California is going to be carried by anyone but Obama, and yet I see Obama commercials on my television every 15 minutes. I see both candidates on the news and on cable channels until I am thoroughly sick of both of them.

    “Rather than encouraging presidential candidates to take small states seriously, it results in turning most states into near total irrelevancies.”

    Oh please. No state has fewer than three electoral votes, two for its senators and one for its representative. With a popualr vote some states are so small in head count that their votes would be the equivalent of less than one electoral college vote. The Electoral College does precisely what it was designed to do. It gives more power to smaller states.

    “Until 1913, U.S. senators were elected not by their constituents but by the state legislators. When we finally got rid of that provision with the 17th Amendment, we failed to change its sister provision in Article II on the indirect election of presidents.”

    Which has precisely nothing to do with the Electoral College, because the Electors are selected in a completely different manner and their votes are bound in a manner determined by each state.

  2. There may be much more at stake than campaign stops, which themselves seem a bit outdated in the YouTube age. If the electoral college were eliminated in favor of strictly the popular vote, my concern is that Washington would tend to focus its earmarks and funding attention on “bribing” big population centers where the votes are while rural areas would be left for dead.

  3. I agree with Keith and Zvy.

    The reform needed for the electoral college is that the electoral college votes in each state should be proportional to the vote. One or two states do this, while most give all votes to whomever gets the most votes while other candidates get none.

    Preferential voting should also be considered.

  4. However, the starting point should be the elimination of the electoral college and the requirement that our presidents be elected by a direct and majority vote. As with other leading countries, we should allow for a runoff to guarantee that every president enters office with the support of over half of the voters.

    Sounds reasonable, which may doom it to BAU.

  5. For me, one of the biggest motivators for a full general election by popular vote is the fact it will eliminate the power of a small handful of county election commissioners. We recall how some key counties “found” mislaid votes, and some voting machines were compromised and/or hacked. Removing the incentive for these kinds of shenanigans should be a primary motivation for eliminating the winner take all system in each individual state.

    In a red state, many Democrats are wasting their time by going to vote. Republicans in solid blue states probably feel the same. However, if every vote counted toward a grand total, every vote would count.

  6. I had high hopes for this back in 1999 when it looked like Gore would win the EC but W would actually win the popular vote. Had that happened FAUX News would have had a meltdown, the radio screamers would have demanded a ‘second amendment solution’ and the EC would have been gone by ’04. But, instead Gore eked out a small win in the popular vote and Boy George won the EC on a 5-4 vote. Eliminating the EC is not talked about now & won’t be for a generation unless a Dem wins with a minority of the popular vote.

    Personally I’d like to see the President elected by the members of Congress. That would make them much more interested in the success of the President and by extension the country. Maybe its just the last 4 years of obstructionism but there is something to be said for a unified government preventing the GOP from undermining every little thing. Living with the consequences and not having the Dems to blame it on might moderate the wingnuts. Or speed the crash thereby getting to the recovery quicker

  7. “a key and obtainable reform is a constitutional amendment requiring the direct and majority election of presidents in either a general or, if necessary, a runoff election.”

    Lots of comments to think over. The above quote, particularlly the word MAJORIITY, catches my eye. As I understand it, it would make third and even fourth party candidates more important, and thus their
    messages. Which I think is a way for us to effect the ship of state. One man/woman, one vote: each opinion counts. And eliminate corporate persons while we are at it.

  8. idealist707–“As I understand it, it would make third and even fourth party candidates more important…”

    Until the two dominant criminal gangs agree to reform the onerous ballot-access qualifications on the state level, third and fourth parties will continue to be irrelevant. And since the state election boards are dominated by the Repocrats, I see zero chance of this happening.

  9. James Polk – Democrat
    Zachary Taylor – Whig
    James Buchanan – Democrat
    Abraham Lincoln – Republican
    Rutherford Hayes – Republican
    James Garfield – Republican
    Grover Cleveland (twice) – Democrat
    Benjamin Harrison – Republican
    Woodrow Wilson (twice) – Democrat
    Harry Truman – Democrat
    John Kennedy – Democrat
    Richard Nixon – Democrat
    Bill Clinton (twice) – Democrat
    George W. Bush – Republican (barely)

    Whigs – 1
    Democrats – 11 elections
    Republicans – 5 elections

    OK, no more electoral college. If history is any judge of the future, we will have nothing but Republican presidents.

    Sounds good to me unless they are like Bush and Nixon.

  10. I distrust the entire democratic system, when random people asked don’t recognize pictures of the current Vice President, but do immediately recognize Justin Bieber. Maybe we could institute an intelligence test for voters? (sarcasm there, boys). Instead of throwing out the whole electoral college, maybe we could at least make it proportional.

  11. Bron 1, October 9, 2012 at 8:06 am

    James Polk – Democrat
    Zachary Taylor – Whig
    James Buchanan – Democrat
    Abraham Lincoln – Republican
    Rutherford Hayes – Republican
    James Garfield – Republican
    Grover Cleveland (twice) – Democrat
    Benjamin Harrison – Republican
    Woodrow Wilson (twice) – Democrat
    Harry Truman – Democrat
    John Kennedy – Democrat
    Richard Nixon – Democrat
    Bill Clinton (twice) – Democrat
    George W. Bush – Republican (barely)

    Whigs – 1
    Democrats – 11 elections
    Republicans – 5 elections

    OK, no more electoral college. If history is any judge of the future, we will have nothing but Republican presidents.

    Sounds good to me unless they are like Bush and Nixon.
    =============================================
    Don’t forget that the Republicans and Democrats flip flopped long ago to become each other’s alter ego.

    That is, the Republicans once were the protectors and advocates of minority rights, but somehow both parties got “reinvented” like Romney is said to be doing to Republicans now, and Obama in several ways is trying to do to the Democrats.

  12. I fail to see exactly how the country benefits by having a corporate-controlled stooge ascend to the imperial throne with 50.01% of the popular vote. It does not matter in the least if the coronation is brought about by the popular vote or the Electoral College; the US will still be ruled by a powerful, unaccountable elite who are shielded from any consequence or law.

  13. If only it could have been done for this election. I’m in a swing state and it’s already out of control w/ ads. Do you think people in Idaho EVER see a presidential ad?

  14. As Keith mentioned, I don’t see how his prediction that almost all politics would revolve around the major metro areas. Many, maybe most, of those tend to lean toward the Dems. As a Liberal that doesn’t upset me, but in the interest of fairness (that’s the problem with being a Liberal), eliminating the EC would certainly seem to relegate lower population states like Montana, Wyoming, the Dakotas (all usually leaning towards the Republicans) to irrelevance.

    Someone above suggested that eliminating the EC would further the cause of third and fourth political parties. As I’m not a fan of that idea either, it provides another reason to leave things as they are. I’ve seen no evidence in countries where there are multiple parties that it moves legislation forward. It seems rather to bog things down. Granted, our current Congress is handcuffed by one party’s unprecedented obstructionism, but having multiple parties capable of doing the same thing on any given piece of legislation based on transient alliances or limited or even single-issue constituencies doesn’t spell relief.

    There is also a trend toward open primaries wherein the top two vote getters in a primary election run off in the general regardless of party affiliation. In a heavily Democratic voting state such as california, it becomes quite possible for the choice to be between two Democrats virtually shutting out Republican votes. Next door, in Arizona, it sets up the possibility that no Democrat would ever hold an office. I see this as a danger in disenfranchising a significant portion of voters in states using this method.

  15. rcampbell, You’re absolutely correct..2 choices are all anyone could need. And, I think we should only have 2 choices in soda, Coke or Pepsi. There should be only 2 choices in pizza, cheese or pepperoni[actually little kids would be fine w/ that]. Certainly we only need 2 choices in cereal, Cheerios or Corn Flakes. Sports..hell yes. The Dodgers and Yankees. With just 2 teams it will be very interesting. And, as you so wisely state, Dem or Republican…status quo rocks!!

  16. The constituency of the US isn’t the people, it’s the various body politics…. the several States. The people are an ancillary afterthought.

    My idea is this, let’s have true equality before the law.
    Elections by lottery.
    It sure as hell can’t get any worse.

    Nothing against lawyers but almost every politician is a lawyer.
    I think a little more professional diversity is in order.

  17. “The Electoral College does precisely what it was designed to do. It gives more power to smaller states.”

    From Bill H’s perspective this is good, from mine it has been disastrous. What has plagued the U.S. since the impeachment of Johnson after the Civil War, has been the power the Southern States wield over the rest of us. While demographically the populations of a few Southern States have grown, the mentality of their electoral process and plutocratic control has not. In tandem with other “small” states (Utah, Arizona, the Dakotas, Idaho, Kansas for starters) they have wangled an inordinate amount of Federal largesse, while consistently decrying spending. They are the “heartland” of religious fanaticism and of local policies favoring wealth over people. They also are quite insular in outlook and see themselves as “sovereignty’s”, rather than part of the whole.

    While direct election by popular vote for President would be a great reform, it will do little to help unless we also look at the tandem flaw in our Constitution that came about for almost the same reasons. The fact that each state, no matter what its population and/or geographical size, has two votes in the Senate also adds immensely to our lack of a truly democratic system. In both of these flaws we provide inordinate power to states that of course use it in their own self interest. While we all understand how this country was formed historically, our entire system of being broken up into States has become dysfunctional and gives inordinate power to some.

    Behind this whole premise of “States Rights” lies the falsehood that democracy is best practiced o a local level and that the Federal Government is more tyrannical. Unfortunately, we have seen that history shows the reverse.
    Most of the continuing anti-democratic and anti-constitutional activities domestically in this country occur on a state and local level.

  18. The small population states benefit disproportionately from the EC. They will fight democracy tooth and nail to retain their sway.

  19. ” … eliminating the EC would certainly seem to relegate lower population states like Montana, Wyoming, the Dakotas (all usually leaning towards the Republicans) to irrelevance” (rcampbell cited and Kieth’s concerns … ” … my concern is that Washington would tend to focus its earmarks and funding attention on “bribing” big population centers where the votes are while rural areas would be left for dead.”)

    I have heard that defense of the EC since I was in 8th grade and my question is … how would eliminating the EC relegate lower population states to irrelevance? Their votes would still count towards the election of a candidate. Or is this an argument based on the independent and sovereign States view (Republic -v- Democracy)?

    Except for Maine and Nebraska, all of a state’s electoral votes are awarded to the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote in that state. Each state is allotted as many electoral votes as they have U.S. Senators and Representatives. This results in smaller states having more electoral votes proportionate to their populations, and larger states having less. Why should lower population states have more influence than their population demands? Their influence within the House is based on their population and they have no less influence in the Senate than any other state.

    Yes, it could be argued that eliminating the EC would move us more in the direction of a Democracy than a Republic but that is not the argument that has been put forward here though I would certainly welcome it.

    Also … open primaries should all be non-partisan but save that discussion for down the road.

    There is much to do and this EC suggestion is just one step in the process.

  20. “I’ve seen no evidence in countries where there are multiple parties that it moves legislation forward. It seems rather to bog things down.”

    Rcampbell makes an interesting point. In other purported democracies multiple parties don’t seem to improve democratic standards much and in fact can be retrograde in their effect. It is true that these other countries all have parliamentary systems, where minority religious factions can wield influence beyond their numbers. Perhaps what needs to be considered is not a one size fits all solution, but the reality behind why most democratic countries aren’t really democratic. The reality is that wealth plays and inordinate role in dominating political systems. Great wealth seems to consistently trump all manner of laws and regulations. Most holders of great wealth, be they Corporations, families or individuals believe in a system of governance where they have unfettered benefits and the rest of the population is strictly controlled.

  21. Nick

    John Huntsman is a Republican, so it Newt Gingrich. Do you see no difference, no choice between these variations from the same brand of soda? We’re talking about governing a country, not setting up a retail store. It isn’t about having 35 flavors to choose from. it’s all and only about getting legislation enacted and governance.

  22. Now that we’re talking politics and sodapop, I’d like to propose that the New York law against big sodapop simply be applied to political candidates. Campaigns can be only so big and no bigger. Use your money wisely. After all, it’s for the health of the public. :!:

  23. rcampbell, I’m not talking about Baskin Robbins many choices. How about instead of just vanilla and chocolate, just some freakn’ strawberry for chrissake. Can I have some strawberry..maybe maple walnut once in awhile? Three or four choices, please, please, please. I’ll mow the lawn, dad.

  24. The purpose of the electoral college was two fold if I recall….. One, the slave states and possible packing…. And two, the ability to accurately get the vote counted before certification was required….. Today both of these should be obsolete….. But the major political parties could not care what’s correct…. Only putting the puppet in office……

  25. leave the EC as is. I love the idea that the candidates must go visit New Hampshire.
    These are the rules. We know them and understand them. Don’t just assume changing to a popular vote will make the system any better. Actually it may make it worse.

  26. Why didn’t you start this action right after an election instead of mentioning it just prior to said election and then doing nothing? The electoral college should have been dumped years ago. Now if we try to get rid of it we will have to fight those Kock brothers, Karl Rove and his PAC, etc. Is there any possibility that this can be done before the next election? I assume there is no way to change that except by a Constitutional amendment??

  27. Mike Spindell 1, October 9, 2012 at 9:43 am

    “I’ve seen no evidence in countries where there are multiple parties that it moves legislation forward. It seems rather to bog things down.”

    Rcampbell makes an interesting point. In other purported democracies multiple parties don’t seem to improve democratic standards much and in fact can be retrograde in their effect. It is true that these other countries all have parliamentary systems, where minority religious factions can wield influence beyond their numbers. Perhaps what needs to be considered is not a one size fits all solution, but the reality behind why most democratic countries aren’t really democratic. The reality is that wealth plays and inordinate role in dominating political systems. Great wealth seems to consistently trump all manner of laws and regulations. Most holders of great wealth, be they Corporations, families or individuals believe in a system of governance where they have unfettered benefits and the rest of the population is strictly controlled.
    =============================================
    It may be time to take some clues from slime mold, like engineers are doing.

  28. Once again I see some lame diction here on the part of the JT. The sentence reads: “However, the starting point should be that we eliminate the electoral college and the requirement that our presidents be elected by a direct and majority vote.” The segment after the word “and” must be taken to mean that the present system has a requirement that our presidents be elected by a direct and majority vote. The opposite is true. The author needed to end the sentence before the “and” and then say that after eliminating the Electoral College in a Constitutional Amendment, we must pass a provision in a Constitutional Amendment to require the election to be predicated on a direct and majority vote. I sense that these articles are written late at night on a computer, not reviewed by an editor of any sort, and sent on to Word Press. It happens often. Kinda like the Democrat vote: early and often.

  29. Jaysus! What in the world is wrong with 1) getting rid of an anacronistic system like the EC and 2) electing the President with the popular vote? I would even go so far as to say do it the way it was origionally intended…highst number of votes becomes Prez and second highest number becomes Veep. We seem to be the only democracy on earth that has this idiocy of an EC with which to deal.

  30. “Don’t just assume changing to a popular vote will make the system any better. Actually it may make it worse.” (Me)

    I’m not trying to be a smarta*s by asking … How? I would be interested in how you think a direct popular vote might make the system worse.

  31. You people, I was away for a while, so I’ll just spin on your comments. They are cool, even the dumb ones. Even the guy who says: “I am”. He is 100 percent right.

    But before I do, let me run a familiar passage by you.
    Fast forward if you dare. Re-read it every day is my advice.

    Especially the part about dissolving political bonds and abusive government which have gone too far and for too long.
    Some can say it by heart, but does that mean we use it for action? Is this the moment? Maybe it is.
    ================================================

    “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

  32. Indio007,
    “…I think a little more professional diversity is in order.”

    Joe the plumber would be fine. At least he could connect the sewage line to Congress’ output.

  33. Throughout the Constitution there is one example after another of means and methods to protect the minority from the oppression of the majority. This is true in the legislative bodies and in the functions of our government. The EC was (is) one of those protections. Even in the late 18th century, there was legitimate concern, particularly among small population and agricultural states, that large population centers, where wealth tends to accummulate (remembering that neither women nor blacks could vote), would dominate and dictate the outcomes of federal elections and voters’ interests in those smaller areas largely ignored. If elections are decided by the outcomes in NYC, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Dallas, who speaks for Iowa or Idaho? Who would even listen to a candidate from a rural area of the midwest? As those folks lose their electoral relevance, they would also lose access to their government.

    Beware the trend to dissolve or weaken the political party system. The replacement system, and there would have to be a replacement system to do the work of corralling votes and wooing voters, would be corporations. Then we would truly be electing the Senator from Koch Industries or the ACLU. Benito would be so proud to see his Facism implanted in the US.

  34. MikeS,
    “Most of the continuing anti-democratic and anti-constitutional activities domestically in this country occur on a state and local level.”

    Curremtöy reading Russ Baker’s book on the Bushes et al class, it would seem relevant to maintain that these folks are not concerned about any boundaries. They use them as needed, but are hindered by none, even up to and dominating the federal one.

    I would propose a “Reign of Terror”, but then if we look at what it got France, one is discouraged from its execution.

  35. Magginkat , that IS the fundimental question, isn’t it? Every time we have an election, this issue always surfaces, usually brought up by the losing party. It’s tossed around for a couple of weeks and then is put back in it’s political box until the next general election. One of these days, someone on a national level is going to shock the entire electorate and bring this up in the middle of a term. THEN maybe we’ll be able to bury this once and for all.

    cadesertvoice, not everything is the result of slavery.

  36. Parlianmentary, yeah it is more responsive to the people’s expressed opinions, but otherwise it ain’t much to celebrate.
    And why complain about the religious faction over here. De-enfranchise´your evangelists first. And I’ll abstain from the ones here who want to help women to stay at home and be housewives. Let them think that they can take us back to the 30’s.

    I think focusing on the EC is not the answer. Congress is, and how one is elected to the two chambers, and how it is dysfunctional. Of course, most collections of human are so.

    Hynmee, go back to your madrasah. Hee hee.

  37. I think this idea could help third parties, as well. Those people who are too afraid to vote for a third party now could do so, then vote for the “lesser of two evils” in a runoff.

  38. The problem with the electoral college is that it deletes the minority vote state by state. Voters in parties other than the dominate one, don’t bother b/c the dominate party gets all the electoral votes. It doesn’t have to be that way. If the electoral college votes were divvied up proportional to the vote in the state, more states would be in play b/c all voters would be in play. A handful of swing states would continue to have a close vote and the electoral votes would be split evenly, rather than a winner-take-all.

    I’m not opposed to a constitutional amendment to do away with the electoral college, just saying there’s another way.

    I disagree with myself above. Proportional voting isn’t a good idea for the presidential race but is for other races. It’s a separate discussion.

  39. Until we use the Congress, its laws, and the system to control the corporatioos, instead of vice versa, all efforts will be useless. It is all controlled like the school ýou went to was controlled and it controlled you too.

    Money talks, how often have we heard that. And it conceals its voice well. So what are we going to do about that. It changes its colors, RWB or green, the results are the same. Stupifaction and stupefication? Stupid. American proles? They are a market. That’s all.

    Unfortuantely the money blocks are better coordinated than before. And they will always be because money buys smarts and what it needs to get what it needs. Just simple thoughts here.

    And we are still completely disorganized sheep being harried by the corporate dogs. Baaaa! So appropriate.

    So what is wrong with 50 per cent popular vote, if it does not start a civil war? A majority dictatorship is preferable to a corporate one.

    The imperial presidency is an illusion needed to give the appearance that we are united, when our deeds show otherwise.

    When you control the money and our debts yóu control it all. That and a few thousand other matters that money controls.

    Freedom of speech. Sure, as long as it is ineffectual.

  40. Majority dictatorship? How long do they last.
    Put two people in a room and get three opinions! Heard it before, well it still is true.

    In a so-called majority, as long as there are swing voters and votes cast uncontrolled, then there is no monolith.
    At least not in practice. Has there ever been a
    democratic majority rule? I thought the fewer involved the longer the reign.

  41. Jude,

    Another advantage with multiple parties is that the two biggies don’t get to decide what is on the debate agenda.

  42. Like I said: Freedom of speech. As long as it is innocuous. Be glad that the National Guard troops were not there. Of course the NG serves in Afghan today. Lost 3 from NC along with 16 others in same explosion.

    A shame that the vets did not bring their weapons with them.
    I mean we have a right to bear arms. Right?

  43. Idealist: What is a Madrasah?
    I am a member of the Hymen sect and am neither a muslim, christian or jew. We worship one thing. When it is gone we revere it. How it is lost matters. Protect it while ya got it.

  44. bettykath, there are no words for how atrocious those actions were. The one question I DO have is… if the following is true:

    “As Former VFP President Mike Ferner said, “I bet a lot of the arresting officers tonight were also military veterans; a number of them didn’t look too happy with the job they were told to do.”

    Why did they do it? We had quite a discussion here a few weeks ago about obeying illegal orders. I would have thought this would have been a time to have said not only NO, but HELL, NO.

  45. Oh, are you devotees of the genital hymen?

    Some people pay big money for those. Some lose them a hundred times. They are rich.

    Hymee is reported to be a jewish name, blessed be their tribe. Are you playing games? Go troll elsewhere. Basta.

  46. Well, let’s ask our legal eagles. Are there grounds for limiting freedom of speech as we see going on everywhere?
    What ordinance was violated. Is this not a violation of the constitution, and of several amendments? Does this not violate the prohibition of local law setting aside federal laws and the Constitution?

    Are there cases on the ACLU agenda? Where are they now in the appellate process? Where do I send my five bucks?

  47. Bravo, Mike Spindell!
    Yes, the unrepresentative, two-vote-per-state Senate should be reconfigured, as the EC is dropped.

    I have no worries about the low-population states having less representation. Fewer people, fewer votes. What’s not to like?

  48. Ending the Electoral college would make it more difficult to fix election results, therefore it will remain.

    Having more than two political parties would only bog down legislation, says one of the customers here. The reason why it can’t be allowed to happen is that it would make it more likely that liberal/progressive legislation could get passes, THEREFORE, it’s unlikely that we will have more than two parties that have any clout.

  49. idealist707 1, October 9, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    Well, let’s ask our legal eagles. Are there grounds for limiting freedom of speech as we see going on everywhere?
    ===================================
    I am a legal dove, not an eagle.

    But I know the answer to your question.

    That answer is “money talks and everything else walks.”

    The grounds for limiting freedom of speech is money placed into the sweaty, traitorous palms of the ho class.

    Ho Ho Ho!

  50. bill McW.

    Have you not heard of weighmaster thumb?
    Our senatorial independent is a typical one who gets his way for his vote.

    More parties would transform more states into swing states. And propel themselves into the limelight, along with their issues. We could have a Green party to counter Big Oil. Or a yellow one to counter agrobusiness and Monsanto. All ready to sell their votes in the rep house to those who pay attention to them.

    And elect the President too.
    NC is hanging today accdg to Wash Post, waiting to see how the 22 percent blacks will turn out this time. They gave it to the Dems in 2008, first time in many decades, voting for Obama. Is that not a sort of “party”.

    Jeez! Use ít or lose it.

  51. Idealist: I never knew Hymee to be a jewish name. I changed it. My dad had it Himee, not Hymee. But people kept saying Hi You. We are from France. Some say Remulack. I am sticking with France.

  52. Small parties are spoiler parties. Like Ralph Nader was for Gore, I believe.

    Guerilla tactics. Highly effective, as we know. They were used against the Nazis in WW2. And now they will be needed to protect us from the Red/Blue flim-flam.

  53. Hymee,

    What part of France? Remulack, what’s that?

    Hymee (sp?) is a name like the ones used for the Irish (Mick), Italians (ask Nick S.), etc I believe. But ask our jewish friends. I disclaim all anti-semitism or such crap. But I got a memory for words and sounds like nobody. So any cue willbring up a word. Might be a cool parlor game.

  54. Tony C. 1, October 9, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Nixon was a Republican, not a Democrat.
    ================================
    “They” can’t admit that yet. (It’s ok Bron, don’t drink the nitrogen toddie) … ;)

  55. Dredd,

    It is nitrogen that gives you the “bends”. I understand why the young lady did bend too.
    I think Bron does the nitrous oxide trip instead.

  56. Bob, Barrister: I am a longtime baseball fan. My origins are American League. However, having moved around a lot I have become a baseball fan rather than a fan of a team or even a league. I just wish it would be uniform, either way. But when you think of the price of going to a game, it’s most likely it would go all DH if the two leagues conformed. A family doesn’t want to pay $175 to see Barry Zito hit.

  57. Professor Turley

    I enjoyed your article today. The electoral college has always bothered me–even way back when I was a high school kid in US History/Government class.

    It is also numerically undemocratic–I think that is what you were referring to when discussing the large state/small state issue. I looked up a comparison of population only for the most extreme example–so it would need further breakdown of eligible voters. But to compare California–roughly 660,000 per electoral vote vs Wyoming–171,000 per electoral vote.

    I also agree that the “swing states” get way to much attention. I live in one this year–so I have benefited and have bee able to see President Obama and Representative Ryan–but that is not fair to the “pure” blue and Red states.

  58. The great place to start is the National Popular Vote bill. It’s already 49% of the way to go into effect.

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC), without needing to amend the Constitution.

    The National Popular Vote bill would change existing state winner-take-all laws that award all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who get the most popular votes in each separate state (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but since enacted by 48 states), to a system guaranteeing the majority of Electoral College votes for, and the Presidency to, the candidate getting the most popular votes in the entire United States.

    The bill preserves the constitutionally mandated Electoral College and state control of elections. It ensures that every vote is equal, every voter will matter, in every state, in every presidential election, and the candidate with the most votes wins, as in virtually every other election in the country.

    Under National Popular Vote, every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election. Every vote would be included in the state counts and national count. The candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC would get the 270+ electoral votes from the enacting states. That majority of electoral votes guarantees the candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC wins the presidency.

    National Popular Vote would give a voice to the minority party voters in each state. Now their votes are counted only for the candidate they did not vote for. Now they don’t matter to their candidate.

    And now votes, beyond the one needed to get the most votes in the state, for winning in a state are wasted and don’t matter to candidates. Utah (5 electoral votes) alone generated a margin of 385,000 “wasted” votes for Bush in 2004. 8 small western states, with less than a third of California’s population, provided Bush with a bigger margin (1,283,076) than California provided Kerry (1,235,659).

    With National Popular Vote, elections wouldn’t be about winning states. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. Every vote, everywhere would be counted equally for, and directly assist, the candidate for whom it was cast.

    Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in a handful of swing states. The political reality would be that when every vote is equal, the campaign must be run in every part of the country.

  59. Now political clout comes from being among the handful of battleground states. 80% of states and voters are ignored.

    None of the 10 most rural states (VT, ME, WV, MS, SD, AR, MT, ND, AL, and KY) is a battleground state.
    The current state-by-state winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes does not enhance the influence of rural states, because the most rural states are not battleground states, and they are ignored.

    Now with state-by-state winner-take-all laws (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but since enacted by 48 states), presidential elections ignore 12 of the 13 lowest population states (3-4 electoral votes), that are non-competitive in presidential elections. 6 regularly vote Republican (AK, ID, MT, WY, ND, and SD), and 6 regularly vote Democratic (RI, DE, HI, VT, ME, and DC) in presidential elections. Voters in states that are reliably red or blue don’t matter. Candidates ignore those states and the issues they care about most.

    Support for a national popular vote is strong in every smallest state surveyed in recent polls among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group. Support in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK -70%, DC -76%, DE –75%, ID -77%, ME – 77%, MT- 72%, NE – 74%, NH–69%, NE – 72%, NM – 76%, RI – 74%, SD- 71%, UT- 70%, VT – 75%, WV- 81%, and WY- 69%.

    In the lowest population states, the National Popular Vote bill has passed in nine state legislative chambers, and been enacted by 3 jurisdictions.

    Of the 25 smallest states (with a total of 155 electoral votes) 18 received no attention at all from presidential campaigns after the conventions. Of the seven smallest states with any post-convention visits, Only 4 of the smallest states – NH (12 events), NM (8), NV (12), and IA (7) – got the outsized attention of 39 of the 43 total events in the 25 smallest states. In contrast, Ohio (with only 20 electoral votes) was lavishly wooed with 62 of the total 300 post-convention campaign events in the whole country.

    In the 25 smallest states in 2008, the Democratic and Republican popular vote was almost tied (9.9 million versus 9.8 million), as was the electoral vote (57 versus 58).

  60. With National Popular Vote, big cities would not get all of candidates’ attention, much less control the outcome.
    The population of the top five cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia) is only 6% of the population of the United States and the population of the top 50 cities (going as far down as Arlington, TX) is only 15% of the population of the United States. Suburbs and exurbs often vote Republican.

    If big cities controlled the outcome of elections, the governors and U.S. Senators would be Democratic in virtually every state with a significant city.

    A nationwide presidential campaign, with every vote equal, would be run the way presidential candidates campaign to win the electoral votes of closely divided battleground states, such as Ohio and Florida, under the state-by-state winner-take-all methods. The big cities in those battleground states do not receive all the attention, much less control the outcome. Cleveland and Miami do not receive all the attention or control the outcome in Ohio and Florida.

    The itineraries of presidential candidates in battleground states (and their allocation of other campaign resources in battleground states) reflect the political reality that every gubernatorial or senatorial candidate knows. When and where every vote is equal, a campaign must be run everywhere.

    With National Popular Vote, when every vote is equal, everywhere, it makes sense for presidential candidates to try and elevate their votes where they are and aren’t so well liked. But, under the state-by-state winner-take-all laws, it makes no sense for a Democrat to try and do that in Vermont or Wyoming, or for a Republican to try it in Wyoming or Vermont.

    Even in California state-wide elections, candidates for governor or U.S. Senate don’t campaign just in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and those places don’t control the outcome (otherwise California wouldn’t have recently had Republican governors Reagan, Dukemejian, Wilson, and Schwarzenegger). A vote in rural Alpine county is just an important as a vote in Los Angeles. If Los Angeles cannot control statewide elections in California, it can hardly control a nationwide election.

    In fact, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland together cannot control a statewide election in California.

    Similarly, Republicans dominate Texas politics without carrying big cities such as Dallas and Houston.

    There are numerous other examples of Republicans who won races for governor and U.S. Senator in other states that have big cities (e.g., New York, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts) without ever carrying the big cities of their respective states.

    Candidates would need to build a winning coalition across demographics. Any candidate who ignored, for example, the 16% of Americans who live in rural areas in favor of a “big city” approach would not likely win the national popular vote. Candidates would have to appeal to a broad range of demographics, and perhaps even more so, because the election wouldn’t be capable of coming down to just one demographic, such as Walmart mom voters in Ohio.

  61. Policies important to the citizens of ‘flyover’ states are not as highly prioritized as policies important to the handful of ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing.

    During the course of campaigns, candidates are educated and campaign about the local, regional, and state issues most important to the handful of battleground states they need to win. They take this knowledge and prioritization with them once they are elected. Candidates need to be educated and care about all of our states.

    Compare the response to hurricane Katrina (in Louisiana, a “safe” state) to the federal response to hurricanes in Florida (a “swing” state) under Presidents of both parties. President Obama took more interest in the BP oil spill, once it reached Florida’s shores, after it had first reached Louisiana. Some pandering policy examples include ethanol subsidies, Steel Tariffs, and Medicare Part D. Policies not given priority, include those most important to non-battleground states – like comprehensive immigration reform, water issues in the west, and Pacific Rim trade issues,

    “Maybe it is just a coincidence that most of the battleground states decided by razor-thin margins in 2008 have been blessed with a No Child Left Behind exemption. “
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303640104577440803786176064.html#articleTabs=article

    Six current heavily traveled Cabinet members, have made more than 85 trips this year to electoral battlegrounds such as Colorado, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to a POLITICO review of public speeches and news clippings. Those swing-state visits represent roughly half of all travel for those six Cabinet officials this year.
    http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=D956A81F-3573-4902-BD5D-E0CCAB867CF6

  62. An analysis of the whole number proportional plan and congressional district systems of awarding electoral votes, evaluated the systems “on the basis of whether they promote majority rule, make elections more nationally competitive, reduce incentives for partisan machinations, and make all votes count equally. . . .

    Awarding electoral votes by a proportional or congressional district [used by Maine and Nebraska] method fails to promote majority rule, greater competitiveness or voter equality. Pursued at a state level, both reforms dramatically increase incentives for partisan machinations. If done nationally, the congressional district system has a sharp partisan tilt toward the Republican Party, while the whole number proportional system sharply increases the odds of no candidate getting the majority of electoral votes needed, leading to the selection of the president by the U.S. House of Representatives.

    For states seeking to exercise their responsibility under the U.S. Constitution to choose a method of allocating electoral votes that best serves their state’s interest and that of the national interest, both alternatives fall far short of the National Popular Vote plan . . .”

    http://www.fairvote.org/fuzzy-math-wrong-way-reforms-for-allocating-electoral-college-votes

  63. After more than 10,000 statewide elections in the past two hundred years, there is no evidence of any tendency toward a massive proliferation of third-party candidates in elections in which the winner is simply the candidate receiving the most votes throughout the entire jurisdiction served by the office. No such tendency has emerged in other jurisdictions, such as congressional districts or state legislative districts. There is no evidence or reason to expect the emergence of some unique new political dynamic that would promote multiple candidacies if the President were elected in the same manner as every other elected official in the United States.

    Based on historical evidence, there is far more fragmentation of the vote under the current state-by-state system of electing the President than in elections in which the winner is simply the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the jurisdiction involved.

    Under the current state-by-state system of electing the President (in which the candidate who receives a plurality of the popular vote wins all of the state’s electoral votes), minor-party candidates have significantly affected the outcome in six (40%) of the 15 presidential elections in the past 60 years (namely the 1948, 1968, 1980, 1992, 1996, and 2000 presidential elections). The reason that the current system has encouraged so many minor-party candidates and so much fragmentation of the vote is that a presidential candidate with no hope of winning a plurality of the votes nationwide has 51 separate opportunities to shop around for particular states where he can affect electoral votes or where he might win outright. Thus, under the current system, segregationists such as Strom Thurmond (1948) or George Wallace (1968) won electoral votes in numerous Southern states, although they had no chance of receiving the most popular votes nationwide. In addition, candidates such as John Anderson (1980), Ross Perot (1992 and 1996), and Ralph Nader (2000) did not win a plurality of the popular vote in any state, but managed to affect the outcome by switching electoral votes in numerous particular states.

  64. With the current system of electing the President, no state requires that a presidential candidate receive anything more than the most popular votes in order to receive all of the state’s electoral votes.

    Not a single legislative bill has been introduced in any state legislature in recent decades (among the more than 100,000 bills that are introduced in every two-year period by the nation’s 7,300 state legislators) proposing to change the existing universal practice of the states to award electoral votes to the candidate who receives a plurality (as opposed to absolute majority) of the votes (statewide or district-wide). There is no evidence of any public sentiment in favor of imposing such a requirement.

    If an Electoral College type of arrangement were essential for avoiding a proliferation of candidates and people being elected with low percentages of the vote, we should see evidence of these conjectured apocalyptic outcomes in elections that do not employ such an arrangement. In elections in which the winner is the candidate receiving the most votes throughout the entire jurisdiction served by that office, historical evidence shows that there is no massive proliferation of third-party candidates and candidates do not win with small percentages. For example, in 905 elections for governor in the last 60 years, the winning candidate received more than 50% of the vote in over 91% of the elections. The winning candidate received more than 45% of the vote in 98% of the elections. The winning candidate received more than 40% of the vote in 99% of the elections. No winning candidate received less than 35% of the popular vote.

    Since 1824 there have been 16 presidential elections in which a candidate was elected or reelected without gaining a majority of the popular vote.– including Lincoln (1860), Wilson (1912, and 1916), Truman (1948), Kennedy (1960), Nixon (1968), and Clinton (1992 and 1996).

    Americans do not view the absence of run-offs in the current system as a major problem. If, at some time in the future, the public demands run-offs, that change can be implemented at that time.

    And, FYI, with the current system, it could only take winning a plurality of the popular vote in the 11 most populous states, containing 56% of the population of the United States, for a candidate to win the Presidency with a mere 26% of the nation’s votes.

  65. The presidential election system that we have today was not designed, anticipated, or favored by the Founding Fathers but, instead, is the product of decades of evolutionary change precipitated by the emergence of political parties and enactment by 48 states of winner-take-all laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution.

    The National Popular Vote bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for President. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%; in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%,, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and in other states polled: AZ – 67%, CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.

    The National Popular Vote bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 states. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions possessing 132 electoral votes – 49% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.

    NationalPopularVote
    Follow National Popular Vote on Facebook via NationalPopularVoteInc

  66. Dredd:

    thanks for pointing out that Nixon was a republican. I knew that but those wage and price controls throw me for a loop.

  67. Wow, what a great piece and it cuts through the BS that supporters of the electoral college always uses. The supporters of the EC always state that without the EC candidates will visit only a few big states, which they do now!! Turley states that is what clearly happens now.

  68. What about the upper peninsula. They seem to have an attitude problem. They seem to think they should be part of Michigan.

  69. nick spinelli,

    My childhood heroes were the 77 and 78 Yankees. But now you can’t watch the Yankees play without them relying completely on the home run.

    That’s incredibly boring.

    It seems to me that without the DH there’s more anticipation and strategy involved.

    Want to make a running race more interesting, throw hurdles in front of the runners and watch them navigate their way through.

    The game of baseball, like any sport, is about anticipation. If the only thing you’re anticipating is a home run then the sport just isn’t as interesting anymore.

  70. The possibility of changing the distribution of a state’s electoral college votes has been tried. Politics seems to have intervened.

    http://archive.fairvote.org/articles/denverpost.htm

    Colorado proposes Proportional Representation

    Denver Post
    “Group Pushes for Vote Switch”

    June 15, 2004: A well-financed ballot measure would change Colorado’s winner-take-all allocation of electoral votes to one allocated by proportional representation.

    The wealthy president of a Brazilian university is bankrolling an initiative to end Colorado’s winner-take-all presidential electoral system.

    J. Jorge Klor de Alva is the major donor to The People’s Choice for President – a nonprofit group seeking voters’ permission to award Colorado’s Electoral College votes proportionally as a percentage of the statewide popular vote.

    For example, a candidate who wins 60 percent at the polls could snag five of the state’s nine electoral votes, leaving the remaining four to a candidate who wins 40 percent on Election Day.

    The group has begun to collect signatures; it needs 67,799 to get the measure on the ballot.

    If approved Nov. 2, the constitutional amendment would affect this year’s choice for president by immediately permitting the division of Colorado electoral votes. And it would mark the most ambitious Electoral College reform yet in the nation.

    Proponents say it would help avoid outcomes such as the 2000 election, when the popular vote-winner, Democrat Al Gore, lost the Electoral College vote count to Republican George W. Bush.

    “What we are proposing to do, at least in Colorado, is to come much closer to the notion of one man, one vote,” said Rick Ridder, the Denver-based Democratic political consultant running the campaign. Klor de Alva, who Ridder says is an American citizen, and a group of other unnamed donors have given $150,250 and pledged at least $150,000 more, to the campaign for Colorado electoral change.

    Republicans decry the measure as a Democratic scheme to dilute GOP votes.

    “I don’t know if it verges on dirty tricks, but it certainly has a bad odor,” said state Republican chairman Ted Halaby.

    The U.S. Constitution gives state legislatures the power to choose the method of selecting presidential electors. Most states, including Colorado, have a winner-take-all system. Two states – Maine and Nebraska – have passed measures giving only two electoral votes to the overall winner of the state; the rest are awarded individually based on the winner of the popular vote in each of those states’ congressional districts.

    Klor de Alva’s group picked Colorado to launch a proportional system because state case law broadly defines the state legislature to include citizens participating in a ballot referendum – thereby, in the proponents’ view, fulfilling the U.S. Constitution’s requirement. It helps, backers say, that it’s far easier to float ballot issues here.

    Another reason is the state’s voter registration – 36 percent Republican, 30 percent Democratic and 32 percent independent. The slight GOP lean could mean a likely win for Bush under Colorado’s current system of picking electors. But Democrat John Kerry could grab several of the state’s nine electoral votes if the reform measure passes.

    Republicans oppose the effort.

    “They don’t feel their candidate is going to be able to win it outright, and they just want whatever piece of the pie they can get on a pro-rata basis,” Halaby said. “It’s part and parcel of this plan by the Democrats to mislead the public and play games with the political process.”

    Ridder said Halaby “misses the heart of the matter, which is that the system needs some tweaking.”

    Ridder said Klor de Alva – who could not be reached for comment Monday – lives in California but serves as president of the Faculdade Pitagoras, a university in Brazil.

    He formerly served as president of the University of Phoenix, which touts itself as the largest private, accredited university in the U.S.

    Ridder and Mahoney would not disclose the names of the group’s other contributors, who they said have been involved in several political issues, including the movement to legalize marijuana use for medical reasons.

    Experts on all sides agree that the Electoral College is one of the least understood institutions in American politics. State Sen. Ron Tupa, D-Boulder, a high school government teacher, said ninth-graders, like many adults, have trouble accepting an electoral process that picked Bush in 2000 despite the fact that Gore won more votes.

    “People can’t understand why we have this kind of system that seems so outdated and hasn’t been reformed in 200 years,” said Tupa, who tried unsuccessfully in the 2001 legislature to change Colorado’s electoral system.

    Tupa supports the ballot initiative on grounds that it would be “more fair” and “put Colorado on the map for both political parties.”

    Critics counter that the measure would render Colorado irrelevant in a presidential campaign because of the state’s narrow margins in voter registration. A close election could mean the winner takes only one more electoral vote than the loser.

    “For the first state to do this unilaterally, we go way down in importance,” said Dave Kopel, research director at the conservative Independence Institute in Golden. “Because there’s not much to gain … a candidate would be nuts to spend time in Colorado.”

  71. Why do old systems are so hard to fix? Because there are no spare parts to buy.

    If we go sllghtly ore bizarre, then one may propose that to mmet the demands of future non-EC campaigns, that mother who would produce Presddents must have identical twin. You can guess why, but I will explain anyway—-

    Two will be required to win the first campaign, of which one is the designated candidate. In the period the non-presidential twin will be employed in improving the “base” and advising the Prez on conduct of the Presidency. During the re-election cycle, both will be engaged in fixing votes, with occasional performance of Presidential duties as is done now.

    So for those who have ambitions, pick a lady/husband from genetic lines that have produced many identical twins

  72. @Mike Spindell and @rcampbell

    I’d invite you to see how we do things in Australia.

    Thanks to our preferenial compulsory voting we have active third and fourth parties. There are plenty of other parties, including mad Christians, The Shooters Party (guns, not alcoholic shots) and various others. Sadly we no longer have a wing of the Monster Raving Looney Party.

    Our third party (The Greens – socialists) have effective balance of power in our upper house (also a Senate). The fourth party (The Nationals – medieval agrarians) are in coalition with the second party (Liberals – small ‘el’ really, bit left of the Democrats) and our major party (Labor – massively left) is in power thanks to The Greens and some independants.

    As a parliament they’ve been remarkably active in reform which you wouldn’t guess from our Murdoch-dominated media.

    Sensible amendments are put and voting is on the merits mostly. There is obstruction for differential effect, but co-operation on matters of substance, mostly.

    The beaches are superb and the beer is fantastic. Pop down when you can.

  73. Zvyozdochka,

    I would love to “pop” down your way. I’ve heard Australia is a fascinating country. Unfortunately, I can’t afford to, since you’re a long way off. Financial circumstances have kept me from traveling the world as I would like, but I try to keep up my knowledge of the world I’ll never visit to broaden my perspective.

    Your parliamentary system seems effective, yet as you say much of the news from Australia comes to us via the “Murdochian” sources and so the picture appears skewed right.

  74. Bob, Barrister, Don’t get me wrong. I was a pitcher and I loved to hit, albeit not very well. My playing days predated the DH. However, I started coaching when the DH was “invented.” As a coach, for mostly practical reasons, it allowed me to have ten players in the game. Good politics w/ the parents. I love pitchers duels and often decide whether to see a game in Milwaukee or Chicago based on the pitching matchup. Regarding the strategy issue you discussed, there is one statistic that rebuts that. The winning team scores more runs in one inning than the losing teams scores in the entire game, 60% of the time. That is the core of the big inning/3 run homer philosophy. When I coached younger kids I was obligated to teach them to bunt and use it in games. But, when I coached Legion ball my attitude was swing away, go for the big inning. My statement about the DH probably going to the NL was not so much my desire, but my realism.

  75. Zvyozdochka and MikeS,

    Z’s apiel reminds me of Catullus video of a real spielster on the Wait, Wait-thread.

    Of course, Iv’e already bought my ticket, applied for citizenship, and picked out a bride on internet and chosen the vineyard by the sea to run—–only they don’t have any vineyards by the sea. And worst of all, they have Murdoch. Z.? Do you have channels without Murdoch’s face?

    My main motivation is so-called “sunlight depression”. It gets bad around September 1st at these latitudes.
    Z, you say that you have that too, in Melbourne, only that’s no worse than Berlin. Berlin-Hitler or Melbourne-Murdoch. What a choice.

    Is there a place that is nevér colder than 10C and never warmer than 30C???? Falkland’s Islands? No thanks.

    Grass-strewn blowholes with sheep sheep and baa BAA. The BAA was from the humorless population.

  76. Bettykath:

    Any state that enacts the proportional approach on its own would reduce its own influence. This was the most telling argument that caused Colorado voters to agree with Republican Governor Owens and to reject this proposal in November 2004 by a two-to-one margin.

    Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win. That’s what National Popular Vote guarantees.

    More than 2,110 state legislators (in 50 states) have sponsored and/or cast recorded votes in favor of the National Popular Vote bill.

    Since it was first introduced in 2006, the National Popular Vote bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 states. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions possessing 132 electoral votes – 49% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.

    NationalPopularVote
    Follow National Popular Vote on Facebook via NationalPopularVoteInc

  77. MikeS, I’ll see your Newk and raise you a Spahnie. Newk hit for a better avg. but Spahn had more power.

    Two books you would enjoy. The bio of Gil Hodges by Clavin and Pearry. I’m half way through it. What a good man. And, Loserville Wins, which gives a perspective of the Braves v NY[Dodgers, Giants, and Yanks] rivalry from “Looserville” which is what New Yawkers called Milwaukee. Even though the Dodger fans hated the Braves they liked Spahn.

  78. s e. The point about CO losing importance is valid, but if every state did it at the same time, there would be no disadvantage except for those states who currently hold an unfair advantage.

  79. Nick,

    Spahn was a great hitter, for a pitcher, as was Bob Lemon, Dizzy Trout and more than a few Yankees. Thanks for the books recommendations, but not only did I live through that era, my hobby was Baseball statistics and at one point in the 80’s I was a member of the Society of Baseball Research (SABR). When the internet came about the extensive library I had of baseball books and encyclopedias became extraneous. Also in the steroidal 90’s baseball statistics became suspect and I’ve sort of tuned out. As for the Milwaukee Braves (1957-8 especially) I didn’t hate them at all and knew few others who did except for Yankee fans. That was a great team with Aaron, Matthews, Adcock, Logan, Crandall, Burdette and Buhl. Ah, but you’ve led me really OT by nudging my baseball memories.

    So I’ll get back to it by stating that the method of giving proportional EC representation based upon voting percentages is almost as flawed. Besides that though, as se@(oldgulph) pointed out, politicians would hate it because
    no state would want to go first and thus be disadvantaged politically.

  80. The Founding Fathers left the choice of method of awarding electoral votes exclusively to the states in section 1 of Article II of the U.S. Constitution– “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors . . .” The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly characterized the authority of the state legislatures over the manner of awarding their electoral votes as “plenary” and “exclusive.”

    If the whole-number proportional approach had been in use throughout the country in the nation’s closest recent presidential election (2000), it would not have awarded the most electoral votes to the candidate receiving the most popular votes nationwide. Instead, the result would have been a tie of 269–269 in the electoral vote, even though Al Gore led by 537,179 popular votes across the nation. The presidential election would have been thrown into Congress to decide and resulted in the election of the second-place candidate in terms of the national popular vote.

    A system in which electoral votes are divided proportionally by state would not accurately reflect the nationwide popular vote and would not make every vote equal.

    It would penalize states, such as Montana, that have only one U.S. Representative even though it has almost three times more population than other small states with one congressman. It would penalize fast-growing states that do not receive any increase in their number of electoral votes until after the next federal census. It would penalize states with high voter turnout (e.g., Utah, Oregon).

    Moreover, the fractional proportional allocation approach does not assure election of the winner of the nationwide popular vote. In 2000, for example, it would have resulted in the election of the second-place candidate.

    A national popular vote is the way to make every person’s vote equal and matter to their candidate because it guarantees that the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states and DC becomes President.

    Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%; in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and in other states polled: AZ – 67%, CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.

    The National Popular Vote bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 states. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions possessing 132 electoral votes – 49% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.

  81. Commenting on a comment within a comment.
    Why are pitchers generally poor hitters? One answer given years ago it number of times at bat are fewer.
    Are there other causes? Must they rest between mound tours or could that time include batting practice? Or are they a resource that an aggressive approach at bat would risk their being able to contiunue as a pitcher?

  82. nick spinelli 1, October 10, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    MikeS, I’ll see your Newk and raise you a Spahnie. Newk hit for a better avg. but Spahn had more power.

    Two books you would enjoy. The bio of Gil Hodges by Clavin and Pearry. I’m half way through it. What a good man. And, Loserville Wins, which gives a perspective of the Braves v NY[Dodgers, Giants, and Yanks] rivalry from “Looserville” which is what New Yawkers called Milwaukee. Even though the Dodger fans hated the Braves they liked Spahn.
    ======================================
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlanta_Braves

    It’s a game.

  83. let me see who do I trust as an American to rely on when it comes to the Constituion – the founding fathers OR the people we currently have in office or for that matter a journalist boy that is a tought choice ..let’s deal with the issues this country faces now as they just happen to be a bit more pressing

  84. I agree in principle that the Electoral College should be abolished an replaced by direct popular election. Why should the fact that I live in the country’s most populous state (California) mean that my state gets 55 electors, whereas, oh, say, Utah gets 5 electors. I am a lawyer and very familiar with voting rights laws and constitutional provisions, but can find no reason except those peculiar historical ones to violate one person- one vote. Certainly racist and historical arguments can be made, by no logical ones, particularly when states are by and large the place that restrict civil rights and liberties. Why should Arizona, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida and many other places be given disproportionate power?

    Jim Kellogg

  85. More than 60 years ago in my senior Civics class I was in a debate with regards to this archaic political abomination. I took the con side and offered a well structured argument in opposition to its existence, and its irrelevancy in the 20th century. The intended purpose of the electoral college served the purpose of its intent the United States was fledgling country, and the population was predominately agricultural, (rural) and not urbanized. There had to be a system to accommodate elections. But, that was then and this is now. How much does our vote really count, when there is no obligation upon the Electoral to actually adhere to the will of the people. I believe that our political system has been compromised to an irreparable degree by the existence of this body. We are a free society, and as such the will of the people must be the alpha and the omega when it comes to electing a President. Of course I can understand why the popular vote would be unpopular among politicians. By the way I was seventeen years old when I made this argument. Then as now I did my homework with regard to U. S. politics. In conclusion all I can say is that the nation into which I was born no longer exists, and unless we make a rapid u-turn, it will soon be extinct.

  86. I could not disagree with you more. Heard you on CSPAN this morning and found most of you arguments to be either misrepresentations or half truths. Then again you are a lawyer and most lawyers and politicians don’t bother with the facts if they get in the way of their argument.

    First the electoral college. The founders did it for the same reason they created the house and the senate. They wanted to temper the majority from shoving everything down a minorities throat. In this case opinions and not races of people. Matter of fact if they didn’t do it, it is quite possible many states, specifically the smaller states would not have joined the union. Think Rhode Island. They were a thorn in everyones side back then. This country could have ended up quite differently.

    As for the Adams example, which you brought up on CSAP as well as above. That’s because something like five people ran during that election. None of them had enough electoral college votes. It was the House of Representatives who decided the election and that was only after one of the other candidates, Henry Clay, threw his support to Adams. So in a sense Adams did get a majority thru Clay’s support.

    Another one of you comments had to do with people being disenfranchised with the political system. For most it isn’t with the President, it;’s with the house or Senate but most of them are happy with their congressman or senator, it’s the others they don’t like, which I find really interesting on what that says.

    You also stated a third party can’t get started. Well they probably could if they convinced enough Americans their platform was worth their support. I remember reading something like 80% of the country consider themselves independent, as I do. That’s a heck of a lot of people unhappy with the current political parties that, if a new one came along with the right mix of platforms it could easily survive and thrive. We could go back to an Adams scenario where nobody gets a majority and the House would once again elect the President.

    Lastly, I agree with Senator Simpson who called into the show to disagree with you. I agree that the founders had the a vision to make sure the minority opinion was counted. Equating the 17th amendment to the selection of the president is a misrepresentation. What was happening was governors and state representatives were selling the vote or worse. It was a corrupt process. The presidential election isn’t corrupt and has worked quite well in my opinion.

    But the real issue is that regardless what President is elected he still has to deal with the house and senate. I remember the Health Care Act and the fact that many congressman and Senators had to be bribed, er I mean given incentives, including many Democrats, to vote for the thing. While I agree something had to be done the manner in which this was carried out, and many of our representatives were not given the chance to read the document, did not server the American system well. When I heard the speaker of the house utter words to the effect that you don’t need to read it, just vote to pass it, I had shivers up my spine.

    In closing I would love the chance to debate you on this. Your premise is flawed, your examples misleading and and you end up misrepresenting the issues. I would prefer us not to have a UK system where the majority get to do what they want to do because they are in power. I would much rather the representatives have to negotiate and / or compromise, or bribe as the case may be, in order to get things done. That includes considering all opinions of all Americans, not just the majority who might vote you in.

  87. Marat Bandemer 1, October 18, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    One person, one vote. Two hundred years ago was two hundred years ago.

  88. ENOUGH ALREADY! It’s way past time to DO AWAY WITH THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE!!!
    When we were a young country and election results were delivered by horseback but today when votes and feedback are instantaneous it is totally unnecessary and, by
    the way, it also is UN-AMERICAN! Here’s why:
    This country was built on the principle that “all men (and women) are created equal” (I.e. “one person one vote”) but that is not the way our Presidential election works – here are the sad, but true, facts:
    When you vote for president your vote is not for the candidate you selected it’s for your state representatives at the electoral college! The number of representatives is based on your states number of reps in congress (since the Senate has 2 reps from every state you have already lost the one man one vote ratio) Worse still, there are no national rules on how the delegates vote – these are determined by each state! Some states are winner (of the state) takes all of the delegates (your vote – if you voted for the candidate with the least votes – doesn’t count at all! Worse, if there is no winner in the first ballot at the EC, then some states ALLOW THEIR CANDIDATES TO VOTE FOR ANY CANDIDATE THEY WANT! This is rule by an elite few definitely not democracy!
    (for more info on the EC go to http://www.archives.gov/federal-pregister/electoral-college/about.html)

    There have been several cases where the Electoral College has put a man in office WHO LOST THE POPULAR VOTE! It can happen this election! Whether you are a republican or Democrat if you believe in democracy you have to know that the Electoral College is not democracy and needs to go! It won’t be easy as it requires a constitutional amendment but please let’s do everything we can – write to everyone you can contact in gov (not just congress) and tell them that the ELECTORAL COLLEGE HAS TO GO!!!!!!

  89. The political reality is that the Electoral College won’t be abolished. Getting three quarters of the states to agree would some of the lower population states would have to vote themselves into irrelevance. And that’s the monopolistic two party system would agree to it in Congress.

    However, the distribution of the Electoral votes for each state is determined by the states, and the biggest flaw of the EC system is the winner take all rules currently in existance in the states. A proportional distribution of EC votes would serve to reflect the actual voting totals, and still maintain relevance of the smaller population states.

    http://nerdusinterruptus.blogspot.com/2012/10/all-states-should-be-battlegrounds.html

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