The US should stick with the electoral college over a popular vote

July 10, 2019, 12:27 pm

Agree13 Disagree9

59%
41%

The debate "The US should stick with the electoral college over a popular vote" was started by Light on July 10, 2019, 12:27 pm. 13 people are on the agree side of this discussion, while 9 people are on the disagree side. People are starting to choose their side. It looks like most of the people in this community are on the agreeing side of this statement.

Light posted 8 arguments, Allirix posted 3 arguments to the agreers part.
Nemiroff posted 6 arguments to the disagreers part.

Light, Allirix, sssk, MightyJackalope and 9 visitors agree.
historybuff, Nemiroff, Communistguy, sushmitha, jennalyse, YEET and 3 visitors disagree.

Allirix
replied to...

I believe the problem with the electoral college is not the electoral college itself, it's the freedom given to the states to decide how they allocate their votes. The Nash equilibrium is a winner-takes-all method, which is what all states bar 2 use, because it makes the state more relevant.

You can have all 40 million people in California vote for a democrat, but have a republican win by 1 vote in every other state and you'd have a landslide Republican victory that lost the popular vote by 40 million. That's an extreme example but that massive divide between the popular vote and actual outcome is what happens when all states use a winner-takes-all method. I disagree with that, I don't agree a popular vote should replace it

4 months ago
Allirix
replied to...

I think I understand your point, I just think your point doesn't capture the whole picture. I'll go through exactly why I said a popular vote takes power away from rural areas.

Each state is allocated representatives to vote for a president; Eg California 55, Mississippi 6. The allocated number of representatives is not proportional to the population of each state; California 40 million people, Mississippi 3 million people. California has 1.3 electoral college votes per million voters and Mississippi has 2 per million voters. A vote in Mississippi is therefore 1.54x stronger than a vote in California.

California is 95% urbanised, Mississippi is 49% urbanised. This averages out to 92% urbanisation (0.95*40 + 0.49*3)/(40+3). This would be the demographics of a popular vote between these two states.

An electoral college slightly shifts power towards the rural state, but still does not come close to equalising it. Because of that 1.54x voter power Mississippi if effectively a larger vote pool so the effective urbanisation level between these two states becomes 90% (0.95*40 + 0.49*3*1.54)/(40+3*1.54). According to my very rough calculations on Excel, if you pool together all states you get ~76% effective urbanisation, 8% higher than the national average.

It's not enough to create a democratic crisis, but it's a good balance of voter equality and small rural state relevancy. The EU does the same thing otherwise smaller countries would have no incentive to join. So you're right, it is about smaller states, but you're also wrong about a shift not taking away power from rural areas.

4 months ago
Light
replied to...

Each party nominates a list of electors in a state. Except is Nebraska and Maine the party that wins the popular vote gets their nominees appointed as the states electors. These electors chose which candidate gets their point. They are usually pledged to support the party and some states even require by law them to cast their vote with the popular vote.

4 months ago

I dont think either of you are understanding my point. can either fo you explain how electoral points awarded?

4 months ago
Light
replied to...

The electoral college helps to even it out because in a place like California the inner cities will decide who gets their states points where as in somewhere more rural such as New Jersey then the rural areas have more of a voice helping to balance it across the nation.

4 months ago
Allirix
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I haven't decided if a popular vote or electoral college is better yet. I only wanted to point out that it's been established that the popular vote takes away power from rural areas.

4 months ago
Nemiroff
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is California a city state or a rural state?

is it right for 18% to rule a nation?

4 months ago
Allirix
replied to...

In the USA, 82% of the population live in cities (urban), 18% do not (rural). A popular vote makes each vote equal, so the split is 82/18 between urban/rural.

The electoral college is a form of stratified sampling that gives more weight to smaller states with lower urbanisation. Each vote is therefore not equal. That means the split may be something like 70/30.

My only point was that the popular vote definitely gives cities more power because it doesn't stratify the populations across states with different levels of urbanisation.

4 months ago
Nemiroff
replied to...

82/18?

4 months ago
Allirix
replied to...

If a fix is bringing the 82/18 to 50/50 then no it doesn't fix it. But if more rural states are given more political power then it does certainly shift it closer to 50/50.

4 months ago
Nemiroff
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yes, but that disparity is not fixed by the electoral system. the electoral system is to balance out low population *states* with high population *states* regardless of whether their population lives in towns or cities.

4 months ago
Allirix
replied to...

You're right that the electoral college doesn't create an urban vs rural stand-off, but a popular vote is different, it favours majority groups no matter what. With 82% of the population living in cities in the USA a popular vote benefits cities far more than rural areas. You can talk about why this might be good or bad but it should be an undisputed fact that the popular vote does create an urban (majority) vs rural (minority) situation.

4 months ago
Nemiroff
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popular vote or electoral college makes no difference. neither is about favoring city vs rural voters. they that's both counted together to determine how the *state's* electoral points are awarded.

4 months ago
Light
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I was talking about a popular vote not dependent on the electoral college there.

4 months, 1 week ago
Nemiroff
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once again, the electoral college isn't about cities vs rural, but about small states vs big states. within the state, rural and city votes are combined into a state wide popular vote to determine who gets the state's electoral votes.

4 months, 1 week ago
Light
replied to...

Really so it would matter what the rural farmers thought when there's enough votes to win just in the big cities.

4 months, 1 week ago

I think you have it backwards. A nationwide popular vote would mean every person would matter the same amount. Your current system makes specific regions super important, and other regions almost completely meaningless. It gives much greater weight to specific groups of people and allows them to have a massively greater influence than they otherwise deserve.

It is a system that was intentionally designed to skew power towards specific groups. Even when it was being created, alot of the people designing it didn't like it. It was extremely flawed and they knew it. It was politically necessary at the time, but that political situation is long since gone. The only reason to keep it now is so that a small fraction of the population can dominate the political landscape.

4 months, 1 week ago
Light
replied to...

If the entire nation was on a Popular vote with no electoral college then Alabama would matter more because there are far more voters there to be won over even if they are in the minority than in any rural town.

4 months, 1 week ago
Nemiroff
replied to...

the swing state scenario is just as valid in popular votes as it is in electoral scenarios. no point in going to Alabama no matter how many electoral points it has since it has also been decided.

4 months, 1 week ago
Light
replied to...

I'd agree we are unified but only to an extent each state also has its own sense of independence. Part of the reason large states are skipped altogether is because they are mostly decided. Can you ever see California voting red. It is highly improbable which is why candidates focus there to!e elsewhere such as in swing states.

4 months, 1 week ago
Nemiroff
replied to...

it seems campaigners often skip the big states altogether. perhaps some sort of balancing is needed, but it seems skewed too far towards the smaller states.

also, this was a very valid point back when we were seperate states, but dont you think we are now more like 1 unified nation?

4 months, 1 week ago
Light
replied to...

Yes but the electoral college still makes it necessary for a campaigner to win over some of the smaller states because in the end that's usually what it comes down to and this gives the smaller states more of a voice than a nationwide popular vote would.

4 months, 1 week ago
Nemiroff
replied to...

I dont think thats true since electoral votes are state wide and state points are appointed based on the states popular vote. Alabama does have some big cities, while California has plenty of rural farmland.

the power difference is not city vs rural but small state vs big state regardless of whether the people in that state are rural or urban.

4 months, 1 week ago
Light
replied to...

My argument against a nationwide popular vote is that it takes away power from people such a rural farmers and gives it to the inner cities. The electoral college gives everyone a voice.

4 months, 1 week ago

electoral college and electoral points are 2 different things. one can keep the electoral points and not rely on electors to do the official voting for the president.

however, what is your argument against popular vote?

4 months, 1 week ago
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