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The US Electoral College

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Wombat

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#1
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RayDunzl

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The Electoral College mirrors the makeup of the Congress, in that each state gets two electoral votes (as each state has two senators), and each state gets an allocation of additional votes (minimum of one) according to their population (same as their representation in the number of congressmen in the House of Representatives).

100 Senators - two per state, 50 states. There are some other holdings, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, American Samoa, etc, that don't count (sorry!).
438 in Congress - apportioned by population
538 Electoral Votes total.

270 votes needed to "win".
 
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SJ777

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#3
Checks and balances. Very good reminder of democracy as a process rather than an absolute.
 

Cahudson42

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#4
Yes, the Electoral College is an aberration. But the fact that Parliamentary systems empower a party - and do not directly allow the people to elect a Prime Minister - from my perspective in the US - is also an aberration.

Not unlike the Electoral College, in Parliamentary systems, Party Elites - not 'the people' control and select the PM. I can argue this is even worse than the Electoral College - which at least is tied to specific local interest via each state.

No such localization of interest in Parliamentary systems PM selection. . Unless I need to be corrected for my mis-understanding, as an example, now that the Torys have a clear 5 years of misrule guaranteed under the Fixed Term Parliments Act, less than 200,000 Tory 'members' are free to select a PM, whoever and whenever.

Am I wrong?
 
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JustJones

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#6
FYI.

This is an enigma to people outside of the USA. This informative article covers its creation:

https://theconversation.com/who-invented-the-electoral-college-147083

E&OE of course.
When I saw the topic I wondered will it gloss over the influence of slave states and their threat of not ratifying the constitution if the President was elected by popular vote ? Your link is a good article. The threat also extended to another abomination the reason for the 2nd amendment.
 

March Audio

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#7
Yes, the Electoral College is an aberration. But the fact that Parliamentary systems empower a party - and do not directly allow the people to elect a Prime Minister - from my perspective in the US - is also an aberration.

Not unlike the Electoral College, in Parliamentary systems, Party Elites - not 'the people' control and select the PM. I can argue this is even worse than the Electoral College - which at least is tied to specific local interest via each state.

No such localization of interest in Parliamentary systems PM selection. . Unless I need to be corrected for my mis-understanging, as an example, now that the Torys have a clear 5 years of misrule guaranteed under the Fixed Term Parliments Act, less than 200,000 Tory 'members' are free to select a PM, whoever and whenever.

Am I wrong?
Weeeeellllll....... (in UK) The political parties have a manifesto of policies prior to election. These policies and objectives are laid out for the electorate to judge. The party and the Prime Minister represent these policies.

Of course personality and individual capability of said leader comes into this, but its difficult to see how you can separate "party" from "leader" in the way you are alluding to.

Isnt it interesting that in he Brexit debacle that the incumbent tory party were initially prevented from calling an election to allow the people to decide their choice of party/PM. When the election was allowed to proceed the electorate chose with a large majority to continue with Boris and Conservative party.
 
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Wombat

Wombat

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Thread Starter #8
I take it that the founding fathers decided that the voters(white male landholders only) could not be informed enough across the vast country and/or reasoned enough(education) to make such an important decision as choosing a national President. Thus a system was created where they, the voters, elected representatives(their betters) for their own State who in turn voted for a President(of the representatives choosing).

In time, political parties formed, long distance communication evolved, the voting franchise widened and the populace became better educated. Notwithstanding, the Electoral college remains an electoral intermediary between citizen and President.
 

March Audio

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#10
Corbyn vs. Starmer? I find it impossible to believe it doesn't make a difference..:)
As I said, clearly individual personality and capability comes into this, however how do you separate party from the leader? Essentially you are saying that only individuals can stand. Equally did the party not get rid of Corbyn when he lost all party and public confidence/support?
 

A Surfer

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#11
It isn't even remotely a difficult system to understand. And it most certainly is not in any way remotely the state of the art in democratic systems, not by a long shot. It is nothing more than a winner takes all first past the post, in the final analysis. Some might argue it is a system that was very purposively developed to ensure that those who influence power can count on being able to easily manipulate large groups of voters concentrated into very well understood boundaries. Both economic and geographic boundaries. If you want true democratic representation you need proportional representative systems. Those while also imperfect are far more democratic.

Nothing is more democratic than seats allocated based on the percentage of the popular vote won. That is the most democratic.
 

Tks

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#12
This is all well and fine (not really), but the biggest problem I have with this country is this lunacy ridden 2-party system that has been going for a while now. It's so annoying..
 

March Audio

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#13
It isn't even remotely a difficult system to understand. And it most certainly is not in any way remotely the state of the art in democratic systems, not by a long shot. It is nothing more than a winner takes all first past the post, in the final analysis. Some might argue it is a system that was very purposively developed to ensure that those who influence power can count on being able to easily manipulate large groups of voters concentrated into very well understood boundaries. Both economic and geographic boundaries. If you want true democratic representation you need proportional representative systems. Those while also imperfect are far more democratic.

Nothing is more democratic than seats allocated based on the percentage of the popular vote won. That is the most democratic.
Yes but PR also leads to a system where nothing gets done. Its inevitable that there is only a limited majority in the house (referring to UK). See Brexit as the ultimate example. There was nothing democratic about that progress being endlessly blocked by MPs.

Every decision is argued endlessly and diluted until acceptable enough to the various factions. So PR is no panacea.
 

StevenEleven

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#14
This is all well and fine (not really), but the biggest problem I have with this country is this lunacy ridden 2-party system that has been going for a while now. It's so annoying..
+1. The two-party [dominance of the electoral] system is a self-perpetuating abomination. I’m unaffiliated because I can’t stand either party. Collectively they both act like wretches and are fed an endless sea of money to maintain their duopoly on our political system.

The electoral college may be awful but the two-party [dominance of the electoral] system is the root of the rot, IMHO & etc.
 
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AudioJester

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#15
I must admit, the voting system in Australia is never itself brought into question.
The Australian Electoral Commission does an outstanding job.
 

tmtomh

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#16
As the article linked by the OP shows, the Electoral College was a compromise made because elite white slave-owners wanted to ensure they retained the political power to continue holding human beings in slavery - and they wanted to retain that power to enslave by counting the enslaved people themselves among their numbers for purposes of political representation. Like so much else in our nation's history, slavery is again the original sin.

As for parliamentary systems being just as much of an aberration as the Electoral College, I'd say the problem there is that the overwhelming majority of industrial democracies in the world have parliamentary systems. So by definition they are the norm and not an aberration.

As for the curse of the U.S. two-party system, that is primarily a result of the winner-take-all Presidential system itself. Parliamentary systems don't have more parties by accident - multi-party democracy is much easier to sustain in a parliamentary democracy than in a U.S.-style Presidential system.

Along similar (or at least analogous) lines, I've always been struck by the fact that, for all the concern in the U.S. with checks and balances, a parliamentary system is, it seems to me, better at avoiding the kind of all-powerful Executive position that the U.S. Presidency has become.

Finally, the appeal of a parliamentary system to me is what was noted above - you are voting for a party with a clearly stated platform. It tends to keep political debates and campaigns more focused on policies and issues and less focused on individual personality and celebrity (of course there are exceptions - I am speaking in broad terms).
 

RayDunzl

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#17
This is all well and fine (not really), but the biggest problem I have with this country is this lunacy ridden 2-party system that has been going for a while now. It's so annoying..
It would seem to at least be better than a one-party system.
 

Sir Sanders Zingmore

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#18
I must admit, the voting system in Australia is never itself brought into question.
The Australian Electoral Commission does an outstanding job.
If you think the US electoral college system is complicated, try explaining preferences and voting "above or below" the line in Australia :)
 

RayDunzl

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#19
I remember using a write-in vote once.

N. E, Onebutt got at least a singular vote that year.
 

Vasr

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#20
One of the things I found interesting about most Parliamentary systems unlike the US is the separation of the operational head (typical PM) from the ceremonial head (President or King/Queen). This has a number of advantages. Without the separation, it is easy for the combined head to hide behind the ceremonial role and make criticism look "unpatriotic". With a separation, the operational head can be judged and criticized on their operational performance and it prevents them from getting grand delusions about their role as the head of a nation. The ceremonial heads who do not make policies that affect citizens aren't at risk of being criticized and so people can have their nationalism tied to that role. They can represent the nation symbolically outside without getting tainted by the sausage-making required of the operational head.
 
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