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RE: RE: Of Dead Trees and Democracy

by brainpan (Monk)
on Nov 11, 2000 at 01:50 UTC ( #41037=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to RE: Of Dead Trees and Democracy
in thread Of Dead Trees and Democracy

Excellent points about the electoral college, et al. Even with all of the disagreement over this election I'm hearing one thing fairly consistently from both sides: the electoral college has outlived it's usefulness. I know that a fair portion of this is just part and parcel of the pseudo-obligitory blame casting game, but I'm hoping that even after one of the upper middle class white guys finally wins / doesn't lose the 'gator wrestling match, securing the the presidency, there will be enough momentum left to invoke a change in the EC process.

And since I'm feeling particularly ornery, I'm going to point out that technically we do not live in a Democracy. Recite the first five lines of the Pledge of Allegiance with me:

I pledge allegiance
to the flag
of the United States of America
and to the Democracy
for which it stands....

That is the way it goes, right?

And no, I don't own 27 pairs of sweatpants.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
RE: RE: RE: Of Dead Trees and Democracy
by FouRPlaY (Monk) on Nov 11, 2000 at 04:15 UTC
    I'm postings this in here because I can't acctually responed to ybiC's post.

    I've been doing some reading on the American electoral process and American presidents, and I'm going to take a stab at the reasons for the existence of the Electoral College. Now, not being American, I may miss the mark be a lot, but what else is new?

    It seems to me that there was a choice regarding the election of a president. Either by popular vote, or by selection of Congrees. It was decided to do a combination to prevent Congrees from picking "favourites" (notice the 'u' :), and the people from making foolish choices.



    FouRPlaY
    Learning Perl or Going To Die Trying
      Actually, the choice was between Congress (no check and balance that way), Vote by State (Govenor or State House? worse you have people who you may no longer like picking higher ups, dangerous!), and Vote by Landholder (Populous States could control the presidency even though most States weren't represented at all.)

      The compromise was to have States cast as many votes as they had seats in the combined houses, giving a slight proportional edge to small states and taking away the direct vote which could have overwhelming single candidate votes.

      The compromise of the Electoral College means you elect a group of people who promise to vote your way and tends to prevent a few states from dominating the country or a cult of personality in one region from overwhelming the popular vote. You must win a majority of the people in a majority of the states, even if only by the slightest margins.

      The hidden danger/benefit of the Electoral College is that in all but 2 States, they aren't REQUIRED to vote for the candidate they promised to vote for. The reasoning at the time was that men of conscience would be able to pick a new choice if the original choice died or proved to be a criminal or was shown to be lying about his campaign promises or was disqualified after the popular election but before assuming office. Thus, by placing the final power to select the President in the hands of these representatives we assure the smooth transition of power without having to involve the rather partisan and potentially in need of checks and balances House/Senate.

      The system just seems really interesting when one candidate wins a few large states and the other wins a lot of small states. Then a few medium sized states winds up picking. Or even just one. =)

      The nice thing about the Electoral College system is that it is only confused when the people are. The bad thing is that the ignorant masses that the founders feared almost as much as a Monarchy might keep getting confused and start believing we live in a Democracy rather than a Representative Republic. =P

      --
      $you = new YOU;
      honk() if $you->love(perl)

      There's a good summary of the early history of the Electoral College and how it shifted from its original intent here. The central point the author makes is that the framers were concerned about preserving individual liberties, and that a pure democracy would allow majorities to take away the rights of minorities. The EC was supposed to be a sort of nominating process, but it didn't work as intended.
RE: (4) Of Dead Trees and Democracy (original purpose of EC ?)
by ybiC (Prior) on Nov 11, 2000 at 04:09 UTC
    I goofed and improperly closed some HTML on this node originally.   tilly++ for code to put here that fixed it, but duplicate un-editable node 41054 remained, waiting to be deleted.   vroom++ for quickly fixing results of my blunder.   And before I forget, apologies to brainpan and others for temporarily messing up the thread.

    Post went something like this:

    It's been too many years since high school, and history was never my best subject.   Just what was the original purpose for the Electoral College?
        cheers,
        Don

    Update:
    While the thread was hosed, Adam /msg'd these *highly*informative* links from the Federalist Papers and the EC WebZine.   Adam++

      Save this to your hard drive, view it in a browser, then submit:
      <HTML> <HEAD> <TITLE>Apologies, real post here soon.</TITLE> </HEAD> <BODY text="#000000" bgcolor="#FFFFFF" link="#993333" vlink="#333399"> <FORM METHOD="POST" ACTION="http://www.perlmonks.org/index.pl" ENCTYPE +="application/x-www-form-urlencoded"> <INPUT TYPE="hidden" NAME="node_id" VALUE="41054"><INPUT type=hidden n +ame=op value=vote> <BR><BR>Title:<BR><INPUT TYPE="text" NAME="note_title" VALUE="Sorry mo +re testing" SIZE=20><BR><BR> Text:<BR> <TEXTAREA NAME="note_doctext" ROWS=20 COLS=60 >Testing</TEXTAREA><INPU +T TYPE="submit" NAME="sexisgood" VALUE="submit"> </BODY> </HTML>

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