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-   -   Decision 2016 (https://www.heroscapers.com/community/showthread.php?t=53250)

Dad_Scaper November 27th, 2016 09:23 AM

Re: Decision 2016
 
The recounts are being pursued by Jill Stein, the especially unimpressive Green Party candidate. I don't think they will change anything, and I think many will be inclined to think that that effort is something it is not. I am hopeful that people are paying enough attention to realize that it is not Clinton who is seeking them. In a close election it's not a big deal, regardless. If Clinton had won I would say the same. Here's an article about Stein's fundraising and demand for a recount.

What interests me the most is that Trump even cares. He won, right? So shut up and let them count again. Let them count 20 times; it won't change the outcome. Even Clinton's people aren't fighting it. So, Mr. President Elect, take this time you're spending on phony and/or pointless outrage, and devote it to something important. Like, say, an intelligence briefing.

But, Swamper, what were your thoughts on Russia being the source of pro-Trump fake news? Is a recount really more interesting to you?

Swamper November 27th, 2016 01:18 PM

Re: Decision 2016
 
I've been following the Russia - Trump bromance. I don't like it at all. I think Russia is a real threat, and that's part of the reason why I hope Romney gets the Secretary of State position. I think he realizes that Russia is a real threat.

When I'm asking questions in here, I'm really just looking for a different viewpoint. Yall are more liberal than me, and I like hearing what yall think (even though I disagree a lot of the time).

Dysole November 27th, 2016 01:43 PM

Generally
 
Don't like how it was reported initially and how it will likely be seen by those with only a cursory glance at what's going on. Think it's a good practice to get into as a nation. If it changes anything, I will be VERY surprised.

~Dysole, who notes that the Clinton campaign has gotten involved now, but Clinton's statement about the whole process basically boils down to "Now that Stein's involved, we don't see any reason to cooperate and ensure that a fair and honest vote happened and we really don't expect it to change anything"

Dad_Scaper November 27th, 2016 05:09 PM

Re: Decision 2016
 
Clinton's involvement, it seems to me, is to have some lawyers involved in making sure it's done right. I would be stunned if Trump's campaign is not doing the same.

Dad_Scaper November 27th, 2016 09:43 PM

Re: Decision 2016
 
Only one candidate has actually asserted there was vote fraud. Bet you can't guess which! Narcissists will not accept second place in anything, even when they get the blue ribbon. Won the election but not the popular vote? Not good enough, there must have been fraud.

It's not enough that he won, he must also make unsupported accusations of cheating because he lost the popular vote. I am sure in some circles what is happening now will be spun as Clinton refusing to accept the results, but the truth is, only one of the two major candidates is actually complaining about the outcome of the election. And he's doing it with accusations of corruption, which are as serious as they are baseless. The recount was triggered by Jill Stein, and considering the vote was close and there is no (rational) reason to think there was fraud, a recount is not a big deal.

The only candidate alleging fraud, and refusing to accept the integrity of the election, is the guy who won it.

dok November 28th, 2016 11:54 AM

Re: Decision 2016
 
I read that audits of randomly selected precincts are part of the standard post-election procedure in at least some of these states, which is a very good thing. Given that, I'm not sure I see the value of additional recount work (in those states, at least).

Either way, it's a terrible idea to use voting systems that don't involve a complete, user-generated paper record. Paper records are the ultimate fallback and the ultimate security against computer hacking (and other forms of fraud, for that matter). TBH it's pretty hard to improve on the optical scan ballot. It gives you rapid tabulation and a verifiable physical record.

Ranior November 28th, 2016 11:59 AM

Re: Decision 2016
 
I agree Dok. From what I've read almost every state and almost every election in the US already involves a few audits of at least a few areas to detect for any fraud. There's just no evidence that it has been happening.

Which of course is partially because we generally do take strong care to make sure these systems are accurate through the use of thoughtful security measures and routine audits. I'm always quick glad when I go vote in WI and fill in some bubbles on a ballot and submit it into the machine. As you said, it's the perfect balance of quick and accurate tabulation of votes with a verifiable user generated paper record.

Sometimes it's nice to see things actually working well.

Dad_Scaper November 28th, 2016 12:01 PM

Re: Decision 2016
 
. . . which is (I suspect) a significant part of the Clinton camp's statement that it did not suspect fraud. Quoth the Clinton rep:
Quote:

"Because we had not uncovered any actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology, we had not planned to exercise this option ourselves, but now that a recount has been initiated in Wisconsin, we intend to participate in order to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides," Elias wrote on Medium Saturday. "We feel it is important, on principle, to ensure our campaign is legally represented in any court proceedings and represented on the ground in order to monitor the recount process."
LINK. Like I said above, I would be stunned if the Trump campaign was not similarly "represented on the ground in order to monitor the recount process." Would it be legal malpractice to advise Trump *not* to have itself represented in the field? Possibly. Not because there is reason to suspect fraud, but just because something surprising is there, you want boots on the ground.
Spoiler Alert!

Agent Minivann November 29th, 2016 08:52 PM

Re: Decision 2016
 
Nothing really to add to the discussion, but I saw this on the Facebook and had to share here:
https://scontent-lax3-1.xx.fbcdn.net...94&oe=58CE0EEE

Rich10 December 2nd, 2016 10:51 AM

Re: Decision 2016
 
Instead of Jill Stein asking for a recount, she should consider how much the Green party contributed to a Trump victory.
http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politi...ler?yptr=yahoo
Stein votes/Trump margin:
MI: 51,463/10,704
PA: 49,678/46,765
WI: 31,006/22,177
Admittedly, the race in deciding states wasn't as close as it was with Bush-Gore, but it played a part.

On another matter, any thoughts on Trump's influence on Carrier with respect to moving jobs offshore?

Dad_Scaper December 2nd, 2016 10:59 AM

Re: Decision 2016
 
As I understand it, Carrier's parent company is also a defense contractor. Defense contractors have deep and delicate relationships with the executive branch of the government. I'm not really interested in one deal as the delivery, or failure to deliver, on a campaign promise.

Trump is inheriting 8 years of rising employment, wages, and stock markets. I'm open to being impressed - I really am - but this deal doesn't mean anything to me. Show me trends, in time.

Rich10 December 2nd, 2016 11:09 AM

Re: Decision 2016
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dad_Scaper (Post 2123512)
I'm not really interested in one deal as the delivery, or failure to deliver, on a campaign promise.

One-off deals won't contribute significantly to jobs (outside of the 800 or so jobs saved). But, is Trump going to push an agenda of keeping jobs in the US? What would that mean? If this means a protectionist agenda, can he get the Republicans to go along with him? What would be the potential negative ramifications of this? Reduced trade, higher costs for products, etc.

Dad_Scaper December 2nd, 2016 11:17 AM

Re: Decision 2016
 
I am skeptical that Trump's legacy will be as a "protectionist." Time will tell. For better or for worse, I think he will be sufficiently nimble, philosophically, that such labels will not easily stick.

vegietarian18 December 2nd, 2016 12:13 PM

Re: Decision 2016
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Rich10 (Post 2123509)
Instead of Jill Stein asking for a recount, she should consider how much the Green party contributed to a Trump victory.
http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politi...ler?yptr=yahoo
Stein votes/Trump margin:
MI: 51,463/10,704
PA: 49,678/46,765
WI: 31,006/22,177
Admittedly, the race in deciding states wasn't as close as it was with Bush-Gore, but it played a part.

On another matter, any thoughts on Trump's influence on Carrier with respect to moving jobs offshore?

It's wrong to assume that a third party candidate strictly takes away votes from their major party alternative. Many people who are voting third party do it because they are frustrated with the party they closely identify with, or with politics as a whole. Besides, Gary Johnson probably "took" more votes from Trump than Stein took from Clinton. It's just a bad narrative or even discussion point.

Jill Stein's recount is kind of a joke anyway, she keeps raising the amount of funding she needs and any leftover will go to "election integrity".

Dad_Scaper December 2nd, 2016 01:04 PM

Re: Decision 2016
 
Well, this is an interesting development. Why would Michigan take legal action to stop a recount that it isn't paying for? I read this article & immediately remembered Nate Silver's response to Trump's Twit-storm (yes, I wrote that) alleging "millions" of fraudulent votes for Clinton.

It turns out that Silver's written a piece about it, which bears a read. He concludes:
Quote:

What are the costs of an election audit? Running them will cost several million dollars, but that’s fairly trivial in an era of billion-dollar campaigns. Instead, since these audits aren’t routine — although maybe they should be — the cost is mostly that they could undermine the perceived legitimacy of the election and the longstanding norm toward uncontentious transitions of power from one president toward the next. Which might be more persuasive … if Trump hadn’t spent the weekend peddling a conspiracy about how he thought the results were rigged in Clinton’s favor because millions of people had voted illegally.
The President Elect, and no other candidate, has made a serious accusation of fraud in the election. A recount (or, as Silver calls it, an "audit") will almost certainly not change anything. But it's paid for, it won't hurt anybody, and - unlike the President Elect's Twitter feed - I expect it would provide a measure of reassurance that the system works as intended. Considering that it's paid for by people freely devoting their own money to it, considering that the President Elect has publicly thrown doubt on the election's outcome, considering that the chief lawyer for one of the affected states is now taking action to stop it, why not? My Magic 8-Ball started on "Why bother," then to "Outlook is hazy," and now it's on "Yes, please."

Whatever Jill Stein's motives, and whatever the wild dreams of the contributors, the money is there, the accusations of fraud are there (courtesy of the P/E), and one (so far) of the affected states is offering a really lame excuse about why it doesn't want to, and is fighting it. There's probably nothing there, but let it happen.

Swamper December 2nd, 2016 01:46 PM

Re: Decision 2016
 
Looking at it from a practical/legal standpoint, I can see why Michigan wouldn't want to take the time to do a recount for Stein. She came in last in every state I think, so there's no real reason for her to want a recount. If Clinton was the one asking for a recount, that should be accommodated. A recount won't change the outcome for Stein, so there's no reason to recount for her, IMO.

Hahma December 2nd, 2016 02:17 PM

Re: Decision 2016
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dad_Scaper (Post 2123512)
As I understand it, Carrier's parent company is also a defense contractor. Defense contractors have deep and delicate relationships with the executive branch of the government. I'm not really interested in one deal as the delivery, or failure to deliver, on a campaign promise.

Trump is inheriting 8 years of rising employment, wages, and stock markets. I'm open to being impressed - I really am - but this deal doesn't mean anything to me. Show me trends, in time.

I suspect this mostly a Pence deal, considering he is still the governor of Indiana. Helps make Trump look like he kept his word about keeping jobs here.

I also heard that the parent company is a defense contractor, so I'm suspect that had more to do with the deal than the $7 million in tax breaks Carrier will get over the next 10 years from us in Indiana.

While companies have leveraged their location based on tax incentives between states in past, now they may have a new leverage to stay in the country.

Dad_Scaper December 2nd, 2016 04:41 PM

Re: Decision 2016
 
Michigan doesn't take time to do a recount. It's bought and paid for by the other party, in this case, Stein. Spending money given to her for this purpose. If Michigan doesn't want other people to waste their money, it should have discouraged them before now. A waste of time and/or money is a pretty weak excuse, considering that it's all bought and paid for by private parties.

Swamper December 2nd, 2016 05:07 PM

Re: Decision 2016
 
From my understanding, Stein has raised money to cover some costs, but not all costs, and there is also a potential problem, in the event of a recount, with the final tally not being "official" in time for the electors final vote.

Usually I don't do links, but this Yahoo story is where I got the information: https://www.yahoo.com/news/michigan-...150741389.html

Dad_Scaper December 2nd, 2016 07:44 PM

Re: Decision 2016
 
The point would be an audit of the vote. The President Elect himself has cast doubt upon it, the requesting party has raised money to pay for it, and the request itself is apparently lawful.

You know, Swamper, it's ok for you to sometimes agree with the position taken by someone who you think of as a liberal. Nothing bad will happen.

Seriously, when Trump publicly claimed that there were millions of fake votes cast for Clinton, that should have been the end of this conversation. System integrity is important, as is trust in the system. The person about to assume the (arguably) most important job in the entire world just said that the vote was marred by fraud. People should be demanding a recount, particularly those who are his allies and supporters.

Swamper December 2nd, 2016 11:51 PM

Re: Decision 2016
 
Agreeing with a liberal has nothing to do with this. You said that there would be no cost for Michigan to do the audit. From what I've read, that's not true, and that's all I was pointing out, along with the possibility of not getting the recount done by the deadline.

As for the point about Trump, I think people aren't taking it seriously because they know Trump is full of bull. I certainly don't think there were tons of illegal votes, and no one I know does, either. Trump has been full of crap since the beginning of the campaign. I choose not to worry about every crazy thing he says, cause he says a lot. I'll pay attention to his actions when the time comes.

Speaking of actions, I'm not a fan of the Carrier deal. It's good for those individuals, but it sets a dangerous precedent. Are we gonna give every company tax breaks if they threaten to move overseas? I don't think that's a viable strategy.

Dysole December 3rd, 2016 01:22 AM

Pretty Much
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Swamper (Post 2123705)
Speaking of actions, I'm not a fan of the Carrier deal. It's good for those individuals, but it sets a dangerous precedent. Are we gonna give every company tax breaks if they threaten to move overseas? I don't think that's a viable strategy.

This. This is my current concern as there is practically no reason for them not to if this becomes any kind of standard.

~Dysole, who tries to search out where the water flows to eventually (metaphorically speaking)

vegietarian18 December 3rd, 2016 02:37 AM

Re: Decision 2016
 
I mean, I'm not sure what else could be done to keep jobs in America, this is basically what Trump ran on. You either incentivize staying, or disincentivize leaving. I don't think this will be something Trump consistently does, but rather he wants to show his supporters early that he will "save American jobs".

We will have to see though. Trump is still very much an unknown

Dad_Scaper December 3rd, 2016 10:05 AM

Re: Decision 2016
 
1.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Swamper (Post 2123705)
Agreeing with a liberal has nothing to do with this. You said that there would be no cost for Michigan to do the audit. From what I've read, that's not true, and that's all I was pointing out, along with the possibility of not getting the recount done by the deadline.

Of course it does. These reasons you're offering are weak. Why not audit the election? These aren't serious answers. I didn't see where Michigan is on the hook for anything, regardless of money. Why are you assuming that the state does work it won't get paid for? Most importantly, in all 3 states, why are Trump surrogates (or his campaign itself) fighting?

2.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Swamper (Post 2123705)
As for the point about Trump, I think people aren't taking it seriously because they know Trump is full of bull. I certainly don't think there were tons of illegal votes, and no one I know does, either. Trump has been full of crap since the beginning of the campaign. I choose not to worry about every crazy thing he says, cause he says a lot. I'll pay attention to his actions when the time comes.

Words matter. This part of your post distresses me more than I expect you thought it would, but that ship has sailed. I don't intend for this thread to be continuing commentary on our nation's descent into a Trump Presidency, because it is about "Decision 2016," but I will continue to discuss election-related matters here.

3.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Swamper (Post 2123705)
Speaking of actions, I'm not a fan of the Carrier deal. It's good for those individuals, but it sets a dangerous precedent. Are we gonna give every company tax breaks if they threaten to move overseas? I don't think that's a viable strategy.

Fair enough. It's the type of thing that the government does all the time, particularly under pro-business administrations. I agree with Hahma that this has to do with Pence & Indiana, as well. And we know how thoughtful an administrator he is.

Swamper December 3rd, 2016 10:18 AM

Re: Decision 2016
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dad_Scaper (Post 2123733)
1.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Swamper (Post 2123705)
Agreeing with a liberal has nothing to do with this. You said that there would be no cost for Michigan to do the audit. From what I've read, that's not true, and that's all I was pointing out, along with the possibility of not getting the recount done by the deadline.

Of course it does. These reasons you're offering are weak. Why not audit the election? These aren't serious answers. I didn't see where Michigan is on the hook for anything, regardless of money. Why are you assuming that the state does work it won't get paid for? Most importantly, in all 3 states, why are Trump surrogates (or his campaign itself) fighting?

I linked to the article that said Michigan would be on the hook for paying for at least part of the recount. That by itself is a perfectly valid reason to not want to do a recount, especially if the recount is for a candidate that came in at 1% of the vote.

EDIT: Here's the relevant quote from the Yahoo article: "Schuette also criticized Stein for the potential expense of a recount, although Stein said last week that she had raised $3.5 million to cover some costs. A Schuette spokeswoman said on Friday that Stein had contributed $787,500, but the recount would cost some $5 million."

I imagine Trump doesn't want the results to be audited because he knows that his claim of illegal votes is ridiculous and doesn't want it to actually be investigated. As far as I can tell, the only people that are actually taking his claim seriously are the far far right conspiracy people and those that are looking for any and all reasons to get after Trump. Even if the recount goes ahead, neither side will change in any way. The conspiracy guys will believe that the liberals somehow tampered with things, and everyone else will know what they already knew: Trump is full of it.

I don't buy the argument that this recount is about the integrity of the system. No one, other than the media pushing this storyline, has any doubt about the veracity of the election. Trump said something about it, but Trump will be saying a lot of things for the next four years, and we're just gonna have to get used to filtering what he says through a bs filter. So what if he said there were thousands of illegal voters? I know it's not true. You know it's not true. The vast majority of Americans know it's not true, and those that believe it are unlikely to change their minds. We should be focusing on more important things.

Dad_Scaper December 3rd, 2016 11:03 AM

Re: Decision 2016
 
I do not accept that we can blithely ignore the words of the President of the United States. If he says it, it's important. I'm not saying it's *credible*, but it should be taken seriously.

This is how we ended up here. People knew he was full of BS, didn't care what he said, now he's President of the United States, next month. Strange world.

edit: Look, here's what I'm talking about. Words matter. It's not amateur hour, and we've elected a President who will blithely talk to any head of state, and say god-knows-what, without the benefit of an intelligence briefing. We should not act as if he's some sort of clown in a circus and the things he says don't make a difference.

This stuff matters, it matters who is President, competence matters, and this is what we've done. La, hopefully we will be ok.

Hahma December 3rd, 2016 02:37 PM

Re: Decision 2016
 
I agree with D.S., I don't think you can just have to use a bs filter every time our President says something, regardless of how outrageous it is. This isn't a reality show, his words now can have some pretty impactful consequences.

I continue to be amazed at how during his campaign, Trump got his followers in a lather about Clinton's lies, yet he pretty much lies non-stop. Now it's to the point where some people don't even care about his lies, as if saying, "well that's Donald being Donald, no harm".

It's also amazing how people would bash Obama for taking vacations and how much it cost the taxpayers, yet they don't seem to have a problem with how much it's costing for keeping the royal family safe at Trump Tower, nevermind how much it's impacting other tenants there.

Also, for all those sharing or liking those memes or posts of Facebook about making people on welfare take drug tests or other things ripping on those collecting welfare or even unemployment. Well if you voted for Trump, you voted for a person that takes every singe advantage of the system, whether it's not paying taxes or bankruptcy. So I don't think they can comment any anyone else taking advantage of any system.

Dad_Scaper December 3rd, 2016 06:28 PM

Re: Decision 2016
 
I just posted about his stumble in the conversation with the President of Taiwan. Turns out that if you scrape away the surface foolishness, underneath there is a story behind it. Turns out that the tete-a-tete was pushed by the Trump side, and, by the way, he's trying to expand into the Taiwan luxury real estate market. The Washington Post account of the call, including a link to a Reuters article, for further reading, is consistent.

So, yeah. Words matter. His words should be taken seriously, because there is calculation behind the BS, too.

On a related note, expect to see litigation involving the emoluments clause soon enough. You can't use the Presidency to line your pockets. It's foul, which may not bother him, but it's unconstitutional, which will likely lead to court.

Hahma December 3rd, 2016 07:19 PM

Re: Decision 2016
 
By golly, a fellow can't be blamed for being a good business man. ;)

Hahma December 4th, 2016 11:18 AM

Re: Decision 2016
 
Wow, this woman really let Trump have it!

http://news.groopspeak.com/a-woman-j...eering-her-on/

Ixe December 5th, 2016 10:55 AM

Re: Decision 2016
 
The conversation has moved on from it but I wanted to return to a discussion of the electoral college system vs. the popular vote for a moment.

One possible challenge of a popular vote is, while it gets rid of issues with swing states, it creates a new system for politicians to game. In a popular vote your goal is to get the most people voting for you as possible and you can reach these people most efficiently in large population centers. While people in rural settings' vote counts the same as someone anywhere else, it is so much harder to reach them for events so political focus could end up tipping towards the cities (just like they are tip towards battle ground states right now). This is not to say it definitely would happen, but it is something to be aware of.

I'm personally intrigued by proportional allocation of electors by state like we see in many of the primaries. That isn't to say that it won't have it's own host of problems, but frankly I don't think there are any perfect solutions out there.

Ranior December 5th, 2016 12:39 PM

Re: Decision 2016
 
I let the issue go a while ago, but I will continue to champion a national popular vote as the most sensible system.

I think this for a variety of reasons still. One, if I was devising a systme in the modern day that is what I would do. It is what we do for all other elections. You do not see any city or state hold their elections involving some arcane system of electors instead of just a simple popular vote. If you truly believe some other voting system is better for the president, then logically shouldn't that system apply to other elections as a superior option as well?

As for the idea that politicians might switch the way they campaign, well of course they will. But the concern seems misplaced to me. For everyone is still making their votes and having their voices heard, but now everyone's vote will matter the same if we have a popular vote. Rural voters will still matter and politicians will do well to pay attention to them. But the larger number of urban voters will also matter and may be easier to reach. Either way though everyone's vote matters the same and presidential candidates will need to figure a way to reach as many people total as possible.

Right now we have a distorted view where many people's votes for president are truly pretty much meaningless while certain states have almost all the power.

As for proportional allocation of electors by states, well sure you could do that. But it too will still have the base issue where voters in certain states/districts will have more power than other voters for now good reason.


Essentially the argument most used against a national popular vote seems to be that politicians would game the system and large cities would have disproportionate say in who gets elected. However every voting system will have the politicians gaming the system--it is simply what a logical politician should be do. If you want to win the game, you have to play the game in the most optimized way possible.

Therefore the question should be do we want to make some voters voices matter more than others or should we make it so every person has equal say? I personally think it clearly should be equal say as it is in every other election in this and most other modern democracies. I cannot see a reason why we should purposefully make some voters matter more than others just because they happen to live in a certain area with the right mix of demographics or what not.

vegietarian18 December 5th, 2016 01:16 PM

Re: Decision 2016
 
The country is a lot bigger and a lot more diversely populated than a city. That comparison you keep using is really bad.

You also keep getting confused with voter power to swing an election with actual electoral power. Obviously the massive amounts of strongly blue or red people in California or Texas are being heard and those voters are still "determining" an election even if many of their votes are already decided. The representation from all states is still equal, determined by a formula, even if the outcome was decided by the swing states. This is identical to popular vote elections being decided by "swing voters", there's no way to become a "swing voter", it's just the uncertainty of the election.

I think the consequences, the "gaming the system" that you talk about, results in worse policies for the country under a national popular vote than the electoral college.

Regardless I do not think this is a productive, relevant, or important debate. The Republicans will keep the electoral college for the next four years because it just won them the election. And more broadly, I think discussing this kind of election reform distracts from the real issues. We should expect/demand that our politicians serve the best interests of the people, no matter what system we use to choose them.

Ranior December 5th, 2016 03:00 PM

Re: Decision 2016
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by vegietarian18 (Post 2123983)
The country is a lot bigger and a lot more diversely populated than a city. That comparison you keep using is really bad.

I'd love for you to expand on this line of argument for I'm not following it. I'll agree that most cities are smaller and less diversely populated than most cities. I will state that some counties or states or districts however have blends that are not that dissimialir from the US at large, or at the very least other countries that use modern democracies. And yet in almost every case the winner of elections is by popular vote.

If there is a superior voting system and the electoral college is in some fashion that, then why is no one arguing for reform of elections at different levels? I am arguing this because I believe it is evident that popular vote simply makes the most sense if you are setting up a voting system. That is why it is used in almost every election.

As Dok pointed out a while back, let's analyze why our founders decided that the electoral college was needed compared to pure popular vote. Well, after a bit of digging it becomes clear--it was because the wealthy slave holders wanted the large populations of slaves to count for their political influence without having those slaves vote. Therefore the infamous 3/5 compromise was born. Those slave states would get some standing for their large population of slaves in the House of Representatives and in presidential elections through the use of the electoral college. This allowed the slave states to wield and outsized political influence for the early part of this country's history.

Now at this point in time, it seems foolish that we would need the electoral college as the "issue" it "fixed" is no longer needed. Therefore the rest of the rationalizations people are using to defend the electoral college are firmly post hoc rationalizations. It does not have to do with our founders original intentions. I personally do not think any of the arguments hold water for why we should hold the election in any other way. That is why I continue to comment here debating the reasons I think a national popular vote makes sense, and trying to debunk the arguments for why the electoral college (or some other system) would be better.

Quote:

You also keep getting confused with voter power to swing an election with actual electoral power. Obviously the massive amounts of strongly blue or red people in California or Texas are being heard and those voters are still "determining" an election even if many of their votes are already decided. The representation from all states is still equal, determined by a formula, even if the outcome was decided by the swing states. This is identical to popular vote elections being decided by "swing voters", there's no way to become a "swing voter", it's just the uncertainty of the election.
To begin with, the representation is not equal. Washington DC has many more electors per person than California. The electoral college distorts the number of voters in different parts of the country which is part of my point.

Perhaps this paper would help: http://www.nber.org/papers/w15220.pdf

You don't have to read it if you don't want to. The crux of it is that there is a strong mathematical backing that shows the probability that an individual voter in a state like Colorado determining the presidential election is somewhere around 1 in 10 million. The probability for someone in Hawaii is less than 1 in 1 billion. The average American vote is somewhere around 1 in 60 million. There are further mathematical arguments in there about how bringing 1000 more voters to your side matters far more in certain states, etc, etc. The entire thing shows that with the rules of the electoral college in place, the power of voters is dramatically different.

So I hope we at least agree that voter power is significantly different across different states and that means some states and some voters matter much more than others.

I personally think this is bad for a variety of reasons. First off it potentially advantages the voters in those states by enticing political parties to give them preferential treatment in terms of funding or other benefits so that the voters in those states are more likely to vote for said party. I'm not sure there is much evidence that this is occurring, but I think it is troubling that the incentives line up in that regard.

Further though, I just cannot find any good reason to rationalize why voter power in California should be so much less than those voters in Ohio. It is a very true statement that turning out 100 more democrats in Ohio matters far more than turning out 1000 more democrats in California. Why should I continue to support such nonense when a simple solution exists? Make everyone's vote count the same through a national popular vote and the differences between voter's power to impact the election is evened out so everyone matters an equal amount. This encourages politicians to treat all people the same and gets them to focus on turning out every voter in every state they can and reach as many people as possible. In a representative democracy I personally think this should be a goal-- to get in contact with the most people possible.

Finally, perhaps looking at it in one other way will help make my point clearer. Imagine a Democratic committee was able to redraw the state lines for the fifty states to whatever they wanted. Based on the populations for each of these new states, the 435 US representatives would be allocated as equitably as possible. In this scenario it is not at all hard to imagine that if these people were nefarious that they could easily redraw the map such that there would be say 20 deeply red rural states. The other 30 are all mixed but are democratic leaning. The populations work out such that there are say 200 electoral votes tied up in those 20 super solidly Republican states that the Republicans cannot lose. But the other 338 electoral votes in the other 30 states are highly likely to go Democratic. Essentially they could create a map that highly favors the Democrats to control the presidency.

Now in reality the electoral college is not gerrymandered, and it does not in aggregate seem to better support the Republicans or the Democrats. HOWEVER in each individual election cycle it does help support one side or the other. In 2000 and 2016 the Republicans happened to benefit. In 2004, 2008, and 2012 the map helped the Democrats. The votes just didn't quite manage to work out, but we weren't that far off from a president Kerry losing the popular vote but winning the electoral college in 2004.

I would argue that this is just clearly silly. There is no good reason we should continue to keep this arcane system that sometimes advantages the different parties when we could simply get rid of it. The electoral college distorts the voices of the voters making some matter more than others and making it more difficult for a plurality of American's to be represented based on how they vote. A national popular vote does not have these issues.


Quote:

I think the consequences, the "gaming the system" that you talk about, results in worse policies for the country under a national popular vote than the electoral college.
There is zero evidence for this and is purely theory on your part. Until you present good reason and can show why switching to a national popular vote would cause congress and presidents to enact policies that would be worse on average than under our current system, I shall reject this argument.

Quote:

Regardless I do not think this is a productive, relevant, or important debate. The Republicans will keep the electoral college for the next four years because it just won them the election. And more broadly, I think discussing this kind of election reform distracts from the real issues. We should expect/demand that our politicians serve the best interests of the people, no matter what system we use to choose them.
We should encourage our politicians to do what is in the best interests of the people indeed. I will continue to argue that a system that makes every voter's voice heard equally will make the incentives for politicians to better line up with that ideal, rather than the current system that encourages politicians to pander to a subset of Americans.

However, I reject the idea that this isn't important. I happen to think that election reform is an important issue for a democracy, particularly ours. I think that we have an issue with gerrymandered districts in many states that causes disproportionate allocation of state representatives and senators compared to the voters stated preferences which leads to the representation not matching the voters wills as closely as it could. I think we have two recent presidential elections where a plurality of voters chose one candidate but another actually wins. If we are in a system where some voters voices matter less than others and where some parties are purposefully disadvantaged by the political maps the other party draws, then we should have serious discussions about what we can do to make our elections more fair and equitable so that all voices are heard and representative in a more fair fashion.

There are of course many other important issues. There is plenty else to discuss. But we can spend time on many things and I think there is plenty of reason to think discussing voting reform is important as well.

Swamper December 5th, 2016 05:02 PM

Re: Decision 2016
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by vegietarian18 (Post 2123983)
The country is a lot bigger and a lot more diversely populated than a city. That comparison you keep using is really bad.

I agree.

Dad_Scaper December 5th, 2016 06:51 PM

Re: Decision 2016
 
My own feeling about the Electoral College is that it isn't going anywhere, and plainly any discussion of it reinforces the bunker mentality among some of us. So my own preference is to accept it as a quirky thing and move on.

keglo December 5th, 2016 07:46 PM

Re: Decision 2016
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ranior (Post 2124012)
As Dok pointed out a while back, let's analyze why our founders decided that the electoral college was needed compared to pure popular vote. Well, after a bit of digging it becomes clear--it was because the wealthy slave holders wanted the large populations of slaves to count for their political influence without having those slaves vote. Therefore the infamous 3/5 compromise was born. Those slave states would get some standing for their large population of slaves in the House of Representatives and in presidential elections through the use of the electoral college. This allowed the slave states to wield and outsized political influence for the early part of this country's history.

I personally do not believe that the primary reason for implementing the EC system was connected with slavery. Here is an interesting article about that, if anyone cares to read it.

You stated the following:

Quote:

Essentially the argument most used against a national popular vote seems to be that politicians would game the system and large cities would have disproportionate say in who gets elected. However every voting system will have the politicians gaming the system--it is simply what a logical politician should be do. If you want to win the game, you have to play the game in the most optimized way possible.
The part in bold is what concerns me, and I think a lot of people, the most. What is the answer for that?
-
-
-

dok December 5th, 2016 11:05 PM

Re: Decision 2016
 
I guess I need to say it again: The EC does not structurally favor rural voters over urban voters in any sort of significant way. All but a few states are majority urban. The idea that the EC is helping the "rural states" implies we have more than a tiny number of rural states. (FWIW, the two most rural states in the country, Vermont and Maine, both have gone blue every year since 1988.)

While EV/voter is slightly tilted towards states that are more rural, it's not nearly as pronounced as many of you seem to think. While you've got states like Vermont and South Dakota getting big boosts to their EV/Voter, other more-rural-than-average states like North Carolina or Tennessee or Missouri or Indiana are actually below average in terms of EV/voter. On the flip side, 100% urban Washington D.C. is hugely boosted by the EC. So is Rhode Island, Nevada, and Hawaii - all far more urban than the national average.

FWIW, moreover, I agree with Rainor that there's no democratic reason to advantage voters who don't live in population centers. It doesn't accomplish anything. Campaigns already concentrate almost exclusively on high-population areas. They just concentrate on the high-population areas in battleground states. Every battleground state is majority urban, and nearly every battleground state is close to or above the national average in urban population percentage (only New Hampshire and Wisconsin are significantly below).

And also, again, the EC does not structurally favor Republicans. Barack Obama could have lost the popular vote by about a full percentage point in both 2008 and 2012 and he still would have won the EC, because the EC favored him both years. (Compared to his 2012 map, he would have lost Florida, Ohio, and Virginia, but still squeaks it out). If you look back through history, you find the EC favoring each party in about equal measure. It's really just an odd coincidence that it's favored Republicans twice recently when it mattered.

The electoral college only does two things reliably:
  1. Focus the campaigns on about ~10 states each election, causing voters (both rural and urban!) in the other ~40 states to be mostly ignored.
  2. Add some randomness to results.

dok December 5th, 2016 11:46 PM

Re: Decision 2016
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by keglo (Post 2124085)
I personally do not believe that the primary reason for implementing the EC system was connected with slavery. Here is an interesting article about that, if anyone cares to read it.

We should remember that what came out of the Constitutional convention was a political compromise, and that the people who came out of that convention then proceeded to make political arguments to try to get it passed. This includes the Federalist papers, which is at times a brilliant exploration of applied enlightenment philosophy, and at other times an exercise in working backwards from the conclusion to come up with the arguments.

Bottom line:
  • The most important reason the EC had to be devised was slavery. Not the only, but certainly the most important.
  • Many other reasons given were essentially arguments based on the electors making independent judgement when the EC convenes, and for all practical purposes that never actually happened.
  • All the other decent reasons were logistical ones that no longer apply.

(FWIW there's some pretty bad logical holes and fallacies in the argument in the linked article, but I don't really see the need to go point by point here.)

Ranior December 6th, 2016 09:27 AM

Re: Decision 2016
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by keglo (Post 2124085)
I personally do not believe that the primary reason for implementing the EC system was connected with slavery. Here is an interesting article about that, if anyone cares to read it.

While you may not believe the primary reason the EC was implemented was due to slavery, but I think this statement should not be controversial: In the early days of American History the largest impact the Electoral College had in comparison to a national popular vote was to give slave states a much larger impact in elections than they would otherwise have had.

I personally will believe that the people at the time knew full well what was going on and what type of impact this would have. The electoral college in the early days barely benefited smaller states, it massively advantaged slave states compared to a popular vote.


Quote:

The part in bold is what concerns me, and I think a lot of people, the most. What is the answer for that?
Dok indirectly covered this by explaining how large population centers already dominate the political landscape, it just is the large population centers in those swing states that get visited. When presidential candidates campaign in Wisconsin, they visit Madison, they visit Green Bay, they visit Eau Claire, they visit Milwaukee and its suburbs. They don't go campaign in Antigo or Ashland or Phillips. If you switch to a national popular vote now large population centers across the country will be the focus, rather than a dozen or so states.

Either way, I find the argument somewhat cowardly anyhow. Currently the system of the electoral college creates some voters that matter more than others and the campaigns know it which is why they focus the entirety of their efforts in a handful of states. A switch to a national popular vote will give every single voter equal sway.

To argue that switching to a national popular vote will advantage large population centers is a bit cowardly therefore to me because it is essentially saying that you like the fact some voters have their voices structurally depressed or elevated depending on what state they live in, and you don't want every voter to have an equal voice because you are concerned about the consequences of that. What hogwash--you'd rather have a representative democracy where some voters matter multiple times more than others?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dad_Scaper (Post 2124076)
My own feeling about the Electoral College is that it isn't going anywhere, and plainly any discussion of it reinforces the bunker mentality among some of us. So my own preference is to accept it as a quirky thing and move on.

Ultimately, I find you're likely correct. It feels like those who are actually discussing this have a pretty strong bunker mentality about their stance and there is no clear way the EC will be disappearing anytime soon anyhow. I think it is an important issue to discuss but I don't think it's accomplishing anything here currently--as in I'm not sure anyone has really heard or learned anything that would mean this discussion was worth it. Therefore I'll stop posting about it for now. I've made my positions clearly known. If anyone has any true questions directed at me and would like me to explain anything I'll continue to be more than happy to, but else I'll be letting this drop.

To make a comment more germane to this thread, as a secularist I find the statements and appointment of Betsy DeVos (the to be Secretary of Education) to be alarming. This in particular from her husband:

Quote:

that more and more churches will get more and more active and engaged in education," he said. "We just can think of no better way to rebuild our families and our communities.
There are many good reasons to keep the separation of church and state, particularly in the realm of education. The DeVos seem to have no respect for that and that worries me. Not a good pick for Secretary of Education in my opinion.

Swamper December 6th, 2016 09:49 AM

Re: Decision 2016
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ranior (Post 2124143)

To make a comment more germane to this thread, as a secularist I find the statements and appointment of Betsy DeVos (the to be Secretary of Education) to be alarming. This in particular from her husband:

Quote:

that more and more churches will get more and more active and engaged in education," he said. "We just can think of no better way to rebuild our families and our communities.
There are many good reasons to keep the separation of church and state, particularly in the realm of education. The DeVos seem to have no respect for that and that worries me. Not a good pick for Secretary of Education in my opinion.

The interview that quote was taken from is 15 years old, according to the article. I'll wait until I hear something more recent to get alarmed. I don't see a problem with school vouchers or school choice, as long as Christianity stays in private schools and it isn't forced into the public schools. If a parent wants to use their voucher to send their kid to a Christian school, I don't see anything wrong with that.

dok December 6th, 2016 10:46 AM

Re: Decision 2016
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Swamper (Post 2124146)
If a parent wants to use their voucher to send their kid to a Christian school, I don't see anything wrong with that.

Yeah, nothing wrong with government funding of religious organizations?

Dad_Scaper December 6th, 2016 10:47 AM

Re: Decision 2016
 
What I found most alarming about the selection of Devos - and Carson, and I suspect others to be named later - is that she has no experience in management, governance, or administration. As anyone who has worked in a large organization knows, management and administration are important skills. Just because you can make widgets, or just because you have ideas about how widgets should be made, does not mean you are capable of supervising a widget factory. Or, in a better metaphor, a massive network of widget factories.

How is Dr. Ben Carson, who has no meaningful experience in governance, large-scale management, or administration, supposed to be the Director of Housing and Urban Development? I don't worry so much that he's wrong about HUD, because I have no idea what he thinks, but he's totally unqualified for the job. The same is true of Devos. Her ideas are not as troubling as her lack of qualifications.

Just my 2 cents. I am not particularly upset by Trump's selection of her (or of him); it's consistent with my very low expectations. I mean, look. Why should I get out of bed angry every morning? I don't. I just read these stories about where we are as a nation, and I think that it's kind of sad.

http://nymag.com/thecut/2016/12/ivan...h-meeting.html
http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/29/health...ive-incidents/

What can I do, though? I can't get mad all the time, so I don't.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com...053caa6410.jpg

All Your Pie December 6th, 2016 12:13 PM

Re: Decision 2016
 
I feel compelled to point out that the saving grace of Trump's lack of governing experience--for those who considered it something that needed to be addressed, at least--was that he would surround himself with experienced and competent professionals, so that at least he would have advisers to cover the experience that he lacks. With his current appointments and tendency to blow off intelligence meetings, I think we can officially declare that possibility dead and buried. He's much more interested in pandering to personal friends and the right-wing establishment than doing any of the actual business of President.

While we're on the subject of executive incompetency, what about his decision to alternate time living in the White House and his tasteless New York suite--at the incredible expense of government and taxpayer money? This doesn't really have any dangerous policy implications, I just find it disgusting that he's so unwilling to humble himself--by living in the most prestigious house in the nation, no less--that he'll cost the country he's supposed to serve millions of dollars instead.

Hahma December 6th, 2016 12:21 PM

Re: Decision 2016
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Swamper (Post 2124146)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ranior (Post 2124143)

To make a comment more germane to this thread, as a secularist I find the statements and appointment of Betsy DeVos (the to be Secretary of Education) to be alarming. This in particular from her husband:

Quote:

that more and more churches will get more and more active and engaged in education," he said. "We just can think of no better way to rebuild our families and our communities.
There are many good reasons to keep the separation of church and state, particularly in the realm of education. The DeVos seem to have no respect for that and that worries me. Not a good pick for Secretary of Education in my opinion.

The interview that quote was taken from is 15 years old, according to the article. I'll wait until I hear something more recent to get alarmed. I don't see a problem with school vouchers or school choice, as long as Christianity stays in private schools and it isn't forced into the public schools. If a parent wants to use their voucher to send their kid to a Christian school, I don't see anything wrong with that.

One thing that may be concerned with vouchers is that some school districts can get hosed for funding if students leave. I understand the premise might be about competition, but I would guarantee that a lot is about athletics. To me, that isn't in the spirit of educational competition. Too much emphasis is placed on athletics and not enough on education to keep up with the rest of the world.

Charter schools suck away fromfunding of public schools, yet don't require the same type of testing that public schools due in order to get funding. They aren't better academically but are for profit. That's part of why a lot of people here in Indiana hate Pence.

Ranior December 6th, 2016 12:34 PM

Re: Decision 2016
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Swamper (Post 2124146)

The interview that quote was taken from is 15 years old, according to the article. I'll wait until I hear something more recent to get alarmed. I don't see a problem with school vouchers or school choice, as long as Christianity stays in private schools and it isn't forced into the public schools. If a parent wants to use their voucher to send their kid to a Christian school, I don't see anything wrong with that.

Indeed, those statements are quite old. Still, to me they suggest the mindset of that family and I highly doubt they've taken up the mantle of secularism in the intervening time. Therefore I think there is plenty of reason to be concerned when the secretary of education likely doesn't believe there should be a separation between religion and education.

As for the issue with that, it was pointed out, but government should not be funding religion. The idea is for children to get an education, not indoctrination. While some Christian schools may do a fine job of education, I'm sure some are a bit on the indoctrination side of things.

Not to mention the other problems Hahma is pointing out.

As for Dad Scaper, I can't say these appointments shock me, and I agree we can't really get mad else that's all we'll be during this administration it seems. I hope they somehow make things work. But I agree that any other business in the world, you'll hire people that have relevant experience and expertise. Yet for some reason right now, the Trump administration is not doing that, and is hiring people to fill positions that they have no idea how to run. It's possible they will learn quick and things will go well, but I suspect otherwise....

Finally, AYP, I too agree it's pretty ridiculous that Trump will continue to spend a lot of his time at Trump Tower rather than the White House. It's a huge waste of money. Yet again, I am not surprised by it though.

dok December 6th, 2016 02:50 PM

Re: Decision 2016
 
This is really weird.

On the one hand, this is exactly why requesting a recount was a good thing; it reveals flaws in the system that can be corrected for the next time. In this case, many of the optical scan machines seem to be easily jammed.

On the other hand, I have no idea why this means you can't do a recount. You have the paper ballots! The whole point of having paper ballots is that you can count them if the machines are screwed up! Finding discrepancies between reported vote totals and reported votes cast is a reason to do a recount, not a reason to not do a recount. Really strange. Somebody needs to get rid of clause b of this law.

Swamper December 6th, 2016 03:48 PM

Re: Decision 2016
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by dok (Post 2124149)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Swamper (Post 2124146)
If a parent wants to use their voucher to send their kid to a Christian school, I don't see anything wrong with that.

Yeah, nothing wrong with government funding of religious organizations?

I already know you'll disagree with this, but I wouldn't consider vouchers as government funding religion. The government gives the money to the parents, and the parents decide what to do with it. They can send their kids to a muslim school if they want. I think that's fine. It's very different than the government running a christian school or something.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hahma (Post 2124174)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Swamper (Post 2124146)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ranior (Post 2124143)

To make a comment more germane to this thread, as a secularist I find the statements and appointment of Betsy DeVos (the to be Secretary of Education) to be alarming. This in particular from her husband:

Quote:

that more and more churches will get more and more active and engaged in education," he said. "We just can think of no better way to rebuild our families and our communities.
There are many good reasons to keep the separation of church and state, particularly in the realm of education. The DeVos seem to have no respect for that and that worries me. Not a good pick for Secretary of Education in my opinion.

The interview that quote was taken from is 15 years old, according to the article. I'll wait until I hear something more recent to get alarmed. I don't see a problem with school vouchers or school choice, as long as Christianity stays in private schools and it isn't forced into the public schools. If a parent wants to use their voucher to send their kid to a Christian school, I don't see anything wrong with that.

One thing that may be concerned with vouchers is that some school districts can get hosed for funding if students leave. I understand the premise might be about competition, but I would guarantee that a lot is about athletics. To me, that isn't in the spirit of educational competition. Too much emphasis is placed on athletics and not enough on education to keep up with the rest of the world.

Charter schools suck away fromfunding of public schools, yet don't require the same type of testing that public schools due in order to get funding. They aren't better academically but are for profit. That's part of why a lot of people here in Indiana hate Pence.

Those are fair points, and they'll need to be addressed. I think that short-term, vouchers might cause these kinds of problems, but as the market resets and gets used to the new way of doing things it'll get better.

I hadn't thought about the point about athletics. It may be an issue, but all the really good athletes are enrolled in private sports schools anyways it seems.


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