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

keglo December 5th, 2016 08:46 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?
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dok December 6th, 2016 12:05 AM

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 6th, 2016 12:46 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.

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 10:27 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 10:49 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 11:46 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 11:47 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 01:13 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 01:21 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 01:34 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 03:50 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 04:48 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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