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Tue Feb 21, 2017, 11:51 AM

ELECTORAL COLLEGE: AFFIRMATIVE ACTION FOR SLAVE OWNERS?

Why did we end up with an antidemocratic abomination like the EC which could override the presidential vote of the People?
Here's a segment of the debate on choosing a president from the "Constitutional Convention"... July 19th 1787

Madison argues for a popular vote, but...

The people at large was in his opinion the fittest in itself. It would be as likely as any that could be devised to produce an Executive Magistrate of distinguished Character. The people generally could only know & vote for some Citizen whose merits had rendered him an object of general attention & esteem. There was one difficulty however of a serious nature attending an immediate choice by the people. The right of suffrage was much more diffusive in the Northern than the Southern States; and the latter could have no influence in the election on the score of the Negroes. The substitution of electors obviated this difficulty and seemed on the whole to be liable to fewest objections.



http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/debates_719.asp

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Reply ELECTORAL COLLEGE: AFFIRMATIVE ACTION FOR SLAVE OWNERS? (Original post)
eniwetok Feb 2017 OP
brush Feb 2017 #1
DetlefK Feb 2017 #4
eniwetok Feb 2017 #6
Larkspur Feb 2017 #2
eniwetok Feb 2017 #5
eniwetok Feb 2017 #7
Larkspur Feb 2017 #12
eniwetok Feb 2017 #16
unblock Feb 2017 #10
eniwetok Feb 2017 #11
BarackTheVote Feb 2017 #3
eniwetok Feb 2017 #8
eniwetok Feb 2017 #9
BarackTheVote Feb 2017 #13
eniwetok Feb 2017 #15
Locutusofborg Feb 2017 #14
eniwetok Feb 2017 #17
CK_John Feb 2017 #18
eniwetok Feb 2017 #19
Name removed Feb 2017 #20
TheFrenchRazor Feb 2017 #21
Bucky Feb 2017 #22
eniwetok Feb 2017 #23
Bucky Feb 2017 #26
brooklynite Feb 2017 #24
eniwetok Feb 2017 #25

Response to eniwetok (Original post)

Tue Feb 21, 2017, 12:05 PM

1. And isn't it ridiculous that we are still using this antiquated, racist system, thus we have trump..

and before that Bush.

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Response to brush (Reply #1)

Tue Feb 21, 2017, 12:28 PM

4. The whole electoral system of the US is Third-World-rate.

The US desperately needs a modernization and reform of its electoral system... But NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, can't do that.

Because tradition.

We do elections on Tuesdays because people are coming over from their farms with their chariots and must be back in time to sell their produce on the market.

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #4)

Tue Feb 21, 2017, 12:36 PM

6. not just tradition...

The Constitution is essentially reform proof. Not ONE of the core antidemocratic features... all involving state suffrage, has ever been reformed. States with just 4% of the population can block any reform.

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Response to eniwetok (Original post)

Tue Feb 21, 2017, 12:17 PM

2. New England states are small and the EC was for them as well as

 

slave owning states.

The EC was primarily created because the Founding Fathers feared mob rule as much as they feared a king/dictator.
It was also to give small states some power else the larger states would be the only ones deciding policies.

HRC again made a strategic campaign error. She ignored WI and took MI and PA for granted. She spent more money in Omaha, NE than she did in MI and WI. She ran a DLC/Third Way type of campaign. That style only worked for her husband, who oddly campaigned like FDR bur ruled more like Reagan. Remember, Bill only won the WH with 43% of the vote in 1992, so if Perot, who took votes from Bush I, was not running, Bush I most likely would have had a 2nd term.

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Response to Larkspur (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 21, 2017, 12:31 PM

5. ROTF... did you even read the link?

"The EC was primarily created because the Founding Fathers feared mob rule as much as they feared a king/dictator."

What utter bullcrap when antidemocratic government permits MINORITY "mob rule"

I see several of the Framers saying there should be a popular vote.

Mr. GOVERNEUR MORRIS: The Executive therefore ought to be so constituted as to be the great protector of the Mass of the people. -It is the duty of the Executive to appoint the officers & to command the forces of the Republic: to appoint 1. [FN3] ministerial officers for the administration of public affairs. 2. [FN3] officers for the dispensation of Justice. Who will be the best Judges whether these appointments be well made? The people at large, who will know, will see, will feel the effects of them.

MADISON: The people at large was in his opinion the fittest in itself. It would be as likely as any that could be devised to produce an Executive Magistrate of distinguished Character. The people generally could only know & vote for some Citizen whose merits had rendered him an object of general attention & esteem. There was one difficulty however of a serious nature attending an immediate choice by the people. The right of suffrage was much more diffusive in the Northern than the Southern States; and the latter could have no influence in the election on the score of the Negroes. The substitution of electors obviated this difficulty and seemed on the whole to be liable to fewest objections.

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Response to Larkspur (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 21, 2017, 12:38 PM

7. are you denying much of the Constitution was designed to PROTECT slavery?

The Constitution was created to give elites a veto over the People at every turn... and to protect wealth, and slavery,

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Response to eniwetok (Reply #7)

Tue Feb 21, 2017, 01:07 PM

12. The Constitution was not about protecting slavery

 

Unlike you, the Founding Fathers were trying to build a nation that was unique in history. At that time, there were no democratic nations. Most nations were rule by some type of autocrat: king, baron, tsar, emperor. And at that time, slavery and serfdom were accepted practices around the world. The Quakers, a minority religion, in England and America was the only major opponent to slavery.

Some of the Founding Fathers were slave owners and others were not. They did not have a solution to slavery without creating a divided Union. But if the United States were divided in that era, they feared England and Europe would try to retake them or we would end up as fragmented as Europe and always warring with each other.

In hindsight, waiting another 70-80 years to resolve the slavery issue for the United States via the Civil War was the best solution to keep the United States united. By then, the United States was a stronger nation than it was in the late 18th century. Abe Lincoln was strong enough to tell England to keep out of our civil war. George Washington would not have been in the same position of strength if the Civil War happened in his era.

The Constitution, the EC are much more complex than just the slavery issue.

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Response to Larkspur (Reply #12)

Tue Feb 21, 2017, 09:02 PM

16. of course it's not ALL about protecting slavery.... and I never said that.

The Constitution represents some democratic principles, some protection of rights... but it also represents how all the special interests invited to the so-called Constitutional Convention could check each other. The slave states certainly were not going to ratify the system if it abolished slavery... or allowed political forces to align years later to abolish it. Madison is clear he wanted the Senate to protect the interests of the "minority of the opulent"... and the system is set up in a way that elites have a veto over the People... PLUS the Senate was given special powers... which now means 18% of the US population gets 52% of the seats. Of course it's unlikely that 18% would all be of one party but we can never escape the antidemocratic nature of the Senate. If my numbers are correct Dem Senators now represent 33 million more people than GOP senators... yet the GOP controls the Senate, Trump has the Whitehouse... and the absurdity of an antidemocratic, one run by those representing a MINORITY of the population is painfully evident. But not even Dems want to go there. I blame a civic religion that permeates the political thinking that we mere mortals dare not try to change the work of the Framers... and in doing so, like any religion, we redefine away the defects. I'd also argue that the absurdity of the system drives down voting. Hell... if one can't vote their conscience and get representation, losers can win election, and tiny minorities can block reform... then the lack of a responsive system is a disincentive to voting.

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Response to Larkspur (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 21, 2017, 12:46 PM

10. it's always difficult to imagine how complex systems react to single changes.

let's say there was no perot, or, for that matter, no significant 3rd party challenger at all.

poppy would still have been running as an uncharismatic president who advanced no significant policy change, lost house seats in the midterm, and oversaw an slowing economy in recession. according to lichtman's keys, that still would have given him 8 keys, enough to predict re-election.

that said, perot took the middle ground, which might have had a lot to do with clinton campaigning like fdr, as you note. in the absence of a third party, clinton might have campaigned closer to the middle, which would have given him broader appeal. perhaps even enough so that he might have turned the "challenger charisma" key, again keeping poppy to only 7 keys, which would have predicted a clinton win anyway.


an important question is *why* would perot have not run, in a scenario where one imagines him not running. if it's because poppy was perceived as not so bad, or more difficult to unseat, then, yes, no doubt, perot not running would translate into poppy being re-elected. but if perot didn't run because there was a different third-party challenger, or because clinton seized the anit-deficit cause, etc., then perhaps clinton would have won anyway.

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Response to Larkspur (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 21, 2017, 01:04 PM

11. Once we think of how PEOPLE are represented... instead of "states"...

The antidemocratic defects in the system become immediately apparent.

But none of us are brought up to think in those terms...

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Response to eniwetok (Original post)

Tue Feb 21, 2017, 12:25 PM

3. Oh, there's no question--

But that said, I think the EC can be more or less fixed, or at least rendered much more of a moot point. Getting rid of the EC would require a Constitutional amendment, but there's a low-hanging fruit in the Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929. This law, which I think could be found actually unconstitutional in the courts, is what locks in the number of Congressional Representatives--it's the reason why the citizens of states like Illinois, New York, and California don't have a number of Reps proportional to states like Alabama, Montana, and Alaska, and consequentially, why the EC disproportionately favors the Slave States. Getting this law changed, either in Congress (probably not going to happen) or in the Courts (much more likely) would instantly shift the balance of power in this country.

The sticky wicket is, Courts have already been presented with challenges to this law, but decided not to rule due to "lack of standing." Their stance last time it was challenged (I believe in 2010) was that this was a political matter and should be changed by Congress... unfortunately, Congressional Republicans are the ones who stand to benefit the very most from this unconstitutional Act, which feels like the very definition of a conflict of interest. But there has been no real definitive ruling on the Constitutionality of this law, as far as I could find (of course, if anyone else has any info to the contrary, please do correct me).

If the EC and the Congress could actually be proportional to the popular vote, I doubt any of us would even bear witness to another Rethuglican president in our lifetimes.

(Edit: I actually think the EC could be a great thing as originally conceptualized. A final check to mob rule, as was pointed out above. But with today's party loyalty on steroids, it cannot work as intended).

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Response to BarackTheVote (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 21, 2017, 12:40 PM

8. the EC can not be fixed...

ANY TIME there is a vote weighting scheme... where one person's vote weighs more than another... minority rule is possible.

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Response to BarackTheVote (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 21, 2017, 12:43 PM

9. why isn't the House "mob rule"?????

Edit: I actually think the EC could be a great thing as originally conceptualized. A final check to mob rule, as was pointed out above. But with today's party loyalty on steroids, it cannot work as intended

Because there are checks and balances...

But in our system, the checks on the People were elites... in the EC, Senate, and amendment process, and then there's the Bill Of Rights.

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Response to eniwetok (Reply #9)

Tue Feb 21, 2017, 01:10 PM

13. The point I was trying to make was that

The EC is going to be extraordinarily difficult to get rid of because it would require a constitutional amendment, while the law that truly breaks it could possibly be taken down as unconstitutional. The Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929 is what truly makes Congress and the EC unrepresentative. The Constitution calls for "no more than one representative per 30,000 people"--as originally intended, the Congress and EC were supposed to be actually proportional to the number of people in any given state.

Also, even if we got rid of the EC, the problem of the disapportionment of Congress would remain an issue. Dissolving the Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929 would fix both issues.

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Response to BarackTheVote (Reply #13)

Tue Feb 21, 2017, 08:49 PM

15. and making the Constitution more amendable SHOULD be a Democratic issue.

Last edited Tue Feb 21, 2017, 09:23 PM - Edit history (1)

The Constitution, for all intents and purposes, is unamendable... at least for any real democratic reform... and this is just nuts for a modern nation. What's happened is over the years parties give lip service to the Constitution even was they seek to modify it through other means. One such method is the GOP politicizing the federal judiciary. The Act you speak of also qualifies. If the number of representatives were still at 30k, we'd today have 10500 representatives.

Allowing for more Representatives would water down the antidemocratic nature of the EC but would not eliminate it as a potential antidemocratic influence any more than proposals to add more states. It does not deal with state winner take all laws. Only a true popular vote eliminates ALL problems... that is if all states have a Instant Runoff System. At SOME point Dems need to stand up for democratic principles... where no citizen's vote weighs more than the other, the minority can NEVER rule, and we abolish state suffrage. I'd love one of the chambers in Congress to be based on national party elections so if the Greens get 15% of the national vote, they'd get 15% of the seats. This would end the braindead nature of the political debate in DC... and Dems should welcome this because a multiparty system IS more "democratic". Maybe then so many would be less pissed off at the Greens for exercising the right to run a candidate and for voters to vote Green if that's what their conscience dictated.

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Response to eniwetok (Original post)

Tue Feb 21, 2017, 01:26 PM

14. Conservative Blogs

I read them daily: "know thine enemy."
They were against the Electoral College until Trump (and G.W. Bush before him) were elected by Electoral College victories.
I don't see any of the small population states, be they blue or red-leaning being willing to lose their electors.

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Response to Locutusofborg (Reply #14)

Tue Feb 21, 2017, 09:11 PM

17. our system destroys any democratic instinct...

Not even a Bernie Sanders criticizes the antidemocratic nature of the Senate. I don't know if he's said anything about the EC. Which is odd since much of what Sander's rails about, money in politics, growing corporate political power etc, can be traced back to our system being antidemocratic. Why can other nations have rational health care systems and we can't?

And in that example is why we can't reform. Small states don't deserve the power they have and will resist giving up the gravy train. It probably won't even matter to the progressive in that state... because like the Democratic Party... in the US we gloss over the defects in the system... or they think it will work in their favor next time. That's what many Dems here hoped for back in 04.

So we're stuck with a system that can't provide morally legitimate government, a system that gets more antidemocratic, and a system that can't really be reformed. We are a frozen republic.

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Response to eniwetok (Original post)

Tue Feb 21, 2017, 10:27 PM

18. We were for 10 yrs under the 1st Confederate government and in order to

introduce a republic we needed the southern states to form a union.

Tough choice but with Europe at war and the world in the first phase of an industry revolution it was the best choice..

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Response to CK_John (Reply #18)

Tue Feb 21, 2017, 10:49 PM

19. Confederate is a loaded term...

Are you referring to the Articles Of Confederation? Why do you consider that not to have been a "republic"? It had a constitution, there were no titles of nobility, and it had a representative government... sort of. Delegates to Congress were chosen by the states. It was also considered a "perpetual union". That's stated in several places such as

XIII.
Every State shall abide by the determination of the United States in Congress assembled, on all questions which by this confederation are submitted to them. And the Articles of this Confederation shall be inviolably observed by every State, and the Union shall be perpetual; nor shall any alteration at any time hereafter be made in any of them; unless such alteration be agreed to in a Congress of the United States, and be afterwards confirmed by the legislatures of every State.




But it should be noted that the amendment formula in the Articles was absurd... requiring unanimous consent of all the state legislatures. But now our System has essentially become equally absurd. States with just 4% of the US population can block any amendment... that is if an amendment can even make it out of Congress.

What we call the Constitutional Convention is a misnomer... where we're rewriting our own history to make it sound as if a new constitution was the intent. It wasn't. The Delegates were charged with fixing the unfixable Articles. The old Congress went along with the sending the new draft constitution to the states, but this was somewhat of an unauthorized "coup".

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Response to eniwetok (Reply #19)


Response to eniwetok (Original post)

Wed Feb 22, 2017, 04:13 AM

21. it's AA for somebody, that's for sure, and it needs to go. nt

 

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Response to eniwetok (Original post)

Wed Feb 22, 2017, 08:42 AM

22. don't call it affirmative action.

Affirmative action is not a synonym for unfair advantage

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Response to Bucky (Reply #22)

Wed Feb 22, 2017, 11:18 AM

23. I use the term....

I started using the term in debates with right wingers who don't want differential treatment when it comes to racial advantage... but embrace differential treatment when it comes to US federalism. US federalism is a giant vote weighting scheme that at it's most extreme can weigh the Senate vote of a citizen in WY 70x that of a person in CA... and about 3.5x for a presidential vote. Because of this absurdity... we have a Senate where 18% of the population gets 52% of the seats... and why we had a Trump Junta imposed on the nation after he was rejected by 3 million voters.

Since the term AA has a broader meaning than just the the US meaning... I will continue to use it to make this point... and I have in other debates. If one is going to make the "moral" case that vote weighting is justified because of some big/small or rural/urban state divide... then what is the moral justification for NOT using differential votes for historically oppressed groups like racial minorities, women, and gays? That IS where the absurdity of the argument of vote weight differential leads... and I do like rubbing that arguement in the faces of those who parrot the official justifications for our bizzare system.

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Response to eniwetok (Reply #23)

Wed Feb 22, 2017, 05:31 PM

26. What you're describing is welfare, not affirmative action

I mean, sure, you get points for riling the conservatives. But the words just do not mean what you mean them to mean.

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Response to eniwetok (Original post)

Wed Feb 22, 2017, 11:21 AM

24. Answer: the EC existed before the vote of the people...

We were established as a Federal Government. Nothing in the Constitution required that people actually vote; just that the States could appoint Electors as they saw fit.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #24)

Wed Feb 22, 2017, 12:49 PM

25. The voice of the People expanded in the Constitution...

Compared to the Articles the voice of the People expanded in the Constitution... and as we can see from the discussion at the Convention, some of the Framers wanted a popular vote for president. The debates are also illuminating because they differ so much from Hamilton's explanation of the EC in Federalist 68. But then the Federalist Papers often contain spin designed to get the Constitution ratified....

The process of election affords a moral certainty, that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications. Talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity, may alone suffice to elevate a man to the first honors in a single State; but it will require other talents, and a different kind of merit, to establish him in the esteem and confidence of the whole Union, or of so considerable a portion of it as would be necessary to make him a successful candidate for the distinguished office of President of the United States. It will not be too strong to say, that there will be a constant probability of seeing the station filled by characters pre-eminent for ability and virtue. And this will be thought no inconsiderable recommendation of the Constitution, by those who are able to estimate the share which the executive in every government must necessarily have in its good or ill administration. Though we cannot acquiesce in the political heresy of the poet who says: "For forms of government let fools contest That which is best administered is best,'' yet we may safely pronounce, that the true test of a good government is its aptitude and tendency to produce a good administration.

http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/fed68.asp

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