The Electoral College And The Pleasant Grove AL Voting System

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As we know Hillary won the popular vote and didn’t get to be President – Har, Har – because of the electoral College. The purpose of the Electoral College being to ensure that a mere majority of the votes isn’t enough. There must be a geographic spread of votes so that different communities, different interests if you like, get to have a say and aren’t overwhelmed by that tyranny of the majority.

OK, we can like such a system or not. As it turns out now it tends to be the Democrats who are against the Electoral College. Not just because of the tragedy that befell Hills – Har Har – but because if they get to weight those NY and CA votes then D will win more often than not. Limiting those D majorities to only swinging the state delegate counts limits the power of those majorities. That’s rather the point of the system.

Which makes this interesting:

Pleasant Grove has been using a voting system that has historically disadvantaged African Americans by allowing powerful blocs – in this case, of white residents – to vote en masse for their candidate of choice and win every seat.

It’s a system Alabama municipalities instituted over a century ago to dilute the impact of African American voters on local elections, in conjunction with other discriminatory rules, to allow white majorities to maintain their political influence in cities across the state. Seats on the council are not allotted by district; instead the whole electorate votes for all members.

“It provided hegemony for white supremacy,” said Peyton McCrary, a historian who has closely studied at-large elections in Alabama. “It was totally successful.”

Now the argument is that peeps should vote by district, those votes be counted by district., Precisely so that the one voting block doesn’t get to dominate the whole system. Areas, voting blocks, interests, get to dominate only part, rather than all, in the name of fairness and representation – against that tyranny of the majority.

And yes, note that the argument here is the opposite of the argument against the Electoral College.

But then this is politics eh? No point is asking for consistency or logic when party interest is at stake.

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Quentin VoleSpikeTDBloke in North DorsetJohn B Recent comment authors
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Bloke in North Dorset
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Bloke in North Dorset

The thing about the popular vote claims and Hilary is that they really haven’t thought through the incentives both for politicians and voters. From my experience most of them are West Wing fans yet they ignore the bit towards the end where Josh is close to a nervous breakdown trying to figure out where to spend his limited budget. In a straight forward popular vote they will just spend where they get the biggest bang, not where they might win an electoral college. On the voter side those in winner takes all States where their candidate has no chance now… Read more »

Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

And although Hills got 3 million more votes than the Donald, there were 4 million votes for a Libertarian candidate. In any direct Presidential election where no candidate gets >50% of the votes, you must either have a run-off between the top two (e.g. France), or use some form of transferable vote – otherwise outcomes risk being determined by whichever third party candidates decide to run (as can happen even with the Electoral College).

Whichever option you choose, Hills would still have lost.

John B
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John B

And under PR the voter floating or otherwise, can never change the Government because it will almost always be the same Parties in coalition, just the seating arrangement changed from time to time. Policy will not be what voters voted for but what can be traded off by larger coalition partners to get support from the minority coalition partner. Thus in Germany they have President for Life Merkel and policies dictated by the minority, omnipresent Greens which has made German energy prices highest in Europe, impoverished citizens and is forcing industry to move out. Israel also does PR with perpetual… Read more »

Bloke in North Dorset
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Bloke in North Dorset

Yep. I’m a great fan of the Talking Politics podcast and Helen Thompson was musing recently about why she had come round to FPTP over the Brexit debacle. She thought it forced parties to be the broad coalition that could then govern with confidence. Voters could then punish disunited parties rather than being stuck with the mess you point out.

Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole
Esteban
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Esteban

A few points usually overlooked on this topic: If we elected Presidents via popular vote voter fraud in CA & IL would overwhelm any chance at a fair election. We’d end up in court indefinitely fighting over the rules in every state – people in Conservative states wouldn’t stand idly by while CA & IL committed rampant fraud. The country is named the United States of America for a reason – the States matter. Our governance isn’t supposed to be primarily Federal. The U.S. Senate gives Wyoming the same number of votes as CA. Lastly, the same Progs who are… Read more »

Spike
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Spike

That’s right; California has (intentionally!) more Mexicans voting illegally than my state has people voting legally, but California can do nothing to affect our 4 electoral votes. The Electoral College, apart from the geographic consensus Tim wrote about, is a firewall, “modularity” of the same sort that guarantees that a balky or malicious app can’t crash your entire phone.

Spike
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Spike

The premise is that nonwhites should be a voting bloc (that black people, Latinos, and Asians have identical interests, which could only be true if the majority really does take one superficial look at people and set out to ruin them), or that sodomists and cross-dressers have identical interests (the LGBTQ bloc, lately trying to encompass the disabled).

Rather than study these minority blocs and find that they rarely win a democratic election, we should be asking why they are groups worth studying – especially as it seems “nonwhites” won’t vote monolithically in 2020.

TD
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TD

While the Democratic pundits are presently railing against the electoral college changing it would require an amendment to the Constitution that would require three fourths of the states to go along. That means they’d need almost all the small states to join the big blue states in this. What on earth could the Dems possibly offer the smaller states to give up some of their influence so that the large states could have more?

Spike
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Spike

Nothing, of course; California and New York don’t want New Hampshire etc. to have any influence. (We’re too white, you see.)

Many large states have passed laws to allocate their electoral votes to whichever candidate wins the popular vote. The Supreme Court must rule that these valid state laws, with the overt purpose of evading the point of the Electoral College, are thereby unconstitutional – though a Court of Breyer clones would find a way to uphold them, perhaps something in the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

TD
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TD

It’ll be interesting to observe the outcry the first time a state awards its electoral votes opposite to the way the state’s population voted. It would be especially ironic and amusing if it wound up giving them to the Republicans despite the Democrats winning in their state.

Spike
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Spike

I think it will be struck down before any such thing comes to pass. Indeed, “My party yes; your vote no” should be a potent campaign slogan whether or not it carries the day. Only, you would think that a state rep voting for the electoral votes not to follow the votes of his constituents would have been toxic in the first place.