Sports

Irrationality in Football and Politics

Is it time for a change?

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Shortly after he was elected in 2008, Barack Obama expressed dissatisfaction at the way major college football determines a national champion—in an antiquated, jerry-built process instead of a simple, fair one.

I have to say, Obama makes me wonder why we have to endure a strange and irrational system that causes so many participants to feel shortchanged. I mean, this is no way to choose a president.

Oh, you thought I was talking about college football? Hmm. Now that you mention it, the same critique applies. Both the Bowl Championship Series and the Electoral College are bizarre creatures that survive despite defying logic and justice.

The BCS stands for the proposition that winning isn't everything. At the end of the 2008 regular season, Utah was undefeated. The title game featured two teams that were not. Texas Christian had a perfect season this year. Yet the Horned Frogs will be at the BCS championship game Monday evening only if they buy tickets.

Likewise, the Electoral College exists to say that democracy is really overrated. In 2000, Americans went to the polls, and a plurality voted for Al Gore. But George W. Bush, with half a million fewer votes, moved into the White House.

That event focused attention on the Electoral College while blinding some people to the shortcomings of the system. Those people are called Republicans. What they forget is that Bush feared he'd be the one to win a majority of the popular vote and lose the presidency.

In that case, the New York Daily News reported a few days before the election, his team planned an all-out effort to pressure electors to vote for the winner of the popular vote, even if they were supposed to vote for the guy who won their state.

The Bush staffers were counting on the sense that it's unjust for the majority of voters to be denied their choice—something that had not happened since 1888 and that most Americans were not prepared for.

The GOP showed again in last November's elections that it has no trouble winning simple majority-rule contests. And however you feel about Bush and Gore, the presidential scheme is unfair and undemocratic.

The only reason that fact is not more widely recognized is that the popular vote and the electoral vote usually go to the same candidate. If they frequently diverged, both parties might rise up.

No one, starting from scratch, would create either the BCS or the Electoral College today. But encrusted with tradition and history and protected by massive inertia, they persist in spite of their gross defects.

BCS defenders say it preserves the glorious bowl tradition and makes regular season games more meaningful. True enough. And yet this alleged specimen of genius is unsuitable for every other sport in the NCAA.

If you want to win the national championship in baseball or volleyball (or football in the other divisions), you do it by winning a playoff. If the BCS approach is so great, why doesn't anyone else use it?

As for the Electoral College: ditto. We all remember the post-election court fight in 2000. But as Texas A&M University political scientist George C. Edwards III wrote in his 2004 book, Why the Electoral College Is Bad for America, "If we selected presidents like we select governors, senators, representatives, and virtually every elected official in the United States, Al Gore would have been elected president—no matter which chads were counted in Florida."

The existing system is supposedly vital because it preserves federalism, strengthens the two parties, and promotes national consensus. Really? Has anyone noticed that the states have steadily lost power? The two parties have no trouble dominating non-presidential elections.

Far from fostering broad consensus, it forces candidates to concentrate on a narrow slice of the country. California and Texas are the two most populous states, but neither got a single visit from a presidential or vice presidential candidate during the fall 2008 election campaign. What kind of "consensus" leaves out 60 million people?

Both the BCS and the Electoral College have their staunch defenders (including, in past years, me). But the virtues ascribed to each amount to lame rationalizations for a mess we can't seem to escape. We are hostages, and some of us have succumbed to Stockholm syndrome, coming to identify with our captors.

We may have to live with these ridiculous, outmoded methods. But we don't have to kid ourselves.

COPYRIGHT 2011 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

NEXT: The Second Time Is the Charm

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  1. So, what’s everybody been talking about this weekend?

    1. Lol, football, a shooting rampage + a poll for my new post-that’s America bitches

        1. I know you checked the blog poll bitch. BTW, I love that movie

  2. Of all of the the things to spend the time amending the Constitution, the electoral college is about last on the list. There has only been two minority vote Presidents in history. It is not exactly a continueing problem.

    Better to spend political capital on things like the repeal act or amending the commerce clause to overrule the post New Deal line of cases than waste time whining about the electoral college.

    1. Yeah, those things are much more important but are also much more impossible.

      You have to take on the targets you can actually get at.

      1. But elinimating the elctoral college would be very difficult and accomplish little or nothing. Total waste of time.

        1. But elinimating the elctoral college would be very difficult and accomplish little or nothing. Total waste of time.

          That means it is sure to be pursued.

          1. Which is exactly the same reason everyone whines about the BCS. The powers that be, and the money that pays into the system, isn’t going to stand for a change to the system. When the ratings are through the roof to watch the college football national championship game tonight, I don’t think the folks that pay all the money into what is the BCS system are going to change very much.

    2. There has only been two minority vote Presidents in history

      If by ‘minority vote’* you mean a president that received fewer popular votes than someone else but nonetheless won (which is what I think you mean), there have been three – John Q Adams, Rutherford B Hayes, and George W Bush.

      *(other readings of ‘minority vote’ would put for instance Bill Clinton in the category, both times)

    3. The last goddamn thing this country needs is having to do a recount in the entire country, or getting in a civil war because a few cities decide to inflate their vote totals and everyone else tries to cheat as hard.

      Drop senators from the calculation of electoral votes if you must, but please keep the damn institution.

    4. Four minority vote presidents: John Quincy Adams, Rutherford B. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison and George W. Bush. But Adams was selected by the House and Hayes in a disputed election.

    5. Four minority vote presidents: John Quincy Adams, Rutherford B. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison and George W. Bush. But Adams was selected by the House and Hayes in a disputed election.

  3. I will probably be crucified by some Americans, but football really is an irrational game, why it is preferred to Rugby is beyond me.

    1. Because Rugby doesn’t allow blocking or the forward pass.

      1. But American football doesn’t allow teammates to push the ballcarrier forward or hold him up to stop his being tackled.

        And American football doesn’t allow the kicking of a loose ball or the recovery of a kick by an onside player, although Canadian football allows both.

        1. 11 minutes of action.

          http://online.wsj.com/article/…..61406.html

        2. Actually, that rule has pretty much been eliminated in practice.

      1. This is much funnier than what I was going to say.

    2. What john said, no forward pass makes rugby irrational (you want to move the ball forward so why not be able to throw it forward?) and blocking is a logical component of the game. Plus american football is a great representative of the American way. It’s extremely over-regulated, with a billion rules and regulations and it stops and starts every few seconds due to some alleged infraction. Just like American life.

      1. “Plus american football is a great representative of the American way. It’s extremely over-regulated, with a billion rules and regulations and it stops and starts every few seconds due to some alleged infraction. Just like American life.”

        As a football fan and a libertarian, that is not only hilarious but completely true.

        Although participation in football is voluntary, so the over-regulation ends up being adorable rather than outrageous.

  4. Yay for instant runoffs. No better way of neutralizing the 2-party chokehold. No way it’ll ever happen.

  5. Which is why rugby flows more, in US football there is one frustrating stop after another, my theory is that the only reason people like it it because those endless stops allow the people to look more at the sexy cheerleaders.

    1. No. Americans don’t like free flowing chaotic games. Same reason America has never taken to soccer or lacross as spectator sports. Even basketball, has a lot of stops and very organized play. Americans have just never found a mob of athletes running around a field for 90 minutes appealing.

      1. You should follow cricket then if you want organised.

        1. And days-long matches characterized more by standing around and doing nothing than by action – American football fans would feel right at home.

          1. I think you mean American Baseball fans.

            1. A one-hour football game drags on for 3 or more hours – that’s a lot of standing around. But yeah, most of it’s filled with commercials.

              And yeah, baseball is the same.

        2. We already have baseball and golf if we want to see guys hit a ball with a stick. And both of those stretch the maximum amount of attention most Americans can give. We watch sports that are not constantly flowing, but there’s not much love for sports where the “action” is less than a third of the entire game.

      2. Well said John.

      3. Which still doesn’t explain NASCAR.

        1. Have you watched NASCAR. Everyone time someone gets ahead, they call a caution and pull them back.

        2. Yellow flags for “track debris”/artificially compress the field?

          All of the stops and starts are great for television, which needs some way to get commercials into the action. No commercials, no major sports.

          1. Gotta type fast to keep ahead of John.

          2. Really? Soccer manages just fine (to the tune of being exponentially more profitable than any American sport) without commercials constantly interrupting the action.

          3. Really? Soccer manages just fine (to the tune of being exponentially more profitable than any American sport) without commercials constantly interrupting the action.

            1. I’d watch NASCAR if it was one lap, balls-out, no restrictor plates, and there were big-ass spikes sticking out of the sides of the cars.

              1. And jumps! It really could use some ramps on that boring-ass track.

    2. More stops is More adverts.
      You don’t stop a soccer game for a beer advertisement.

      1. Which is good. Because the sooner it’s over, the better.

    3. “people like it it because those endless stops allow the people to look more at the sexy cheerleaders”

      You say that like it is a bad thing!

    4. And advertisers/promoters like stops because you can fit in commercials more easily.

    5. Rugby does NOT flow. That’s a fallacy. I enjoy rugby, but there are plenty of starts and stops in that game.

      Aussie football, on the other hand, is a free-flowing game.

      1. Compared to US football IT DOES flow,
        the only slow down perhaps is when there are scrum problems, but you are still not going to fit in an ad break. I personally think sevens is the best and flows way more than aussie football.

        1. Bullocks. The AFL is much more exciting. I blame you for the Arizona shooting.

  6. California and Texas are the two most populous states, but neither got a single visit from a presidential or vice presidential candidate during the fall 2008 election campaign

    Well, there you go. Why would California or Texas want to give that up?

    I’d rather see primary reform. In a two party system that would seem to be a lot more important.

  7. With 7-9 teams on the field, the NFL playoff process is hardly more fair.

    1. +1 A playoff system would produce its own problems.

      1. But those problems would be less important. In a 16-team playoff you argue about who’s #17. In the current system you argue about who’s #3. Well, #3 has a much better chance of winning the championship than #17.

        1. Hello, 68-team NCAA hoops tournament. I always laugh when college basketball fans talk about how there are too many bowl games in football.

    2. But the 7-9 team won in a very entertaining game. I know I’m saying “the ends justify the means,” but clearly there’s some value in the NFL system.

      1. Non sequitur. I’m sure there were some entertaining college games (for those who like that sort of kiddie sport), despite the equally arcane championship system.

        As an aside, it was nice to see the Evil Irsays bite the big one, Dogkiller Vick go home, and the Ravens finally putting together a dominating game.

        1. I love that you’ll talk smack about these guys and then defend the Ravens.

          The team stolen from Cleveland, and starring Ray Lewis, a likely murderer.

      2. I was at the Seahawks/Saints game you are referring to – it was the best game I have ever seen live. Glad it happened!! I still don’t have my voice back.

    3. Playoffs are not supposed to be fair, they’re supposed to be objective. The “most deserving” team in each division makes the playoffs, and the “most deserving” team in the league wins the championship. The BCS system instead has conflicting assignments as the computer models seem to award higher ranks to “better” teams (ie, more likely to win) rather than “most deserving,” but I suspect that the coaches’ poll tries to give “most deserving,” but does it subjectively.

      Besides, even if you hate the Seahawks, if a 7-9 team won the Super Bowl, that would be cool. Even cooler than Warriors-Mavericks in 2007.

      1. If you play by the rules and you win it all, then you win (This goes for both football and the Presidency)

      2. Meanwhile there’s a 10-6 team (that should have been 11-5 if they could have beat the refs when they played Detroit) watching from home even though they beat the Seahawks and the Saints.

        1. Yep. Bucs got screwed.

    4. Meanwhile HS football has gone crazy with state playoffs. It’s common for half the teams in the state to qualify, very uncommon for fewer than a quarter to qualify, and in Indiana, all teams enter the playoffs. You’d think that it would be easy to eliminate 7 out of 8 teams based on regular season play.

  8. “California and Texas are the two most populous states, but neither got a single visit from a presidential or vice presidential candidate during the fall 2008 election campaign”

    So what? Does anyone here doubt the political power of those two states? And if they were in anyway competetive, they would get lots of visits. And there is nothing to say they won’t be competetive in the future. But even if they are not, how is not getting a candidate visit indictative of anything?

    What a stupid article.

    1. Agree entirely.

  9. The electoral college is an irrational, archaic relic. Worse, it was actually designed to thwart the will of the majority. The irony of uber-anti-elitists like John defending a system in which we vote for our betters who then gather and choose the President should not be lost on anyone…

    On the other hand I like the bowl system. What is the obessession in sports with having one “ultimate” winner? With the bowl system many teams can cap off a good year with a final, big win. If they did have a playoff it would just shift the controversy from who should be 1 and 2 to who would be 8 seed (or whatever the cut-off would be).

    1. Worse, it was actually designed to thwart the will of the majority.

      the whole constitution was designed to thwart the will of the majority. That is why we don’t have a parlimentary system.

    2. “Worse, it was actually designed to thwart the will of the majority.” This is always a good thing!

  10. “The electoral college is an irrational, archaic relic. Worse, it was actually designed to thwart the will of the majority.”

    Because we all know how well mob rule works…

    The electoral college is part and parcel of a well designed system that was specifically tailored to make sure presidents wouldn’t forever come from the most populous states. We live in a republic and not a democracy for the very simple reason that the founders of this nation understood the chaos and capriciousness of majority rule well. That so many people here miss that important factor frightens me.

    1. Majority rule has its problems, but it’s better than minority rule.

      1. Depends on the minority. The majority of people in the country once though black people were inferior and not entitled to the same rights as whites. You okay wiht that majority?

        1. That’s funny, because it was the anti-majoritarian elements our system that helped the South preserve their systems of slavery and Jim Crow for so long. Why do you think they were so big on state’s rights?

          1. Fuck fuck fuckity fuck, MNG… slavery and Jim Crow are dead and buried. Give it a rest, already.

            1. Oh, and “states’ rights” doesn’t mean “gosh, wouldn’t it be great if we could reinstitute slavery?”, so quit fucking feeding the meme.

              1. Private property rights = code for slavery! America isn’t one bit better off than it was pre-Civil Rights! Rush Limbaugh might as well use the n-word!

                Did we parrot it word-for-word, Mr. Olbermann?

                1. You forgot the fools who think the Tenth Amendment is supposed to limit the power of government… when it should NEVER be limited.

                  1. *fap*

                    *fap*fap*

                    *fap*fap*fap*fap*fap*fap*fap*fap*fap*

        2. Liberals are pro-democracy as long as they win.

          When they loose they take it to court.

          Take for example gay marriage. Liberals will shout from the hilltops the glories of majority rule democracy until they loose the vote, and then it’s off to court.

          In short – they’re a bunch of liars and hypocrites.

          1. Conservatives are pro-democracy as long as they win.

            When they loose they take it to court.

            Take for example gun control, affirmative action, eminent domain. Conservatives will shout from the hilltops the glories of majority rule democracy until they loose the vote, and then it’s off to court.

            In short – they’re a bunch of liars and hypocrites.

            Like fish in a barrel.

            1. My example was of something that has gone through a popular vote, your examples are not.

              fail

              1. The rights of minorities are not subject to popular vote. And all the issues he mentioned have been election issues. You think a stupid reactionary ballot initiative changes anything? America is not a plebiscite, and just because 51% of the people are dumb enough to be convinced to vote one way on an issue doesn’t mean they get their way. No matter how much conservatives want to force jesus on everyone and deny gays equal rights, or no matter how much liberals want to ban firearm possession, neither issue is subject to popular vote. Even if 99% of the people voted one way, tough shit. Majority DOES NOT rule in America. It never has and never was intended to. That’s what the Bill of Rights is for – to prevent the stupid majority from getting their way. The average American is a retarded moron, which by definition means 50% of the people are even dumber than that. If the majority wants something, then we should do the opposite because the majority, due to its inability to think, lack of knowledge, and susceptibility to reactionary influence, is always wrong. I don’t think the constitution goes far enough in blocking majority factions.

                1. Unfortunately, they occasionally come to the right conclusion for the wrong reasons. Though, I still think doing the opposite of whatever the popular vote was would result in a net gain for all.

        1. I think the phrase “Only in America!” applies here.

  11. Meanwhile, Gore’ds team had op-eds already written, with newspapers lined up to print them, to defend the electoral college. A lot of phone calls were made election night to ensure they didn’t see print.

    INHO, the electoral college is a good thing. Could you even begin to imagine a Florida recount across the entire nation?

    Also, going back to having state legislatures pick senators would be another good thing.

    1. Meanwhile, Gore’ds team had op-eds already written, with newspapers lined up to print them, to defend the electoral college. A lot of phone calls were made election night to ensure they didn’t see print.

      Another example of ‘the media’ being nothing more than a democrat agit-prop machine.

  12. Not only should we keep the Electoral College, but we need to repeal the 17th Amendment.

    We don’t need more democracy, we need less.

  13. “Also, going back to having state legislatures pick senators would be another good thing.”

    Yes, because state politicians know what is best for us!

  14. All spending bills must originate in the House of Representatives and get approval of the Senate before going to the president’s desk.
    The Senate was to represent the state governments that would be tasked with implementing these bills that originate in the House.
    Before the 17th Amendment, the state legislatures chose the Senators. So the Senate represented the states, not the people.
    This was a major check on popular power, giving the states the ability to tell the people “No!”.

    It is no coincidence that the federal government has grown massively since the 17th, and that state power as likewise diminished to the point of nonexistence.

    1. Yes, the state politicians represent the people better than the people themselves.

      Jesus, have you thought about where that logic takes you?

      1. “Yes, the state politicians represent the people better than the people themselves.”

        The state politicians represent the state governments.

        The purpose of the Senate being chosen by the state legislatures was to give state governments representation in Washington.

        Such representation would prevent all these mandates that come down from the federal government.

        1. State politicians represent us, state citizens. They do not know better how to represent us than we do. If you think they know better about that then I guess you think they know what is best for us on other matters too? How libertarian.

          1. Do you know what an “unfunded mandate” is?

            It is something that the state governments must do as mandated by the federal government, and they’ve got to come up with the funding as well.

            Many state governments are unhappy about these mandates, but there ain’t a thing they can do about it.

            Why? Because they have no representation in Washington.

            The purpose of the Senate being chosen by the state legislatures was to prevent such federal legislation.

          2. So you’re arguing for direct democracy. Because otherwise you’re saying state politicians don’t know how better to represent us but once we elect those same people to national office they do?

  15. The election process is fundamentally flawed besides the “ridiculous, outmoded method” of the Electoral College. Don’t kid yourself.

  16. If the Electoral College was not in place, presidential candidates would hardly ever *leave* the populous states: California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois cover ~36% of the population, but only ~31% of the electors. Do you really want Chicago Democrats or New York Republicans constantly being elected to the Presidency? The Electoral College helps keep everyone else from becoming irrelevant.

    1. Er, as opposed to the Chicago Dem and Texas GOPer we had the past three times?

      1. Which speaks more to why the primary process needs to be changed (a monopolized system that is not even in the Constitution).

      2. Fucked either way, MNG.

  17. Electors are silly. We have a ‘winner takes all electors in a state’ (all states I think) which makes Orange county CA votes irrevelant, also E WA and OR in the west.

    Senators should be appointed by the state legislatures as originally intended.

    The Senate and House should meet in joint session after an election and pick the P and VP–they’re true electors who represent constituancies, not just names who actually vote in their states without debating candidates–really just circumventing the meaning of electors meeting to debate and choose candidates.

    1. (all states I think)

      Maine and Nebraska split theirs by whomever wins per congressional district (the two electors corresponding to the Senate are still winner take all). Obama is the first one I think to ‘poach’ a single elector (from the district around Omaha) since they implemented that.

  18. Only intelligent people should be allowed to vote.

    1. wut iz an inteli gent

  19. You know, I bet he can’t throw a spiral. I can’t accept a president who can’t throw a spiral.

    1. Impeach Obama now!!!

      1. I could get behind an impeachment based solely on wounded duck grounds.

    2. BO can’t roll a bowling ball, and can’t throw a baseball. He poses for pics like he’s a prize fighter. Of course he can’t throw a spiral.

      1. Then he must go.

        1. But man can he put up a J. And his basketball skills aren’t bad either. Hiyo!

          1. Let’s see what happens when someone actually defends him!

          2. On an 8-foot rim, maybe…

  20. The electoral college Constitution is an irrational, archaic relic. Worse, it was actually designed to thwart the will of the majority.

    Discuss.

    1. In part, that’s true. No power group was supposed to be able to overcome constitutional limits–even the people–in theory. Granted a large majority could effect various forms of tyranny through the amendment process, but that is a lot harder to do than it sounds. Not that we didn’t exercise some tyranny over the years, anyway, but no system can overcome fully human imperfections.

      In practice, of course, the willing connivance of the courts and the other branches resulted in a more democratic and less liberty-focused system.

      There’s no question that the Founders were more concerned with protecting individual liberties than in creating a truly democratic system. They based our system in part on the system of the Roman Republic, by way of Polybius and Montesquieu, accepting the idea that a mixed system is best for longevity and for protecting liberty.

    2. It’s easy enough to justify in either utilitarian terms or in terms of natural rights.

      From the utilitarian perspective, the problem with democracy is that people might be inherently morally equal, but they do not have an equal amount of utility at stake with any particular vote. If there’s a society of 10 people, and one is kind of a jerk (but not evil or anything), a vote to up and murder him carries some minor positive utility for the majority, but major loss of utility for the jerk.

      However, it’s very difficult to get a good idea of utility without some sort of voluntary bargaining system (free markets are more moral than democracy in many cases), and when death is on the other side of the table, “what do we have to do to make this deal work?” doesn’t make much sense. Taking the really harsh stuff off of the table altogether without equally harsh justifying circumstances is a pretty reasonable heuristic for improving the results of democracy.

      1. The Constitution is, like, old and yucky and hard to, like, understand!

  21. We all seem to be under the impression that the BCS or alternative systems should give us the national champ. I would guess that it is designed to maximize revenue for the NCAA and the teams. If they could make more revenue in a play-off system, we would see it next year.

    1. Well the teams would definitely make more money in a playoff system due to increased games/ticket sales/exposure. And I don’t think a play-off system would supercede the current bowl schedule, it would only legitimize which teams play in the championship. However, it is because of the direct tie-ins to bowls that you are probably correct. The Big Ten and Pac-12 HAVE to play in the Rose Bowl, and only in certain circumstances do they not (i.e. Oregon playing in the NC game).

    2. That’s where corruption and power comes in to play. The NCAA as a whole, and the university athletic departments on average, would make far more money with a playoff system. There have been offers on the table that would have paid 3-5 times as much to televise a playoff.

      But a few bowl committee chairmen and conference commissioners disproportionately benefit from the current system, and do what it takes to perpetuate it, despite overwhelming disapproval from the fans.

  22. As an aside, it was nice to see the Evil Irsays bite the big one, Dogkiller Vick go home,

    I stood up and cheered when he limped off the field after one sack. Sadly, my prayers for a knee injury went unanswered.

    1. There’s always next year!

  23. I actually am a fan of the electoral college I think it forces presidential candidates to pay attention to fly over states. Honestly why would a candidate spend any time in Iowa or Colorado or at least pretend to lend any credence to their concerns. If it were a pure majority New York and California would get all of the attention.

    As a matter of fact the Nebraska/Maine model where every congressional district is in play and the Senator’s electors votes go to the state majority. Let’s make candidates work for it.

    1. Yay for the double post!

  24. I actually am a fan of the electoral college I think it forces presidential candidates to pay attention to fly over states. Honestly why would a candidate spend any time in Iowa or Colorado or at least pretend to lend any credence to their concerns. If it were a pure majority New York and California would get all of the attention.

    As a matter of fact the Nebraska/Maine model where every congressional district is in play and the Senator’s electors votes go to the state majority. Let’s make candidates work for it.

  25. I agree that the BCS is irrational and ought to be scrapped in favor of a 16-team playoff.

    The Electoral College is an entirely fair and objective way to elect the president of a union of states, though. While not the most straightforward system, it was created as a compromise between more populous and less populous states, as part of a constitution that was a compact between states, written by delegates from those states, and ratified by the legislatures of those states.

    It ensures that that, to win, a president must be acceptable to residents in different parts of the country, while giving considerable weight to the population factor. It’s not one-person one-vote, by design, and it persists because the system set up to amend the Constitution (requiring 3/4 of state legislatures to concur) pretty much guarantees that the less populous states will never give up their slight built-in advantage.

  26. Good Reasonoid constitutionalists should remember that there is no such thing as The Electoral College. There are Electors who cast their votes in their respective states, never gathering together in one place as a body.

  27. The Electoral College, like the Senate in its original method of selecting the Senators and its rules like the filibuster, was intentionally undemocratic. The Founders, like it or not, intended a republic with features of a democracy. Hence the continuation of property qualifications for voters. Racism had nothing to do with that, blacks couldn’t vote at that time. The poor were likewise disenfranchised by the pauper’s oaths and consequent ineligibility to vote. That’s the reason Franklin is supposed to have said, when asked what the convention had produced, “A Republic, if you can keep it.” Re-instituting the pauper’s oath and disqualification from voting for those on welfare would go a long way toward reducing the Federal (and State) governments’ inability to balance a budget. The states’ problem would be greatly eased by repealing the legislation permitting government employees to unionize. Rationality? Not likely to be seen in politics, government or football; too many powerful interests have too much at stake in all three of those things.

  28. What’s wrong with an 8 team playoff the incorporates the 4 current BCS bowls? I mean, for starters, by the time you allow 16 teams into the playoffs, you would have a large portion of non-conference winning participants. That is unless your talking about having the first round of 16 participants be the conference playoffs (such as the current SEC Championship Game or the future Big Ten Championship Game), then I wouldn’t see too much of a problem. But I would abandon the BCS poll all together, because with 120 constituent schools and some conferences having tougher schedules than others, some subjective analysis has to be taken to assure the most deserving teams get their shots. Also, you’re going to have trouble introducing a college playoff system that does away with the prestigious bowl bowl games, like the Rose, Sugar, and Orange Bowls. So, in my opinion, the 8 highest ranked conference champions should be seeded in the current BCS bowls, introduce a semifinal round (also seeded) to narrow the four BCS bowl champions down to the two best teams, and then have those two teams compete in the BCS National Championship Game. I think this idea provides the best balance between playoff vs. bowl system and competition vs. polling.

    1. Excuse me, it’s “you’re,” not “your.” And, I meant that I would WOULDN’T abandon the BCS poll all together.

  29. I haven’t researched this or anything, but it seems to me that one of the most likely reasons for the Electoral College is that states determine their own voter eligibility requirements. At least, they determine eligibility requirements within constitutionally-defined parameters, which have tightened up considerably over the last few centuries.

    Today, a state could lower its voting age to 17, or relax restrictions on the voting rights of felons, or maybe a few other things I’m not thinking of, but nothing that would effect a huge amount of people. But if we used a popular vote back in the early 1800s, some clever state would’ve realized that if they let women and slaves and non-landowners vote they’d have substantially greater influence.

    That may not have been the only reason, but I can see how it would’ve been really compelling at the time.

  30. It’s possible that our system is TOO democratic. Imagine if the Electors were chosen by state legislatures rather than the people. The person elected President would be less able to demagogue and grab more power. Possibly, our government would be much smaller because of it.

  31. The electoral college was designed for a specific purpose. Simple majority rule is a terrible way to do business and no doubt other posters have already explained why.

    The BCS is a better system for the college player. Playoffs are more of a demand of College footbal “fans”. Multiple bowl games that a good percentage of college athletes get to end their careers on a high note achieving a specific goal. Only one team can win the National Championship, but with BCS we have exponentially more “bowl winners”. College players who are the best of the best will have their shot at the ultimate title – The Super Bowl at a later date when Football is their actual job. While they are in college – maybe we should focus on what’s best for the student-athlete, not what’s most enjoyable for the fans….

    1. So then why does the NCAA have playoffs for FCS, divison 2 and division 3 teams?

  32. all of those defending the electoral college by saying that it protects the value of smaller pop states need to explain why it is so great that iowa and new hampshire are the most important states in the union. most of the “flyover” states don’t get shit. the electoral college doesn’t help most of them get any extra attention. It only gets attention for iowa, new hampshire, and a handful of states where the Rs and Ds think it is close but that they have a reasonable chance of winning.
    i could understand the purpose of the electoral college when states were much more heterogeneous, but now it is just an anachronism that leads to predictable injustices like continued, ridiculous farm subsidies, the corn ethanol boondoggle, etc.

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  37. i could understand the purpose of the electoral college when states were much more heterogeneous, but now it is just an anachronism that leads to predictable injustices like continued, ridiculous farm subsidies, the corn ethanol boondoggle, etc.

  38. The BCS is a better system for the college player. Playoffs are more of a demand of College footbal “fans”. Multiple bowl games that a good percentage of college athletes get to end their careers on a high note achieving a specific goal. ???? ??? ?????? ??????? ???? ????? ????? ??????? Only one team can win the National Championship, but with BCS we have exponentially more “bowl winners”. College players who are the best of the best will have their shot at the ultimate title – The Super Bowl at a later date when Football is their actual job. While they are in college – maybe we should focus on what’s best for the student-athlete, not what’s most enjoyable for the fans….

  39. Today, a state could lower its voting age to 17, or relax restrictions on the voting rights of felons, or maybe a few other things I’m not thinking of, ???? ????? ??? ??????? ???? ?????? ????? ??????? but nothing that would effect a huge amount of people. But if we used a popular vote back in the early 1800s, some clever state would’ve realized that if they let women and slaves and non-landowners vote they’d have substantially greater influence.

  40. the 2008 regular season, Utah was undefeated. The title game fe

  41. 2008 regular season, Utah was undefeated. The title game feat

  42. oposition that winning isn’t everything. At the end of the 20

  43. he same critique applies. Both the Bowl Championship Series and

  44. makes me wonder why we have to endure a strange and irrational

  45. 2008 regular season, Utah was undefeated. The title game featur

  46. that winning isn’t everything. At the end of the 2008

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