Election 2016

Don't Abolish The Electoral College, Abolish The Popular Vote

The popular vote doesn't matter, so why continue pretending that it does? It only causes confusion and frustration. There's better ways.

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MOLLY RILEY/UPI/Newscom

It was the perfect ending to the strangest election in modern American history. Donald Trump was officially elected as the next president of these United States on December 19, winning by a wide margin in the Electoral College despite having lost the national popular vote six weeks earlier.

Trump's unexpected victory and loss in the popular vote unleashed a torrent of hot takes from Democrats and liberals calling for the abolition of the Electoral College. Their frustration is somewhat understandable, even if their motivations are purely political—after all, Democratic candidates have now won the popular vote in four of the five presidential contests held this century, but have lost three times in the Electoral College.

The basic argument goes something like this: the Electoral College is a relic of an age when democracy was still developing—an age when senators weren't even elected by popular vote—and that Article II, Clause II of the U.S. Constitution should be dumped into the rubbish bin of history. "Yes, Mr. Trump won under the rules, but the rules should change so that a presidential election reflects the will of Americans and promotes a more participatory democracy," opined the New York Times editorial board.

In response, there's been nearly as many Republicans and conservatives leaping to defend a system that has worked in their favor. The Electoral College was designed to prevent coastal elites from large states from getting to pick the president, they argue, and it is thus working perfectly well.

The Founding Fathers who designed the Electoral College were certainly skeptical of direct democracy and the mob-like factions that it could create. "The people, stimulated by some irregular passion, or some illicit advantage, or misled by the artful misrepresentations of interested men, may call for measures which they themselves will afterwards be the most ready to lament and condemn," warned James Madison in Federalist #63. I think they were right to be concerned. That's not to say that they would look at the current state of affairs and conclude that everything is working exactly as it should.

Because, let's be honest here, it's not. This election—for reasons that go far beyond the Electoral College—brought out the worst of America. That's at least in part because of the illusion of electoral agency. People cried over Clinton's loss because they believed she should win, yes, but also because they believed they had helped her win—millions of people in California, New York, and other deep blue states wrongly believed their support would affect the outcome of the presidential race. It didn't, and learning that fact is painful.

In response, many of those same people want more agency in the process—more "participatory democracy," as the Times put it. That's why there are calls for the popular vote to be the only thing that matters.

More democracy isn't the cure for these problems. From Plato to John Stuart Mill to Bryan Caplan, there's no shortage of political thinkers who have exposed the deep cracks in the idea. In a new book, "Against Democracy," Georgetown University political philosopher Jason Brennan adds to the list. Voters are irrational, ignorant, and incompetent, he argues, and placing limits on democracy makes just as much sense as letting attorneys sort through a pool of jurors to dismiss those who are disqualified. Brennan envisions a system where only coolly rational and educated individuals, those least likely to be affected by the emotional and partisan elements of politics, vote—though he's not clear on whether others would be excluded or whether he wishes they would just stay home.

I'm not sure it is possible to implement Brennan's epistocracy in the United States in any broad way, but the existence of the Electoral College gives us an opportunity to see what less democracy in presidential races might look like. It's hardly a bad thing.

With the prospect of Campaign 2020 kicking off before the headaches of Campaign 2016 have faded, allow me to suggest a better way forward. Keep the Electoral College, with some minor tweaks, and abolish the popular vote.

Yes, get rid of the popular vote. For all the money, time, and attention paid to the presidential race, the actual votes cast on Election Day are basically meaningless. In non-swing states, votes are literally meaningless. Even in states where a small number of votes could change the outcome of the election, your vote and mine are still so insignificant as to be practically worthless, as Reason editor in chief Katherine Mangu-Ward explained in detail in 2012.

The only reason to hold popular votes for president, as the system functions now, is to select the "electors" from each state who will participate in the Electoral College.

Here's a better way. Hold a national lottery to determine the 538 electors (drawing an appropriate number from the voter rolls of each state) and then let those people choose the president.

"Undemocratic!" you might be tempted to cry out.

Well, yes, but not really much less democratic than the system we currently use and, arguably, more democratic than the original design of the Electoral College, in which Electors were not bound in any way to the results of the popular vote in their states. The Founders envisioned a system in which well-read elites would be responsible for choosing the president, in theory as a check against the masses. With a lottery-based system, we'd be returning to that original idea, but with a populist twist.

The benefits of such a model, I'd argue, far outweigh the miniscule loss of casting a meaningless vote for president.

Consider: Almost everyone would get to ignore the election, if they want, because they don't have to pretend to care about it as a form of signaling. The Electors would be the only ones whose votes matters—the lottery to pick them would have to be held a few months before Election Day, I suppose—and everyone else could get on with their lives (or try to influence the Electors, if they are so inclined).

For starters, there would be unmeasurable benefits in the form of freeing people of the mental and emotional anguish created by presidential campaigns like the one we just experienced.

This model would seriously alter presidential campaigning as we know it, but mostly in a positive direction. There would be no need for broad appeals to races or classes, no more vapid identity politics, no more absurdly expensive (and months-long) campaigns, no more endless dissection of polls and un-skewing of cross-tabs.

In return for getting rid of all that cable news talking head fodder, we'd get something better. Each candidate would know exactly who they had to convince to win—a single mother from Toledo, a retiree from Albuquerque, a CEO from Seattle, and so on—and the 538 Electors would have tremendous power to force a discussion on the issues they cared about. It would be a months-long town hall debate—a real one, not one made for television—with the Electors standing in for all Americans.

There are other benefits too. With the presidential race truly out of the average voter's hands, those who want to be engaged in politics could (and would) focus on other races. More scrutiny of congressional, gubernatorial, and state legislative races would be welcome and would be possible only if we restore the presidential circus to its proper place.

Weighed against the questionable, miniscule, and illusory benefits of the presidential popular vote, the better choice seems clear. Let the Electoral College, with some tweaks, rule.

NEXT: 6 Foreign Hotspots the Trump Administration Will Have to Deal With in 2017

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  1. Who remembers this hot idea, from 90s-era libertarian usenet: Let everyone vote with dollars. The candidate who gets the most money pledged to him wins, and the money collected is used to fund the government voluntarily.

    Side bonus: Progressive heads explode across the land.

    1. Better yet, ban progressives altogether. Every one of them is just a communist traitor anyway. Then we can reset the political dynamic in this country to traditionalists versus libertarians. With a lot of underlying libertarianism and fiscal restraint from all sides.

      1. So you are an anti-constitutionalist then if you don’t like how people vote, change their minds, fascists are the ones who ban people because they don’t like their views.

        1. Fascists and progressives, you mean.

        2. Don’t mind Suicidy. He just thinks that the most logical way of keeping the fascists among us from disarming us and sending we dissenters into the ovens is to round up our dissenters and send them to the ovens.

          It’s part of his charm.

      2. Better yet, ban progressives altogether. Every one of them is just a communist traitor anyway.

        But your traitorous fascism is better, how?
        Why not just shoot everyone who disagrees with you?
        Even Ayn Rand defended communism — but not the barbarity of state communism.
        It’s like the difference between religion and the barbarity of state religion,
        Or anything else to libertarians, voluntary vs forced

        I do admire your courage, in a way, stating so blatant an authoritarian concept on a libertarian website.
        Your profound ignorance of progressives is something else, roughly as bad as assuming Rick Santorum speaks for all Christian conservatives. Rick may puke at Separation but most Christians know their history, and virtually every denomination was persecuted at some time … by other Christians.

        1. Even Ayn Rand defended communism …

          Oh really? Where, when? Can you give a quote from anything she wrote?

          1. Even Ayn Rand defended communism …

            Oh really? Where, when? Can you give a quote from anything she wrote?

            Perhaps, like many on the right these days, you confuse STATE socialism with voluntary communal ownership … like the Oneida (and many other) Christians and the hippie communes.

            Rand defended hippie communes, more talked about then, because they were voluntary. Also said they were wrong to assume they had to become farmers. That was my favorite part. Years later, a Showtime special, reported on a communal video production company. They created corporate videos. EVERYTHING was communally owned, not just the business (as partners). The key part was their communal housing. They did stress that there was no communal sex!

            Communal ownership is just another voluntary choice in a truly free society. Still later, as a small business coach/consulatant, I had a communal business as a client. One of them told me that communal businesses were more common than I thought/ Who would know?. Made sense but she couldn’t give me an estimate They knew of three locally (Greater Cleveland) but wouldn’t name them.

      3. If you don’t like progress go back to living in a cave and eating raw meat.

        1. Define “progress”.

          1. Define “progress”.

            Easy. Everyone learns to always agree with me.

      4. Ban the very ideology that helped build this country? Do you even know what the meaning of liberal democracy is? Without progressives we’d have no Social Security, national parks (thanks, Teddy), labor rights, women’s rights, and civil rights. You call liberals like me communists because your understanding of political history and philosophy is so woefully inadequate. You’ll go far under the so-called leadership of the misogynistic, racist, temperamental, and treasonist man-child coming to Washington. Reagan is rolling over in his grave.

    2. RAH first proposed that in 1965.

    3. Let them all vote . . . after taking a test and showing a photo ID.

  2. This idea is just basically sampling.

    Using this years election as results, no one gets a majority and the House decides between Trump, Clinton and Johnson.

    I dont have any problem with that, but that is the real outcome.

    And without the need to be restricted to two candidates anyway, as EC voters can vote anyway they want, so I doubt anyone would ever get a majority.

    So we basically become a parliamentary system with the House selecting the President.

    1. Ranked preferential voting, like Maine voted for this year.

    2. So we basically become a parliamentary system with the House selecting the President.

      I’ve seen the argument made that this was the Founders’ original intent wrt the Electoral College, to have regional blocs choose candidates none of which would gain the requisite number of electors to win outright, and that the House would choose the president from the list provided by the EC. This system was nuked, however, first by Washington winning by acclamation, then by the 12th Amendment.

      1. Ok – let’s look at the record. The best record we have of what happened at the Constitutional Convention is Madison’s Notes on Debates. Even there, we only get what was discussed when they were meeting as a whole, not the committees.

        The first big blowup was about how to structure Congress. There were people arguing for nothing but popular vote and those who refused to let the big states do whatever they wanted. There were people arguing for the States controlling Congress and others to virtually eliminate the states as independent political entities. After putting it off time and time again, they finally compromised on the dual Congress we have now. The House elected by population and the Senate under the control of all the States equally. Originally Senators were appointed, not elected.

        Then it got back to the President and that was put off time and time again. Same arguments, same people. It was put to a committee to look at and they came back with their compromise setting it up exactly the same as Congress. Bigger states having more votes, but smaller states having an outsized effect when compared to their population.

        [Continued]

        1. We seem to talk as if they were all these calm wise people who sat down and worked out every little detail in full agreement. Well, it wasn’t anything like that. There were strenuous arguments over anything and everything. Two of the states (Rhode Island and New Hampshire) weren’t there for most of it and Rhode Island never did come back. Lots of people saying if you put this in there, I’m leaving. Lots of people saying if we don’t get this or that, it will never pass.

          One Executive or a team of three? 2 year, 6 year, or 15 year terms? He must be appointed by the Senate. No, by the legislatures of the States. Directly or electors? No, he must be elected by popular vote. No, by the House. He must be given all these powers. No, we can’t let him have hardly any powers.

          What we wound up with was the result of compromise after compromise. If the Articles of Confederation hadn’t shown themselves to be as totally unworkable as they turned out to be, most of the people there would have just made some recommendations on changes to them (which is all they were authorized to do anyway) and washed their hands of the whole process. Almost nobody actually liked the final product. At best, most of it was something most of them could tolerate until they could get in there and change it some more.

          1. So what you’re saying is that they had to pass it to find out what was in it?

            1. Oh they all knew what was in it when they signed, they just didn’t all agree on quite a bit of it.

          2. Diane, I checked out your hyperlink in your handle, and I gotta say, I like your blog.

            You have good taste. 🙂

            And we are electrical engineering sisters! (I am a few years older though.)

            Keep on with your local political efforts.

          3. Sounds like we need another convention then – and a big bag of popcorn

    3. Presumably such a system would have to be implemented by constitutional amendment (though, if they wanted to, individual states could start picking their electors that way now). An amendment like that could easily either do away with the absolute majority requirement, or allow for multiple ballots to be cast until somebody has the required majority (a la papal elections). Or it could be done as an instant run-off vote among the candidates nominated by at least e.g. 10% of the electors.

      There’s no reason it necessarily has to be limited to two candidates or plurality-wins.

      Though, honestly, a President elected by Congress wouldn’t be that bad anyway. All evidence is that parliamentary systems with a powerless/ceremonial head of state are vastly superior to presidential systems.

      1. a President elected by Congress wouldn’t be that bad anyway. All evidence is that parliamentary systems with a powerless/ceremonial head of state are vastly superior to presidential systems.

        You’re making statements about 2 different things that don’t necessarily have anything to do w each other. The powers of the prez & means of selecting one are separate issues.

      2. If there is no candidate that gets a majority of the electors voting for them, then the House picks the President from the top three vote getters and the Senate the Vice President from the top two.

        President and Vice President are actually voted for separately by the electors. The vote is by state, each state getting one vote, no matter how many Representatives they have. Popular voting in the states is not required. They’ve just agreed to pretty much all do it that way since 1824. Even so there are two states that split their electoral vote by Congressional District and only two electors (for the Senators) are picked on statewide votes.

        Most of the way we run the Presidential elections is by agreement, formal and informal, of the States, not required by the Constitution. As far as the Constitution is concerned any state can pick their electors any way they want for as many candidates (up to the number of electors) as they want.

      3. I’ve proposed a somewhat different way to approach this; rather than have each candidate select a set of electors in each state (who are generally kept anonymous to the public in their own states) and select those electors by voting for a given candidate as currently done the following changes would be made:

        List only individual candidate electors who may or may not be affiliated with any given presidential candidate — each electoral candidate may pledge him or herself to a presidential candidate absolutely, others to a series of principles (a platform, in essence) by which they will choose a presidential candidate, or a list of candidates in some order that will result in a presidential winner (e.g., first preference Gary Johnson, second preference Donallary Clump). Each electoral candidate would summarize their approach with up to 140 characters (a length that Twitter users are comfortable with) chosen by them and listed on the ballot beside their name.

        Once chosen, the electors would then communicate with one another negotiating a winner (via straw votes) until the final vote in each state, as specified in the Constitution.

        This could be done without changing the Constitution and provide many of the benefits of the other schemes and would certainly change the way races are fought.

    4. Mostly it’s sampling, but if a state held its lottery a long time before the election, as suggested above, then it would change the campaigning. If the lottery were held close to the time the electors had to meet, then it would be very much like sampling the electorate now, and campaigning would have to be pretty much like it is now. Change it to drawing the electors in, say, July, and it’d be a very different campaign in any state that adopted such a method. Only those picks (and their alternates) would need to be buttonholed, and everybody else in that state could be spared the campaign ads. If all states adopted the lottery method, then news coverage of the prez campaign would diminish enormously after the conventions.

      What would be the reasons for or against a particular state’s adopting the lottery method?

      Of course there’d still be the elections for all the other elected offices.

    5. Johnson? Colin Powell got more EC votes.

  3. People keep talking about how the EC was created to be an elite few acting as a check on democracy, and while I’m no expert, I always thought the main reason was to protect the rights of the smaller states from the large states. And that’s exactly what it did this year. Democrats want every presidential election decided by NYC, Chicago, LA, SF, Philadelphia, and a handful of other places. Well, tough. That’s not the way the country was set up.

    1. They don’t understand we are a nation of states. Except when it comes to something they want, then they sort of get it. Medical pot, recreational pot, for example. If we were a single nation, those two wouldn’t exist.

    2. Don’t you understand? Trump has no mandate. No. Mandate.

      1. How about a Womandate?

        1. He doesn’t have to date them, he just grabs them by the pussy.

          That said I thought he was mandating Putin?

          1. They broke up – both only wanted to pitch.

      2. Mandate? I dunno. Sounds pretty faggoty.

      3. Neither has any president since Reagan, based on turnout vs percentage. Blubba Clinton “won” twice with 43% and 38% of the eligible people who bothered to show up. The Dems couldn’t open their throats wide enough to accept his throbbing gristle.

        Now, THERE was a man who grabbed them by the pussy.

      4. Even if someone gets 50.0001% of the vote, it still doesn’t mean they have a “mandate”. It means that half the country will still be pissed.

        1. Even if they got 100 percent of the vote, it doesn’t necessarily indicate a mandate. How many registered voters actually vote – how many eligible citizens even register? At various times I’ve read estimates of anywhere from a third to half of the people who could vote in this country do not do so.

        2. Yes but they get the paychecks and guns with which to bully others. Those are the carrot. The stick is the small party spoiler vote. Dems lost in Y2k for insufficient econaziism, then overcompensated–overlooking the pothead vote–and lost again. Ironically, Jill’s Jihad against energy got more votes than what the Dems lost by in 3 states. The LP arguably cost the Dems 3 times the electoral votes we cost the GO-Pee.
          The Electoral college puts a bit in the mouth of the Kleptocracy and the LP is better geared than the Ku-kluxers or the Econazis to jerk the reins this way and that.

    3. Yep, that’s about it. The funny thing to me is that the people howling about how undemocratic the EC is are really just pissed off that NY and CA didn’t call the shots this time. Coastal liberals are furious that a bunch of red-state rubes are making decisions that affect their lives, completely oblivious to the irony of that reaction.

      1. Coastal liberals are furious that a bunch of red-state rubes are making decisions that affect their lives, completely oblivious to the irony of that reaction.

        But they’re “smart and educated”! They have the divine right to rule!

    4. Of the ten largest states, Trump won seven and Clinton won three.
      Of the ten smallest states (plus DC), Trump won five and Clinton won five.

      Trump’s victory has nothing to do with giving extra weight to small states. Rhode Island, Delaware, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Vermont— those small states didn’t get their pick. Trump won the EC while losing the national popular vote because of winner-take-all rules in the states; *not* because small states are slightly weighted more in the Reps+Senators formula.

      Besides, *why* exactly, would it be any more legitimate for the rural to impose their will on the urban than vice versa? That’s not what the EC does and not what it tries to do, but even if it did… I see nothing defensible about it.

      1. Because the urban are ignorant trash, and even the Democrats agree.

        Well, they mean working class whites and blacks are ignorant trash. Thus demonstrating the recursive.

      2. Nowhere in history is there an example of a pure democracy in anything bigger than a town lasting, and even there they rarely last. We are *NOT* a democracy, not by any means and we were not intended to be.

        The United States was created by the *states*, not by the people. The only part of our federal government that came from the population is the House of Representatives. The Senate was appointed by the state legislatures. The President by electors chosen by the states in whatever manner they wanted. The Supreme Court is even another step away from popular vote … proposed by the President who was chosen by electors chosen by the states or the House and ratified by the Senators who were appointed by the states.

        The Articles of Confederation set up a completely federal government, acting only on the states and without any power to do anything or enforce anything on its own. That was just too weak to work. So they got together to fix it up and decided instead to start from scratch. It was still to be a primarily federal government but with enough power directly over the people that the states couldn’t just ignore it as too many of them had ignored the government created by the Articles

        1. The Articles of Confederation set up a completely federal government, acting only on the states and without any power to do anything or enforce anything on its own. That was just too weak to work.

          I’d argue that the Constitution went too far in the other direction, but that’s not entirely germane.

          1. The god damn Germans got nothin’ ta do wid it!

            1. HOLY SAUERKRAUT, Batman! It’s “Gottdamn”!

    5. Now, a presidential candidate could lose while winning 78%+ of the popular vote and 39 states.

      With the current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), it could only take winning a bare plurality of popular votes in only the 11 most populous states, containing 56% of the population of the United States, for a candidate to win the Presidency with less than 22% of the nation’s votes!

      The population of the top five cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia) is only 6% of the population of the United States.

      Voters in the biggest cities are almost exactly balanced out by rural areas in terms of population and partisan composition.

      16% of the U.S. population lives outside the nation’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas. Rural America has voted 60% Republican. None of the 10 most rural states matter now.

      16% of the U.S. population lives in the top 100 cities. They voted 63% Democratic in 2004.
      The population of the top 50 cities (going as far down as Arlington, TX) is only 15% of the population of the United States.

      Suburbs divide almost exactly equally between Republicans and Democrats.

      1. When you look at the results by county. It is clear that Hillary won big cities in every state, and Trump won everything else. This result was mostly driven by turnout. The folks outside the big cities were extremely motivated.

        The popular vote was won by Hillary entirely based on her huge (YUGE! LOL) margin in California. Trump won the popular vote in the balance of the country.

        I personally suspect that Trump is correct, and given the slack voting system in CA and Obama’s actual (this was the height of nerve) encouraging it, votes from those ineligible to vote provided a significant portion of that margin.

        1. California Democratic votes in 2016 were 6.4% of the total national popular vote.

          The 4.3 million vote difference in California wouldn’t have put Clinton over the top in the popular vote total without the additional 61.5 million votes she received in other states.

          California cast 10.3% of the total national popular vote.
          31.9% Trump, 62.3% Clinton

          In 2012, California cast 10.2% of the national popular vote.
          About 62% Democratic

          California has 10.2% of Electoral College votes.

          8 small western states, with less than a third of California’s population, provided Bush with a bigger margin (1,283,076) than California provided Kerry (1,235,659).

          1. HRC’s margins in California were outsized because the top-2 primary ensured no Republicans in the Senate race. A large number stayed home compared to historical numbers.

            1. The popular vote would have been different had minority voters in non-swing states had incentive to go to the polls. That said, I have no reason to think Hillary would not still have won the plurality of votes.

      2. Do it like Switzerland does its Constitutional issues. In order to pass it needs a majority of the popular vote *and* a majority of states (cantons in Switzerland). That would protect both the people and the states. The dual Federal/National nature of our government operates on both.

        1. Oooooo! How Heinleinesque. I like it!

      3. I agree. The way the EC is set up makes the problems with our electoral system pointed out worse, not better. While I agree NPV is not the answer to our election woes, I can’t imagine many people would be happy about 538 randomly sampled people choosing our president, myself included.
        Besides, could it even be ensured that 27 of New York’s 29 electors don’t end up being from NYC, or that 9 of the 13 Virginia electors aren’t from deep-blue NOVA? If not, then it’s no better than NPV.

    6. There are two things going on with the EC that are often conflated.

      One is the skew toward less populous states introduced by counting senators toward the allotment.

      The other is the fact that it is representative, not direct, and thus sets a fixed influence for the state, regardless of voter turnout (or ballot stuffing, encouraging dead people and noncitizens to vote, etc.).

      At present, both of these work against the Democrats, who are known for 1) controlling a small number of highly populated states, 2) GOTV efforts, and 3) fraud.

      1. In the 2016 presidential election, the 11 largest states were 7 red states with 152 electoral votes (Texas -38, Florida – 29, Pennsylvania – 20, Michigan – 16, Ohio – 18, North Carolina – 15, and Georgia – 16) and 4 blue states (California – 55, New York – 29, Illinois – 20, and New Jersey – 14) with 118.

        Kentucky (8 electoral votes), Alabama (9 electoral votes) and Tennessee (11 electoral votes), with 28 electoral votes, generated margins of 1,815,055 “wasted” votes for Trump — larger than the margin generated by New York (with 29 electoral votes).

        1. 11. A curious number to pick. Why not 7, 5, or 10?

    7. In this very article, Bohem claims:
      The Electoral College was designed to prevent coastal elites from large states from getting to pick the president, they argue, and it is thus working perfectly well.

      Since the whole damn country was “coastal” when the EC was created, that is a pretty silly statement. Still, it i better than other Reason authors who claim it is a remnant from slavery or some jive.

      Another gem:
      after all, Democratic candidates have now won the popular vote in four of the five presidential contests held this century, but have lost three times in the Electoral College.

      1. There have only been FOUR US presidential elections in THIS century.
      2. Even if you are counting the 2000 election as this century, I get a count of TWO elections that were lost in the EC. Bush vs. Gore and Trump vs. Clinton. Kerry did not win the popular vote and Obama won both of his elections straight up either way.

      Does Reason even have editors anymore? Hell, this stuff is all in the first four paragraphs!

      And then on to this “new” notion that voters are too juvenile for the elites:
      Imagine a nation full of uncontrolled two-year-old rage. The voters had a temper tantrum last week….Parenting and governing don’t have to be dirty words: the nation can’t be run by an angry two-year-old. – Peter Jennings, November 14, 1994.

      1. Does Reason even have editors anymore?

        Not in quite some time. I haven’t seen anyone catch the huge gaffe that Trump won the electoral votes by a large margin. Of 25 elections in the past 100 years, Trump’s electoral margin ranks near the very bottom, 22nd.

  4. In a new book, “Against Democracy,” Georgetown University political philosopher Jason Brennan adds to the list. Voters are irrational, ignorant, and incompetent, he argues

    That is absolutely not a new argument. It’s not wrong, but it’s not an innovative thought either. But hey, maybe he just articulated it much better than all those who came before.

    1. I think it has less to do with his argument and more to do with adding his name to the list of political theorists who argue against democracy as a sole virtue.

  5. It is not an undemocratic idea. It is a fucking stupid idea. Does it ever occur to you that we have elections not just to decide who should be in office but also so that the public feels like it has a voice in government and thus the government has legitimacy?

    I don’t understand how anyone not whacked out on dope or completely ignorant of basic political theory and government could seriously make such a suggestion.

    1. And yet it would somewhat balance out the odious impact the Seventeenth Amendment has had.

      1. Going from Politburo-lite to Full Retard Politburo? I’ll pass, thanks..

        1. I’d prefer keeping the electoral college for president but repealing the 17th and returning to an appointed Senate.

          1. One and Done! His Suprems Grooviness has made it so! *snaps finger like Q*

            Drat! It worked on TNG! It even successfully perpetrated the myth that Wil Wheaton can act.

            I have long held, and RC Dean has written somewhat extensively on this very subject in these here depraved threads, that most of the USA’s ills stem from the 17th Amendment.

              1. Lol. I’m a sucker for puppy videos.

            1. Actually, I’ve thought Senators should be elected on an Electoral-like system. Votes for a Senate seat get tallied *by county*, and each county then gets one vote towards the candidate that gets the majority there. That way you don’t have massive population centers (like NYC) overwhelming the choices of the rest of the state. It isn’t like we’re even disenfranchising those population centers; they still have Representatives chosen by population groups, and who represent that particular population group. But a Senator is supposed to represent the state as a whole, so it’s about time we make them consider just what the state as a whole *is*.

            2. IDK, Wil Wheaton is very convincing in his role on Big Bang Theory.

              1. I dunno. I’m confident there are actors out there who could play Wil Wheaton better than he does.

          2. There would probably be a lot less shotbags serving thirty plus years in the senate if we went back to appointments.

          3. ^This

            The Senate was supposed to represent the States. Not the people in those states. With the 17th, they are just a super-Representative.

            Maybe I’m just passionate because I know we wouldn’t have Sen Franken if the legislature was still appointing senators.

            1. You also wouldn’t have had Senator Smalley if someone hadn’t mysteriously “found” a box full of ballots for him in the trunk of a car.

              1. 312 vote difference with Franken winning with less than 42% of the vote. That damn EC thwarted the will of the people again.

            2. My sentiments exactly, Your Frozen Holiness.

              Minn state legislator frequently flips between GOP and DFL, yet you’d never guess that by our US senators.

          4. Yes, please!!

            Just a side note, it’s depressing how few people I’ve talked to that even know about this change.

          5. But the states were already adopting popular election of US senators when the 17th amendment made them all. It would’ve happened in a short time anyway. There’s no reason to think states now would revert to appointed US senators if they were allowed to.

            1. There’s no reason to think states now would revert to appointed US senators if they were allowed to.

              Veto power over
              1) federal mandates .-
              2) ANY expansion of fefderal power.
              3) crazy block grants where states get new obligations, but funding still controlled by Congress (which they were able to reject under Reagan, only because he allowed it)

              Those are just the biggest ones.

      2. Repealing the 17th should be near the top of any list. A direct veto over federal expansion of power by the state governments as a class. Similar to the classical libertarian argument for competing governments. They’re gonna squabble for more power regardless, so let them gain power from the other level instead of from us.

        A longer argument is part of this. http://libertyissues.com/federalism.htm

        The guy is a libertarian. I’ve seen him here.

    2. They took Jill Stein’s recount scam seriously, and now they seriously think Congress is going to impeach Trump and then appoint a Republican of their choice. They probably don’t even know about that funny rule about the VP and then Speaker of the House, so there you go.

      1. “Hey, what am I, chopped liver?”
        Al Haig

    3. Do you have actual evidence that Eric is NOT whacked out on dope?

    4. Actually, I’m in favor of a benevolent dictator. Which won’t be a Trump.

    5. Their vote still has about as much statistical likelihood of impacting things. Anyway, as a fan of allotment in general as a mechanism of democracy, I’m biased. I’d select the House that way too.

      Of course, I would also scale up the number of electors, representatives, and senators by a factor of ten to better guard against the bottom percentile. Maybe less so for senators and their elector counterparts, as a small concession to Democrats.

    6. I 100% fully agree. Cuuld not have said it better myself

  6. I can understand people on the coasts wanting to get rid of the electoral college. What I don’t understand is the people in my area, (flyover country) wanting to get rid of it. I don’t even argue with them, I just smile and nod thinking “aww you think you’ll get any favors from the popular people in the “important” states for giving them more influence over your life? So sweet”

    1. Because of state-by-state winner-take-all laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution. . .

      Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in 2015 was correct when he said
      “The nation as a whole is not going to elect the next president,”
      “The presidential election will not be decided by all states, but rather just 12 of them.

      Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind.

      With the end of the primaries, without the National Popular Vote bill in effect, the political relevance of 70% of all Americans was finished for the presidential election.

      In the 2016 general election campaign

      Over half (57%) of the campaign events were held in just 4 states (Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio).

      Virtually all (94%) of the campaign events were in just 12 states (containing only 30% of the country’s population).

      Over 87% of both Romney and Obama campaign offices were in just the then 12 swing states. The few campaign offices in the 38 remaining states were for fund-raising, volunteer phone calls, and arranging travel to battleground states.

      1. On the other hand, Democrats care only about what the libs on the coasts want since that is where that massive amount of money Hillary spent comes from.

        Ah, yes, the best government money can buy.

        1. WA, OR, CA, MA, RI, CT, NY, NJ, MD, and DE were all politically irrelevant to all parties.

          In the 2016 general election campaign

          Over half (57%) of the campaign events were held in just 4 states (Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio).

          Virtually all (94%) of the campaign events were in just 12 states (containing only 30% of the country’s population).

      2. “Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind.”

        yes, but i never understood the criticism that they still didn’t matter. just because they made up their minds about what they wanted earlier than the rest of us doesn’t, it doesn’t seem fair to act as though they don’t have a say.

    2. Because of state-by-state winner-take-all laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution. . .

      Issues of importance to non-battleground states are of so little interest to presidential candidates that they don’t even bother to poll them individually.

      Charlie Cook reported in 2004:
      “Senior Bush campaign strategist Matthew Dowd pointed out yesterday that the Bush campaign hadn’t taken a national poll in almost two years; instead, it has been polling [the then] 18 battleground states.”

      Bush White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer acknowledging the reality that [then] more than 2/3rds of Americans were ignored in the 2008 presidential campaign, said in the Washington Post on June 21, 2009:
      “If people don’t like it, they can move from a safe state to a swing state.”

    3. Policies important to the citizens of non-battleground states are not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing.

      “Battleground” states receive 7% more presidentially controlled grants than “spectator” states, twice as many presidential disaster declarations, more Superfund enforcement exemptions, and more No Child Left Behind law exemptions.

      Compare the response to hurricane Katrina (in Louisiana, a “safe” state) to the federal response to hurricanes in Florida (a “swing” state) under Presidents of both parties. President Obama took more interest in the BP oil spill, once it reached Florida’s shores, after it had first reached Louisiana. Some pandering policy examples include ethanol subsidies, steel tariffs, and Medicare Part D. Policies not given priority, include those most important to non-battleground states – like water issues in the west.

      The interests of battleground states shape innumerable government policies, including, for example, steel quotas imposed by the free-trade president, George W. Bush, from the free-trade party.

      Parochial local considerations of battleground states preoccupy presidential candidates as well as sitting Presidents (contemplating their own reelection or the ascension of their preferred successor).

      Even travel by sitting Presidents and Cabinet members in non-election years is skewed to battleground states

    4. A successful nationwide presidential campaign of polling, organizing, ad spending, and visits, with every voter equal, would be run the way presidential candidates campaign to win the electoral votes of closely divided battleground states, such as Ohio and Florida, under the state-by-state winner-take-all methods. In the 4 states that accounted for over two-thirds of all general-election activity in the 2012 presidential election, rural areas, suburbs, exurbs, and cities all received attention?roughly in proportion to their population.

      The itineraries of presidential candidates in battleground states (and their allocation of other campaign resources in battleground states, including polling, organizing, and ad spending) reflect the political reality that every gubernatorial or senatorial candidate knows. When and where every voter is equal, a campaign must be run everywhere.

      With National Popular Vote, when every voter is equal, everywhere, it makes sense for presidential candidates to try and elevate their votes where they are and aren’t so well liked. But, under the state-by-state winner-take-all laws, it makes no sense for a Democrat to try and do that in Vermont or Wyoming, or for a Republican to try it in Wyoming or Vermont.

      The main media at the moment, TV, costs much more per impression in big cities than in smaller towns and rural area. Candidates get more bang for the buck in smaller towns and rural areas.

      1. There are still only 24 hours in a day and only so many campaign appearances a candidate can make. Do it by popular vote and it will be even more of the country ignored. If you don’t live in one of the top 10 or 20 cities, forget about getting any attention.

        1. 70% of the country would not be ignored.

          The population of the top five cities (NYC, LA, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia) is only 6% of the population of the United States.

          Voters in the biggest cities are almost exactly balanced out by rural areas in terms of population and partisan composition.

          16% of the U.S. population lives outside the nation’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas. Rural America has voted 60% Republican. None of the 10 most rural states matter now.

          16% of the U.S. pop lives in the top 100 cities. They voted 63% Democratic in 2004.
          The pop of the top 50 cities (going as far down as Arlington, TX) is only 15% of the pop of the US.

          Suburbs divide almost exactly equally between Republicans and Democrats.

          A successful nationwide presidential campaign of polling, organizing, ad spending, and visits, with every voter equal, would be run the way presidential candidates campaign to win the electoral votes of closely divided battleground states, such as Ohio and Florida, under the state-by-state winner-take-all methods. The big cities in those battleground states do not receive all the attention, much less control the outcome. Cleveland and Miami do not receive all the attention or control the outcome in Ohio and Florida. In the 4 states that accounted for over two-thirds of all general-election activity in the 2012 presidential election, rural areas, suburbs, exurbs, and cities all received attention?roughly in proportion to their population.

          1. If you go by metropolitan areas, including a city and its densest suburbs (all of which do tend to be generally homogenous in terms of politics), the 10 largest metro areas account for a quarter of all the population. Places as big as Portland or Cleveland would be irrelevant for campaign purposes.

        2. This year there was time for 399 post-convention campaign events by the presidential and vice presidential nominees of the 2 major parties.

          It is certainly possible with plane travel to visit all 50 states.

          Over half (57%) of the campaign events were held in just 4 states (Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio).

          Virtually all (94%) of the campaign events were in just 12 states (containing only 30% of the country’s population).

          In the 2012 general election campaign

          38 states (including 24 of the 27 smallest states) had no campaign events, and minuscule or no spending for TV ads.

          More than 99% of presidential campaign attention (ad spending and visits) was invested on voters in just the only ten competitive states..

          Two-thirds (176 of 253) of the general-election campaign events, and a similar fraction of campaign expenditures, were in just four states (Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and Iowa).

          Over 87% of both Romney and Obama campaign offices were in just the then 12 swing states. The few campaign offices in the 38 remaining states were for fund-raising, volunteer phone calls, and arranging travel to battleground states.

          1. Is your paste button broken? You may want to reboot your computer.

  7. If we’re going pie in the sky, get rid of the presidency. Have a council so a cult of personality is less likely to develop. Say 5 co-presidents with majority votes. Elections every two years to replace the senior president.

    1. Have a council so a cult of personality is less likely to develop. Say 5 co-presidents with majority votes. Elections every two years to replace the senior president.

      Indeed. UN-style governance. Cult of Personality? In the UN? P-shaww! What could possibly go wrong? As an aside, Your Hipness, I know for a fact that you know this is *EXACTLY* how hospital boards…ahem….operate (with an impregnated incisional drape, no less), Your Hipness.

      Are you sure you want have that kind of governance?

      1. To be honest, I want no government, but I ain’t gonna get it. Really, I just want federal power severely weakened so we get our promised 50 laboratories of democracy. I’m game for whatever gets us there.

        1. I’m game for whatever gets us there.

          Even at the point of a gun? Because, honestly, because the US of A is more like the the UK of A (and seems to be getting moreso, from here I currently sit), that’s what it’s going to take to achieve that dream of yours. The States themselves are highly interdependent on each other (and seem to try one-upping each other getting rid of their dead weight citizens, yet Proggies seem to have the most mobility), and those same States are beholden to Centralised Authority, and as much as they protest otherwise, will not break away (Including California, who, like Scotland, would have to pay their share of the National Accrued Debt, with interest, before they would be permitted secession. And 49 other States would sign on to get that blood out of that Left Coast Flavoured Turnip. but quick).

          1. So you’re telling me there’s a chance…

          2. California….would have to pay their share of the National Accrued Debt, with interest, before they would be permitted secession

            If California wanted to secede, they’d just write out an IOU.

          3. Including California, who, like Scotland, would have to pay their share of the National Accrued Debt, with interest, before they would be permitted secession

            Their share is zero.
            http://www.bbc.com/news/business-25712350

            Only progressives say that secession requires permission. And anyone who says “proggie” …..

      2. I’d prefer a polycentric system of law produced by a marketplace of insurance companies, security agencies and arbitration firms. Pretty please.

        1. As much as i hate to agree with you about anything, oh my god yes.

          1. Would you prefer that I tell you to go fuck your own face? That wouldn’t be my first instinct, but if it helps you not agree with me I’d be happy to help. Cheers.

            1. I mean, i’m pretty well endowed, but not THAT well endowed. Much like i said to your mom the other night, i’ll have to take a pass on that one.

              1. Alright, suit yourself. (not a euphemism)

        2. marketplace of insurance companies

          You are excluded because of a pre-existing condition of Citizen X not liking you.

          security agencies

          “LOOK AT WHAT HE WROTE! He was *asking for it!*” “We ain’t helping him, due to breach of fine print…”

          and arbitration firms

          From: Arbitrary Standards Arbitration Firm, LLC.

          CC: Free Society

          “Your application has been lost for the fifth time. Must be a Ghost in the Machine. Please re-submit your arbitrary application for arbitration. Thank you, and have a pleasant day….”

          1. I’ll be taking my business elsewhere, thank you.

            1. It’s like he doesn’t know about the DMV.

              1. Did you misspell “pointless”?

                Perhaps this is simply a matter of opinion….

  8. In a new book, “Against Democracy,” Georgetown University political philosopher Jason Brennan adds to the list. Voters are irrational, ignorant, and incompetent, he argues

    If you honestly believe that, then why do you believe in freedom? If voters are ignorant and incompetent, how can you justify allowing them to run their own lives?

    It makes eggheads feel good to think that everyone but them is stupid and irrational. Thinking that, however is the first step on the road to hell. Understand that when you say the voters or this or that group of people are irrational and stupid such they should not have a vote in their own government, you are necessarily saying that you are not. Otherwise, you can’t claim to have knowledge of their ignorance. Once you buy into the conceit that some people are rational and worthy of a voice in their own destiny but most are not, you have bought into the underlying premise behind all forms of authoritarianism. Freedom necessarily entails the embrace of a radical form of egalitarianism. And self appointed pinhead elites just can’t take that and almost inevitably end up embracing authoritarianism and rejecting freedom no matter how much they claim otherwise.

    1. “”Voters are irrational, ignorant, and incompetent, he argues””

      Only voters?

      The philosophy of nanny staters.

    2. If you honestly believe that, then why do you believe in freedom? If voters are ignorant and incompetent, how can you justify allowing them to run their own lives?

      Because the stupidity is specific to voting-like acts (at least in some formulations of the idea):

      – Regular decisions: you have a large degree of control, and reap the majority of the benefits/consequences. People get many chances to learn from their mistakes over a lifetime, and therefore even very dumb people can decent decisions overall. And if someone doesn’t it’s mostly their problem, not mine.
      – Voting: Your vote almost never has an effect on the outcome, the outcomes themselves are vague and spread out over large amounts of people. Being the world’s best informed voter does fuck all. So why bother? Everyone instead votes/gets involved for social signalling purposes. Hence why we got “Drain the swamp” vs. “I’m with her” for the general election.

      If we had to vote on car designs, instead of just buying the ones we wanted, we’d be gloriously fucked.

      1. Then don’t vote. That argument proves too much. If it is the case that your vote doesn’t matter, then allowing people as a whole to vote doesn’t matter either. You can’t have it both ways.

        Moreover, if people in general are stupid and irrational, no group of them no matter how small is going to be any more likely to give a rational result than the public at large. In fact, the smaller the group, the less the chances of the decision being positively affected by collective wisdom.,

    3. What a person votes for is different from what he would choose when it’s his own money on the line. Voting lets people try to get things from a government that they could never get on their own. People spend more time picking out their next car than they do the person who’s going to be telling them what to do (and what car they’ll be allowed to buy, but they don’t really connect the two).

      Investigate Public Choice writings for more details.

      1. The point that no one seems to be making is that if we had a popular vote result, rather than the electoral college, then in an election like 2000 where the results are close and are contested, it would be contested nationwide. Furthermore, the incentives for shenanigans in the voting — which seem to be mostly in the big cities — would be much higher. That is two big reasons to want to keep the electoral college system.

  9. Can we abolish “hot takes”? Not just the practice, but the term?

    1. Hot Take: No

    2. ^nice hot take

  10. Electoral college should count districts, not states, to apportion electors. It would be more competitive across the land so-to-speak, and spread political interest around to more of the country; one would see Repub in California swing district, Dem campaign in Texas swing district, etc.

    1. The states could do that. Ironically, that would likely make the situation even worse for Democrats. Hillary got all of New York and California’s electoral votes. Currently there are 14 Republicans in Congress from California and 7 or 8 from New York. Under your system Hillary would not have won the votes from those districts. Trump would have lost some votes as well but given the Republican majority in the House, he would have won more than he lost.

      Your system is basically leaving the election to the House, which I am not sure is a good idea.

    2. Dividing more states’ electoral votes by congressional district winners would magnify the worst features of the Electoral College system.

      If the district approach were used nationally, it would be less fair and less accurately reflect the will of the people than the current system. In 2004, Bush won 50.7% of the popular vote, but 59% of the districts. Although Bush lost the national popular vote in 2000, he won 55% of the country’s congressional districts. In 2012, the Democratic candidate would have needed to win the national popular vote by more than 7 percentage points in order to win the barest majority of congressional districts. In 2014, Democrats would have needed to win the national popular vote by a margin of about nine percentage points in order to win a majority of districts.

      Nationwide, there were only maybe 35 “battleground” districts that were expected to be competitive in the 2016 presidential election. With the present deplorable 48 state-level winner-take-all system, 38+ states (including California and Texas) are ignored in presidential elections; however, 98% of the nation’s congressional districts would be ignored if a district-level winner-take-all system were used nationally

      The district approach would not provide incentive for presidential candidates to poll, visit, advertise, and organize in a particular state or focus the candidates’ attention to issues of concern to the state.

      1. I agree Susan. It is a dumb idea.

    3. Awarding electoral votes by congressional district could result in no candidate winning the needed majority of electoral votes. That would throw the process into Congress to decide the election, regardless of the popular vote in any district or state or throughout the country.

      Because there are generally more close votes on district levels than states as whole, district elections increase the opportunity for error. The larger the voting base, the less opportunity there is for an especially close vote.

      Also, a second-place candidate could still win the White House without winning the national popular vote.

      The National Popular Vote bill is a way to make every person’s vote equal and matter to their candidate because it guarantees that the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states and DC becomes President.

    4. Nebraska in 2008 was the first time any state in the past century gave one electoral vote to the candidate who did not win the state.

      2016 is the first time an electoral vote in Maine will be given to the candidate who did not win the state.

      In Maine, where they award electoral votes by congressional district, the closely divided 2nd congressional district received campaign events in 2008 (whereas Maine’s 1st reliably Democratic district was ignored).
      In 2012, the whole state was ignored.
      77% of Maine voters support a national popular vote for President
      In 2008, the Maine Senate passed the National Popular Vote bill

      Republican leaders in Maine proposed and passed a constitutional amendment that, if passed at referendum, would require a 2/3rds vote in all future redistricting decisions. Then they changed their minds and wanted to pass a majority-only plan to make redistricting in their favor even easier.

    5. In Nebraska, which uses the district method, the 2008 presidential campaigns did not pay the slightest attention to the people of Nebraska’s reliably Republican 1st and 3rd congressional districts because it was a foregone conclusion that McCain would win the most popular votes in both of those districts. The issues relevant to voters of the 2nd district (the Omaha area) mattered, while the (very different) issues relevant to the remaining (mostly rural) 2/3rds of the state were irrelevant.
      In 2012, the whole state was ignored.
      74% of Nebraska voters support a national popular vote for President

      After Obama won 1 congressional district in Nebraska in 2008,Nebraska Republicans moved that district to make it more Republican to avoid another GOP loss there, and the leadership committee of the Nebraska Republican Party promptly adopted a resolution requiring all GOP elected officials to favor overturning their district method for awarding electoral votes or lose the party’s support.

  11. Trump’s unexpected victory and loss in the popular vote unleashed a torrent of hot takes from Democrats and liberals calling for the abolition of the Electoral College.

    In the absence of an Electoral College, wouldn’t Clinton’s minuscule popular margin have triggered a run-off? If so, what deluded twit seriously thinks she would have survived a second round?

    1. The proposals to replace the EC generally involve first past the post not majority-runoff as the method. So, Clinton would have won since she had the most votes, even though she didn’t have a majority.

      I didn’t say it was a good idea.

      1. So, Clinton would have won since she had the most votes

        Not a given. Clinton LOST the popular vote outside of California: she won CA by almost 4 million votes, but the country as a whole by only 3 million votes. And Republicans in CA had a ballot of top-two primaries where they had a choice to vote for a Democrat or another Democrat, or to weigh in on the presidential ticket in a state where the Electoral College was a sure win for Clinton, and where Trump rationally did not campaign. So possibly a million or so CA Republicans sat it out.

        Change the rules to popular vote, and Trump still might have won.

        1. Change the rules to popular vote, and Trump still might have won.

          Agreed, if the rules had been changed before the election, and not after, as so many people seem to want/think is acceptable.

    2. A 2.1% margin is not “minuscule.”

      In virtually every other election in the country, the candidate with the most votes wins.

      1. It’s true that it’s not minuscule, but its size is irrelevant since that doesn’t win the election. Moreover, almost all of that margin comes from a single state. That’s fine and all but preventing a single state from dominating the country is part of the reason why the EC exists. Also, I doubt CA’s outcome would have been the same if everybody knew in advance that the popular vote counted and moreover if there was a non-Democrat on the ballot for Senate.

        1. Most Americans don’t ultimately care whether their presidential candidate wins or loses in their state or district . . . they care whether he/she wins the White House. Voters want to know, that no matter where they live, even if they were on the losing side, their vote actually was equally counted and mattered to their candidate. Most Americans think it is wrong that the candidate with the most popular votes can lose. We don’t allow this in any other election in our representative republic.

          Because of state-by-state winner-take-all laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution. . .

          In 2000, a shift of 269 popular votes in Florida would have elected the candidate who led the national popular vote by 537,179 popular votes.

          California Democratic votes in 2016 were 6.4% of the total national popular vote.

          The 4.3 million vote difference in California wouldn’t have put Clinton over the top in the popular vote total without the additional 61.5 million votes she received in other states.

          California cast 10.3% of the total national popular vote.
          31.9% Trump, 62.3% Clinton

          In 2012, California cast 10.2% of the national popular vote.
          About 62% Democratic

          California has 10.2% of Electoral College votes.

          8 small western states, with less than a third of California’s population, provided Bush with a bigger margin (1,283,076) than California provided Kerry (1,235,659).

          1. Most Americans don’t ultimately care whether their presidential candidate wins or loses in their state or district . . . they care whether he/she wins the White House

            That’s a nice “just so” story but it lacks evidence.

            The 4.3 million vote difference in California wouldn’t have put Clinton over the top in the popular vote total without the additional 61.5 million votes she received in other states.

            And yet if it wasn’t for those 4.3 million votes from a single state, she doesn’t win the popular vote at all. Hence why this election makes for a poor case to justify replacing the current winner-takes-all EC system with national popular vote. None of the other 49 states, at least in this election, could say that their exclusion from the process would have changed the NPV outcome.

            Now, NPV might be what’s “best” for a certain definition of “best” but that case needs to be made on its own merits not purely because the EC and the popular vote didn’t agree (which is bound to happen).

            1. Susan has spent a lot of time and energy going through statistics to prove that she wants the demoncraps to win, all the time.
              The Founders came up with a system that tried to prevent two wolves and one sheep deciding what’s for dinner.
              As someone who doesn’t want a Soviet Amerika, which is where total demoncrap control would take us, I thank God that they did.

              1. retiredfire|12.30.16 @ 7:19AM|#
                Susan has spent a lot of time and energy going through statistics to prove that she wants the demoncraps to win, all the time.

                With hard work, you too can achieve literacy!
                Maybe.

  12. Leftists do not think things through to their logical conclusion. Doing away with the EC would effectively disenfranchise most of the country from the process of electing a president. That would have severe consequences to the point I have no doubt at all, it would split the country apart permanently. Now you have the malcontent losers talking about Calexit. Hey, go for it, but don’t be looking for a bailout from the rest of us because it’s not going to happen. Maybe they can get Canada or Mexico to bail them out. But never mind, it’s just another of their brain dead ideas like moving to Canada and getting rid of the EC like it’s just something you can do with a pen and a phone.

    1. The majority of California counties would of course vote against Calexit. But the elites on the Cal coast are happy to shove their will down people’s throats, so long as they are doing the shoving. And if they can’t get an electoral majority across the US anymore, they are happy to just cut the size down to one where they can get their way, and try again.

      1. Can you even imagine what type of government they would set up after the secession? But surely, all progs would flock there and then we build a wall to keep them in.

        1. Can you even imagine what type of government they would set up after the secession?

          Probably a central, unitary, unicameral government with proportional representation and a Prime Minister chosen by the ruling party/coalition rather than directly elected. They all seem to fetishize the British way. Even though it has resulted in many Conservative Party governments over the years.

          1. Even though it has resulted in many Conservative Party governments over the years.

            There would be super-representatives with lifetime positions to prevent just such a catastrophe.

        2. As soon as the punitive taxation started, I would think any silicon valley company that has shareholders would be obligated to try to move their headquarters back into the remaining US. The tech gods would abandon California to be Venezuela without oil, then set about fucking up Colorado and Texas.

          1. Cali has oil, the greenie weenies just don’t let most of it get pumped out.

      2. Let them learn hard lessons. Though forcing the other people in your electorate to secede from the rest of the country is no worse, and certainly no better, than forcing the rest of the people in your electorate to stay in the union.

          1. *no worse. damn keyboard today…

    2. Also think of the ballot stuffing and recount opportunities of a pure popular vote.

      1. Because of state-by-state winner-take-all laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution. . .

        In 2000, a shift of 269 popular votes in Florida would have elected the candidate who led the national popular vote by 537,179 popular votes.

      2. No statewide recount, much less a nationwide recount, would have been warranted in any of the nation’s 58 presidential elections if the outcome had been based on the nationwide count.

        The state-by-state winner-take-all system is not a firewall, but instead causes unnecessary fires.
        “It’s an arsonist itching to burn down the whole neighborhood by torching a single house.” Hertzberg

        The 2000 presidential election was an artificial crisis created because of Bush’s lead of 537 popular votes in Florida. Gore’s nationwide lead was 537,179 popular votes (1,000 times larger). Given the minuscule number of votes that are changed by a typical statewide recount (averaging only 274 votes); no one would have requested a recount or disputed the results in 2000 if the national popular vote had controlled the outcome. Indeed, no one (except perhaps almanac writers and trivia buffs) would have cared that one of the candidates happened to have a 537-vote margin in Florida.

        Recounts are far more likely in the current system of state by-state winner-take-all methods.

        The possibility of recounts should not even be a consideration in debating the merits of a national popular vote. No one has ever suggested that the possibility of a recount constitutes a valid reason why state governors or U.S. Senators, for example, should not be elected by a popular vote.

      3. The question of recounts comes to mind in connection with presidential elections only because the current system creates artificial crises and unnecessary disputes.

        We do and would vote state by state. Each state manages its own election and is prepared to conduct a recount.

        Given that there is a recount only once in about 160 statewide elections, and given there is a presidential election once every four years, one would expect a recount about once in 640 years with the National Popular Vote. The actual probability of a close national election would be even less than that because recounts are less likely with larger pools of votes.

        The average change in the margin of victory as a result of a statewide recount was a mere 296 votes in a 10-year study of 2,884 elections.

        The common nationwide date for meeting of the Electoral College has been set by federal law as the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December. With both the current system and the National Popular Vote, all counting, recounting, and judicial proceedings must be conducted so as to reach a “final determination” prior to the meeting of the Electoral College. In particular, the U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear that the states are expected to make their “final determination” six days before the Electoral College meets.

    3. “Hey, go for it, but don’t be looking for a bailout from the rest of us”

      What bailout? We here in California pay more in taxes than we receive. Don’t expect us to take o a portion of your broke ass country’s debt. Californians didn’t support your idiotic wars.

      1. We here in California pay more in taxes than we receive.

        Gross federal collections from CA, fiscal 2012: $293 billion
        Gross federal spending in CA, fiscal 2013: $344 billion

        Do try again.

        1. Hey!
          You can’t use un-cherry-picked figures.

      2. Californians didn’t support your idiotic wars

        I’d like to see a legislative record supporting this claim. And that still leaves the other 90% of the federal debt.

    4. In 1969, The U.S. House of Representatives voted for a national popular vote by a 338?70 margin. It was endorsed by Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and various members of Congress who later ran for Vice President and President such as then-Congressman George H.W. Bush, and then-Senator Bob Dole.

      Newt Gingrich summarized his support for the National Popular Vote bill by saying: “No one should become president of the United States without speaking to the needs and hopes of Americans in all 50 states. ? America would be better served with a presidential election process that treated citizens across the country equally. The National Popular Vote bill accomplishes this in a manner consistent with the Constitution and with our fundamental democratic principles.”

      The bill was approved this year by a unanimous bipartisan House committee vote in both Georgia (16 electoral votes) and Missouri (10).

      On February 4, 2016 the Arizona House of Representatives passed the bill 40-16-4.
      Two-thirds of the Republicans and two-thirds of the Democrats in the Arizona House of Representatives sponsored the bill.
      In January 2016, two-thirds of the Arizona Senate sponsored the bill.

      On February 12, 2014, the Oklahoma Senate passed the bill by a 28?18 margin.

      1. I wager it was because Republicans would be winning an NPV at that time. Now it’s Democrats’ turn.

    5. Because of state-by-state winner-take-all laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution. . .

      Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in 2015 was correct when he said
      “The nation as a whole is not going to elect the next president,”
      “The presidential election will not be decided by all states, but rather just 12 of them.

      Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind.

      With the end of the primaries, without the National Popular Vote bill in effect, the political relevance of 70% of all Americans was finished for the presidential election.

      In the 2016 general election campaign

      Over half (57%) of the campaign events were held in just 4 states (Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio).

      Virtually all (94%) of the campaign events were in just 12 states (containing only 30% of the country’s population).

      Over 87% of both Romney and Obama campaign offices were in just the then 12 swing states. The few campaign offices in the 38 remaining states were for fund-raising, volunteer phone calls, and arranging travel to battleground states.

    6. Before this election, in Gallup polls since they began asking in 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states) (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided).

      Support for a national popular vote has been strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in every state surveyed. In the 41 red, blue, and purple states surveyed, overall support has been in the 67-81% range – in rural states, in small states, in Southern and border states, in big states, and in other states polled.

      Most Americans don’t ultimately care whether their presidential candidate wins or loses in their state or district . . . they care whether he/she wins the White House. Voters want to know, that no matter where they live, they matter to their candidate. Most Americans think it is wrong that the candidate with the most where they live, even if they were on the losing side, their vote actually was equally counted and mattered popular votes can lose. We don’t allow this in any other election in our representative republic.

    7. The National Popular Vote bill was approved this year by a unanimous bipartisan House committee vote in both Georgia (16 electoral votes) and Missouri (10).
      Since 2006, the bill has passed 34 state legislative chambers in 23 rural, small, medium, large, Democratic, Republican and purple states with 261 electoral votes, including one house in Arizona (11), Arkansas (6), Maine (4), Michigan (16), Nevada (6), New Mexico (5), North Carolina (15), and Oklahoma (7), and both houses in Colorado (9).

      1. While it seems like it will soon command the majority of electoral votes, I doubt the National Popular Vote movement will survive an “upset” election whereby a number of states award their electoral votes to a candidate that their own population did not support.

        1. The National Popular Vote bill says: “Any member state may withdraw from this agreement, except that a withdrawal occurring six months or less before the end of a President’s term shall not become effective until a President or Vice President shall have been qualified to serve the next term.”

          1. So the repeal bill gets passed the day the new President is inaugurated, and then that clause is toothless. Maybe some steam will have run out of the repeal movement by then, but if the current election is any indication, people can get pretty fired up about outcomes they don’t like and can stay that way for months.

        2. Hmm, it seems I did not read your comment carefully enough. The bill has not passed in states with 261 electoral votes. It has only passed in states with 165 electoral votes. That is a lot further from the 270 needed to change the outcome.

      2. Yeah, no thank you.

  13. I think things are fine the way they are. I certainly don’t think we need to change anything just because Hillary lost. I wouldn’t think we need to change things if Hillary had won either.

    One thing I think we should do is move inauguration day forward.

    Giving the outgoing ideologically rigid President two and a half months to cause all kinds of mayhem for someone else coming in with a different ideology is ridiculous.

    I imagine when roads were mud and there was no electricity, the winter slowed down both travel and messages, and the incoming President may have needed that much time to assemble his cabinet and get up to speed.

    The days of snail mail and horse and buggy are over.

    It’s standard practice for leadership changes at large corporations to get rid of the guy that’s leaving as quickly as possible. Most well run companies will pay you out your final 30 days as soon as you give your 30 day notice–because leaving someone who just isn’t psychologically with the program anymore at the controls is just bad management.

    We go six whole weeks between the time the last President is fired to the time the next President takes over. We should probably do the change over at the New Year or shortly thereafter, and if the incoming President wants to ask questions of the outgoing President after that, he can always call him or invite him over.

    1. “We go six [ten] whole weeks between the time the last President is fired to the time the next President takes over.”

      Fixed!

    2. “I think things are fine the way they are. I certainly don’t think we need to change anything just because Hillary lost. I wouldn’t think we need to change things if Hillary had won either”

      Well, you’re just wrong. You know why? Because TRUMP IS PRESIDENT! That could have never happened if something isn’t wrong!

    3. They already did it once. Used to inaugurate in Mar.

    4. There was a reason at one time to wait that long for inauguration. Both transportation and communication took wuite a bit longer at the time. That reason is no longer relevant.

  14. Donald Trump was officially elected as the next president of these United States on December 19…

    No, he wasn’t. Not until next week when Congress counts the electoral votes. WE STILL HAVE TIME, PEOPLE.

    1. /Jill Stein…

      1. …is his doctor. And she even used vaccines!

    2. Look over here, we found a box containing hundreds of electoral votes that went uncounted. Congratulations, Faith Spotted Eagle, for becoming the 45th POTUS!

      1. But will he free the buffalo at long last?

        1. Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

    3. “”No, he wasn’t. Not until next week when Congress counts the electoral votes. WE STILL HAVE TIME, PEOPLE.””

      Right? lol.

      The left fails to understand what tampering with an election really is. Sending hate mail to the EC to demand they change their vote and such is far more tampering with the election process than anything for which the Russians are being blamed.

      1. Urging EC members to be faithless electors is NOT election tampering, nor is Russians hackers releasing true emails revealing what Clinton and her minions actually believe. The voters and the electors are entitled to make up their minds about who they want as president.

        Tampering is stuff like stuffing ballot boxes, or changing votes via electronic hacks.

        1. Urging EC members to be faithless electors is NOT election tampering

          Strictly speaking, no. But if deals or threats were made, that’s a different matter.

          1. In some cases, threats were made.

  15. “The Founders envisioned a system in which well-read elites would be responsible for choosing the president, in theory as a check against the masses.”

    That may have been the case in 1787-88, but soon they realized they had a Rube Goldberg contraption by which the a vice-Presidential candidate could become President.

    So they tweaked the system in the Twelfth Amendment, ratified in 1804, which adapted the Electoral College to the realities of national parties who expected electors to vote for their candidates.

    I’m all for looking to the wisdom of the framers, so long as we realize that there are parts of the Constitution which came after 1788.

    1. The country was an is a union of states. The House of Representatives is the only vehicle for direct representation in the federal government. Everything else is either appointing, like the judiciary or elected based on some form of state votes not direct popular vote. We have a federal system of duel sovereignty. It was never designed or meant to be a direct democracy.

      1. I love noting the use of the plural for “United States” in the 13th Amendment: “within the United States, or any place subject to *their* jurisdiction” [emphasis added].

        This was the antislavery amendment proposed at the end of the Civil War and ratified at the end of 1865 – if (as we’re constantly told) the Civil War turned “United States” from plural to singular (“their” to “its”), the 13th Amendment would have been the place to do it – finishing off the war with a bang by abolishing the institution which led to to the war.

        But those crafty states’-rights fanatics used plural language in the very text of the 13th Amendment, those bastards!

        1. It can be both true that the Civil War was the turning point and that, at its immediate end, the prior understanding was still commonplace.

          1. It affects the legitimacy of the “new understanding” if the 13th Amendment framers still thought it was plural.

    2. I want my confederacy damn it. The orginal or confederacy 2: war of northern aggression.

  16. Interesting idea. Terrible, but interesting. Say, here’s a thought. Rather than try to find some sort of bullet-proof system for electing a single leader of an entire, fairly large country in such a way that the will of the majority is respected but the rights of the minority are secure against mob rule once every four years, maybe we should just make it so the election doesn’t matter so much. How in the hell can you possibly expect one person to do the modern-day job description of POTUS and not fuck something up? The easiest, best, simplest solution is to turn the Presidency into a national cheerleader. If people are really that concerned about democracy, maybe they shouldn’t be arguing about how to elect a dictator.

    1. We really have. The election really doesn’t matter that much. Our problem is that the country is infested with self absorbed nitwits who like to pretend it matters so much. Will Trump being elected make things different than they would have been had Hillary been elected? Sure. If it didn’t, there would be no point in having an election.

      But is it going to change the entire nature of the country and our government the way something like a military coup or a full scale revolution would? Hell no. It won’t mean jack squat in the short term to most people.

      I don’t think the stakes are nearly as high as the half wits writing about them think they were.

      1. This may explain some of my own nonchalance about who gets elected President. I never really though it through, though.

    2. I was thinking that this is where a Judicial and Legislative branch fit in. But now you have the executive just doing all sorts of stuff with a ‘pen and phone’. I’m betting that we’re going to soon see the left rediscover the problem with executive overreach.

      1. They are only doing those things because Congress allows it. Congress has the ultimate responsibility for oversight and control of the executive.

        All executives are going to use whatever power is available to them. That is a fact of life. If their doing that results in them having too much power, the blame for that lies with Congress. The system doesn’t rely on electing philosopher kings who refuse to abuse their power to the Presidency. The system relies on Congress having enough self interest in maintaining its power to keep the President in check no matter who he is.

        1. Well, apparently, Obama just stripped thousands or millions of people of their 2nd amendment rights with his pen and phone and Congress did nothing. Didn’t he also just decree offshore drilling off limits, forever, and Congress did what?

          1. And that is Congress’ fault and ultimately the voters’ fault for allowing Congress to be so negligent. The problem is not the Constitution or the political system. The problem is that we have people in Congress who don’t give a shit about the system or the institution or much of anything other than their side getting its way by any means necessary and voters who refuse to hold them to account for that and in fact seem to agree with them in many cases.

            No tweaking of the Constitution is going to fix that.

            1. Congress knows that if they make tough decisions that they might not get re-elected. Much easier to do nothing and let the President make the tough decisions. Then if it goes badly you can run against it in the next election.

              Same reason they have delegated so much power to federal departments. Let them urinate off the voters.

            2. The problem is that we have people in Congress who don’t give a shit about the system or the institution or much of anything other than their side getting its way getting re-elected by any means necessary and voters who refuse to hold them to account for that and in fact seem to agree with them in many cases.
              They’ve given themselves so many good perks that they don’t give a rat’s ass about anything but staying in power. Having to be up for re-election every two years, doesn’t give them time for much else – thus they abdicate responsibility to govern to the executive.
              Let’s remove every out-of-pay check benefit to being in Congress and make that 27th Amendment say that any increase in compensation will not take effect until the current member is replaced.

          2. Liberals love having a pen and a phone when it’s their person office. They can’t think far enough to consider what happens when the next persons get the pen and phone.

            1. Exactly. They want the government to be this hulking, imposing golem that does their bidding for them, then they act totally surprised when that golem turns and smashes their face in.

    3. How about we just break up the United States into 5 or 6 different nations? Wouldn’t that make any one election less important?

      1. I don’t think most people would call the election of 1860 unimportant.

      2. Fuck me – you finally said something worthwhile.

        Of course, that would make your dictatorship of the proletariat harder to implement and sustain – them proles don’t like it when their neighbors are richer than they are.

        After all, the revolution can’t end until it meets itself.

        1. He was being sarcastic. And the sad fact is as much as I would enjoy watching California turn into Venezuela as these retards finally got all they wanted, it would cause the rest of us a lot of problems no matter how hard we tried to ignore it. So, we are stuck saving these retards from themselves.

          1. Seems like an easy problem to solve. Commiefornia invades its neighbors, nuke the 2 biggest cities and tell them more nukes are incoming unless they knock it off. Unless they purge their hippies, they won’t anything to retaliate with.

      3. ‘break up’?

        Don’t you mean ‘fuse’?

        It’s in 50 pieces right now.

        You’re just pissed because the majority of those pieces told your hag to piss off.

    4. “maybe we should just make it so the election doesn’t matter so much”

      This is true. If the federal government did little to nothing aside from national defense, a shitty candidate winning the presidency would not be such a catastrophe.

      As usual, the root of the problem is centralized power.

  17. I tried to explain to some lefty friends that the “popular vote” is irrelevant because that’s not what the campaigns were focused on winning. The electoral wins the race thus Trump didn’t spend much if any time in California because it would waste valuable time spent better elsewhere. Not to mention a big reason why Clinton lost is because she spent too much money and time trying to get a huge popular defeat instead of actually winning the election.

    No one knows what the popular vote totals would’ve been had that been what both campaigned for.

    1. If Trump had held rallies in places like Buffalo you can bet he would have picked up a shitload of votes in the industrial regions of the East.

    2. No one knows what they are now. Unless I’m way off, I don’t think absentee or provisional ballots are counted in a lot of states unless the aggregate number is larger than the margin of victory. Assuming a lot of absentee ballots come from overseas soldiers, they might skew in Trump’s direction.

      I also think that if we did a thorough state by state audit, we’d find a lot more situations like Detroit. I mean, Trump might be wrong about “millions” of illegals voting in California, but probably only by an order of magnitude. As long as Democrats in deep blue, corrupt-as-shit states get to determine exactly how fair their elections will be, the popular vote has no more credibility than any other government statistic.

      That’s the thing about Trump’s win — he has a mandate solely due to beating the margin of fraud.

  18. Here’s a better way. Hold a national lottery to determine the 538 electors (drawing an appropriate number from the voter rolls of each state) and then let those people choose the president.

    Better: State legislators appoint electors. Electors vote as they please. The States elect the president of the States. The End.

    1. That would actually be a way to massively reduce the power of the Presidency. A President elected by such a means would have almost no democratic legitimacy and be virtually powerless in the face of Congress who would.

      1. Which is exactly why it was originally designed that way in the first place. The popular vote wasn’t even reported on until the election of 1824, which was the tenth election, and even then some states still weren’t letting the people vote.

    2. Why hold the lottery before the election? Why not pick 538 random ballots and go from there?

      Imagine if the candidates didn’t know who to pander to?

      Also, could you imagine the horrible fate of being picked? Look what harassment the progs put the electors through this year. Imagine if you were just opened your mail and found that you had been selected as an elector? It would be jury duty times a million worse.

      And with my loser aura, I’m sure the first year they put this in place, they would somehow pick Shriek, AmSoc and Tulpa (c’mon with as many sock puppets as he runs he is bound to be picked) as electors. They would all come here to expound on why they are voting for X and it would kill us all.

      1. The electors could be secret, only choosing to reveal information if they wish to. There are ways to do it.

      2. Being a lottery elector would be cool. I mean, you don’t think Trump would have sent Ivanka to your house wearing nothing but a smile and carrying nothing but a ballot?

  19. There are a lot of people who still do not realize that Trump will be President in just over 20 days. The wailing and gnashing of teeth will be epic.

    1. Monday January 23rd will be quite an entertaining day. That will be the first real day they wake up and realize big daddy Obama is no longer President and Trump is. It is going to be delicious.

      1. I hope they have lots of safe spaces set up.

  20. “Voters are irrational, ignorant, and incompetent”

    You can say that again. Eric! How about a dictatorship of the proletariat? Can we put people who think that Obama is a Kenyan and the millions of people who think the illegals are voting in a work camp, where they have to toil at the jobs that Mexican immigrants have to work at? I’m all for having people walk in the other’s shoes.

    1. Tell me again, what it is you do for a living, that you have walked in other people’s shoes?

      1. When you shop at Goodwill, you frequently walk around in other people’s shoes.

    2. How about no dictatorships and nobody gets to enslave anybody else? Oh, but that would make it harder for provincial dumbasses such as yourself to punish people who disagree with you, other than by subjecting them to your dumbass provincial harangues.

      1. He was kidding. You know, kidding. That’s why he had his hand in his pants when he said it. Because it was a joke.

        1. I know the thought of literally enslaving people who don’t think San Francisco is the seat of enlightenment gets amsoc as hard as a diamond, but jeez.

        2. I don’t think amsoc was kidding at all.
          And it isn’t voters, who are irrational, ignorant and incompetent. It is progressives, who are all of those things.

  21. Wow, this shit is just unbelievable:

    Obama expels Russian diplomats

    The sore loser jackass is going to do as much damage to this country as he can right up the bitter end. He’s lost his fucking mind.

    1. He is a community organizer. Why would anyone expect him to be anything but a classless asshole.

    2. I think he believes this turd he just laid on the Oval Office chair is going to hurt the other TEAM?. I think what it will likely do is be the end of TEAM? BLUE. Or War.

    3. “The sore loser”

      What loser? He won both elections in both the electoral college and the popular vote.

      1. There’s not much difference between a loser and a lame duck.

      2. And he helped usher in the biggest Republican ruling majority in a century. I really don’t think he likes being remembered as the savior of the Republican Party. I think he is pretty pissed about that fact.

        1. Obama is a big fan of Abe Lincoln. Maybe he is doing this all in his honor.

        2. Hey John, why don’t you troll somewhere else? This comment board is for people like me that think there is too much government– not boring right-wing apparatchiks like you looking to cram their abortion restrictions and asshole wars upon the rest of us. Why don’t you go fuck yourself?

          1. Because one of my few weaknesses is picking on stupid people. So as long as people like you keep coming here, Hit and Run will be a temptation I cannot resist.

            1. So, yeah, you’re just a right-wing troll. I get it.

              1. And you are a retard. What about it?

          2. Wanting to shift defense spending to other government programs doesn’t mean you want less government, especially since you want to increase total spending on top of it.

          3. This comment board is for people like me that think there is too much government

            BAHAHAHAHA…

          4. This comment board is for people like me that think there is too much government

            BAAAHHAAAHAHAAHAHAAAHAHAAHAAHAHHAAHAHAHHAAAAAAAAA

          5. Nothing says smaller government than the government owning the means of production and dictating what every citizen is allowed to do at all times in all things.

            Fuck off.

    4. Oh crap! Just viewed that on the news here. That one, so not very good. This one is a bona fide problem, and Troomp better fix it ASAP.

    5. Christ, if he did that, what the hell won’t he do? The guy is dangerous at this point and people are scared of Trump? Holy shit.

      1. Obama said the State Department declared as “persona non grata” 35 Russian intelligence operatives and is closing two Russian compounds in New York and Maryland that were used by Russian personnel for “intelligence-related purposes”. The State Department originally said the 35 were diplomats.

        So is it the case that Obama is completely incompetent and didn’t figure out they were doing this until a month before he leaves office or is he a lying sack of shit who is throwing a temper tantrum at the expense of US interests and credibility? It has to be one or the other.

        1. I don’t see why it can’t be both.

        2. Eh, kicking out previously tolerated spies seems like the sort of thing that basically serves more as a stern warning than an actual provocation.

      2. I wouldn’t go as far as “dangerous”. Pretty sure the Russians, thin-skinned as they can be, realise this guy won’t be in power for long.

        Just let him throw his tantrum in a corner.

        1. I guess it depends on whether the damage he does is easily reversible or serious, permanent crap. Plus, they now have the ability to blame any off-books retaliation on Mossad.

  22. “Yes, Mr. Trump won under the rules, but the rules should change so that a presidential election reflects the will of Americans and promotes a more participatory democracy,” opined the New York Times editorial board.

    Screw that. I’m not really able to say anything worthwhile about the EC vs the popular vote but I can definitively state that 51% is not ‘the will of Americans’. Especially 51% of the 51% of Americans who can be bothered to cast a ballot.

    If the NYT is willing to concede that majority votes must be won by 67% (or even 75% or more) of the *total* population, *then* I’d be willing to concede that such a vote represents ‘the will of Americans’.

    Uber got kicked out of Houston (or wherever) on the vote of 17% of the population.

    1. And you can have more ‘participatory democracy’ when the federal government gets neutered. I really do not want the people of California or Oregon or Maryland to have a say in my day-to-day life.

      1. I don’t think the federal government could have grown even close to the behemoth it is now if all the states were not addicted to federal tax payer money.

    2. Uber got kicked out of Houston (or wherever) on the vote of 17% of the population.

      It was Austin, and the portion of the population here that voted in favor of the law was like 9%, versus 8% against.

    3. Every presidential election, “None of the above” wins the popular vote by a landslide.

      Maybe we really should respect the popular will then?

  23. I don’t like direct election of POTUS or even Senators.

    Direct election of Representatives is a great idea, but it’s been bastardized to the point of uselessness. Gerrymandering basically fixes the elections, but even worse is the fact that there’s TOO FEW Representatives for a population of 300+ million. 450 Reps for 330,000,000 people is NOT representative democracy.

    If we had, say, 10,000 representatives it would at least be what it claims to be. Imagine all the shit that vanishes with 10,000 reps:
    1) Lobbying becomes far too expensive to bother – at best it gets extremely local.
    2) Committees have to expand and it gets harder for one Rep to hold onto one for long
    3) Bills either have to get shorter or they take so long to write they don’t get written
    4) Filibustering is more likely, preventing bill passage
    5) The pain in the ass becomes less of a career

    I don’t know what it would to for pork barrel spending. On first guess it would increase, but 10,000 people trying to get pet projects attached seems more of a pain in the ass than 450 doing it, and the likely outcome is that the pet projects would absorb over 100% of the budget.
    5)

    1. I’m fine with direct election – IMO they need to go back to being *state* paid and not paid by the Federal government. And representatives should be paid by their districts, not the state. That should cause some *interesting* gerrymandering.

      I don’t want any doubts in their minds where their ultimate loyalty should be.

    2. “If we had, say, 10,000 representatives”

      You really want 10,000 more congress critters with their paws in the big taxpayer cookie jar? That’s insane, we don’t even need the ones we have and it sure as hell should not be a full time job.

      1. Fill the swamp.

        1. To overflowing.

      2. I think 10,000 is a bit much, but we’ve had the same number of representatives since 1910 even though the number of people in this country has tripled since then. Representation should be based on the number of people being represented, not on the total number of representatives.

    3. I do agree that there should be more representatives. There is nothing magic about the number 435.

    4. Try this site: http://www.boldtruth.com/
      The original first proposed entry in the Bill of Rights required that no House district contain more than 50,000 voters.
      That would give us more than 6400, right now.
      There is dispute as to whether this was ratified, or not.

  24. So they have the lottery and I am named an elector.

    For the next 4 to 6 months (however long till the actual electoral college actually votes) I get to be treated like the second coming of Michael Jordan in high school as every group out there tries to influence me to get me to vote for their candidate and as a practical matter there is basically nothing anyone could do to prevent me from just selling my vote to the highest bidder.

    Even worse than that however is there is nothing we could do to prevent someone from kidnapping my kids and holding them hostage as a way of ensuring I vote “the right way” and given that my vote would be a matter of public record they would have a way of enforcing I did what they wanted.

    1. Make it a secret ballot.

      1. “Make it a secret ballot.”

        Some states already do. If they hadn’t voluntarily announced it themselves, we’d have no way to know which two electors in Texas voted for Kasich and Paul instead of Trump. It’s still not known for sure which one voted Fiorina for VP (though it was probably the guy who voted for Kasich).

    2. On the other hand, think of the offers from Lena Dunham and others who might offer to “party” with you.

      1. That would be a guaranteed way to get people to vote Republican

  25. How about abolishing the idea that the federal government is any more than a jumped-up mafia running the world’s biggest Ponzi scheme? How about starting with that?

    1. I don’t think you’re going to have to convince any libertarians of that. But the ones who are benefiting from the organized crime gang on the Potomac, you’re never going to convince them, of course for obvious reason.

  26. Does anyone have a good read about some alterntive systems? Something not too technical/stats based?

    Thanks

    1. Try “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson

      1. Didn’t they make all of us public school kids read this book?

        1. I was fortunate enough to be handed Harrison Bergeron in 4th grade by my public school teacher.

          That one stuck with me.

      2. Read it in high school.

  27. I think splitting the Electoral votes according to how each state voted is the best way to go about it.

    It’s stupid that a person can win over 40% of the vote in a state and get 0 to show for it. Plus, 75% of the states might actually vote for it. While there’s no chance 75% would vote for eliminating the EC altogether, because it gives them an unfair amount of impact in the election.

    1. There are good reasons why no state awards their electors proportionally.

      Although the whole-number proportional approach might initially seem to offer the possibility of making every voter in every state relevant in presidential elections, it would not do this in practice.

      The whole number proportional system sharply increases the odds of no candidate getting the majority of electoral votes needed, leading to the selection of the president by the U.S. House of Representatives, regardless of the popular vote anywhere.

      It would not accurately reflect the nationwide popular vote;

      It would reduce the influence of any state, if not all states adopted.

      It would not improve upon the current situation in which four out of five states and four out of five voters in the United States are ignored by presidential campaigns, but instead, would create a very small set of states in which only one electoral vote is in play (while making most states politically irrelevant),

      It would not make every vote equal.

      It would not guarantee the Presidency to the candidate with the most popular votes in the country.

      The National Popular Vote bill is the way to make every person’s vote equal and matter to their candidate because it guarantees that the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states and DC becomes President.

      1. Shorter: That would mean the Republicans could win. Can’t have that!

  28. Voters are irrational, ignorant, and incompetent, he argues

    While journalists and college professors are politically impartial, rational, informed on all the necessary details, and are among the most talented and competent people in America….

    …despite both fields being riddled with people who found themselves incapable of functioning anywhere else in the private sector.

  29. Hey guys,

    Before we abandon participatory democracy maybe we should work on the basics a little. I calculate that one elector where I live in Cali represents about 705,000 voters. In Wyoming one elector equals 190,000 voters. Shouldn’t we have an electoral system where 1 shit kicker vote from Cheyenne does not equal 3.6 Python programmer votes in CA. There’s gotta be support for this sort of system here at Reason. Come on!

    1. Electors don’t represent people. They represent states.

    2. Sure, lets base the right to vote on some kind of IQ test. I don’t think you are going to like not being able to vote any better than you like our current system.

    3. Fun fact: a CS degree does not teach you civics any more than “shit kicking” in Wyoming does.

    4. What are you today AmSock? A mathematician? Statistician? Chemist? Foreign Diplomat? International businessman?

      1. I like how he takes competency in a programming language originally envisioned as a teaching tool for kids, (my 10-year old daughter can already program short text-based games on her Raspberry Pi in it) as the hallmark of intelligence.

        Jeez, next time at least choose assembly language or something.

        1. Does she understand Bocce?

      2. How about, a fifteen year old shut-in?

        1. Cytotoxic? Nah…he liked the brown people too much. AmSoc is a true believer in his own superiority. I think he is Clayton Bigsby.

    5. Python?

      I guess they aren’t .Net programmers, but python? Seriously? That is what you think is the cutting edge of programming?

      Listen dumb shit, no matter how cool you think Python programmers are, once the proggies find out how the entire language is hugely dependent on white space, the gig is up.

      1. Python? LOLOLOLOL!!!

        1. Get a load of mister pointer-arithmetic here.

          1. Who the hell even needs a computer? I have a slide rule and it’s a big one!

      2. once the proggies find out how the entire language is hugely dependent on white space

        Brutal. Savage. Rekt.

        1. I did good?

          Where is my twerkin’ video HM? I don’t do this for just your personal approval. I do it for the booty shakin’ wonder links stored in your brain.

            1. Happy New Year, HM.

              I’d probably like you without the twerkin’, but with these videos, you have bought yourself a special place in my heart.

                1. You even wrote it so my semi-dyslexic ass could understand it!

                  If Dunphy hadn’t ruined the word, I’d totally say smooches!

      3. “guess they aren’t .Net programmers, but python? ”

        I’m not a computer programmer so excuuusse meee. I’m just trying to appeal to the Reason.com masses. Sorry, it was lame. Sorry.

    6. You know, you don’t help your elitist arguments when you constantly repeat “I don’t know what a federal system is or how it operates.”

    7. How about if only US citizen taxpaying homeowners who have never walked away from a mortgage can vote?

      1. Throw in photo or biometric ID and I’m in.

  30. Racism is a bad thing. The worst bad part about it is that it makes literacy tests for voting simply inconceivable in modern America. But I see no other solution to preventing idiocracy and the false de Tocqueville quote.

    1. The country has something like 98% literacy. Literacy tests to vote would make almost no difference.

      What would make a difference would be to restrict voting to property owners. How about we just let people who have an actual stake in the game vote?

      1. Property (especially in the form of land) != Stake these days.

        Could weigh votes by income tax paid. No representation without taxation.

    2. the false de Tocqueville quote.

      I actually read the linked piece there

      Was that supposed to be something informative?

  31. There are many good arguments for the Electoral College.

    “Ha, screw the blue states and those nasty people who live in cities or on the coasts! Only rural votes should count!” is not one of them.

    Every time somebody “defends” the EC on that basis, they are making the case for its abolition and alienating half of the country from ever supporting it.

    1. I am unaware of anyone making such an argument. We have the electoral college because without it, one or two large states could effectively disenfranchise every other state. The EC was created for exactly the situation that occurred in this year’s election. Hillary won the popular vote because she commanded huge majorities in New York and California. Trump won nearly in nearly every other region in the country and won the popular vote outside of those two states by a significant margin. Without the electoral college, Hillary would be President today because of the electoral will of two states. And that is not a tenable position.

      1. “I am unaware of anyone making such an argument.”

        That is exactly the argument you are making. “Look, Hillary would have won with votes from CA & NY, and we can’t have that!”

        “The EC was created for exactly the situation that occurred in this year’s election. ”

        Not even remotely.

        “Hillary won the popular vote because she commanded huge majorities in New York and California. ”

        Hillary won the popular vote because she got more votes in all 50 states than Trump did in all 50 states. CA & NY alone don’t get you anywhere close to a majority.

        “Trump won nearly in nearly every other region in the country and won the popular vote outside of those two states by a significant margin. Without the electoral college, Hillary would be President today because of the electoral will of two states”

        Hillary won a lot more than two states. The idea that she was *only* backed by voters in two states and those two states could have by themselves delivered a majority, is complete nonsense.

        I could just as easily say Trump *only* won because of one state, Texas. Take Texas away and so goes Trump’s victory…. and more people live in Texas than New York.

        1. That is exactly the argument you are making. “Look, Hillary would have won with votes from CA & NY, and we can’t have that!”

          No it is not. The point is that a few big states cannot be allowed to have a tyranny over the rest of the country. That is not in any way saying that rural folks should rule. You do realize there are big cities outside of New York and California?

          And as for the rest of it, you are just restating the proposition that Hillary won the popular. Well big fucking deal. That is not how the system works. It is set up as a union of states. There is nothing sacred about the national popular vote and nothing that requires it be the only democratic way to determine the Presidency.

          The irony of all of this is that the Left has been pushing for proportional representation and a more parliamentary system for decades. Well, all the EC is is a proportional representation system for the states. Yet now that it isn’t working in their favor, it must go.

          The whole thing is transparently stupid and unprincipled. Do yourself a favor and stop pretending everyone doesn’t see that.

          1. “The point is that a few big states cannot be allowed to have a tyranny over the rest of the country”

            The Electoral College does *absolutely nothing* to prevent that. 7 of the 10 largest states just helped elect a tyrant.

            I have no preference for Hillary. I have no preference for necessarily using a national popular vote.

            But the Electoral College does *none* of the things its defenders claim, and in many cases that’s a good thing.

            1. If people in Alabama and Iowa can complain about the possibility of NY and CA being in the majority, then NY and CA have just as much a legitimate complaint about being dictated to by voters in TX and FL and OH.

              1. If people in Alabama and Iowa can complain about the possibility of NY and CA being in the majority, then NY and CA have just as much a legitimate complaint about being dictated to by voters in TX and FL and OH.

                Yes they can. That is why it takes a majority of electoral votes and not just a bunch of popular votes from a few states to win. It would be no better if Trump had won because he won a huge majority in Texas and Florida.

                Why do you have such a hard time grasping this?

            2. The Electoral College does *absolutely nothing* to prevent that. 7 of the 10 largest states just helped elect a tyrant.

              If it took seven states to elect him, it most sure as hell did keep one or two states from tyrannizing the others. And Trump didn’t win just those seven and would not have won with just those.

              But the Electoral College does *none* of the things its defenders claim, and in many cases that’s a good thing.

              I does exactly what I claimed. And if you have no preference and don’t think the popular vote is necessarily the only way, what the fuck are doing here besides wasting our time and trolling.

              1. “If it took seven states to elect him, it most sure as hell did keep one or two states from tyrannizing the others. And Trump didn’t win just those seven and would not have won with just those.”

                One or two states is not enough to win *no matter what*. Popular vote, electoral college, doesn’t matter. California gets you 10% of the electoral vote… and 12% of the popular vote.

                “I does exactly what I claimed. ”

                The scenario you claim it prevents is a fantasy based on your apparent inability to do basic arithmetic.

                “And if you have no preference and don’t think the popular vote is necessarily the only way, what the fuck are doing here besides wasting our time and trolling.”

                Because stupid and ignorant arguments for the Electoral College are just as bad as stupid and ignorant arguments for the popular vote. Now, kindly go fuck yourself.

              2. 1290 claims to have no preference but calls the winner of the election a “tyrant”.
                So, basically, 1290 is a liar.

          2. Trump won 7 of the top 10 most populous states.

          3. Before this election, in Gallup polls since they began asking in 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states) (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided).

            Support for a national popular vote has been strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in every state surveyed. In the 41 red, blue, and purple states surveyed, overall support has been in the 67-81% range – in rural states, in small states, in Southern and border states, in big states, and in other states polled.

            Most Americans don’t ultimately care whether their presidential candidate wins or loses in their state or district . . . they care whether he/she wins the White House. Voters want to know, that no matter where they live, they matter to their candidate. Most Americans think it is wrong that the candidate with the most where they live, even if they were on the losing side, their vote actually was equally counted and mattered popular votes can lose. We don’t allow this in any other election in our representative republic.

            1. If support for the popular vote is really so high, there should be no problem amending the Constitution. But you know that won’t happen. Because just like 90% want “sensible gun control”, the number is bullshit.

      2. John wants to empower the amber waves of grain where no one lives. Power to the beef cattle, I say.

        1. “Waaaaaah Waaaaaah there are people who don’t drink kale smoothies and watch the Daily Show”

      3. Because of state-by-state winner-take-all laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution. . .

        In 2000, a shift of 269 popular votes in Florida would have elected the candidate who led the national popular vote by 537,179 popular votes.

        Less than 80,000 votes in 3 states determined the 2016 election, where there was a lead of over 2,8oo,ooo popular votes nationwide.

        Since World War II, a shift of a few thousand votes in 1, 2, or 3 states would have elected a 2nd-place candidate in 6 of the 18 presidential elections

      4. In 2016, New York state and California Democrats together cast 9.7% of the total national popular vote.

        In total New York state and California cast 16% of the total national popular vote

        In total, Florida, Texas, and Pennsylvania cast 18% of the total national popular vote.
        Trump won those states.

        The 6 million vote margin in California and New York wouldn’t have put Clinton over the top in the popular vote total without the additional 60 million votes she received in other states.

        In 2004, among the four largest states, the two largest Republican states (Texas and Florida) generated a total margin of 2.1 million votes for Bush, while the two largest Democratic states generated a total margin of 2.1 million votes for Kerry.

        New York state and California together cast 15.7% of the national popular vote in 2012.
        About 62% Democratic in CA, and 64% in NY.

        New York and California have 15.6% of Electoral College votes.

        1. Give it a rest.
          You’ll never get enough states to overturn the EC. It would need a constitutional amendment.
          The NPV system is unconstitutional – Article 1, Section 10.

    2. Nobody said “only rural votes should count”. CA has 55 electoral votes. WY (for some reason, the go-to example all of a sudden) has 3. The number is not directly proportional to population but it’s not that far off, either. CA still has more say in who gets to be President than any other state, and has way more say than any rural state does. But add enough rural states together and they can act as a counterweight against one or a few larger states. The system delivers balance not rural or urban dominance.

      1. Yes. And people like this always act like California and New York are the only big states. Trump won Florida and Texas, which are the second and third largest states by population last I looked. Just imagine the butt hurt these people would have if we didn’t have the electoral college and Ted Cruz won the Presidency because he won 80% of the votes in Texas but lost most everywhere else. They would have a fucking stroke. And would have good reason to. The system isn’t supposed to work like that.

        1. Progs only like things when it benefits them. And they never consider what it will be like when their guy is out. Remember them cheering on Obama to go it alone without Congress? They’ll love the hell out the idea of restraining executive power by the time Trump’s first term is up. And they’ll be hating SCOTUS by that same time, because Trump is going to get at least one pick and very possibly 2. I also really look forward to the anti-war left reemerging. Unless Trump turns out to be a real dove. Then they’ll join the NeoCons in beating the war drums.

          1. Them suddenly deciding that Russia was a mortal threat is something so fucking amazing and two faced it even surprised me.

            1. This is what happens when you run out of boogeymen and somehow think that just remaining silent and doing nothing is not the best strategy. I guess you might call it desperation.

      2. The system does nothing to generate balance. The system isn’t even designed around urban vs. rural.

        Whether weighting small states is a good idea or not, it has nothing to do with why Trump won. Take out those 100 electors allocated on the basis of Senators, leaving only the ~81% allocated purely by population, and Trump still wins.

        The Electoral College doesn’t require a geographically diverse coalition to win. It doesn’t require winning small states. Neither of those things are necessary to win in the Electoral College.

        Take this election for example— Trump could have won *zero* states in the Mountain and Pacific time zones and still would have won based solely on his regional dominance of the South and Midwest.

        1. But the EC stopped Hillary, and so that is the only thing that matters to people like John.

          1. Go fuck yourself. If you are too stupid to make an argument shut the fuck up and stop polluting the world with your stupidity.

            1. Hitting close to home, am I?

              If the roles were reversed, you would be on the front lines denouncing the EC as an anachronistic affront to democracy. Because all that matters to you is that Hillary lost.

        2. Whether weighting small states is a good idea or not, it has nothing to do with why Trump won. Take out those 100 electors allocated on the basis of Senators, leaving only the ~81% allocated purely by population, and Trump still wins.

          No you fucking dumb ass. The point is that you can’t win without winning a diverse number of states. It can be all the big states, or some combination of small and big. But whatever it is, it can’t just be one or two states. That is the point of the system. Why you think that it has anything to do with rural versus city or necessarily requires winning all of the small states is beyond me. You are just not fucking grasping the conversation.

          1. “The point is that you can’t win without winning a diverse number of states.”

            That’s not true. Hypothetically, if Clinton had flipped Texas, but every other result stayed the same, she would have won the EC vote, even though her majority would have still been largely confined to the coasts and the biggest states.

          2. “But whatever it is, it can’t just be one or two states.”

            That isn’t because of the Electoral College. That’s because the largest state in the Union still only has 12% of the population.

            If one or two states had between them half of the nation’s population, you most assuredly could win the EC with only those one or two states.

            1. If one or two states had between them half of the nation’s population, you most assuredly could win the EC with only those one or two states.

              If we assume 436 of the EC votes are apportioned by population and the other 102 are given 2 apiece to the states/DC, then two states with half the country’s population would command only 222 electoral votes. One or two states would need to command about 62% of the nation’s population to dictate the electoral vote every election.

              1. “One or two states would need to command about 62% of the nation’s population to dictate the electoral vote every election.”

                Assuming the number of states remained the same, which is again a factor independent of the rules of the EC.

                1. Well, yes, if the country somehow ended up with e.g. 4 states instead of 50, then 2 of them might dominate national politics. That is both, as you say, technically true and practically irrelevant.

                  1. It’s as relevant as worrying about 1 state having 50% of the population but not controlling the election because they don’t have 62%.

                    1. It’s as relevant as worrying about 1 state having 50% of the population but not controlling the election because they don’t have 62%.

                      You do have a point, right? Because I’m not seeing it.

        3. This election is not the end-all, be-all of electoral analysis. But still, as you winnow out the smaller states by number of electoral votes, Trump’s margin shrinks until only the 6 largest states are left (CA, TX, NY, FL, IL, PA) whereupon Clinton has the advantage. He definitely needed smaller states to win, although he did also have to win a few medium-big states as well.

          You are correct that the EC was not set up on an urban-rural basis. Of course, I did not say it was. It was also not set up on a regional basis.

          1. No one other than the voices in his head ever said it was set up on an urban and rural basis.

          2. Illustration:

            States with more than 6 electoral votes: Trump 246, Clinton 197
            States with more than 10 electoral votes: Trump 185, Clinton 154
            States with more than 12 electoral votes: Trump 152, Clinton 131
            States with more than 16 electoral votes: Trump 105, Clinton 104
            States with more than 18 electoral votes: Trump 87, Clinton 104

        4. The Electoral College doesn’t require a geographically diverse coalition to win. It doesn’t require winning small states. Neither of those things are necessary to win in the Electoral College.

          What’s your point? The EC was a simple compromise so that smaller states would be able to “punch above their weight class” when deciding the president. What’s with all the pedantry when people say it keeps the big states from taking control of the election? Just because you can’t win solely on small states doesn’t mean that their influence isn’t disproportionate to their population.

      3. Support for a national popular vote has been strong in rural states

        None of the 10 most rural states (VT, ME, WV, MS, SD, AR, MT, ND, AL, and KY) is a battleground state.
        The current state-by-state winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes does not enhance the influence of rural states, because the most rural states are not battleground states, and they are ignored. Their states’ votes were conceded months before by the minority parties in the states, taken for granted by the dominant party in the states, and ignored by all parties in presidential campaigns. When and where voters are ignored, then so are the issues they care about most.

        1. When and where voters are ignored, then so are the issues they care about most.

          This may be true, but switching to NPV does nothing to change the fact that e.g. Wyoming has 0.2% of the U.S. population. The focus on states, even if the smallest states don’t get much focus, is a product of the EC. Get rid of the EC, practically speaking, and the focus shifts to populous places like cities and metropolitan regions. The smallest states net nothing.

        2. Then… pass… your… fucking… amendment… or… shut… the… fuck… up.

          The reality is that if such an amendment were actually proposed and being seriously contested/considered, people in small states would reconsider their position.

          If I’m wrong, an amendment would have been passed decades ago, and certainly could have passed in 2008-9. It didn’t even get a mention, let alone a vote or a campaign.

          1. They’re not after an amendment, the goal is to get enough states (totaling at least 270 votes among them) to pass bills saying that they will allot their EC votes based on the outcome of the national popular vote as a first-past-the-post contest (i.e., a state will give all of its electoral votes to whoever got the most popular votes nationwide).

            I will be mildly surprised if they ever meet the trigger condition of 270 votes, and very surprised if it survives past a couple of elections.

    3. The EC exists for the same reason we don’t let China vote. It doesn’t matter how many people there are there, they don’t live here.

      If you get rid of the EC the states just won’t play.

      1. Support for a national popular vote has been strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in every state surveyed. In the 41 red, blue, and purple states surveyed, overall support has been in the 67-81% range – in rural states, in small states, in Southern and border states, in big states, and in other states polled.

        Most Americans don’t ultimately care whether their presidential candidate wins or loses in their state . . . they care whether he/she wins the White House. Voters want to know, that no matter where they live, they matter to their candidate. Most Americans think it is wrong that the candidate with the most where they live, even if they were on the losing side, their vote actually was equally counted and mattered popular votes can lose. We don’t allow this in any other election in our representative republic.

      2. The National Popular Vote bill was approved this year by a unanimous bipartisan House committee vote in both Georgia (16 electoral votes) and Missouri (10).
        Since 2006, the bill has passed 34 state legislative chambers in 23 rural, small, medium, large, Democratic, Republican and purple states with 261 electoral votes, including one house in Arizona (11), Arkansas (6), Maine (4), Michigan (16), Nevada (6), New Mexico (5), North Carolina (15), and Oklahoma (7), and both houses in Colorado (9).
        The bill has been enacted by 11 small, medium, and large jurisdictions with 165 electoral votes ? 61% of the way to guaranteeing the majority of Electoral College votes and the presidency to the candidate with the most national popular votes.

        1. And without Congressional approval, the NPV is unconstitutional.

  32. Actually I like the idea of only 538 random electors as long as they don’t also pass voter ID laws.

    After spending umpteem gazillion dollars bribing the real electors, think of the fun watching them show up at the polling place only to find that someone had already come in and cast their ballot. The election judges would shrug and say that they weren’t able to ask for any ID to confirm the identity of the person because that would be racist.

    1. I love how “progressives” enthusiastically support the idea of gun buyers having to show ID, pass a background check and psychiatric examination, take a competency test, and convince the chief law enforcement officer that they have a NEED to own a gun… Yet, checking driver’s licenses at the polling place is tantamount to making it illegal for black people to vote.

  33. Unreal. Now Obama is expelling the Russian diplomats for the next three weeks. All on the basis of a completely bullshit narrative with no actual basis in reality.

    This is the second lowest and most despicable ending to an American presidency, after Nixon’s resignation. What a total jackass.

    1. What would Obama’s new name be now?
      Byebye Ibomba?

      1. I think jackass is good.

        1. ^This.

    2. This is much worse than Nixon resigning. Whatever Nixon’s crimes, he had the decency to leave office when he felt that his presence there had become too harmful to the country. Nixon resigning was probably the only noble thing he did during his presidency. This is much worse. This is him just tearing shit up out of spite. He might as well be dragging the furniture out the Lincoln Bedroom and setting on fire on the White House lawn. it would display just as much maturity.

      1. He might as well be dragging the furniture out the Lincoln Bedroom and setting on fire on the White House lawn

        No, that would be better.

        Fortunately for all of us, Putin knows this shit ends in 3 weeks.

        1. I have a feeling it is going to be a long three weeks.

          1. I’ve seen a lot of crazy things, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything quite like this before. He’s creating an international incident with a major world power purely because of his own bitter spite and petulance.

            1. And being egged on by practically the entire technocratic class, especially the media.

          2. Why? I mean all he’s done in the last couple weeks is try to permanently ban offshore drilling, strip millions of their 2nd amendment rights by executive fiat, stab Israel in the back, and expel Russian diplomats without cause or provocation. That’s not too bad, right?

            1. The oil drilling and the 2nd Amendment rights will be undone pretty quickly. The damage he is doing to our relations with Russia and Israel are going to be a real problem going forward.

            2. I’m not sure there are millions of people on SSI who are so disabled they have to have other people manage their finances on their behalf, and I’m not sure what subset of the people in that group can really feasibly make good use of gun rights, but otherwise spot on.

              1. I think the danger is that they’ll start expanding the definition of “mental illness” to include as many people as possible. They could use this method to deny gun rights for people with things that are technically mental illnesses but which do not cause violent or impulsive behavior.

            3. That’s not too bad, right?

              It’s like watching Chicken Little, as you run around, “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”

              And Israel got what they deserved. THEY signed an agreement for a NEGOTIATED settlement with the PLO — which would obviously be a two-state solution,and then welshed. The Wrest Bank settlements violate international law established 67 years ago (The Geneva Convention,)., and Bibi want to build MORE, a middle finger to the entire world.

              Despite a lot of tribal bullshit about Kerry’s speech, he outlined a position for Jerusalem totally within Israel’s signed commitment and simple tolerance. Jerusalem be the capital of BOTH a Jewish state and a Palestinian state, with guaranteed free access to Christians. All three religions worship the same God and Jerusalem is a Holy City to all three.

              Israel’s refusal is obscene to anyone who knows the region. It was Christian Crusaders who expelled the “Christ Killers” from Jerusalem (the ones they didn’t kill), as the Romans had done earlier, and Muslims who allowed them back in, Jews can’t get the city all to themselves, by both historical justice and the Oslo Accords.

              BOTH sides want to destroy each other, which makes broader input a key for peace/

        2. I hope so.

          Clinton pardoning Marc Rich was not a great ending either. But it is a lot less bad than actively trying to damage our relations to important world powers.

      2. With the level of arrogance and immaturity this asshole is showing right now, I’m not really confident that he doesn’t at least try to declare martial law before leaving office. Maybe we’ll get lucky and he’ll just chain himself to the desk in the Oval Office and whine and kick his feet like a toddler ‘It’s mine, it’s mine, I won’t leave, wahhhh!’.

        1. He is going to stay in Washington after he leaves office. He is going to be the gift that keeps on giving to the GOP. He has learned nothing from the last two elections and will do nothing but ensure that the country sees the Democrats as a bunch of spiteful arrogant assholes. And since he is the first black President and untouchable, there will be nothing the Democrats can do about it.

          1. Every public utterance by Obama and Hillary will be viewed by the NY Times as front page material, while the business of running the country will be below the fold.

            1. I don’t think that is going to work out to well for the Democrats.

              1. No. And they cannot even see it.

              2. It won’t stop them from doing it. Doubling down on identity politics and moving further left is not going to work out well either, but they’re going to do it. They can’t not do it, it’s what they are. There’s no turning back.

        2. With the level of arrogance and immaturity this asshole is showing right now, I’m not really confident that he doesn’t at least try to declare martial law before leaving office.

          That’s ALMOST as crazy as Jade Helm, where Obama was going to invade Texas … with a military force equal to less than 10% of the armed police in Texas. And, golly, do Texan “civilians” own many guns?. My favorite was how Obama was stage a coup to seize power in 2012, instead of the election that year,

          So what does Alex Jones have as details for the martial law?

          He’ll just chain himself to the desk in the Oval Office and whine and kick his feet like a toddler ‘It’s mine, it’s mine, I won’t leave, wahhhh!’.

          Get help before you hurt yourself.

  34. It was the perfect ending to the strangest election in modern American history

    Kehaar!

  35. People like Brennan worry me more than the ‘deplorables.’

    It’s always the educated who fall prey to their own hubris leading to all sorts of loathesome ideas and beliefs.

    See socialism and eugenics.

    From this over-educated layman, fuck the Brennans of this world when they come forth with ‘we’re your betters’ attitude.

    1. I’ve read a few articles on different sites lately on what’s happening in Venezuela and there are still leftist commenters on those sites defending socialism. And they are willing to sacrifice as many countries and peoples to this same failed experiment as it takes to prove they’re right. And it will take all of them because they’re never going to be right. They don’t care, they’ll destroy the entire world if that’s what it takes to continue chasing this disaster of their pipe dream.

      1. Hyp,

        The Socialist Moment is not only possible in your lifetime, it is achievable. You must simply do your part. No more and no less. Be the unique Hyperion you are while simultaneously being the one – the unique human you are – that strives to make the ideal society a reality despite the selfish limitations of the self.

        We must, all of us, not only strive for this achievable dream but in moments of uncertainty endeavor to persevere in our communal cause.
        It is only natural that the unenlightened oppose us, for they cannot even comprehend greatness, for it is beyond them. Nor yet do they comprehend their own potential, which is meant for the greater good. We must show them. Forcibly if necessary. For their own good.

  36. What the hell — no alt text?

    “Oh shit, I just accidentally voted for Trump!”

    “Eenie, meenie, minie mo……”

  37. The first thing that should be done is to reduce the power of the Presidency (and the entire federal government) back down to it’s actual Constitutional limits as per the literal text of the Constitution.

    Then it wouldn’t make that much difference who the President was. The office of the Presidency was never intended to similar to that of a Roman emperor.

    Failing all that, the voting mechanism should be changed to be like corporate stockholders vote their shares in proxy votes for corporate mergers and takeovers. They vote based on how many shares they bought.

    Similarly, give every citizen one vote for every dollar he or she pays in federal taxes of all types – income taxes, gas taxes, etc. They put the most money in the federal pot, they should get the most say on it’s disposition. Those who pay no federal taxes would get no vote.

    1. That might have some interesting consequences… a reduction in taxes for the wealthy would reduce their influence. I wonder what the Laffer curve for that would look like?

  38. Why is it that every time leftists lose they churn out endless articles like this?

    “My guy/gal lost so we need to alter the entire system to insure that my guy/gal never loses again–and it HAS to be retroactive so we didn’t lose THIS time, too!!

    They’re not looking for a ‘better’ way. They’re looking for a way that lets them win.

  39. Sure, do away with the Electoral College as it is currently formed. Instead do one vote per county. I’m guessing leftists won’t like that either. Trump/Clinton would be 2,623/489 that way.

    1. As long as counties have roughly equal populations.

  40. We should stop pretending the Electoral College is some untouchable masterwork of the genius of the Founding Fathers. It isn’t, and *they* didn’t view it that way.

    The system as the originally designed it was such a disaster that it was radically changed by constitutional amendment after only its second contested election. *That* fix (12th Amendment) was just an ad-hoc band-aid over what was already a broken system.

    The Electoral College was created as an little-considered afterthought because the alternatives– election by Congress or election by the states (the idea of a national popular vote wasn’t even on the table)– were both considered unsatisfactory. The actual “original intent” was that it was expected the EC would rarely if ever reach a majority, and would serve instead to effectively nominate three candidates for the House to pick from. Literally nothing about the Electoral College has ever worked as intended. Not now, and not even when they first started using it.

    The system we have now, of a popular election in each state for winner-take-all pledged electors, has as much to do with the original intent as would picking names out of a hat. Rationalizing the current system as if it was the original intent is total hogwash.

    1. Just because they didn’t think that it would work as it has, doesn’t mean that the system is invalid or that it shouldn’t work as it was written. Your argument is that “sure it says that but that is not what they meant” is moronic and utterly irrelevant.

      More importantly, even if they didn’t mean it to work like this, so what? That doesn’t mean it isn’t the best way of doing it. Maybe they got lucky and created the best system without intending to.

      1. Who is claiming that the idea of the EC is *invalid*? That is a strawman argument.

        The point is, the modern justifications for the EC – urban vs. rural balance, geographic diversity, etc. – are post-hoc rationalizations that aren’t congruent with what the Founding Fathers had in mind.

        1. No one says it was supposed to be an urban versus rural balance. I don’t know where you got that. And it was supposed to balance regional interests. The entire system is set up on the idea that the competing regional interests would cancel one another out. And here the regional interests of the South and Midwest out voted those of the Northeast and West Coast. That is what happened in this election and it is exactly the kind of thing envisioned by the founders.

          1. Find me one quote where any of the men who wrote the Constitution talked about in those terms. You won’t, because it’s something you’re making up now to justify this election’s results.

            1. 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.

              -Alexander Hamilton, Fed 68

              1. These most deadly adversaries of republican government might naturally have been expected to make their approaches from more than one querter, but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils. How could they better gratify this, than by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the Union? But the convention have guarded against all danger of this sort, with the most provident and judicious attention. They have not made the appointment of the President to depend on any preexisting bodies of men, who might be tampered with beforehand to prostitute their votes

                Bonus fun from Fed 68

                1. I’m well aware of Federalist 68.

                  None of those are the argument I was responding to.

      2. “Maybe they got lucky and created the best system without intending to.”

        Speaking of moronic and utterly irrelevant…

    2. I think this is largely right.

      The Founding Fathers were former British citizens after all. They looked to Britain for inspiration for how to set the whole thing up. They intended the President to be something like a Prime Minister, selected by Parliament (House of Representatives), but with the states proposing the slate of candidates via the Electoral College. The EC was basically just the nominating committee for the ultimate vote to be held in the House. It didn’t work out like that and it shouldn’t be venerated for something that it isn’t.

      1. Then shut up and amend it.

        Oh, you can’t.

        Because you won’t get 2/3 of the states to sign on to it.

        Because small states don’t want to cede power to large states.

    3. The problems weren’t the fault of the EC, but of the existence of nationwide political parties.

      Legislate that all presidential candidates, hell, all officials of the Executive, cannot affiliate with a political party.

      Problem solved.

      1. Legislate that all presidential candidates, hell, all officials of the Executive, cannot affiliate with a political party. Problem solved.

        You can legislate away formal affiliations, but not the driving forces behind the existence of political parties. People will still group together over shared political interests even if the parties can’t put formal stamps of approval on candidates.

        1. This is true, which I think is why it never happened. But it would, de facto, severely weaken the two-party system, which is a good thing.

          1. Hasn’t worked in WA with Top 2.

        2. Nebraska has a formally non-partisan Legislature.

          It is, of course, “non-partisan” only in the sense that party labels don’t appear on the ballot. Every member is still well-known as either a Republican or Democrat; or in one case, a Libertarian.

          1. Are they registered in their state’s party?

            1. What difference does that make? Even if they weren’t allowed to (half the states don’t even have partisan voter registration), they’d still be just as much Republicans and Democrats.

        3. I like the idea of an election free of political affiliation labels, but I don’t think it would work in practice. The candidates would probably continue associating just as before, but behind closed doors. The current system, for all its faults, still gives more transparency.

          1. Washington State has long had nonpartisan primaries — which is where it matters most.
            They don’t even register party affiliation. Culturally, Washington residents believe it’s an invasion of privacy to reveal your partisan affiliation, if you have one!! I LOVED it!!.

            The best thing to me — a grassroots activist, elected official, tax revolt sponsor — was the almost total lack of viciousness. If you attack your Republican opponent, Republicans will take a Dem ballot in the primary and destroy your ass, Still good and healthy partisan debate, but civil.

            It doesn’t work well in California, but I think it’s because that’s so much a one-party state.

      2. Because legislating to prevent something, prevents something.

        1. So you’re claiming that if a law is past that one cannot be a registered member of a political party if seeking election as president that a black-market of registration will arise?

          No one is claiming that the candidates will be free of a particular ideology. What the law would prevent is a nationwide primary narrowing the field of candidates to just two. Unless you’re claiming that black-market primaries would exist as well.

          1. “So you’re claiming that if a law is past that one cannot be a registered member of a political party if seeking election as president that a black-market of registration will arise?”

            That is exactly what will happen, except that of course it won’t be a black market, it will just be people openly stating their party preference.

            “What the law would prevent is a nationwide primary narrowing the field of candidates to just two”

            That isn’t what we have now. There are other candidates and other parties on the ballot. They tend to group into two dominant major parties because of Duverger’s Law, which has nothing to do with whether or not candidates are allowed to formally have a partisan affiliation or instead only have a de facto partisan affiliation. A plurality-wins system always divides itself into two nearly-even opposing coalitions trying to reach 50% of the two-party vote.

  41. If you want candidates to have to win small states, you could make that a rule.
    If you want candidates to have to win geographically diverse states, you could make that a rule.
    If you want candidates to care more about rural and less about urban voters, there are ways to do that too.

    The Electoral College as we know it does absolutely none of those things.

    1. The Electoral College as we know it does absolutely none of those things.

      Does not demand them != Does not incentivize them

      1. It doesn’t do either.

        1. It absolutely does encourage winning smaller states. Sure, nobody is going to spend half their campaign fighting for one state with 3 electoral votes. However, they might fight for a few states with 8?12 votes. See my analysis above. You can win without small states but it’s harder to do.

          1. States with 8-12 votes aren’t small, they’re average or slightly above average in size.

            1. I never said they did. Do you have a secret decoder ring you’re using to find words I never wrote? States/DC with less than 8 electoral votes each only make up 116 of the 538 total EC votes. But that is still more than twice the votes the largest state has while their combined population (48 million) is only about 25% larger than California’s.

              I don’t know what part of “balance” is so hard to understand but nothing you’ve said has refuted it.

              1. That isn’t “balance,” it’s putting a thumb on the scale… which is the opposite of balance. It also isn’t a result of the Electoral College, it’s a result of the population distribution of the states and the degree to which the EC reflects that. The US doesn’t have any states large enough to threaten dominance over the rest, but if it did the EC wouldn’t stop them.

                Lumping all the “small states” and “large states” together as if they necessarily have anything in common is also dubious. What interest do Vermont and Rhode Island share with Wyoming and Arkansas? Not much, including rarely voting for the same candidate. Given that partisan divides don’t substantively reflect large vs. small states, whatever weighting is assigned on that basis ends up being a wash.

                1. it’s putting a thumb on the scale… which is the opposite of balance

                  The states ceded some of their sovereignty to the Federal government when they became part of the United States. Putting some weight back in their favor is not tilting the scales out of balance.

                  What interest do Vermont and Rhode Island share with Wyoming and Arkansas?

                  I did not say the small states all share the same political interests. I said that they have a greater importance to electing the President than just their populations alone would dictate.

                  1. “The states ceded some of their sovereignty to the Federal government when they became part of the United States. Putting some weight back in their favor is not tilting the scales out of balance.”

                    Maybe I do need that decoder ring, because that has nothing to do with what we were talking about. This is about the balance of some states vs. other states, not the states vs. the federal government.

                    “I did not say the small states all share the same political interests. I said that they have a greater importance to electing the President than just their populations alone would dictate.”

                    That is strictly speaking technically true. It’s also meaningless in terms of the practical political incentives it produces, which in no way favor smaller states.

                    The EC doesn’t make candidates care about small states. It makes candidates care about *swing* states, and larger swing states more than smaller swing states. OH, PA, MI, FL, NC— these are not small states. They’re large-to-medium-sized states that happen to be nearly-evenly divided between the two major parties. Those are the states the EC makes candidates care about.

                    1. This is about the balance of some states vs. other states, not the states vs. the federal government.

                      If you think the one has no connection to the other, then it is you who doesn’t understand the system.

                      It’s also meaningless in terms of the practical political incentives it produces, which in no way favor smaller states.

                      The EC doesn’t “favor” smaller states, it gives them more weight than their populations alone would. Jesus, this is not complicated.

                      It makes candidates care about *swing* states, and larger swing states more than smaller swing states.

                      No, that is a consequence of winner-takes-all allocation of EC votes, not the EC itself.

  42. Now we just need to establish a committee to fairly administer the lottery. But how?

    Oh, I know. We can vote on it…

    -jjg

    1. We could use a computer.

      Unless the 538 vote in favor of Trump.

      Then we blame Russian hackers for hacking the computer.

  43. I would be happy with Ranked Choice Voting/RCV (like Maine added) and also splitting the electors like Maine and Nebraska do. So, two follow the statewide totals and the rest go by Congressional districts. (Now, can we fix gerrymandering?) Or just divvy them all up based on a statewide formula. Just no more winner take all would be an improvement. And getting to RCV would be an improvement for all elections.

    1. The lefties that like the VRA won’t go for it.

      They like gerrymandering and polarization when it benefits their vote totals.

  44. Thunder Dome

  45. 538 multimillionaires created each election?

    That is a good lottery.

  46. Here’s a better way. Hold a national lottery to determine the 538 electors (drawing an appropriate number from the voter rolls of each state) and then let those people choose the president.

    Straight up stupid.

    The only reason to hold popular votes for president, as the system functions now, is to select the “electors” from each state who will participate in the Electoral College.

    Straight up brilliant.

    1. Even straight up brillianter, every voter in the country is also a member of the electoral college. That way we all get two elections for the price of one.

  47. Well, restricting it to 538 people may not be such a good idea, but perhaps picking 10 people per Congresscritter could give us a better mix (100 per critter would still be below the population of many cities, but then it might get unweildy). 5380 people could allow for more 3rd-party options to be explored, and allow for a more diverse mix of electors. And it makes it that much harder for them to be bought off.

    1. I agree, if done by lot it would better to increase their number into the thousands than stick with 538.

  48. California has 12% of the national population.

    I don’t necessarily favor a national popular vote, but the idea that having one would let California single-handedly pick the President, or otherwise somehow give them a larger or undue influence, is absurd and incorrect. Our hypothetical candidate in an NPV election who focuses only on CA (or CA & NY, or even only the coasts) would lose in a landslide.

    1. “but the idea that having one would let California single-handedly pick the President”

      States don’t vote. People vote.

    2. 12% of the population can’t turn the popular vote but 50.000000001% should be able to. That’s what a democracy is. That is supposedly what inspired our representative democracy. Why is it okay to elect representatives and senators by popular vote, but not the President. The time of the electoral college has passed. It’s time for a modern form of Presidential selection.

      1. Yep. Equal rights. How can libertarians defend one person’s vote carrying more weight than another’s?

  49. I think selecting electors by lot would be better than what we do it now.

    I think even better would be to do them half by lottery, and half by the state legislatures. That way you still have some democratic input, but you don’t have a popular-vote campaign and all its evils, and you also don’t reduce the state legislatures to simply being proxy elections (which is what happened re: Senators pre-17th).

    While we’re at it, if what you want is a consensus candidate and a less sharply divided two-party system, then simply require a super-majority to win. Let’s do it pope-style, lock them in a room somewhere and don’t let them out until somebody has two-thirds. Make it so the President has to be somebody who doesn’t piss off half the country, which is what inevitably get now.

    1. I’d be much happier with limiting the powers of the office of President, so that even if he pisses people off, it’s not such a big deal. We have overinflated the power and importance of a single office.

      1. That is directly the result of having the office popularly elected (which it is, for all intents and purposes, except that randomly sometimes a close-2nd gets declared the winner).

        The plebiscitary, imperial presidency, the Jacksonian “tribune of the people”– all of that is a result of how the office is elected and the political culture that has grown up around that system of election. The fact that it’s the only national office; the fact that it’s the only nationwide campaign; etc.

        If you want a more limited President, then you need a President who voters are less invested in as their primary way of influencing the federal government.

        1. You say the chicken came first, I say the egg came first. If people want there to be a single powerful leader, then that’s what there will be. The Romans got rid of their king then created the position of dictator, the Japanese sidelined the Emperor only to put the Shogun in his place, and the British ditched absolute monarchy but still entrust a lot of power to the Prime Minister.

          People give their representatives in Congress a pass while blaming everything on the President and everyone else’s representatives. Sometimes SCOTUS gets thrown into the blame game, too, even when their ruling is basically “we’re letting Congress decide”. I despise both my Representative and my Senators but they will re-election handily from now until they day they retire/die.

          1. There are plenty of counter-examples, and what they all have in common is some combination of one or more of the following : 1) indirect or legislative election of the head of state/government 2) a division between the roles of head of state and head of government 3) a collegial body instead of a single individual as the head of state or government.

            Switzerland would be the prime example. There is neither a popular nor nationwide election for any “President of Switzerland.” There’s a council of seven elected by the legislature, with a rotating chairmanship among themselves. There’s no position from which somebody can build and leverage a cult of personality as the embodiment of the state or of the people.

            Structure matters. Process matters. Incentives matter.

            1. Structure matters. Process matters. Incentives matter.

              The latter, most definitely so. The other two? Only insofar as they are resistant to/aligned with incentives.

              There’s a council of seven elected by the legislature, with a rotating chairmanship among themselves. There’s no position from which somebody can build and leverage a cult of personality as the embodiment of the state or of the people.

              And maybe an executive council would be better than a single President. But that is a whole different animal than what has been discussed so far.

  50. Old news, but maybe not here: LA Mayor “Yogapants” Garcetti thinks we should thank criminals for serving time. Also wants LA residents to give baskets of goods to homeless people so they feel welcome in the neighborhood.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnuUODHhdMo

    From time to time, I am fooled by parody. People like Garcetti are the reason why. You see enough derp, it gets to be hard to tell the difference between the real and the fake.

    here’s the press release

  51. But the Electoral College doesn’t really prevent the problems that are feared…?

    1. We have a Republican ready to take over the White House, thanks to the electoral college. What more do you want?

  52. The Electoral College is find but since electors are appointed they should vote the candidate their district voted for. A couple of states already do that.

  53. I love the EC because it caps how much help or damage a single state can give you, since it doesn’t matter if you win or lose by 1 vote or a million. It’s like it sports – it doesn’t matter if you win by 4 touchdowns or a field goal.

    When Lincoln ran for President, he wasn’t even on the ballot in most (all?) southern states, so it limited his damage, and he was president with 39% of the vote

  54. I wonder if Susan would be such a passionate proponent for the abolition of the Electoral College if the situation were reversed and say Obama had won the Electoral College but lost to Rick Perry in the popular vote due to a massive win in Texas?

  55. “For starters, there would be unmeasurable benefits in the form of freeing people of the mental and emotional anguish created by presidential campaigns like the one we just experienced.”

    I thought the whole thing was fun. Trump especially had some good lines and put on quite a performance. I’m looking forward to his next show. It should be just as entertaining.

  56. Maybe John Kerry has a point? A two State solution is “The Only Way”.
    There is no single American culture, and peaceful societies can only develop and be maintained when the freedom to vote with ones feet can be exercised. Our Nation was founded on the basis of individual freedom, sovereignty of each and every individual to govern their own lives, but with adherence to a basic rule of laws which much more than a simple majority of people and States have and can agree to. The recent election is an excellent example of why our Nation was founded as a Republic and not a Democracy, and the significance of the 10th amendment. The 16th and 17th amendments, along with the Federal Reserve Act resulted in moving power from the people to self govern into the hands of a centralized Federal authority who is constantly making life more complicated by rules and laws which even the law makers have exclaimed they do not and can not fully understand.
    Equality is an individual achievement and if the means by which one can provide their support do not exist where they are living, the answer lies in their feet, not government subsidization.

  57. The unintended consequence of doing just that is, whoever “wins” this lottery is going to get a $hit load of death threats and harassment. Not to mention pressure from employers (or other authority figures) to vote a certain way. Nevermind the potential for corruption, as if vote buying under regular democracy isn’t bad enough.

  58. as this thread has proven, there are more than a few ways you could do it. which makes the system we have just fine for the most part. if nothing else, we’re still here, and with only a few splits between the electoral/popular, i don’t see how that can statistically be described as a major defect. although it is really had to tell who supports what changes, rather than what their politics demands.

    the one change that i think would have as close to universal support as possible (maybe not around here, but generally) is to make the electoral votes automatic on election night. it’s rather insulting to put that much effort to get people to the polls when the actual election is decided later on. do that one thing and leave the rest to the states.

  59. Donald Trump was officially elected as the next president of these United States on December 19, winning by a wide margin in the Electoral College

    Trumpian bullshit in Reason now? Oft 25 elections in the past 100 years, Trump ranks near the very bottom, 22nd

    Move along folks. Nothing to see here.
    .

    1. It is not bullshit to say that he won by a margin of 79 electoral votes, which is fairly large even if not an historical landslide.

      1. It is not bullshit to say that he won by a margin of 79 electoral votes,

        Nobody said it wasm The bullshit was claiming he won by a wide margin,.

        which is fairly large even if not an historical landslide.

        ONE MORE TIME
        His electoral margin ranks near the very bottom — 22nd out of 25 elections in the past 10 years,

        A near record number of his votes were anti-Hillary, NOT pro-Trump.
        His “for” votes were the lowest in quarter-century.

        Democrats were smug in 2009, overplayed their non-mandate, screwed America and got thrown out.
        If winning elections meant anything, Obama would be on Mount Rushmore. What about RESULTS? (We’re still in deep shit)

        When the brain-dead news media ? left and right ? figures out that Trump’s tax plan includes a 60% tax cut for HIMSELF, the corruption will peak. (cut PERSONAL tax rate from 37.5% to 15% for “pass-through” corporations, who report corporate profits on personal returns, avoiding the double-taxation of corporate profits. He says it’s for business owners, and it is ? including BILLIONAIRES! Over 95% pf Trump’s corporate profits are in already tax-exempt pass-throughs ? now he wants a 15% income tax rate for HIMSELF. What’s YOUR tax bracket, working- and middle-class suckers?)

        Democrats had a mandate in 2009. Trump does not.

  60. Of course, there is still that pesky constitution to get past, along with a few supreme court cases. Something about one man one vote, I think.

    Minor detail; if the election was decided by popular vote, the campaigns would be structured differently. Has anyone taken a poll of non-democrats in California and New York who did not vote for president because it was a given for the empress, and asked if they would have voted if the popular vote mattered? From the charts I have seen in the notably reliable press, the “margin of victory” came from two states where no Republican campaigns for president. If Trump could have actually benefited from California votes, he would have gotten them.

    1. A record number of “Trump” votes were “anti-Hillary” votes.
      His “for” votes were the lowest percentage in a quarter-century.

  61. The bottom line, to all you whiners, is that the EC was in place for this election and the candidates knew the rules going in.
    If one candidate ran to get the most EC votes and the other one ran to get the most “popular” votes, then the former was most likely to win and the latter most likely to lose. I don’t think HiLIARy ran to get the most popular votes and I am sure Trump didn’t either.
    Thus, who won the most votes, from those who turned out, is meaningless and arguments to change the system are irrelevant.

    1. ^THIS^

      The both knew, going in, how the system works. They both campaigned accordingly.

      And Hillary lost.

      Yes, she won the checkers game.

      But she was playing chess.

      1. As others have said. Trump won the World Series 4 games to 3. Hillary beat him in Game 5 13-1, and scored more runs overall in the 7 game series.

  62. I don’t think that is a very good idea.

    In fact, electing Senators at large wasn’t a good idea either.

    The Founders did their VERY BEST to create a system checks and balances, maybe it wasn’t perfect, but so far we haven’t been able to improve on it (except maybe limiting the Prezzy to 2 terms, but that too probably wasn’t necessary).

    The electoral college needs to stay.

  63. What we really need instead is to limit the franchise, and the candidates, to people who’ve shown that they have some sense of obligation to the community.

    I’m a fan of Heinleins Starship Troopers model wherein you have to demonstrate a willingness to sacrifice on behalf of the community, IE to risk your life, before you can vote, or perhaps the MOST important, to hold office (above that of dog-catcher).

    So many politicians any more clearly don’t have a devotion to the country.

    Maybe making them appreciate the opportunity for “public service” would change that.

    And unfortunately, military service is probably the only test that really would measure one’s devotion.

    I’m not sure that would be a bad thing.

    Of course, even that wouldn’t be perfect. It wouldn’t have stopped Arpaio in my own AZ.

    1. So in other words: only those who are willing to go fight or die for the “community” – or enslave themselves to it – get a say in who runs it and rules them? Essentially rule by military junta? No, thank-you.

      1. ” No, thank-you.”

        This nutty scheme again shows how Libertarians have a weird need for government rules and regulations when it comes to elections. Libertarians would put further restrictions on who can run, those in place now are clearly not enough, all in the interest of the ‘community.’

        1. Where did AZ Gunowner say he was a Libertarian or spoke for them?

    2. What about the part where government exists to serve the people and not vice versa?

      I like Heinlein in general, but he had some shitty ideas and a soft spot for the military.

  64. It’s incredible folk don’t take the proven gross election fraud in this country seriously, WA’s Rossi election stolen in 2004 & MN’s Coleman’s election stolen in 2008 because Dems just keep recounting until the right number of votes are found one way or another, even if there are far more votes than residents! It will be interesting to see the history of 2016 in the future to give an account of how many of Hillary’s votes were actually illegal. I have no doubt the truth is that if you subtract Hillary’s illegal votes from her corrupt total Trump would also win the real popular vote too, but fools are blindly, na?vely, passively, spinelessly buying Dem clearly bogus claims Hillary won the lawfully meaningless NATIONAL (vs STATE) popular vote, which I’ll never believe any more than I’ll believe that what we know about 0bama’s life, including his real name, is anything but a pack of lies, lying being all he’s done his whole life even long before the White House. Insane. Anyone who fails to oppose the national popular vote is a corrupt, lawless, fascist traitor who should have his citizenship revoked.

    1. “It’s incredible folk don’t take the proven gross election fraud in this country seriously…”

      Folks know that if Democrats win, Republicans lose and vice versa. Unless you’re riding on a partisan gravy train, the results of these rigged elections doesn’t matter much.

      1. Folks know that if Democrats win, Republicans lose and vice versa

        And yet people vote for candidates, not parties. Whether election fraud is substantial enough to affect the national balance of power or not doesn’t change the fact that people don’t vote for the balance of power per se.

      2. I disagree. The notion that the election process isn’t fairly administered undermines faith in the system. In the long run that leads to disenfranchisement, and will undermine the system. And as flawed as it is, the thing that replaces it will likely be a strongman, if history is any measure.

  65. I say we randomly select 64 citizens, then we hold a series of matches to the death. Whoever comes out on top gets to be President.

  66. There’s something to be said for this proposal, but how do we select the 538? Totally random lottery among all voters? Or do we have some kind of qualification criterion? More interesting: how do we keep them from being bombarded by messages or threats? How do we protect them from retaliation afterward? Ask me if I can think of a few ways to make sure I get my choice of electors.

    The reason the Founders didn’t have Congress select the President was to avoid insider deals. But some kind of parliamentary system whereby some body selects the President might work. We should definitely make the body a national deliberative body, rather than disconnected gaggles each meeting in their own state.

  67. As usual, a Reason editorialist misses the whole point. We needn’t abolish the popular vote, but rather to simply institute the Electoral College in it’s original form: let the Electors names appear on the ballot instead of any candidates or party affiliation. Each state would have robust campaigning by the electors themselves, a group unique to each State. The top vote getters wold become the Electors in each State, in a number corresponding to the combined Senators and Representatives. They’d go to Washington to elect the President. Problem solved.

  68. Nothing in the constitution says that the states must pick their allotted electors democratically.

  69. Good Idea
    Do not forget to institute the secret of the vote to avoid corruption.
    Swiss parliament do that when electing governement members.

  70. HAPPY NEW YEARS

    I can see what your saying… Raymond `s article is surprising, last week I bought a top of the range Acura from making $4608 this-past/month and-a little over, $10,000 this past month . with-out any question its the easiest work I’ve ever had . I began this five months/ago and almost straight away startad bringin in minimum $82 per-hr

    +_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+ http://www.homejobs7.com

  71. The system is rigged and its been rigged in favor of the small states since the constitution was adopted. Originally small states like Delaware and NJ were afraid of being dominated by the likes of Virginia and New York.
    So today we have California with 55,000,000 people verses Wyoming with 585,000 which is 1% the size of the former. Meanwhile Wyoming voters get 3 electoral votes versus 55 for California. People in Wyoming in fact they get the power of 5.45 Californians.
    Even worse is the Senate where both get 2 votes and the poor Californian’s get the same 2. So in other words one Wyoming resident has the voting power of 94 Californians!
    As pointed out by arch libertarian Milton Friedman, this state of affairs has led to many poor decisions as these small populations can be more easily influenced and brought under control by wealthy interests. In “Monetary History of the United States”, Milton uses the example of how a small number of western states were able to enact the Silver purchase plan to come to the aid of a few thousand silver miners in the west. Instead the national Silver currencies of China and Mexico was melted down, shipped here and sold to the US government.
    Today, the government mandates ethanol additives in gasoline, to save the environment, while taking more energy to produce that just gasoline while ruining fuel efficiency! Agricultural subsidies?

    1. Thanks! I was hoping somebody would break that out. In principle, it’s a violation of one man one vote, since some votes have more clout than others.

  72. Your article is exactly one thing, rubbish. The electoral college’s time is past. It was okay when all we wanted to do was keep white rich land owners in charge. Now the public at large is much more educated. There is no reason to allow rural America to control the country when the majority of the population is now in urban areas.

    1. It was okay when all we wanted to do was keep white rich land owners in charge

      Say high to The Bern for me the next time you see him.

  73. The one thing the Electoral College got right that the Founders did NOT anticipate was that it makes candidates run in ALL sections of the country.

    So, even if their predicate — that the average voter in 1790 was too uneducated to make wise picks for chief executive — no longer remains valid in 2016, the College still remains a good idea. It prevents someone from running in very large metropolitan areas on what are essentially local metropolitan issues.

    I have no doubt that New York City has peculiar (and real) problems unique to it (everyone knows where it is, so everyone knows where to send the bombs). But, do we want that ALONE deciding who should be President?

    I don’t think so.

    1. The one thing the Electoral College got right that the Founders did NOT anticipate was that it makes candidates run in ALL sections of the country.

      The exact opposite. That’s why they both ignored states where the ELECTORAL vote appeared hopeless. Did you follow the election?

      Now that we see your elitism, why do you defend any one person’s vote carrying more weight than another?
      Or do you simply fail to see the new elitism?

      But, do we want that ALONE deciding who should be President? I don’t think so.

      Here we may agree.
      Anyone who believes that MAY have to be institutionalized.

  74. Bentley . true that Ashley `s blurb is good… last week I got Lotus Esprit sincee geting a check for $5815 this-last/five weeks and-even more than, ten/k lass-month . without a doubt it is the easiest work I’ve ever done . I began this seven months/ago and almost immediately startad earning minimum $77… per-hour . more tips here

    +_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+ http://www.homejobs7.com

  75. You want more agency in voting? Elect multiple governments. You get to be ruled by the government you vote for.

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