Author Topic: The electoral college, and the NPV Interstate Compact  (Read 367 times)

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Offline SuperColinBlow

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The electoral college, and the NPV Interstate Compact
« on: April 25, 2019, 05:30:46 pm »
Someone brought this up in the thread about the next POTUS. I thought it merited discussion, especially after the curious reversals of 2000 and 2016.

The idea is to write the electoral college out of existence. The U.S. federal constitution is difficult to amend and it is unlikely that enough states would ratify an amendment abolishing it. So, some states have come up with this piece of garbage. I'll provide the same link that was shown to us in the aforementioned thread.

Granted, a growing number of Americans are discontented with the electoral college. Personally, I think it needs to be retained, at least for the time being. But 14 states disagree with me, apparently.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Popular_Vote_Interstate_Compact

It's unconstitutional, for one thing. It says explicitly in Art. I, Sec. 10 that no state may, without the permission of Congress, enter into any compact with another state or states. For another thing, I very much doubt, as I stated in the other thread, that my own state's 10 democratic electors would ever in a million years vote for a republican, even if they had to according to this compact.

If we abolished the EC, what exactly could replace it? How could a direct, national, popular vote work?
« Last Edit: April 25, 2019, 05:45:50 pm by SuperColinBlow »
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Offline MH

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What does it mean to 'abolish' it ?

YOu could get rid of it and not really change the rules or the breakdown of votes per state.  I guess this is just about going to a national vote.

Offline Omni

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What does it mean to 'abolish' it ?

YOu could get rid of it and not really change the rules or the breakdown of votes per state.  I guess this is just about going to a national vote.

A lot of democratic countries seem able to vote in their leaders by simply casting a ballot and not having it usurped by a totally rigged and out of date system. When will the States catch up?

Offline SuperColinBlow

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What does it mean to 'abolish' it ?

YOu could get rid of it and not really change the rules or the breakdown of votes per state.  I guess this is just about going to a national vote.

A direct national popular vote, yes. If enough states sign on to this compact, the electoral college would exist mostly as a ceremonial thing. The result of the PV would always equal the result of the EV.
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Offline SuperColinBlow

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A lot of democratic countries seem able to vote in their leaders by simply casting a ballot and not having it usurped by a totally rigged and out of date system. When will the States catch up?

Well, as I said, it's not easy to amend the U.S. constitution. It's not a new discussion, abolishing the Electoral College. I wouldn't call it "rigged" but yes, out of date. This has been discussed by people for years. The down side to a direct national popular vote would of course be the populated areas would be more powerful than the towns and rural areas. States like California, New York, Texas (their urban areas particularly) would eclipse the rest of the country in a way never seen before. You can't just abolish a constitutional structure like that without replacing it with something stable enough.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2019, 06:09:05 am by SuperColinBlow »
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Offline MH

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A lot of democratic countries seem able to vote in their leaders by simply casting a ballot and not having it usurped by a totally rigged and out of date system. When will the States catch up?

Drop the 'totally rigged' angle and it may help you to explore WHY countries like the US and Canada don't have direct votes for PM.

Offline ?Impact

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The down side to a direct national popular vote would of course be the populated areas would be more powerful than the towns and rural areas.

Only if you ascribe to the dictatorship principal where the President controls everything, and Congress has no say.

Offline TimG

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Kind of a pointless discussion when a large portion of the US electorate does not even think there is a problem and feels the system is working the way it was designed to work.

This debate is a bit like the PR debate in Canada where you have a minority of the population obsessed with the percentages that parties get in the legislatures while the majority is more concerned about good government.
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Offline ?Impact

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while the majority is more concerned about good government.

No, the majority is more concerned about getting to the cottage for the weekend, playing Fortnite, or who wins Survivor.

Offline Omni

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Kind of a pointless discussion when a large portion of the US electorate does not even think there is a problem and feels the system is working the way it was designed to work.

This debate is a bit like the PR debate in Canada where you have a minority of the population obsessed with the percentages that parties get in the legislatures while the majority is more concerned about good government.

Actually recent polls show that ~54% of Americans want the POTUS to be elected by pop. vote, while only 30% want to keep the current EC system as is. The 14 states plus the D of C that support the compact have 189 EC votes on their side and 270 are needed to make it go into effect. I won't be surprised to see these numbers grow in favor of the compact even though Trump will harp against it, assuming he even understands it that is.

Offline SuperColinBlow

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Actually recent polls show that ~54% of Americans want the POTUS to be elected by pop. vote, while only 30% want to keep the current EC system as is. The 14 states plus the D of C that support the compact have 189 EC votes on their side and 270 are needed to make it go into effect. I won't be surprised to see these numbers grow in favor of the compact even though Trump will harp against it, assuming he even understands it that is.

That's right after an election where the numbers were reversed (that is where the NPV produced a different winner than the EC). Assuming the next election doesn't result in the same reversal, people will forget about it then. It's seen as a fluke. It's only happened in 1888, 2000 and 2016 (some people also include 1824 and 1876 but I think those are bad examples, since in 1824 1/3 of the electors were appointed and in 1876 a special commission appointed by Congress decided the election).

My problem with this is that it's unconstitutional. It clearly states in Article I Sec 10, no state may enter into a compact/agreement with each other without the consent of Congress. Suppose a bunch of electors who couldn't stomach voting for the popular vote winner, instead of their original pledge, decided to refuse to obey these laws and cited that as their reason, and took it to court? Right in the middle of an election? Can you imagine what a legal and constitutional mess that would be?

Only if you ascribe to the dictatorship principal where the President controls everything, and Congress has no say.

Can you clarify that please?

There are a lot of presidential republics where the president is elected by direct popular vote. But they're not exactly countries I think we need to "catch up with" for various reasons. Many are military juntas now and then, or have only recently had democracy restored. I'm not ascribing that to the electoral college, or the lack thereof in those countries, but I am saying that Omni seems to be falling victim to the ad populam fallacy.
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Offline Omni

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That's right after an election where the numbers were reversed (that is where the NPV produced a different winner than the EC). Assuming the next election doesn't result in the same reversal, people will forget about it then. It's seen as a fluke. It's only happened in 1888, 2000 and 2016 (some people also include 1824 and 1876 but I think those are bad examples, since in 1824 1/3 of the electors were appointed and in 1876 a special commission appointed by Congress decided the election).

My problem with this is that it's unconstitutional. It clearly states in Article I Sec 10, no state may enter into a compact/agreement with each other without the consent of Congress. Suppose a bunch of electors who couldn't stomach voting for the popular vote winner, instead of their original pledge, decided to refuse to obey these laws and cited that as their reason, and took it to court? Right in the middle of an election? Can you imagine what a legal and constitutional mess that would be?

Can you clarify that please?

There are a lot of presidential republics where the president is elected by direct popular vote. But they're not exactly countries I think we need to "catch up with" for various reasons. Many are military juntas now and then, or have only recently had democracy restored. I'm not ascribing that to the electoral college, or the lack thereof in those countries, but I am saying that Omni seems to be falling victim to the ad populam fallacy.

So why do you think electors should be able to override voters just because they don't like who won that vote?

Offline SuperColinBlow

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So why do you think electors should be able to override voters just because they don't like who won that vote?

I don't. The electors are supposed to represent the people of THEIR STATE, not the rest of the country as a whole.

If this compact is in effect by the end of next year and Donald Trump wins the EV but loses the popular vote, I do NOT foresee any of our state's 10 Democrats following the law. In fact, most of them would likely run to their nearest constitutional law professor, or their lawyers, to find out how they could wriggle their way out of it, and vote for his opponent. And I doubt they'd be the only Democrats across the country to try to do it.

The phrase "more honored in the breach than in the observance" comes to mind.

Also, don't forget that in 2016, seven electors--2 Republicans and 5 Democrats--defied their pledges and were "faithless electors". What if there were more? If there were enough of them, they'd likely get away with it.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2019, 11:27:36 pm by SuperColinBlow »
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Offline Omni

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I don't. The electors are supposed to represent the people of THEIR STATE, not the rest of the country as a whole.

If this compact is in effect by the end of next year and Donald Trump wins the EV but loses the popular vote, I do NOT foresee any of our state's 10 Democrats following the law. In fact, most of them would likely run to their nearest constitutional law professor, or their lawyers, to find out how they could wriggle their way out of it, and vote for his opponent. And I doubt they'd be the only Democrats across the country to try to do it.

The phrase "more honored in the breach than in the observance" comes to mind.

Also, don't forget that in 2016, seven electors--2 Republicans and 5 Democrats--defied their pledges and were "faithless electors". That's not a lot, seemingly, but suppose the result (before the electors vote) is really close, enough that a few defections would enable a small cabal to make sure Trump doesn't get another four years?

"Supposed to" but not required to. The compact if achieved would simply require the EC to reflect the pop. vote, as has already been achieved in 14 states and teh D of C.

Offline Omni

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Yeahhhhhh....but that would mean it would overturn the original EC result in favor of whatever the popular vote has done, if the EC and PV are not the same. In essence, it could require these Democrats, in the situation I outlined, to vote for Donald Trump. Would they actually do it? Really?

Electors are chosen by each candidate's campaign in a state BEFORE the election, with the pledge that they are voting for their party's candidate. They're not picked after the election results are in. Thus, this compact overturns the whole point of having the electors in the first place, without actually abolishing the EC instead. AND it is requiring them to vote outside their original pledge!

I know I said "supposed to" but I mean that that is what they do: represent the people of their state. That's their whole purpose.

If the EC was required to abide by the PV Trump wouldn't be in the WH, and the world would be a better place.