Larry Lessig's Latest Big Challenge: Fixing The Way We Elect A President

from the another-big-project dept

Over the last few years, Larry Lessig has not shied away from trying to bring about change to the corruption he sees in our political system with "big" projects. Rather than chipping away at ideas, Lessig has been announcing huge, almost impossible plans, generating lots of attention and hoping that they either create real change, or at the very least, create discussion on the topics he's attacking. So far, even he admits that most of those projects have been less than successful in achieving their goals. Back in 2014, there was his attempt to build a crowdfunded SuperPAC with the goal of ending SuperPACs (supporting candidates who would change campaign finance). While they raised a lot of money, Lessig admitted that the organization failed to make a real difference in the elections it participated in. Then there was the plan to call a new Constitutional Convention (which continues to garner discussion to this day, but mainly from those ideologically opposed to Lessig). And, of course, the failed campaign to be the Democratic nominee for President, where his main goal was to get into the debates -- only to have the Democrats change the rules to keep him out.

Each of these can certainly have the appearance of a rather quixotic approach to taking on government corruption. And while there are many things I do agree with Lessig on, there's also a pretty long list where I disagree with him. But, what I respect is that even as outwardly "crazy" as many of these plans appear to be, there's always an astoundingly detailed, well-thought out and well-argued logic behind them, even if the likelihood of success is low. He's making big gestures that may have a low probability of success, but these aren't campaigns that have just been thrown together on a whim -- they have a clear purpose and fit in with a larger theme, often trying to game the system in some clever way. They're gimmicky, but in ways that at least make you think.

All of that is true with his latest project as well: an attempt to change the way we elect the president. Obviously, many people who were upset with the results of last year's election (and lingering anger about the 2000 election) have been arguing that it's time to get rid of the electoral college. And, frankly, it's kind of difficult to justify why we still have an electoral college when it's quite clear that it serves no really useful function. But, of course, because of the way things worked out in 2000 and 2016, even discussing the problems of the electoral college have become (stupidly) partisan. And, because it's part of the Constitution, getting rid of the electoral college is a near impossibility.

So, instead, Lessig is attacking things a step down the chain with his EqualVotes campaign. The argument, again, makes a lot of sense. Don't get rid of the electoral college -- but stop giving all electoral votes in a state to the winner of the popular vote in that state. This is the part that's really undemocratic. As Lessig explains:

A Republican from California is no less a United States citizen than a Democrat. Yet her vote for President counts for nothing. Likewise with a Democrat in Texas. There is no reason not to allocate electors in a way that gives equal weight to every citizen’s vote, at least within the constraints of the framers’ original compromise.

States initially adopted “winner take all” because it amplified the power of that state’s votes. This troubled even Jefferson, who recognized the incentive to try to expand a state’s influence. As he wrote, “[a]n election by districts would be best if it could be general, but while ten States choose either by legislatures or by [winner take all] it is folly and worse than folly for the other States not to do it.”

Yet once (practically) every other state had embraced winner take all, its important effect was not to amplify, but to shift the focus of the presidential campaigns. This is because under “winner take all,” the only states in which it makes any sense for a presidential candidate to campaign are “battleground states” — states in which the popular vote can be expected to be so close that one side has a real chance to beat the other.

Thus in 2016, two-thirds of campaign events happened in just 6 battleground states — Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Michigan. Four battleground states — Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania — saw 71% of campaign ad spending and 57% of candidate appearances. All together, the 14 battleground states saw 99% of ad spending and 95% of candidate visits for campaign purposes.

The argument, then, is to try to force states away from "winner-take-all." Right now, only Maine and Nebraska don't do winner take all with their electoral college votes, but they both don't have many votes anyway.

Lessig's plan to bring this about is to bring legal challenges and hopefully get them to the Supreme Court. As Lessig explains:

The Supreme Court has made it clear that the principle of “one person, one vote” applies in the “Presidential selection process”—first in a set of cases in the 1960s, and most recently, in 2000, in a case called Bush v. Gore. But the Court has not yet considered whether “winner take all” rules are themselves consistent with “one person, one vote.” Delaware asked the Supreme Court to consider the question 50 years ago. The Court declined the request for review.

It is long past time for the Court to address this inequality directly.

In a separate post, Lessig has laid out the reasoning more clearly and responded to some of the key questions. The sort of judo move here, is that Lessig is effectively trying to use the Supreme Court's reasoning in Bush v. Gore to make this work -- and he's argued that if you supported the Supreme Court in that ruling, you're being inconsistent if you argue against the case he's hoping to bring, as they're based on the same principles of one person, one vote.

The real question for the opponents here is Bush v. Gore (2000): If the application of “one person, one vote” to restrict winner-take-all is invalid because the Framers never intended the clause to be used in that way, was the application of “one person, one vote” to the Florida recount invalid, because of course, the Framers of the 14th Amendment had no intent whatsoever about the Supreme Court supervising the state’s rules for counting or recounting votes?

The point is just this: It’s perfectly respectable to say, Bush was wrong, and our claim is wrong as well. But it is selective to say, Bush was right, but our claim is wrong.

Of course, there are still others who argue that a proportional breakdown will create other problems as well, such as those who support an even more radical change: to a ranked choice voting system. And while I agree that a ranked choice setup would be much better, it has basically zero chance of happening any time soon. Lessig's chances with this lawsuit appear quite slim as well, but they're at least above zero. And, yes, I'm sure some people will point to the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, as a sort of "competing" idea to Lessig's to force a move to make the popular vote actually matter -- and Lessig has said he's supportive of that effort too -- he just sees EqualVote as another way of forcing the issue.

Either way, this is a project worth paying attention to -- even if it may be a longshot. Lessig may take a lot of these longshots, but if he gets one right, it could have a pretty major impact.


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  • icon
    Ehud Gavron (profile), 26 Sep 2017 @ 1:41pm

    The Great Compromise of 1787

    "And, frankly, it's kind of difficult to justify why we still have an electoral college when it's quite clear that it serves no really useful function."

    When the framers of this country considered representation they wanted to respect the rights of all people. However, many of the tiny eastern states (e.g. Delaware, Rhode Island) would have a lot less say in federal matters than larger territories cum states such as California, Deseret, etc.

    The "Great Compromise" called for creating two houses of Congress. One would have equal representation based on the population of the states -- that is the House of Representatives, although it guarantees a two-representative minimum. The other house would have an equal number of representatives from every states -- that is the Senate.

    The Great Compromise called that states' votes for the President would be a sum of the fixed reps (2 senators) and the variable reps (2+ representatives). That is the basis for the vote distribution.

    When one says it's difficult to justify the [continued] existence of the electoral college one should reflect on how it's designed to balance the large-population states' rights with the small-population states' rights. It is NOT designed to balance the rights of individual voters! That was NOT its goal and it certainly does NOT do that and will NEVER do that.

    So jumping from an understanding of why we have it, an informed voter may say "Well one man one vote, so get rid of the electoral college." The same voter may then consider that if we truly had one man one vote then STATES no longer have power over the election. (This also obviates the "winner take all" problem). It would mean lots of changes, some good, and some not so good:

    o Candidates would rarely stump in rural areas
    o In areas of predominantly red or blue states, the disenfranchised people would finally get to vote

    As a fan of true democracy -- which this country doesn't do -- I would love to see the removal of the electoral college and replacement with verified secure accountable transparent voting by the population of citizens for the office of President of the United States.

    For the reasons cited above I don't expect the States of the Union and the politicians running them to support removal of their power anytime ever.

    Ehud Gavron
    US Citizen and a blue guy in a red state

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Sep 2017 @ 4:12pm

      Re: The Great Compromise of 1787

      The electoral college ensures the country that us morons will never have a say in our government's politics. When they all go underground when the nukes start flying we'll take the brunt of the heat and radiation and force in our faces so they don't have to, but when they finally meet their demise, we'll be there to give them the boot down the stairs to deepest depths of hell.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Sep 2017 @ 4:56pm

        Re: Re: The Great Compromise of 1787

        "us morons"

        You got right to the point, but you are correct.

        "never have a say in our government's politics."

        Ahh... the very reason for political parties to exist... tools to usurp the voters wills. Your candidate serves the party... not you. Go ahead keep voting them in.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2017 @ 5:41am

        Re: Re: The Great Compromise of 1787

        So what your saying is "why should they go out to fight? They leave that role to the poor. Wait `till their judgement day comes, yeah! Begging mercy for their sins, Satan, laughing, spreads his wings...Oh lord, yeah!"

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      • identicon
        Lee Mortimer, 27 Sep 2017 @ 11:17am

        Re: Re: The Great Compromise of 1787

        If you're "a blue guy in a red state," then you should be in favor of the National Popular Vote (NPV) Interstate Compact. It's the only practical and politically viable way of equalizing all votes for president, whether from red states, blue states or battleground states. There is zero chance of amending our frozen constitution to end the electoral college. (The last constitutional amendment was in 1971 when 18-year-olds gained the right to vote.) Lessig's proposal sounds like a legal strategy. Nothing wrong with going to court, but what can be expected, given the Supreme Court's current composition. NPV is a state-by-state strategy that has been adopted by 10 states and the District of Columbia for a combined total of 165 electoral votes. Once enough states have joined to equal 270 electoral votes, NPV will go into effect to allow the president to be elected by the national popular vote.

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        • identicon
          Thad, 27 Sep 2017 @ 11:30am

          Re: Re: Re: The Great Compromise of 1787

          (The last constitutional amendment was in 1971 when 18-year-olds gained the right to vote.)

          Hey, what about the 27th Amendment? That one only took 202 years to pass!

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    • icon
      compujas (profile), 27 Sep 2017 @ 5:19am

      Re: The Great Compromise of 1787

      Given that the original intent was for Senators to be selected by and represent the state and Representatives to be selected by and represent the people, and that each state's number of electoral votes is set by the number of Senators plus Representatives, how about this:

      • The number of electoral votes by Representatives are divided based on the popular vote
      • The number of electoral votes by Senators (2) are winner-take-all

      That way the states themselves are represented equally and the people are fairly represented by popular vote. A quick look through the 2016 results, it looks like Trump still would've won, 262-252, and Johnson gets 7. Obviously this method would require a change in the number of required electoral votes to win since none would have received 270. This may not actually be correct though since some electoral votes get dropped due to rounding (ie. each candidate has .3 electoral votes, none round up to 1, so no one gets it). This would require some further rules other than simple percentage based. Maybe after multiplication, whoever has the highest fraction of the last vote gets it? (3.3, 4.4, 0.3, becomes 3, 5, 0)

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      • icon
        compujas (profile), 27 Sep 2017 @ 7:36am

        Re: Re: The Great Compromise of 1787

        Rerunning it this way Trump still wins, 270-257-11 (Trump-Clinton-Johnson), but it's closer than the 304-227 result that actually happened. Seems like potentially the fairest way to give all voters an equal say within their state, rather than being overshadowed for not being a member of the same party as the majority.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2017 @ 9:43am

          Personally I don't know anyone who tallied all the votes. Whoever controls the tally controls what they make to look like fair and normal election process. I still don't believe for a second that they would allow general public to weigh in over their political carreers. They are so. good at being so bad and trying to look so good it makes me want to spew chunks and green and brown slimy stuff.

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    • icon
      ShadowNinja (profile), 27 Sep 2017 @ 7:07am

      Re: The Great Compromise of 1787

      Part of the problem is also culture and technology has changed too much since the founding fathers day.

      Back then most considered themselves a citizen of their state first, and a citizen of the US second. General Robert E Lee's politics were generally much more aligned with the North, but he fought for the South out of loyalty to Virginia over the federal government.

      Today, almost no one considers themselves a citizen of their state over the federal government. The whole idea sounds absurd to most people. And people move across state lines all the time.

      Technology also changed things. Back then conducting a nationwide presidential election and tallying the results in only a few months would be a difficult logistical feat with ships and horses as the fastest way to travel. Having electors get together to pick the president made it much less logistically challenging.

      Today travel isn't an issue. We can have instant communication with people on the other side of the planet. Counting the votes, even if they were all paper ballots, before the inauguration wouldn't be an issue or logistical challenge at all.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2017 @ 8:09am

        Re: Re: The Great Compromise of 1787

        I think you may be wrong about that. Texans consider themselves Texans, New Yorkers are New Yorkers, those in California see themselves much different than the rest of the country.

        State rights are very much still in demand, and should be. That is what freedom is all about.

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        • identicon
          JEDIDIAH, 27 Sep 2017 @ 7:15pm

          Re: The Great Compromise of 1787

          People in different parts of the country have different sensibilities and sometimes even different day to day realities. The problem with being ruled from by a few coastal cities is that many of those people have no clue about flyover country and don't care to.

          Californians in particular like to make up arguments about how they should get to run everyone else's lives.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 28 Sep 2017 @ 8:02pm

          Re: Re: Re: The Great Compromise of 1787

          I think those are more in lines of cultural identity rather than citizenship. If someone says he's a New Yorker living in Texas, it doesn't call to mind someone trying to maintain New York state citizenship while residing in Texas but instead someone who culturally identifies with NYC while physically being in Texas. The US population is very mobile, and I don't think state citizenship per se (as opposed to the cultural, social, or economic flavors of a state) is a major concern these days.

          The point of diminished importance of state citizenship is valid.

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    • identicon
      otto, 27 Sep 2017 @ 8:21am

      Re: The Great Compromise of 1787

      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 ( not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution) 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.

      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.

      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.

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      • identicon
        Thad, 27 Sep 2017 @ 10:55am

        Re: Re: The Great Compromise of 1787

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

        Source?

        I expect it's strong in blue rural states but not so strong in red ones, but maybe I'm wrong on that.

        I suspect if there really was a major push for eliminating the electoral college, states like Montana would raise hell. Switching to a proportional EC might be a more palatable compromise.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Sep 2017 @ 3:50pm

    The basic change:

    Currently we elect a president of the United States of America.
    This would elect a president of America.

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    • identicon
      Topeka, 26 Sep 2017 @ 6:35pm

      Hate Trump = Change System

      Lessig & supporters are clueless about the concept/origin of the Electoral College. Hillary lost ... so the "system" is therefore obviously defective (not).

      Lessig seeks a convenient judicial solution, but state governments already have ample power to control the selection and requirements of their Electors. The original idea was for the most knowledgeable and informed individuals from each State to select the President based solely on merit and without regard to State of origin or political party -- which is fully in line with "representative democracy" upon which the whole country is based.

      States can make their own choices/changes. Nebraska and Maine have proportional distribution of the Electors (not winner take all). All states could do that too, if they wanted -- without Lessig & courts.

      This Kill-the-Electoral-College chant is a perennial favorite of the left. Perhaps they would prefer a parliamentary system of selecting a chief executive -- which is even less democratic then the Electoral College?

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Sep 2017 @ 9:16pm

        Re: Hate Trump = Change System

        The wit here ignores what the proposal is. It a proposal that keeps the Electrol college. It moves the control of voting for a college member from the state politician to the citizens living in the state. From my viewpoint it is an election for the top national government job the method to elect the winner should be the same in each electorate. The people living in the electorate should be counted the same

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        • icon
          compujas (profile), 27 Sep 2017 @ 5:23am

          Re: Re: Hate Trump = Change System

          The whole point though is that each electorate (state) is different and has their own rights and powers as part of the nation. One of those is choosing how it throws its electoral votes into the hat for selection of the President. Each is allowed to choose any method they like, and most have chosen winner-takes-all. If any particular state wants to change that, they are always welcome to. By no means should all states be required to follow any given system as that goes back to the original comment of electing a president of America, not the United States of America, which is a critical element.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2017 @ 6:53am

          Re: Re: Hate Trump = Change System

          ....no, the TD post above clearly states that Lessig's approach is a fallback tactic -- because it's just too politically difficult to eliminate the Electoral College (as really desired). Lessig wants judicial-activism to abolish individual state sovereignty over the Elector process, and substitute his flawless mandates.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Sep 2017 @ 9:26pm

        Re: Hate Trump = Change System

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2017 @ 1:20am

        Re: Hate Trump = Change System

        As much as the floral language about what the original idea was, it is exceedingly clear that is not what happens!

        And "kill-the-Electoral-College" is in no way what Lessig is arguing. It would be stupid bringing an issue to a court sworn to uphold the constitution if your idea was to change the constitution.

        The choice of how to vote is, as the arguments outlined in the op goes, rather biased (Also, FPTP and WTIA are inherently "unfair" to the local political minority and could easily cause oppression of opinions).

        And you don't touch on the electoral college as a way to protect less densely populated states against the oppression of the densely populated states, nor the connection to the state to ensure that no state is left behind.

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      • identicon
        Thad, 27 Sep 2017 @ 10:56am

        Re: Hate Trump = Change System

        Haha, you said "not". Like Wayne's World! I remember Wayne's World.

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      • icon
        Ryunosuke (profile), 27 Sep 2017 @ 11:10am

        Re: Hate Trump = Change System

        the system IS broken. I live in a state that is regularly more purple than red/blue. each candidate USUALLY takes 40-50% of the votes. The winner gets ALL of the votes, meaning the other HALF of the votes are essentially thrown out.

        Yes my state COULD do that, but it won't do that. Because it is not in the prominent party's favor to do so (Republicans). And so it falls onto Judicial review to change things.

        Remember what I said earlier about power, People in Power rarely give it up voluntarily.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2017 @ 9:15am

      Re: The basic change:

      as someone who lives in the Americas outside of the US, no... just no.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2017 @ 1:20pm

        Re: Re: The basic change:

        Please forgive the imprecision of language. I certainly did not mean to imply that Mexico, Canada, Central America and South America did not exist.

        There is and always has been a tension between how much political power the former British colonies should retain, and how much should be delegated to the central government, for reasons stated in the preamble of the Constitution.
        The idea of a popular vote or mandated proportional electoral college votes shifts focus further from those distinct political entities known as states. A few delegates to the Constitutional Convention actually supported abolishing the states altogether.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Sep 2017 @ 4:07pm

    Everyone is missing the really critical point.

    The real problem isn't one of how we elect the president, or for that matter, any political figure. The real problem is getting competent figures into office. And that is a real bitch of a problem. Reason is quite simple. At this moment, the only thing that a political figure needs to be competent in is collecting votes. Period. End of discussion. The ability to actually understand the issues. The ability to actually act in the public good. Everything that would make a ruler a GOOD ruler doesn't even come in a close second behind the ability to actually attract votes. And unless some method is created to put competent capable people in charge, no method of electing them will work. Hell, look at the 2016 election. We had a choice of Hillary or Trump. Would anyone honestly claim that either of those two people would be capable and just ruler? I certainty hope not. We basically had to choose between two very bad choices that no rational person would desire.

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    • icon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 26 Sep 2017 @ 4:14pm

      Re: Everyone is missing the really critical point.

      First qualification needed is the lack of desire for office (aka power).

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      • identicon
        Thad, 26 Sep 2017 @ 4:46pm

        Re: Re: Everyone is missing the really critical point.

        Course, Lessig's "I'll sign one law and then immediately resign" campaign didn't work out so well.

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        • icon
          Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 26 Sep 2017 @ 4:52pm

          Re: Re: Re: Everyone is missing the really critical point.

          I was thinking more along the lines of a draft, selected from those that don't want the job, but do know how to read.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 26 Sep 2017 @ 5:16pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Everyone is missing the really critical point.

            It is a novel idea, but it still would not work. Even that system can be gamed.

            It is better to leave it exactly as it is now, there really is not a better system. The best way to keep politicians honest is for them to be worried about getting re-elected.

            the problem is us voters. Since we readily vote in politicians that have proven to betray the voters... well why should they pay us any mind again?

            As a business owner, I would just buy every candidate you sent up there, and since they KNOW they will not be serving again, what reason do they have to resist the phat stacks of cash I will be giving them to mold laws to my businesses benefit?

            Did you think they would be altruistic for you?

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            • icon
              Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 26 Sep 2017 @ 5:25pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Everyone is missing the really critical point.

              For that we need to remove all the money from politics. Paying for all elections, federal, state, local, whatever would be a small drop in the bucket from the intelligence agencies budgets. When lobbyist money and campaign contributions are no longer a part of the game, other methods of coercion will take place. But, those are already illegal.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 26 Sep 2017 @ 5:30pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Everyone is missing the really critical point.

                There is no way to remove money from politics because one of governments primary jobs is to ensure a common currency.

                And like you have already said, other methods of coercion along with other methods of "persuasion" will become more prevalent. And it will not matter which is illegal, they already flaunt the law in our faces as it is. You also will not get politicians to actually turn against each other, they have a great gig already, all they need to do is parrot a few lines and act like they really hate those other guys. They only go after the ones really stupid enough to get themselves into hot water so obvious that even the idiots voters would not let it slide. Look at Wiener with his 21 months of prison... a black man would be in jail for longer.

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                • icon
                  Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 26 Sep 2017 @ 5:59pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Everyone is missing the really critical point.

                  One can keep saying nay or they can propose appropriate options. I try for the latter, you keep insisting on the former.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 26 Sep 2017 @ 7:56pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Everyone is missing the really critical point.

                    I think you misunderstand.

                    I advocate for NO CHANGE. The states can tell its voters you don't get to participate in the election of the President anymore. If a state wants to make a change... let the state change it on their own. You Larry needs to stay out of it, unless it is HIS state.

                    What I hope would happen is that the states ALL remove public voting for President. it is a huge pointless distraction. Congress has most of the power, which is why there are so many of them, to help dilute that amount of power! I want people to go back to focusing on their congress critters and stop paying daily attention to an attention WHORE!

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2017 @ 10:15am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Everyone is missing the really critical point.

                What? No money? You mean they wouldn't be as likely to use the government as a weapon against America ever again? Keep dreaming!

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2017 @ 10:45am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Everyone is missing the really critical point.

                What? No money? You mean they wouldn't be as likely to use the government as a weapon against America ever again? Keep dreaming!

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          • identicon
            Thad, 26 Sep 2017 @ 5:17pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Everyone is missing the really critical point.

            There's some precedent there. Didn't ancient Athens pick representatives at random?

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          • icon
            JoeCool (profile), 27 Sep 2017 @ 8:04am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Everyone is missing the really critical point.

            Not a draft, a jury pool. If it's good enough to sentence you to prison for life, it's good enough to run the government.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2017 @ 8:50pm

        Re: Re: Everyone is missing the really critical point.

        As the man* once said:

        “The major problem—one of the major problems, for there are several—one of the many major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of who manages to get people to let them do it to them.
        To summarize: it is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it.
        To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.”

        *No, not The Man. Douglas Adams. Also: “To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem.”

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Sep 2017 @ 4:59pm

      Re: Everyone is missing the really critical point.

      "The real problem is getting competent figures into office."

      The real problem is getting the people voting to understand that they are responsible for their politicians. All I ever hear is... I voted for that turd but this is not my fault!

      The American citizens are more than ignorant and lost, they are the very problem they accused the politicians of being!

      The voters are incompetent, therefore incompetent politicians are the only ones able to win elections. For every vote a competent voter makes, they have 10 other idiots canceling out their vote.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2017 @ 10:40am

        Re: Re: Everyone is missing the really critical point.

        Getting the people to understand they are responsible for their politicians???? That is the biggest pile of bunk if ever there was a pile of bunk.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2017 @ 11:19am

        Re: Re: Everyone is missing the really critical point.

        It is apparent you've had an english class maybe even collegiate level, but you are possibly spouting disinformation knowingly or maybe actually believe the mindless information you are writing.

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    • icon
      madasahatter (profile), 26 Sep 2017 @ 5:19pm

      Re: Everyone is missing the really critical point.

      You mean we had a choice of very bad and really horrible seniles.

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      • identicon
        Winston84, 27 Sep 2017 @ 7:03am

        Re: Re: Everyone is missing the really critical point.

        You mean we had a choice of very bad and really horrible seniles.

        Not really. If people hadn’t voted for them in primaries you wouldn’t have the two bad choices that you are bitching about. Argument made by some ACs above that voters’ being utterly incompetent is very much valid. It’s just easy to blame it on the two “choices” while utterly ignoring the biggest fucking elephant in the room i.e. the fact that those choices are picked by the same voters during primaries.

        In fact I would even argue that given a bad choice and a bigly worst choice in the history of the universe, people did rightfully pick the bad choice with 3 million more votes. However, I would argue that EC screwed the pooch by picking a “man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications” to quote Mr. Alex Hamilton.

        From the same federalist paper, my favorite paragraph about ECs…ROFL

        “It was equally desirable, that the immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice. A small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations.”

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        • identicon
          Thad, 27 Sep 2017 @ 10:58am

          Re: Re: Re: Everyone is missing the really critical point.

          Not really. If people hadn’t voted for them in primaries you wouldn’t have the two bad choices that you are bitching about.

          The majority of Republican primary voters did not vote for Donald Trump.

          As TFA says, there's an argument to be made for voting by order of preference instead of first-past-the-post, but it's an even longer shot than reforming the electoral college.

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          • identicon
            Winston84, 28 Sep 2017 @ 12:35pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Everyone is missing the really critical point.

            The majority of Republican primary voters did not vote for Donald Trump.

            You bring up a good point and I agree that majority of primary voters did not vote for Trump. However, lets dig into the republican primary results. I think any sane person would tend to agree that of the four republican primary candidates on the ballot majority of the votes went to two most shall we say deplorable candidates. Based on these results I would still argue that the primary voters are incompetent and tend to reward the worst of the worst, more so on the republican side. Another recent nomination (Roy Moore from AL to US Senate) cements this fact.

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            • identicon
              Thad, 28 Sep 2017 @ 1:43pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Everyone is missing the really critical point.

              the four republican primary candidates on the ballot

              Huh?

              Dude. There were twelve primary candidates on the Iowa ballot. (Or...do caucuses have ballots? At any rate, there were twelve candidates at that point.) There were five on all the Super Tuesday ballots. The race wasn't narrowed down to four candidates until after 12 million people had already voted, by which point Trump already had a commanding lead.

              And that's the problem with First Past the Post: in a race with twelve candidates, it's possible for extreme candidates to unify their supporters, while more moderate voters are split. Most people who voted for Bush would have found Rubio or Kasich preferable to Cruz or Trump. Hell, Scott Walker never had a chance; he was probably a widely acceptable candidate to most of the voters, but he was everybody's second or third choice, nobody's first.

              And as the race went on, more and more candidates dropped out. Do you think everybody who voted for Ted Cruz near the end of the primaries would have picked him if Bush or Rubio had still been an option? No; a lot of the people who voted for Cruz voted for him because by that point he was the only guy who still had a chance of beating Trump. (Kasich was never even close.)

              This raises a couple of issues. One, as we've discussed, is ranked-choice voting. First-past-the-post is a system that can produce a polarizing candidate (as we've seen); ranked-choice favors consensus candidates. If your first choice was Bush, your second choice was Rubio, your third was Walker, your fourth was Kasich, and Cruz and Trump were all the way down at the bottom, there should be a better way of counting that.

              Another is that the timing of primaries and caucuses gives a clear advantage to some states over others. Iowa has picked the Democratic candidate every year since 2000. (It's less influential in Republican primaries; it picked Trump last year, but its previous picks were Santorum and Huckabee.)

              States that vote late in the process don't really make much difference; by March, it was pretty clear who the nominees were going to be.

              On the other hand, in 2008 a number of states moved their primaries up precisely for that reason, and since that ended up being a close primary season (for the Democrats), they found that they actually would have had more influence if they'd waited until late in the process, so they shifted back to a more traditional schedule for '12 and '16.

              California has recently set a date for its 2020 primary. It's much earlier than its 2016 primary, but later than its 2008 one. I expect we're going to be hearing a lot more about primary dates getting shifted around over the next 2 years.

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              • identicon
                Winston84, 28 Sep 2017 @ 6:32pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Everyone is missing the really critical point.

                Go through the list of primary results from all states starting from Iowa. You will notice that the first four (Trump, Cruz, Rubio & Kasich) got the most votes. The other eight got votes but the number of votes they got are insignificantly low, that is why they are not even worth mentioning. Look at the numbers dude!!!

                Yes, people had choice at the beginning but they did not vote for the sane candidates, they end up voting for the worst of the bunch. Even if they had only four candidates from the beginning, one of the two worst candidates would have won easily. Ranked-choice system would be great but the current primary system is chosen by the voters themselves via the representatives they elect, there is no one else to blame for that in a democracy. Most voters don’t care about the political process, they wake up once every four years to vote. In a democracy, when most people don’t even bother to participate you are going to have a corrupt system. It all circles back to the incompetence of voters. And don’t tell me US is not a democracy but a republic, I am sick of hearing that contrived logic.

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                • identicon
                  Thad, 29 Sep 2017 @ 2:28pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Everyone is missing the really critical point.

                  Go through the list of primary results from all states starting from Iowa. You will notice that the first four (Trump, Cruz, Rubio & Kasich) got the most votes. The other eight got votes but the number of votes they got are insignificantly low, that is why they are not even worth mentioning. Look at the numbers dude!!!

                  Er, I did. Did you, or did you just go straight to mashing exclamation points? The bottom 8 candidates in February had a combined 18%. The difference between first place and third place was less than 13%. If you don't understand how ranked-choice voting could have changed the entire race, here's some back-of-the-napkin. Let's go ahead and do top-four, per your suggestion.

                  Iowa: Top four are Cruz (27.6%), Trump (24.3%), Rubio (23.1%), Carson (9.3%). (I misspoke when I said Trump won Iowa.) Let's eliminate everybody below them. Assume Bush (2.8%), Kasich (1.9%), and Paul (0.7%) voters move over to Rubio, Christie (1.8%) voters move over to Trump, and Fiorina (4.1%), Huckabee (1.8%), and Santorum (1%) move over to Cruz. So then our final tally is Cruz (34.5%), Rubio (28.5%), Trump (26.1%), Carson (9.3%). Splitting 30 delegates up across those numbers, we get Cruz with 10, Rubio with 9, Trump with 8, Carson with 3. It's not a huge difference -- and, as I've noted before, Iowa's not very influential in Republican primaries -- but right out the gate we're looking at Trump in third place. The narrative changes a little bit.

                  NH: Top four are Trump (35.2%), Kasich (15.7%), Cruz (11.6%), Bush (11%). Let's award Rubio's (10.5%) and Paul's (0.7%) votes to Bush, Carson's (2.3%) and Christie's (7.4%) to Trump, and Fiornia's (4.1%) to Cruz. Now the numbers are Trump (44.9%), Bush (22.2%), and Kasich and Cruz tied (15.7)%. 23 delegates means Trump gets 8, Bush gets 5, Cruz and Kasich each get 4. It's an even bigger win for Trump, but Bush is looking a lot better.

                  Running total: Trump 16, Cruz 14, Rubio 9, Bush 5, Kasich 4, Carson 3.

                  SC: If we assume, in our scenario, that SC is still winner-take-all, then top-four doesn't make sense; we'll assume instant-runoff. Bottom rank is Carson (7.2%); let's give his votes to Trump. Next-lowest are Kasich and Bush; let's give their votest to Rubio. Now our top 3 are Trump (39.7%), Rubio (37.9%), Cruz (22.3%). So how do Cruz's voters split up? If about 54% of them go for Rubio, then Rubio wins South Carolina and 50 delegates. If Rubio gets it, then our running total is Rubio 59, Trump 16, Cruz 14, Bush 5, Kasich 4, Carson 3. If we assume Carson has still dropped out of the race at this point, then let's award his delegates to Trump and bump Trump up to 19.

                  Alternately, if we assume that in our hypothetical SC is not winner-take-all, and awards delegates proportionally, then top four are Trump (32.5%), Rubio (22.5%), Cruz (22.3%), Bush (7.8%). If we award Kasich's (7.6%) votes to Bush and Carson's (7.2%) to Trump, we get Trump (39.7%), Rubio (22.5%), Cruz (22.3%), Bush (15.4%). That means 20 delegates for Trump, 11 each for Rubio and Cruz, 8 for Bush. Running total: Trump 36 (39 if we add Carson's delegates), Cruz 25, Rubio 20, Bush 13, Kasich 4. In either case, it's a pretty different race from the one we saw.

                  Or, for another interpretation, let's just assume everybody voted exactly the same throughout the primary but all states award delegates proportionally (no winner-take-all), and instant-runoff is performed at the convention.

                  Ignoring candidates who withdrew during the primaries, let's start from the bottom and remove each candidate one-by-one.

                  Santorum: 0.05% of the popular vote. Give to Cruz for 25.13%.

                  Gilmore: 0.06%. Give to Bush for 0.98%.

                  Fiorina: 0.13%; Huckabee: 0.16%. Give to Cruz for 25.42%.

                  Christie: 0.18%. Give to Trump for 45.13%.

                  Paul: 0.21%. Give to Bush for 1.19%. Then give Bush's votes to Rubio for 12.46%.

                  Carson: 2.75%. Give to Trump for 47.88%.

                  Rubio: 12.46%. Give to Kasich for 26.22%.

                  Now Kasich is ahead of Cruz.

                  So where do Cruz's 25.42% of the vote (including votes from Fiorina and Huckabee) go? Well, it's still looking pretty good for Trump; only 8.3% of Cruz's/Fiorina's/Huckabee's combined voters have to have Trump ahead of Kasich on their ranked-choice ballot for him to win the nomination anyway.

                  But of course this is assuming a couple things that wouldn't actually happen: one, that 100% of Christie and Carson supporters would put Trump ahead of Kasich (or anybody else), and two, that the votes would have turned out exactly the same under an all-proportional primary system, which they certainly wouldn't; if South Carolina's 50 delegates hadn't all gone to Trump, we would have been looking at a whole different ballgame, let alone big states like Florida, California, and New York. Under those conditions, Trump doesn't get the commanding lead he did early, nor the press coverage treating him as an overwhelming frontrunner. Bush and Rubio both stay in the race longer, which certainly affects Kasich and Cruz's numbers; Cruz benefited from being the only viable candidate in the race who wasn't Trump, and Kasich benefited from being the only remaining candidate in the race who wasn't Trump or Cruz. Kasich and Cruz would certainly have been viable possibilities under those conditions; Rubio probably would have been too, and maybe even Bush. Would Cruz have gone into the convention in second place, under a proportional, ranked-choice system? I doubt it.

                  Yes, people had choice at the beginning but they did not vote for the sane candidates, they end up voting for the worst of the bunch.

                  While both Rubio and Kasich are far too conservative for my tastes, it's absurd to lump them in with Cruz and Trump as "the worst of the bunch". Carson, Fiorina, Huckabee, and Santorum were all worse than Rubio or Kasich.

                  And don’t tell me US is not a democracy but a republic, I am sick of hearing that contrived logic.

                  See that? It's a strawman. Don't do that. And please understand that "Don't do that" is a lot more polite than the first phrase that occurred to me.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2017 @ 9:59am

      Re: Everyone is missing the really critical point.

      It IS THE nwo making Americans eat crow. They put the meanest nastiest least likely to make friends at your party in there and then sit back and chuckle to each other at how they've made Americans squirm again at the supper table.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2017 @ 11:10am

      Re: Everyone is missing the really critical point.

      It is hyper-naive to not realize or even investigate the darker deeper state of the nation running the core of the government that are responsible for these choices we suppposedly have. And it is equally naive to suppise these people aren't part of some deeper narrative of a treasonous agenda.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Sep 2017 @ 4:09pm

    Election changes

    While we are on the topic of changing how elections work, let's turn the US House into a sortition, where people are randomly selected for it from the area they represent (much like a jury pool). US Senate can remain the bastion of tradition that it is, but the House would be full of randoms from each district. It would certainly remove money from the equation.

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    • icon
      Ehud Gavron (profile), 26 Sep 2017 @ 4:50pm

      Re: Election changes

      I like how you say "...let's turn the US House..." as if WE, The People, can do anything.

      The House and the Senate have made sure to consolidate power over these last 230 years so that WE can't change any of THEIR systems; WE can't call a Constitutional Convention.

      WE should be Content.
      WE should be Compliant.
      WE should give them more of our money.

      E

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Sep 2017 @ 5:04pm

        Re: Re: Election changes

        And you say all of that while advocating for a True Democracy.

        The best case against democracy is to have a 5 minute conversation with the average voter. People like you.

        Democracy is 2 wolves and 1 lamb deciding on what is for dinner. Even in California they voted to block gay marriage, so if you did have that democracy... the gays would be shit out of luck now wouldn't they? In a Democracy, the blacks would likely still be slaves, especially if they are correct about most whites being racist as fuck like they always say, and we already know they Mexicans hate them, and the oriental are big time racists. In a real democracy it should be real easy to put the slaves back into their shackles... sounds like something we should do right?

        Democracy is nothing other than the tyranny of the majority over the minority and why they quickly commit suicide because vast numbers of ignorant folks like you will start making a whole lot of bad decisions.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 26 Sep 2017 @ 10:29pm

          Re: Re: Re: Election changes

          Considering we are having faux-plebescite on same-sex marriage here, we have had various gay couples come and advocate for the No vote. There are gays that want it and there are gays that don't. I think that is interesting.

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          • identicon
            JEDDIDIAH, 27 Sep 2017 @ 7:20pm

            Re: Election changes

            Not all gays are interested in "playing it straight. They seem to prefer the 70s notion of what it meant to be gay. An inclination to monogamy may be it's own orientation orthogonal to everything else.

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  • identicon
    HypocritesUnite, 26 Sep 2017 @ 4:52pm

    So there is only anger at the presidents elected during 2000, and 2016?
    No anger about 2008?
    You wonder why these ideas haven't taken shape, lol.

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    • identicon
      Thad, 26 Sep 2017 @ 5:18pm

      Re:

      ...the president elected in 2008 won a majority of the popular vote, dude.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Sep 2017 @ 6:19pm

        Re: Re:

        Yet lost the election. As it should be. The only people complaining are people who do not understand the system and why it exists. Also seems you are a butt hurt cry baby liberal joining the world's biggest tantrum.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 26 Sep 2017 @ 8:19pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          You sound triggered.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2017 @ 2:52am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Nope, I am amused. Saddened and amused at the behavior of the left.

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          • identicon
            JEDIDIAH, 27 Sep 2017 @ 7:24pm

            The way toddlers play.

            Yeah. People who act like toddlers do trigger me. You lost the game, so you want to change the rules. The rules were no mystery. Everyone understood them.

            Yet, the "most qualified candidate ever" seems to have completely disregarded them to her own peril.

            You can either own up to the mistake and adapt your strategy for next time or just screech inside your echo chamber.

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            • identicon
              Thad, 28 Sep 2017 @ 8:14am

              Re: The way toddlers play.

              Acknowledging that Clinton was a poor candidate and asserting that the electoral college should be reformed are not mutually exclusive.

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    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 26 Sep 2017 @ 5:51pm

      Re:

      So there is only anger at the presidents elected during 2000, and 2016?

      No. There is anger at the fact that the electoral college and the popular vote differed in both years.

      I thought that was clear from the context -- it's why I called the issue stupidly partisan. If we'd had two such elections where the results went to different parties, perhaps we could have a more honest discussion).

      The issue is not who won, but the popular vote v. the electoral college.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Sep 2017 @ 8:01pm

        Re: Re:

        "The issue is not who won, but the popular vote v. the electoral college."

        That is an issue for you, not for me... or rather, those of us know and understand WHY the electoral college exists.

        The founding fathers are directly on record stating, that the election of the President should absolutely NOT be by popular vote of the citizens. thus the electoral college.

        I actually agree with them on this. The electoral college is an institution designed to "put a fork in the eye" of the idea of "democracy".

        Which is why you hate it, you want a democracy, you will help destroy the nation!

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        • icon
          Mike Masnick (profile), 26 Sep 2017 @ 10:47pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Which is why you hate it, you want a democracy, you will help destroy the nation!

          Your partisan talking points are fun, but totally unrelated to the issue actually raised in the article.

          If you are against democracy, then as Lessig notes, you must agree that the Supreme Court decided Bush v. Gore incorrectly, no?

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          • identicon
            JEDIDIAH, 27 Sep 2017 @ 7:26pm

            Whatever you need to tell yourself to get to sleep at night.

            They aren't partisan. The fact that you want to make them so is very problematic.

            Hillary should be the first one to lead the way in shutting your bullshit down.

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            • identicon
              Thad, 28 Sep 2017 @ 8:11am

              Re: Whatever you need to tell yourself to get to sleep at night.

              An argument is a series of connected statements intended to establish a proposition. It isn't just contradiction.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Sep 2017 @ 4:58pm

    What the over under in him getting bored or frustrated and walking away? 1 election cycle is my bet.

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  • icon
    TechDescartes (profile), 26 Sep 2017 @ 5:47pm

    Politicians for the Ethical Treatment of Americans

    He's making big gestures that may have a low probability of success, but these aren't campaigns that have just been thrown together on a whim—they have a clear purpose and fit in with a larger theme, often trying to game the system in some clever way. They're gimmicky, but in ways that at least make you think.

    So he's basically PETA for elections? Maybe they could team up and have Naruto vote in 2020.

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    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 26 Sep 2017 @ 5:52pm

      Re: Politicians for the Ethical Treatment of Americans

      That assumes that there's a clear purpose behind PETA's actions and a deeper level of thought beyond "LOOK AT MEEEEEEEEEE!" which I'm not ready to concede.

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  • icon
    amoshias (profile), 26 Sep 2017 @ 5:54pm

    God save us from Lawrence Lessig.

    Don't get me wrong - I think he's one of the brightest legal scholars of the modern age, and his work has fundamentally changed and improved both thinking about copyright, and copyright itself.

    But from what he's written above, it seems clear that he never learned the lesson that the rest of us, unfortunately, have had to live with since Eldred v. Ashcroft - that what makes someone a brilliant legal scholar doesn't necessarily make them a brilliant advocate. This is a man who took an eminently winnable case, and rather than give the justices an argument they could connect with, that could sway them - the way his opponent, the beyond-brilliant Ted Olsen did - he talked down to the nine justices of the supreme court and gave them a cold, boring lecture. And he lost. And so did all of us.

    That's a clever bit of logic related to Bush v. Gore up there. And you know what? Not a single damn person cares. I'm on his side, and *I* don't care. It is a boring, dull, legalistic argument that will lose in any court it's brought before.

    Go and think big thoughts, Larry. Then hand them over to an actual advocate.

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    • icon
      MyNameHere (profile), 27 Sep 2017 @ 1:59am

      Re: God save us from Lawrence Lessig.

      Mr Lessig is no dummy, that is for sure. He has, however, proven to be a pretty bad judge of how people will take his views. He's also apparently not very good at getting people to buy into them.

      I find it interesting that his Mayday PAC has taken a bunch of money from Peter Thiel. Yes, that guy.

      I find it interesting that his mainstay argument on copyright, that it should be subject to first amendment limits, was chuckled out of every court including SCOTUS (7-2 against, a rare massive majority decision showing just how far off the farm he really way).

      I find it interesting that his Presidential campaign was, well... sorry, I lack a word that is more mundane than mundane and more meaningless than meaningless to cover it.

      Mr Lessig is a Theorist, plain and simple. Theorists tend to lack in the basic concept of applying things in the real world. He has shown again and again that he talks a nice talk, but it never seems to inspire anything except more ruminations from those who make their living off of being theoretical (Hi Mike!).

      I don't think Lessig is doing a PETA here. I don't think he's capable, honestly. Attention whoring is a whole other bag, it requires a certain amount of flamboyance and flash that he's not really bringing to the party. That he really hasn't found a flash point handle to get a grip on his current theory means that the public isn't likely to buy in. It's something that will lead to more partisan whining and not much else.

      So yeah, file this with "free speech overrules copyright".

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2017 @ 5:08am

        Re: Re: God save us from Lawrence Lessig.

        The imaginary Masnick campaigning for Wyden 2020 is a persistent dream of yours, isn't it?

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    • identicon
      Thad, 27 Sep 2017 @ 10:59am

      Re: God save us from Lawrence Lessig.

      You really think Bush v Gore was decided based on the oral arguments?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Sep 2017 @ 6:08pm

    So We Get Half Clinton and Half Trump President

    Since everyone's vote needs to count we somehow combine half of Trump with half of Clinton. That seems like a great outcome.

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    • identicon
      JEDIDIAH, 27 Sep 2017 @ 7:27pm

      Re: So We Get Half Clinton and Half Trump President

      Cool idea. But how do you determine which bits end up in the resulting Frankenstein?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Steve, 26 Sep 2017 @ 7:02pm

    How many of Lessig's public-interest initiatives have succeeded?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Eldakka (profile), 26 Sep 2017 @ 9:41pm

    And, frankly, it's kind of difficult to justify why we still have an electoral college when it's quite clear that it serves no really useful function.

    Two sentences later that justification is provided:

    because it's part of the Constitution,

    Wasn't that hard really, was it?

    Since it's a part of the constitution, you'd need to provide a strong enough justification to not have it to get a constitutional amendment passed.

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  • icon
    Dan (profile), 27 Sep 2017 @ 4:28am

    "Quite clear"

    And, frankly, it's kind of difficult to justify why we still have an electoral college when it's quite clear that it serves no really useful function.

    There are certainly arguments to be made for the abolition of the electoral college, but Chesterton's fence says you aren't qualified to make them. Show that you understand why it's there, and what purposes it serves, then you can consider whether it should be abolished.

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    • identicon
      Thad, 27 Sep 2017 @ 11:03am

      Re: "Quite clear"

      Did you miss the word "still" in the quoted sentence?

      He didn't say he doesn't understand the useful function it served in 1788. He argued that it serves no useful function now.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Dan (profile), 27 Sep 2017 @ 6:52pm

        Re: Re: "Quite clear"

        He stated that "it serves no really useful function." Not so much an argument as a bare assertion. If he understood the function(s) it served in 1788, he would understand at least one of the functions it continues to serve in 2017. The representation of the smaller states hasn't gone away as an issue.

        Maybe the electoral college doesn't protect the interests of smaller states very well. Maybe it has other, overriding disadvantages. But to deny that it serves any useful function is just ignorant.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2017 @ 5:54am

    If it makes sense to get rid of the electoral college, wouldn't it also make sense to get rid of the Senate and just go with a House of Representatives?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    McGyver (profile), 27 Sep 2017 @ 6:13am

    I propose we make bribery legal, as it mostly is already and then develop a system where politicians can post the bids of their latest bribe offers so big companies and crowd funded citizen groups can bid against the current offers... This is basically what is going on anyway, minus ordinary citizens being able to participate in the bidding, so t least it would be right out there in the open for everyone to embrace...
    There would be plenty of advantages...
    Mostly for the furry little politicians, but at least big corporations, foreign governments and billionaires wouldn't have to do all this ridiculously transparent nonsense they do to skirt the "laws"...
    It would streamline the process and make for great Reality TV...
    They could even make a special streaming "Bribe Wars" channel just for these events and the two remaining ISPs could mandate that everyone be subscribed to it for $20 a month as a "politcal duty" fee, part of their way of offering better service for their customers...
    They could also hook up the system to some form of online gambling so citizens could make a few bucks here and there.
    It would then be totally legal to do what is already being done in every facet of government and at least when parents tell their children that "the system works" they wouldn't be full of shit, delusional or vastly misinformed.
    Come on people...
    You know it's coming... I say we just surrender to the inevitable... strip naked, lube ourselves up and jump boldly into this writhing mass of a fuckfest they call the future.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    E. Zachary Knight (profile), 27 Sep 2017 @ 6:45am

    I am a fan of proportional distribution of Electors. To me, it solves the most pressing problem of the Winner-take-all systems we have now. I don't think Maine and Nebraska's systems are that much better than the other states as it is susceptible to gerrymandering in the same way their Congressional districts are.

    The alternative to proportional, if we can't get the will to move away from winner-take-all, is ranked choice voting for president.

    Both of these proposed changes would have a huge impact on the way people vote in this nation. It would result in people taking a greater interest in actual policy positions of candidates, rather than voting based on tribalism as they do now.

    That said, proportional distribution would have a higher likelihood of the selection for president landing in the laps of Congress. Ranked choice has a lower chance of that happening, but it would still be somewhat likelier than it is now.

    One final thought is that laws banning or punishing so-called "faithless electors" need to be scrapped as well.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      otto, 27 Sep 2017 @ 10:50am

      Re:

      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 the majority of Electoral College votes to the candidate who gets the most votes among all 50 states and DC.

      The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld state laws guaranteeing faithful voting by presidential electors (because the states have plenary power over presidential electors).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Thad, 27 Sep 2017 @ 11:07am

      Re:

      I am a fan of proportional distribution of Electors. To me, it solves the most pressing problem of the Winner-take-all systems we have now. I don't think Maine and Nebraska's systems are that much better than the other states as it is susceptible to gerrymandering in the same way their Congressional districts are.

      I agree, but we still need to deal with the gerrymandering problem.

      I live in Arizona; it's certainly not a perfect state, but I'm a big fan of its redistricting process, which is handled by an independent committee, not the legislature.

      The alternative to proportional, if we can't get the will to move away from winner-take-all, is ranked choice voting for president.

      Ranked choice is a good idea, but I don't see any circumstance under which it's easier to pass than a proportional EC.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Narcissus (profile), 27 Sep 2017 @ 7:10am

    What is the point?

    Can somebody explain me what they think is the advantage of electing the president separately? I'd also be interested if somebody can explain to me what the founding fathers thought was the advantage.

    In many countries representatives are elected and the biggest party supplies the prime minister who forms the government, if needed together with other parties. In this system the president or, as the case may be, the king or queen, is only a figure head. The one that cuts ribbons on grand openings.

    To me that seems more logic because you're sure that parliament supports the government so they can get shit done. I'd be interested if somebody could at least explain the reasoning behind electing the president separately.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2017 @ 8:11am

      Re: What is the point?

      Its how we do things, if you don't like it, don't come here.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Narcissus (profile), 27 Sep 2017 @ 9:51am

        Re: Re: What is the point?

        Thanks for those deep insights!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          JEDIDIAH, 27 Sep 2017 @ 7:33pm

          Re: What is the point?

          It was probably meant to mirror the Empire.

          The president isn't supposed to be the prime minister. He's supposed to be the king. They're also not chums. The founding fathers were not great fans of government. The idea of having a central government at all was pretty unpalatable to them.

          You have to remember that our current government is the version 2.0 and version 1.0 failed.

          The people that wrote our constitution didn't want the federal government to "get things done".

          Our government is supposed to be getting in it's own way.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Narcissus (profile), 27 Sep 2017 @ 11:42pm

            Re: Re: What is the point?

            If I compare current systems the US version looks much more like the French that also selects its president separately.Also historically it seems much more likely (to me) they looked at France than England to set up a system since they seemed to like each other a lot (see statue of liberty). So I'm not sure they were thinking of a king when creating the position of president.

            I also find it a bit hard to believe they tried to make a system with dysfunction in mind. They were extremely smart people and they could and did put limitations on what the federal government was supposed to do and not do. If you set up a government you want it to govern and you're not going to set it up to fail.

            Failure of the central government was way too big a risk to take, especially in those times. Now I think of it, it would be a thing in any time...

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 27 Sep 2017 @ 9:23am

      Re: What is the point?

      Well there are problems with political parties as well. They tend to promote group think, instead of considering the issues and what is good for the people. There is also the gerrymandering issue and other methods of control over elections that are party related, rather than good politics related. Then, with partisanship in legislative bodies, good things are defeated just because the 'other side' proposed the idea.

      There is a story about a new member of the House of Representatives who in meeting with the leader of the party suggested they go out and beat the other party. The party leader suggested that the other party is not the enemy, the Senate was the enemy. At times it feels this might be true. But more true is one party agonizing over something the other party wants, just because the other party wants it, with no consideration of what might be good for constituents.

      Selecting a prime minister from the 'winning' party just promotes the group think agenda. In some cases, having a President that differs from the Legislative majority is a good thing. Think veto power.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Narcissus (profile), 27 Sep 2017 @ 10:01am

        Re: Re: What is the point?

        Fair point but I feel it would be much stronger if the presidential candidates would be independents. Right now they're party members too, meaning that the group think is still an issue and possibly worse.

        The fact that the US has only 2 parties doesn't make things better in that respect.Right now the 2 parties have a very big incentive to make the candidate for "the other side" fail.

        I think most heads of state have veto powers by the way. They're rarely used (as should be) but they exist.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 27 Sep 2017 @ 10:08am

          Re: Re: Re: What is the point?

          I think it would be better with no parties. The founding fathers argued over this, and President Washington mentioned it in his farewell speech. I believe the time has come.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Thad, 27 Sep 2017 @ 11:13am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: What is the point?

            It sounds like a good idea, but how would it work in practice? You can't ban political parties; they're protected by freedom of association. And even in cases where parties aren't listed on the ballot, people still know what they are. (My city's mayoral elections are, nominally, nonpartisan, but everybody knows which candidate is the Democrat and which one is the Republican.)

            There are some offices where the top two candidates go on to the final ballot, regardless of party -- California does this with some office (I forget whether it's governor or senator or what). Arizona had a similar proposal on the ballot a few elections ago, but it was voted down.

            I'm not quite sure how I feel about that; I voted against it then but I'm warming up to it a bit. On the one hand, it would certainly not just shut out third-party candidates entirely, it would also, in many states, reduce an election to two members of a single party (in California's case, two Democrats; in Arizona's case, it would most likely mean two Republicans). I'm not sure I like that -- but, on the other hand, it should, at least hypothetically, favor a consensus candidate, somebody who's acceptable to a majority rather than polarizing.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 27 Sep 2017 @ 11:30am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What is the point?

              I agree that freedom of association would still be an issue. In many instances, however, candidates are selected by party leaders and then given support, financial and otherwise. If political parties were banned, that particular practice would likely still take place, but along with the government paying for elections the financial portion would have less of an impact.

              I don't think any one thing will fix the problems. More likely a bunch of them. Ranked voting, no money in politics, no political parties, some kind of rule to force candidates to keep campaign promises, severe limitations on lobbying, and probably some others. Some of these will require constitutional changes, and there in lies another problem. You nor I could initiate constitutional changes without going through likely ensconced legislators who have no interest in changing a system they benefit from.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Thad, 27 Sep 2017 @ 11:58am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What is the point?

                Yeah, I'm a strong believer in public financing of elections. That's a hard sell to legislators who were elected under the current system, though.

                Citizens United explicitly upheld the premises that (1) money is a form of speech and (2) corporations have the right to free speech. The justices did leave open the door to introducing new restrictions on campaign finance, so CU wouldn't have to be overturned to, for example, require disclosure of donors' identities. But there sure hasn't been any effort in that direction in Congress. Fighting Super PACs is, of course, a key issue of Lessig's, which he hasn't had much luck with.

                I don't think any one thing will fix the problems. More likely a bunch of them. Ranked voting, no money in politics, no political parties, some kind of rule to force candidates to keep campaign promises, severe limitations on lobbying, and probably some others.

                I agree with a lot of that, but I'm not sure "forcing candidates to keep campaign promises" is practical or even desirable. While there are quite a lot of times I've been disappointed by politicians backing away from campaign rhetoric (Clinton giving us DADT instead of allowing gay soldiers to serve openly as promised; Obama promising to dismantle Bush's surveillance policies), there are also times I've been relieved (Bush pushing a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, and basically everything Trump said he was going to do that he hasn't been able to). And sometimes, a president tries to fulfill a campaign promise but just doesn't have the votes in Congress (like Obama trying to close Guantanamo).

                Some of these will require constitutional changes, and there in lies another problem. You nor I could initiate constitutional changes without going through likely ensconced legislators who have no interest in changing a system they benefit from.

                Amending the Constitution is practically impossible at this point. As Lee Mortimer noted above, the last major constitutional amendment was the 26th, passed in 1971, and it took an unpopular losing war with a draft to get that to happen. We've passed one more amendment since, the 27th in 1992; it was an uncontroversial limitation on congressional salaries, and it still took 202 years to pass.

                Most constitutional amendments are the results of war or other major social upheaval:

                1-10: a reaction to government overreach under British rule

                12: followed a vice president killing a cabinet member in a duel

                13-15: Civil War

                18-19: Women's suffrage movement

                21: Repealed 19

                22: Response to a president violating a previously-established norm of the office (a decision rooted in the Depression and WWII)

                24: Civil rights movement

                25: Kennedy assassination

                26: Vietnam

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  otto, 27 Sep 2017 @ 4:59pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What is the point?

                  The U.S. Constitution says "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors . . ."
                  The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly characterized the authority of the state legislatures over the manner of awarding their electoral votes as "plenary" and "exclusive."

                  The normal way of changing the method of electing the President is not a federal constitutional amendment, but changes in state law.

                  Historically, major changes in the method of electing the President have come about by state legislative action. For example, the people had no vote for President in most states in the nation's first election in 1789. However, now, as a result of changes in the state laws governing the appointment of presidential electors, the people have the right to vote for presidential electors in 100% of the states.

                  In 1789, only 3 states used the winner-take-all method (awarding all of a state's electoral vote to the candidate who gets the most votes in the state). However, as a result of changes in state laws, the winner-take-all method is now currently used by 48 of the 50 states.

                  In 1789, it was necessary to own a substantial amount of property in order to vote; however, as a result of changes in state laws, there are now no property requirements for voting in any state.

                  In other words, neither of the two most important features of the current system of electing the President (namely, that the voters may vote and the winner-take-all method) are in the U.S. Constitution. Neither was the choice of the Founders when they went back to their states to organize the nation's first presidential election.

                  The normal process of effecting change in the method of electing the President is specified in the U.S. Constitution, namely action by the state legislatures. This is how the current system was created, and this is the built-in method that the Constitution provides for making changes. The abnormal process is to go outside the Constitution, and amend it.

                  The National Popular Vote bill is 61% of the way to guaranteeing the majority of Electoral College votes and the presidency in 2020 to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the country, by changing state winner-take-all laws (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), without changing anything in the Constitution, using the built-in method that the Constitution provides for states to make changes.

                  All voters would be valued equally in presidential elections, no matter where they live.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2017 @ 1:02pm

          Re: Re: Re: What is the point?

          Right now they're party members too, meaning that the group think is still an issue and possibly worse.

          Well that is debatable, as party association can simply be a necessary flag of convenience to get elected.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Dan (profile), 27 Sep 2017 @ 6:55pm

      Re: What is the point?

      > To me that seems more logic because you're sure that parliament supports the government so they can get shit done.

      Gridlock is not necessarily a bug, it's at least partially a feature. The founders intended that the branches of government would act as a system of checks and balances, and there was certainly no original intent to ensure that the congress supported the president.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Narcissus (profile), 27 Sep 2017 @ 11:29pm

        Re: Re: What is the point?

        The checks and balances are inherent in the Trias Politica itself aren't they? Legislative controls Executive and both are controlled by the Judicial.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2017 @ 8:19am

    As a resident of a non-battleground state...

    I happen to like the current situation where candidates from both sides ignore my state during campaign season. Rallies and campaign ads won't sway my decision anyway, so it's beneficial to me personally if they stay out of my area and keep the crowds, the oppressive candidate protection detail security measures, and the noxious television/radio ads out. I'm perfectly happy getting my election information from online sources where I can use a working ad-blocker.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      otto, 27 Sep 2017 @ 8:24am

      Re: As a resident of a non-battleground state...

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

      Issues of importance to 38 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.”

      Policies important to the citizens of the 38 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 has been skewed to battleground states

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    otto, 27 Sep 2017 @ 8:23am

    The National Popular Vote bill is 61% of the way to guaranteeing the majority of Electoral College votes and the presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the country, by changing state winner-take-all laws (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), without changing anything in the Constitution, using the built-in method that the Constitution provides for states to make changes.

    All voters would be valued equally in presidential elections, no matter where they live.
    Candidates, as in other elections, would allocate their time, money, polling, organizing, and ad buys roughly in proportion to the population

    Every vote, everywhere, for every candidate, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election.
    No more distorting, crude, and divisive and red and blue state maps of predictable outcomes, that don’t represent any minority party voters within each state.
    No more handful of 'battleground' states (where the two major political parties happen to have similar levels of support) where voters and policies are more important than those of the voters in 38+ predictable states that have just been 'spectators' and ignored after the conventions.

    The bill would take effect when enacted by states with a majority of the electoral votes—270 of 538.
    All of the presidential electors from the enacting states will be supporters of the presidential candidate receiving the most popular votes among all 50 states (and DC)—thereby guaranteeing that candidate with an Electoral College majority.

    In 2017, the bill has passed the New Mexico Senate and Oregon House.
    The bill was approved in 2016 by a unanimous bipartisan House committee vote in both Georgia (16 electoral votes) and Missouri (10).
    Since 2006, the bill has passed 35 state legislative chambers in 23 rural, small, medium, large, red, blue, and purple states with 261 electoral votes.
    The bill has been enacted by 11 small, medium, and large jurisdictions with 165 electoral votes – 61% of the way to guaranteeing the presidency to the candidate with the most popular votes in the country

    NationalPopularVote

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Thad, 27 Sep 2017 @ 11:15am

      Re:

      I'm surprised to hear that Georgia and Missouri are onboard. That's promising.

      I suspect not as many red states will be lining up to sign it after 2016, though.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Stosh, 27 Sep 2017 @ 10:29am

    Perfect answer to the problem, do away from counting votes by state and resort to counting by Congressional districts expertly gerrymandered by both parties. What could possibly go wrong?!?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2017 @ 11:14am

    I'd say the main problem of the American elections isn't the methods of voting or counting votes, but the two-party system and the ridiculous Us-vs-Them dichotomy it creates.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2017 @ 12:16pm

    So let me get this straight. Before Trump, everything was fine. After Trump, everything is bad. Gotta love democratilism.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 27 Sep 2017 @ 12:35pm

      Re:

      So let me get this straight. Before Trump, everything was fine. After Trump, everything is bad. Gotta love democratilism.

      If that's what you got from this, you either didn't read the post, don't understand basic English, or are (most likely) just being a jerk.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2017 @ 6:00pm

    What needs to be taken into account, and a possible solution

    The problem with pushing "one person, one vote" as a replacement for the electoral college is that it fails to take into account variations in population density, which would inevitably result in cases where a large city or cities (which tend to vote blue) can overturn the rest of the state (namely rural areas, which tend to vote red). In fact, this is something that already happens - key examples including San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego for the rest of California, and Philadelphia for the rest of Pennsylvania (which is why the state going red this past election was such a big deal).

    My proposal is, for each state, to normalize the votes of each county according to the state's median county population.

    As an example, let's use an imaginary state. This state has a median county population of "M". In this state, in a county with population "C", candidate X received "V" votes. Therefore, X's normalized vote count in this county would be (M/C)x V, where M/C is the ratio of the state's median county population to the actual population of the county in question.

    If one wanted to instead only account for the population that actually voted, they could replace C with the number of people in the county that voted, and replace M with the state's median per-county voter amount.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Sep 2017 @ 6:56am

    The argument actually boils down to state rights. Who has the power, who has the jurisdiction.

    I am a strong believer in education, but I don't think that is the federal governments job. Same with quite a few other things.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    not gonna say, 29 Sep 2017 @ 9:27pm

    I agree with lessig

    college electorates should vote their districts (no gerrymandering imo)

    on a side note... I been wanting to say this in a public forum for some time.

    Mueller needs to follow the money of the electoral colleagues that voted against their districts. if I were a rich man I would be willing to bet BIG that those votes were bought in some way shape or form. possibly leading back to the RNA, trump or, russia in some way or combination of all three.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Oct 2017 @ 9:08pm

    I hope lessig is reading the latest case

    In the gerrymandering case, Ginsburg is raising his point:


    *JUSTICE GINSBURG: ... I would like to ask

    you what's really behind all of this. The

    precious right to vote, if you can stack a

    legislature in this way, what incentive is

    there for a voter to exercise his vote?

    Whether it's a Democratic district or a

    Republican district, the result -- using this

    map, the result is preordained in most of the

    districts.

    Isn't that -- what becomes of the

    precious right to vote? Would we have that

    result when the individual citizen says: I

    have no choice, I'm in this district, and we

    know how this district is going to come out? I

    think that's something that this society should

    be concerned about.*

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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