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Author Topic: How can we change the electoral college system?  (Read 6106 times)

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Offline LunaTopic starter

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How can we change the electoral college system?
« on: November 10, 2016, 11:32:34 AM »
I don't understand why we still have a system that seems to favor the more sparsely populated and, dare I say, less educated areas of the country. Clinton got more votes than Trump, by any measure of fairness she should be our next president. Yet more populated areas of the country like New York and California seem to have a much less proportionate delegation of electoral votes.

I know it is too late for Clinton, but is there anything we can do to change the system, going forward?

Offline Ralhend

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2016, 11:57:09 AM »
It would take another Amendment.  To my understanding the electoral college is supposed to protect minorities and what have you. If it actually does this I dont know.  I don't trust the numbers I'm given. I'd like to look at pure unfiltered data, and that won't happen when the data changes hands of someone who is biased either way and then posts it to the net.

I Think the process would involve getting in with a legitimate group advocating for this, plead your case, and get an Amendment made.

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2016, 12:35:18 PM »
It will require a ground swell of petitioning from the populace to their incumbent Congress members to begin the process of having a Constitutional Amendment enacted to change the voting system.  Groups and individuals need to push for this and be persistent.  It is hard to have an Amendment brought forth, written, debated and ratified by the necessary 38 states but it can be done.  Get to work and keep on working for it.

Offline Trevino

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2016, 12:54:19 PM »
Yes indeed. But to make it work, one will need a movement before such an amendment can become a real possibility. There are still too many politicians on both political parties that are beholden to the status quo at the moment.

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2016, 01:22:23 PM »
Still, those politicians depend on the voters to keep them in office.  The voters need to push for what they want and push hard. 

At this moment there are protests happening in cities all across the US demonstrating the unhappiness of people with the incipient Trump presidency.  Find groups like that in your area and support them in some way.  Write letters to the newspapers in your area telling the world how you feel.  Keep it clean and polite so people listen but speak out every chance you get and every chance you can make.

Offline Denivar

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2016, 12:43:05 AM »
Actually there is an initiative to do this! It is called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

How does it work? It doesn't actually get rid of the electoral college -- because that is more difficult to do since it would require changing the constitution -- but it brilliantly subverts it!

The goal of the compact is a simple one: Make it so the President is the person who wins the nationwide popular vote. That's what we want, right?

How does it work? States can choose to enter into the compact. The compact will only become active once enough states have entered the compact to control 270 electoral votes -- the number needed to control who will be president.

Once this happens, the states in the compact agree that rather than casting their electoral votes based on the candidate who won the vote in their state, they will do so based on the candidate who won the popular vote. This will guarantee that the candidate who won the national popular vote becomes president.

This might seem like some 'pie in the sky' proposal that's never going to be agreed to, but we are already over 60% of the way there. Ten states + DC have signed the compact, and these ten states control 165 electoral votes. So we only need another 105 electoral votes worth of states to agree to it for the compact to become active.

That said, it might be difficult to convince many more states to enter into the compact, since the electoral college system tends to favor the candidates their state tends to prefer.

You can read more about the compact here:

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

Offline Denivar

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2016, 01:17:56 AM »
Also, this is realistically unlikely to go anywhere, but you could sign this petition: https://www.change.org/p/electoral-college-electors-electoral-college-make-hillary-clinton-president-on-december-19

Offline HannibalBarca

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Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2016, 01:50:07 AM »
First, we need ranked choice voting.

Second, the necessity for 3/4 of the states to ratify a Constitutional Amendment will preclude the electoral college ever being changed or removed until the Republicans lose two elections themselves after winning the popular vote.  Lots of Democrats are ready to change it, but Gore and Clinton lost elections because of it, not a Republican.  They've actually made out on it twice.  Why would they want to change it?

And to those who say that just using a simple majority of the popular vote would make smaller populated states lose out--yeah, that's why it's called majority rules.  Otherwise you are disenfranchising the majority, whose will is supposed to supersede the minority in a democracy.

Offline CriminalMindsFan

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2016, 12:48:09 AM »
What happens when say once they use popular vote only, the one people prefer actually loses and would've won had things been kept the same?

Example, we dropped the college system this year, Clinton got less votes and someone kept track of the college system for fun and turns out she would've won had it been kept in place.

Offline Missy

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2016, 09:44:30 AM »
The electoral college system in it's current format marginalizes the minority and undervalues the individual vote.

Simply put: A vote for democrat in Indiana has no real meaning, because the number of people voting Republican far outweigh the number of people voting democrat. In California the same happens with the parties reversed. This is by definition marginalization of the minority, there exists in America today no more efficient method of marginalization.

Simply put, in it's current format, the Electoral College is by far the worst system to conduct a true democracy.

Offline Zakharra

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2016, 09:50:04 AM »
The electoral college system in it's current format marginalizes the minority and undervalues the individual vote.

Simply put: A vote for democrat in Indiana has no real meaning, because the number of people voting Republican far outweigh the number of people voting democrat. In California the same happens with the parties reversed. This is by definition marginalization of the minority, there exists in America today no more efficient method of marginalization.

Simply put, in it's current format, the Electoral College is by far the worst system to conduct a true democracy.

 Slight nitpick, the US isn't a true democracy. It has never been a true democracy. You don't want a true democracy (that's mob rule)

Offline CriminalMindsFan

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2016, 09:57:41 AM »
Slight nitpick, the US isn't a true democracy. It has never been a true democracy. You don't want a true democracy (that's mob rule)

I like sound of Tyranny of the majority over mob rule as the words to use to explain why true democracy would be bad. I got it off Wikipedia.

Offline Missy

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2016, 11:38:32 AM »
I never said Direct Democracy, nor did I intend so. The truth is America as it is now is much closer to an oligarchy than a real democracy. If you don't believe me then look up Gerrymandering and Lobbying for starters.

Offline Missy

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2016, 11:45:15 AM »
What is true democracy

Quote
Democracy is a dynamic participatory means of governance. Democracy is a dynamic set of governing principles and laws for establishing and maintaining social, political, and economic standards within a community, society and country. Democracy is formed and maintained by well-informed, involved and organized citizens, exercising their inalienable rights directly, and through term-limited elected representatives. In a true Democracy common people are considered the primary source of political voice and power. The effectiveness of a true Democracy is measured by the degree of citizen’s involvement, knowledge of true current events and news. Only the informed and involved citizens could be the guardians of their democracy.

*Bold and italics added for emphasis

Offline CuriousEyes

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2016, 12:20:07 PM »
I'm actually not rabidly against the electoral college, to be honest. It needs to be tweaked (granted, it won't be) but pure national majority rule has its own flaws by my mind.

In another thread I'd mentioned the idea of possibly creating a block of EC votes that follow the popular vote nationally and moving the total to clinch accordingly.

Alternate idea - treat the election like primary contests, at least in part. Designate a fixed share of EC votes guaranteed to the leading vote getter in a state (40-60%?) and then have the remainder divided proportionately between the candidates. Better to me than the all or nothing approach, although I doubt it would have changed the outcome here (but I could take a crack at the math there to be sure).

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Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2016, 12:23:31 PM »
No matter what system we use there will be discontent and unhappiness.

It is wise to remember you can't have it both ways or as they say, you can't eat your cake and have it, too.

Offline CuriousEyes

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2016, 01:03:38 PM »
Exactly. Don't forget that a majority of voters in California voted to ban same sex marriage in 2008. Majority rules is just as likely to burn you as save you in my mind, which is in part what the EC tries to insulate against.

Offline CriminalMindsFan

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2016, 02:22:25 PM »
I hadn't looked at the vote totals since Tuesday night. I asked Google today and the vote difference is under 1 million. I kept hearing 2 million difference from the side that wants to blow up the college system. Take away California and Trump might have landslide victory.

Offline CuriousEyes

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2016, 02:50:49 PM »
I hadn't looked at the vote totals since Tuesday night. I asked Google today and the vote difference is under 1 million. I kept hearing 2 million difference from the side that wants to blow up the college system. Take away California and Trump might have landslide victory.

 ::)

Yes, if you discount the millions of voters that skewed to one candidate, the victory margin for the other one sure looks more impressive.

There are millions of votes outstanding, and a large block of them are in states Clinton can expect to grow the gap, not shrink it. They just won't help because Clinton already won those states. And as Trump proved, its less important to get votes than it is to get selective votes.

An article today by the Atlantic suggests Clinton's lead in popular vote might end up reaching 2%+. Which at these numbers is a significant number of voters.

Offline CriminalMindsFan

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #19 on: November 12, 2016, 02:56:44 PM »
I don't see any sign of her having 2 million more than him nationally:
http://www.cnn.com/election/results

Offline CuriousEyes

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #20 on: November 12, 2016, 03:06:05 PM »
Again:

There are millions of untallied votes in states like NY/CA, which will skew heavily to Clinton but are not included in the official count yet because they have not yet been counted.



Thought experiment. If 35,000 Clinton supporters had moved from CA to WI last year and voted in the election, she would have won both states.

Offline CriminalMindsFan

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #21 on: November 13, 2016, 09:11:04 AM »
I now see some news sources declaring that Trump also won the popular vote and other news sources saying some votes won't even be added to official count because they wouldn't change the results in the state containing those votes.

Then you have new polls with nearly ten hypothetical results that say Sanders would've steam rolled to victory or how a third Obama term may have been best option even had Clinton won.

Guess everyone thinks they are right so I'm just taking everything as opinion until I see who actually walks into White House on the appropriate date in 2017.

Offline Inkidu

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Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #22 on: November 13, 2016, 06:34:39 PM »
I don't understand why we still have a system that seems to favor the more sparsely populated and, dare I say, less educated areas of the country.

Firstly, I hadn't realized there was a minimum level of education required to vote in our current democracy.

Second. That's exactly why it exists. If it didn't then the prevailing political party of three major cities would take the elections every time. Every single time. That's not so much will of the people as will of LA, NYC, and Chicago. The deligates aren't perfect, and they could use more restrictions on how they cast their votes (as opposed to willy-nilly), but the straight popular vote is far more skewed than people realize.

Though if you think it's just the countryside. It was actually delegates of New York and Philadelphia who wanted the EC be instituted. At the founding of the country more people were entering cities than dying (the old city model). Cities were not hubs of industry as they would become. The Southern farming states were far more populous (and wanted to count slaves but got 3/5ths).

So, it's more like the doubled edge of the sword.

Offline FionaM

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #23 on: November 13, 2016, 07:19:39 PM »
18 states allow for initiated constitutional amendments(to their own individual state constitutions). With enough signatures, one could put a question on the ballot to change the apportionment of those states electors from the statewide popular vote to the national popular vote.

Offline BCdan

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #24 on: November 13, 2016, 08:37:24 PM »
Ran some interesting numbers.

If the electoral college was distributed fairly by population instead of each state getting an arbitrary 3 'starter' votes, California would have 65 votes, not 55. If Puerto Rico were a state, it would have 7 electoral college votes. 

Also, I think CGP grey does an adequate job of shooting down the idea that a candidate would only love on the cities instead of the rest of the country without the EC.


Offline Prosak

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #25 on: December 13, 2016, 06:40:21 PM »
There is not a problem with the electoral college, it is designed not to give more power to the smaller states, it is designed to keep larger states like New York, California, etc from overwhelming power. Back when the country was formed, you must remember that there were only a few states. About 3 or 4 smaller ones peppered around two larger ones. If it was a basic democratic system, all a presidential candidate had to do was plant them self in one of the bigger states and win off of popular numbers. The point of the electoral college is to force a potential president to see as much of the country and speak to as many people as possible. They must win the hearts and minds of the people! And not just California and or new york.

If the electoral college was abolished, then states that have overwhelmingly been with the left for years would ultimately decide the entire presidency year in and year out to all be democratic. IE: California picks the president. Not so fair now is it? Even today the Electoral College while flawed, is an important tool against collectivism and mob think. Our country was founded by thinkers, men who understood the merits of Intellectual honesty, integrity, courage and whats most lacking in this day and age; Intellectual Humility. (The ability to understand the flaws and weaknesses in your beliefs and arguments or to accept them when presented towards you.) All hallmarks to true debate our country sorely lacks.... Our founding fathers wanted fair discourse that adhered to the constitution, allowing all people to be heard. Every side of the discussion to matter. And not just the side that had the most people.

In the end. We are NOT a democracy, a democracy in and of it'self as JUST a democracy is a flawed goverment. We are a Constitutional Representative Republic. Designed to give power to the people as a whole. Not the Majority. And to change it would be not only unconstitutional, not only wrong! But ultimately damaging to the freedoms of this country's discourse.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2016, 06:59:21 PM by Prosak »

Offline Eikichi

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #26 on: December 14, 2016, 03:45:58 PM »
There is not a problem with the electoral college, it is designed not to give more power to the smaller states, it is designed to keep larger states like New York, California, etc from overwhelming power. Back when the country was formed, you must remember that there were only a few states. About 3 or 4 smaller ones peppered around two larger ones. If it was a basic democratic system, all a presidential candidate had to do was plant them self in one of the bigger states and win off of popular numbers. The point of the electoral college is to force a potential president to see as much of the country and speak to as many people as possible. They must win the hearts and minds of the people! And not just California and or new york.

I'm going to start off by saying that I don't have any wish to abolish the Electoral college. It serves fine as it stands and instead think that both parties should be barred from redistricting voting votes or that it's should be decided by a non-partisan group/institution.

But the electoral college was never created with the intention of leveling the game between small and large states. That happened later on in it's lifetime as the divide began to develop and the electoral votes between states was debated. It is an institution against the mob rule, since the founding fathers established the Electoral college with the sole purpose of keeping the mob from election anyone that the electors would think was unfit. It was their own way of establishing elitism for the presidency and making sure the president would be chosen by them should they not like the outcome. It's the reason why some electors can chose not to vote as the state decided, because the constitution was written so that they could chose their president as they wanted, not how the people wanted.

Offline CopperLily

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #27 on: December 19, 2016, 08:48:58 PM »
What happens when say once they use popular vote only, the one people prefer actually loses and would've won had things been kept the same?

Example, we dropped the college system this year, Clinton got less votes and someone kept track of the college system for fun and turns out she would've won had it been kept in place.

Having voted for Clinton this election, I feel perfectly comfortable saying that I would accept "Yes, Clinton got more votes in a system that oddly overvalues certain states in a winner-takes-all system, but several million more Americans wanted Donald Trump to be president."

The EC is a non-optimal system that prioritizes arbitrary geographical boundaries over actual voters, and whose sole use case is never going to actually be used. It's a bad system.

I also really dislike this "It favors the sparsely populated areas" argument...no it doesn't. It favors some sparsely populated areas where the vote totals are near 50%.

How many times did candidates visit Idaho? Wyoming? The Dakotas?
« Last Edit: December 19, 2016, 08:51:59 PM by CopperLily »

Online Oniya

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #28 on: December 19, 2016, 08:58:13 PM »
One thing that I saw recently was a proposal that kept the electoral votes the same, but instead of the 'Winner Take All' tally that we currently have in most states, the allocation was proportional to the popular vote in that state (the way that Maine and Nebraska currently allocate, as I recall.)  That way, winning 'half plus one' of a given state would give you roughly half of that state's allocation instead of the whole enchilada.

Offline CopperLily

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #29 on: December 19, 2016, 09:02:10 PM »
One thing that I saw recently was a proposal that kept the electoral votes the same, but instead of the 'Winner Take All' tally that we currently have in most states, the allocation was proportional to the popular vote in that state (the way that Maine and Nebraska currently allocate, as I recall.)  That way, winning 'half plus one' of a given state would give you roughly half of that state's allocation instead of the whole enchilada.

This is effectively a national popular vote, administered on the state level, with some inevitable loss of precision due to rounding. All told, it's a decent idea, though I'd prefer that EC votes also get re-calculated so that a voter in California matters as much as one in Ohio.

Online TheGlyphstone

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #30 on: December 19, 2016, 11:46:24 PM »
This is effectively a national popular vote, administered on the state level, with some inevitable loss of precision due to rounding. All told, it's a decent idea, though I'd prefer that EC votes also get re-calculated so that a voter in California matters as much as one in Ohio.

Isn't a state's electoral college vote allotment determined by its population (specifically by its Representative count, which is derived from population)? Unless I'm missing something, that does mean an individual California voter matters equal to an individual Ohio voter - but California as a state matters more than Ohio because there are more California voters. If you make the states equal, then the voters become unequal, and vice versa.

I do like the idea of proportional allocation rather than winner-takes-all though.

Offline CopperLily

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #31 on: December 20, 2016, 12:57:23 AM »
Isn't a state's electoral college vote allotment determined by its population (specifically by its Representative count, which is derived from population)? Unless I'm missing something, that does mean an individual California voter matters equal to an individual Ohio voter - but California as a state matters more than Ohio because there are more California voters. If you make the states equal, then the voters become unequal, and vice versa.

I do like the idea of proportional allocation rather than winner-takes-all though.

There is considerable drift between the true population and the representative count.

Online Oniya

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #32 on: December 20, 2016, 01:43:37 AM »
Actually, the number of representatives each state has is evaluated every 10 years with the census, so as to reflect the proportional number of people each state has at the time.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_congressional_apportionment#The_method_of_equal_proportions

12 states actually gained reps last time around, and 12 lost reps.

Yes, the raw number of 'people per rep' has increased over the years, but it's still a proportional allocation.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2016, 01:44:54 AM by Oniya »

Offline CopperLily

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #33 on: December 20, 2016, 01:54:48 AM »
Actually, the number of representatives each state has is evaluated every 10 years with the census, so as to reflect the proportional number of people each state has at the time.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_congressional_apportionment#The_method_of_equal_proportions

12 states actually gained reps last time around, and 12 lost reps.

Yes, the raw number of 'people per rep' has increased over the years, but it's still a proportional allocation.

Except that:

a. 10 years is enough time for population drift to be a thing
b. Because 1 Seat now = 700,000 people (approx) with 1 guaranteed seat, there is considerable rounding error. The range represented by a single house seat ranges from 526,000 (RI) to 989,415 (Montana).

That's drift.

Offline Valerian

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #34 on: December 20, 2016, 06:19:31 AM »
One thing that I saw recently was a proposal that kept the electoral votes the same, but instead of the 'Winner Take All' tally that we currently have in most states, the allocation was proportional to the popular vote in that state (the way that Maine and Nebraska currently allocate, as I recall.)  That way, winning 'half plus one' of a given state would give you roughly half of that state's allocation instead of the whole enchilada.

Apparently that system wouldn't help and might even make the issues worse, according to this study from fairvote.org:

Quote
  • The congressional district system would make the presidential election less meaningfully competitive. Recent elections demonstrate that a smaller percentage of the population lives in current swing congressional districts than in current swing states.
  • The congressional district system would increase the likelihood of a candidate winning the election without winning a majority of votes nationwide. If it had been used in 2012, Mitt Romney would have won the presidential election over Barack Obama, despite winning 5 million fewer votes nationwide.

I freely admit to not fully understanding all the math, but it seems like a comprehensive article.  So it looks like there really isn't a good way to reform the system, at least not without constitutional amendments.  :/

Offline Trevino

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #35 on: December 20, 2016, 08:49:32 PM »
The results from the Electoral College are now in. Apparently, more electors tried to defect from Clinton than from Trump: http://www.npr.org/2016/12/19/506188169/donald-trump-poised-to-secure-electoral-college-win-with-few-surprises

The Electoral College does need reform to be sure, but I think in this particular case all we can all conclude that we should probably first ensure that we have better candidates to start with. Both Clinton and Trump were the most unpopular candidates in history after all (and with good reason, they really were that bad)...

Offline minioch

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #36 on: December 31, 2016, 12:00:53 PM »
The Electoral College is what keeps California and New York from deciding everything. Without it, the other 48 states may as well not even vote. The country's founders foresaw this and it works as intended.

Offline CopperLily

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #37 on: December 31, 2016, 02:19:17 PM »
The Electoral College is what keeps California and New York from deciding everything. Without it, the other 48 states may as well not even vote. The country's founders foresaw this and it works as intended.

Instead, a couple states in the Midwest decide everything?

Also, New York and California make up less than 20% of the total population of the United States. Not only would a popular vote *not* be decided by those two states, but you've effectively just told a large portion of the population "Hey, you don't matter as much because you happen to live in a large state". That's exactly the same as writing people off because they live in "Flyover Country", except you've done it to more people.

Furthermore, the Electoral College is what means that the small farming communities in my state might as well not even show up to the polls.

Beyond that, "We don't trust big states" was not the reasoning behind the EC. Distrust in people generally, and wanting to have a last stopgap to stop a popular but unqualified leader from taking control is the main reason outlined in the Federalist Papers. It's ironic that the party that spends so much time mocking "The Elites" is relying so heavily on a constitutional enshrining of the power of the elite over "Joe Average".


Online Oniya

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #38 on: December 31, 2016, 05:06:24 PM »
Interestingly, the 'A California vote means more' argument is kind of misleading. 

California has 55 electoral votes.  It has a population of around 38.8 million (Source:  2014 census)
Wyoming has 3 electoral votes.  If has a population of around 584,000 (Ibid.)

Each California vote represents about 705,000 people (rounded to 3 significant digits) - more than the entire state population of Wyoming.
Each Wyoming vote represents about 195,000 people (rounded to 3 significant digits).

As a result, an individual Wyoming vote is a greater fraction of the state's electoral college vote than an individual California vote.

Offline CopperLily

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #39 on: January 01, 2017, 01:24:11 AM »
Interestingly, the 'A California vote means more' argument is kind of misleading. 

California has 55 electoral votes.  It has a population of around 38.8 million (Source:  2014 census)
Wyoming has 3 electoral votes.  If has a population of around 584,000 (Ibid.)

Each California vote represents about 705,000 people (rounded to 3 significant digits) - more than the entire state population of Wyoming.
Each Wyoming vote represents about 195,000 people (rounded to 3 significant digits).

As a result, an individual Wyoming vote is a greater fraction of the state's electoral college vote than an individual California vote.

Indeed. Compounding the ideological problems, it's also bad math.

Offline Prosak

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #40 on: January 05, 2017, 01:29:05 PM »
Apparently that system wouldn't help and might even make the issues worse, according to this study from fairvote.org:

I freely admit to not fully understanding all the math, but it seems like a comprehensive article.  So it looks like there really isn't a good way to reform the system, at least not without constitutional amendments.  :/

You are one hundred percent correct, which is why in my earlier response where I essentially painted my opinion on the matter. I stated to change the EC is constitutionally wrong.We are a Constitutional Republic, not a true democracy. However, I will boldly say this: The EC was a perfect system for it's time, it really is simple civics I dont see how any one can NOT understand it's use. I do believe an argument can be made as to the EC being outdated. It served it's purpose for when there were only a few states, but now there is the whole continent now. However, just as she said in the quote, amending it will be more trouble then it is worth. And lead to more then likely, political catastrophe. One can not just dip into our constitution and change any one thing. Changing one thing, even one, opens a door to changing just about everything else. To which point, why even have a constitution! Or how I like to call it: That priceless piece of paper that keeps your individual freedoms intact from the possibility of a Tyrannical US government.

(Joke alert)
Oh no, im being to reasonable! >_< Uh, um.... Quick! Say something awful! .... Great, T_T I got nothing.

Online Oniya

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #41 on: January 05, 2017, 03:13:29 PM »
One can not just dip into our constitution and change any one thing. Changing one thing, even one, opens a door to changing just about everything else. To which point, why even have a constitution! Or how I like to call it: That priceless piece of paper that keeps your individual freedoms intact from the possibility of a Tyrannical US government.

I'd like to point out that changing the constitution isn't at all an easy thing to do - and for precisely this reason.  First, the amendment has to be proposed - either by a 2/3ds majority vote in both the House and the Senate, or by a constitutional convention called for by 2/3ds of the state legislatures.  (This latter option, while legitimate, has never been used.)  Following this, it goes to the Archivist (note - not the President), and is sent out to the individual State Governors, who send it on to the State legislatures.  Thirty-eight (three quarters) of the states must ratify the amendment before it is adopted.  The most recent amendment (actually proposed along with the Bill of Rights, but not ratified until 1992) states that if a law is passed that affects Congressional salaries, it doesn't go into effect until the following term.  On the flip side, the Equal Rights Amendment failed in 1982 with only 34 states ratifying it.

Offline CuriousEyes

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #42 on: January 09, 2017, 09:01:47 AM »
Interesting aside, there's some legitimate talk that the GOP has gotten eerily close to the degree of influence that they could unilaterally call for a Constitutional Convention.

Which would certainly allow us to live in interesting times.

Offline Prosak

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #43 on: January 09, 2017, 10:06:44 PM »
I doubt that would happen with trump in the white house, like him or hate him he is all for Smaller government and preserving the fundamentals of our society, to the Constitution. Even if the gop really wanted to change it, which I doubt, he would veto it. That aside, you are correct. There is a vast enough majority to do so. However there have been just as strong majority's in the past.

Offline CuriousEyes

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #44 on: January 10, 2017, 06:59:32 AM »
A convention is an exceedingly unlikely outcome of course, but don't be surprised if it gains momentum - particularly if there's a watershed moment in the next couple years where it looks like the GOP is headed for a crash. They have groups that have spent literally decades planning towards the possibility.

There are a number of hot-button issues that could unite a coalition of fiscal and social conservatives to get to the table, even if only because each wing of the party imagines it could dictate the process. Birthright citizenship, balanced budget amendments, abortion and same sex marriage bans, along with a whole slew of "states rights" advocates who might just want to dismantle as many powers of the federal government as possible.

The party in power generally has little incentive to rock the boat. And truth be told the GOP generally  does better - election performance-wise - when they get to rail against the perceived failings of our country than when they actually get to try applying their "fixes" to them. But if they decide they need to fall on the sword of ideology...

Offline LunaTopic starter

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Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #45 on: January 22, 2017, 10:26:00 AM »
Unfortunately for now it seems like most of the Republican Party is following in lockstep behind Trump. That could change if he starts to propose policies that are too liberal for them, or just plain crazy stuff like "Hey lets lift the sanctions on Russia, because.... look over there!"

Offline Soveliss

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #46 on: February 07, 2017, 11:05:30 AM »
I don't understand why we still have a system that seems to favor the more sparsely populated and, dare I say, less educated areas of the country.

There's your answer. It's either

1) the electorate college

or

2) them acting at best as tiebreaker, and being at the mercy of people who do not live in the same economic conditions, and usually having no voice, basically in effect they would live under dictatorial rule since they will have no say over their gov't, which would  lead to the third option sooner or later

or

3) them seceding, a logistical nightmare if it even happens peacefully, but it could end up as an armed revolution.

unless you've got a fourth option the electoral college is here to stay. It's not ideal, but it's the least worst option the US have.

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Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #47 on: February 08, 2017, 04:36:32 PM »
There's your answer. It's either

1) the electorate college

or

2) them acting at best as tiebreaker, and being at the mercy of people who do not live in the same economic conditions, and usually having no voice, basically in effect they would live under dictatorial rule since they will have no say over their gov't, which would  lead to the third option sooner or later

or

3) them seceding, a logistical nightmare if it even happens peacefully, but it could end up as an armed revolution.

unless you've got a fourth option the electoral college is here to stay. It's not ideal, but it's the least worst option the US have.

Well, as a fourth options you could choose to give great independence on some issues to more sparsely populated states. Regard less of that fact, they would still have a voice. They would just not have a booming, overwhelming voice. A voice that often seems to force much larger communities to adapt and change around the needs of these smaller communities, rather than catering to the majority, which is essentially the democratic way of life.

Some things will need to be governed on the federal level, while others can be dealt with more locally. If dirtier industries are truly a necessity to the economy of sparsely populated areas, certain privileges could be granted that would make sure that these communities won't be out of work, if you follow.

It's not impossible to manage the great puzzle that is the USA, but to say that some voices should matter more, depending on where you live in the country, doesn't make any sense to me. The "Winner takes all"-system is also absolutely unfair, as it basically silences up to 49.9% of voters, and hand a 100% win to the other side. I agree that the electoral college could be kept, one the one condition that the results were made proportional to the votes cast.

It's entirely possible to fix the system in a great many ways that would make elections far more fair - I the only issue seems to be that no candidate ever wants to do so after they've been elected. You don't bite the hand that feeds you.

Offline Scott

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #48 on: February 18, 2017, 07:25:44 PM »
I looked back through this thread in 2008, and didn't see any complaints about the system at all... How odd.

Online Oniya

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #49 on: February 18, 2017, 07:55:13 PM »
Would using the popular vote have given a different result than the electoral college vote did in 2008?

Offline Scott

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #50 on: February 18, 2017, 08:05:13 PM »
No, but if we are TRULY interested in the issue of representation then there should have been regardless of who won in 2008. Seems this is just another venting of upsetness because the left lost the presidency. Are they not two separate issues?

Offline MiraMirror

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #51 on: February 18, 2017, 08:18:28 PM »
When more people in the United States, more citizens, have filed their votes and said with them "We want Hilary" (or anyone else, had someone else been running), and the electoral college matters more than that, it seems really broken.  If the people of the U.S. elect their president, and the gap we had proves who we voted for, but we end up with the opposite candidate, it feels like quite a lot of voters' voices are being flat-out ignored.  That's the problem with it.  If this had happened in reverse, I can at least say that I would've complained about that, too, even if my choice won because of it.

Offline Scott

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #52 on: February 18, 2017, 08:33:21 PM »
It's happened 5 times though, as recently as 2000, this isn't a new thing.
 

Offline MiraMirror

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #53 on: February 18, 2017, 08:35:50 PM »
Then it's an even bigger problem that was made much more evident in this previous election, and it brings home the point of this thread even more.  The system needs to change in a way that still allows smaller areas to be heard, but without the idea that a voter's choice doesn't matter in the first place.  A gap between candidates that damn large "not mattering" is wrong, regardless of which side it applies to.

The system is broken.

Online Oniya

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #54 on: February 18, 2017, 08:57:47 PM »
It's happened 5 times though, as recently as 2000, this isn't a new thing.

I seem to remember a bit of a kerfuffle back then as well - something about hanging pregnant chads and recounts and the Supreme Court getting involved...

Offline MiraMirror

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #55 on: February 18, 2017, 09:00:23 PM »
The thing that gets me annoyed is that because of the circumstances, when people complain about this, the opposing side basically says "Shut the hell up, quit bitching, and deal with it.", because they benefited from it.  In that regard, it feels like there's little point in debating/arguing about it, because it'll be seen as a "lol you lost" rant, which makes it not wrong at all and correct, which of course means that it shouldn't  be changed.

It's....blugh.

Offline CopperLily

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #56 on: February 21, 2017, 01:31:15 AM »
No, but if we are TRULY interested in the issue of representation then there should have been regardless of who won in 2008. Seems this is just another venting of upsetness because the left lost the presidency. Are they not two separate issues?

I've thought the Electoral College was a bad idea since High School civics, and that was a fairly long time ago.

That two recent elections have both gone to the candidate without the popular vote just serves to heighten the issue. If getting support to change the EC when it's ignoring both the will of the people and its original intent is hard, it's basically impossible when your argument is "This is a bad idea and has some serious numeric precision flaws", so political capital is spent on other things.

Offline Valerian

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #57 on: February 21, 2017, 07:49:28 AM »
We still need something to replace it with, though, or at least a generally agreed upon way to improve the existing system, and that's where the problems really start.  There doesn't seem to be a better option available.  :/

Offline Trevino

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #58 on: February 21, 2017, 04:03:45 PM »
We still need something to replace it with, though, or at least a generally agreed upon way to improve the existing system, and that's where the problems really start.  There doesn't seem to be a better option available.  :/

We don't have to keep the EC around actually, I don't see why we can't just go with the popular vote...

Though I suppose if the EC is to be kept around, one plausible model would be this one: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Popular_Vote_Interstate_Compact

But we have to keep in mind that the EC is only part of the problem; there is still also the fact that we live in a defacto two-party system, among other things.

Offline Jack Wolff

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #59 on: September 05, 2017, 12:10:37 AM »
"Less educated"

What you're essentially saying in this entire thread is that you're mad that LA and NYC can't decide who gets to be president.

Clinton lost BOTH votes if you discount the millions of dead people and illegals who voted for her, the most corrupt, lying, cheating, murderous vile monster to ever run for that office in the history of this country.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #60 on: September 05, 2017, 12:20:23 AM »
"Less educated"

What you're essentially saying in this entire thread is that you're mad that LA and NYC can't decide who gets to be president.

Clinton lost BOTH votes if you discount the millions of dead people and illegals who voted for her, the most corrupt, lying, cheating, murderous vile monster to ever run for that office in the history of this country.

Uh.. no. Election Corruption is a thing but NOT that bad a thing. Looking at most of the states accused of doing,by their own actions (such as hideous voter ID laws and such), that would gotten the GOP candidate the popular vote

You know I've said it before ..proportionally assigned delegates would radically change the map. President Obama got like 45% of Texas in 2008. Think about THAT for a moment. That is enough votes to make it a nonflyover state. Imagine how much of California would merit GOP attention? Or borderline states like NC & VA.  40-ish percent would make for a much different dynamic in a lot of states

Though I do agree that Clinton is a lying opportunistic shill, compare her to the man in the Oval Office please
« Last Edit: September 05, 2017, 12:21:40 AM by Callie Del Noire »

Offline Jack Wolff

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #61 on: September 05, 2017, 01:09:09 AM »
I'm sorry, but it IS that bad of a thing and your "Facts" are simply not true here.


She IS worse than the man in the oval office, INFINITELY worse. She is a MURDERER among many other things.

You are blind.

Online Oniya

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #62 on: September 05, 2017, 01:44:22 AM »
Unlike other forums, we do have a set of standards for our debate section.  Please provide sources for your claims.

Offline Jack Wolff

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #63 on: September 05, 2017, 01:58:16 AM »
I can see that the politics section of this website is run by people with clear biases and slants. Meaning the "Standards" and such are set up by people with said clear biases and slants. I'm going to bow out from any further political discussions on this website, as it is clear to me that nothing is going to be accomplished from entering the lion's den.....Or Kitten's den rather.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #64 on: September 05, 2017, 09:23:46 AM »
No, what we are saying is that if you make a claim, such as President Trump got the popular vote (which you did state) that you back it up with a linked source
for Example
FEC official count

Online Regina Minx

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #65 on: September 05, 2017, 09:57:37 AM »
Uh.. no. Election Corruption is a thing but NOT that bad a thing...

I don't know about that. Twice in my lifetime it has overruled the proceedings of the democratic process and allowed the person who received fewer votes to win the election. I'm not a hundred percent what purpose it was originally intended to serve, but it looks on the surface to be a profoundly undemocratic institution.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #66 on: September 05, 2017, 10:09:42 AM »
I don't know about that. Twice in my lifetime it has overruled the proceedings of the democratic process and allowed the person who received fewer votes to win the election. I'm not a hundred percent what purpose it was originally intended to serve, but it looks on the surface to be a profoundly undemocratic institution.

What I meant is that it is not as Hugely large as some claim.
Is popular vote vs EC votes disproportionately skewed? Absolutely. Jack was claiming millions of illegal votes were counted, where investigations have shown vanishingly small amounts of walk in voter fraud.

Whereas voter disenfranchisement and possible voter fraud behind the scenes such as box stuffing IS a problem that should be looked into

Sorry if I didn't clarify

Online Regina Minx

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #67 on: September 05, 2017, 10:21:12 AM »
What I meant is that it is not as Hugely large as some claim.
Is popular vote vs EC votes disproportionately skewed? Absolutely. Jack was claiming millions of illegal votes were counted, where investigations have shown vanishingly small amounts of walk in voter fraud.

Whereas voter disenfranchisement and possible voter fraud behind the scenes such as box stuffing IS a problem that should be looked into

Sorry if I didn't clarify

No no, it's my fault. I clearly see now that you wrote "Election Corruption." While I was skimming the previous comment I quoted, I read that as "Electoral College." My remarks were geared at the college, not corruption.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #68 on: September 05, 2017, 10:32:24 AM »
No no, it's my fault. I clearly see now that you wrote "Election Corruption." While I was skimming the previous comment I quoted, I read that as "Electoral College." My remarks were geared at the college, not corruption.

It's alright, the college is a weird thing, I've asked my brother about it (he's been a college delegate twice) and even he says it needs reform at least

Offline Vekseid

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #69 on: September 05, 2017, 04:42:26 PM »
I can see that the politics section of this website is run by people with clear biases and slants. Meaning the "Standards" and such are set up by people with said clear biases and slants. I'm going to bow out from any further political discussions on this website, as it is clear to me that nothing is going to be accomplished from entering the lion's den.....Or Kitten's den rather.

Funny how reality has a very powerful bias against people who live in an alternate one.

In any case, I'll help you keep your word. Would be a sin to keep tempting you with the reply button.

Edit: let's move on, please.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2017, 05:14:03 PM by Vekseid »

Offline DelightfullyMAD

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #70 on: September 06, 2017, 08:56:11 PM »
As far as I understand it, the purpose of the Electoral College is to actually try and moderate the popular vote, act as a form of check against pure popular rule.  I will admit flat out that I am not a Political Science major, so I am happy to be corrected on my understanding of this, but as far as I can glean, the role of the EC is to try and give less populated areas of the country at least some say in the direction of the country.  Different areas of the country tend to lean in different directions overwhelmingly due to the different environments they've created around themselves, and if our elections really did just come down to popular vote alone, we may as well not let anyone in the country vote outside of New York and California, as both of those states possess a massive amount of the population of the country.  Meanwhile, many of the mid states, being rather sparsely populated, would simply have to shut up and just follow along, as they simply do not have the numbers to be able to affect anything in the country in any meaningful degree.

I don't want to turn this into a conversation about the moral or ethical considerations regarding the system, but rather look into the basic mechanics and reasons behind it.  I don't necessarily agree with the EC as it is right now, but I also understand that simply having a pure majority rule would have it's own set of problems, one of which is my previously noted bit regarding how votes would be pretty much worthless outside of the major population centers.  And most of those population centers possess their own cultures and ideologies, which often makes those places vote in very similar ways.  In other words, on the surface, just going by a pure popular vote sounds fine, but it does raise concerns since those population centers tend to vote the same way, which would lead to a country in which is ruled over by just a few major cities while everyone else is just told to sit out.  From what I can determine, this is what the EC was originally created to balance, though one can argue as to just how effective it is in doing so.

And, of course, both sides of the political debate seem to have no problem with the EC when it votes in their favor, as I know both Democrats and Republicans that are perfectly fine with the EC when it goes the way they want, but then proceed to argue about how it needs to go away when it doesn't go the way they want.  It's very selective.

Personally, I am not against altering or improving the EC, but I think that getting rid of it would bring about some serious issues, not the least of which being that a large chunk of the country would pretty much have their votes rendered null and void in favor of the major population centers.  It's one of those things that I think we wouldn't really understand the full ramifications of it's removal until we actually remove it.

Again, not a Political Scientist, but this is my opinion on the EC and it's reason for being.

Offline HannibalBarca

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Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #71 on: September 06, 2017, 09:49:29 PM »
In a democracy, those with the franchise should be able to cast their vote, and they should have fair representation.  I take that to mean that majority rules in a democracy.  As well, if your voting bloc is smaller than another, you will lose in a fair election, dependent upon how many people in either bloc actually go out and vote.

I live in a county in California that is predominantly conservative.  Being incredibly liberal, I rarely see candidates of my preference win elections.  That's the way it is supposed to go.  Likewise, I don't think it should matter where the particular members of a voting bloc live--if they have the majority of votes, their candidate should win an election.  Anything else is dishing out disproportionate power to a minority voting bloc.  Claiming a particular group of voters will lose elections if things become more fair is not a winning argument.  Similar claims were made by pro-slavery groups in the Antebellum South.  If your ideals are less popular, you either need to argue more effectively for them, or change them.

The Constitution is a living document, empowered with an amendment process in order to upgrade it to meet the changing times of American society.  It has been changed before, even in regards to the election process of presidents, vice-presidents, and senators.  I don't see any problem with replacing the electoral college with a simple popular vote for the office of President, as well as instituting ranked-choice voting.  Since there is nothing in the Constitution that insists only two political parties are allowed, ranked-choice would reign in some of the imbalance of power with having only two viable choices as far as political parties.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2017, 09:54:14 PM by HannibalBarca »

Offline DelightfullyMAD

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #72 on: September 06, 2017, 10:01:25 PM »
Yeah, I'm not holding my breath for anything other than a Democrat or a Republican to have any presence in the political sphere, regardless whether or not we abolish the EC.  Until they both collapse in on themselves (which may actually happen, given how things are going), they simply have too much presence on the political stage for any other group to stand much of a chance.

In regards to you being a liberal in a conservative county, that is basically how it works on the micro level, sure.  The EC however deals on a larger scale, and like I mentioned in my previous post, major population centers tend to have what almost amounts to their own isolated cultures.  It creates a disparity between the major urban centers and the rural areas, and while it's popular to look down upon those who live in the rural areas, the EC was concocted as a means of trying to balance out the growing urban centers with the rural ones.  I don't necessarily suggest it was the right way to go about it, but the system wasn't put in to screw the majority and give major power to the minority, rather just give the minority some actual say in matters that affect the entire country as a whole.  In essence, it was created for the purpose of trying to keep the majority from simply steamrolling over the minority and simply having mob rule.  Again, debate can be had as to how effective it is at that job, but I really don't think just switching to a pure popularity contest will be much better.  And again, neither side of politics seem to have much of a problem with the EC when it works in their favor, so before anything else, people need to at least agree that it shouldn't be taken into consideration regardless as to whether they win the EC vote or not.  Until then, it's just another tool that the winners will defend and the losers will whine about.  Come the next election, if the Democrat party wins the EC the next time around, I fully expect many Democrats to forget about how terrible the EC is while the Republicans whine about how unfair it is.

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Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #73 on: September 06, 2017, 10:26:11 PM »
I hold no love for both parties, either.  The Democrats have tended to align more often with my preferences than the Republicans over the years, but have become progressively (no pun intended) worse.

I do understand why the EC was created, but it's hardly accurate now.  80.7% of the country's population is urban, regardless of their political leanings.  Even Portland isn't 100% liberal, nor is Salt Lake City 100% conservative.  But the election of a president isn't local, it's national.  The general consensus of the population has to be taken into consideration for that election.  Localities can be represented more accurately in state legislatures of even in the House of Representatives, but the Presidency must be elected from a majority of the voters of the entire nation.  If that means certain populations rarely see one of their picks get elected, so be it.  It doesn't just go for rural voters.  Rural voters are only one minority that has been represented many times in the recent past.  Carter, the Bushes, Clinton...I'd consider them rural candidates more often than not.  Obama lived in Chicago but came from Kansas and Hawaii, which I'd call a rural upbringing.  When was the last time we had a President from New York or Los Angeles...or Dallas or Milwaukee for that matter?

I don't mind conservatives winning elections.  I just want it to be fair.  The alternative is one-party rule.  If Democrats ended up winning the Presidency for decades, as it did early in the nation's history, so be it.  It eventually went through growing pains of its own, being led by different factions within the party.  I think you're right, DelightfullyMAD, about both parties going through--at the very least--a metamorphosis.  The factions within both parties are at a point where they are very fractious.  That is driven primarily by societal and cultural causes, but the whole idea of having only two major parties decide all is itself fracturing, and I think that's a good thing.


Offline DelightfullyMAD

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #75 on: September 06, 2017, 11:29:01 PM »
I hold no love for both parties, either.  The Democrats have tended to align more often with my preferences than the Republicans over the years, but have become progressively (no pun intended) worse.

I do understand why the EC was created, but it's hardly accurate now.  80.7% of the country's population is urban, regardless of their political leanings.  Even Portland isn't 100% liberal, nor is Salt Lake City 100% conservative.  But the election of a president isn't local, it's national.  The general consensus of the population has to be taken into consideration for that election.  Localities can be represented more accurately in state legislatures of even in the House of Representatives, but the Presidency must be elected from a majority of the voters of the entire nation.  If that means certain populations rarely see one of their picks get elected, so be it.  It doesn't just go for rural voters.  Rural voters are only one minority that has been represented many times in the recent past.  Carter, the Bushes, Clinton...I'd consider them rural candidates more often than not.  Obama lived in Chicago but came from Kansas and Hawaii, which I'd call a rural upbringing.  When was the last time we had a President from New York or Los Angeles...or Dallas or Milwaukee for that matter?

I don't mind conservatives winning elections.  I just want it to be fair.  The alternative is one-party rule.  If Democrats ended up winning the Presidency for decades, as it did early in the nation's history, so be it.  It eventually went through growing pains of its own, being led by different factions within the party.  I think you're right, DelightfullyMAD, about both parties going through--at the very least--a metamorphosis.  The factions within both parties are at a point where they are very fractious.  That is driven primarily by societal and cultural causes, but the whole idea of having only two major parties decide all is itself fracturing, and I think that's a good thing.

Yeah, it's definitely my hope too.  Honestly, I used to lean far more left when I was younger, which is pretty common, and now lean more right on a number of matters that even just a few years ago I would have likely disagreed with myself on.  At the risk of placing myself in a restrictive descriptor, I would say I am probably a centrist with a slight lean to the right.  Though, to be honest, I find that adhering to such concepts as 'Left', 'Right' and other limiting descriptors is just that; limiting.  Very few people, outside of the mob mentality imposed by association with a larger group, would I think identify thoroughly to the right or left on all issues, but more and more these days both sides of politics are becoming increasingly cult-like in that you are required to adhere to the entire dogma of whatever side you are on.  If you are on the Left, you must be Pro Choice, you must be anti capital punishment, and of course the opposite is true for the Right.

This was something the founding fathers actually wrote about, both warning against the formation of political parties, and also recognizing their inevitability.  If it were up to me at all, I would love to just do away with the concept of parties entirely, and simply have politicians run entirely on their own merits and ideas, and let the people decide who is best based on that.  With parties, we find that many people will simply vote for their affiliated party, regardless as to whether or not they actually agree with or even like the candidate being trotted out.  Nowhere was this more clear than our last election, with literally the two most unpopular options being given to us, and all of us pretty much forced to just 'vote for our party'.  Nearly all of my friends who are more on the Left absolutely hated Hillary and were absolutely aghast that she was their option, but they voted for her anyways because they were Democrat, and thus needed to vote for her (not that Trump was an appealing alternative...).

I myself really try to just vote for who I think would be best.  At times that means I vote Democrat, other times it means I vote Republican, and yet other times I vote Third Party (mostly Libertarian).  I hate the psychological and ideological restrictions that the whole party concept places on us, and I do try, in my own small, ineffectual way, to not be constrained.

As for times changing, I absolutely agree with you.  I definitely think that the EC is no longer entirely relevant, I just disagree that just making it a pure popularity contest is necessarily the best way to go about it.  Again, I am not well versed in the intricacies of the political machine, but I do know that the EC was specifically set up so that we wouldn't have a pure democratic system, as the founders were actually very critical of pure democracy as a political system.  I certainly do not idealize the founders, and recognize that times have changed in such a way that they could never have envisioned, but I do agree in general that a pure democracy has it's own flaws and shortcomings that I think a lot of people don't really recognize.

Also, thanks for engaging with me.  It's been quite a bit of fun :)