September 28, 2007

No Electoral Change Coming in California
— Gabriel Malor

Back in August I wrote (external link) about the recent effort by some California Republicans to switch from the current winner-take-all electoral system to a proportional award of votes. In that post, I explained why I thought it was a bad idea.

So I'm pleased to note that the attempt to change California's electoral system has flopped.

There remained a chance that the measure could be revived, but only if a major donor were to come forward to fund the petition drive. However, time is short to gather the hundreds of thousands of signatures needed by the end of November. And backers said Thursday that they believed the measure was all but dead, at least for the 2008 election.

" 'Shambles' is the wrong word," said strategist Marty Wilson, who curtailed his fundraising efforts weeks ago. "The campaign never got off the ground."

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 10:21 AM | Comments (18)
Post contains 155 words, total size 1 kb.

1 I expect this to be only a temporary setback.  I believe most Americans are too ill-informed to understand the purpose of the electoral college and why it's an essential safeguard of our freeedom and our representative democracy.  They will thus be vulnerable to a mis-education campaign and won't realize how allotting their state's electoral votes "proportionally" will completely undermine the purpose of the EC.

We're slowly but surely moving away from the representative democracy of the founders and toward a more "direct" democracy, and that's a bad thing.


Posted by: OregonMuse at September 28, 2007 10:41 AM (AU9SU)

2

Your argument against Cali splitting their votes was based on what would happen if *everyone* split their votes.  But that's the thing.  No one else would be stupid enough to split their votes.


I'm against a popular vote for President.  But I don't think that's going to happen.  So why not let Republicans pick up a number of votes while Dems shoot themselves in the gut.  And let's move New York to apportionment of electors, too.  Because Texas ain't gonna do it.


Posted by: The Comish (sic) at September 28, 2007 10:46 AM (n8HhO)

3 Two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner is direct democracy.

Posted by: TBinSTL at September 28, 2007 10:46 AM (2J6+t)

4

"There remained a chance that the measure could be revived, but only if George Soros a major donor were to come forward to fund the petition drive."


 


Posted by: Oldsmoblogger at September 28, 2007 10:51 AM (arEOF)

5 I don't see how a proportional system hurts the Electoral College. There's nothing in the Constitution that mandates a winner take all system.

Article 1, Section 1:

Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the Legislature thereof may
direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number of Senators and
Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but
no Senator or Representative, or person holding an office of trust or
profit under the United States, shall be appointed an elector.

Maine and Nebraska aren't winner take all.

The EC is a way to ensure that states have a role in electing the President, how they decide to implement that role is up to them.

Posted by: Drew at September 28, 2007 10:52 AM (hlYel)

6 Your argument against Cali splitting their votes was based on what
would happen if *everyone* split their votes.  But that's the thing. 
No one else would be stupid enough to split their votes.


I think there was a proviso in the California bill that would delay implementation until every other state also did the same thing.


Posted by: OregonMuse at September 28, 2007 11:09 AM (AU9SU)

7 I don't see how a proportional system hurts the Electoral College.

Because if all the EC votes were split up exactly in the same proportions as the popular vote, then it would in effect be the popular vote, in which case why have the EC at all? It would be superfluous.


Posted by: OregonMuse at September 28, 2007 11:12 AM (AU9SU)

8 There was no way in hell this was ever going to happen.

Posted by: Entropy at September 28, 2007 11:25 AM (m6c4H)

9 OregonMuse,

I don't want to disagree to strongly because I get what you are saying and am sympathetic to it. I am just pointing out the EC doesn't have to constitutionally be winner take all. When I wrote it wouldn't be 'hurt', I meant it from that perspective.

Hell, I am all for repealing the 17th Amendment so you don't have to convince me of the need to maintain a strong role for states in the federal framework.

Posted by: Drew at September 28, 2007 11:30 AM (hlYel)

10 I am just pointing out the EC doesn't have to constitutionally be winner take all.

Drew, you're right that the Constitution doesn't explicity say this, but I give weight to the fact that every state originally did the "winner take all" thing. Which means that that is how the early state governors and legislators understood how the founders intended the EC to work.

What this means is that we can't attack these "proportional vote" proposals on constitutional grounds, so we'll have to convince everyone that it's simply bad policy.

By the way, I agree with you wholeheartedly re: the 17th amendment.  I think it is one of the most pernicious amendments ever ratified.

Posted by: OregonMuse at September 28, 2007 12:13 PM (AU9SU)

11

You guys are all wrong.  It doesn't boil down to popular vote.  It boils down to Congressional Districts.  Each district gets an electoral vote.


And if we did that nationwide, (or, as a minimum, in NY, Penn, Ill and Cali), we would guarantee a Repub President in every election, for endless years into the future.


Remember the maps showing a "red" America?


 


Posted by: Dogstar at September 28, 2007 12:30 PM (FgxdU)

12 Dogstar,

Except right now more CD's are in the hands of Dems than Reps. It won't be a perfect correlation between who people vote for Congress and President but hardly a slam dunk now or in the future.

Posted by: Drew at September 28, 2007 12:33 PM (hlYel)

13

Oops...


I was thinking of the map showing counties, not districts.  Never mind.


 


Posted by: Dogstar at September 28, 2007 12:55 PM (FgxdU)

14 It would be interesting if there were a red/blue map by congressional districts.


Posted by: OregonMuse at September 28, 2007 01:06 PM (AU9SU)

15

If I could post, I would post this:


 


The Future of Blogging?


 


Imagine a hybrid of a classic blog w/posts and comments, and an instant message screen that auto-updated in a separate, reduced window.


 


And every 24 hours the conversation could be archived (text only so it would be small).  You could go back quite a while if you wanted.


 


At the top of the screen would be a used-designed room, viewed from the top down in 2D, like an old Leisure Suit Larry complete with staircases or whatever (BlogTycoon or NightclubTycoon) with icons or figures representing who was currently present.  And we could each design our own icon, of course.


 


It would take up a lot less bandwidth, because it would be limited to small bursts every 60 seconds or whatever (user-defined, you could turn off auto-refresh).


 


Seems like it would add more vitality to the discussion.  You could either chat live or just construct a post like we do now.


 


It would be like Ace of Spades, new and improved, now with BattleNet version.


 


But here's the coolest thing:  I haven't seen this anywhere else.  We would be the first.  It would be a blast of publicity for Ace and this site because we would be revolutionary.  Shit, I've said too much.


Posted by: Dogstar at September 28, 2007 01:33 PM (FgxdU)

16 OregonMuse:

Here you go.

Posted by: Drew at September 28, 2007 01:37 PM (hlYel)

17 Thanks, Drew.  That was very enlightening!

Posted by: Elisa at September 30, 2007 06:56 AM (hL/mm)

18 Great boys
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