The Instigator
ournamestoolong
Con (against)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
JBlake
Pro (for)
Winning
11 Points

A Debate On The Electoral College

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
JBlake
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/24/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,566 times Debate No: 6331
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (12)
Votes (3)

 

ournamestoolong

Con

Resolution: The Electoral College system in the United States of America should remain as the system of choosing our president.

Definition:

The presidential electors who meet after the citizens vote for president and cast ballots for the president and vice president. Each state is granted the same number of electors as it has senators (see United States Senate) and representatives combined. These electors, rather than the public, actually elect the president and the vice president. The Founding Fathers assumed that electors would exercise discretion and not necessarily be bound by the popular vote, but the rise of political parties undermined this assumption. Electors are now pledged in advance to vote for the candidate of their party, and nearly always do so. Thus, the vote of the Electoral College is largely a formality.

http://dictionary.reference.com...

Contention 1: The Electoral College makes votes unheard.

1A: In four elections, a candidate won the Electoral Vote without winning the Popular vote.(http://www.270towin.com... Go to 2000 and check election facts.)
This means the candidate with the popular vote did not win, making the votes unheard.

1B: The U.S. census
The official U.S. census is taken every ten years. This decides the number of representatives and thus, electors. This leaves no compensation for a sharp rise or drop in population, leading to overepresentation and underrepresentation.

1C: The Tie Situation
In the event no candidate has a majority of the Electoral Votes, The House of Representatives decides the president. This happened in the 1800 election and led to trickery and bribery, with a highly partasian battle.
(http://www.u-s-history.com...)

Contention 2: Overrepresentation and Underrepresentation
In Wyoming citizens have more inffluence on the Electoral College by a margain of 4 to 1 (http://www.fairvote.org...) this leads to cititzens in certain states have more "power" than others.

I thank in advance whoever takes this debate and say, Good Luck.
JBlake

Pro

I would like to thank Con for offering the opportunity to debate this most interesting of topics. Good Luck!

My esteemed opponent has analyzed the electoral college and found it wanting. He believes it to be an inefficient formality. He offers two contentions to support his resolution:
1. "The Electoral College [EC] makes votes unheard."
2. The EC gives some regions more representation than their population warrants, and others less.

I will begin by correcting Con's analysis on what the EC is and what the EC is not. Then I will then refute his two contentions. Finally, I will offer a brief conclusion.
(Note: I reserve the right to offer new arguments in round two)

---------

Con believes that the main purpose of the modern EC is to echo the popular vote of its consituency. To a degree he is correct, this is a major function of the EC, but not the only one.
The United States is a Federal Republic. A Federal Republic is a collection of sovereign states that give up certain aspects of their autonomy to form a larger 'union', or 'Federation'. [1] Therefore, when electing the Head of State for a Federal Republic there is more to consider than regional population. A state needs to be adequately represented in order to benefit from being a member-state of a Federation. The EC ensures that smaller, less populated states receive the same benefits as the larger ones. Without the EC smaller states such as Wyoming or West Virginia would receive even less federal consideration than they do under the current system. Politicians would have little reason to visit the mid-western states, and even less reason to give them the same benefits of union that larger states like New York and California enjoy.

------------

Claims:
1. The EC makes votes unheard (a,b,c).
2. The EC leads to overrepresentation and underreppresentation.

Rebutals:
1. a) My young opponent claims that the voices of some citizens voting for the losing candidate go unheard (in cases where the winner of the popular vote loses the EC vote). I find a different interpretation to be more accurate. Their voices do not go unheard, rather the voice of the states Does get heard.
b) This is not an argument in favor of reforming the EC. This is an argument in favor of conducting the federal census more often. We have the technology to make this more feasible today than we did when the census was instituted in the mid 1800s.
c) Con is correct in his historical analysis. However, he offers no explanation as to why the election going into the House of Representatives is a bad thing that suggests that our election methods should be reformed.

2.. If someone were to look strictly at the popular vote then Con would be correct in this claim. However, as I have discussed above, there are more things to take into consideration. This nation was founded both on the sovereignty of the people and the sovereignty of separate states. The two branches of congress were created with the same principle as the EC. It apportions some of the representation based on population (House of Representatives) and the rest based on statehood (two votes for each state in the Senate). This gives smaller states like Wyoming the same representational proportion quoted by Con in Congress for the very same reason that the EC takes both measures into consideration - to ensure that the smaller states have some say in the Federal government. Therefore it would be more accurate to say that these states are given a base level of power to make their existence in the federation worthwhile than it would be to say that its citizens exercise more 'power' than others.

-------------

CONCLUSION
The United States of America was founded with two things in mind: the sovereignty of the people and the sovereignty of the separate states. These principles are reflected in the apportionment of Congress and the apportionment of the Electoral College. Both of these institutions ensure that the more populace regions like the Northeast and the West Coast do not dominate the less populace ones. A base level of power is necessary in order for all states to enjoy the benefits of union.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 1
ournamestoolong

Con

RE: "Note: I reserve the right to offer new arguments in round two"
I agree

RE: "Con believes that the main purpose of the modern EC is to echo the popular vote of its consituency. To a degree he is correct, this is a major function of the EC, but not the only one.
The United States is a Federal Republic. A Federal Republic is a collection of sovereign states that give up certain aspects of their autonomy to form a larger 'union', or 'Federation'. [1] Therefore, when electing the Head of State for a Federal Republic there is more to consider than regional population. A state needs to be adequately represented in order to benefit from being a member-state of a Federation. The EC ensures that smaller, less populated states receive the same benefits as the larger ones. Without the EC smaller states such as Wyoming or West Virginia would receive even less federal consideration than they do under the current system. Politicians would have little reason to visit the mid-western states, and even less reason to give them the same benefits of union that larger states like New York and California enjoy."

You make the argument that eliminating the EC will hurt smaller states by giving them little attention in the eletion. However as it is, largely Republican or largely Democrat states are not given attention. This is because both candidates know they will win the state if it is largely bias twoards their party, so the other candidate won't campaign there. This leaves several states neglected. Also, as I explained to you in a message, the resolution is not that the EC should be eliminated, but rather, it should be changed. This means that if you change it to a system such as weighted popular vote, smaller states still recieve benefits.

RE: "My young opponent claims that the voices of some citizens voting for the losing candidate go unheard (in cases where the winner of the popular vote loses the EC vote). I find a different interpretation to be more accurate. Their voices do not go unheard, rather the voice of the states Does get heard."

This is true, however, by making the EC "winner take all" you are ignoring many of the state's citizens and The states voice is not heard as one, but rather as a majority. This makes all votes for the losing candidate in any particulaar state, worthless, as they do not inffluence the election.

RE: "This is not an argument in favor of reforming the EC. This is an argument in favor of conducting the federal census more often. We have the technology to make this more feasible today than we did when the census was instituted in the mid 1800s."

Holding a more recent census would affect the EC and would be a reformation. I think we'll have to agree on this point.

RE: "Con is correct in his historical analysis. However, he offers no explanation as to why the election going into the House of Representatives is a bad thing that suggests that our election methods should be reformed."

The election going into the hands of representatives is bad because votes from citizens rarely affect the representatives. As I stated before bribery was used to buy votes and this, I think you'll agree, is bad. So to keep the election a Democratic one, we must find a different way to resolve a tie.

RE: "If someone were to look strictly at the popular vote then Con would be correct in this claim. However, as I have discussed above, there are more things to take into consideration. This nation was founded both on the sovereignty of the people and the sovereignty of separate states. The two branches of congress were created with the same principle as the EC. It apportions some of the representation based on population (House of Representatives) and the rest based on statehood (two votes for each state in the Senate). This gives smaller states like Wyoming the same representational proportion quoted by Con in Congress for the very same reason that the EC takes both measures into consideration - to ensure that the smaller states have some say in the Federal government. Therefore it would be more accurate to say that these states are given a base level of power to make their existence in the federation worthwhile than it would be to say that its citizens exercise more 'power' than others."

Again you say that I am advocating switching to popular vote. This is incorrect. This debate is rather about whether the EC should be changed. There are alternatives to the EC that ensure smaller states have some say in the federal goernment. My final stement is that when I said some citizens have more power than others, I was simply saying that they have more inffluence on THEIR STATE's popular vote, not in the nation as a whole.

Thank you JBlake for accepting and I await your response.
JBlake

Pro

I would like to thank my opponent for his quick response.

Note: Private messages between members is irrelevent to a debate.

In the second round of debate Con offers no argument of his own. He seems content to merely rebut my points without offering an alternative plan to the Electoral College. Offering an alternative is essential if Con hopes to be competitive in this debate and should offer one in the final round.

Because Con offers no alternative, I will briefly outline and rebut his claims.

------------

Claims:
1. Largely Republican or Democratic states get overlooked in an election.
2. Suggests that the system could be reformed to a "weighted popular vote" so that the smaller states still receive the benefits of union.
3. The votes in a state for the losing candidate are "worthless, as they do not inffluence [sic] the election."
4. Holding the census more often is a reform of the Electoral College.
5. Con claims that the election going to the House is bad because representatives rarely represent their consituency; and the election would be more susceptible to bribery.
6. "My final stement is that when I said some citizens have more power than others, I was simply saying that they have more inffluence on THEIR STATE's popular vote, not in the nation as a whole."

Rebuttals:
1. The Election of 2008 provides evidence to the contrary. States that are supposedly firmly in Republican hands voted in favor of the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama. These include, but are not limited to North Carolina, Virginia, Colorado, and Indiana. These states not only did not go overlooked, but they ultimately voted against 'their' party. Obviously for this to occur, the democrats did not ignore the largely Republican states. Nor did the republicans, who scrambled to win back their support.

2. It is odd that Con would reverse course and support a "weighted popular vote" despite opposing the Electoral College because it gives the vote of some states more weight than others. Why complicate the electoral system if it is to be replaced with the very same concepts? The old adage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" applies in this case.

3. This would apply to the nation as a whole, even if there were a popular vote. Under either system there will necessarily be a losing side. By this logic, all people voting for the losing candidate have wasted their time and their vote was worthless. Clearly this is not a compelling reason to reform the system, because there is no plausible way to eliminate the existence of a losing candidate in a free election short of electing all candidates or instituting a one-party system.

4. This is simply not true. There would be unintended effects on the Electoral College as a result of conducting the census more often, but the system would still remain the same.

5. Con has offered no sources and provides no evidence to support this claim. Until he does so we cannot suppose his claim to be true that representatives cannot be trusted to reflect their consituency. The same is true for bribery. I predict he will cite the 1824 election. However, historians have yet to produce enough evidence to prove there was bribery or any sort of "corrupt bargain." I don't expect Con will be able to do what longtime historians have yet to be able to do. Without evidence that bribery and corrupt representatives is the norm, this is not a valid argument in favor of taking the tie breaking duty from the House of Representatives.

6. This point does not even make sense, and is a blatant attempt at reversing his original position. He originally said >>>"In Wyoming citizens have more inffluence on the Electoral College by a margain of 4 to 1 (http://www.fairvote.org......) this leads to cititzens in certain states have more "power" than others."<<<
Here he is saying that Wyoming citizens have a more powerful representation than other states. This point is clear by his source (which he misquoted) that says Wyoming citizens have four times more power than Texas citizens. This point I have addressed and Con has not rebutted.
His new position makes even less sense. He claims that some citizens have more power within "THEIR STATE's popular vote." This is simply untrue and unfounded. He offers no evidence or support for this point.

-------

CONCLUSION
Con has offered no compelling rebuttal to my argument that the Electoral College is necessary for the smaller states to enjoy the benefits of union. He has not challenged my claim that without the EC the smaller states would be dominated by the larger states. All he says is that the EC should be scrapped or it should be reformed, but he does not explain how or why. In the final round I challenge him to address my argument and to offer a viable alternative to the Electoral College.
Debate Round No. 2
ournamestoolong

Con

"Note: Private messages between members is irrelevent to a debate."

I was simply stating the subject of this debate

"In the second round of debate Con offers no argument of his own. He seems content to merely rebut my points without offering an alternative plan to the Electoral College. Offering an alternative is essential if Con hopes to be competitive in this debate and should offer one in the final round."

I realize my error in the last argument. My alternative is eliminating the "winner-take-all" aspect of the Electoral College. This means that states may divide their Electoral Vtes between different candidates. This means that smaller states still have representation and means that no votes are lost. I also believe all electors shoould be pledged to vote for the winner of the popular vote in their state. I think we should also eliminate the maximum number of seats in the house. By destroying this limit, it lets all states be equally represented.

"1. The Election of 2008 provides evidence to the contrary. States that are supposedly firmly in Republican hands voted in favor of the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama. These include, but are not limited to North Carolina, Virginia, Colorado, and Indiana. These states not only did not go overlooked, but they ultimately voted against 'their' party. Obviously for this to occur, the democrats did not ignore the largely Republican states. Nor did the republicans, who scrambled to win back their support."

I realize this, but my point still stands. Neither of the candidates campaigned in wyoming ( a highly Republican state) or Washington D.C. (a highly Democratic city). Though the states you mention defied their historcal voting records, they did not defy the polls.

"2. It is odd that Con would reverse course and support a "weighted popular vote" despite opposing the Electoral College because it gives the vote of some states more weight than others. Why complicate the electoral system if it is to be replaced with the very same concepts? The old adage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" applies in this case."

I didn't say I supported weighted Popular Vote, I said there are systems where states are adequetley represernted.

"3. This would apply to the nation as a whole, even if there were a popular vote. Under either system there will necessarily be a losing side. By this logic, all people voting for the losing candidate have wasted their time and their vote was worthless. Clearly this is not a compelling reason to reform the system, because there is no plausible way to eliminate the existence of a losing candidate in a free election short of electing all candidates or instituting a one-party system."

The system I offered above makes a vote in any individual state count for something. This means that if you vote for the losing candidate in your state, they might still get Electoral Votes.

"4. This is simply not true. There would be unintended effects on the Electoral College as a result of conducting the census more often, but the system would still remain the same."

I think we just agree on this issue.

"5. Con has offered no sources and provides no evidence to support this claim. Until he does so we cannot suppose his claim to be true that representatives cannot be trusted to reflect their consituency. The same is true for bribery. I predict he will cite the 1824 election. However, historians have yet to produce enough evidence to prove there was bribery or any sort of "corrupt bargain." I don't expect Con will be able to do what longtime historians have yet to be able to do. Without evidence that bribery and corrupt representatives is the norm, this is not a valid argument in favor of taking the tie breaking duty from the House of Representatives."

Although I do think there was corruption in the 1824 election, A better example of this is What might happen in the future. Already we see a bitter battle between Republicans and Democrats, if they decide the president, none of the votes will matter, and the representatives will not reflect the votes of the nation. For those who don't know, in 1824, No one recieved a majority of votes. So the election was decided by the House Of Representatives. Then after Speaker of the House Henry Clay supported John Quincy Adams, he easily became president, even after winning the Popular vote or the most Electoral Votes. Adams then Mae Clay the Secretary of State. The Electoral College was flawed, so with a minority of the popular and Electoral Vote. By pledging all the electors tie situations are less likely.

6. This point does not even make sense, and is a blatant attempt at reversing his original position. He originally said >>>"In Wyoming citizens have more inffluence on the Electoral College by a margain of 4 to 1 (http://www.fairvote.org.........) this leads to cititzens in certain states have more "power" than others."<<<
Here he is saying that Wyoming citizens have a more powerful representation than other states. This point is clear by his source (which he misquoted) that says Wyoming citizens have four times more power than Texas citizens. This point I have addressed and Con has not rebutted.
His new position makes even less sense. He claims that some citizens have more power within "THEIR STATE's popular vote." This is simply untrue and unfounded. He offers no evidence or support for this point.

I realize my wording was bad. I meant that Wyoming has an elector for every 165,000 people while Texas has an elector for every 652,000 people. This means they are exxtremely overrepresented. I know my wording was VERY bad
and confusing.

I thank my opponent for a wonderful debate.
JBlake

Pro

I would like to thank my opponent for this debate, and (aside from mentioning private messages) for remaining courteous throughout.

Finally, in the final round of debate Con offers a reform plan for the Electoral College, albeit a very brief one. I will address this below, then rebut his attacks on the EC.

Con wishes to eliminate the 'winner takes all' aspect for each state. According to him, this would have no effect on the smaller states. Nothing can be further from the truth. I will outline the negative consequences of Con's reforms below:
1. This would take yet another right away from the states.
2. Rural Areas would receive even less attention than they do under the current system.
a) Candidates would focus their attention, both in legislation and in campaigning, on larger populations. This seems obvious enough. Therefore, cities would have more power under Con's proposed system at the expense of farming regions, or other rural regions.
3. Rural States would receive even less attention than they do under the current system.
a) A great number of states do not have large metropolitan centers. Politicians would have little need to venture into these states. As a result, the interests of these states would be largely ignored by national candidates. Additionally, we would likely see presidents only from large metropolitan centers, or (less often) from the state of the metropolitan center. New York, California, and Texas would dominate the Federal government.

Because of these negative consequences, it is my contention that each state knows what is in its best interest (and the interest of its citizenry) better than does the Federal government. Therefore, the Electoral College should remain unchanged since it allows each state to make its own decision on this question.

Con also proposes that all electors be required to vote as their constituency dictates. This is a question best left to the individual parties. If a party thinks that its elected officials (Senators, Governors, &ct.) should have a voice in the direction of their party, I see no reason why they should not be allowed to operate as they see fit. He says that electors should "be pledged to vote for the winner of the popular vote in their state." However, this is in direct contradiction to his first proposal that each state divide its vote.

Con also proposes removing the maximum limit on House seats for a state. This is irrelevant to this debate on the Electoral College so I will not address this issue.

---------

I will now defend my own claims in the order in which he attacked them:

1. Con claims that neither candidate campaigned in Wyoming or the nation's capitol. Where he gets this information we do not know because he does not provide us with a source. The truth of the matter is that both candidates campaigned in Wyoming and in D.C. They may not have made an appearance, but they did campaign.

2. Con claims he did not support a weighted popular vote, but he clearly states >>"This means that if you change it to a system such as weighted popular vote, smaller states still recieve benefits."<<
He has changed his position so many times in this debate it is difficult to understand where he really stands.

3. Yes, a losing candidate may receive votes, but at what cost? The influence of the smaller states? The influence of all rural regions? The reader should ask himself if this is worth the reforms proposed by my opponent.

4. We agree that the census should be conducted more often. We also agree that this is not a reform of the EC.

5. Con offers "what might happen in the future" as evidence that an election going to the House of Representatives would be more subject to corruption and bribery. However, "what might happen" is not sufficient evidence to support his claim. I will also note that in the 1824 election, ALL candidates (including Jackson) had a minority of the popular vote. That is why the election went to the House.

6. It would be better to interpret this fact as saying that there should be a base level of power and influence for each state in the Federal Union. I have addressed this point on a number of occaisions throughout this debate, and my opponent has chosen not to respond. Therefore my point stands that each state needs to have a base level in order to enjoy the benefits of Union.

CONCLUSION
Con waited until the final round to make any sort of proposal. When he finally did, I showed why the current system is better than the reforms that he proposes.
Con did not address the core of my argument, that each state needs an incentive to remain a member of the Federal Union.

To consider when voting:
Courtesy: We have both remained courteous throughout the debate. Con, however, attempted to use private messages to further his debate.
Sp/grammar: Con's writing is generally sufficient, but in a few places his wording is such that his point is impossible to ascertain.
Convincing arguments: Con did not respond to the core of my argument. I have shown his proposal to be quite flawed.
Sources: Con used only one source, and misquoted it.
Debate Round No. 3
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by JBlake 7 years ago
JBlake
Yes, it would seem as though Josh has returned. Once again, I don't care all that much. I didn't attempt to fix them before and I won't try to this time either.
Posted by ournamestoolong 7 years ago
ournamestoolong
oh ****, he got vote bombed.
Well I should right this.
****you josh **** your ************************************************************************************************************************************************** with a ************************************************************.
Thank you
Posted by ournamestoolong 7 years ago
ournamestoolong
Give reasons for your votes
Posted by ournamestoolong 7 years ago
ournamestoolong
I can't believe i'm going to lose this by 4 points.
Posted by ournamestoolong 7 years ago
ournamestoolong
Good I didn't
Posted by JBlake 7 years ago
JBlake
No. I only vote if my opponent does. And then, I only vote the exact same points that the other side votes for himself to negate his/her vote.
Posted by ournamestoolong 7 years ago
ournamestoolong
Wait did you vote?
Posted by JBlake 7 years ago
JBlake
It isn't on the front page anymore, so it isn't likely to attract any more attention.
Posted by ournamestoolong 7 years ago
ournamestoolong
The lack of voting is scaring me
Posted by JBlake 7 years ago
JBlake
Thank you very much, Con.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by DiablosChaosBroker 7 years ago
DiablosChaosBroker
ournamestoolongJBlakeTied
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Vote Placed by JBlake 7 years ago
JBlake
ournamestoolongJBlakeTied
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Vote Placed by robert.fischer 7 years ago
robert.fischer
ournamestoolongJBlakeTied
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