The Instigator
Udel
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points
The Contender
H501
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Abolish the Electoral College

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Udel
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/6/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 329 times Debate No: 92431
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)

 

Udel

Pro

First round is for acceptance. I will begin my arguments in the next round.
H501

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
Udel

Pro

How the Electoral College Works

After the votes in each state are counted, the political party whose candidate received a majority in a particular state is allowed to choose a slate of electors who will cast the real votes for President. We vote for President in November, but the 538 electors cast an official ballot in December. The candidate who receives a majority of the electoral votes (currently 270) wins the election.

Problems

People's votes and electoral votes do not count the same.

"Each individual vote in Wyoming counts nearly four times as much in the Electoral College as each individual vote in Texas. This is because Wyoming has three (3) electoral votes for a population of 532,668 citizens (as of 2008 Census Bureau estimates) and Texas has thirty-two (32) electoral votes for a population of almost 25 million. By dividing the population by electoral votes, we can see that Wyoming has one elector for every 177,556 people and Texas has one elector for about every 715,499."

http://www.fairvote.org...

By giving smaller states more electoral votes per person than larger states, disparity was created across the nation in regards to the significance of each citizens" vote. With the Electoral College, the value of a vote depends on what state a person lives in.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com...

Under the Electoral College, your vote is only valuable if you align with the majority of people from your state. If you are a Republican in Massachusetts, your vote will likely not matter because the majority of people are Democrats and thus only the Democratic votes will count toward choosing the president.

Only if you live in a swing state (less than 10 states) does your vote really have significance, because it helps establish the majority. There is no overwhelming support for ideology in a "safe state" so the electoral college only makes an individual's vote matter significantly in a swing state.

https://en.wikipedia.org...

According to a study done by Jesse Ruderman, "A presidential candidate could be elected with as a little as 21.8% of the popular vote by getting just over 50% of the votes in DC and each of 39 small states. This is true even when everyone votes and there are only two candidates. In other words, a candidate could lose with 78.2% of the popular vote by getting just under 50% in small states and 100% in large states."

https://www.squarefree.com...

When someone with barely above 1/5 of the popular vote can win an election, that is not good for democracy. That is not reflecting the voices of the people but rather playing politics. In 2000 Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the presidency to George W Bush. The course of American history could be significantly different if the more popular president won.

Another thing to consider is unbound electors. There is no federal law that requires electors to vote as they have pledged. There are 21 states in the union that have no requirements of, or legal control over, their electors. So the state"s electors are free to vote however they please, including no vote at all, with no real legal penalty. Even in the states that do have control, often the punishment is very minor (some states issue only minimal fines as punishment).

http://www.fairvote.org...

The electoral college encourages the 2 party system, because people think they have to vote for the "lesser evil" in order for their vote to count. With the Electoral College, the voting power of the people has been diluted and unequally distributed, when each citizen's vote should hold equal weight and significance for the sake of democracy.
H501

Con

Hello Pro. Thank you for defining the electoral college to our voters (I get the feeling that most people are pretty ignorant of the way our government works). I will rebut each of your claims in order, as well as adding my own argument.

The fact that Wyoming has fewer people per electoral vote is true, but before condemning it, lets examine why. Each state gets two senators, regardless of population, and then a house of representatives member for approximately every 710,000 people. Each senator and house of reps member counts as an electoral vote. (The exception to these rules is DC. DC has no senators or representatives, but gets 3 electoral votes.) So, two of Wyoming's three votes are from the senators. This is true for all states. Senators have nothing to do with population, so two of those electoral votes are justified. Now lets look at the last vote. This vote is the population vote. True, Wyoming's population is only about 584,000 (Not enough for an electoral vote), but they still need a representative. They pay taxes, right? No taxation without representation. And the senators do not count as representation. So we give Wyoming a representative, which makes things unbalanced. But the alternative is to essentially throw out the votes of hundreds of thousands of people.
For more about how this rule came about, go here- http://study.com...

So, to your claim, "With the Electoral College, the value of a vote depends on what state a person lives in.", you're essentially saying we should ignore a hefty chunk of the nations population. I know you didn't mean this, but that's the only other alternative.

You also say "Under the Electoral College, your vote is only valuable if you align with the majority of people from your state." This is true, but that is still a majority. Majority rules. If you have a problem with the majority, you can move to a place where you are part of the majority.

Also, you are correct in saying that someone could win 78.2% of the popular vote and lose the electoral vote... but that's like saying "Maybe a rabid koala will fall out of a flying cherry picker and land on my head, mauling me and giving me AIDS." Is this technically possible? Yes. Will it happen? No.

Also, Gore's "win" of the popular vote is generally considered to be a tie. The numbers were extremely close, and if you take into account those who didn't vote, either candidate could have won. And this is also a good time for me to point out that if Gore had won, he would have had half the population against him.

Yes, electors are generally not legally bound to vote one way or another- but they never vote against the population, because they would get thrown out of office if they did. There are more than just legal consequences.

So, I'm sure you're noticing, despite my defense, there are still some flaws in the electoral college system. This is true, and the electoral college is not a very good system. But it's the best one. The only alternative is a popular vote system, and this is worse. Let me give you an analogy. You've got twelve people running for president (Without the electoral college, this would be the case!) Here is the vote division-
Person A- 8% of the vote
Person B-10% of the vote
Person C-9% of the vote
Person D- 8%of the vote
Person E-9% of the vote
Person F- 9% of the vote
Person G- 8%of the vote
Person H- 7%of the vote
Person I- 5% of the vote
Person J- 9% of the vote
Person K- 8% of the vote
Person L- 9% of the vote

So who wins? Person B? They got the bigger percentage of the vote- but they also had 90% of the population against them. With the electoral college, this scenario would never happen.
Debate Round No. 2
Udel

Pro

Con begins by saying that 2 of each state's electors come from state senators, so two of those electoral votes are justified. Just because each state automatically gets 2 senate representative votes doesn't mean this addresses any of the other problems with the electoral college though. For example if those 2 senators are Democrat and you are Republican, they do not represent your personal vote.

Con does not deny the value of your vote depends on which state you live in. He says that by changing this standard, we would ignore a hefty chunk of the nation's population. But if you implemented a different standard (for example, the popular vote) then everybody's vote counts the same, and nobody in the population's vote is not counted or worth any less.

Con says you get 1 elector per 770K people, but Wyoming has one elector for every 177,556 people and Texas has one elector for about every 715,499. Once again this means the people of Wyoming have their vote count almost 4x as much as a Texan's vote. This is not justified and Con says the alternatives would ignore a hefty chunk of the population, when really this standard provides unfair weighing that values each citizen's vote differently based on the state they live in (population).

Con says that majority rules, so it's justified that your vote only counts if you are in your state's majority. He says you can move if you want to be part of the majority. It's not fair or reasonable to expect people to move so their vote matters, especially when there are alternatives. This would be bad for diversity. People who are in the minority within their small area (state) still deserve to have their voice's heard, but the electoral college renders their vote useless if other people from their state drown them out. This is ironic in a system that claims to value minority rights.

http://www.nytimes.com...

Con says "majority rules" but I've explained in the last round how someone with a minority of votes could win through the electoral college. It's not likely but demonstrates how math games determine the outcome of elections. Sometimes politicians ignore entire states while campaigning because they think it is useless to gain support there. And citizens don't bother voting in those states where they know their vote doesn't count, because they do not align with the majority.

http://reason.com...

Con says that without an electoral college, you would have 12 people running for president. Actually we already have 16 people running for president now even with the electoral college.

http://www.politics1.com...

Con doesn't know about these other people, because the electoral college encourages a two-party system that does not allow for choice or variety. A direct popular election would make it easier for third-party candidates to succeed. This is not a bad thing.

Americans are diverse and we cannot pigeonhole our broad ideologies into 2 categories that most of us do not fit neatly into. Most of the time, we are stuck choosing between the "lesser evil" instead of someone who really represents our views.

People are not satisfied with the Democrat and Republican status quo, because major political parties play partisan politics and put the party first (individual politician's success) instead of the country's values or the best candidate from the party. R03;Americans are getting frustrated with the political process and want more influence, not less. More than 65% of citizens are dissatisfied with the way the system works.

http://www.gallup.com...

So Con tells us the way things work, and I am saying they should be changed. Most Americans agree.

Also Con presented the example of a situation where 12 candidates ran for president, and the person with the majority of votes might still be unpopular (say only getting 1/5 of the popular vote). Well voters might choose to consolidate their vote anyway. For example Bernie Sanders might be running for president as an Independent, which is upsetting Democrats who think lost votes that go to Sanders instead of Clinton will make Trump win. We can assume that people would be strategic about their voting or candidacy under any system.

Another thing is that politicians can get ahead today even without having a lot of support, because people go with the "lesser evil" vote like I said. A lot of Republicans hate Trump but will vote for him because they prefer Trump to a liberal. It doesn't mean they actually like Trump. We have had unpopular presidents before despite the electoral college, and even the votes people cast doesn't mean they actually support that person, but just think they are the least evil.

Con says the popular vote system is the only alternative, but this is not true. In addition to the popular vote (making each citizen's vote count once) there have been other proposals for reform or abolition of the electoral college, including the Bayh"Celler Constitutional amendment, Every Vote Counts amendment, and National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

https://en.wikipedia.org...(United_States)

"There have been more proposals for constitutional amendments to change the electoral college than on any other subject. They include:

A direct popular vote, with a runoff between the top two finishers if no candidate receives 40 percent of the vote.

A district plan awarding two electoral votes to state's popular vote leader and the others to the winner in each congressional district.

A proportional method dividing each state's electoral vote to mirror its popular vote, which would do away with the winner-take-all nature of counting electoral votes.

Majority preference voting, in which voters rank their preferences; if no candidate received more than 50 percent, the bottom vote-getter would be eliminated and the second choices of those voters would be redistributed, repeating the process until someone had more than 50 percent.

Another proposal would keep the electoral college in place, but add another 102 electoral votes (two for each state and the District of Columbia) and award all of the bonus votes to the national popular vote winner."

Source: Jim Eskin, "Electoral College a Ticking Time Bomb," Dallas Morning News, November 10, 2000.
H501

Con

I will try to rebut your arguments, but I have to be honest, I don't understand what you're saying in your first few paragraphs. It sounds like you're just repeating what I said.

As for the "majority rules" thing. States side with the candidate who can bring the most positive change in their lives. This is generally different for different states (For example, North and South). Thus, the minority is small in most states, not 40% or 30% as Pro would have you believe.

And when I said 12 people running for president, I mean 12 people in the final election, from 12 different political parties. I would appreciate if you read my argument more carefully.

And yes, Americans are often forced to go with the lesser evil (Usally out of 2). But would you rather one of 12 or 13 parties win, and then have 90% of the population unhappy? Because it seems like that's what you're saying (No offense).

"A lot of Republicans hate Trump but will vote for him because they prefer Trump to a liberal. It doesn't mean they actually like Trump." This is true, and upsetting. It's a problem. But what you're doing here is pointing out problems and not offering solutions. This debate is not over whether or not the electoral college is a good system, the debate is over whether or not it should be abolished. In order to prove that we should dismantle the electoral college should be dismantled, you have to point out problems, but also find a way to fix them. Otherwise, you're admitting that despite it's faults, the electoral college is the best system. I understand that this is not your intention, but still. Your ideas at the end do not count, because they are simply stated, and you don't go into depth about why they would fix anything, or why they would do more good than harm.
Debate Round No. 3
Udel

Pro

In the last line of my 2nd paragraph, I said, "But if you implemented a different standard (for example, the popular vote) then everybody's vote counts the same, and nobody in the population's vote is not counted or worth any less." This shows why another standard, like the popular vote, is superior to the electoral college. With the electoral college, a person's vote counts less based on where they live.

Con dropped my argument about Wyoming and Texas, skipping right over to the "majority rules" thing which I will address next. But let me repeat that in Wyoming a citizen's vote is worth 4x the vote of someone in Texas. This is not justified and Con says the alternatives would ignore a hefty chunk of the population, when really this standard provides unfair weighing that values each citizen's vote differently based on the state they live in (population).

Con said that most places have a "small minority" of dissent so it's realistic and acceptable to ask people to move. This drops all my arguments. Extend my arguments because my opponent dropped them all: It's not fair or reasonable to expect people to move so their vote matters, especially when there are alternatives. This would be bad for diversity. People who are in the minority within their small area (state) still deserve to have their voice's heard, but the electoral college renders their vote useless if other people from their state drown them out. This is ironic in a system that claims to value minority rights.

Also it's not true that every state and city is politically homogeneous. Iowa has an approximately equal number of registered Republicans and registered Democrats. Second, it is one of the most elastic states, with a large swath of unaffiliated voters.

http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com...

There are many cities and states where ethnic, economic and political diversity work and are successful.

http://www.cnbc.com...

Con is nasty and says "I would appreciate if you read my argument more carefully" as if people are mind readers who know what his intended argument was. He didn't specify that he was talking about 12 people in the final election, and apparently Con is ignorant to the fact that there are more than 2 Democrats and Republicans that run in the final election as well... so he should probably think twice about making nasty comments when he has proven to be ignorant in this regard. There is the Democratic nominee, Republican nominee, along with Libertarian and Green Party nominees, Constitution Party, Prohibition Party, Veterans Party, Nutrition Party, America's Party, Party for Socialism, etc. and they all have presidential nominees.

https://en.wikipedia.org...

Extend my arguments on more parties having a greater variety of candidates being a good thing, Con dropped it, and Con dropped my point about the burden of pigeonholing ideologies or how people would likely come together to form major political parties anyway even under the popular vote.

Con says I have offered no solutions in the last round but that is a flat out lie.

This is literally my last paragraph of the last round:

"Con says the popular vote system is the only alternative, but this is not true. In addition to the popular vote (making each citizen's vote count once) there have been other proposals for reform or abolition of the electoral college, including the Bayh"Celler Constitutional amendment, Every Vote Counts amendment, and National Popular Vote Interstate Compact."
H501

Con

"In the last line of my 2nd paragraph, I said, "But if you implemented a different standard (for example, the popular vote) then everybody's vote counts the same, and nobody in the population's vote is not counted or worth any less." This shows why another standard, like the popular vote, is superior to the electoral college. With the electoral college, a person's vote counts less based on where they live." This would be relevant- if I hadn't already proved that the popular vote system is terrible.

And I did not drop your "Wyoming vs Texas" point. I carefully explained why that scenario was the case, and then I showed how it is perfectly fair. Here- "The fact that Wyoming has fewer people per electoral vote is true, but before condemning it, lets examine why. Each state gets two senators, regardless of population, and then a house of representatives member for approximately every 710,000 people. Each senator and house of reps member counts as an electoral vote. (The exception to these rules is DC. DC has no senators or representatives, but gets 3 electoral votes.) So, two of Wyoming's three votes are from the senators. This is true for all states. Senators have nothing to do with population, so two of those electoral votes are justified. Now lets look at the last vote. This vote is the population vote. True, Wyoming's population is only about 584,000 (Not enough for an electoral vote), but they still need a representative. They pay taxes, right? No taxation without representation. And the senators do not count as representation. So we give Wyoming a representative, which makes things unbalanced. But the alternative is to essentially throw out the votes of hundreds of thousands of people.
For more about how this rule came about, go here- http://study.com...;

This is not dropping a point. The fact that you continued to argue despite my complete rebuttal is not my fault. You are wrong here, and there is nothing more to say on this point.

And when you say "Con said that most places have a "small minority" of dissent so it's realistic and acceptable to ask people to move", you are completely lying. I would appreciate is you actually read my argument instead of skimming it. When I said this before, I meant no offense. Now, I do, because you are showing you do not care by essentially ignoring me, then twisting my words. I said that dissent is small, and so the vast majority of people are helped, not harmed, by the electoral college.

Iowa is a swing state. In your previous round, you said that they actually "matter the most". So why are you arguing against them?

As for your statement about the 12 final contestants, please tell me how many actually have a chance of winning. Two. I a popular vote system, 12 people can reasonably expect to win an election, which would be disastrous.

Also, you have to actually define and go over the Bayh Celler Constitutional amendment, Every Vote Counts amendment, and National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, instead of just listing them. Otherwise, you have not fulfilled your BOP- to prove that these systems would be better than the electoral college.

Sources:
http://www.slate.com...
http://www.sciencebuzz.org...
http://www.politico.com...
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Wylted 6 months ago
Wylted
Can you just send me a direct challenge and let me take my time accepting this?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Danielle 5 months ago
Danielle
UdelH501Tied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro argues that due to the EC, your vote's weight is based on the population size of your state which is an unfair standard. Con explains how population size is relevant to the number of delegates; however, fails to respond to why it's fair that a citizen's vote counts by state. While Con DOES explain the reasoning behind delegates, he doesn't respond to Pro's question about the popular vote. Con says he "explained why it was terrible" but he gave reasons such as many presidential candidates -- something that Pro responded to. Pro pointed out that there are already many candidates; they're simply not recognized by the majority of the population and Con dropped this. Pro argued that the EC discourages voting because people's vote only matters in swing states where there is dissidence. Con said that people should move to states where they are in the majority if they want their vote to count. This doesn't explain why the status quo is preferable to Pro's proposed alternatives.