Direct Popular Vote should replace electoral vote in presidential elections.
I negate the Resolution, Resolved: Direct popular vote should replace electoral vote in presidential elections.
Contention One: Ere on the side of caution-the electoral college works.
American democracy has far outpaced any form of democracy in the history of the world. George Washington's peaceful transition to John Adams set a precedent that would be followed for years to come-that citizens of the United States would follow an orderly method of governing themselves. The electoral college has been the guiding hand in this incredibly successful system. As a panel of senators on the judiciary committee pointed out, "It is not sufficient for the partisans of direct election to argue that the electoral college is somehow defective. All mode of election are less than perfect, all provide certain benefits at the expense of certain other." The Pro in today's debate has an extraordinary burden of proof-it must show that a system which has overwhelmingly worked for over 200 years ought to be thrown away in a blink of an eye. The stakes are immensely high. The United States is the leading power in the world, it cannot afford-the world cannot afford-for even one election of the executive to be called into question. As two professors noted in the Journal of Public Choice, the public debate rages on and "If, with the advantage of 200 or so years of data on how an institution operates, we cannot agree on what it does, we must express even greater skepticism about our ability to predict what some new institution for electing the president will do." It is entirely noteworthy to uphold the electoral college because it is a system we know: a reliable and stable form of democracy.
Contention Two: Direct popular vote is flawed in many ways.
Proponents of a direct popular vote too often over simplify the question at hand. They fail to realize that, like any other system, direct popular vote will be vulnerable to numerous problems. One such problem is the increased threat of vote fraud. The electoral college is a series of self-sealing containers, so that each state does not influence the outcome of another. If fraud occurs, it is isolated. In a direct election, however, each vote is of premium importance to the national decision. As such, agents within the election will have a far greater decision to manipulate votes. Consider an election that stays in an almost complete deadlock throughout the day. As word travels, the urgency of West Coast votes becomes so great that the temptation to commit fraud by local officials is overwhelming. The election is illegitimate. The electoral college avoids this because even if one county of one state commits fraud, it will not be enough to impact the overall election.
A far greater concern in direct popular vote is the problem of inevitable recounts. As Professor Judith Best argues, "an electoral system should produce a definite, accepted winner and avoid prolonged contests and disputes that create uncertainty and public turmoil." This is the function now played by the Electoral College. To its defenders, it does so in two ways. On, it saves the nation "from the effects of an ambiguous outcome." In this way, it confers the requisite legitimacy even in the face of close elections. And two, it also "protects the nation from the crisis of a disputed election." In a direct popular vote, during a close election, candidates will be too tempted to challenge every result. Whereas before if you carry a state by 10% there is no reason to challenge under the electoral college, now a nationwide deadlock will ensure each state undergoes a recount. The judiciary committee once again explains, If one candidate contests a certain area, his opponent, to protect himself, warns of a contest where he thinks something might have been adverse to him. And in a little while, the whole electorate is involved.
Contention Three: The electoral college creates a reasonable, moderate majority.
The cornerstone of democracy is not majority rule. It is reasonable majority rule with the protection of minority rights. A nation is far better served when moderate ideologies prevail. This government ensures liberty and equality maintain an optimal balance for all citizens. As former senator James Eastland writes, "Because of winner-take-all(under the electoral system), a party is under a strong inducement to extend its platform as widely as possible within each State; it must expand its base of support to carry a popular plurality. Since both major parties face the same requirement, both must campaign in most of the same places before most of the same votes. Both must be hospitable to a wide range of minority interest which might otherwise be excluded from electoral competition." This has so many great benefits, including reasonable polices that are widely applicable in nature. Under a direct popular vote, no such system would hold. Candidates must currently be able to get a majority of votes in a statewide election to obtain even a single electoral vote. Ideologically extreme candidates are discouraged from running because they know they cannot appeal to that broad of an electorate. Under direct popular vote, however, there is no need to win statewide majorities and therefore elections will become crowded with extreme candidates. This will further polarize politics as candidates make specific appeals to narrow voter interests. Then, the President will not be elected by a large body politic. He or she will be the voice of only a few.
Contention 1: Direct popular better represents the people.
Sub point A: The people prefer direct popular vote to the Electoral College. Polls were conducted on each state that asked American voters whether they would prefer direct popular vote for presidential elections. In every single one of these state polls the majority of people wanted a direct popular vote in the presidential elections. Many of the states voted over 70% for direct popular vote, and states like Oklahoma voted up to 81%. Ironically, the smallest state that would be supposedly "counted out" in the direct popular vote, Wyoming voted for popular vote, 69% of the Wyoming citizens taking this poll favored popular vote. Another Gallup also had a poll that showed 64% of the nation wants a popular vote for presidential elections. It is obvious that the people want a direct popular vote for presidential elections and since our government is a government of the people, we need to give the people what we want; it is time to switch to direct popular vote. Sub point B: The Electoral College goes against the one person one vote idea. The American Institute for Public party policy research found that one vote in Wyoming is worth four times as much as a single vote in California. In representing the people, we ought to represent all of them equally one person one vote is the only right way to do this, that is why we need to favor direct popular vote over the electoral college.
Contention 2: The Electoral College was designed in a different time where the situations were different than they are today. William C. Kimberling, Deputy Director
FEC Office of Election Administration, when writing about the Electoral College says ""In order to appreciate the reasons for the Electoral College, it is essential to understand its historical context and the problem that the Founding Fathers were trying to solve. They faced the difficult question of how to elect a president in a nation that: first, was composed of thirteen large and small States jealous of their own rights and powers and suspicious of any central national government Second, contained only 4,000,000 people spread up and down a thousand miles of Atlantic seaboard barely connected by transportation or communication (so that national campaigns were impractical even if they had been thought desirable) Third. believed, under the influence of such British political thinkers as Henry St John Bolingbroke, that political parties were mischievous if not downright evil, and last, felt that gentlemen should not campaign for public office (The saying was "The office should seek the man, the man should not seek the office."). It is obvious that the Electoral College was made for a different society than today. The Mike Garibaldi in an article in the Huffington post wrote "There is no use for the archaic Electoral system in our modern, mass communication driven, interconnected world. U.S. citizens think and vote on a more regional and national level now. It's time to elect the President and Vice President of the United States by direct, popular vote." We are in a new time than that of where the Electoral College was made, so we need to change our presidential elections to direct popular vote rather than the Electoral College.
And it is for these reasons that I urge a Pro ballot
I will rebut my opponent's contentions in this round. Then, he can rebut my contentions and then my rebuttals as well. I guess that is the advantage of going second.
First, I will rebut my opponent's first contention.
I would like to say that popular sentiment is not enough to change our system. Here is a good and informative quote from Senator James Eastland that explains this.
"How, it will be asked, could an idea which enjoys such widespread popular support be so dangerous? The answer, we believe, is to be found in an examination of certain influences which have attended the current debate over electoral reform.
It must be acknowledged, first, that direct election is a simple and easily communicable idea. That fact alone may account for its great popularity and for the widespread and uncritical support it has had from the communications media. Simplicity in the governance of human affairs, however, is not always a virtue; nor is it the distinguishing characteristic of this 200-year-old Republic which seeks to secure the blessings of liberty for 200 millions of people. Human hopes and fears are complex; politics is complex; and the Constitution is complex. Still, simplicity has its charms, and not the least of them is the capacity to conceal danger."Next, my opponents says that one man one vote is the way to go. But one man, one vote was not the founders' intention. As I said before, the cornerstone of democracy is not majority rule. It is reasonable majority rule with the protection of minority rights. A nation is far better served when moderate ideologies prevail. Nothing could be clearer in the Framer's thought than their rejection of a merely numerical concept of representative government. If the Constitution stands for nothing else, it stands for the idea that mere numbers have no capacity to make legitimate that which is otherwise-illegitimate-whether those number be 51 or 90 percent of the whole. All the unique features of the Constitution are explicit departures from simple majoritarianism. This is true of the federal system, which, among other things, prevents the less populous States from being engulfed by the more populous states; this is true of bicameralism, which divides legislative responsibilities between House and Senate on grounds other than those of population; this is true of the separation of powers, whereby, among other things, great power is invested in a nonelective judiciary; and this is true of the electoral college, which incorporates the Federal principle and grants to each State, however small, a minimum weight of three electoral votes.
His second contention is that the electoral college was designed in a different time. But, still, the electoral college has worked tremendously well for the last two hundred years. As I have explained in my contentions, the Pro has a huge burden to explain why a direct popular vote is better than the electoral college. No system is perfect. I have also explained why the electoral college is good and should be kept, while the direct vote is flawed in my contentions. I will wait and see how my opponent rebuts.
I also urge the voters to keep in mind of my contentions including voter fraud, recount problems, moderate ideas prevailing, and more.
happy-bread forfeited this round.
Because my opponent forfeited, I urge a Con vote. Please disregard any future arguments my opponents may make as I will be unable to respond to them
In response to my first contention he says that popular sentiment is not enough to change our goverment. However, Are we not a democracy? Shouldn't the people's voices be heard within our government? The answer is a definitive yes. According to my definition of democracy, which was the only proposed definition within the debate, rule is given to the majority directly or indirectly.
In response to his attack on my first contention sub-point B, he says that one person, one vote was not the founders intention. I think my opponent may have been confused about this contention. As I pointed out in my second contention, the founders designed the government based on a different America than the one that we have today. According to my opponent's logic, the Constitution should not be changed (through amendments) because it goes against the founders' intention; slavery should not have been abolished because in the constitution it wasn't the intent of the founders to abolish slavery. I would also like to point out that he basically ignored the point of the contention which was that the Electoral College overrepresents people, thus violating the principles of democracy.
In response to my second contention, he basically says that it doesn't matter if the Electoral College is out of date if it works "tremendously well." However, I would like to point out that the Electoral College doesn't work "tremendously well." The purpose of the Electoral College is to elect a president that represents the people. However it has failed in this task since 4 times in our history has our president been elected without the popular majority of votes. This means that 1 out of every 16 elections, the president does not effectively represent the people.
Moving on to attack his contentions, in his first argument he basically states that since the Electoral College has "worked" for two hundred years, it should not be abolished. However, as I previously pointed out, the Electoral College does not work and does not fulfill its purpose once out of every sixteen elections. How then can my opponent claim that it has succeeded in fulfilling its' job?
In his second contention he says that direct popular vote is susceptable to voter fraud. And he stated that voter fraud does not have an effect with the Electoral College. However I would like to say that voter fraud would actually have MORE of an effect in the Electoral College opposed to direct popular vote. This is so because if voter fraud were able to be significant enough to switch an entire state in its allocation of its' electoral votes, that would be far greater than the number of votes that were switched as a result of voter fraud.
In his final contention my opponent claims that the Electoral College creates a more moderate America. This is however fundamentaly flawed. The two party system that is supported through the Electoral College actually increases the polarization of political parties. It is either Republican or Democrat, there is no middle ground because of the Electoral College. In the perameters of today's debate, we are arguing which side better represents the people. The two party system obviously does not represent the people because it limits the political choices of the people. According to the Rasmussen Reports, 33.6 percent of Americans don't idntify themselves with Democrats or Republicans. This means that in presidential elections, these people aren't being represented properly since they basically have to choose the lesser of two evils instead of identifying with a party that represents their ideals.
It is for these reasons that I urge a Pro ballot.