The Instigator
morgan2252
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Oxymoron
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

Do we need the Electoral College?

Do you like this debate?NoYes+1
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 0 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/13/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,889 times Debate No: 28170
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (0)

 

morgan2252

Con

Many times in US history, presidents have been elected without actually winning the popular vote. Why? Shouldn"t the people get what the majority votes for? With the Electoral College, the people don"t directly vote for the president, and not everyone"s vote is equal. That should prove something: The Electoral College needs to be banned.

Without a doubt, the biggest reason the Electoral College needs to be discarded is because it is not fair. When people vote, they don"t actually vote for a president, but for a slate of electors. In turn, the electors vote on the president. The larger the population of the state, the more electors it has. However, because every state is guaranteed three electors, states with a smaller population, like Wyoming and Alaska, have more electors than should actually represent them. Therefore, it takes away representation from larger states, such as Texas or California, giving voters in smaller states more power than in the larger states. The electors also have the power to vote against whom the voters wanted them to vote for. This is absurd, and completely unreasonable.

Do we really want a voting system for our country that doesn't actually represent it's people?

Source:
Plumer, Bradford. "The Electoral College Is Undemocratic and Should Be Abolished."Does the Two-Party System Still Work? Ed. Noah Berlatsky. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2010. At Issue. Rpt. from "The Indefensible Electoral College." Mother Jones Online. 2004. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 28 Nov. 2012.
Oxymoron

Pro

This Isn’t A Democracy:
"Why? Shouldn"t the people get what the majority votes for?”

We ought to get what the majority votes for if we were a democracy. Simply stated, we‘re not- we’re a Constitutional Republic, therefore we’re going to have some major differences with democracies. Our presidential election being one of them. [1]

"Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide" - John Adams


Fighting For The Little Guy:

The assertion that the Electoral College gives “voters in smaller states more power than in the larger states.” is a little misleading.
If the smaller states of the Union are to vote based on population, they would have virtually no say in the outcome of elections. Therefore, why would the president support any legislation that would help smaller states like Wyoming and the rest? There’s no incentive with the Popular Vote method - especially when states like Wyoming count for a fraction of 1% of the national population. The Electoral College method does not give smaller states more bang for their vote, as Con and many proponents of the Popular Vote method would like to suggest. Instead, it simply sets a base minimum for the smaller states. The Electoral College fights for the little guy, while the Popular Vote method leaves them in the dust for the cause of “democracy” .

“The electors also have the power to vote against whom the voters wanted them to vote for. This is absurd, and completely unreasonable”

Again, this is a little misleading. Each state has the authority to pass laws on how the states want their electors to vote. The winner-takes-all method is one example of this. In the majority of states (if not, all), if an elector votes against the dictates of the state legislature, then their vote is made null and they are usually replaced.

The Presidential Race Isn’t A Popularity Contest:

The founders expressly denounced electing a president by direct popular vote. Hamilton leaves little doubt as to the intention behind the Electoral College when he says “to form an intermediate body of electors, will be much less apt to convulse the community with any extraordinary or violent movements, than the choice of one who was himself to be the final object of the public wishes.”

Elbridge Gerry, an influential founder, writes that “a popular election in the case [for the president] is radically vicious. The ignorance of people would put it in the power of some on set of men dispersed through the Union, and acting in concert, to delude them into any appointment.” [2]

George Mason, another dominantly influential founder, writes that “it has been proposed that the election should be made by the people at large; that is, that an act which ought to be performed by those who know most of eminent characters and qualifications should be performed by those who know least.” [3]

The Founders simply understood human nature. As Elbridge tells us “ the people are uninformed, and would be misled by a few designing men…” [4]


The Electoral College Decentralizes The Policies of The President:

The Electoral College nationalizes and moderates our politics. Every single person from a smaller state would appreciate this. Filtering the elections through the states imposes a kind of geographic distribution requirement to win the presidency.

The campaign strategy of the Democratic Party of 1888 is a prime example of what a Popular Vote campaign looks like. Why did Grover Cleveland lose? Because he focused on regional politics, promising legislation that would only benefit the Deep South. Nevertheless, their intense regional popularity line of attack failed. If National Popular Vote had been the law of the land, the Democrats could have remained the party of the Deep South, completely ignoring the needs of the north. The Electoral College forced the 1888 Democrats to look north and to rebuild their national coalition, even in the aftermath of the Civil War.

The idea that every state counts is fundamental to the principles of this country and to federalism. It is through the Electoral College, that the president is accountable to the whole country, not just the most populous. By sifting the popular whims of the people through the Electoral College, the Founders defended the country from a great “popularity” contest. One in which the presidential campaign promises would be centered around pleasing a highly populated geographic location (such as the east coast), rather than as many states possible.

In short, without the Electoral College, the presidential campaign would devolve into regional politics and majoritarianism . The Framers feared the “favorite son” mentality of candidates. One in which, politicians would rise to power based on pure popularity, rather than sound doctrine. The geographic distribution required by the Electoral College provides a healthy incentive to keep American politics national.


Sources:

[1]: Federalist No. 68
[2] The Making of America, pg. 525.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid. Pg. 526.
Debate Round No. 1
morgan2252

Con

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/7wC42HgLA4k" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

<object width="560" height="315"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com... name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/7wC42HgLA4k?version=3&amp;hl=en_US&amp;rel=0" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="560" height="315" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>


Ah Yes, the Republic/Democracy Issue

My opponent states, "We ought to get what the majority votes for if we were a democracy. Simply stated, we‘re not." However, my opponent is forgetting that republicanism and democracy are overlapping. It's basic knowledge that our country is a Democratic Republic. When the United States first started, we were a Republic, because only while males who owned a certain amount of property could vote. As the country grew, and more varieties of people were allowed to vote, this started to include everyone's input. So, our country slowly became a Democratic Republic.

Fighting for the Little Guy?
You can't deny that the Electoral College gives the little states disproportionate power. Regardless, my opponent states, "If the smaller states of the Union are to vote based on population, they would have virtually no say in the outcome of elections." The point of voting should be about people's power, not the states'. My opponent obviously doesn't get the concept of proportion. A piece of the population should get the same amount of votes that represents that piece of the population. Not more. Not less. Take a look at the video I embedded and notice how someone can win the election with only 20% of people voting for them.

Also, if the Electoral College was meant to make candidates go to the smaller states, it's not working. In fact, they only focus on "swing" states like Florida.In 2000, twenty five of the largest media markets never saw a campaign ad, and seventeen states saw absolutely no candidates. Is this really practical?

But let's put this aside for a second, and think about what would happen if we voted by popular vote. It wouldn't be a matter of state's votes; it would be a matter of the people's. Everyone's vote would be equal, unlike the way it is today.

The Founding Father Excuse
My opponent states, "The founders expressly denounced electing a president by direct popular vote." Though many want to think of the creators of our country as flawless, the reality is, they were human, just like everybody else. When they were trying to figure out how to elect a president, the system of voting for a president wasn't a pressing issue, since our founding fathers figured George Washington would win the election anyway. History shows that they created the Electoral College in a hurry.

Also, the Electoral College was created to be practical hundreds of years ago. Information moved more slowly then. It would be much easier to write information down on a piece of paper and give it to a man on a horse than to count out every vote individually. But now, when information can travel miles in less than a second, this makes no sense. The Electoral College is basically an antique.

The Electoral College makes no sense whatsoever and needs to be abolished.

Sources:

(1) http://www.williampmeyers.org...

(2) http://www.youtube.com...
Oxymoron

Pro

We’re A Constitutional Republic:

We are unique in the fact that we are a Constitutional Republic (a Democratic Republic, as Con calls it). Why? Because the government is contained in the parchment barriers prescribed by the Constitution. There is a very good reason that our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution do not even mentioned the word “democracy“, but instead demands the government give the people a Republic.

“When the United States first started, we were a Republic, because only while males who owned a certain amount of property could vote.”

A Republic is not defined by the race of the voters.

According to Dictionary.com, a Republic is “a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them.” It has absolutely nothing to white male voting rights.

Still Fighting For The Little Guy:


“You can't deny that the Electoral College gives the little states disproportionate power.”

Yes. The only way the smaller states can make their voice heard in the political ramble of the country is by placing a base minimum amount of Electoral votes. The Electoral College gives the smaller states just enough power to make their voices heard. It is definitely not excessive to give small states, like Idaho, a measly four Electoral votes. I want to hear why Con thinks this base minimum is bad. This base minimum, disproportion as Con would like to call it, of Electoral Votes is necessary for the nationalization of campaign policies and to give potency to the needs of all states.

Representation To Both The States And The People, Makes Everybody Happy:

It’s a simple principle of Federalism, divide the power, so that both parties, in this case the states and the people, are able to have a voice. It gives potency to the needs of all the states, and allows the people to elect their president through their representatives (The Electorate). The Electorate College gives potency to everybody. In stark contrast, the Popular Vote method restricts power to one party, the people.


The Electorate College Is A Basic Aspect Of Republicanism:

As James Madison said, Republicanism distinguishes itself from the self-destroying pure democracy by passing the public views through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best reflect the interest of the country at large. [4] This is exactly what the electorate does. The Electorate College embodies the republican principles this nation was founded upon, and the ones demanded of in the Constitution.

Con says “the point of voting should be about people's power, not the states”. I ask why? Why not share the power? Republicanism has produced the most powerful, wealthy, and stable constitutional government in the world - why should we stop using the Republican principle for the president? Let’s totally ignore the original intent of the elections, and focus our attention on the supposed benefits of giving full power of, arguably, the most important election in the country, entirely to the people. I ask, why forget the states?


What Does Popular Vote Have To Offer?

To start, it shreds the Republican values of the Electoral College into a fine “democratic” dust. After that, it proceeds to throw the most important election totally into the “responsible” hands of the public, effectively establishing a popularity contest, in place of the Republican principles required in the Constitution. Then, after that, it promises to softly choke the voice of the runts of the Union, the small states, who are already having trouble being heard. Don’t worry, because this is all done for “equal votes”, never mind the fact that the states, both large and small, would be shanked if this was in place by losing their last tiny morsel of say in elections.

It should be noted that the popular vote winner has triumphed in 42 of 45 elections. Supporters of PV point to those elections (1876, 1888, and 2000) where the popular vote winner did not prevail. Three elections out of forty-five is a justifiable reason to demolish state influence, the original intent of the Founders, Federalism, and Republicanism?


The Electoral College Is Not Perfect:

It’s not perfect - nobody is saying it is. It could use reform, but it should be reformed through the state legislature. The answer isn’t stripping the potency of the states in the election and giving the vote completely to the people - that’s taking a step backwards instead of forwards.


Electoral College Decentralizes Policies: “
Also, if the Electoral College was meant to make candidates go to the smaller states, it's not working. “

Candidates don’t visit the states they know they have a huge lead in, not because they don‘t need the smaller states. In fact, the video you posted shows the importance of every single state. Secondly, the Electoral College decentralizes policies because it provides potency to all the states. In the Electoral College, the smaller states can make or break an election campaign. I wonder, how will the Popular Vote Method fix the asserted problem of candidates not visiting the smaller states? It wouldn’t at all. In fact, it’s making it worse by snuffing out the sovereignty of the states.


Popular Vote Increases The Effect Of Voter Fraud:

If you thought voter fraud was bad now, think about the effects of fraud in a system where every single vote effects the whole country.

In the Electoral College system, the state boundaries create an airtight seal for the effect of voter fraud. Voter fraud in, for example, Idaho, won’t effect the electoral results in Texas. On the PV method, it would encourage voter fraud since fraudulent votes cast anywhere (especially in one-party states) could change the outcome of the entire national race. . Under the PV, vote fraud in any state would affect the aggregate of the national vote.



Double-Standards:
Heritage.com brings up some good points: “Both large and small states have joined the National Popular Vote movement. The NPV, at face value, may appeal to traditionally democratic notions of “every vote being equal.” Yet its supporters seemingly have no concern for the many other non-majoritarian aspects of the governmental structure established by the Constitution, such as:

1. Every state having two Senators regardless of its size or population;
2. A President’s ability to veto legislation passed by a majority of the people’s popularly elected representatives;
3. The lifetime appointment of federal judges whose power is inherently undemocratic;
4. The unequal representation in the U.S. House of Representatives due to widely varying populations in congressional districts between different states, such as Delaware (with a population of almost 900,000) and Wyoming (with a population of only 600,000); and
5. The unequal apportionment among the states of House districts caused by the inclusion of large numbers of ineligible voters (such as non-citizens) in the census count.” [2]

What’s with the special pleading of the presidential race?

Sources:
[1] The U.S. Constitution
[2] Heritage.com
[3] Americanthinker.com
[4] Federalist No.10
Debate Round No. 2
morgan2252

Con

If you didn't see the video I mentioned, please watch at http://www.youtube.com...

United States: Republic or Democracy?
My opponent says, "According to Dictionary.com, a Republic is 'a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them.” If we were a pure Republic, the Electoral College isn't following these rules. As I mentioned, the electors have power to vote against the wishes of the people. It has never swung an election, yet electors voted against the wishes of the people 87 times in the past.

In fact, in 1960, segregationists in Louisiana nearly succeeded in replacing Democratic electors with ones that would vote against John F. Kennedy. As a result, the United States almost had a president who supported segregation. We could be fighting for civil rights today because of the Electoral College. Here, supreme power does not rest in the hands of citizens, and the representatives don't accurately represent the people. If we elect by popular vote, supreme power will be held by the people, not the electors.

My opponent says, "We are unique in the fact that we are a Constitutional Republic (a Democratic Republic, as Con calls it)." If they are the same, our government is a combination of a democracy and a republic. It even says it in the name, "Democratic Republic." We aren't a pure Democracy, nor is the country a pure Republic.

The Small State Debate
My opponent says, "The only way the smaller states can make their voice heard in the political ramble of the country is by placing a base minimum amount of Electoral votes." Again, if we vote by popular vote, it will be a matter of the voice of the individual people, not the states.

Regardless of what my opponent says, the Electoral College doesn't make candidates focus on small states. My opponent claims, "In the Electoral College, the smaller states can make or break an election campaign." If this was true, candidates would spend more time and money there. The "swing" states like Florida are the ones that do this, and the candidates focus on them.

My opponent asks, "I wonder how the Popular Vote Method will fix the asserted problem of candidates not visiting the smaller states" It won't. But candidates aren't spending time in smaller states anyway. The only difference is it will be fairer to the general population.

Pro says, "It is definitely not excessive to give small states, like Idaho, a measly four Electoral votes. I want to hear why Con thinks this base minimum is bad." There are 309,000,000 people in the United States, and 538 people in the Senate and the House of Representatives combined. If the representatives were spread evenly across the population, every 574,000 people would be represented by 1 vote. However, states that should only have 1 or 2 votes get 3 or 4. So, in many cases, small states get double the representation that actually should represent them. This adds up. Because of this, there have been 3 times in history where the candidate who won the popular vote lost the election. 3 mistakes in little more than 55 elections is a failure rate of 5%. Believe it or not, that's pretty high.

My opponent says, "It[The Electoral College]is not perfect-nobody is saying it is." Is that your excuse for a 5% rate of failure? If something isn't perfect, shouldn't you try to improve it? My opponent says, "To start, it[Election by popular vote]shreds the Republican values of the Electoral College into a fine 'democratic' dust." As I mentioned before, Republicanism and Democracy are similar; our government is a combination of the two. A Democratic Republic is head-and-shoulders better that something like a dictatorship. Besides, why is Democracy so bad? Pro quotes our founding fathers' saying it is bad, but never explains why. Times have changed since the 1700's; I would like a more modern answer. What worked in the past doesn't necessarily work now.

"The People" is Everybody
Pro says, "The Electoral College gives potency to everybody. In stark contrast, the Popular Vote method restricts power to one party, the people." "The people" is everyone. What my opponent probably meant to say is that the Electoral College protects the people and the states, while popular vote only protects people. This isn't true. The whole point of the "How YOU can become president with only twenty-two percent of the popular vote by taking advantage of the Electoral College today" section in the video I mentioned was to show that the Electoral College makes candidates win over states, not people.

I understand people need protection of their liberties. They need protection of their right to a fair vote. But what do states need protection from? My opponent keeps claiming that protecting states is important but never says why they need protection or what they need protection from.

To make it clear; the Electoral College protects states, while the popular vote protects people.

The Popular Vote DECREASES Voter Fraud
My opponent says, "think about the effects of fraud in a system where every single vote effects the whole country." Isn't the point of an election to make sure every vote counts and every vote affects the outcome of the election? My opponent says popular vote will increase voter fraud, but gives no evidence and says, "the state boundaries create an airtight seal for the effect of voter fraud."

The potential for fraud is not associated with the current system or a popular vote. The current state-by-state winner-take-all system increases the incentive for fraud because a state's electoral votes are given to the candidate who receives a bare plurality of the votes in each state. The popular vote would actually decrease the benefit of voter fraud.

The Recount
Before my opponent brings it up, many in favor of the Electoral College claim that if we ever needed a recount it would kill us. But with the winner-take-all piece of the Electoral College we'd be more likely to see a recount than election by popular vote.

Under the Electoral College, there are 51 opportunities for recounts in every presidential election. Our nation's 55 presidential elections have really been 2,084 separate state-level elections. There have been 5 seriously disputed counts in the nation's 55 presidential elections. The current system has created many instances with close votes in individual states but not on a nationwide basis. 5 seriously disputed counts out of 2,084 are closely in line with the historically observed probability of 1 in 332.

Statistics show that we would only need a recount once in 332 elections; once in 1,328 years. And even if we did reach that 1 in 322 chance, it’s better to double-check the votes than to not check them at all.

Electoral Tie Terror

Because there are millions of Americans and only 538 electors, we'd be more likely to see a tie in the Electoral College than if we elected by popular vote. If there is a tie, the election would go to the House of Representatives. Each state only casts one vote; the vote from a state that represents 500,000 people would have as much power as a vote representing a state of 35 million people. This doesn't accurately represent everyone.

Plus, the election of the Vice President goes to the Senate. If a few electors vote against the wishes of the people, the president and vice president could be from different parties, ending in disaster.

Conclusion
While the Electoral College may have worked many years ago, it isn't practical now. To clarify once more, the Electoral College protects states, while the popular vote protects people. Which is more important? The rights of the states, or the rights of the people?

Oxymoron

Pro

The arguments against the Electoral College have failed for three reasons:

1.) Foremost, is the fact that he attacks have been directed at the method of choosing the Electoral College, instead of the actual Electoral College (skim through Con’s round three argument to see examples of this). This is analogous to attacking the method of election for Senators, when the debate is about the principles and benefits of a Senate. The winner-takes-all method has lead to, as Con has pointed out, difficulties in complete representation of the needs of the people. However, this is dodging the real question, do we need the Electoral College? The answer remains, yes.

Contention I:
From the creation of this country, the Founders have supported the principles of the Electoral College. As stated in round one, the Founders gave good reason to the difficulties of a popular vote, as it contradicts every principle of Republicanism and Federalism.

Contention II: It has been stated throughout the debate that the Electoral College
decentralizes politics and gives importance to the smaller states. And important proof of this, not a single president has been elected without the support of the states.

Con attempted to debunk Contention II by saying “
if this was true, candidates would spend more time and money there.” Candidates spend less money in states that they have a large lead in, not because these states are unimportant, but because they need to focus on states that are in contention. States like Texas and California get comparatively little attention when contrasted with the swing states. That does not mean their huge sum of electoral votes are any less important, or that the Electoral College is failing. All it proves is that the candidates have deemed these states “safe” - that they either have no chance of losing or winning them.

Contention III:
The idea that every state counts is fundamental to the principles of this country and to federalism. It is through the Electoral College, that the president is accountable to the whole country, not just the most populous.

Contention IIII:
In the Electoral College system, the state boundaries create an airtight seal for the effect of voter fraud. Voter fraud in, for example, Pennsylvania, won’t affect the electoral results in Texas. There can be a 200% voter turnout in Pennsylvania, but the most damage this can accomplish is 20 electoral votes. All the rest of the Electoral votes remain intact and unaffected. The PV method however, would encourage voter fraud since fraudulent votes cast anywhere (especially in one-party states) could change the outcome of the entire national race. Under the PV, voter fraud in any state would affect the aggregate of the national vote. Voter fraud in Pennsylvania, for example, would affect the entire nation, rather than just Pennsylvania.


2.) I remain unconvinced that giving the runts of the Union a handicap is a bad idea. The only response given to this: “
however, states that should only have 1 or 2 votes get 3 or 4. So, in many cases, small states get double the representation that actually should represent them.” Giving the smaller states more Electoral Votes per individual is not inherently bad. Nevertheless, Con continues by falsely assigning the results of three fluke elections to the Electoral College, rather than the methods of designating the electors: “Because of this, there have been 3 times in history where the candidate who won the popular vote lost the election.”

It is interesting to note that the methods of choosing the Electoral votes has produced presidents that always have the majority of states on their side, 100% of the time. Presidents have won with the popular vote behind them 95% of the time. The three elections in which the president lost the popular vote, but still won, remain the aberration; the exceptions rather than the rule of thumb. In 1876, Rutherford B. Hayes won the election with the majority of the states, but lost the popular vote by a measly 3%. It was even less in 1888, when Harrison won the majority in states, but lost the popular vote by a paltry .8% This is near perfect representation of the entire country, but we can still do better by reforming the methods we use to designate our electors. If we reform the winner-takes-all method, we would eliminate these aberrations of presidents losing the popular vote, but winning the presidency. The answer is not found in eliminating the Electoral College.


3.)
The cry for the dissolution for the Electoral College smacks of double-standard. This was stated in round two, but was completely ignored: Both large and small states have joined the National Popular Vote movement. The NPV, at face value, may appeal to traditionally democratic notions of “every vote being equal.” Yet its supporters seemingly have no concern for the many other non-majoritarian aspects of the governmental structure established by the Constitution, such as:


1. Every state having two Senators regardless of its size or population;

2. A President’s ability to veto legislation passed by a majority of the people’s popularly elected representatives;

3. The lifetime appointment of federal judges whose power is inherently undemocratic;

4. The unequal representation in the U.S. House of Representatives due to widely varying populations in congressional districts between different states, such as Delaware (with a population of almost 900,000) and Wyoming (with a population of only 600,000); and

5. The unequal apportionment among the states of House districts caused by the inclusion of large numbers of ineligible voters (such as non-citizens) in the census count.”

Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by morgan2252 4 years ago
morgan2252
I had a little bit of trouble getting the video embedded into my second argument, but if you would like to watch it, click on the 2nd or 3rd link on the argument, or go to the second source to see it on youtube.
Posted by morgan2252 4 years ago
morgan2252
No. I posted my argument, so you can post yours. You can say you accept and type nothing else, but you would be wasting a turn.

Good luck and have fun!
Posted by Oxymoron 4 years ago
Oxymoron
First round is for acceptance, right?
No votes have been placed for this debate.