The Instigator
edawg99
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Wylted
Con (against)
Winning
5 Points

Presidential elections should be decided by a popularvote instead of the electoral college.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Wylted
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/9/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 11 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 642 times Debate No: 92568
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (2)

 

edawg99

Pro

Round 1: Rules and position clarification.
Round 2: Opening Statements.
Rounds 3 and 4: Evidence/Rebuttals
Round 5: Closing statements.

I will be arguing that presidential elections should be decided by a popular vote of the entire United States. Best of luck to my opponent!
Wylted

Con

Good luck. I've been wanting to debate this for a while. Hopefully I get a chance here. The electoral system is more fair and a lot better than what most people actually think.
Debate Round No. 1
edawg99

Pro

Regarding United States presidential elections, the electoral college should be replaced by a country-wide popular vote because the electoral college is both unfair and un-American. The United States is a country grounded on equal rights, as shown by the Preamble of the Declaration of Independence. The electoral college gives US citizens of heavily populated states more voting power than US citizens of lightly populated states, and therefore Americans are not equal in this manner. It is also an unfair way of determining US presidency because there have been elections that have gone out of favor of the popular vote, and therefore goes against the interests of most American citizens. With a simple country-wide popular vote, all citizens of the United States would bear equal voting rights as well as a fair election.
Wylted

Con

Big cities are home to about 65% of the U.S. population. https://www.census.gov...

An election by popular vote will make it so that candidates would be incentivized to only focus on the needs ofmajor cities while ignoring the rest of the country, while a delegate system makes every area important. If candidates ignore issues important to small rural or country areas, they will lose the election. The president of the United States should not be the president of just people in large cities. They should be a representative to everybody in the country.
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In the United States we need a majority vote to elect the president. An electoral process insures they can get the majority vote and with less controversy. The last time Obama was elected he got just over 50% of the vote, but about 65% of the electoral college vote, and Obama was a very popular candidate. The first black president, very camer friendly and an excellent speaker, and he still barely got above 50% of the vote. The days when a president gets more than 50% of the popular vote is gone. People are more willing to vote Green party and Libertarian than ever before as a result of access to more information and growing dissatisfaction with government. Neither Hillary Clinton or Trump look like they will be able to break 45% of the popular vote, and one of them would need a huge surge to hit that. The days of winning the popular vote are over.

An election using the popular vote will result in the decision for president going to the congress every single time. It is not something most Americans would be happy with, especially since we hate congress also, but mostly because going out to vote in a presidential election would end up being a waste of time.
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The electoral college does avoid a lot of controversy and hassle. We all remember the hassle when the vote vount was close in Florida and the entire election was riding on it. That election came down to a few hundred votes and lawyers, judges and a bunch of fighting to clear up who was the victor. In a popular vote contest which takes up the entire country, even a difference of a few hundred thousand votes could spell disaster. The recount in Florida was hell, doing a nationwide recount would be hell. Delays and litigation in every state in the country, if it is close enough maybe every city in the country, and no matter what the result about half the country is going to feel cheated. The electoral system avoids this problem.

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Swing states also become important. People in swing states know that their vote is extremely important. Those voters are likely to be more thoughtful about their vote. This puts us in a position where the most thpughtful and considerate voters have the most influence over who gets named the president of the United States. This is exactly what we want. Thoughtful voters having the most influence on the system.
Debate Round No. 2
edawg99

Pro

I would like to use this round to rebut against claims made in my opponent's opening statement.

"An election by popular vote will make it so that candidates would be incentivized to only focus on the needs of major cities while ignoring the rest of the country, while a delegate system makes every area important."

This statement applies to the electoral college, as well. The electoral college makes it so that candidates focus on the needs of states with the most electoral votes, such as California and Texas. Of course, the amount of electoral votes in a state depends on the number of representatives and senators (always 2) in that state, which depends on population. Therefore, it can be determined that both the electoral college and the popular vote share the issue of candidates focusing on populous areas. Regardless of the voting system, candidates will always focus on populated areas in order to attract interest of a greater amount of people. Unfortunately, this strategy is key in becoming elected since only 19% of the country is considered rural [1]. Although both voting systems (and any voting system) share this flaw, the popular vote still gives equal voting power to every citizen, while the electoral college takes away voting rights from citizens of lightly populated states.

"An electoral process ensures that [presidents] can get the majority of the vote and with less controversy."

This statement is completely untrue, as the Bush vs Gore election ended in Gore winning the popular vote (the majority) and Bush winning the election. This certainly caused controversy as the election, which would differently affect both today's economy and the president from 2000 to 2008, went against the interest of most American citizens!

"Neither Hillary Clinton or Trump look like they will be able to break 45% of the vote, and one of them would need a surge to hit that. The days of winning the popular vote are over."

The popular vote involves the measure of the popularity of a candidate relative to the popularity of another candidate. In an election with more than two parties, a candidate can receive less than 50% of the vote, but still win by having MORE popularity than any other candidate. Although a candidate with less than 50% of the vote would not be considered "popular", this is not the defenition of the "popular vote".

"The electoral college does avoid a lot of controversy and hassle."

Again, this is not true. Regardless of the voting system, any close election will cause controversy, but it would cause more controversy for the popular candidate to lose, as explained previously. The concept of "hassle" is also not as nearly as important at the concept of fairness. The recounting of votes occurs within a couple of hours. The result of a presidential election affects the distant future.

"People in swing states know that their vote is extremely important... This is exactly what we want. Thoughtful voters having the most influence on the system."

Again, this is exactly what we don't want because it affects the voting rights of every American citizen. According to the preamble of the Declaration of Independence, "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator, with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness [2]. Therefore, any American citizen's votes shouldn't be extremely important or unimportant, as this goes against a major concept at the country is grounded on: equal rights.

[1] http://data.worldbank.org...
[2] http://www.elcivics.com...
Wylted

Con

Majority vs Plurality

Not many people understand why it is important to win a majority of votes as opposed to a plurality, but there are some extremely good reasons. We don't want the political parties fractured too much. A two party system means that each candidate has broader appeal, which is important because they are president of the whole country, not just a segment of it. An election by plurality as opposed to majority vote could see as many as 10 serious candidates competing for the office of presidency. If we elected candidates by plurality popular vote, there would be very little incentive for candidates like Bernie Sanders or Ted Cruz to drop out. More options might seem good at first glance, but just think about what it means. It means we could have a realistic scenario where somebody wins with just 20% of the popular vote. The person could be so extreme that he is simply unpalatable by 80% of the population.

This is why the electoral system was created to start with. It is simply not fair to elect a candidate who is only loved in the North eastern part of the United States. Sure, in this situation everybody's vote is equal. Yet 80% of people have to tolerate some incompetent jerk. I'll say it more plainly. Majority vote keeps unpalatable candidates who are merely regional favorites to become president. It forces them to appeal to more voters. My opponent suggesting not only popular vote, but pluraliy voting is dangerous.

The Equality of Men

My opponent quotes the declaration of independence. His quote starts out; "All men are created equal" . There are problems with his use of this quote. One is that he would use a popular vote, which I have shown would be 65% big city dwellers, and by his own numbers only 19% of people live in rural environments. This means that he would have city dwellers have a political process that favors their needs over the needs of people in rural environments. If we are all created equal, why should rural people be virtually shut out of the political process? Why make it so presidential candidaes have no reason to include them when considering their platform?

The other problem is thinking the quote refers to equality in the political process. If the founding forefathers cared about that they would have created a direct Democracy instead of a rpresentative republic. The only people who could vote in America at the time of it's founding were white male land owners. http://www.mattbrundage.com...

Further more even if we extend that meaning to others, it is referring to equality under the laws we must abide by, not equality of political power. I reject that equality means what my opponent claims and thinks. The term equality keeps changing because it is so vague, but in this instance it doesn't mean what pro asserts.

Big City Voters

Here is a quote by my opponent: " The electoral college gives US citizens of heavily populated states more voting power than US citizens of lightly populated states, and therefore Americans are not equal in this manner. "

Pro has the same concern as me. He is concerned that states with more voters will have more voting power. This seems to conflict with his belief that every vote should be equal, but let's take a look at voting power under a popular vote, and under the status quo.

Here are the top ten populated states http://www.enchantedlearning.com...

1. California
2. Texas
3. New York
4. Florida
5. Illinois
6. Pennsylvania
7. Ohio
8. Georgia
9. Michigan
10. North Carolina

This is the ten most important states in an election about the popular vote.

Now here is the ten most important in the college electoral system. http://bigthink.com...

1. Colorado
2. Nevada
3. New Mexico
4. Wisconsin
5. Ohio
6. New Hampshire
7. North Carolina
8. Florida
9. Virginia
10. Pennsylvania

Now my opponent is afraid of more populated states having a more powerful vote, but you can see by the lists, that the college electoral system is the only one out of the 2 that actually accomplishes equalizing the influence between highly populated and low populated states.

Now that rebuttals are out of the way......

Counter Rebuttals

"The electoral college makes it so that candidates focus on the needs of states with the most electoral votes, such as California and Texas."

My link for the top ten important states in the next election contradicts that. Texas is almost certainly turning red, and California is almost certainly turning blue. The candidates will likely almost completely ignore those states amd focus on smaller swing states. Like I said they will have to appeal to mostly rural areas like Colorado as well as the needs of big cities to win the election, while the popular vote means they can pretty much just focus on the northeast corner of the United States and the west coast. The center states with all the rural voters could just be ignored if a popular vote is all anybody cares about.

"Again, this is not true. Regardless of the voting system, any close election will cause controversy, but it would cause more controversy for the popular candidate to lose, as explained previously. The concept of "hassle" is also not as nearly as important at the concept of fairness. The recounting of votes occurs within a couple of hours. The result of a presidential election affects the distant future."

The above comment refers to my assertion the electoral college system causes less controversy and hassle in contested elections. My opponent asserts that it is not true that a recount in some parts of Florida is less of a hassle than a nation wide recount in a local election. I'll ask the voters to use common sense when deciding if one state recounting votes is less of a hassle than every single state in the country. as far as the rest of the post goes. A recount does not occur in just a couple of hours. The Bush Gore recount fiasco lasted close to a month, involved hand counting the ballots and multiple court hearings. It could have went on a lot longer if Gore didn't decide to concede the election. https://en.wikipedia.org...

That is just one state. A nationwide recount would be a disaster. We would have an interim president for perhaps a year until the real president is figured out. My opponent claims that a fair result is worth the hassle, but how is it fair to make all those volunteers work endless hours recounting ballots? How is it fair to cost tax payers billions in lawsuits in all 50 states toget a close election figured out? How is it fair that somebody who wins 20% of the vote gets to be president when 80% of people hate him? We might have different concepts of fair.

My opponent ends his argument by saying that the last thing he wants is for voters to be thoughtful. This is silly. When electing the leader of the free world whose actions effect the entire globe, it is clear that we should prefer to choose him with thoughtfulness. The results are too catastrophic to think of otherwise. We need to think carefully before electing a person with access to the nuclear launch codes which can eradicate life on Earth, even if my opponent does think it unfair for less thoughtful voters.

My opponent ends his round by quoting the declaration of independence. A document that is not law. A document that is not even a philosophy, but just a mere political propaganda tool of the colonists. A document that refers to all of us as created equal. Not as being equal, but merely being created equal in the eyes of God
Debate Round No. 3
edawg99

Pro

edawg99 forfeited this round.
Wylted

Con

Pro has ran away scared, just as I expected.
Debate Round No. 4
edawg99

Pro

edawg99 forfeited this round.
Wylted

Con

This was over before it started, I'm glad saw it the same way instead of going through the motions.
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by kasmic 11 months ago
kasmic
Unless what you mean is the popular vote of the whole country rather than the popular vote of each state.
Posted by kasmic 11 months ago
kasmic
In all but two states, the electoral college is by law linked to the popular vote in that state. The other two states do that anyway. Essentially, the status quo and your proposal are a distinction without a difference.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Udel 11 months ago
Udel
edawg99WyltedTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro argues that people have equal rights, and because places with smaller populations have their votes counted more, it is not equal. Con says the people are EQUALLY represented under the electoral college system, instead of having only big cities represented. Wylted says we need less diversity in candidates so they appeal to more people which is why people are more equally represented under the EC, which Pro dropped because he forfeited (loss of conduct). Pro loses the equality point because he did not respond to Wylted's justification of the EC allowing for more equality in total representation of the population. Edawg says politicians will always focus on some groups but that doesn't help his argument at all either. Wylted also makes a cost argument on contending the outcome of elections that Edawg does not respond to except to say to expect hassle. But this does not deny less hassle under Wylted's proposal.
Vote Placed by ThinkBig 11 months ago
ThinkBig
edawg99WyltedTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro forfeited.