The Instigator
theman71
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
wjmelements
Pro (for)
Winning
8 Points

Resolved : The Electoral College should be Removed

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
wjmelements
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/5/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,963 times Debate No: 14679
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (12)
Votes (2)

 

theman71

Con

I am neg, so I will let the affirmative speaker present first
wjmelements

Pro

I would like to welcome theman71 to this site and wish him luck in this debate.

The Electoral College System for the election of the United States President should be removed and replaced with a direct election process.

Because of the "Winner Take All" system [1] resulting from the Electoral College, the minority votes of every state count towards the election of those they oppose. In California, for example, although only 53.45% of the state voted for Al Gore [2], the electoral votes representing 100% of the state went to the candidate. This misrepresentation of popular opinion is more offensive than legislation without representaton, for the representation opposes almost half of the populaton it is supposed to represent.

Under a direct election, however, each vote in the United States would count towards the candidate the vote was intended for. The problem of distortion, where "each individual vote in Wyoming counts nearly four times as much in the Electoral College as each individual vote in Texas" [1] is averted.

The Electoral College System also prevents the establishment of third parties. Parties like the Green Party and the Libertarian Party cannot put candidates into an election without stealing away their ideology's influence on the election result. The Liberty Party [3], for example, caused Henry Clay to lose the election in 1844 [4] and subsequently caused slavery to expand with the addition of Texas.

Therefore, the Electoral College System misconstrues the electing intentions of voters in states, enforces the two-party system, and augments the voting power of people depending on their place of residency. All these problems are solved with the direct election system. Thank you, and good luck to my opponent.

[1] http://archive.fairvote.org...
[2] http://www.uselectionatlas.org...
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] The American Pagent
Debate Round No. 1
theman71

Con

Thanks :) I hope I catch onto the style of debate.org, and good luck to you too

The electoral college system of the United states does not need any change.

==My Arguments==
1. The population may not always have the best presidential candidate in mind. It is the job of the electoral college members to determine the best possible presidential candidate, and their absence would result in popular vote, a mass "mob", controlling our government. Even if the best suited President runs against popular opinion, the Electoral College is able to right this.

==My Responses==
1. My opponent contested that the Winner Take All system that is implemented in most states, the minority votes count towards the election of their opposition. However, this system is for the best interests of the American people.

As Thomas Jefferson put it, in his reasoning for the Electoral College - "Republicanism is the best form of government and representative democracy is needed to prevent the tyranny of the majority, as Madison explained in Federalist No. 10. Jefferson maintained that, '[a] democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.'"[1]

Additionally, the system of the Electoral college is more fair to smaller states than a popular vote would be. Just because farmers, for instance, make up a small percent of U.S. population, (but their authority is found in the Senate, where states all have 2 votes), does not mean that they have to be punished. The electoral college balances the U.S. population and equal state representation issue, and solves a problem that would present itself in the event of a popular vote

2. My opponent contested the establishment of third parties. My response-
Are third parties *bad*? They present a new view point for the American public. They are merely exercising their right to speech and run for office.

For these reasons, I support Neg.

Source
1. http://en.wiki...
wjmelements

Pro

My opponent argues that the electoral college system is superior to direct democracy because the delegates can make a more intelligent decision than the majority. Ignoring the elitism, "faithless electing," where electors vote other than their promise, has only happened 158 times in all American history, and has never had an effect on the election result [1]. Thus, the only distortion of democracy instated in the electoral college is the disproportionate voting described last round.

My opponent argues that the Electoral College favors republicanism, where voters choose representatives. In my proposal, voters elect a governing President directly, so both proposals are republican; however, my system does not give voters in underpopulated states extra votes and does not implement a system that counts a dissenting population towards assent. Further, my proposal is more favoring than the Electoral College to the political minorities of every state, because these minorities are not counted towards the candidates they vote against.

Thirdly, my opponent contests that the Electoral College is "fairer" to small states, when in fact, it is unfair to the people living in more populous states. Direct election would yield a one-man-one-vote system, which is fair to everyone in the United States, while the electoral college gives people in rural states four times as much electoral power as those in urban states. Discrimination by location is most certainly unfair.

I would like to clarify that I did not contest the creation of third parties; rather, I stated that the Electoral College prevents third parties from becoming successful, and, in fact, causes them to serve against their purpose.

There is no advantage to the Electoral College; it merely distorts election results by discrimination and abuse of the minority vote and squashes third parties. Thus, it should be removed. Thank you.

==Sources==
[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
theman71

Con

To recap my opponents arguments - The College is unfair to smaller states, and small minorities.

The electoral college prevents an urban-centric victory. It requires candidates to spend time across the country campaigning, rather than focus on the main urban populations. For example, a recent study showed that current Presidential candidates focused their time in states with high populations. If the Electoral College was to be demolished, even more time of the President-candidate would be spent targeting only the urban population.[1]

When the founders of the Constitution created the Electoral College, their thinking was thus -
Our government is built on a system of checks and balances. The Legislative branch is elected by the People. The Judicial Branch is elected by the Congress. The President is elected by Legislature and the Common people - a compromise between the two, that allows the system of checks and balances in our government to stay the way it was intended. So even though the Electoral College gives some people a higher "power" for their vote, it is justified due to the small power the State has anyway.
During that time period, many compromises were made - the 3/5 Agreement, the Virginia Plan, a bi-cameral legislature, etc. This is one of those compromises. It maintains the separation of powers that our founders fought for.

"Far from decreasing the power of minority groups by depressing voter turnout, proponents argue that, by making the votes of a given state an all-or-nothing affair, minority groups can provide the critical edge that allows a candidate to win. This encourages candidates to court a wide variety of such minorities and advocacy groups."[1]
Again - this forces candidates to appeal to the Nation, not just a single demographic of the people.

Though it has flaws, the Electoral College *works*. It has served our country, and has no need for its demolishment. Thank you, and I hope you choose to vote Neg

Sources
http://en.wikipedia.org...
wjmelements

Pro

I thank my opponent for this debate.

My opponent introduces a few new arguments in this last round.

My opponent's first new objection is that campaign strategy would be different under direct election. I have no problem with this: the new campaign strategy would target voters more efficiently and more thoroughly. Under the current presidential election procedure, a disproportionate amount of money [1] and visitations [2] is spent on "swing states," when that money should focus on changing votes everywhere.

My opponent also tries to defend the electoral college by arguing that the power of the president comes from the states. This contradicts the Declaration of Independence, which originates political power from those it governs. States have no power to coerce their political minorities into counting towards the candidate they didn't choose.

My opponent's last new appeal quotes Wikipedia which argues that the Electoral College forces candidates to appeal to minorities to squeak out a majority. This would happen under direct election as well, except at a national, rather than state-specific, scope, and to a larger degree, because the minority would count: not only if added it passed the fifty-percent margin, but all of the time.

In the last roud, my opponent did not object to the following arguments:
  • The Winner-Take-All provision misconstrues the votes of the minorities of every state.
  • The Electoral College distorts the vote of individuals based on their location.
  • The Electoral College harms third parties.
It isn't enough that the Electoral College system functions. Dictatorships function. Military fascist regimes function. A functioning government that violates its citizens should be corrected. The Electoral College violates the democratic liberties of the citizenry. Therefore, it should be removed.

The resolution is negated.

==Sources==
[1] http://www.politico.com...
[2] http://www.fairvote.org...
Debate Round No. 3
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by wjmelements 6 years ago
wjmelements
I personally don't like democracy at all for its warrant to abuse human rights, but I prefer direct democracy to the Electoral College.

The Electoral College made the most sense in its original design, where people actually vote for electors without having a president in mind, and those electors, more capable of making intelligent decisions than the population, decide on a candidate collectively.
Now it's just a distorted democratic situation that can't be fixed. This transformation, though, was inevitable, because democracy at the state level can vote itself more powerful at the federal level, and so the electors became pledged electors, and the system became dysfunctional.
Posted by theman71 6 years ago
theman71
And thank you for not voting

No problem in waiting till the end - that's what the time limit is for.
Posted by theman71 6 years ago
theman71
Nice argument, wjmelements. This was fun. The things I learned here are being used in my next debte against a friend of mine.

(and *doh!* I forgot a very important argument in this debate)
Posted by wjmelements 6 years ago
wjmelements
Sorry for waiting until the last minute. I had a date tonight.

Because you can't vote, I won't either.
Posted by theman71 6 years ago
theman71
Just saying - if my opponent forfeits this final round, it essentially means that he dropped all his arguments and conceded to my points. Thus is the general protocol to dropped arguments in a debate
Posted by theman71 6 years ago
theman71
I know, right? I thought my current limit would be a lot....I spent ages trying to narrow down my argument
Posted by wjmelements 6 years ago
wjmelements
Now imagine 500 characters.
Posted by theman71 6 years ago
theman71
@Mongeese

Yes, I will. I looked at his profile - and I got shocked
Posted by mongeese 6 years ago
mongeese
First debate against wjmelements?

Good luck. You'll need it.
Posted by theman71 6 years ago
theman71
You were right. 2,000 characters only? Sucks :) Next debate I make, I need to have a lot more space!
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by WillMurray 6 years ago
WillMurray
theman71wjmelementsTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: I felt most of cons truly persuasive points were never fully elaborated on. Also pro argument was just solid and the core of it was never even close to being refuted.
Vote Placed by mongeese 6 years ago
mongeese
theman71wjmelementsTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro made all of Con's arguments irrelevant. Many new arguments were newly defeated. Pro used more sources, while Con stuck to Wikipedia only.