Should We Keep The Electoral College
My first reason, it is against democracy and it should be up to the people to decide. A country with democracy should have a voting system that is simple, who ever the people like most. For example, a YouTube, CGP gray, explained it well. He said later on in his video that there can be a scenario were a president could win with a candidate can get 21% of the popular vote is able to win the white house because of the electoral college, tho it is very unlikely, it is still bad when that can happen. He later there has been 3 times in American history were the candidate won the election but lost the popular vote, sure that is 5%, and 5% may not seem like a lot, but it is the president of the United States. If we just had the popular vote, then the citizens can pick their president, a way a democracy should work.
My second reason is the point of the electoral college has been failing. The electoral college was supposed to give power to each state so that candidates will care about every state, well that is not the case. The electoral college only makes candidates care about swing states, for example, do you think Republican candidates care about what the people in Vermont think, and do Democratic candidates care about what the people in Arkansas think, no, because the electoral college makes them only care about swing states like Florida, Virginia, and Ohio. And this is proven later in his video when he talks about the number of visits candidates made to each state, and the number of money spent on campaigning in each state, the top 4 are Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
My final reason is, what is wrong with he popular vote? Their is no reason for being against it, doesn't for the candidates directly make more sense. Some people say it would give the people to much power, but this nation is of the people, for the people, by the people. And some people say that if we used the popular vote, then candidate will only campaign in big cities like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, first of all, arguing with that reasoning makes you a hypocrite because the electoral college does the same thing, except with swing state, and second of all, it won't make candidates only focus on bug cities. As CGP Gray also said in his video, if you combine the top 10 most populated cities in America, that is only 7%, and if you combine the 100 most populated, that is only 20%, a popular voting system will make candidate have to focus on every state and not just swing states
So in conclusion, I believe we should Abolish the electoral college because one, it is against a peoples democracy, two, the point of it is failing, and three, the popular voting system will just simply be better. And that is why I believe we should Abolish the electoral college.
The link to CGP Grays video- https://www.youtube.com...
The argument that a candidate could win the election with only 21% of the vote is extremely weak. In a direct popular vote, third parties would begin to arise because chances for victory would increase. In a direct vote system, you don’t need to win a majority, only a plurality. If enough third parties came into existence, the same exact scenario would be plausible if we abolished the electoral college (EC). The Conservative party in Canada, where there isn’t an electoral college, won with only 37% of the vote [1. http://bit.ly...]. In the UK, the Conservatives won with only 36% of the vote [2. http://bbc.in...]. In Sweden, the Social Democratic party won with 30.7% of the vote [3. http://bit.ly...]. The issue of winning a plurality and not a majority of votes would exist even if we abolished the electoral college.
The EC legitimizes a victorious candidate. Lincoln only won 39.7% of the vote when he became president. However, he won twice as many electoral college votes as his opponent, Breckinridge. This legitimized the victory and allowed Lincoln to become president [4. http://bit.ly...] For candidates who technically lose the popular vote, but win a majority of the electoral college, it makes it easier for them to claim victory because they handily won in the actual electoral process. Even in close elections, the electoral college result is usually won by large margins [5. http://herit.ag...]. By causing a clear victory in a close election, people will rally behind the President.
Only three US presidents have ever won the electoral college without a plurality in the national vote. The debate isn’t over the EC necessarily being democratic, but rather between democracy with Federalism or with democracy lacking Federalism. According to the Heritage Foundation, “[T]he issue is democracy with federalism (the Electoral College) versus democracy without federalism (a national popular vote). Either is democratic. Only the Electoral College preserves federalism, moderates ideological differences and promotes national consensus in our choice of a chief executive.” [6. http://herit.ag...].
An academic study on the issue has found that voting power in the electoral college versus a popular vote is about the same. Not only this, but the electoral college always favors the winner of the popular vote unless the popular vote is extremely close. The power of an individual vote is charted below [10. http://bit.ly...]
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The actual power of an individual vote is about the same when compared to popular vote. In the 1990s, individual votes were significantly more powerful under the EC than what would have occurred if we had a popular vote. This demonstrates how the EC can be more democratic than a simple voting tally.
All emphasis on swing states?
Staunch red states like Utah received visits from Gov. Romney and Vice President Joe Biden during the 2012 election. Blue New York and California also attracted attention from both sides. Although it is true that Ohio and Florida received the most attention, to say that small states are ignored is incorrect [7. http://wapo.st...]. Although ad spending was concentrated in swing states, small states like Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Vermont recieved a significant amount of attention, suggesting these small states have a an impact on election outcomes [8. http://wapo.st...].
A peer-reviewed study published in the journal Economic Inquiry found that votes in “New Mexico, Virginia, New Hampshire, and Colorado,” all small states, have a larger effect on voting outcomes than other states [9. http://bit.ly...]. The EC accomplishes the goal of empowering small states.
What’s wrong with a popular vote?
Tyranny of the majority. As James Madison wrote, “[A] pure democracy ... can admit no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will be felt by a majority, and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party. ... democracies have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property.” [11. http://bit.ly...]
Vote recounts. Although recounts occur in our current system, recounts are usually local. Electoral college margins of victory are much larger than victories in the popular vote. As the electoral college usually gives one side a large advantage in votes, despite the election being close, recounts are useless because multiple states would have to flip--the only recent exception was 2000. In Europe has had recount issues. In 2006, Italy recounted their votes [12. http://ind.pn...]. In 2014, some UK parliamentary races were recounted [13. http://bbc.in...]. In 2010, Sweden recounted their parliamentary election votes [14. http://reut.rs...]. The issue with recounts is that they cost time and money. For congressional races, where we do not have an EC (but instead popular) system, we are already facing recount cost issues. It cost the state of Washington over $1 million to recount votes in its 2004 gubernatorial election and $460,000 for Michigan’s 2008 senate election [15. http://bit.ly...]. Imagine if we applied this to the nation as a whole. The cost would be sky high.
COUNTERPLAN: Mend it, don’t end it
If we were to have a system like Nebraska or Maine in every state, it would encourage more attention to smaller states and virtually eliminate the issue of an undemocratic outcome while still promoting Federalism. Like in Nebraska and Maine, the winner of the statewide vote would receive two electoral votes. The rest of the electoral votes would be split based on who won congressional districts. Say Obama won New Mexico’s election. He gets two electoral votes. He also wins two congressional districts, and Romney won the southern district. That means Romney gets one electoral vote from NM, and Obama gets 4. This removes the worry of my opponent’s contention 2 and minimizes the threat of having an undemocratic outcome.
The reason they have been visiting places like New Hampshire, Iowa, and Nevada is because they are swing states. As for Vermont, I do not know, maybe they are trying to turn it around, but New Hampshire, Iowa, and Nevada are swing states.
Also, later you said, Colorado, Virginia, and New Mexico, first of all, Colorado has 8 electoral votes, and Virginia has 13, so they are not small, and second, as I said before, they are swing states. Even though some are small states, swing states can matter, like New Hampshire in 2000, just 4 electoral votes, and if Al Gore won it, he could have one the election.
Yes. recounts are a pain, and they do cost a lot, but what is more important, getting the right president, or saving money on recounts. We would not know what president the people really wanted, and if you look at Bush, he the electoral college, and look what he did to this country, much more damage than a couple million dollars.
I would also like to add this, it is unfair that just a couple hundred votes would mean that they would get 100% of the votes. And, if we have the popular vote, then candidates won't ignore the rest of the states, they will not only focus on the swing states, they will focus on all states, for example, though they will never win the majority in Texas, guess what, in 2012, Obama still got 3 million votes, and for republicans, though they will never win a majority in California, in 2012, Romney almost got 5 million votes, so they will not ignore any state, because they will know they can still get a lot of votes.
MY OPPONENT DROPS MY COUNTERPLAN
As my opponent has dropped my counterplan, he concedes it is the correct course of action, and I win the debate.
MY OPPONENT HAS DROPPED THE CRITICISM OF DIRECT POPULAR VOTING.
As my opponent has dropped this, he has conceded that the issues with a direct popular vote is correct. He only response to voter recounts, and thus drops the argument that we don’t want a system with majority rule.
Third Parties: I am not saying that third parties are nonexistent in the current system, but that their efficacy is significantly blunted if we have an EC system. The reason for this is that when three or four candidates emerge, it makes it hard to win an outright majority in the electoral college. There have been prominent third party runs--Ross Perot and Ralph Nader are obvious examples--but the EC has prevented any significant third party threat from emerging since 2004, and the EC has effectively reduced our political system to two parties. The example of Bernie Sanders actually supports my position; it does not refute it. Sanders was able to run as an Independent and be successful in a popular voting scenario (he ran for Senate, and that is decided by a popular vote). Now, he is running as a Democrat because that is the only way to be a viable candidate. Of course, Biden and Hillary are the only two serious candidates either running or contemplating a run, suggesting that the parties usually coalesce around a moderate establishment candidate (which is arguably a good thing). My opponent drops the majority of my argument here, which is that even under my opponent’s system people who would become president would rarely win through a majority, but instead a plurality, which reduces the ability of the populace to rally behind the future president.
Swing States, Small States: I never said that swing states were unimportant--of course swing states are the most important! The fact is, small swing states--Iowa, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Colorado, and Nevada can sway election results. As I noted, if person were to vote in a small state, their vote has more weight than a ballot casted in California, meaning the electoral college system works.
- I never said Virginia was a small state. Colorado is the 22nd largest state, making it about middle of the pack [http://www.enchantedlearning.com...]. New Mexico only has 5 electoral votes, New Hampshire has 4, Nevada has 6, Iowa has 6, Colorado has 8--which is small. My opponent criticizes my arguments on extremely weak ground, ignoring the actual statistical data on the subject--and the statistics show that small states are worth more and weighted heavily. The EC is working.
Winner Takes All is Unfair: I actually refuted this. My counterplan eliminates this concern--as well as the concern of an undemocratic outcome, and it also preserves Federalism. My opponent’s plan does nothing to preserve Federalism, so my plan should be preferred. Not only that, but this argument is silly. The argument--that if Texas votes republican by 1 vote, so all the democratic votes are wasted--is insane. This happens NO MATTER WHAT in an election. Gore barely won the election in 2000 using the popular vote, meaning that all of Bush’s votes would have been a waste under a direct popular vote system. So, in effect, if we take my opponent’s argument as truth, all elections are unfair by the same mechanism.
Voter Recounts. Literally my opponent’s argument against this was that Al Gore would have been a better President. This is not true, because Gore supported military interventionism as well. Gore, in a 2002 speech, argued that “Iraq does pose a serious threat to the stability of the Persian Gulf and we should organize an international coalition to eliminate his access to weapons of mass destruction.” He simultaneously supported the war in Afghanistan, saying that “[we should stay]the course in our war against Osama Bin Laden and his terrorist network.” [http://www.gwu.edu...] It should be noted than an analysis of Gore’s and Bush’s fiscal plans found that Bush’s plans were superior to Gore’s [http://www.ipi.org...]. It should also be noted that Bush’s economic record wasn’t that bad, either. Productivity grew faster under Bush than Clinton and even Reagan, wages increased, and income inequality grew at a slower rate than under Clinton [http://money.usnews.com...]. Bush also saved 100 million lives through AIDS funding and research [http://www.cnn.com...]. Bush was not the best president ever, nor was he the worst. But tell one hundred million Africans that he should have lost the 2000 election, and you would get berated out of that room.
States like California are unimportant because they are safe states. Only swing states matter in elections, for example, New Hampshire is important because it is a swing state and every point matters, but that does not mean all small states are important, do you think states like Wyoming or South Dakota receive 1 visit from either candidate, no. And as I said before, if we had the popular vote, then candidate will have to care about every state, because they know they can still get some votes out of that state.
You did say Virginia was a small state, if i may quote you, "New Mexico, Virginia, New Hampshire, and Colorado," all small states, have a larger effect on voting outcomes than other states, but that is not important. Just wanted to tell you what you said.
Winner take all is unfair for states. As I said, all a candidate needs is half + 1 and he gets all the electoral points, they do this in 48 states, and that is unfair. It should be a popular vote because if a candidate only gets 49% of the votes in that state, he still gets a lot of votes, and as you all have seen in elections, winning just over half in some important states have one them the election. If we do the popular vote, then the candidates won't care about swing states, they will care about voters, how it should be. People all across this nation should win candidates the election, not only the people in Ohio, Florida, and Virginia.
This is not a debate about who would have ran this country better, a monkey, or Al Gore, this is a debate about the electoral college. I am sorry I lead it that way but lets end it please. Though just read this and think about it, don;t respond because I don;t want to start a new debate, but think about it.
I will like to make my final statement, the electoral college does not make it a battle over what the people like, but who the people in important states like. Candidates all ready assume who they are going to win and who they are not going to win, for example, democrats would all ready assume they are going to win California, Washington, Oregon, DC, and new England, so they cross that out of their campaign visits, and they all ready know they are not going to win Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Oklahoma, so they cross that out, they only care about the swing states, If we us the popular vote, they will care about every body. For example, California, safe state for democrats in the electoral college, in the popular vote, California gets republicans 4 million votes. And Texas, safe state for Republicans in the electoral college, 3 million votes for the democrats in the popular vote.
Thank you 16kadams for this debate, I will like to see your response.
1. “It is bad that we have a 2 party system and we do not give other parties a chance.”
We don’t necessarily want other parties to have a chance. In Europe, Neo-Nazi activity is on the rise and is becoming a strong political movement [http://europe.newsweek.com...]. In the US, these ideologies still exist, but they cluster in one of our two main political parties. Those in the center, the center-right, the center-left, the far-left, the far-right, and libertarians, in the primaries, tend to back the establishment candidate. As the establishment wants to get elected, they tend to support the most palatable candidate, and generally that means moderate. While extremists on both sides of the isle express their discontent with compromise, no rational person should oppose a system that promotes moderation and compromise. A national popular vote, by making it easier for third parties to have a real shot at the presidency and gain political influence, would energize the radical base on both sides of the political spectrum, making political polarization even worse than it already is.
A two party system encourages inter-party consensuses that promote, rather than prevent, ideological purity. In the 1990s, Democrats protested Clinton’s welfare-reform and 1997 tax cuts. But as they had no other party to turn to, they stayed put, were able to shift the party to the left, and create a progressive wave that led them to victory in 2008. In Germany, the dissenters to such compromises left the party, divided the base, and the feuding between the two leftist parties allowed the center-right party to take control [http://prospect.org...]. Allowing third parties to rise up would complicate the issues, create more bickering, and harm all ideologies. This far outweighs “giving people a chance.”
2. “States like California are unimportant because they are safe states. … do you think states like Wyoming or South Dakota receive 1 visit from either candidate, no.”
Wyoming and South Dakota were visited last election. South Dakota was visited once, by Joe Biden, and Wyoming three times, twice by Romney and once by Michelle Obama [http://www.washingtonpost.com...].
A classic case of a “solid” state switching occurred in 2000. The number of registered Democrats in the state outnumbered the number of Republicans two to one. Only 4 times had a Republican ever won the state. Bush won the state by 6 percent because he spent an inordinate amount of time and money there [http://uselectionatlas.org...]. Had Bush lost West Virginia, he would have lost the election. But he was able to make a solid state flip sides--it is now considered a solid red state. This debunks my opponent’s entire argument.
California is extremely important to candidates. As it has a huge population, doing well in California has a few good effects. (1) It lets you win the popular vote--although not actually important, it is good to have that on your resume; (2) The state has a huge hispanic population, and by doing well with that itinerant group it allows your party to do better when if they leave the state; (3) if you have a positive impact on the state, you help party members running for local positions (like Governor), and you help your party win Representative and Senate seats. Even if you won’t realistically flip the state, if you put enough effort in to increase your party’s favorability ratings, you would help the party in general--and if you were to win, make multiple new allies in congress. Even safe states, like Texas, NY, and California--are important under the EC system.
3. “You did say Virginia was a small state, if i may quote you, "New Mexico, Virginia, New Hampshire, and Colorado," all small states, have a larger effect on voting outcomes than other states.”
Whether or not Virginia is a small state is unimportant. The fact remains that voters in small states, like NM, CO, and NH, have a disproportionate impact on electoral results. The study measured, if you cast a vote in which state, where would it be most likely to change election results. Most of them happen to be small swing-states. However, on a pure weighting basis, you would probably want to move to Wyoming or Alaska to have your vote worth the most.
4. “Winner take all is unfair for states.”
As I noted in earlier rounds, this argument is insane.
(1) It is unfair because if someone votes for Romney, and Obama wins 50% + 1, all of Romney’s votes were wasted. This is literally my opponent’s argument. But this happens in every election no matter what. Say Romney won with 50% +1 of the popular vote under a direct popular vote. That means all of Obama’s votes would have been wasted! Does that mean elections are unfair? If this was the case, Romney would be co-president. “A” for effort I suppose.
(2) This objection is refuted by my counterplan, that my opponent has dropped.
5. “This is not a debate about who would have ran this country better.”
Stop claiming red herring when you are the one who brought the topic up. You are the one that mentioned the damage Bush brought to the country in the first place. You can’t say that the argument is irrelevant when you are the one that said it. It is unethical to blame me for going off track when it was you that got us here in the first place.
6. “The electoral college does not make it a battle over what the people like, but who the people in important states like.”
Not who the important states like, but the states in general. The important states sway elections, but if the South decides not to vote, it doesn’t matter that Marco Rubio is the best NA and won Ohio, Colorado, Virginia, Iowa, Florida, New Hampshire, and Nevada--he would lose without the help from those “solid” states. The winner wins a majority of the states in general, not a select few “important” ones.
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