The Instigator
Republican95
Con (against)
Losing
9 Points
The Contender
Chrysippus
Pro (for)
Winning
11 Points

Switching to a popular vote based Presidential Election system

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Chrysippus
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/19/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,376 times Debate No: 9747
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (11)
Votes (3)

 

Republican95

Con

Hello. I would like to thank whoever accepts this debate. Let's start with the resolution...

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Resolution
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I, PRO, believe that the United States should retain the Electoral College system in regards to electing a President, as opposed to accepting a policy in which all that matter is the popular vote.

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Arguments
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1) Last time I checked, America was a confederation of STATES. The Electoral College system provides for the protection of the rights of all 50 states, because it forces candidates to appeal to the voters in all parts of America. A nationwide vote tally could provide an incentive for a candidate to focus only on the most populous areas of the country, such as California, New York, or Texas, and ignore other areas such as Alaska, Rhode Island, or Maine. If that was to happen, the interests of a particular region would trample the rights of the nation has a whole.

2) If we did switch to a popular vote system, there is a possibility that the majority of voters wouldn't be satisfied. Take for example, the 2000 presidential election.

George Bush---50,456,002 votes nationwide 47.87% of total vote
Al Gore---50,999,897 votes nationwide 48.38% of total vote
Others---3,949,201 votes nationwide 3.75% of total vote

**If you really want to blame somebody for Gore's 2000 lost, blame Ralph Nadar***

It is obvious that Gore won the nationwide popular vote. However, 52.13% of the population cast a vote for a candidate OTHER THAN Al Gore, so, most Americans didn't want Al Gore to become president.

Now, I do understand that George Bush also has more people vote against him, but he won the electoral college. The electoral college mandates that a candidate win a majority of electoral votes, 270. So, at the end of the day, George Bush had more NATIONAL appeal because he won a majority of the electoral votes, which represent the electorate (the voter)

I thank whoever accepts
Chrysippus

Pro

I thank my opponent for this debate, and hope it will be enjoyable and instructive for both of us.

There seems to be a little confusion here; my opponent claims in his resolution to be arguing PRO, whilst arguing against the title resolution. Let's set things straight right at the outset: my opponent is CON, arguing that the US should keep the Electoral College. I will be taking the PRO side of this debate, arguing that the US should abandon the Electoral College in favor of a system of popular election.

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DEFINITIONS AND INITIAL SOURCES:

Majority: "the greater part or number; the number larger than half the total (opposed to minority ): the majority of the population.
2. a number of voters or votes, jurors, or others in agreement, constituting more than half of the total number."

http://dictionary.reference.com...

Federal Republic:
http://en.wikipedia.org...

Confederation:
http://en.wikipedia.org...

Electoral College:
http://en.wikipedia.org...(United_States)

For the purposes of this debate, I am assuming that the constitutionality of such a change is not an issue, presumably dealt with by an amendment; also that the real world probability of having such a change implemented is not a concern.

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REFUTATION

With that, let me address my opponent's opening arguments.

1. "Last time I checked, America was a confederation of STATES."

Clearly wrong; possibly a typo? The US is a Federal Republic. Just to be sure though, I have cited above a source for both types of government, and can provide more sources supporting same if anyone remains doubtful.

"The Electoral College system provides for the protection of the rights of all 50 states, because it forces candidates to appeal to the voters in all parts of America. A nationwide vote tally could provide an incentive for a candidate to focus only on the most populous areas of the country, such as California, New York, or Texas, and ignore other areas such as Alaska, Rhode Island, or Maine."

I fail to recall an instance where our current system impelled a Presidential candidate to travel to Alaska; if my opponent has evidence of such an instance, he is more than welcome to bring it out next round.

But, more seriously, this argument shows a misunderstanding of the way the Electoral college works. In a nutshell, the voters -state by state- choose through popular vote electors pledged to vote for one candidate or another. The number of electors per state is determined by the number of Representatives and Senators the state has; in the states with greater population, there are more electors (up to 55 in California as of 2008).

http://en.wikipedia.org...

Thus, it is ALREADY in our hypothetical candidate's interest to campaign heavily in the more populous states, as there are more potential Electoral College votes to be won there than in, say, Rhode Island or Idaho.

"If that was to happen, the interests of a particular region would trample the rights of the nation has a whole."

If the nation's choice was indicated by majority vote, and a large portion of that majority happened to live in certain regions (not scattered evenly across the whole country, in other words), the less-inhabited periphery would indeed have less say in that choice. Would that make the choice less democratic? Less representative of the will of the majority?

In a direct election, 51% of the nation's vote is the same, no matter where the voters happen to live.

If anything, the Electoral College system is the one guilty of wighting the vote in favour of particular regions; by proportioning out the vote by state, and guaranteeing the less-inhabited states at least 3 Electoral votes, the choice is weighted in favor of the voters in the smaller states.

Example:

Rhode Island
http://www.answers.com...
has 1,060,000 people and 3 electoral votes. Divide 1,060,000 by three, and you get 353,333 and a third people per electoral vote.

Texas
http://www.answers.com...
has 23,900,000 people and 34 electoral votes. Divide that out, and you will find there are 702,941 and a fifth people competing for each electoral vote.

Obviously, per person, Texans have half as much say in the choice of a president as those living in Rhode Island.

So, no; this argument does not help my opponent's position.

2. "If we did switch to a popular vote system, there is a possibility that the majority of voters wouldn't be satisfied."

I confirm this. Indeed, it is a given, unless they all die first; human nature is to be dissatisfied with anything flawed, and any leader will sooner or later draw criticism.

If, however, this argument is "There is a possibility that the majority of voters wouldn't be satisfied *because the person they voted for wasn't elected,*" I most emphatically deny it.

Indeed, that is the whole premise of the direct system of voting: the person who gets the most votes wins. The largest group of voters will always be the ones who voted in the winner; thus, they have no reason to complain of the outcome.

Technically, the largest group is not always an absolute majority; the example given by my opponent is such a case. Many countries use coalitions between parties unable individually to elect a national leader in order to gain an absolute majority; a similar system could hypothetically work here.

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OPENING ARGUMENT

"Take for example, the 2000 presidential election.

George Bush---50,456,002 votes nationwide 47.87% of total vote
Al Gore---50,999,897 votes nationwide 48.38% of total vote
Others---3,949,201 votes nationwide 3.75% of total vote"

How kind of my opponent to provide me with my opening argument in favor of abandoning the Electoral College. Yes, let us take, for example, the 2000 election.

http://www.answers.com...

In the statistic my opponent provided (and I assume it is correct), it is clear that the largest number of voters voted for Gore. Due mainly to the workings of the Electoral College, their candidate was not elected. In a direct voting system, where the president is chosen by popular vote alone, such a scenario would not arise, as there would be no mechanism to obstruct the voters from selecting the candidate that the largest number of them thought worthy.

My proposal:
The United States should abandon the Electoral College system for the Presidential Elections in favor of a system of direct popular vote because the Electoral College has been shown to obstruct the will of the greatest number.

---------------

If my opponent feels I have neglected any of his points, he is welcome to bring them up next round, and I will address them then.

I thank him for proposing this debate, and look forward to seeing his further arguments.

To my opponent, best of luck!
Debate Round No. 1
Republican95

Con

I will not be able to respond to this debate in the allotted time.

I'm sorry and will have to get back to you in the next round.

Have a nice weekend.
Chrysippus

Pro

First, my thanks again to my opponent for initiating this debate.

Second, I must post this round now, as I will be unable to access the internet this weekend until late Sunday at best. My apologies to my opponent...

This respite gives me the opportunity to expound on my proposal to replace the Electoral College. I understand that to be the purpose of this debate, and owe my opponent a more concrete concept to oppose.

I propose:
a) that the Electoral College be abolished, for reasons given in the first round;
b) that in the presidential elections, voting be direct; the state one is from will make no difference in how your vote is counted. One would be voting directly for the candidate of his choice, not for an elector who can withhold or change his vote against what you chose.
c) that the victory be by vote totals, not by majority. A candidate could win under this system even if he does not have a 50%+ majority of the votes; all that matters is that he got the most votes.This avoids the complications inherent in the systems that insist on a majority.

I hope that this helps clarify my position; I look forward to reading my opponent's arguments when I return on Sunday from my trip.

To my worthy opponent; best of luck!
Debate Round No. 2
Republican95

Con

Republican95 forfeited this round.
Chrysippus

Pro

I am not sure if my opponent is aware that his time to post has run out; however, there are so few rounds left in this debate that it is hardly worthwhile to continue. Apparently we were both beset by unexpected time restraints, and I respect my opponent's forthrightness in informing me of same; my request of the voters is to treat this debate as a single round, rather than counting my opponent's forfeits against him.

That said, extend all arguments.
Debate Round No. 3
Republican95

Con

Republican95 forfeited this round.
Chrysippus

Pro

Thank you, Republican95, for posting this debate.

I am truly sorry that schedule conflicts stole our opportunity to reason together; perhaps another time we can try again. It is a good topic, and worthy of fuller treatment than we were able to give it.

I urge a PRO vote, and a future rematch when Republican95 has the time.

To my opponent, best of luck in your future debates!
Debate Round No. 4
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by GeorgeCarlinWorshipper 7 years ago
GeorgeCarlinWorshipper
Cast 4 for PRO and 1 for CON. Agreed w/ pro before & after debate, and pro's etiquette was impeccable. Also, Pro made more convincing arguments. Originally, I cast a vote to CON for sources because of how many wikipedia pages PRO cited; however, in retrospect, I should've voted for PRO on that because CON posted no sources at all. I wish CON could've posted more, but from what I saw, it was a very good debate. I am hoping for a rematch sometime when CON has more available time.
Posted by Chrysippus 7 years ago
Chrysippus
Actually, I AM going to vote for this debate, and here's why.

Shorty after this debate went up, someone voted for my side of the debate. All seven points, with no explanation. No-one else has voted at all.

I refuse to win this on one voter's opinion. My opponent apparently had no opportunity to defend himself, or to posit new arguments.

For reasons of equity, I vote for my opponent. 7 points.
Posted by Chrysippus 7 years ago
Chrysippus
I'm not voting in this one...
Posted by Chrysippus 7 years ago
Chrysippus
I'm sorry to hear that, Republican; I'll delay posting my (truncated) second round as long as I can...

I look forward to seeing your arguments for round three, and wish you a peaceful weekend as well.
Posted by Chrysippus 8 years ago
Chrysippus
Sadly, BOTH points are self refuting; my role in that regard is rather limited. :(

Unless my opponent pulls something spectacular out of his hat, I intend to spend the majority of my next round developing my counter proposal. Perhaps he needs a specific plan to refute.
Posted by MTGandP 8 years ago
MTGandP
Point 2 is self-refuting.
Posted by Cody_Franklin 8 years ago
Cody_Franklin
"Last time I checked..."

Let me take back part of my previous statement, just to clarify something.

Was the last time you checked before 1787? Because then, your statement would have a bit more validity.
Posted by Cody_Franklin 8 years ago
Cody_Franklin
Con (against) - Republican95

"I, PRO......"

Fail.

"Last time I checked, America was a confederation"

Double Fail. [http://en.wikipedia.org...]
Posted by Xer 8 years ago
Xer
Umm... Point 1- wtf? If the electoral college was done away with, it would be obvious that there would be more nation-wide campaigning.

Also, Point 2 is actually better for Pro.
Posted by Volkov 8 years ago
Volkov
Point 1 is pointless; regardless of the system, candidates will campaign in the areas with larger population bases because there are more electoral votes in states like New York, California, Texas, etc. A candidate really has to secure those, or else they'll lose regardless.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by GeorgeCarlinWorshipper 7 years ago
GeorgeCarlinWorshipper
Republican95ChrysippusTied
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Vote Placed by Chrysippus 7 years ago
Chrysippus
Republican95ChrysippusTied
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Vote Placed by Maikuru 7 years ago
Maikuru
Republican95ChrysippusTied
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Total points awarded:07