The Instigator
Mr_Anon
Pro (for)
Winning
7 Points
The Contender
royalpaladin
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

The electoral college should be abolished

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Mr_Anon
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/16/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,865 times Debate No: 25645
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (16)
Votes (2)

 

Mr_Anon

Pro

This will be a debate on the United States electoral college system, used in Presidential elections. I will be arguing that this system should be abolished and replaced with a system of direct popular vote. Burden of proof lies on me.

First round is for acceptance only.

Second round is for opening arguments.

Third and Fourth rounds are for responses.

Final round is for conclusions.
royalpaladin

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
Mr_Anon

Pro

Thank you for accepting this debate.


Introduction: what is the electoral college?
The electoral college is the system in the United States that decides who will be the next President. This system is unique to Presidential elections, as opposed to the direct popular vote that decides most other elections in the United States. According to the constitution, each state is granted a number of electors, determined by the sum of its Representatives and Senators. The electors of the states vote on who becomes President, and a majority vote is required to win. The United States Constitution does not dictate how the electors are to be elected, only that the states get to decide how they are chosen. Today, the electors are determined by a "winner take all" fashion in most states, allotted to the candidate that wins a plurality of the popular vote. In my argument, I will explain why the electoral college is outdated and unreliable.

P1: The electoral college is outdated
The electoral college system was originally based on the idea of a very indirect democracy. The intent was to have the people control their state legislatures, the state legislatures choose the most educated, experienced citizens of their states, and those citizens choose the President[1]. If necessary, the House of Representatives would have to confirm the President. One of the reasons the founders feared direct popular vote was because at the time, a public that mainly lived in rural areas would not know candidates' positions, or in many cases, not know the candidates at all. This is outdated because, with the rise of the internet and televised political advertising, it is very easy for voters to get informed. For this reason, the original reasons for the electoral college are negated.

Furthermore, the electoral college does not function as it did at the founding. While electors originally had freedom to choose candidates they supported, today they are bound to their state's (or in the case of Maine and Nebraska, congressional district's) popular vote[2]. As a result, it no longer even fulfills the founder's intents at a very indirect democracy.

P2: The electoral college in its current form is unreliable
As mentioned above, most states use a winner-take-all system for electing the electors. This causes problems in terms of representation. Further, because states are guaranteed a minimum of 3 electoral votes (for 2 Senators and 1 Representative minimum), smaller states are given more influence then they should. As seen in this video[3], a Wyoming citizen's vote is worth four times as much as a Californian's vote. While this may seem like it has benefits because it appears to prevent large states from being overshadowed by big states, this is not what happens in actuallity

The winner-take-all matter causes most states to be ignored. This is because states where one candidate has polls widely in his or her favor have all their electoral votes "guaranteed", unlike "swing" states that either candidate can win, where electoral votes are up for grabs. As seen at 2:03 in the video, this causes swing states to gain the most attention in Presidential elections. In other words, a Republican in New York has no influence on the Presidential election, whereas a Republican in Ohio has relatively high influence. The Presidential elections are decided by only a handful of "swing" voters in swing states. This causes the actual popular vote to diminish importance.

While the popular vote usually has the same result as the electoral vote, it is not always the same. No less than three Presidential elections, 1876, 1888, and 2000, had popular vote winners who lost the electoral vote. An additional two (1800 and 1824) had the election thrown to the House of Representatives because no candidate won a majority of electors. While these elections were relatively close, it is possible for the discrepancy to be much bigger. As seen at about 4:20 in the video I cited above, it is possible for a candidate to win with only 22% of the popular vote. Note that this assumes proportional turnout in each state, and the discrepency can be even larger depending on varying turnout. Also, this assumes the lack of significant third party candidates.

The final flaw with the electoral college is the possibility of faithless electors. Although electors are chosen based on popular vote, many states do not have laws preventing them from voting their will. Although faithless electors have not impacted a Presidential election yet, there have been recent reports of multiple faithless electors that might impact this upcomming election. At least three Republican elector candidates set to vote for Romney should he win their respective states have indicated that they will vote for Ron Paul if elected[4]. Although Ron Paul was a candidate in the Republican primaries, he is not running for President. This means that, should the electoral vote be close enough, the election might be thrown into the House of Representatives even though only two candidates will have actually won states. Ron Paul will have gotten three electoral votes despite negligible popular vote count, and there is a remote possibility that he will allow Obama to win without a popular vote or electoral vote plurality.

Overall, the electoral college no longer does what it was intended to do, and obstructs democratic electoral process in the United States. It should be abolished in favor of a direct popular vote, which would accurately reflect the desires of the public.


Citations
1.http://uselectionatlas.org...
2.http://www.archives.gov...
3.
4. http://www.washingtonpost.com...
royalpaladin

Con

royalpaladin forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Mr_Anon

Pro

My opponent seems to have forefeited her last argument. For the purposes of this debate, I will not make any additional points and will only use this round to reiterate my points from the first round. I await what should be an interesting debate.
royalpaladin

Con

royalpaladin forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Mr_Anon

Pro

Well, I guess this debate can't be continued much further.

Vote Pro.
royalpaladin

Con

royalpaladin forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
Mr_Anon

Pro

Vote Pro.
Debate Round No. 5
16 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Mr_Anon 4 years ago
Mr_Anon
While this probably won't be brought up in the debate, I thought this was pretty interesting: http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com...

Even in states like Nebraska which are supposed to have "proportional" electoral voting, simple gerrymandering will prevent Obama from winning electors that he won in 2008.
Posted by Mr_Anon 4 years ago
Mr_Anon
To elaborate a little, while it may be convenient for your party right now, demographics can change. For example, Texas was once strongly Democratic, then it was strongly Republican, and now there's predictions that it will go Democratic again in the near future. While the electoral college may appear to benefit your party right now, it won't always.
Posted by Mr_Anon 4 years ago
Mr_Anon
How convenient.
Posted by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
It helps the republicans.
Posted by Mr_Anon 4 years ago
Mr_Anon
Interestingly, giving small states more power currently disproportionately benefits one political party over the other, though I will not make that a part of my argument.
Posted by Mr_Anon 4 years ago
Mr_Anon
But they already have more power through the Senate.
Posted by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
I like small states getting more power
Posted by Mr_Anon 4 years ago
Mr_Anon
It would be ideal if my opponent could post their reply on Thursday, as I will be busy throughout much of Thursday and Friday and will likely not be able to post my next round until Saturday. Thanks.
Posted by Oldfrith 4 years ago
Oldfrith
And making stuff up mid-round is congress and extemp...
Posted by Oldfrith 4 years ago
Oldfrith
I actually use the national academies press for the majority of my evidence...
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by famer 4 years ago
famer
Mr_AnonroyalpaladinTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
Mr_AnonroyalpaladinTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: FF