The Instigator
Food136
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points
The Contender
DNehlsen
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

Electoral College

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Food136
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/11/2017 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,071 times Debate No: 100817
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)

 

Food136

Con

I will argue that the Electoral College is an unfair system that is should be abolished or significantly reformed while my opponent must argue that the electoral college is fair and should not be changed or requires only slight tweaks.

Debate Structure
Round One- Agree upon definitions if any, and accept debate rules
Round Two- Present arguments without rebuking what the opposing debater argued.
Round Three- Rebuke opposing arguments made by your opponents in Round Two.
Round Four- Defend your round 2 arguments WITHOUT introducing any new arguments.
MUST include sources for arguments.
Definitions
Electoral College- body of people representing the states of the US, who formally cast votes for the election of the president and vice president.
Source https://en.oxforddictionaries.com...
DNehlsen

Pro

I'll gladly accept this debate in the position of Pro. I'll be debating in favor of the Electoral College. I look forward to a productive discussion, and wish my opponent the best of luck.
Debate Round No. 1
Food136

Con

I would like to thank my contender for accepting this debate and also hope for a productive discussion.

1. Disproportionate voting power.
One of the most fundamental aspects of a fair and representative democracy is that every citizen's vote is equal but in the electoral college, the power a single person's vote drastically changes between states and gives drastically more power to people living in smaller states. For example, a small state such as Wyoming has 3 electoral college votes or 1 vote for every 134 783 citizens of the state while a larger state such as California has 55 electoral college votes or 1 vote for every 410 647 residents. This effectively gives a voter in Wyoming roughly three times the voting power of a Californian voter which distorts one of the most fundamental aspects of a democracy. A person should not have their vote count more than another just because of something as arbitrary as where they live.

This disproportionate voting power also creates a weird scenario where a president can theoretically win the presidency by winning the votes of only 22% of the population. (Source https://www.youtube.com......) Although this is incredibly unlikely to happen in real life, the fact that it's even possible demonstrates that small states in the electoral college have far too much power to determine the fate the rest of the country. I do agree small states need a way to protect themselves from the interests of bigger states but the electoral college in its current state gives smaller states far to much power over the larger ones.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com......;

2. Winner take all system
Every state in the US (except 2) uses a winner takes all system which has the state giving all its electoral votes to whoever wins the popular vote. This system makes it so that any person who votes for the losing candidate in their state has their vote completely ignored. In the 2012 election, roughly 3 million Californians voted for the Republican party and roughly 5 million Texans voted for the Democrats but because of the winner take all system, their votes were basically ignored in the state's electoral votes. In short, if someone wants to vote for their state's losing candidate, they might as well stayed home. This aspect of the Electoral College is completely unfair and ignores millions of American. The winner takes all system must be abolished and replaced with another system that more fairly distributes a state's electoral votes such as giving electoral votes proportional to how many people voted for the respective candidates

Sources:
https://www.archives.gov......

3. Swing States
Because of the winner take all system that states employ, most states will vote reliably democrat and republican which incentivises a presidential candidate to completely ignore them as they have no chance of losing their support and gaining more support in those states is pointless as that wouldn't give them any more electoral votes. This is why presidential candidates instead focus on so-called "swing states" which are states that had close elections meaning either party could win in those states and their electoral vote. This forces any presidential candidate who wishes to win the presidency to put the majority of their effort and resources into those states. In the 2012 elections,99.6% of Obama's television advertising budget was directed towards advertising in just 10 states and 99.9% of Mitt Romey's television advertising budget was also directed to just 10 states. Also, after the Democratic National Convention in 2012, only 12 states had public campaign events by either the presidential or vice presidential candidate. The swing states the current Electoral College forces presidential candidates to only focus on a small number of select states instead of the entire nation.

This is made even worse by the fact that the swing states make up a minority of the population with the swing states in 2012 make up only 18% of the total population of the US. If the states that a presidential candidate focusses on were the most populated ones, it could be at least justified as a candidate wanting to gain the support of the majority of Americans. However, the fact that 18% of the population and less than a quarter of the states in the United States get so much attention and focus on presidential candidates, is objectively unrepresentative and unfair.

Source:
http://www.fairvote.org......:
http://www.cnn.com......
I'm using the 2012 elections because I can find more information on it

4. Faithless electors
in 21 states, there is no law that binds an elector to vote for a specific candidate. This means that an elector from a state that voted republican could choose to go against the will of the people and instead vote democrat. There is no other word to describe this absolute horrifying especially when this has happened 93 times throughout American history most recently in 2004 where an elector voted for someone named "John Ewards," which is almost the name of John Edwards who was John Kerry's running mate. Although these faithless electors have never acted in a way that changed the outcome of an election, the fact that it's even a possible that rogue electors can completely override the will of the people is a massive flaw in the electoral college that must be fixed.

Sources:
http://archive.fairvote.org......
http://www.fairvote.org......
http://www.vox.com......

Conclusion.
The electoral college in its current state very poorly represents the American people. It gives people more voting power depending on which state they live, it makes the votes of anyone who voted for their state's losing candidate irrelevant, it incentivises presidential candidates to focus only on specific states while ignoring the rest of the country, and the electors in 21 states can override the will of their voters. The electoral college needs to be reformed, overhauled or even abolished to make room for a new voting system that is actually fair and representative.
DNehlsen

Pro

Oppositions to the Electoral College usually have one encompassing idea that defines their entire arguement. "The Electoral College in undemocratic." This is preceisly the point. America is by no means a Democracy. America is a Consitutional Republic. The Founding Father feared democracy, and in an effort to avoid such a dangerous system of government they instated the Electoral College.

Benjamin Franklin famously said: "Democracy is like two wolves and a sheep deciding what is to be for dinner."
America assures the freedom and pursuit of happiness of all individuals. In a democracy, however, there is no true freedom, or assurance of such, for the 49%. The majority, the 51%, are the only ones with assured freedoms. Think of it like this; the majority of americans are white. Under a democracy, we could now legally band together and vote to kill off any non-white races. This same idea can be carried over to politics.

The top four most populous states in America make up 33% of the entire population. California alone makes up 13.5% of the american population. The Electoral College provides a system of diminishing returns to large states and populations. This way, four states do not represent 33% of the entire nation. (1)

In this last 2016 election, Donald Trump won approximately 2,600 counties to Clintons 500. This means Donald Trump won nearly 84% of america's counties. Clinton, however, still received the majority of votes despite this geographical landslide. This means that without the electoral college, 500 counties (16%) would be able to control the remaining 2,600 (84%). (2; 3) Reproduction farms, or large cities if you prefer, are very good at indoctrinating the voter. Voters who live in the same area are more likely to think alike than someone who does not live in their area. Therefore more densly populated areas not only have a higher population, but they're extremely likely to vote the same way. This is why we saw Clinton with 62% of the popular
vote in California. The Electoral College is designed to eliminate this echochamber.

The Electoral College is designed to give power to geography. Every state, plus D.C., has at least 3 Electoral Votes regardless of population. It is not until these 3 votes have been assigned that more votes are given based on population. This is what causes largely populated places, like california, to have a lower voting percentile; ensuring every state is equal before any move ahead.


I have a lot more to add in regard to refutations, however I am unable to perform any during the second round. Because of this, I will end my point here and await my opponents rebuttal.

(1) https://en.wikipedia.org...;
(2) http://www.infoplease.com...;
(3) http://brilliantmaps.com...
Debate Round No. 2
Food136

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for posting his arguments and apologise for taking so long to respond. I had a lot more schoolwork than I anticipated. I would also like Pro to know I am not trying to argue that the Electoral College is undemocratic like many other people but instead that it's unrepresentative of the populace and should be replaced by something more representative.

My opponent argues that without the electoral college there will be a tyranny of the majority that would completely dominate politics and deprive the rights of the minority. Yet, this would not be the case as if the president was in fact elected by a popular vote instead of the electoral college, he or she would still have to abide by the constitution and the bill of rights. The president would not be able to take away the rights of the minority and the minority would still be able to compete in a democratic election and convince people to join their side. After all, power constantly changes in a democracy and the minority party one election cycle could become the majority party the next. There is also the senate which has equal representatives from all the states which again helps curtail the power of the majority. I understand that the USA was never meant to be a pure democracy it was set up as a Constitutional Republic but the fact of the matter is that the government is still democratic. Representatives in Congress are chosen through a popular election and electoral votes go to whichever candidate won the popular votes in a state yet no one who supports the electoral college complains about them being unfair in how the majority's will overpowers the one of the minority

Another point that my opponent makes is that without the Electoral College, only a few states and counties would control the presidential elections and in return American Politics. Yet, this is already the case under the Electoral College because of its winner takes all system and swing states. Because the majority of states vote reliably democrat or republican, Presidential candidates ignore them as gaining more support from those states would be pointless and instead focus on swing states. As I mentioned before, the swing states make up a small minority of the total population meaning that because of how the Electoral College is set up, a small minority of the US population is controlling the presidential elections. This should go without question be incredibly unfair and objectively worse than having a majority control politics.
DNehlsen

Pro

Now that we've entered Round 3 I can finally start answering questions and presenting real points. I'd like to look first at my opponents initial arguments.

Because this point is essential in understanding a lot of the electoral college, I will address my opponents second point, "Winner take all system," first.
Saying states have a winner take all system is like saying America as a whole has a winner take all system. Imagine an election where a candidate won the presidency at a ratio of 60%-40%. The 40% of people who voted for the other candidate basically had their votes ignored. After all, why can't my candidate have 40% of the presidency while we give the remaining 60% to the winner? Obviously this is a silly question, but the same idea holds true in regard to each state. America is not meant to be one big place split into 52 territories to make organization easier. It is 52 territories brought together under a single banner. Each territory is meant to be treated as an individual of its own. So when you vote, you're not voting for who america says should be president. You are voting for who your state will say should be the president. This is why we have a winner take all system. You're voting for your state. So in reality, there are 51 different elections going on at the same time, voting on the Electoral College. America, again, is not meant to be a democracy. Because of this, the election should not be decided by the popular vote, rather the concensus of the american territories.

Now I would like to turn to my opponents first point - "Disproportionate voting power."
The biggest point presented by my opponent here is the '22%' statistic. We've already established why we have a winner-take-all system. It is foundational to what America is about. Imagine there's no disproportionate voting, and each state is perfectly represented by population. Now imagine an election between two presidential candidates. Suppose one candidate won just over 50% of the states by just over 50% of the vote in each. This candidate now won the election with just over 25% of the vote. Therefore, this is not an issue with the electoral college but state voting in general. This, like the number presented by my opponent, is incredibly unlikely. Disproportion is used to ensure each territory has at least 3 votes, thus an adequate say, in an election.

My opponents third point - "Swing States"
Everything about this argument is just wrong. Most states vote reliably in one direction because their area tends to have a specific interest. Therefore it would be entirely logical to assume that said state would vote consistently for a political party with their interest in mind. If a state isn't a swing state, then they clearly don't want more attention from the candidates. If a state wants more attention from a candidate, their divided interests will bring them closer and closer to that 50%-50% area, requiring them to get attention. The state of California is perfectly content with the attention they're given, otherwise they would not continue to vote so passionately to one side. There is no confliction in who they would like to support, and they therefore need not have valuable time and recourses wasted on visiting them. The Swing States change - they're the places that need convincing. Swing States, contrary to what my opponent has said here, do not allow candidates to complete ignore states either. Even though some states are consistent "blue's" or "red's" that doesn't mean a candidate can completely ignore them, as they're always capable of changing their vote were they offended.

My opponents fourth point - "Faithless Electors"
I agree for the most part. I do think it should be possible for such a thing to happen as a final safeguard against dangerous men. The penalty for such a course of action, however, should be greater. A greater penalty would dissuade from faithless voting unless it was absolutely essential to the survival of the country. This is an area that should receive some tweaking.

Since I am unable to make any comments on my opponents rebuttal until the final round, I will leave it here. I look forward to my opponents final reply.
Debate Round No. 3
Food136

Con

My opponent has rebuked my argument of the Winner Takes all system under the belief that the US is 52 Territories brought under a single banner of the United States of America and each territory is meant to be treated as its own individual. Yet, this is not the case. When the original 13 colonies broke free of the British in the 18th century, they were, by all means, independent states but when the constitution was ratified, those states ceased to be independent and instead became a subdivision of the United States of America. Sure, states have a lot of independence compared to their equivalent in other countries, but they are still subordinate to the Federal Government. Federal Laws supersede state laws, states cannot legally succeed from the US, the states are legally subject to the final dictates of the Federal Government, and the US is not referred to not as These United States but instead The United States indication how the US is a singular body and not multiple states joined together. This makes the US a country and a country should represent the people to its best of its ability and the Electoral College does not allow that. The winner takes all system ignores the voices of millions of Americans and makes their votes almost meaningless which is incredibly unrepresentative and unfair.

I would also like the address my opponents election example. Yes, this is an example of a winner takes all system but it's something unavoidable in the democratic process. The power of the presidency cannot be shared effectively and makes splitting the power unpractical but this not the same as the Winner takes all system in the electoral college. Allowing proportional electoral votes to be distributed has no real downside besides being slightly more complicated and allows for much better representation.

My previous arguments also apply to the rebuttal to my first point but I would like to address the state's voting example my opponent made. He pointed out that if every state was perfectly represented, a candidate can win with just over 25% of the popular votes. This is a valid issue that applies to state voting but at the same time shows the flaws of state voting. It allows presidents to be elected with a small minority of the popular vote. If the president was the leader of a group of group individual states who wish to join together, this wouldn't be a problem but as I have previously mentioned, the US is not that. Since the Electoral College is in a way a state voting system, this just shows another flaw in the system.

Pro has stated that everything about my argument about the swing states is wrong. He is correct in the fact that states with close elections would get more attention even if swing states didn't exist but the swing states massively exacerbate this focus. Candidates spend a vast majority of their time and campaign in these states and for the most part, ignore the rest of the country because this is the best way to win the election. Even though my opponent says otherwise, I have cited sources showing how politicians use almost all of their advertising budgets and hold almost all of their rallies in swings states. If swing states didn't exist, it would be more viable to gain support in states that consistently vote for the opposing party or ones one party as gaining more support would gain more votes making candidates more receptive to the entire population not just the ones in the swing state.

Finally Faithless Electors. My opponent believes that they should be able to vote against the people's wishes as a final safeguard against a dangerous man but I believe that this ability comes at too great of a cost. Although my opponent does believe in greater penalties to faithless voting, I believe they should not be able to do it all. I see it as a much higher probability for some corrupt politician to bribe or otherwise coerce Electors to vote him or her into office than for a dangerous demagogue to win the presidency. After all, it's must easier to convince a few hundred people to vote for you than it is an entire country.
DNehlsen

Pro

My opponent has rebuked my argument of the Winner Takes all system under the belief that the US is 52 Territories brought under a single banner of the United States of America and each territory is meant to be treated as its own individual. Yet, this is not the case.
As I will prove, this in fact is the case.


When the original 13 colonies broke free of the British in the 18th century, they were, by all means, independent states but when the constitution was ratified, those states ceased to be independent and instead became a subdivision of the United States of America.
This is true in that each state surrenders certain rights and privleges towards the nation as a whole. This, however, does not change the fact that they are individuals brought together -- United, but independent.


Sure, states have a lot of independence compared to their equivalent in other countries, but they are still subordinate to the Federal Government.
You play this point off like it hardly matters. States have incredibly more freedom than say, a Canadian Province.


Federal Laws supersede state laws, states cannot legally succeed from the US, the states are legally subject to the final dictates of the Federal Government, and the US is not referred to not as These United States but instead The United States indication how the US is a singular body and not multiple states joined together.
Federal Laws supersese state laws, correct. Federal Laws are meant to be kept at a minimum though. The current President of the US has made many comments in regard to turning power back to the states. States aren't as free as they should be, but that doesn't mean the principle doesn't stand. US states are supposed to be able to secede, but this was yet another right taken from the states as a result of the Union victory in the Civil War. The United States has a central government, so in that regard, yes, it is a single body. But just because something is A, does not mean it cannot also be B. It is a single body made up of 52 different areas.


This makes the US a country and a country should represent the people to its best of its ability and the Electoral College does not allow that.
You have in fact proven my point here. The founding fathers designed each state to be autonomous. This is why each state has its' own election, and why there is a winner take all system. The Electoral College clearly is designed to protect the autonomy of the states.


The winner takes all system ignores the voices of millions of Americans and makes their votes almost meaningless which is incredibly unrepresentative and unfair.
By this logic, any vote that does not compensate the losing party with their given vote, is unrepresentative and unfair. Just because the central government does not give the losing part 40% of the presidency when it loses, does not mean it is unrepresentative. Each state is meant to hold autonomous power, and thus has its own election.


Allowing proportional electoral votes to be distributed has no real downside besides being slightly more complicated and allows for much better representation.
I can think of a downside. By electing by means of popular vote, you are bringing in democracy which the founding fathers did everything in their power to avoid. Are you claiming to be wiser than the founders of the greatest country in the world? That is an extraordinary proposition. By removing the Electoral College, you are also removing a large piece of their autonomy -- something the founding fathers, again, did everything in their power to put into place.


If the president was the leader of a group of group individual states who wish to join together, this wouldn't be a problem but as I have previously mentioned, the US is not that.
Right here my opponent has conceeded that state voting is viable under the system that I have previously proven was intended for america. I would take this comment as a type of surrender.


Candidates spend a vast majority of their time and campaign in these states and for the most part, ignore the rest of the country because this is the best way to win the election. Even though my opponent says otherwise, I have cited sources showing how politicians use almost all of their advertising budgets and hold almost all of their rallies in swings states. If swing states didn't exist, it would be more viable to gain support in states that consistently vote for the opposing party or ones one party as gaining more support would gain more votes making candidates more receptive to the entire population not just the ones in the swing state.
My opponent has yet to explain to me why it is a bad thing for a candidate to focus his/her attention on a population that he could possible win or lose with. If California really felt bad that they didn't get enough attention, they wouldn't vote 70% liberal. Swing States change, because state interests change. There is no need for a candidate to try and coerce a population that already primarily supports him/her.


I see it as a much higher probability for some corrupt politician to bribe or otherwise coerce Electors to vote him or her into office than for a dangerous demagogue to win the presidency. After all, it's must easier to convince a few hundred people to vote for you than it is an entire country.
I, again, do not really have any opinion on faithless electors. That's not a matter I'm terribly interested in worrying about. You may argue it's a good thing or a bad thing. The thing I find interesting about it, however, is how the opposers to the Electoral College were the first to support faithless electors in this last campaign. CNN, TYT, and Buzzfeed, to name a few, all looked to the faithless electors saying "This is the good part of the Electoral College." Again, I have no opinion on the mattter really, but it definitely is interesting to see other opinions on it.

I would like to thank my opponent for a wonderful debate. It was a pleasure to have this discussion, and I think we can both say we've walked away with something new to consider.
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
*******************************************************************
>Reported vote: somerandomguy98// Mod action: NOT Removed<

3 points to Con (Arguments). Reasons for voting decision: I have read over this discussion over 5 times to make sure I didn't miss anything. I read all the sources,checked the spelling, and was comparing this information to past elections. I have castes my vote and hopefully others will too. I wish the best of luck to you!

[*Reason for non-removal*] This debate is over 6 months past the end of the voting period. As such, it is well past the statute of limitations for vote moderation.
************************************************************************
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by somerandomguy98 1 year ago
somerandomguy98
Food136DNehlsenTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: I have read over this discussion over 5 times to make sure I didn't miss anything. I read all the sources,checked the spelling, and was comparing this information to past elections. I have castes my vote and hopefully others will too. I wish the best of luck to you!