Electoral College, urban/rural divides

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Electoral College, urban/rural divides

Post by NorthernComfort » Mon Nov 14, 2016 8:58 pm

During his 60 Minute interview, Trump pretty much said that he would prefer popular vote over the electoral college, despite Clinton winning the popular vote by a pretty decent margin (which is still growing). Obviously plenty of my liberal friends have been bitching and moaning about the electoral college given the outcome of the election, and some are holding out hope that due to some last-minute deus ex machina legislative plot device the members of the electoral college will somehow pull a Clinton victory off. (I'm not hopeful, my hopes and dreams are currently sitting in a compost heap to hopefully regrow in a few years)

What the electoral college is really showing is the starkest contrast between urban and rural America, which of course runs back in history to red lining and white flight, the introduction of the Interstate, and using suburbs as segregation. All of that has completely gone off the rails over the last 50 years, but we're left with effectively 2 Americas that has very little overlap or vested interest in the other halves lives.

How to remedy the urban/rural divide? Going with popular vote would mean that rural areas have very little voting power, and vice-versa, continuing with the electoral college means rural voters will carry more voting weight than those living in cities. It all looks pretty hopeless to me - but I'm pretty effing depressed to be honest. :(
"I guess I have a gift for expressing pedestrian tastes. In a way, it's kind of depressing." -Bill Watterson

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Re: Electoral College, urban/rural divides

Post by raptor9k » Mon Nov 14, 2016 11:03 pm

The electoral college isn't the problem. It's worked pretty well for the last few hundred years I think. While more people in the US preferred Clinton, more places in the US didn't. If you really want to fix something maybe we should pressure the big two to run centrist candidates that aren't so blatantly corrupt and self serving. The college does a pretty good job at quelling the tyranny of the majority and should remain in place.

I suspect the final nail in the coffin of this election was all the delayed provisions of the ACA finally kicking in. We've effectively lowered the quality of life for a huge portion of the population because their insurance rates have gone up 30-50% in the last 2 years. I have a buddy that's paying a little over twice what he was paying 2 years ago, with no discernible changes to his coverage. Most of the side effects of the law were set to take place years down the road when Obama wouldn't be around to take the blame and we've started to see some of the fallout. Since Obama never got any new taxes passed to pay for everything, the middle class is supporting this thing 100% and they don't like the extra bite out of their monthly income. Now, instead of building that new house or buying that new boat they get to save another 5-10 years if they can still afford their current situation.

In comes a bonafide businessman that sells it to them straight and they're ready to sign up. The racist remarks probably HELPED him with large sections of the population because they're either A) racist and subscribe to his viewpoints or B) figured that if he was willing to say something like that he wasn't lying about his actual agenda like a typical politician. What really mattered was that he told them he would bring back high paying jobs by renegotiating our current (most hated being NAFTA) trade agreements and putting a stop to illegal immigration. They figured it was better to try it his way than continue another four years of what Obama started.

I personally couldn't stomach voting for either of them. I don't think the country will go to hell in a hand basket overnight but I'm certain Trump will royally screw up some foreign relationship or another.

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Re: Electoral College, urban/rural divides

Post by Deacon » Tue Nov 15, 2016 4:18 am

As a Texan, my vote counts for the least in the country after California. New Yorkers, Floridians, and all the rest have their vote counted for more than nine. In fact, in Vermont, where the carpetbagger Bernie Sanders moved to start his lifelong political career free from competition, their votes count for three times mine.

But the electoral college is still there for a reason, the same reason we have a bicameral legislature. It's a compromise, essentially, not straight equal representation per state nor straight by the numbers, but something in the middle. Sure, it's very heavily weighted overall in favor of the more populous states (way closer to the House than the Senate), but not so far as to be pointless.

Of course, as long as we continue to stick with this defeatist first-past-the-post voting mechanism, we'll continue to be shackled by this two party system. Throwing off that millstone from around our necks would be far more effective both short and long term than trying to undermine the electoral college. I was very encouraged to hear about Maine moving to a ranked choice mechanism instead (also known as alternate vote or instant run-off), though apparently not yet for president. And finally it looks like states as far away as Alaska might be paying attention. As the author of that Alaskan opinion piece put it, "Our democracy would be much more authentic if we could vote our true conscience, without feeling like our votes are wasted, or worse, counterproductive. Our political discourse would be richer if we had a robust multicandidate system. We would all feel more buy-in to the political system and outcomes if we felt our voices were heard, our preferences counted, and the victor had solid majority support."

And in case anyone is not familiar with the different concepts at play, here are a couple great videos on the topic:

The follies which a man regrets the most in his life are those which he didn't commit when he had the opportunity. - Helen Rowland, A Guide to Men, 1922

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