So my mother in law is still here. Today we "chatted" about the electoral college. She thinks it is horrible (mad about 2000) and there should just be a popular vote. I asked her if she knew how the states were apportioned their electoral votes. She didn't know, so I explained that each state gets 2 for their senators and 1 for each representative.
I explained that just like in the congress, the founding fathers made a compromise between pure popular representation (the house of reps, a popular vote) and equal representation to each state (the senate). She believes that every person's vote should have an equal weight.
I replied, "ok" that's an argument that is at least reasonable, but then do you mind the current power allocation system of Congress? Does it bother you that a given citizen of alaska has relatively greater legislative voting power (indirectly that is through their rep and senators) than a given citizen of California? Blank stares from her.
So she has no beef with the Congress and is railing against the electoral college. To me, that is an inconsistent position.
Can anyone make the argument that the two are so different that it is not inconsistent (that is stating that a strict popular vote would be fair and so is our current federal legislature)?
Personally, i think all this is just way over her head
I think you explained it to her pretty well. You might also want to explain that the EC was designed so that no one region of the Country could dominate all the Country. Why should the New England states and California dominate the Nation? (my .02 worth).
Big cities wouold vote themselves everything. The rural states would be taxed dry with all the services going to the cities.
Big cities are a stupid idea, anyway. Europe does big cities, that's proof enough.
Ask the people in Alberta Canada and the other western provinces.
No offense, but your mother-in-law wants to destroy this republic, and I don't like or respect people who want to ruin my nation.
In fact, I wish this type of person ill. Sorry, but that's the way I feel.
without the EC the presidential candidates would simple campaign in NY City, LA, San Fran, Chicago, Boston and 1 or 2 other big cities
the way it is now they have to campaign in multiple states so they at least have to pander to other demographics
One of the reasons also for an electorial college was because the founding fathers didn't trust the common people to make an informed decision. The f'cking news media is confusing the $hit out of the sheeple with their aggragate totalling of all popular votes across the USA. That is not how the US Consitution spells out how the POTUS is elected.
I just did a paper on the history of the Electoral College.
Check out this website's pdf:
In this document, their are Pros and Cons to the system. The author explains this very well. I recommend all Arfcommers to read it.
Purplecheese: Great article! A must read. He hits my point on the head. I'll paste a brief summary of what the article says on my point:
Some opponents of the Electoral College point out, quite
correctly, its failure to accurately reflect the national popular will.
The distribution of Electoral votes in the College tends to overrepresent
people in rural States. This is because the number of Electors for
each State is determined by the number of members it has in the House
(which more or less reflects the State's population size) plus the number of
members it has in the Senate (which is always two regardless of the State's
population). The result is that in 1988, for example, the combined voting age
population (3,119,000) of the seven least populous jurisdictions of Alaska,
Delaware, the District of Columbia, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont,
and Wyoming carried the same voting strength in the Electoral College (21
Electoral votes) as the 9,614,000 persons of voting age in the State of Florida.
Each Floridian's potential vote, then, carried about one third the weight of a
potential vote in the other States listed.
In response to these arguments, proponents of the Electoral College
point out that it was never intended to reflect the national popular will. As
for the first issue, that the Electoral College over-represents rural
populations, proponents respond that the United States Senate -- with two
seats per State regardless of its population -- over-represents rural
populations far more dramatically. But since there have been no serious
proposals to abolish the United States Senate on these grounds, why should
such an argument be used to abolish the lesser case of the Electoral
College? Because the presidency represents the whole country? But so, as
an institution, does the United States Senate.
Indeed, if we become obsessed with government by popular majority
as the only consideration, should we not then abolish the Senate which
represents States regardless of population? Should we not correct the
minor distortions in the House (caused by districting and by guaranteeing
each State at least one Representative) by changing it to a system of
proportional representation? This would accomplish "government by
popular majority" and guarantee the representation of minority parties, but
it would also demolish our federal system of government. If there are
reasons to maintain State representation in the Senate and House as they
exist today, then surely these same reasons apply to the choice of president.
Why, then, apply a sentimental attachment to popular majorities only to the
The underlying theory behind the electoral college is filters of the popular will.
The founders feared that there could come a day when the majority of the voters could be swept off their feet by a tyrant, therefore they felt that an independant college could calmly select the President even if the popular will had gone completely bonkers.
So far, its worked exceptionally well. In 200 years we've only had 10 instances of faithless electors (electorals who don't follow their state's vote in the college).
And (thank God) we haven't needed them to override the popular will, yet.