Generic voting question

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Stan, Oct 6, 2012.

  1. Stan

    Stan Producer
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    I'm still confused by the electoral college vote. Obama is ahead with the popular vote, but not nearly at the ratio the electoral would lead you to expect.
    By popular vote, he'll still win, but by maybe only a few hundred thousand or few million votes, but other campaigns have been much closer, even with Gore beating Bush in the popular vote. Even where I live, I think we have 12 electoral votes, but by popular vote, it's closer to a 50-50 split, yet Obama gets all 12 votes.
    I understand your reasoning against a popular vote, but in many states, Obama did concentrate on the major metros, probably leading to his victory.
    Mentioned this in another post, but my vote really had little contribution, our state was decided months ago and given to Obama, regardless of how the lower population portions of the state voted.
    Maybe breaking the rules of the forum, but my choices did win, even though they were probably already decided before my vote was counted.
     
  2. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Let's not go any further, Stan, on the specifics of your votes. The rules are getting pushed to their limit.

    But you continue to vex me with this idea that your vote didn't count...even though your candidate won your state. What if everyone who voted for your guy stayed home? I believe he would have lost. Elections are won by pluralities. If you don't vote, there's that much of a better chance your guy won't win.
     
  3. Walter C

    Walter C Cinematographer

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    Wow, I'm surprised that this thread reached 3 pages! Never thought a hint of this subject matter would get this far. :)
     
  4. Stan

    Stan Producer
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    Sorry Mike, never expected this thread to go this far, started as just a simple question.
    I know politics are off limits and tried to keep it as neutral as possible, but obviously went a little to far.
     
  5. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Don't get me wrong, fellas. I'm not saying to end the discussion. I just want to be cautious about mentioning specific votes and specific candidates, etc.

    There have been a number of interesting sub-topics touched upon in this thread. The Electoral College discussion, for example, is very relevant right now.

    So keep going--as the spirit moves you.

    Stan's original question about the value of his vote (at least I think that was the original question, IIRC) is a really important one and I still don't think he's yet got a complete understanding of how important one man's vote is--as hard as I try to explain it!
     
  6. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    Ok, I'm going to answer this in a way that is completely not political. I will mention no candidates and we won't tread there.
    IF you are in a state that is a guaranteed "W" for one party or another, then you're right, if you are voting in opposition to how your state goes, your vote would be considered a wash. In those states, your vote is worth a binary proposition of "1" or "0". It either bolsters the majority or it is dismissed in the national scheme.
    Now, for local issues - municipality, house of representatives and even state senator, your vote has far more impact as these elections can rotate back and forth. More than that, studies show that how you vote influences those around you, and in the end, very few people "vacuum vote" (that is, cast a vote without providing any external influence). Again, in the end, as above, if it's a national issue and your state is not a swing state, the impact of your vacuum matters less.. unless you're vacuum is huge (this is why endorsements by popular celebrities, political figures and others matter, because their "vacuum effect" is much higher).

    Now, in regards to an Electoral College, if the Electoral College is eliminated, there is SOME need to appear to you, but really, Washington's not a big enough base to really draw that much attention. More than that, in a straight population vote, Regional candidates make a much higher appearance (see: George Wallace) in that a candidate can say "I don't have to win everywhere, I just have to win South/NorthEast/West by 80%, effectively shutting out others, and if Y runs in the West/South/NorthEast, then we divide up and.." It is true that a national popular vote would be the ultimate desire of third parties, as it would provide them instant and immediate relief.

    What is called a "split EV", where EVs are cast by house districts is seen by many as the mid-level compromise. You avoid regionalism and you make sure that states are not "Winner Take All" at the same time. It also provides a much more geographically correct assumption to the winner on the policies and areas that they are supported by as well as the ones they need to make progress in...

    Both strategies are valid. The prior policy of "All EVs at once" is an ideal strategy when communication within a state or nation is limited, thus a "sense of a state" provided an accurate sense of that state without requiring the resources and means of dividing it further. In other words, before say, the modern PC era, the idea of dividing by district would have been such a monumental task that most states simply couldn't handle the management of accomplishing it.

    But the importance of your vote at the LOCAL level (school boards, city issues, etc.) tends to be significantly important as your value there escalates immensely as your ability to influence that vote rises as it gets closer to you.

    Does that help?
     
  7. Patrick_S

    Patrick_S Producer
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    If you are saying that the members of the House should be casting the EC votes to elect the President than this is an extraordinarily bad answer.
    Also it would result in more gerrymandering not less.
     
  8. Adam Gregorich

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    Matt-
    With the Electoral Collage, states like Washington, OR, CA, NY are going to vote for the D candidate guaranteed, while states like TX, OK, and others in the Midwest are going to go for the R. Since these states are either "in the bag" or "unwinnable" (depending on your preference ) the candidates pretty much bypass them anyway. I think Obama made one stop here that was a fundraiser, and Romey made one fundraiser/campaign stop, so we were essentiall ignored anyway (maybe that was a good thing? )

    I don't get what you propose Matt, as that seems to ignore the public vote too. Some states split their EC votes based on the percentage of votes plus giving a "bonus" vote or two to the winner of the popular vote, kind of a hybrid approach.
     
  9. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Without it the candidate might be motivated to campaign mostly in big cities. But with it, they only campaign in Ohio and Florida, the swing states, since all-or-nothing EC creates its own distortions. Everyone works to their merit function. The trick is to design a good one to get good outcome.
    Here's a look at who matters for politicking.
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2012/11/01/163632378/a-campaign-map-morphed-by-money
     
  10. Adam Gregorich

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    The money and swing states look suspiciously alike
     
  11. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Yep. :)
     
  12. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    No, I'm not saying that at all.

    I'm saying each house district would be the equivelent of one EV. A House district could elect party A to the house and party B to the White House.. in fact, this happens often. Electors are cast at the state level, not the house level.
    However, Gerry Meandering is often used to secure "guaranteed" "R" or "D" areas, but study after study have shown that they do so to make sure it's beyond a +10 rate. This means completely safe districts. This doesn't necessarily work on the national level, which if faced with a single guaranteed "A" and a guaranteed "B" would prefer 2 closer matched districts than two landslide ones as a chance to pickup 2 EVs than a guaranteed one.
     
  13. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    Two states do it.. Nebraska and Maine.
    But let's look at it a different way. Let's say Missouri did it. Missouri has 11 electoral votes. 9 Districts. Each district is assigned an Elector in a split system, so Missouri would have given 3 to Obama, 6 to Romney and than 2 more to Romney for winning the state. Let's go to a really Red State, Texas. Texas has 34. If it was split, 11 would have went for Obama, 21 to Romney, and 2 to Romney for winning the state.
    This divided system means that there is a benefit to winning the state, sure. But it also means that the will of the people at the most base level is still much more accurate. And how your district votes for President not any other race influences the electors (so your district could vote for a (D) or (R) in other races, but as is current, the elector would only be set by the top of the ticket).

    As others note, if we go to pure, raw vote, we spend time only in major metros. In winner take all EV, we spend so only in toss up states. In a split EC, pressure is on in all states to turn out to make sure you don't lose districts in Georgia, Texas, California, New York.. etc. it becomes a much more nationwide race.
    The other real concern, as I pointed out, is if you go full popular vote, you immediately encourage third parties. Whether that's good or bad, it's reality. You can't afford to run a big nationwide race? Doesn't matter. Run a big race in the south and win a huge amount of votes. Count on other people dividing the vote up elsewhere so you end up with an 8 way competition where regions pit against each other... IF that system had been in effect when George Wallace ran, the race would have been shockingly different... the EV system was a major obstacle against him in 1968, but despite other candidates pointing out he couldn't win, he still garnered 10M votes and several EVs. If this was a competition of just raw vote, his case and money would have been much easier to come by. Another big example of that: Ross Perot in 1992. In a non-EV system, Perot would have made a much larger regional impact.
     
  14. Mike Frezon

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  15. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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