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RE: RE: RE: Of Dead Trees and Democracy

by FouRPlaY (Monk)
on Nov 11, 2000 at 04:15 UTC ( #41056=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to RE: RE: Of Dead Trees and Democracy
in thread Of Dead Trees and Democracy

I'm postings this in here because I can't acctually responed to ybiC's post.

I've been doing some reading on the American electoral process and American presidents, and I'm going to take a stab at the reasons for the existence of the Electoral College. Now, not being American, I may miss the mark be a lot, but what else is new?

It seems to me that there was a choice regarding the election of a president. Either by popular vote, or by selection of Congrees. It was decided to do a combination to prevent Congrees from picking "favourites" (notice the 'u' :), and the people from making foolish choices.

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  • Comment on RE: RE: RE: Of Dead Trees and Democracy

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RE: RE: RE: RE: Of Dead Trees and Democracy
by extremely (Priest) on Nov 11, 2000 at 08:24 UTC
    Actually, the choice was between Congress (no check and balance that way), Vote by State (Govenor or State House? worse you have people who you may no longer like picking higher ups, dangerous!), and Vote by Landholder (Populous States could control the presidency even though most States weren't represented at all.)

    The compromise was to have States cast as many votes as they had seats in the combined houses, giving a slight proportional edge to small states and taking away the direct vote which could have overwhelming single candidate votes.

    The compromise of the Electoral College means you elect a group of people who promise to vote your way and tends to prevent a few states from dominating the country or a cult of personality in one region from overwhelming the popular vote. You must win a majority of the people in a majority of the states, even if only by the slightest margins.

    The hidden danger/benefit of the Electoral College is that in all but 2 States, they aren't REQUIRED to vote for the candidate they promised to vote for. The reasoning at the time was that men of conscience would be able to pick a new choice if the original choice died or proved to be a criminal or was shown to be lying about his campaign promises or was disqualified after the popular election but before assuming office. Thus, by placing the final power to select the President in the hands of these representatives we assure the smooth transition of power without having to involve the rather partisan and potentially in need of checks and balances House/Senate.

    The system just seems really interesting when one candidate wins a few large states and the other wins a lot of small states. Then a few medium sized states winds up picking. Or even just one. =)

    The nice thing about the Electoral College system is that it is only confused when the people are. The bad thing is that the ignorant masses that the founders feared almost as much as a Monarchy might keep getting confused and start believing we live in a Democracy rather than a Representative Republic. =P

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RE: RE: RE: RE: Of Dead Trees and Democracy
by knight (Friar) on Nov 11, 2000 at 17:39 UTC
    There's a good summary of the early history of the Electoral College and how it shifted from its original intent here. The central point the author makes is that the framers were concerned about preserving individual liberties, and that a pure democracy would allow majorities to take away the rights of minorities. The EC was supposed to be a sort of nominating process, but it didn't work as intended.

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