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How the Electoral College can save the country

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posted on Jul, 15 2004 @ 12:20 PM
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Perhaps the solution to the flaws in our presidential elections lies in strengthening an already existing system rather than in scrapping the old one and trying to come up with something new or simply accepting the current system as the best that can be accomplished in the modern world. Our electoral process has been hijacked by pundits and one liners and is more interested in creating image than in evaluating the substance of any candidate. Even with the vast resources that are available for the voter to make an informed decision, most voters go to the poles woefully uninformed about the candidates they are voting into the highest office in the land. There is simply not enough time and interest in the general population to inspire them to take the weeks of research that are required to scratch the surface of a candidates qualifications and then make an informed decision. Rather, the average Joe voter decides based on a few news articles and a few trite campaign commercials. Meanwhile billions of dollars are pumped into influencing the voter decision based on emotional, inspirational, cosmetic, and loyalty issues.

There is a system already in place that was intended to address the issue of voter ignorance. Each election there is a move to totally disband the system calling it useless and outdated. I would argue however that the Electoral College, if used as it was intended, with a few modivications would in essence get us better leadership for this nation and help to minimize the influence of big money in the presidential election.

I envision changing the Electoral College from the rote yes men and women that it is today to an electoral evaluation and voting College where elected representatives from each state go to evaluate the candidates for a period of 6 weeks. During this time they are given broad access to the candidates and can ask pointed questions of each candidate on issues varying from foreign policy to domestic agendas. They can also better evaluate the character of candidates as representatives from each state would be granted personal interviews with each candidate .

I would further propose that those elected to got the Electoral College be elected on the local level using the districts that are drawn for state representatives as a template. That way those who are voting in the presidential election would actually be voting for people that they know or can know on the local level. This way instead of voting strict party lines they can vote for the most insightful and influential people in their specific community to go to the national convention, be schooled on each candidate and then make an informed choice of who should be the next president.

This plan would make it much harder for big money to influence the vote since they would have to try to bribe thousands of locally accountable people rather than just two or three national candidates. Also the bribery would not be a direct influence on the man getting into office. National campaign ads like we see today would be greatly reduced and the campaign efforts could be focused once again on the local level where people could be informed as to who they are sending to the Electoral College and how that persons views correspond to their own.

There would of course have to be a high degree of security and accountability to keep special interests from unduly corrupting individual representatives but his is no different from the campaigns that are being run today except that you would not be dealing with national figures and would more easily assess foul play due to the fact that the involved party probably would not have multi million dollar corporations and trust funds to hide behind.

This is an idea in process and can certainly use refining before it could become a lucid proposal for a constitutional amendment but I believe in the principles implied by this type of system and I also believe it would greatly benefit the American voting system by cutting down on special interest money to the presidential candidates and providing local accountability in the election. Lastly I believe it is the best way for the American public to choose the best man for the job.

I invite your comments and additional thoughts to refine this proposal.




posted on Jul, 15 2004 @ 12:48 PM
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wonder how much the cost of living would rise when instead of having just a few men to pay off to get their influence in the gov't, they have to also buy off how many delegates??

I think the answer lies with putting an end to the great american corporate buyout myself....come one...how can anyone know what the heck these guys are really thinking of doing if they were elected, any of them.....have you ever listened to them? they couldn't deliver even if everyone agreed with them....it's impossible...but yet they still talk the talk...then walk the other way...whereever the corporate leashes pull them.



posted on Jul, 15 2004 @ 03:00 PM
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The point of this system is that it would be easier to track the corporate payoffs to individual delages as opposed to the behind the scenes dontations to political action committees and the like. Each delagate would have to submit to a financial records check as well as a full background check. $50,000 into an average citizen's account would make a big splash where to national candidates that is only a drop in the bucket.



posted on Jul, 15 2004 @ 04:17 PM
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I do think that is a good idea johannmon, one of the main problems with our constitution is the 17th amendment which allows for the direct election of the senators. If things worked the way they used to then the state legislators would elect senators and things would all be nice. Because then the senate would represent the states like it is supposed to and the the house of representatives would represent the people like its supposed to.

Starting with the 17th amendment it began an era when our republic became a democracy, so that now the electoral college has become like you said above, yes men and women. Ya if we dont change things we are headed down...



posted on Jul, 15 2004 @ 09:46 PM
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Are you trying to say that the average voter is stupid? We have been and are a democracy because the people of this country try to vote on issues as they see them. It seems that you may be suggesting that people are not intelligent enough nor care enough to vote correctly.


df1

posted on Jul, 15 2004 @ 09:59 PM
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Lets elect the president by popular vote. The electoral college is only used in the presidential elections and provides nothing other than another potential level corruption. It is ridiculous that a person can become president with fewer votes than another candidate and creates a public perception of a dishonest government. Please explain how the electoral college makes any sense what-so-ever.
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[edit on 15-7-2004 by df1]



posted on Jul, 15 2004 @ 10:37 PM
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While admittedly the EC makes no sense in its current format, it could prove very useful if used as a representative college to educate the elected representatives on the candidates issues and beliefs. Then those representatives could make an informed vote with the best information and opinions available. The one man one vote slogan makes a great statement but on the scale of national politics it allows the man with the best PR to win rather than the best man. Perhaps what Johannmon is suggesting is actually a good way to elect the best leader rather than the tallest person on the ticket as so often happened.


df1

posted on Jul, 16 2004 @ 05:49 AM
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Originally posted by Wolferacerfan
While admittedly the EC makes no sense in its current format, it could prove very useful if used as a representative college to educate the elected representatives on the candidates issues and beliefs. Then those representatives could make an informed vote with the best information and opinions available.

Perhaps you are willing to reliquish the decision making process to some undefined EC representatives that you assume will be better educated and more informed than yourself. I make no such assuptions. We have recently witnessed the 9/11 commission that has some of these supposedly wiser and more informed representatives. I for one was not impressed.


The one man one vote slogan makes a great statement but on the scale of national politics it allows the man with the best PR to win rather than the best man. Perhaps what Johannmon is suggesting is actually a good way to elect the best leader rather than the tallest person on the ticket as so often happened.

It is the national media that turns presidential elections into a PR circus by failing to provide balanced and fair exposure to all the presidential candidates of all political parties. It is not uninformed poor decision making by the people, it is misinformation provided by the media that makes the contest a into PR event instead of an election.

I have stated before that america has turned into a nation of cowards. We should be demanding that the national media provide us with complete and accurate information on all of the presidential candidates, but you and Johannmon would rather plead ignorance and abdicate the power to select the president to someone else. This is not only cowardice, it is pure laziness.

I suppose your lazy cowardice is not unexpected, after all our cowardly congress abdicated its power to wage war to the executive branch so if things did not work out well in iraq they could deny responsibility and blame the president for the entire situation, which is exactly what is happening.

In the same manner you wish to pass off the chosing of the president to someone else, so if things don't work out, you can claim its not your fault.

Come on show some courage.
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posted on Jul, 16 2004 @ 04:52 PM
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This is not only cowardice, it is pure laziness.


That is the furthest thing from the truth. The system that I am proposing does not encourage laziness in any way. In fact it requires a person to actually get to know the representatives who are elected to the electoral college. It gives a personal face to the impersonal process of Presidential elections. You elect the people who you beleive can make the best informed decision on the matter once they have been presented with all the facts and had the opportunity to meet with the men who would be President. Most of us, if we were truly honest with ourselves, would have to admit that we do not have access to even half the real information that is needed to evaluate the candidates to the depth that is necessary. Does Joe citizen have access to FBI files on the candidates? Does Joe citizen have access to classified information on the decisions the sitting president has made? How many people who vote in the elections have had a chance to ask the presidential candidates the questions that are on thier mind? Far from being a abdication of responsibility, this places the responsibility on people who could make a much better decision than a mere popular vote enables.

The responsibility of the populace then becomes one of sending someone from the local level to the EC. This becomes much more like a mayoral race where the character and beliefs of each individual delage can be examined by the people who have known this person for some time and in some cases all their lives. It has the potential to be a much more accountable system rather than a less accountable one. It would require the voting populace to be informed about a person that they can actually know and have the potential to know well rather than a figurehead on a TV commercial or a character in a nightly news story. Since knowing a local representative is an achievable goal it makes the populace all the more responsible to and for their vote. Where as now anyone can claim ignorance of the candidate or claim they were misled by scant information and so just voted for the name they recognize or empathize with the most. While empathy on a personal level is a great quality it is a terrible way to pick a leader of the most powerful nation on the Earth.

Let me add this statement to this post. It takes far greater courage to recognize one's ignorance and lack of information and understanding than it does to proclaim your own intelligence belittle others for not rising to your level.

[edit on 16-7-2004 by Johannmon]


df1

posted on Jul, 16 2004 @ 06:25 PM
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Originally posted by Johannmon
Let me add this statement to this post. It takes far greater courage to recognize one's ignorance and lack of information and understanding than it does to proclaim your own intelligence belittle others for not rising to your level.


You keep claiming I have called you ignorant then playing the victim. Now you claim you are ignorant and cite your admission of ignorance as a courageous and desirable trait. Your perceived failings are of no relevance to this issue, so I offer no opinion on your ignorance.

I do not agree with your thoughts on the electoral college.
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posted on Jul, 16 2004 @ 09:26 PM
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here are some links posted to me by u2u concerning a movement to repeal the 17th amendment. I feel it is related to this issue as explained above so I am posting these links and the U2U they were included in. My thanks to Lockheed for the information.



here are actually quite a few groups seeking to get rid of the 17th amendment

www.articlev.com...

There is one,

Here is a great article on it

www.liberty-ca.org...

here is a whole yahoo group devoted to that cause

groups.yahoo.com...

and as far as Congressmen go, Zell Miller (D-GA) who is a conservative is the main one to say so.

Here's an article about his comments made

www.talonnews.com...



posted on Jul, 16 2004 @ 09:59 PM
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Our only hope to save America is to restore us to the glory of our former Republic and not the Democracy we are now



posted on Jul, 17 2004 @ 09:21 AM
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This was sent to me by df1 in a u2u. I feel it is a logical argument and so will post it here to continue the discussion.


One man, one vote would be easily implemented. And the concept is simple and easily understood by average voter. It is the same concept that is used for all other elections except president. I see no reason to have a unique election process for the presidency.

Your EC concept is convulted and abstract, thus would not be easily understood by the average voter. Any political idea I support must meet the rule of "kiss" or it does not merit my consideration. IMHO your idea fails the "kiss" test. The more you explain the more complex your idea becomes to the extent that you are outsmarting yourself.




posted on Jul, 17 2004 @ 09:34 AM
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Well ladies and gentlemen the electoral college is not a hard concept to understand and also helps keep the states on a level playing field. Aside from the third grade understanding that the EC is to decide when the people are too stupid to know any better which is basically tripe, the EC is so that all states have a legitimate say in the presidential election. I live in NYC and we have about 8 million people here. Are there 8 million people living in rhode island? So naturally the presidential hopefuls would cater more to the needs of the bigger more populated areas neglecting the smaller states. The popular vote is a wonderful idea but in all reality it would not work. I suggest that instead we use our current EC system but instead of the all or nothing system we have now i say we use a proportional representation system. This system would give an equal proportion of delegates votes from each state to the number of votes they got in that state. Therefor my republican vote in NY wouldnt be a waste. This way instead of John Kerry getting 32 votes in the EC from NY perhaps hed get 29... with this type of system our individual votes would mean more in electing the president with still trying to keep a fair playing field among the states. Any and all comments are welcome.

vir fidelis
aerO



posted on Jul, 17 2004 @ 09:55 AM
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Which is more complicated to administer, a national election or a mayoral type election? The obvious answer is the national election? Again which is easier to manage, a mayoral election or a national election? Finally which is easier to to tally, the votes of 1200 or so representatives elected to a presidential screening board (EC) or the millions of votes from across the nation. The EC plan proposed by Johannmon is not more complex or harder to manage than a general election. In fact it simplifies things by keeping the local results local and tallying the national votes representatively. Further each vote would count as a precinct that is more republican can elect someone as a delagate that has that ideology. Not all of NY city precincts are Democratically run. The same holds true for democrats in primarily republican states. Unfortunately most people will want to hold on to the control they think they have in the voting process and continue to vote on the limited information that they have at their disposal. I have to agree with Johannmon that the smartest amoung us know better what they do not know and so more fully understand what they do.


df1

posted on Jul, 17 2004 @ 11:07 AM
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Originally posted by Wolferacerfan
I have to agree with Johannmon that the smartest amoung us know better what they do not know and so more fully understand what they do.


If I get to pick who are the smartest, I agree totally. If you get to pick, I disagree totally.

All other elections are one man, one vote. Why should a presidential election have a unique sytem?

If you are going to overhaul the election system in the US, why not just scrap the system and go with a parlimentary system that is used in other democracies? It seems that the proposed EC system is intended to do exactly the same thing as a parlimentary system in taking the selection of the head of state out of the hands of the public.

Is Tony Blair a superior head of state?

Is Berlusconi a superior head of state?

Is Schroeder a superior head of state?

I for one am not impressed.
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posted on Jul, 17 2004 @ 01:10 PM
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It is true that most people do not know the "behind the scenes" of the president. That is because a lot of the information is on a need to know basis, and we do not need to know the information. Sure, it would be interesting to know some of the classified information, but it will never happen unless you have clearance. I may not know all the inside information on the president, but I make an informed and educated decision based on the information I do have. I agree not all voters know enough information about each candidate to make an informed decision, but those people are voting, which is very important. I would rather have twenty voters base their vote on a couple newspaper articles, than have some elected official decide for them. Giving away your vote to some elected official undermines the American government.

I do think there should be some measures taken to teach the voters more about the candidates. I think it is a problem if you vote plainly based on party affiliation. The solution is in informing the voters more, not giving away your vote to an elected official.



posted on Jul, 17 2004 @ 04:34 PM
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Originally posted by df1

Is Tony Blair a superior head of state?

Is Berlusconi a superior head of state?

Is Schroeder a superior head of state?

I for one am not impressed.
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Tony Blair is an exceptional head of state who stands on his principles despite popular opinion. This is one of the greatest qualities of true leadership; the ability to buck the current and do what is right for the country whether the sheeple of the country want it at the time or not. The fact of the matter is that popular opinion is rarely the best course to take. Ruling purely by popular opinion is like sailing without a rudder. You get blown one way then the other and never get anywhere. That is why we have a constitutional republic not a pure democracy. Pure democracy has never in the history of mankind worked nor will it because the will of millions of people is too tenuous and fleeting to provide leadership that creates a great nation.

As to schroeder he is again an unpopular leader but one who makes decisions and backs them up. You would not have this type of man in Germany if it was a pure democracy.

Mr. Berlusconi is another example of principled and disciplined leadership who makes decisions and follows thru with them despite the winds of public opinion.

Public opinion is impotent to provide change it can only be swayed by it.
Do you think that Dr. King would have been effective if he had been swayed by majority opinion into docile silence? Do you think women would be voting today if the first womens sufferage leaders had been silenced by the majority public opinion on the matter? Pure democracy is pure impotence. Electing representative leaders is the only way to get leadership. How many companies would be successful if the average store clerks were the ones to hire the CEO's?

There are pitfalls to representative leadership but they are necessary the dangers and risks of progress. For every Hitler there must arise a FDR. For every Capone there must arise a Eliot Ness. Leadership is by definition pointing in one direction and then taking steps to get there. Rarely does the zephyr of popular opinion go in any direction for long without consistant and sustained direction from an appointed representative leader willing to set the course. These type of men and women are best recognized and elevated by those qualified and informed enough to select them.



posted on Jul, 17 2004 @ 04:55 PM
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Originally posted by Aero
Well ladies and gentlemen the electoral college is not a hard concept to understand and also helps keep the states on a level playing field. Aside from the third grade understanding that the EC is to decide when the people are too stupid to know any better which is basically tripe, the EC is so that all states have a legitimate say in the presidential election. I live in NYC and we have about 8 million people here. Are there 8 million people living in rhode island? So naturally the presidential hopefuls would cater more to the needs of the bigger more populated areas neglecting the smaller states. The popular vote is a wonderful idea but in all reality it would not work. I suggest that instead we use our current EC system but instead of the all or nothing system we have now i say we use a proportional representation system. This system would give an equal proportion of delegates votes from each state to the number of votes they got in that state. Therefor my republican vote in NY wouldnt be a waste. This way instead of John Kerry getting 32 votes in the EC from NY perhaps hed get 29... with this type of system our individual votes would mean more in electing the president with still trying to keep a fair playing field among the states. Any and all comments are welcome.

vir fidelis
aerO


I would definately agree that the all-or-nothing system currently in place has to go. The fact that a candidate could win a state 50.1%-49.9% and get 100% of the votes in that state is unfair and undemocratic.

I believe that we need to scrap the EC and go with a direct popular vote. All that would be accomplished by using proportional representation in the EC is basically saying 8 million votes = 1 vote. How does that get the smaller states any better treatment? It doesn't.

The fact of the matter is that the fact that the leader of our country can win the election when he doesn't get the most votes is a discrace to the democratic process.


I know the constitution is designed to protect the minority from the majority, but this is going a bit too far.


df1

posted on Jul, 17 2004 @ 04:55 PM
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Johannmon: If what you are suggesting is a change in our present form government to a parliamentary form of government, you may be able to sway me. A parliamentary government would provide a means for minority political parties to have some influence which is not available under the present form of US government.

Is this what you are suggesting?
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