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davos

Historical Presidential Elections in Maps

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Communication had little to do with it. Originally, the president wasn't sworn in until 6 months or so after the election, so time to count votes wasn't really an issue.

Its a holdover from the founding fathers not trusting the people. In many ways they were right. Voters on both sides still make choices for incredibly stupid reasons. Obama is going to pay my mortgage or Romney is going to keep the democrats from taking my guns come to mind.

Floppin is right, the original plan called for Congress to elect the president, similar to european parliamentary style elections for prime minister. It would be interesting to see how that would work out. Of course, at that time, the president had much less power than he does now.

If they didn't trust the voters then, I wish they could see the voters now.

This country is filled with retards.

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The electoral college is almost as big a non-issue as the two-party system.

The problems with American politics are an extension of the problems with American culture, not arbitrarily decided by men wearing suits in poorly-lit rooms.

go on

I'm interested in your take

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go on

I'm interested in your take

Only four presidential elections haven't resulted in the guy with the popular vote winning. The only one most people can name is the most recent one. So, if the question is just whether or not the electoral college works, evidence suggests it does (at least consistently enough that, as I said, it's not crippling the American political system -- it's a non-issue).

Opponents of the electoral college are usually motivated either by partisan changes in the wind or a desire to shift even further toward direct democracy, neither of which are good reasons. Direct democracy is bad for many reasons, but most succinctly because of the following quote:

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years.”

- Alexis de Tocqueville

The electoral college also acts as part of the checks and balances of our political system. It's a check against the executive branch to prevent the presidency from falling into bad hands. And giving too much power to any one body (including "the people") can also have bad consequences.

Again, the entire point of the electoral college is that it's not democratic. It's not supposed to be. It's only there to prevent bad presidents from being elected via bad public support. It's a check against public power over the executive branch, and, by extension, the executive branch itself.

Whether or not you like the electoral college probably boils down to whether or not you prefer democracy or republicanism. The former is a sure way to bankrupt your government; the latter, when constitutional and representative, has a lot more staying power. And is more preferable morally to the tyranny of the majority.

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