Movement in US to base president on popular vote

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Sarkus, Nov 4, 2023.

  1. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Okay, for those of you who are in the US, are you aware that the current process of electing the President is under threat, such that the President might soon be elected by the popular vote, rather than the current electoral college system?
    The current system is that each state bases their electoral votes on the popular vote within that state. This system has the possibility of resulting in a President that is elected while not having the overall popular vote of the country. For example, Trump in 2016 and Bush in 2000 both lost the popular vote yet won the Presidency due to the current way each state chooses it's electors.
    The new system that a number of states are wanting to sign up to is that these states will choose their electoral votes not on the popular vote within their state but on the national popular vote. Unfortunately the states that are happy to sign up to this only amount to c.205 votes, while 270 is needed to secure the Presidency. If there are states that add up to 270 electoral votes that sign up to this then future POTUS will be decided solely on the national popular vote.

    That is a huge change. Is it something you're aware of, at least that it is being proposed even if you thin unlikely to come about? What are your views on the matter?
     
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  3. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, I have heard. It will never happen. Right now it would benefit democrats, so republicans will never, ever support it (and vice versa.) You need a 2/3 vote in both houses.
     
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  5. geordief Valued Senior Member

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    Maybe a good idea but should the powers of the president be reduced at the same time?

    Of course the Republicans would oppose it now.

    Maybe in the future (I think the 2/3 majority is a good idea for constitutional changes-could be less but more than 50%)
     
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  7. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    The President doesn't have the kind of powers that need to be reduced. Teddy Roosevelt called it the "bully pulpit" meaning that the main power is that of persuasion. The President has a veto, the power of persuasion, has expanded the use of "executive orders" and has powers related to foreign policy.

    Trump was just abusing the system and traditions. The Presidency isn't all that powerful otherwise as far as Constitution powers are concerned.

    The Electoral College is kind of dated but making any Constitutional amendments is very difficult and isn't going to happen currently.
     
  8. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    That's not actually true. This isn't a change to the Constitution, or even to the electoral system per se. It is a change to how those states that sign up to it will choose who their state votes for within the electorl college system. So all that needs to happen is for those states who sign up to it to enact it within their state.
    The Constitution only requires (as far as I am aware) the President to be voted in not directly by the people but by the electors that each state appoints according to that state's legislation. And here's the crux: each state can legislate however they want as to how those electors are appointed.
    So if states that make up 270 electoral votes all agree that they will legislate for their electors to elect according to the national popular vote, this is entirely within the Constitution, and the President will thenceforth (at least until those states change their legislation again) be elected in line with the popular vote.
    No 2/3 majority is required in either of the houses. This is a matter for each state, and the means by which they can change their state legislation.

    According to this website, 17 jurisdictions, with 205 votes, have signed up to a bill that will make this very change. It will be enacted when jurisdictions providing a further 65 seats also sign up to it. 8 further states, offering 78 more seats, have seen the bill pass at least one chamber.

    So it's possibly closer to a reality than you might think.

    Bear in mind that only twice since 1888 (Clinton in 2016, Gore in 2000) has the winner of the popular vote not gained the Presidency. What it intends to do is ensure that the Presidential candidates spread their focus more widely, as currently they can pretty much ignore those states that they are guaranteed to win under the current system. Under the popular vote idea, every single vote matters across the country.
     
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  9. TheVat Registered Member

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    Given the legal debate over any such interstate compact, a wave of litigation would be likely if compact states reached that 270 number.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitutionality_of_the_National_Popular_Vote_Interstate_Compact

    Given the likely RW lean of the Supreme Court for the next few years, I would see the compact's survival as unlikely.

    Also of concern in the area of GOP advantages is the one state/two senators system. By 2040 it is predicted 30 percent of Americans will elect 70 percent of senators.

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/mar/12/us-senate-system-white-conservative-minority
     
  10. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Yeah, I have no doubt that it would be challenged at length, so maybe this is something that the Constitutional lawyers have dreamt up to keep themselves in business for a while?

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    But I find it intriguing, nonetheless, that they could go this route. I've always wondered why it never was purely a popular vote, as given the various state populations, the current system inevitably give some voters more power than others.
     
  11. Zero Point Native Registered Member

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    My only view on this matter is that they could go either way. It makes no difference to me. I have no interest in the presidential election game. I did vote one time only for the fun of it just to see what it was like. I voted for Obama back in 2008 for no other reason than because he was black. Make no mistake, it had nothing to do with race. It was only because it was different. I could not have cared less what his policies were. Although he did have some interesting campaign slogans that went over most people's heads. I would've voted for a black, militant, Muslim, Satan-worshiping, lesbian woman had one run at the time just because it would've been amusing to do so.
     
  12. candy Valued Senior Member

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    Amending the Constitution is a long process.
    The less populous states like the system the way it is.
     
  13. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    Be careful what you wish for. (No need for 10,000 words of critical cultural analysis when a bromide expressing reality's nasty habit of tossing an unexpected factor or new development into the works suffices.)
    _
     
  14. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    As understood, however, it requires no change to the Constitution. As far as those states are concerned, it will happen as soon as states with a further 65 seats sign up to it. Sure, challenges are bound to then happen, but on the face of it there is no anticipated change required to the Consistution.
    Well, this isn't strictly true, either. 2 of the 3 least populous states (incl District of Columbia) have signed up to it, and 4 of the 10 least - which is slightly higher than the average (17 of the 51 states+DoC) - and similarly so far only 3 of the 10 most populous states.
    While it makes sense that those with the most population per elector would prefer this Popular Vote approach, those favouring it are also likely to be those where their vote for a given party is pretty much guaranteed, meaning the candidates don't give them as much time. Conversely there are key "battleground states" in each election that get a disproportionate focus from the candidates.

    Unsurprisingly, all 17 of the states that have thus far signed up to this voted Democrat at the last election. Of those further states where it has passed at least one chamber, 5 of the 8 are also Democrat. This suggests that it is the Republican mindset that is likely preventing it from happening rather than size of population, and by that I can only guess that they think that it would weaken their chance of getting a Republican President. Well, the 2 times in the past 100+ years it would have made a difference would have seen a Democrat in the White House instead of the Republican, so they may have a point in that regard. But, well, it's also not surprising that it is that party that would rather have a minority control on the White House than a truer reflection of the nation's will in the matter.
     
  15. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    Parties have power because the people are idiots in many cases (problem with Democracy in general). However the current Republican Party is also run by idiots so you can't really "win" by changing the rules.

    With "good" people many systems work and when you don't have that, no system works.
     

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