Instigator / Pro
1525
rating
19
debates
57.89%
won
Topic

The Electoral College should be abolished

Status
Debating

Waiting for the instigator's second argument.

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Parameters
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Publication date
Last update date
Category
Politics
Time for argument
One week
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
One month
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
Characters per argument
30,000
Contender / Con
1663
rating
57
debates
68.42%
won
Description
~ 527 / 5,000

Definitions:

ELECTORAL COLLEGE: The Electoral College is a body of electors established by the United States Constitution, which forms every four years for the sole purpose of electing the president and vice president of the United States

ABOLISHED: Formally put an end to.

Burden of Proof: Shared
PRO must prove why it should be abolished.
CON must prove why the system should stay.

I will be using my first argument from a previous debate (https://www.debateart.com/debates/1798-the-electoral-college-should-be-abolished)

Round 1
Pro
I look forward to this debate and I thank my opponent for accepting.

Preamble

Motion
The Electoral College should be abolished.

Burdon of Proof
PRO (PoliceSheep) has the burden of proof to provide evidence that abolishing the Electoral College would be good for America and to argue against the evidence to the contry provided by CON.

CON  has the burden to either disprove my evidence and claims and to give evidence and reason often as to why abolishing the Electoral College would be bad or both.

Definitions
Electoral College - "The Electoral College is a body of electors established by the United States Constitution, constituted every four years for the sole purpose of electing the president and vice president of the United States. The Electoral College consists of 538 electors, and an absolute majority of 270 electoral votes is required to win an election." [1]

Faithless voter  - An elector of the U.S. Electoral College voted or attempted to vote for a candidate different from whom they were pledged.

Abolish - formally put an end to [6]

Arguments

Faithless Electors

The electors are selected by state leaders of political parties, making the whole system undemocratic and non-transparent which are two things nobody should want in a Presidential election. [3] The key issue here is there is "no constitutional provision or federal law that requires electors to vote according to the results of the popular vote in their states" and even under state law, "no elector has ever been prosecuted for failing to vote as pledged." [3] In 24 states, there isn't even a state law prohibiting it. [7]

There has been 217 instances of faithless voting since the implementation of the electoral college. [4] This has also had an effect on the result of elections. In the 1836 Presidential election, the 23 electors from Virginia were pledged to vote for Democratic candidates Martin Van Buren for President) and Richard M. Johnson for Vice President. However, they abstained from voting for Johnson. This left Johnson with one fewer than a majority of electoral votes forcing the Senate to have to vote for the Vice-President. [5] From this dreadful constitutional clause, the entire presidency is decided by unaccountable people.



Misrepresentation

What many supporters see as its key benefit is actually a key flaw. The mismatch between population and the number of electoral votes is harmful to American democracy. The method used to determine electoral votes gives one Wyoming's vote the power of 3 Californians. [7] [8] This leaves a mismatch in representation which can lead to an inherent bias which gives preference to smaller states (measured by population).

The electoral college does not ensure that smaller states are focused on in Presidential Elections - just that swing states get attention.  "The 2016 candidates [calculated from the date of accepted their respective parties nominee] spent almost all their time in a handful of states, most of them medium or large. Two-thirds of campaign events happened in just six states — Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, and Michigan. If we include Iowa, New Hampshire, Colorado, Nevada, Wisconsin, and Arizona, then those 12 states account for 96 percent of campaign events. The nine smallest states (including D.C.), meanwhile, got precisely zero attention.



Benefit to the Republican Party

The Electoral College results versus the popular vote has given us three elections where the President is someone who the majority of people voted for another candidate, a Democrat. This system has an inherent and systematic bias giving preferential treatment to one party over the other due to the demographics of Republican voters. This has huge implications. It has happened four times in Presidential history, each one a member of the Republican Party. This is beyond coincidence.

1) 1876 - Rutherford B. Hayes (Republican) [9]
2) 1888 - Benjamin Harrison (Republican) [10]              
3) 2000 - George W. Bush (Republican) [10]
4) 2016 - Donald Trump (Republican) [11]


Sources


Con
Resolution: The Electoral College should be abolished
 
I Rebuttal: Pro’s R1: Faithless Electors
 
I.a Pro’s R1 argument re: faithless electors cites the National Archives,[1]  but then misrepresents what the Archives say regarding the elector selection process by State party leaders, claiming that The electors are selected by state leaders of political parties, making the whole system undemocratic and non-transparent…” as if only by State party officials choice of electors appointed or seated. Pro’s misrepresentation is that this is not the only method by which electors are appointed/seated, while it does represent how most potential electors are slated, i.e., added to a list of Electoral College [hereafter, “EC” for brevity] candidates, from whom electors are actually seated by means from direct election by voters, and several other methods not mentioned by Pro. Pro’s own source, cited above, declares the slating/seating process as a two-part process, of which Pro only highlights the first part; the slate of potential ECs. The unmentioned second part is that in every state, the citizens’ vote for President determines which slate of electors the people [not the Party] elect.[2]
 
I.a.1 Actually, lest one be accused of dropping an argument, I mention that Pro really began with a moderately popular television series, Adam Ruins Everything,[3]  a three-season comedy series woefully masking the effort of a “serious quest to reveal the hidden truths behind everything you know and love,”[4]   such as season 1, episode 7, “Voting,”meaning the Electoral College. Except that Mr. Conover, the comedian and series creator, forgets the interrupt as explained in 1.a, above. Well, that’s easy to do when youth is a factor. Conover, born in 1983, can barely remember Bill Clinton, who managed to win a Presidential election in 1992 with less than half the popular vote, 43%,[5]  therefore winning his election solely by virtue of… the Electoral College!
 
I.a.2 Apparently, according to Conover, “everything” amounts to 65 items of hidden truths; he personally cancelled the series after that count, including a truncated third season. I’m sure there’s more in hiding than that, but, being a writer myself, I well know creative juices can dry up. But, experience, and aging, has taught me that one does not argue for one’s limitations and expect to slay them because we own them and can only dispense with limitations by facing the mirror, pointing at that person and saying, “Not today.” It’s a choice. Leave it at that. The Constitution of the United States has endured for 233 seasons, and the Electoral College in its current form for 217 years, and counting; something Hollowood [my preferred spelling] has yet to achieve by either count.
 
I.a.3 Further, according to Pro, citing the series, Adam…,[6]  season 1, episode 7,  “in 24 states, there isn’t even a state law prohibiting it”  [faithless voting]. Rebuttal: according to FairVote.org,[7]  the claim fails: 
 
1. No penalty                                     16 states
2. No penalty, vote cancelled     12 states
3. Penalty                                               3 states
4. Penalty, vote cancelled               2 states
5. No faithless elector law            17 states
 
I.b Pro further states that faithless electors [electors who do not vote as pledged] have voted faithlessly on 217 occasions, and that four presidential elections have been thus affected by the faithless electors. This will be discussed further on in III, below.
 
I.c What Pro ignores in his complaint of faithless electors is how the various States differ in their response to faithless elector regulation. Some states have no penalty, others have a variety of penalties.[8]   Bottom line, in Chiafalo v. Washington [2020],  the Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that States are free to determine regulation of faithless voting independently.[9]   Pro, along with Conover, laments that there is not a federal law to regulate voting. That's because the Constitution stipulated that voting for President and Vice President is not a national, collective election, but State by State, and their respective regulations are thus legislated.[10]  That is not a Conover hidden truth, so near and dear to his heart. It helps to read the Constitution occasionally. Maybe that's why Adam Ruins Everything  only ruined things for two and one half seasons.  I read the Constitution once a month, by personal commitment, and have for the past ten years. I'm barely scratching the surface.
 
I.d In summary, in 33 states, there are faithless voter laws [1 – 4]; in 17, there are none [5]. But all that is not even addressing the point of the effect of faitheless voters. The point is given in Pro’s own source:[11]  “Through the 2020 election, there have been a total of 165[3][4] instances of faithlessness. They have never swung an election,[4] and nearly all have voted for third party candidates or non-candidates, as opposed to switching their support to a major opposing candidate.”  So, “where’s Conover's ruin?”  As Shakespeare said, "Much ado about nothing."
 
II Rebuttal: Pro’s R1: Misrepresentation
 
II.a Pro alleges that the Electoral College misrepresents the populations of States in Presidential elections, claiming that it “gives one’s WY vote the power of three CA’s.”  Merely a review of the relative populations of those states refutes this claim. According to Pro’s 2010 Census State tally,[12]  CA, the most populous State, has 37.3M, and 53 EC members, whereas WY has 0.56M, and 3 EC members; a population ratio of 66.6:1, and an EC ratio of 17.7:1. Granted, this is a total count of residents, not voters, but each State’s representative count [Senators plus Representatives] represent all State citizens, not just voters. Pro’s source states that from the 2010 Census, each U.S. district population averaged 710,000 [rounded], and that this number tripled the apportionment of representatives from the 1910 Census. Was this Pro’s source for his claim of WY having a 3:1 advantage as noted above? And note that the ratio favors CA, not WY, in any event. Pro is comparing apples and oranges, and based on the 1910 estimate of apportionment, the fruit has long since rotted.
 
II.b The whole point of the stroke of genius of the Electoral College created by the Founding Fathers[13]  was that it evenly apportioned government representation of legislators according to the general population of the people in each State, thus equalizing the Electoral College count among all States, expressly preventing States of large population from overwhelming smaller States in Presidential elections, which were never intended to be general national population elections, but State by State, and clarified by the earlier reference [R1, [4]] to the Constitution. This fully refutes Pro’s 3:1 claimed ratio advantage had by WY over CA, or, for that matter, CA over WY, or any large state over any small state. By democratic representation, such as established by the U.S. Constitution in 1788, of now 538 electors spread over the United States by direct linkage to State populations, we elect Presidents and Vice Presidents. We are not a United State of America, but a uniquely composed democratic republic, the United Statesof America, 50 separate, distinct States united to a common purpose of freedom and justice, for the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness of each individual counted in those States.  
 
III Rebuttal: Pro’s R1: Benefit to the Republican Party
 
III.a Re-read the above II.b rebuttal in its entirety; there was never any consideration, constitutionally, for a Presidential election by a nationwide count of votes, but, rather, State-by-State. This is a clear distinction that is lost to history due to our modern media proclivity to count votes on a nationwide basis. A short trip into the recent past, to just before my own birth, in the Truman/Dewey election of 1948, should settle the matter. The election was on Nov 2, 1948. The iconic photo of Truman[14]  holding an early Nov 4 edition of the Chicago Tribune shows a smiling, virtually laughing Truman in spite of the newspaper’s incorrect predication of a Dewey win. One need only look at the electoral map of that year to understand why the Trib got it wrong; they were looking at results of the northeastern States, the first to be tabulated, which, but for MA, all went to Dewey. Two days later, and the media still couldn’t get the count right. Truman won, 303 electoral college votes, and 26 of 48 States. However, looking at Pro’s preferred popular vote, Truman took less than half, 49.6% of the popular vote, due to the entry of a third-party candidate; a southern “Democrat” defecting from his party to run as a “Dixiecrat,” securing 2.4% of the vote.[15] 
 
III.b Pro mentions the “demographics of Republican voters,” ignoring that one can also view the demographics of Democrat voters, which any politically demographic map of the U.S. demonstrates the congregation of Democrats around population centers of the big cities, and Republicans occupying a greater land mass of the U.S. generally. So what? Their respective counts, the whole point of registering votes, after all, are approximately equal, given the results of past elections with few exceptions. Don’t most political polls represent us, the American public, as roughly a politically demographic in thirds; Ds, Rs, and Is?[16]   
 
III.b.1 Looking at a map of the geographic center of the United States by population, unpoliticized, we see that it has consistently moved westward from 1790, when it was near the upward reach of the Chesapeake Bay, in MD near the DE border, to just north of the confluence of the IN/IL/KY borders, in IL on the latitude of Chicago in 1948, where the Tribune erroneously called the election.[17]
 
III.b.2 I thought it would be interesting to view a map of the United States by geographic center of Democrats, and one of Republicans, such as the geographic population center of the country as referenced above [R1, [16]] as separate mapping demographics, but I could not find examples online. An open challenge that may come to no benefit, anyway, relative to voting.
 
III.c By the way, Bill Clinton, a Democrat elected in 1992, also failed to reach a popular vote majority, as mentioned above, but few news outlets will acknowledge it. The bias of the modern media? You decide. Are we still so certain that only Republicans gain advantage by the Electoral College, since we also observed previously that Truman’s 1948 election was a similar exercise of diversion from Pro’s claim of Republican exclusivity?
 
IV Argument: a Constitutional Amendment is required
 
IV.a Let us recall a minor interrupt in Pro’s Resolution, because to accomplish the abolishment of the Electoral College will require more than a simple act of Congress, let alone a Presidential EO. No, the “Electoral College” as now conceived was not established by the first ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1788, although the methodology was included in that 1788 ratification.  A short 16 years later, 1804, when 62% of the 39 men who ratified the Constitution were still alive, including James Madison [who was Sec’ty of State at the time], the 12thAmendment was ratified, officially establishing the Electoral College as the means by which Presidents would, thereafter, be elected.[18][19]  To abolish the College now requires a Constitutional Amendment to be proposed, passed by 75% of both houses of Congress, and ratified by 75% of the States. It is not an easy road. It was never guaranteed to be easy; just worth it.
 
Having dismantled Pro's R1, I pass round 2 to Pro.
 
 
 


[2]ibid
[4]ibid
[10]U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 1, Clause 2, 3
[13]U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 1, Clause 2, 3
[18]U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 1, Clause 2, 3

Round 2
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Round 3
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Round 4
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