The fact is the idea that somebody born somewhere else has way more power has a smell, and people are talking about that smell now and whether they like it.
And yet, it exists and nobody is in a rush to disband it. Despite the fact that it's propped by US money but San Marino (population 33,344) has the same number of votes in UN GA as US.
> The fact is the idea that somebody born somewhere else has way more power has a smell
The only way all people can have exactly the same power if they all have no power at all. Otherwise there would always be somebody richer, smarter, more charismatic, more eloquent, born in better family with better education, etc. etc. which will give them more power. Absolute equality is possible only as equality in being destitute and powerless.
Other aspect of it - I appreciate that somebody living in LA wants to have power over somebody living in rural Appalachia, because there's a lot of people in LA so obviously they should be ruling the whole country. But that's not how US as a country works, and I don't see why people in rural Appalachia would agree to such arrangement. So you have to either conquer them by force (and risk that they would conquer you by force instead) or come to a mutually agreeable arrangement, even if it deprives the LA people of their birthright powers of ruling Appalachia. That's the way it works.
Or how would you feel if some rural area in your home country got the same amount of votes than the whole capital? Would make perfect sense, right? But all in all, they are so different organizations serving very different purposes that comparing them isn't even that useful.
This is why Belgium had a veto over the Canada/EU trade agreement. In particular, it was Wallonia's PM who held the veto because Belgium devolved that power.
I think you miss the idea of how analogies work. If I say "the Moon is affected by Earth gravity just like an apple that falls down is" then if you way "but if I put an apple underwater then it'd flow up instead!" that doesn't mean my analogy didn't work. That means you are talking about different things that are outside of what analogy is about.
The fact that EU didn't choose equal representation for member countries and as the result minor countries are powerless is exactly why minor states in the US do not want such arrangement. Just as with an example above about the apple, your counter-example does not disprove existence of gravity - or flaws in proportional representation between sovereign states - it in fact supports it, you just fail to see how.
> Or how would you feel if some rural area in your home country got the same amount of votes than the whole capital?
If that's the arrangement that is the condition of the union between the rural area and the capital - perfectly normal. I know Bill Gates has much more shares of Microsoft than I do and I don't feel bad about it. Why should I feel bad about those things?
This is going to make one hell of an argument for Chinese communism in a few years.
The way it works in Germany is every Lander has 3 seats; they then add up to 3 extra seats based on the population. This over-represents the smaller states too, but not to the point where small states can block the whole country like in the US Senate.
A statistic that has stuck in my head is the prediction  that in 2040, 70% of the US population will be represented by 30 Senators, while 30% of the population will be represented by 70 Senators.
How do you think Nevada would react if nuclear testing was being conducted again. How do think Montana or Idaho would react if the federal government gave logging rights to companies outside of local communities. If you reduce the states power and say over federal polices that effect them the most why even have states. Why even have tiered levels governance.
Local governments exist for a reason. Federal laws and polices can effect certain areas more or exclusively. Ignoring those people who reside in that area because the majority outside the area wish to do something is just tyranny by the majority. Therefore areas which people reside also need to voice their concerns. What we currently have is a blend.
The senate and house have to agree on things to get bills passed. The house is already based off population. Having the two houses ensures that states and peoples concerns are voiced through their representatives. States with a larger population already get more say in the house. The senate ensures that each states government is represented equally.
It's also sad that less people vote in state and local elections than federal ones since local government a lot times is much more important.
We shouldn't talk about Senator John For voted for or against bill Y, but rather California voted for or against bill Y. The individuals ought not matter except to their State's governments/legislatures.
It affected literally every design decision of this nation between founding and the civil war.
I think it’s pretty crazy California and Texas have the same number of senate votes as Rhode Island
CA had the third-lowest population of all US states, yet nobody was saying CA didn't "deserve" two Senate seats because of that.
(Source: 1850 Census)
Bigger states aligning and pushing measures that are in their interests rather than in smaller states interests is called democracy.
The opposite is called privilege based on state of residence.
Also in countries like India, this could offer a perverse incentive for states to refrain from population control policies.
Also some states having larger populations than others is a historical accident.
India: You assume states work against each other and populations automatically favor their states over the federation they belong to. If that's the case, you have a cultural problem to solve first. I doubt this is the case in the US right now.
And yes, there are various reasons for some state to be populous. It is irrelevant with the question on whether all the peoples' vote should have equal weight.
Btw check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Popular_Vote_Intersta... for an interesting hack: not likely to happen, but still 100x more likely than redrawing all state lines
First an amending the constitution requires 3/4ths of states to agree to an amendment. This would make a fundamental change with less than half of the states.
Secondly, it also possibly unconstitutional.
Third, it's unenforceable a state can join and if they fail to follow the agreement other members can't do anything.
Fourth, due to the questions of constitutionality when this takes effect it's going to leave the result of an election in legal limbo for possibly years. This is a big problem since the president is inaugurated only a few months after the election.
Fifth, it easy for other states who are not a member to make it useless. For instances lets say Idaho decides only to publish their their electoral votes, and keep the actually number of votes secret for six months. It is no longer possible to determine who won the popular vote (in a timely manner).
Also, can we get (2012) added to the end of the headline?
However, the map seems (possibly intentionally) to ignore geographical boundaries that are super important. Like the Mississippi River.
I know you can modify Voronoi diagrams in multiple dimensions to account for population and geography. Does anyone know of a map that has done so?
A bit more here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5217434
As you are free to move, the argument some get more influence due to geographical distribution of vote seems a weak argument.
And the original intent is really to let the small state to come in as they would not come (or fight against it). The 17th amendment is too complicated to talk here.
Firelands are much older than that:
States are not regions of a larger nation. In Federalism they have a different history and different statuses, and the US has never been built as a direct democratic system. It's a Republic. Not sure what this list of bullet points is all about: changing everything about US politics?
Words like republicanism, democracy, liberal democracy, democratic republic, etc are pretty abstract... and they were a lot more abstract 250 years ago.
No nation state today is a "direct democracy," afaik. All of them are "representative democracies" with a congress/parliament. You can call that system a democracy, republic or whatever.
Point taken about the historical (and current) reasons for federalism.
That said, I don't see how/why redrawing states, electorates, changing how voting works, congress works or such has any bearing on a "democracy or republic" question.
If you're into European history during the reformations/schisms, people of that period were obsessed with extremely abstract, theology/epistemology.
Eucharistic metaphysics seemed important to them att, in retrospect it seems (literally) meaningless.
They do. They mean in the US, not everything is decided by simple majority of votes of everybody living in the federated republic. Rather, there are more complex power structures where different states (note they are named states, not electoral districts or census areas) retain significant sovereignty not subject to either federal control or that of other states. It is very practical thing without which it is impossible to understand how US politics works.
> All of them are "representative democracies" with a congress/parliament.
Yes, but the USA is not that either. Or, rather, not only that. People thinking it's only that misunderstand how things are.
> has any bearing on a "democracy or republic" question.
Imagine there's a town where mayor decides to redistribute people between families to optimize housing arrangement - so if you have too many kids, your kid is going to me moved to a family with no kids, and if you live alone, you may be assigned a partner to live with you. For efficiency. Let's even assume this all done by proper vote of the city council and all legal formalities are in place. Would you think it's an important change which totally changes your opinion about what's going on in the city and how it is ruled, or it's a minor adjustment that is of interest only to philosophy geeks dwelling on deep meanings of abstractions? If you can appreciate answer to that question, you probably also can appreciate why "democracy or republic" is not as abstract a question as you think.
The only things that are usually decided by voting are the people elected to various positions. Some systems (eg us electorates) elect by district, political unit (eg us states), parties (eg netherlands), ethnic affiliation (eg Lebanon)... All these are typically known as democratic voting, democratically elected parliaments/governments, presidents, etc.
In The context of "spreading democracy" these systems are/were generally known as "liberal democracies."
"More complex power structures" where different states/polities act as units have their political powers reserved are generally called federalism. You can have democracy/republic with or without federation. Nothing about republic implies federalism, except that they both apply to the US.
Historically, "republic," has generally been used to mean kingless nation and "liberal" to highlight mean that the people "are sovereign." Highly overlapping. Republic means something in this context, but not what people mean when they contrast to democracy.
"Republic" or "democracy" are much more laden with ideal & philosophy connotations than anything concrete enough to be part of a system of government.
It's like the words "rational" and "logical."
Sure, you can say "in a US context.. " but that gets meaningless fast. You can't derive any meaning from "The US is republic" are synonyms. You could just say "this is the US."
I could. The best model of any thing is the thing itself. It's also the most useless model because the point of modeling is reduction of complexity for better understanding. Reducing US complexity to democracy, however, misses important aspects, namely federated sovereignty and complex power sharing arrangements between states and federal government. This gives people misleading impression that the system was supposed to work as majoritarian democracy and the fact it doesn't work that way is some kind of flaw that needs to be fixed. On the contrary, the system was explicitly designed to include elements of majoritarian democracy, but only as a limited part of it, counterbalanced by other arrangements as to protect from the deficiencies of such model. Thus, saying "it's not a democracy" highlights the deficiency of modeling the US as a simple majoritarian democracy.
You're clipping the idea too short to maintain its meaning here. Let's look at what was actually said
> the US has never been built as a direct democratic system. It's a Republic.
The key word you've missed here is "direct". People say that the US is a republic and not a direct democracy. These have clear meanings. A (democratic) republic has elected representatives while a direct democracy puts everything up to a popular vote. This is the key feature people are distinguishing, electing representatives versus putting all decisions directly up for voting by citizens.
The meaning only gets lost when people try to use this idea to smuggle in other related ideas like voting power in national elections being based on geography. That's a specific choice, not a necessary feature of a republican form of government.
Erm, they do. A democracy is "just anything goes along as more than 50% of voters approve of it" (and you can end up with fascism this way if you don't pay attention), while a Republic puts a central document (in the US the Constitution) as the supreme guide that even voters will have a very hard time to change by themselves.
You will find very similar "we do not use majority rule." they have states/state-like governments. Senates (for state reps), and lower houses (for district reps).
There are some differences at the symbolic sovereignty level (queens, governor general's, etc.)
Where does their lack of "unrepublic" differ to the US' republic, at the point where their voting, counting majorities, etc.
Imagining other scenarios is great fun, but the point needs to be stated - the Electoral College isn't failing when someone loses the popular vote and wins the election. That outcome is the sole purpose of having an electoral college. "Preserves the historic structure and function of the Electoral College." is almost precisely wrong.
Equal-population states is a very fundamental change to the system. The advantages and disadvantages columns aren't engaging with the actual issues surrounding the electoral college.
I don't think the statement above means the electoral college was about giving smaller states an advantage over larger ones. For one, the electoral college was developed during a time when communication was very difficult, and education and literacy was not as widespread. Conditions have changed, and it is possible the system is now too far skewed in one direction such that it no longer represents the people's wishes.
The point is that it is a mechanism for overriding the popular vote. Ergo, whenever it swings into action it will be making a decision other than the popular one. They knew that when it was set up.
a mechanism for overriding the popular vote
It also explains just how terrifying the Electoral College, where technically Electors and not voters have all the power, really is.
> But a move by the electors to override the Electoral College and elect Clinton would be a disaster. Her presidency would be fatally hobbled from Day One. The potential for violence would be terrifying, and the presidential election system would be permanently broken—and the Republicans would declare any future Democratic winner an unqualified demagogue. The cure would be worse than the disease.
To pretend this is the only factor the designers had in mind it absurd. To ignore tensions between the north and south in the design of the system is equally so.
> Slave states gained more power in the Electoral College from the extra 3/5 votes,
You cannot look at something with massive implications and pretend they are accidental. Unless you want to admit it's poorly designed.
> 3/5 of a vote gave less power to slave states than their preference, a full vote for each slave.
Is there a point to this statement, other than to complain the North did not fully capitulate to slave power?
From Madison’s notes on the constitutional convention:
> There was one difficulty however of a serious nature attending an immediate choice by the people. The right of suffrage was much more diffusive in the Northern than the Southern States; and the latter could have no influence in the election on the score of Negroes. The substitution of electors obviated this difficulty and seemed on the whole to be liable to the fewest objections.
And no, the Electoral College wasn't something that the slave states wanted and the free states opposed. As I said, it was a compromise between big states like Virginia (slave) and Pennsylvania (free) versus small states like New Jersey (free) and Delaware (slave). Virginia (and several small but fast-growing southern states) wanted completely proportional representation (benefiting from its large slave population); Delaware and New Jersey wanted each state to be equal; the Connecticut compromise gave one chamber of Congress to each method, and in turn became the method by which the Electoral College apportions votes for the presidency.
Let me repeat:
* The Electoral College was not created or designed to protect slavery, or somehow enshrine it in the Constitution.
* It, and the composition of the two chambers of Congress, were created to give both large and small states a say in governance.
* To the extent the three fifths rule affected the Electoral College, it reduced the slave states' power versus what they wanted, which was a purely proportional system including slave populations.
E.g. if there were 10: https://imgur.com/a/gNvP9mC
No, that is the problem that the electoral college solves. In any federation you must curb the power of the most powerful and boost the weakest for it to work.
Instead of blaming with the institutions that are working as intended, start the dialog to convert the US from federation to something else.
For the legislative branch, this was done by counting a slave as 3/5 of a person for allocating seats in the House of Representatives. For the executive branch, there is only one president, and of course the slaves did not have the right to vote themselves, so an indirection was needed, i.e., the Electoral College.
In 2012, the night Romney lost, Trump tweeted.
"The phoney electoral college made a laughing stock out of our nation. . . . The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy."
In 1969, The U.S. House of Representatives voted for a national popular vote by a 338–70 margin.
Presidential candidates who supported direct election of the President in the form of a constitutional amendment, before the National Popular Vote bill was introduced: George H.W. Bush (R-TX-1969), Bob Dole (R-KS-1969), Gerald Ford (R-MI-1969), Richard Nixon (R-CA-1969), Jimmy Carter (D-GA-1977), and Hillary Clinton (D-NY-2001).
Past presidential candidates with a public record of support, before November 2016, for the National Popular Vote bill that would guarantee the majority of Electoral College votes and the presidency to the candidate with the most national popular votes: Bob Barr (Libertarian- GA), U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R–GA), Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO), and Senator Fred Thompson (R–TN),
Romney was a designated loser between two "global gov" sponsored candidates. Like Jeb!
This is a very Americocentric view. There is in fact no such requirement in general.
The US in particular has a problem of being pulled by some small, fringe groups.
The constitution requires that electorates be apportioned among the states in proportion to their respective populations; provided that each original state has at least 5 members in the House of Representatives.
Districts are decided and managed by a politically independent federal commission (ie: not by politicians).
The Australian senate is still a state house modelled in the US fashion. And is therefore not proportional to the population.
Well it’s how the European Union works as well. Think of each US state as an individual State in the EU of that helps you understand it.
We've got borderline lizard people--sorry, globalist--conspiracy from you elsewhere in the thread, so to be frank I'm not expecting much, but the words are right there for you to read.
Try holding the idea that some people are for open borders, and that there are power centers behind nation breaking in your head at the same time.
CF hacks: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21057230
The insistence that this not be the case always, in every case, comes from some sewage-tier political pseudophilosophy.
And the UK is not a federation, at all. The central Parliament in London wields all power and the devolved legislatures (in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland) only have whatever authority the central state chooses to allow them to.
Secondly, there is nothing wrong with electoral college it's working as intended. It's like a lot people forget we have states for reason. For instance a lot of the small states with a low population contain the vast majority of federal land. So any federal policy regarding that land effects them more than anyone else. How do think Nevada would react if the federal government decided to start nuclear testing again and their say in politics is reduced even more.
A lot of this I think boils down how you view the US. Are you citizen/resident of your state which is a member of the united states or are you are citizen of the unites states that happens to reside in a state? (A better/clearer way to phrase this would be appreciated)