> * Preserves the historic structure and function of the Electoral College.
I think we may be sort of putting the cart before the horse here. The purpose of the electoral college was to get the states to agree to adopt the system (right?). Now we're supposed to preserve the thing meant to get the states to agree by destroying the states?
The electoral college is no longer necessary, and should be abolished as it only causes problems that were acceptable in the 1800s, but are no longer acceptable today.
I'm curious as to what problems the EC causes that you state were acceptable in the 1800s but are no longer acceptable today. From my perspective the problems would most likely be political in nature. So any problems that existed 200 years ago would much be the same today.
I'm not the biggest fan of the EC but I believe it more desirable than true Democracy, as that only leads to mob rule. In that case the states with the highest populations would be in a position to rule over the smaller, less populated states. This was part of the debate of the EC in the first place.
They were still spread out over thousands of miles of coastline. You're not going to deliver votes efficiently even if you constrict the entire country to the size of a state like New York, because transportation was human/animal powered at the time. This is the historical justification.
>I'm curious as to what problems the EC causes that you state were acceptable in the 1800s but are no longer acceptable today. From my perspective the problems would most likely be political in nature. So any problems that existed 200 years ago would much be the same today.
Education and dissemination of information makes the problems more widely understood, but it was unlikely that the decision was made by people who understood the flaws in the voting systems, as major theoretical study into voting systems didn't really take off until the mid-late 1800s, and that information wasn't publicly disseminated until the 1900s. It "just worked" and was simple, so it was justifiable. These days, we can easily educate ourselves by reading public work in voting theory and see how mathematically bad such a voting system is. As well, the justifications needed to make electors a necessity no longer exist. This leads to problems as we've already discussed here, such as EC leading to roundoff errors and enabling gerrymandering, which are well understood PROBLEMS caused by the system. So what was acceptable then is no longer acceptable.
> I'm not the biggest fan of the EC but I believe it more desirable than true Democracy, as that only leads to mob rule. In that case the states with the highest populations would be in a position to rule over the smaller, less populated states. This was part of the debate of the EC in the first place.
This was in a time when the federal government hadn't expanded its role and power, so I highly doubt that argument would've held much weight. Federal systems were in place to prevent that, and it was very, very clear in the constitution that the federal government was to be extremely limited in power, while most power was reserved for states. Every state had equal representation in the senate, amending the constitution wouldn't happen just because one state has more people than another, since their voting power wouldn't influence those systems, so it's hard to see how having more people means you can "rule over" smaller, less populous states. The constitution just doesn't permit it. And they still made the electoral college proportionate to the number of people in the state, so that wouldn't have actually prevented what you mention -- the federal framework would've. Except they did the math wrong, and smaller, less populous states have more voting power, and due to problems the electoral college causes, states that are pretty evenly split along party lines, especially less populous ones, are the only important states in any given election, and receive significantly more congressional concessions to win votes. So the electoral college has created a favor imbalance (not really a power imbalance) that results in some states being pampered by congress, while others (particularly large, populous ones) are left to fester, which I'd argue is a pretty crappy outcome if the system was intended to do anything about that.
It seems you are assuming that today's voter is more educated in terms of governance and voting systems than the one's of yesterday. Academics are certainly more up-to-speed in such theories but that doesn't make them right. Any voting system that avoids majority rules is going to have problems and errors inherent in the system. I'd rather take the risk of the occasional error over mob rule. If there are justifications that electors are no longer required, when they represent people that wish them to vote a certain way, then there's an argument that any representative is no longer needed. Unfortunately the U.S. has a representative government, in an effort to avoid true democracy. Gerrymandering is more of a problem for the House of Representatives than the EC, because the Republicans control most of the gerrymandering right now and it didn't seem to help Romney. But I have no problem discussing ways of eliminating that power from the hands of state legislatures. For one, I'm not aware of anything in the Constitution giving such power anyway, it mostly speaks of how many Representatives per state.
But again, I asked for examples of problems that were acceptable two hundred years ago but are no longer acceptable now. I didn't see any in your statement.
I would say that many decisions made in the creation of the government, including the EC, did revolve around the fear of a more populous state dominating less populous states. I say this because they, as you point out, had a fear of an all-powerful Federal government. Just because the problems did not exist at the time doesn't mean they weren't foreseen nor being prepared for. Amendments are ratified by the states so they get equal votes on those regardless, but that's another step they took to avoid a popular vote problem. But since many laws on the Federal level are written, passed, and signed without regard to the Constitution it would stand the reason that the fairness of the amendment process is irrelevant.
What you say about swing states is true, except that they tend to vary from election to election so I fail to see how Congress can get favor from them via entitlements. But Congress can lavish the gifts upon their state strongholds just to be sure they keep them as much as providing something to swing states to get them to vote their way. Technically, according to the Constitution, they shouldn't be doing that in the first place to any state regardless of its political leanings. You say that large states are left to fester which is an outcome that possibly the system is supposed to do something about. I would say that the original intentions was that the Federal government shouldn't have been involved in the first place. Most of the problems you lay out are there, sure, but most of them have been created by people who wish to tinker or game the system. Therefore the problems lay in the people running the system, not the system itself. But even with these problems and roughly a 5% error rate, as I said before, I would choose that over mob rule any day.