Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

> I did read the site,

I want to believe you, but it's hard to when it refutes the exact claim you're making:

MYTH: Only the big cities, such as Los Angeles, would matter under a national popular vote.

...

The populations of the 50 largest cities together constitute only 19% of the nation's population. Arlington, Texas is the nation's 50th largest city (with an estimated population of 363,000 in 2005).




Your advocacy site is confusing 'city' with 'metropolitan area', probably deliberately. Here's some real stats:

In 2010, the fifty largest metropolitan statistical areas had a population of 166,033,000 -- 53.8% of the United States' 308,745,000 people.

In the 2012 election, Los Angeles County alone had more voters than any of thirty-two of America's fifty states.

Also in the 2012 election, just 150 of America's 3,033 counties - less than five percent of the total, and all attached to a metropolitan area - made up 50% of the vote.

Given a limited amount of time to get in front of the voters, where do you think the candidates are going to go? Do this thing, and the days of candidates getting outside an urban area are pretty much over.


So, disregarding the fact that an MSA includes an urban center and its non-urban surrounds... You're saying that a candidate is going to just pander to every voter in, say, the Indianapolis-Carmel, IN Metropolitan Statistical Area (#35, population 1.7 million) and ignore the rest of Indiana (population 4.8 million).

> Given a limited amount of time to get in front of the voters, where do you think the candidates are going to go? Do this thing, and the days of candidates getting outside an urban area are pretty much over.

I don't really care where they go; re-enfranchising the majority of the country will mean that personal visits by candidates to a handful of geographic areas will be much less important than, for example, their policies. I'm sorry if that sounds like a bad thing to you, I guess we just have to agree to disagree on that.


If anything, it would have no effect because cities tend overwhelmingly democratic, and there are few undecided voters.

It's no use appealing to the area with the highest population density if their minds are already made up.


If anything, it would have no effect because cities tend overwhelmingly democratic, and there are few undecided voters.

It's no use appealing to the area with the highest population density if their mind is already made up.


In a world and country that is becoming increasingly urbanized, it's about time we removed the thumb on the scale in favor of non-urban voters.


There's a big difference between cities and MSAs, which the parent referred to. Using city populations like that is, IMO, almost always misleading. For the given example: hit the DFW metroplex, you're hitting Arlington. Another instance of the misleading aspect of looking just at city size: Atlanta has a city population of a bit over 400k. That makes it the biggest city in Georgia, and yet isn't even a tenth of the Atlanta metropolitan area, which has about 5.4 million people.

Top 10 US cities by population ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_cities_by... ):

  NYC
  LA
  Chicago
  Houston
  Philadelphia
  Phoenix
  San Antonio
  San Diego
  Dallas
  San Jose
Top ten MSAs by population ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metropolitan_statistical_area ):

  NYC
  LA
  Chicago
  Dallas
  Houston
  Philadelphia
  Washington, DC
  Miami
  Atlanta
  Boston
The 10th-largest MSA is four and a half million people, the 10th-largest city is just under a million.

The 10 largest MSAs contain over 80 million people. That's already over a quarter of the country -- more than the 50 largest cities put together. Taking it out to the top 20 MSAs brings that up to almost 117 million. The top 50 MSAs cover more than half the country's population.

Edit: restricting it down to "urban areas" instead of MSAs brings the numbers down a bit, but the top 10 and 20 still make up a huge amount of it ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_urban_are... 2010 instead of 2011 numbers here ):

  Top 10: 73.4M
  Top 20: 101.8M
  Top 50: 143.1M
(And as a resident of one of the largest urban areas, I would absolutely prefer more of a popular vote. But the country is much more urbanly clustered than the "top 50 cities" stat would suggest. But IMO that's a reason for a popular vote, not against one.)


I'd argue that it's disingenuous to use MSAs rather than cities to talk about campaign stops. To use your example, the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta Metropolitan Statistical Area has four counties with more than 700,000 people, and fifteen with less than 100,000.

It's hard for me to imagine the average resident of, say, Jasper, GA (population ~2,000, median income ~$30,000) caring one way or another that you had a rally in Atlanta— but their votes still count.


Looking up TV listings for Jasper, it appears that cable carriers there still carry the Atlanta affiliates, so I'd disagree on how much they'd notice a candidate making a stop in Atlanta. In a popular vote system, I wouldn't expect any presidential candidates to stop in, say, Canton instead of (or even in addition to) Atlanta, when local media is going to pick up on stuff going on in Atlanta, so Atlanta's the closest I think Jasper would see.


That's fair, they might see it on the news if nothing more important was going on that day. But that's still press coverage, not a stop, and it's likely to backfire when the ad comes on saying, "But how much does Mr. Smith really care about Georgia?"

The more general point being that the dynamics of campaigning would be fundamentally different, such that none of the lines that are currently drawn will matter (and of course that's good thing).


The split is urban vs suburban, not urban vs rural.

Imagine a replay of 2012 without the electoral college. Obama would still hit the urbans and some of the progressive rich enclaves. Romney would hit all the suburban, Wall St. and yacht clubs.

No one would bother with the rurals except for some photo ops. Same as before.


Right, it's definitely not possible that he considered the arguments unconvincing. He just hasn't taken the time to understand them yet. They are utterly unassailable, and anyone who sees things differently must be willfully ignorant or is driven by an anti-popular vote ideology or special interests.




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: