Posted:As the presedential election race heats up something is becoming strangely obvious to me. Neither one of the candidates cares who I vote for. (For those that have the NY Times today, a discussion of this is on the front page)
In November the American people will either choose Republican George Bush again or Democrat John Kerry. But the way it works here... as many of you may know from four years ago's chaos... is that each state puts all of their votes for a certain candidate. This means that New York WILL put all of their 'electorial votes' for John Kerry. It's settled already. There is NO way Bush will win in my state, he lost by a landslide the last election.
So Bush isn't campaigning in New York, which makes sense, and neither is Kerry, which makes sense too... Essentially, they've both given up on New York and assumed it will go to Kerry.
Texas is the exact opposite. Bush will win Texas. Bush knows it, Kerry knows it... so any campaigning there would be a waste of time.
In fact, MOST of the states in the US are already decided. So the candidates don't focus any of their time and money on THOSE states.
This year is actually better than it has been in the past. There are essentially 21 (out of 52) states that are "battleground' states. This is better than last election's 16/52... but still... I don't live in one of them.
It's kinda strange how how few hundred people in Florida, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Ohio could determine who is the most influential person in the planet. Yet a few thousand or even million in New York wouldn't make much of a difference.
With as much as is hanging in the balance of this election... both locally and especially globally, that thought is a bit scary.
Well, shall we go? Yes, let's go. [They do not move.]
Posted:I don't understand the backbone of politics as much as I should. So let me ask the ignorant questions, better me than you right?
Who decides the electoral vote? What is the point in voting if the electoral vote is the only one that counts? How does one influence the electoral vote? Why does this shotty voting system still exist? Does this really sound like a democracy to anyone?
Posted:The registered voters that vote in each state select who that states electoral votes go to. Each state starts out with at least 2 electoral votes (one for each seat in the Senate). Then they add to that one electoral vote for each member of the House of Representatives the state has. Larger, more populated states get more electoral votes.
Each registered voter places their vote on election day (or does the early voting thing). These votes are then tallied. Whichever candidate has the highest percentage of overall votes gets that states entire allotment of electoral votes (with the exception of Nebraska and Maine which split them amongst the candidates according to actual percentages voted on). The electoral votes for all candidates are then counted up, and whichever candidate recieves the highest amount of electoral votes (must be some sort of majority) wins the election.
So, if I am in TX which we know mostly votes Republican, my vote in essence won't get counted. All the electoral votes for TX will go to Bush.
Mand's Girl....and The Not So Shy One Location: Calgary, Alberta Canada
Total posts: 2723
Posted:It is a representative democracy.
The Electoral college was set up during a time when educating voters was not easy given distances and the number of folks who could read (beginning of our nation).
If a candidate takes the majority of votes in a state, then he gets all of the electoral votes.
Florida was really tight, if I recall, and Bush nudged out Gore, hence getting all of the electoral votes, and sparking the controversy.
Gore had the popular majority, but because we have the electoral college, Bush had more electoral college votes.
I'm not qualified to answer why it's still around, nor do I know who gets to be an electoral vote.
I do think a better way to do it is divide a state's electoral votes by the percentage of actual voets a candidate has. If a candidate has 55% of the popular vote, then he gets 55% of the electoral votes. You think the idiots in Washington would agree, but try and get the stubborn democrats and idiot republicans (well...all politicians are idiots, imho) to agree on anything...
Solitude sometimes speaks to you, and you should listen.
Posted:I should point out that only the president is voted for via the electoral college. A vote for any other elected official gets counted in the usual sense, i.e. a senator only wins if he wins the majority of the votes actually cast.
Posted:Quote: But your president has a lot more power over his country then say.. Canada's prime minister has over his.
Actually, that's not true. I know it's hard to believe but Canada's system is even worse. As one former prime minister (Trudeau I think) has publicly said, the prime minister of Canada with a majority government is a dictator, with far more control of the nations politics then the american president could ever have.
Posted:I don't think the american system is overly different from the british one. We have elections in favour of an MP (member of parliament) then they take seats in the house of parliament representing their area and the number of seats taken basically control who is in power by majority.
I think at the heart of it it's not to bad a system, it keeps local government power in favour of the majority of that individual areas members, I guess it's just that in the US the areas are vast in comparison. If I remember correctly the US has states bigger than Britain itself
Posted: The Canadian system is like the british system, but the American system is different. I'm not the best person to explain the american system though.
Really, they all suck. Proportional representation sounds to me like the way to go. With that system a person could actually vote for a party that is good (ie. green party). The systems in use in Canada, Britain, and America all tend to force people to vote for whoever is not the worst. I'm not sure what countries actually use proportional representation, I think Australia, New Zealand, and Germany do.
Posted:Well the thing about the electoral college is that it actually doesn't fail too often. Actually, as I recall, only twice in the history of the US (The obvious one last election, and one back around Adams or something like that) has a president won by electoral votes and lost by popular vote. Not to say that isn't a bull **** way of doing it, but just pointing out the statistical truth of the matter...
That being said, we were also dealing with a much more politicized country back then... It's come down now to the lesser of two evils, or as one comedian I like once put it, we don't have two parties anymore but first cousins. As Clinton showed, you win by appealing to moderates: as the majority IS moderate. Thing is now both parties do that, and theres no difference, so we're at a point where all political actions just bull doze through everything and there IS no controversy. In a way I'd like to say its better that we are becoming more moderate, without the pampering of liberals or the staunch prickishness of conservatives ruling the country, but it makes it kind of pointless to vote anymore.
The electoral college is bull, yes, but getting rid of it isn't going to change the fact that there's still no good candidate. Even if we had a parlimentary type system where we have different factions combining for a majority vote, they would still pretty much combine into one uber-party like we have now. The problem is that we have CAREER POLITICIANS. When you have a guy who has to focus on getting reelected because otherwise he don't get no dough, values go out the window. Not to mention the fact that a political campaign has reached a point $$$ wise that the people who really CAN make a difference can't afford to run.
The system has too many other problems to just bitch about something as insignificant as the electoral college. If you feel that way, then MAKE it more controversial. Get out there and vote anyway, despite the fact that it probably won't make a difference, because the fact of the matter is, you're wrong. You are setting the ground work statistics for people to look and go "Woh, look, this whole popular vote vs. electoral vote thing is happening more now". You may not change your state's electoral votes, but you are contributing to the controversy over that system, which WILL aid in changing it. Please, go vote. At the very least, then you can say "Well I certainly didn't vote for that ****wad." Which is exactly why I am going to go vote against Bush despite the fact that my Ohio vote will probably be thrown out anyway.