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Member since: 2002
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You've come up with the best argument against a popular vote.

It's not an argument for the EC, however. EC outcomes have also been fixed by fraud, as in 2000 and almost certainly 2004.

What you're presenting is just a small part of an argument against having a country of 300 million people stage a winner-take-all election to place a single person into a single office. And also against having this single office purportedly lead a gargantuan, all-encompassing executive branch
- that has become defacto unitary;
- that is corporate-captured and largely shrouded in secrecy, classification, and legal obscurity;
- that manages a global military empire and chain of commercial interests;
- and that impacts all of the world's people, 6.7 billion of whom don't even get to elect this super-figurehead.

Given this corporate state's authoritarianism, dysfunctionality and just plain menace to the world, and given its remoteness from any credible definition of a democracy, the EC doesn't even qualify as small potatoes. It's more like a very small radish.

If stupid people are the problem...

then it's pretty stupid to think the Electoral College is a solution.

It is true that the Dead Men of 1787 conceived the EC as a means for allowing electors (who would presumably be among the "better sort" to make their own decisions, even against their original pledges. In practice, however, cases of electors voting against their original appointment are extremely - extremely - rare. We're talking like one or two in the last century. There is no deliberation or substantive decision-making or sense of uncertainty in the proceedings of the EC. Electors vote for their original candidate. The EC results are predetermined by the election night counts. The electors themselves wouldn't even need to show up. Thus cases when the EC system yields a different result than the popular vote have been arbitrary. If ever there was a case when the EC should have taken seriously its supposed original function of providing a check on tyranny or mass incompetence, it would have been in 2000, when the demonstrably stupidest candidate in recent memory emerged the winner, not because of the popular vote, but because of the arbitrary mathematics of the EC.

Otherwise, as an intelligent person I'd urge you to reconsider how you consider "stupid." There isn't a single functioning definition of the concept, and there is no invisible ranking of every human being on the planet from number-one-smartest to number-seven-billion-dumbest, so that you can make statements about "the law of statistics" (?) dictating that "half of everybody else is more stupid than that." (Also, if you care for the discipline of statistics, you need to start respecting the difference between average and median, which are among its most fundamental axioms.)

If the "average person" is really "stupid" at a given time, then you also have to wonder what the society is about.

There should not be a president.

It's a fundamentally authoritarian concept. It practically invites abuse and grandstanding - like wars for legacy. Most of these bozos are only ever good for declaring war, if not on other nations, then on social ills or abstract concepts. The idea in the first place is sick: 300 million people, one big guy decides, and it's supposed to be a democracy because you get to switch him every four years.

In practice, however, the awesome scope and size and secrecy of the modern executive branch have reduced the presidency to a stage show. An administration is often less a leader than a faction within the opaque internal politics of empire. We have this permanent and large realm of hidden government, located in the executive but not really under anyone's control - except that the corporations have captured most of the various agencies and units. Every four years we pretend the election of one headman (in a process utterly corrupted by money, ideology, shocking public ignorance, and the whims of media corporations) is going to be the most significant single factor influencing policy.

Democracy in a nation this size begins with a parliamentary, proportionally representative system. In any case, democracy does not survive well with empire, let alone vast secret reaches of government beyond oversight and vested with the divine right of "national security."

That being said, of course the electoral college and the other institutions by which the Dead Hand of 1787 still runs our lives - Senate, winner-take-all "representation," Supreme Court - were designed to prevent democracy and keep power in the hands of a propertied ruling class.
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