Democratic Primary 2020

What's happening in your world? Discuss it here.
Forum rules
Play nice. We will be watching

Re: Democratic Primary 2020

Postby Windy » Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:42 pm

Crimson847 wrote:
JamishT wrote:I really hope it's just pandering to the base, because he seems like a smart guy who'd understand the logic behind the Electoral College.


Since apparently I'm a dumb guy, please explain to me why the Electoral College is not just a good idea, but so great an idea that no smart person could disagree with it.


Because democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what to eat for dinner and is fundamentally incompatible with western values which prioritizes the needs of the minorities over the needs of many. Unfortunately western education is nothing more than propaganda these days so they just teach you "democracy good" instead of the pros and cons of democracy.
  • 2

User avatar
Windy
TCS Junkie
TCS Junkie
 
Posts: 3105
Joined: Fri May 29, 2015 11:41 am
Show rep

Re: Democratic Primary 2020

Postby Absentia » Tue Apr 16, 2019 3:54 pm

By definition, any system other than a direct democracy will sometimes prioritize the minority at the expense of the majority. This is true of constitutional republics, one party states, and military dictatorships. The question is whether you're protecting a minority from tyranny, or giving them outsize power to tyrannize others.

The Electoral College in 2019 is not a thoughtfully designed instrument of protection; it's arbitrary. The minority it favors are "people who live in swing states". A lot of Republicans have the idea that it favors their mostly small-state coalition over the Dems' mostly large-state coalition, but that's only a product of the way the map happens to break at this moment in history. It could just as easily be the other way around: if Texas keeps drifting to the left and the Democrats gain a reliable California/New York/Texas voting bloc, those three large states would be almost unbeatable no matter how much of Middle America lines up against them.

Based on the long-term demographic trends, it would probably be smart for the GOP to embrace dismantling the EC while the Democrats are on board. (Un)fortunately, "smart" and "forward-thinking" aren't exactly hallmarks of modern Republicanism.
  • 3

User avatar
Absentia
TCS Moderator
TCS Moderator
 
Posts: 1755
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2015 4:46 am
Location: Earth
Show rep

Re: Democratic Primary 2020

Postby Windy » Tue Apr 16, 2019 5:41 pm

They're the same party though.
  • 0

User avatar
Windy
TCS Junkie
TCS Junkie
 
Posts: 3105
Joined: Fri May 29, 2015 11:41 am
Show rep

Re: Democratic Primary 2020

Postby Crimson847 » Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:55 pm

Windy wrote:
Crimson847 wrote:
JamishT wrote:I really hope it's just pandering to the base, because he seems like a smart guy who'd understand the logic behind the Electoral College.


Since apparently I'm a dumb guy, please explain to me why the Electoral College is not just a good idea, but so great an idea that no smart person could disagree with it.


Because democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what to eat for dinner and is fundamentally incompatible with western values which prioritizes the needs of the minorities over the needs of many. Unfortunately western education is nothing more than propaganda these days so they just teach you "democracy good" instead of the pros and cons of democracy.


So when do black people get extra votes in presidential elections? Or atheists? Or gay people? If this is about protecting minorities, shouldn't all marginalized groups be thus protected from being outvoted by the majority, rather than just one?

But, of course, if we followed that principle consistently we'd be giving most of the population extra votes for being part of some minority or another. And if everyone's vote counts double, then every vote is once again worth the same. By contrast, constitutional rights enforced by strong judiciaries can in principle be doled out to every minority, which is why modern democracies use those to solve this problem.

Moreover, winning a court battle in your own defense mainly secures your own rights and perhaps those of others in similar situations, while winning elections not only secures your rights but allows you to enforce your mere wants over those of others by affording broad policymaking power. Minority rights should certainly be respected regardless of who's in power, but minority wants, over the wants of the majority?
  • 2

"If it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them; but the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"
- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
User avatar
Crimson847
TCS Junkie
TCS Junkie
 
Posts: 3193
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2015 5:18 am
Show rep

Re: Democratic Primary 2020

Postby cmsellers » Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:42 am

The clear solution is to weight people's votes based on each oppressed class they're in and how oppressed that class is. So a the vote of a poor, queer, Latinx, Zoroastrian furry of Australian Aboriginal descent living on an Indian reservation in Podunk, South Dakota counts roughly 42 times as much as Elon Musk's.
  • 2

User avatar
cmsellers
TCS Junkie
TCS Junkie
 
Posts: 8810
Joined: Sun Apr 14, 2013 7:20 pm
Location: Three miles from the bat bridge
Show rep
Title: The Bad Bart of Ruddigore

Re: Democratic Primary 2020

Postby Windy » Wed Apr 17, 2019 1:21 am

Crimson847 wrote:So when do black people get extra votes in presidential elections? Or atheists? Or gay people? If this is about protecting minorities, shouldn't all marginalized groups be thus protected from being outvoted by the majority, rather than just one?


Might makes right is the core of every political system. It's no different in a liberal democracy. Maybe they will get extra votes someday if the mighty decides it'll benefit them.
  • 1

User avatar
Windy
TCS Junkie
TCS Junkie
 
Posts: 3105
Joined: Fri May 29, 2015 11:41 am
Show rep

Re: Democratic Primary 2020

Postby Absentia » Wed Apr 17, 2019 1:38 am

Windy wrote:Might makes right is the core of every political system. It's no different in a liberal democracy. Maybe they will get extra votes someday if the mighty decides it'll benefit them.


Hold on, I thought it was wrong for the wolves to decide what to eat for dinner. You can't win an argument by openly contradicting the last thing you said.
  • 2

User avatar
Absentia
TCS Moderator
TCS Moderator
 
Posts: 1755
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2015 4:46 am
Location: Earth
Show rep

Re: Democratic Primary 2020

Postby Windy » Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:58 am

Absentia wrote:Hold on, I thought it was wrong for the wolves to decide what to eat for dinner. You can't win an argument by openly contradicting the last thing you said.


No, it's only wrong if the sheep have a better idea for dinner than the wolves. If the sheep decides they'd be eating grass the two wolves would starve to death.

Crimson847 wrote:But, of course, if we followed that principle consistently we'd be giving most of the population extra votes for being part of some minority or another. And if everyone's vote counts double, then every vote is once again worth the same. By contrast, constitutional rights enforced by strong judiciaries can in principle be doled out to every minority, which is why modern democracies use those to solve this problem.


That's not reliable or sustainable and probably a violation of checks and balances. The courts can easily rule the opposite way. And having a strong judiciary is going to bite a lot of people in the ass now that Trump's the one packing the courts.

Crimson847 wrote:Moreover, winning a court battle in your own defense mainly secures your own rights and perhaps those of others in similar situations, while winning elections not only secures your rights but allows you to enforce your mere wants over those of others by affording broad policymaking power. Minority rights should certainly be respected regardless of who's in power, but minority wants, over the wants of the majority?


The law is a social construct, your rights are not secured just because a piece of paper said so. Your government can take away your rights whenever they want if they really feel like it. And even if you have your rights, law enforcement won't always respect them, and the judiciary doesn't always have to protect them.
  • 3

User avatar
Windy
TCS Junkie
TCS Junkie
 
Posts: 3105
Joined: Fri May 29, 2015 11:41 am
Show rep

Re: Democratic Primary 2020

Postby Kate » Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:08 pm

I don't think Jamish is saying you need to be an idiot to want it abolished; there are ways to approach abolishing it that are more intelligent and nuanced than "this thwarts democracy" and boiling it down to that displays either a lack of knowledge for what the system was designed for or a disregard for it. And it could backfire; saying "this is a flawed system but I understand why people support it and we should find an alternative that addresses their concerns" is better than "this is the enemy of democracy" in my opinion.

I was listening to a podcast by Andrew Heaton where he says he would support abolishing the electoral college if it was replaced with ranked choice voting, and that makes a lot of sense to me. You would preserve an element of keeping candidates competitive for a diverse set of votes, which is something that a lot of EC supporters value about the EC whether it actually works in practice or not.



I recommend that podcast in general by the way, he tries to bring on a wide range of guests to discuss issues and maybe break down the barriers of polarization.
  • 7

JT's Art Thread - JamesT's awesome stuff.
User avatar
Kate
Gul DuKate
Gul DuKate
 
Posts: 2960
Joined: Sun Apr 14, 2013 10:08 am
Location: Assembling Future Kate
Show rep
Title: Sheepwoman

Re: Democratic Primary 2020

Postby Absentia » Wed Apr 17, 2019 3:20 pm

I'd love to see RCV adopted everywhere, including this primary, even if we don't abolish the EC. Either is an improvement, and both is better still. Sign me up.

For the record: I don't think the EC is useful, but it's way down the list of problems with our election system. I wish more candidates were talking about things like RCV and anti-gerrymandering measures.
  • 5

User avatar
Absentia
TCS Moderator
TCS Moderator
 
Posts: 1755
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2015 4:46 am
Location: Earth
Show rep

Re: Democratic Primary 2020

Postby cmsellers » Wed Apr 17, 2019 3:49 pm

I would support abolishing the EC unconditionally, because plurality rule is an improvement over minority rule, but RCV would be a massive improvement over either. Unfortunately, it's been hard to get this passed on the state level, and when Maine finally did, the courts threw a wrench in the works, claiming that the Maine constitution requires the person who gets the most votes to be the winner and this somehow doesn't do that. Which it does, but if one American court bought it other courts will too. So I'd love a constitutional amendment which establishes RCV for the presidency and explicitly allows states to use it for state offices.

The problem with talking about the intent of the EC and saying "it's a feature, not a a bug, the Founders were smart like that," is multifold. Leave aside for now the points about the Founders not being infallible demigods carrying down the Constitution from Mt. Olympus. One of the main drivers for the EC was to uphold the 3/5 compromise for presidential elections. Now that black people count as whole people, we don't need to do that anymore.

And it seems likely that the Founders intended for the presidential election to go to Congress. And the Founders believed that the US would be too divided into factions for any one to dominate most presidential elections. But as it happens, the election was thrown to Congress exactly once, and the man who won the plurality losing that election nearly caused a constitutional crisis, and swept him into office the next election on the back of outrage over the result.

The "Dirty Compromise" of 1824, lead to widespread outrage, even though the result was a feature, not a bug. One of the things the founders hoped to prevent was the rise of a dangerous populist demagogue. With Jackson, it succeeded in keeping him out for for one term, and then the backlash gave him two terms of nearly unchecked power in which he rebuilt the US political environment around him. With Trump, the system working put the dangerous populist demagogue in power directly. And though you could argue the failure of faithless electors to prevent it was a failure of the system; I'm sure all of his supporters and many of his opponents would disagree.

I think that people generally have an understanding that the minority candidate winning is wrong in the abstract and when their candidate loses. It's only when their candidate wins that pragmatics trumps moral judgment. Republican support for abolishing the EC went down after the elections of both W and Trump, but it went back up to majority support after W. And Republican voters clearly have a general sense that denying the plurality candidate is wrong: Trump's support went up dramatically after the GOP establishment began maneuvering to try to get to a brokered convention.
  • 4

User avatar
cmsellers
TCS Junkie
TCS Junkie
 
Posts: 8810
Joined: Sun Apr 14, 2013 7:20 pm
Location: Three miles from the bat bridge
Show rep
Title: The Bad Bart of Ruddigore

Re: Democratic Primary 2020

Postby Crimson847 » Thu Apr 18, 2019 12:56 pm

Windy wrote:That's not reliable or sustainable and probably a violation of checks and balances. The courts can easily rule the opposite way. And having a strong judiciary is going to bite a lot of people in the ass now that Trump's the one packing the courts.


Meanwhile, the EC has never bitten anyone in the ass, and giving one faction in society a lot more power than others is very consistent with checks and balances?

The law is a social construct, your rights are not secured just because a piece of paper said so. Your government can take away your rights whenever they want if they really feel like it. And even if you have your rights, law enforcement won't always respect them, and the judiciary doesn't always have to protect them.


That's correct. Constitutional guarantees are just words on paper if the will to enforce them doesn't exist. I'm not sure how this is an argument for the EC though, since it too is just words on paper.

Kate wrote:I don't think Jamish is saying you need to be an idiot to want it abolished; there are ways to approach abolishing it that are more intelligent and nuanced than "this thwarts democracy" and boiling it down to that displays either a lack of knowledge for what the system was designed for or a disregard for it.


Perhaps it displays knowledge that the system was designed for various reasons, several of them bad (such as classist disdain for the hoi polloi, or enabling states to disenfranchise disfavored groups without suffering for it in presidential elections) and the rest unfulfilled. It doesn't stop demagogues (indeed, it enabled one), it doesn't make all the states matter in elections (indeed, it constricts the focus to swing states), and it doesn't protect minorities in any systematic way (instead, it favors one minority group against most others). All it does is tilt elections toward a favored faction and breed resentment among the disfavored ones...which is why that favored faction is the only one that generally supports its continued existence.

And it could backfire; saying "this is a flawed system but I understand why people support it and we should find an alternative that addresses their concerns" is better than "this is the enemy of democracy" in my opinion.


I agree that there are more persuasive ways to make the case than just saying the EC is undemocratic. However...the EC is undemocratic. It's intended and specifically structured to be so. By picking favorites in political contests it strikes directly at the heart of bedrock democratic principles, namely popular rule and equality before the law, and unlike other minority protections like the Bill of Rights it doesn't even pretend that rights are the only thing it protects--instead, it secures raw political power for one favored group. One can argue that this is fine, but it's difficult to argue that it isn't true. Consequently, suggesting that anyone who notes this must be stupid seems unjustifiable.
  • 1

"If it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them; but the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"
- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
User avatar
Crimson847
TCS Junkie
TCS Junkie
 
Posts: 3193
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2015 5:18 am
Show rep

Re: Democratic Primary 2020

Postby Windy » Thu Apr 18, 2019 3:02 pm

Crimson847 wrote:
Windy wrote:That's not reliable or sustainable and probably a violation of checks and balances. The courts can easily rule the opposite way. And having a strong judiciary is going to bite a lot of people in the ass now that Trump's the one packing the courts.


Meanwhile, the EC has never bitten anyone in the ass, and giving one faction in society a lot more power than others is very consistent with checks and balances?


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whataboutism :roll:

That's correct. Constitutional guarantees are just words on paper if the will to enforce them doesn't exist. I'm not sure how this is an argument for the EC though, since it too is just words on paper.


The US and the EU have already proven that democracy is a failure, with or without the EC, so it really doesn't matter. Your representatives serve the elite, not society, and the masses would gladly vote each other's rights away.
  • 0

User avatar
Windy
TCS Junkie
TCS Junkie
 
Posts: 3105
Joined: Fri May 29, 2015 11:41 am
Show rep

Re: Democratic Primary 2020

Postby Absentia » Thu Apr 18, 2019 4:23 pm

Windy wrote:The US and the EU have already proven that democracy is a failure, with or without the EC, so it really doesn't matter.


Assumes facts not in evidence.

I don't want to derail this thread any farther; if you'd like to start another one with that thesis we can discuss it there. But if you really think democracy is doomed and the question is moot, then why are you arguing about it?
  • 1

User avatar
Absentia
TCS Moderator
TCS Moderator
 
Posts: 1755
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2015 4:46 am
Location: Earth
Show rep

Re: Democratic Primary 2020

Postby Deathclaw_Puncher » Thu Apr 18, 2019 8:07 pm

Windy wrote:
Crimson847 wrote:
JamishT wrote:I really hope it's just pandering to the base, because he seems like a smart guy who'd understand the logic behind the Electoral College.


Since apparently I'm a dumb guy, please explain to me why the Electoral College is not just a good idea, but so great an idea that no smart person could disagree with it.


Because democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what to eat for dinner and is fundamentally incompatible with western values which prioritizes the needs of the minorities over the needs of many. Unfortunately western education is nothing more than propaganda these days so they just teach you "democracy good" instead of the pros and cons of democracy.

You can't "both sides" a wolf and a sheep. Either they're both wolves or they're both sheep.
  • 0

Image
User avatar
Deathclaw_Puncher
Knight Writer
Knight Writer
 
Posts: 12434
Joined: Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:42 pm
Location: Fair Oaks, CA
Show rep
Title: Queen of the Furrets

PreviousNext

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 2 guests

cron