Electorial college strategy in 08 vote Barr

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The Annoyed Man
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Re: Electorial college strategy in 08 vote Barr

#31

Post by The Annoyed Man » Fri Oct 24, 2008 11:05 pm

kalipsocs wrote:
...or simply because a national election, in the time of oil lamps and quill pens, was just impractical.
You make a decent case, but you conveniently left out that second part of the same sentence. My simple answer to the flaw in this logic is the 2004 election. Shoot me down for using wikipedia, but their numbers state Bush netted 62,040,610 votes and Kerry 59,028,444. Thats is a difference of 3,012,166 votes a narrow margin when you are talking about 121+ million votes. If you ask me, thats about as middle of the road as you get. Based on that phenomenon, I don't see how your argument for the electoral college makes much sense.

And ye have little faith in ratifying a new amendment. The last amendment (27th to be precise) to be ratified was in 1992 by a student from UT. Granted, it was presented 100+ years previously, but unless a time limit is specified for such matters a proposed amendment may go on indefinitely as provided in Supreme Court case Coleman vs. Miller. So all you would have to do is make a good case! But I am not going to argue over what isn't and over something I am not going to spearhead.
I have no problem with using Wikipedia. It's not a perfect source, but it's an adequate one. The numbers are probably correct, because if the author fudged the figures, it would be too easy to fact check and edit the entry to correct the numbers. And yes, you're right that Bush/Kerry was close enough in the popular vote that the effect of the electoral college was not so noticeable. But it could just as easily have happened the other way - and had it done so, then what I wrote would come into play.

As far as the oil lamps and quill pens, so what? It was only incidental to the main thrust of why the electoral college system was created. The main reason was exactly as I described it.

Regarding the 27th Amendment, I find two different sources, one claiming that it was Michigan's ratification that put it over the top, the other claiming that it was Alabama's that did it. I don't suppose it really matters which it was. I didn't know that it was a UT student who discovered it and renewed the push for its ratification. In any case, the fact that the 27th took 203 years to ratify makes it an out of the ordinary example. For example, the Equal Rights Amendment of 1972 went out for ratification with a 7 year deadline. It failed to be ratified. Congress granted an extension until 1982. It still failed to be ratified. It has been reintroduced in Congress every year since, and it still has not been ratified (this last time without any time limit) - largely because expanded interpretations of already existing laws and constitutional provisions which provide more equal treatment between men and women. They are persistent. I'll give them that.

Be that as it may, I still think that you would find that it would not be nearly impossible to get the 38 state ratifications necessary to abolish the electoral college because those states whose interest would least be served by abolishing it are not likely to ratify it, and they probably number more than 12.
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Re: Electorial college strategy in 08 vote Barr

#32

Post by kalipsocs » Fri Oct 24, 2008 11:25 pm

Like I said, I am not spear heading it. My recollection of the UT student was dead on though! From http://www.striaghtdope.com.." onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;.
Notwithstanding these occasional stirrings of interest, the amendment was largely forgotten until 1982, when Gregory Watson, an economics student at the University of Texas at Austin, ran across it while looking for a research topic. Watson wrote a paper arguing that because the amendment did not include a time limit for ratification, it was still in play. He got a C.
I would go back there with my rubber stamped document and tell that professor off! :smash:


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Re: Electorial college strategy in 08 vote Barr

#33

Post by Kalrog » Sat Oct 25, 2008 8:05 am

kalipsocs wrote:Shoot me down for using wikipedia, but their numbers state Bush netted 62,040,610 votes and Kerry 59,028,444. Thats is a difference of 3,012,166 votes a narrow margin when you are talking about 121+ million votes. If you ask me, thats about as middle of the road as you get. Based on that phenomenon, I don't see how your argument for the electoral college makes much sense.
Use Wikipedia all you want - it is decent. The problem is that you are using the national numbers and those don't matter from the election standpoint. What you need to do is check for Texas only. Or any other state that is heavily one side or the other. Then take votes from those states and give them to a third party candidate who can then raise the awareness that you can't rely on all the votes going to just the 2 parties.

So take votes (both D and R) from NY and CA and give them to L and take votes from Texas and give them to L. NY and CA still go D in the electoral college and TX still goes R. No change in the outcome of the presidential race for this year, but in 2 more years maybe the R and D candidates will actually propose something to get back all of the L votes from this year. It isn't about getting L elected, it is about having a viable 3rd choice so the big 2 HAVE to go after their base as well instead of just the swing voters by promising crap to everyone.

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Re: Electorial college strategy in 08 vote Barr

#34

Post by kalipsocs » Sat Oct 25, 2008 2:52 pm

No change in the outcome of the presidential race for this year, but in 2 more years maybe the R and D candidates will actually propose something to get back all of the L votes from this year.
Precisely! :hurry:


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Re: Electorial college strategy in 08 vote Barr

#35

Post by PWK » Sat Oct 25, 2008 3:06 pm

That is what 48/13/39 is all about. Not only do I desire to move the Repubs to the right but make the Dem's really show how liberal they are so their is a clear discernible difference between them. Any third party anywhere on the political spectrum will force the other two to some extreme. A moderate party, which is what McC really wanted (witness his preference for Joe Lieberman for VP), would have forced the Repubs to the right and the Dems to the left. A whack Green party would force the Dems to the middle and the Repubs further conservative. You'd significantly reduce the impact under the two party system where everybody runs to the murky middle to win the so called independent/moderate vote. Then catering to and keeping your base would really matter.

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Re: Electorial college strategy in 08 vote Barr

#36

Post by Skiprr » Sat Oct 25, 2008 7:16 pm

Okay, I told myself I would only post once with my little drawing-straws-at-sea metaphor, but as much as the Electoral College system has been mentioned in this thread, I want to make sure viewers aren't reading as facts things which are, instead, bold assumptions. And, yes, I buy ink by the gallon. (Writer's joke.)

A few points to make sure we're all on a level playing field:

First: It is true that Texas's 34 electors are selected at the state's Democratic and Republican party conventions. The 34 electoral votes equal 32 federal Representatives and two Senators.

What we actually vote on come Election Day is that slate of electors. But wait; there's more. A Republican electorate must vote for the Democratic nominee if the state's popular vote is in his favor. This is a place I believe facts have been misconstrued or misinterpreted. More on this below.

Yep; it's a two-party thing. That's just a fact. I'm not saying more opportunity shouldn't be available for a third party but, 10 days away from the election, it is what it is. The time to change things is not when straws are being drawn to see who survives.

Actually, independent candidates--even expectant write-ins--send their lists of 34 selected electors to the Texas Secretary of State at the same time the major parties' conventions do. I don't know if this list of electors has ever been exercised.

Second: Some posts here make it sound as if the 34 electoral votes in Texas are at the discretion of the individual electors, or are driven by party affiliation.

They are not. Other than Nebraska and Maine, state regulations or laws mandate that all of a given state's electoral votes be cast for the candidate who wins the greatest number of popular votes. In Texas, that's §192.005 of the Election Code.

Let me restate that: By law, all 34 Texas electors must vote for the candidate who receives the greatest number of popular votes.

It's all or nothing. The count of the popular vote is the determining factor, and the margins of the popular vote can be very small. For example, if I remember correctly, Gore claimed New Mexico in 2000 by fewer than 400 popular votes.

Think about it.

Third: It's been stated as absolute fact that Texas is a foregone conclusion: 34 electoral votes for McCain. Done deal: nothing can change that.

There can be only two sources of information from which to derive this dangerous (IMHO) assumption: recent state political history and poll results.

To the former point: If you're under 35 or so, you don't remember anything but a Republican Texas. Fact is, Texas has been staunchly Democrat far longer than it's been Republican. The first Republican Governor of Texas in over 100 years, since the Reconstruction, was Bill Clements, elected in 1978. He was defeated by Democrat Mark White in '82, but came back to win again 1986. The Republican Party in Texas really came into its current position of strength around 1984 when we saw Reagan, G.H.W. Bush, and Phil Gramm on ballots.

So, in truth, Texas has been strongly Republican for only the past 24 or so years. A very short time.

Now here we are facing a financial crisis the likes of which the country hasn't experienced since the Great Depression.

We have a sitting Republican President with (unfairly, I think) some of the lowest approval ratings in U.S. history (Gallup pegged Bush at a 25% approval rating in October, just three points higher than Truman in 1952).

We have the largest recent-immigrant population, by total number, in the history of the State of Texas. See the story a few weeks ago where the U.S. Census Bureau published its estimate: one in three households in the Greater Houston Metropolitan Area speak Spanish as the primary language at home.

I'll add here my opinion that legal immigration is to be encouraged and appreciated.

Given the facts of today's environment, I'd say our short hold on Republican dominance is very much in jeopardy. Our position November 4 is tenuous. It certainly is not a foregone conclusion.

Fourth: Election polls are more prevalent and accessible than at any time in history, and citizens don't scrutinize them with the level of analysis and skepticism needed. I posted about this on another Topic. To risk annoying The Annoyed Man ;-) with repetition...

Opinion polls are an art, not a science. All of statistics is based on extracting the most accurate assumptions without having available complete data from the entire possible universe of targets. The key word is "assumption" because polls and surveys have to work with only a portion, a sample, of that total universe.

In fact, when polls report their "margin of error" (e.g., plus or minus 4%), they really take into account only sampling error, because of the four major types of survey errors that's the only one that can sufficiently be quantified. The other biggie sources of errors are coverage error, measurement error, and non-response error. In the instance of Presidential polling, I'd point to coverage error and non-response error as the non-quantifiable factors that offer the greatest chance for inaccuracy.

Pre-election polls serve valuable purposes, but I wish they weren't as prevalent. Remember when, in October of 2004, Newsweek polls had 47% of the vote for Kerry, 45% for Bush, and 2% for Nader?

These are opinion polls, random surveys, and they have a very real potential to mislead and to affect voter behavior.

The last poll results I saw for Texas (Rasmussen, October 23, http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls ... index.html) showed McCain ahead by 10 points. As things go, that's a respectable lead. But does it mean a McCain/Palin win is a foregone conclusion? Absolutely not.

All it would take for a Republican loss in Texas is for a healthy number of Republicans and Libertarians to assume the state is done-deal Red, and either stay home or vote for an independent candidate or a write-in.

Then bingo, NObama could walk away with 34 electoral votes by a very slim margin...for example, by less than 400 popular votes, like New Mexico in 2000.

Think about it.
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Re: Electorial college strategy in 08 vote Barr

#37

Post by PWK » Sat Oct 25, 2008 8:05 pm

First: each party chooses a slate of electors. If your candidate wins your party's electors cast all ballots for your candidate. Other party electors sit home and mope. So no Repub or Dem or Lib elector casts a vote for any other candidate.
By the way I am a Rep. party precinct chair, my wife a precinct judge and we have been attending conventions from the precinct level to state for over 28 years. Every four years electors are chosen purely as an honorary recognition for long standing party support. I've sat in too many congressional caucuses for too long listening to folks tell why they should be electors. Choosing electors is second only to national delegates in time spent in caucuses. So why am I doing this? Because a lot of Repub's in the party are disgusted too, they just don't have the fortitude to do anything about it.
Second: Not from me. The thing that makes 48/13/39 work is that popular vote leader gets all.
Third: If there were any chance by the candidates internal polling, which is much more detailed than the general stuff we see, BO would be spending money here. He won't even give any of his $600 million to any local races. McC would have a least sent Palin here once. TX may not be 100% McC but it's at least 90%.
Fourth: a healthy number won't vote Lib or other. McC's got 39% of the solid tow the party line Repub vote for sure, just like BO will get his 39% in TX. Convincing more of the remaining 22% to go BO is most likely statistically impossible. I admit it's a numbers game, sort of a crap shoot but...............

If this keeps up I may actually get to 100 posts on this site after nearly 3 years.
I'd like to post this strategy over at TFL or THR but those mods over there have no stomach for political debates. Kind of sad.


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Re: Electorial college strategy in 08 vote Barr

#38

Post by srothstein » Sun Oct 26, 2008 12:08 am

Skiprr wrote:First: It is true that Texas's 34 electors are selected at the state's Democratic and Republican party conventions. The 34 electoral votes equal 32 federal Representatives and two Senators.

What we actually vote on come Election Day is that slate of electors. But wait; there's more. A Republican electorate must vote for the Democratic nominee if the state's popular vote is in his favor. This is a place I believe facts have been misconstrued or misinterpreted.

<snip>

Actually, independent candidates--even expectant write-ins--send their lists of 34 selected electors to the Texas Secretary of State at the same time the major parties' conventions do. I don't know if this list of electors has ever been exercised.
If you think about it, the above two paragraphs contradict each other. I think there may be some misunderstanding of the way the electoral college works here.

What happens is that each party sends in their list of electors and the party of the person who wins the popular vote has their slate of electors used. This means all 34 electors come from the party of whoever won the election.
Second: Some posts here make it sound as if the 34 electoral votes in Texas are at the discretion of the individual electors, or are driven by party affiliation.

They are not. Other than Nebraska and Maine, state regulations or laws mandate that all of a given state's electoral votes be cast for the candidate who wins the greatest number of popular votes. In Texas, that's §192.005 of the Election Code.

Let me restate that: By law, all 34 Texas electors must vote for the candidate who receives the greatest number of popular votes.
I think you misunderstood the wording of 192.005. This is the section of law saying the slate of electors comes from the party who won. What it means is that there is really an election between 34 electors named by the Republicans, 34 named by the Democrats, 34 named by the Libertarians, etc. and not the names on the ballot.

But, and this is really very important, there is no law in Texas or federally that requires an elector to vote the way they are supposed to. They each can still vote their conscience. Obviously, the parties do their best to select electors who will do as they are supposed to, but there may be some few who do not. They are called unfaithful or faithless electors. Here is one website I found googling unfaithful electors that tells the stories of a few of them. It also discusses very briefly (almost mentioning in passing) if this is a strength or weakness in the electoral college system
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Re: Electorial college strategy in 08 vote Barr

#39

Post by Liberty » Sun Oct 26, 2008 8:52 am

Skiprr wrote: Third: It's been stated as absolute fact that Texas is a foregone conclusion: 34 electoral votes for McCain. Done deal: nothing can change that.

There can be only two sources of information from which to derive this dangerous (IMHO) assumption: recent state political history and poll results.

To the former point: If you're under 35 or so, you don't remember anything but a Republican Texas. Fact is, Texas has been staunchly Democrat far longer than it's been Republican. The first Republican Governor of Texas in over 100 years, since the Reconstruction, was Bill Clements, elected in 1978. He was defeated by Democrat Mark White in '82, but came back to win again 1986. The Republican Party in Texas really came into its current position of strength around 1984 when we saw Reagan, G.H.W. Bush, and Phil Gramm on ballots.

So, in truth, Texas has been strongly Republican for only the past 24 or so years. A very short time.

Now here we are facing a financial crisis the likes of which the country hasn't experienced since the Great Depression.

We have a sitting Republican President with (unfairly, I think) some of the lowest approval ratings in U.S. history (Gallup pegged Bush at a 25% approval rating in October, just three points higher than Truman in 1952).

We have the largest recent-immigrant population, by total number, in the history of the State of Texas. See the story a few weeks ago where the U.S. Census Bureau published its estimate: one in three households in the Greater Houston Metropolitan Area speak Spanish as the primary language at home.

I'll add here my opinion that legal immigration is to be encouraged and appreciated.

Given the facts of today's environment, I'd say our short hold on Republican dominance is very much in jeopardy. Our position November 4 is tenuous. It certainly is not a foregone conclusion.

Fourth: Election polls are more prevalent and accessible than at any time in history, and citizens don't scrutinize them with the level of analysis and skepticism needed. I posted about this on another Topic. To risk annoying The Annoyed Man ;-) with repetition...

Opinion polls are an art, not a science. All of statistics is based on extracting the most accurate assumptions without having available complete data from the entire possible universe of targets. The key word is "assumption" because polls and surveys have to work with only a portion, a sample, of that total universe.

In fact, when polls report their "margin of error" (e.g., plus or minus 4%), they really take into account only sampling error, because of the four major types of survey errors that's the only one that can sufficiently be quantified. The other biggie sources of errors are coverage error, measurement error, and non-response error. In the instance of Presidential polling, I'd point to coverage error and non-response error as the non-quantifiable factors that offer the greatest chance for inaccuracy.

Pre-election polls serve valuable purposes, but I wish they weren't as prevalent. Remember when, in October of 2004, Newsweek polls had 47% of the vote for Kerry, 45% for Bush, and 2% for Nader?

These are opinion polls, random surveys, and they have a very real potential to mislead and to affect voter behavior.

The last poll results I saw for Texas (Rasmussen, October 23, http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls ... index.html) showed McCain ahead by 10 points. As things go, that's a respectable lead. But does it mean a McCain/Palin win is a foregone conclusion? Absolutely not.

All it would take for a Republican loss in Texas is for a healthy number of Republicans and Libertarians to assume the state is done-deal Red, and either stay home or vote for an independent candidate or a write-in.

Then bingo, NObama could walk away with 34 electoral votes by a very slim margin...for example, by less than 400 popular votes, like New Mexico in 2000.

Think about it.
Polls generally are pretty accurate these days. The Texas Republican Party knows its not worth campaining here any more. They are recruiting folks from Texas to go campain in other states. McCain or Palin hasn't been here in months and has no plans to do so. They believe they might have a slim chance of winning the election. But neither party is giving any concideration about spending resources in Texas.

I believe that Obama is exactly what the the Democrats wanted? What Republican ever wanted McCain? Was there a Republican Candidate more liberal, Even Guilianni didn't make deals with Lieberman and Kennedy and stab the Republican party in the back .. Yeah, Maverick my Donkey. The Arguement that McCain will be at least a little better than Obama isn't a good enough arguement for those who expect better from our leaders.

If someone believes that McCain will be a great president they should vote for him. Fearing voting for McCain because your vote is going to put Texas over the top for Obama is silly. The scenario that the vote could go to Texas while the rest of the country is close enough to give Obama a chance is ignoring the reality of the numbers.

And yes a Generation ago we voted for Democrats... but today we are a red state. That may change some day, but its not going to change in 8 days.

I think we need some purple. Those in Texas who vote for McCain or Obama are telling the party that we approve of the choices that they have presented us.
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Re: Electorial college strategy in 08 vote Barr

#40

Post by PWK » Wed Oct 29, 2008 8:41 pm

Evidence of 48/13/39 as a workable strategy:
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/pol ... 84678.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
"The UT poll shows McCain running ahead of Obama statewide, with a 51 percent to 40 percent margin."
Take a couple points from McC and one point form BO and there you are.

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