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Is the United States government like an old bulky machine in the 21st century?
Yes and no.The portion of "the government" that is the bureaucracy is remarkably well-oiled and responsive to popular concerns. It doesn't always seem like that, but precisely because of the media outrages that occur around scandals like the VA, those tend to get fixed within a decade or less, which is actually pretty fast in terms of social problems.The portion of "the government" that is the leadership - legislators, senior executive officials, judiciary - and the Constitution that outlines how it's all supposed to work, are - I often fear irreparably - broken. It's a 200 year old document, and beyond plain age, I believe it's rightly viewed as a flawed first draft around which much better constitutions for other countries were written later. Several human rights we now consider to be critical - privacy, freedom from slavery, etc - are missing. The lack of limitations on legislative process have allowed a byzantine supralegal apparatus to fester and decay (the filibuster is merely a symptom of this). The flaws in apportionment and elections have since been solved by innovations like proportional representation and ranked voting.If you look at the problems facing the US today - climate change, discrimination, inequality - not one of them is impossible to solve. What stops us from solving them is the legislative gridlock that has resulted from a flawed constitution being pushed past a point that its writers never conceived of. The document may have been able to resist partisanship and ideological polarization each alone, but it was simply not designed to ever handle their combination, ideological polarization along partisan lines.So yes, in that sense, it's a bulky old machine. It's like if we took ENIAC, one of the first transistor based computers, and tried to make it play Call of Duty.
What are the arguments for the electoral college, explained, do not include arguments against the electoral college?
Q: What are the arguments for the electoral college, explained, not the argument against arguments against the electoral college?The US is a federation of individual sovereign States. One of the objectives of the Electoral College system was to have the States, not Congress, decide who serves as President. Article II, Section 1, reads:2: Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.The 23rd Amendment gave additional Electors to Washington DC ("The District constituting the seat of government of the United States") equal to the number of Electors they'd have if it were a State. That is currently 3 Electors, but could be more. The Amendment stipulates that they shall never have less than the least populous State. So, if it were to happen that House Apportionment ended up with no State having less than 2 Representatives (and thus 4 Electors), then DC would have 4 Electors as well.There was, as I understand it, a concern that a system like in the UK, where the Prime Minister is a member of Parliament, would dilute the Separation of Powers between those two branches of government (in that the President would serve at the will of Congress and thus would be subordinate to that body).There was also a desire to address the risk of "cabal, intrigue, and corruption" from adversely influencing the election process. As Federalist 68 put it:They have not made the appointment of the President to depend on any preexisting bodies of men, who might be tampered with beforehand to prostitute their votes; but they have referred it in the first instance to an immediate act of the people of America, to be exerted in the choice of persons for the temporary and sole purpose of making the appointment. And they have excluded from eligibility to this trust, all those who from situation might be suspected of too great devotion to the President in office.So, why not a popular vote? Undue influence of more populous States over the interests of less populous States. The system actually favors larger States in that they have more Electors than smaller States (California, for example, has 55 Electoral votes whereas Wyoming only has 3). The 12 most populous States, if they were to band together, could select the President (the last time I did this exercise, they had 281 votes between them).The Electoral map, based on recent voting patterns, favors Democrats. Of those 12 States, 4 are reliably blue (CA, WA, NY, IL), and 4 are usually so (MI, OH, PA, VA). There are only 2 reliably red States (TX, GA), and the remaining 2 tend to swing (FL, NC).Yet, Clinton lost to Trump and Democrats want to abolish the Electoral College one way or another. That begs the question. Why? If the Electoral map skews in the Democrat's favor, how did they end up losing the White House?Because Clinton failed to reach out to States in the rust belt. She took them for granted as her "blue wall," and barely campaigned there (she skipped Wisconsin altogether). Trump, on the other hand, recognized their plight, took it seriously, and promised to do something about it. He was rewarded for it, and it was enough to give him the win.Therein lies the point. Presidential candidates cannot afford to concentrate in large States alone. They have to reach out to the nation as a whole. Smaller States don't have much of a say, but they have enough that they have to be taken seriously.I wonder. If people who argue so vigorously for a popular vote would be willing to split their votes within their States according to how their citizens voted? For example, if the Democrat wins 64% of the vote in California, and the Republican wins 36%, would they be willing to split their Electors, giving the Democrat candidate 35 Electors and the Republican 20? No? I wonder why?The system gives smaller States a slightly improved say in who will be President. It isn't much, and it rarely matters, but it can affect the election. That's the idea.
Which of the founding fathers of the United States won the argument that led to implementation of the Electoral College?
You’ve likely never heard of them, because it was a team effort; and some of the people on the team went on to argue against adopting the Constitution on the whole (and so don’t get talked about much at all).The Framer who gets to claim, “First!” was James Wilson of Pennsylvania, one of the foremost legal scholars and political scientists of the day. He introduced the first concept of what would become the Electoral College on June 2, 1787[1] :[T]hat the Executive Magistracy shall be elected in the following manner: That the States be divided into • districts: [and] that the persons qualified to vote in each district for members of the first branch of the national Legislature elect • members for their respective districts to be electors of the Executive Magistracy, that the said Electors of the Executive magistracy meet at • and they or any • of them so met shall proceed to elect by ballot, but not out of their own body • person• in whom the Executive authority of the national Government shall be vested.At the time that Wilson made his motion, the Executive was designed to be elected by the Legislature. Wilson believed that the people should have direct say in the election of the Executive in order to maintain its independence from the Legislature. He was opposed, however, by delegates who saw little issue with the Executive being appointed by the legislature, delegates who thought that it would strip the states of their sovereignty, and delegates who didn’t trust the people to make a sound decision.As such, his proposal was voted down almost unanimously, with only Pennsylvania supporting it. For weeks thereafter, the draft Constitution held that the Executive would be appointed by the Legislature. They heatedly debated whether the Executive should be one person or several, whether it or they should be subject to impeachment and removal by the Legislature, and the term of service.During this period of debate, Mr Wilson put forward (successfully) the need for there to be a single executive and the need for the branches of government to be independent of each other. On the latter point, he started to gain momentum.Then on July 17, in the midst of furious debate about whether the Executive had been tied too closely to the Legislature, Gouverneur Morris of Pennsylvania (in self-imposed exile from New York), supported by Wilson, moved to have the Executive selected directly by the people.Right after his motion failed (again, with only Pennsylvania in support), Luther Martin of Maryland - who would eventually quit the Convention and become a leading Anti-Federalist - “moved that the Executive be chosen by Electors appointed by the several Legislatures of the individual States.[2]”It failed without debate, with only Maryland and Delaware in support.After the motions of Morris and Martin failed, the delegation took up the issue of whether the Executive - still, at this point, being chosen by the Legislature - should be eligible for more than one term, or for a period of “good behavior.”At this point, James Madison started getting passionate about the need to split up the Executive and the Legislature, as did Morris. Others, too, chimed in that the Executive was starting to take on powers that would be too tempting for the Legislature to usurp for itself.On July 19, Edmund Randolph of Virginia - who would also go on to become an Anti-Federalist - called everyone’s attention back to Martin’s failed motion[3], which was formally revived by Oliver Ellsworth of Connecticut (another future Anti-Federalist, if you haven’t picked up the pattern) and passed by a 6–3–1 vote[4] .In all of this, Wilson is recorded to have wryly “perceived with pleasure that the idea was gaining ground, of an election mediately or immediately by the people.[5]”…Except the delegates then couldn’t agree on the number of electors to be chosen, as Ellsworth’s motion had called for there to be a ratio of electors in accordance with states• populations. Then concerns were raised about whether to specify how the electors should be chosen, the convenience of assembling them for a vote, whether they could be corrupted by the candidates, whether they could even agree on a candidate, and so forth.Within a week of its adoption, the Convention chucked the nascent Electoral College into the “too hard” basket on a 7–4 vote, with the states of the College’s primary backers Pennsylvania (Wilson & Morris), Connecticut (Ellsworth), Maryland (Luther), and Virginia (Randolph & Madison) against its being scrapped[6] . Morris tried two more times to revive the Electoral College, but was twice defeated, although by only narrow margins.By the end of August, with the Convention seeing the end in sight, there was general agreement that nobody was really happy with how the debate about the Executive had shaken out - in addition to a number of other unresolved questions. So the Convention proposed to appoint a committee to address the remaining, unresolved issues; and Morris moved that the method of choosing the Executive be included. He succeeded, and then further succeeded in getting appointed to the Committee (along with Madison).Lo and Behold!, on September 4, the Committee reported[7] its view to have the Executive chosen as follows:Each State shall appoint in such manner as its Legislature may direct, a number of electors equal to the whole number of Senators and members of the House of Representatives, to which the State may be entitled in the Legislature. The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by ballot for two persons, of whom one at least shall not be an inhabitant of the same State with themselves; and they shall make a list of all the persons voted for, and of the number of votes for each, which list they shall sign and certify and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Genl Government, directed to the President of the Senate—The President of the Senate shall in that House open all the certificates, and the votes shall be then & there counted. The Person having the greatest number of votes shall be the President, if such number be a majority of that of the electors; and if there be more than one who have such a majority, and have an equal number of votes, then the Senate shall immediately choose by ballot one of them for President: but if no person have a majority, then from the five highest on the list, the Senate shall choose by ballot the President, and in every case after the choice of the President, the person having the greatest number of votes shall be vice-president: but if there should remain two or more who have equal votes, the Senate shall choose from them the Vice-President. The Legislature may determine the time of choosing and assembling the Electors, and the manner of certifying and transmitting their votes.The first, full version of what we know as the Electoral College.It triggered days of debate - during which Wilson balked at the proposal[8] , taking Morris by surprise[9] - but for all the other issues they debated, on September 6, effectively less than a week before they finalized the Constitution as we know it, the Convention settled (9–2) to have the Executive chosen by the Electoral College[10] .So if you want to assign credit, Wilson gets “First!” for coming up with the concept, Luther gets credit for proposing that the states act as a mediary mode of election, Ellsworth gets credit for introducing the idea of the number of electors being in some proportion to the states• population, and Morris for continually agitating for the idea up to the finish line (the “Win,” if you will).Footnotes[1] Online Library of Liberty[2] Online Library of Liberty[3] Online Library of Liberty[4] Online Library of Liberty[5] Online Library of Liberty[6] Online Library of Liberty[7] Online Library of Liberty[8] Online Library of Liberty[9] Online Library of Liberty[10] Online Library of Liberty
What would happen if the United States government instantly dissolved and each state became a sovereign nation?
Original Question: What would happen if the United States government instantly dissolved and each state became a sovereign nation?Thank you for the A2A, Joel MatthewsStefan Stackhouse nails the only way this could happen “instantly.”But even then it would not happen instantly. No small state is going to vote to dissolve the Union until it has a new plan.But what plan would be better than what we already have?The only way that there will be a split is if some region of the United States is absolutely unwilling to be part of the United States.That region could not fight another civil war—it would lose and it would be occupied—just like last time.So that region would have to resist non-violently—to make itself more of a hassle than it is worth.But even at that, that region will never be granted complete independence. The United States will never allow that region to:conduct independent foreign policymaintain nuclear, biological, or chemical weaponsmaintain a strategic navy or air force. It would be limited to a coast guard and defensive air force.Also that region would have to accept the ongoing presence of US military bases, US interstate highways, strategic rail lines, strategic pipelines, and such.The United States would retain control of airways, strategic waterways, selected airports, and seaports.The United States would still retain authority over oil refineries, major power plants, and of course, nuclear power plants.The United States would retain control of the airwaves.The United States would still exact a defense levy from these states.Basically, this region would be allowed to be semi-autonomous, with much more control over its social and local economic policy purchased by surrendering its seats in Congress including the Senate.I believe when it is put that way, no state is going to accept that deal and will remain in the Union as is.But as Adi Chhabra observes, if the 50 states cannot remain together in a single Union, they also will not be able to live together in peace. Even if we could remain cordial amongst ourselves, foreign powers would conspire to set us at each others• throats.Judging by 2022. it would not take much.And at that point, how long would it take for foreign powers to consider invading, lest we recombine into a single empire?We might even see something akin to the division of Germany following World War II—a division of the United States into occupation zones: The Chinese Zone, the Russian Zone, the Euro Zone, and Brazil Zone, and the India Zone.In that case the Chinese would “liberate” Hawaii from the United States and make it an indpendent nation. They would also “liberate” Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.Russia “liberate” Alaska.The Five Powers would repatriate the lands lost in the Mexican war to Mexico. Brazil would “liberate” Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.New York City would become an “Open City” (meaning occupied) foreign troops and security personnel would control the airports and seaports.Americans would have to carry identity papers and could be stopped and detained at any time without cause or warrant. Their cars and homes could be searched without cause or warrant. Similarly, Americans could be arrested without warrant.Foreign soldiers who killed, raped, or stole from American citizens would be tried in their home countries by juries of their own nationals—that is, if they were arrested or investigated at all.Any American caught with a weapon would likely suffer summary execution.Nevertheless there would be a resistance. And Americans would kill foreign troops.And there would be reprisals. Particularly by the Russians and Chinese. They would murder whole towns of men and boys. They would rape the women in front of the men first.The Europeans would protest of course, but feebly. And they would not do anything to actually stop any of it.Of course, eventually, the occupation would become too expensive for even the Russians and Chinese.But after our nation was devastated and about fifty million of us were killed and many more of us grievously psychologically damaged, we would learn that splitting up was a mammothly, insanely bad idea.Or maybe before we were occupied, someone would just launch the nukes, and humanity would die.;"";""
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