Re: The Trouble With The Electoral College – Cities, Metro Areas, Elections and The United States
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Re: The Trouble With The Electoral College – Cities, Metro Areas, Elections and The United States


Hello, internet. Let’s talk about this map,
this argument, and the Electoral College in general. In my “Trouble With The Electoral College”
video from 2011, I was wrong to use the city limits
for that part of the argument, rather than the more expansive metro area. The lawyerish nerd inside of me still wants to argue
“technically correct” on that one. I used the city boundaries because
the metro areas are often vague and absurdly large: the New York City metro area is
6700+ mi² over four states, and from where I partly grew up,
it seemed that a lot of that area had nothing to do with
New York City proper. So, at the time,
I disregarded the metro boundaries. But using the strict city boundaries in that video
was the wrong decision in retrospect. In addition to being a bad argument to make, it also doesn’t address
the concerns this map expresses. And this is correct! Half the population
does live in the grey counties. And more than that, the map gets at a fundamental
division in the United States and other countries that leads partly to the politics we see: the difference between the rural and the urban. If trends continue, a higher and higher percentage
of the country will live in urban areas. In another eight or sixteen years,
this map will be even more extreme: the metro areas even denser. Which, if you’re in favour of the Electoral College, will seem like even more of a reason to keep it. Now this is where we must discuss the idea
that the Electoral College ensures the president is elected by the states. It doesn’t. A candidate can win the Electoral College
with just the eleven biggest states This collection may seem unlikely, but as urbanization
and the politics it creates continues, it becomes increasingly likely. The Electoral College doesn’t ensure
the president wins with a lot of states, or even geographically diverse states. Now, “Should the president represent the people,
or should the president represent the states?” is a question without an answer. This is about preference in style of governance. One moves power up to the federal level,
and the other moves power down to the states. And given the vastness of the country
and the difference in her geographies, it’s reasonable to believe that
states with greater power is the better, less divisive solution
to the problem of governance. But the Electoral College
does nothing to help that. It happens to be that recent wins
have been geographically spread, but the Electoral College
doesn’t ensure that outcome. Cram everyone into California,
leaving one person in each state, and the Electoral College says:
“California alone, she decides.” We could have a system where
the president must win a majority of the states, which is what some think
the Electoral College is… but it isn’t. The election only happens
to make it look that way. The protection of the Electoral College
is only an illusion. Even if you still like the Electoral College, though it doesn’t actually
protect the small states, the Electoral College still comes with
the most bitter of anti-republic pills. For even if you win
the election in November, your victory can be taken away
from you in December. The Electoral College votes your state gets
aren’t really votes, but are individual members
of the political parties, who perform the real vote for president in December. No citizen voted for these electors
to cast a vote on their behalf, and many of the electors
are free to vote for whoever they want. Their election in December is the real election. The Electoral College was designed to be able
to overwrite the will of the people, or its own election process, any time enough of a small number of
unknown, unelected political party insiders don’t like the result they got. If you’re in favor of the Electoral College, you have to accept that,
by its own rules, it can take away your victory, under the guise of
protecting you from yourself. This has never happened in American history,
nor should it. But it is crazy to leave in place
for future elections a system that benefits no citizens and protects no states. It’s time to get rid of the Electoral College
and have a real discussion about what a modern government and election system
should look like.

About James Carlton

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100 thoughts on “Re: The Trouble With The Electoral College – Cities, Metro Areas, Elections and The United States

  1. The Electoral College made sense at the beginning. Since it was a lot harder to distribute information on individuals in the 1700s, the founding fathers wanted the choice to made by people who knew about candidates. These we can find out more than we ever wanted to know to make an informed decision.

  2. None of you will see this comment but I will comment it nonetheless…

    Many people say and parade that the USA is a democracy IT IS NOT, all but a few of the founding fathers despise the idea of Democracy, because the 51% can oppress the 49% like a radical extermination which Hitler almost suceeded in doing, the scary thing is, Hitler was elected by Democracy. I am not saying an electoral college would change that.

    The electoral college's purpose is to protect against tyranny by the many.

    Now there is someone who can give quite a good argument for the electoral college. Steven Crowder,

  3. i have two thoughts on how to improve the voting system if we remove the electoral college:
    1. break up the two party system as well and have everyone run on their ideals and not on "red vs blue" {us vs them} ideology. then have senators and congress vote on the top three people everyone voted for, this way we have voted in those that truly pick the president, those that are voted in are not trying to appease the party, and lastly if we do not like how they voted we can vote them out.
    or
    2. LET THE PEOPLE'S VOTE MATTER WHEN IT COMES TO PICKING THE PRESIDENT!!!!!

  4. This is a nitpicky point 3 years late, If you orange state map is supposed to represent the 2016 election. Illinois shouldn't be colored

  5. What bugs me about that graphic is that it uses the area of the two halves to imply that Grey is a majority being oppressed by the Blue minority. They're not though, they're two equal halves.

  6. We here in Finland got rid of the electoral college in 1994 and now we are way happier because the presidential elections are now simpler and represent the people better. Believe me, a direct vote is much better than an electoral college!

  7. There are laws about stray electoral college votes. Whether those laws are enforced would be up to the people

  8. I like Star Trek logic here: "The needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few." That to me is the fundamental logic of a democratic system. Now that does not mean to me that we should go out of the way to screw over "the few". I don't think for a second that Metro populations should tell Urban populations whatever they want but in the USA we currently have small towns telling advanced Urban cities how to live when they come from small towns. This is like if a first generation rookie sports player starts telling the 25-years served, second-generation Referees how to play the game. There is a CHANCE that the rookie is right but the vast majority of the time, the rookie needs to be put in their place.

  9. To quote a random person of little import and profound wisdom: "what rights do states have, and why would the people living in that state have that right instead?" If a state isn't representing its populace, or its populace can be better represented by another method, then the state doesn't deserve the right it holds, it's just that the politicians running that state will do anything to hold onto that power.

  10. I like your educational videos. The Electoral College videos seem pretty biased though. In that I don't understand you're motivations if not for the views.

  11. you all are dumb… HE CANT BE BIASED HE DOESNT EVEN LIVE IN THE STATES….. lol did you watch his video about who can vote???

  12. You all seem to forget the US is not a country or a state or a nation; not by actual definition of those words anyway.

    A country is just an area of land so in a sense you could say the us is multiple countries ranging from mountainous areas to plains from tropical regions to arctic regions.

    A state technically means what most people call a country ei France, Spain, ect. the US is a collection of 50 sovereign states and to try and say that this is not the case is to blindly ignore the founding fathers, the declaration of independence and constitution itself.

    A nation technically is a group of people with common genetic origins, usually language culture and religion also are used as criteria but the genetics is still the main factor. So like English, French, Spanish, etc are nations.

    Most white americans have some amount of English ancestry with a spattering of german, irish, ect; which is the same situation that Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are in. So if anything the US would be just a subset of a broader Anglo-Celtic nation.

    Think about this, if the US is not a state or a nation or a country then what is it?

    Answer: basically a not retarded properly functional equivalent to the European Union.

    Question: does the EU popularly elect any of its three presidents?

    Answer: no, not even close.

    The US president is actually elected more democratically than the presidents of the EU in spite of the fact that the US technically is a voluntary union of sovereign states exactly the same as the EU.

    The only problem that exists is in the minds of people who do not understand what they are talking about…

  13. Problem for US is repalcing it with a system that would favor smaller states isntead of urban areas. It's not that it's a perfect system, it's that urban voters have put up a wall that makes the only avaible move to be towards giving them more power. And so US is forced to keep the system unless it wants to alienate all non-costal non-city regions, therefore creating a multitude of reasons for another civil war. And it's the last think US as a whole wants.

  14. It's as simple as the boat needs to be centered around economic success of the communities.

    Communities who have welfare programs that cost them over 1 million a year should be completely disqualified for the obvious failure they've had.

    As well the community should be further classified under the ecological footprint that they have.

    All problems on Earth rise out of urbanization. Bringing too many people together under two scarce of a resource Supply leads them to look outward towards other communities in a violent manner to provide for themselves.

    Just because they're voting and not shooting doesn't mean they're any less violent, they shouldn't be included in the voting.

  15. Just because you put two cups of water in a tall thin glass doesn’t mean there is more water than the short wide glass with 3 cups in it.

    Your cows don’t get votes.

  16. To be fair, most (if not all) states have laws which require electors to abide by the results of the popular vote in their state (and a few states, like Nebraska split their electors by district)

  17. Shit the people on the right explained it one way and those on the left explained it another both didn't clearly state why it's good or bad………. Screw both,
    Thanks for clearing that up👍

  18. The possibility of faithless electors is no reason to throw the baby put with the bathwater. That’s a disingenuous argument at best. You could remove that aspect of it and have a system that’s fundamentally unchanged.

  19. I say we go with sortition instead of all this convoluted voting stuff. Nobody would be advocating the infinite expansion of federal power when the officials are guaranteed to be chosen at random.

  20. Do you want the majority of States to lose their power and allow a handful of States with major metropolitan areas to rule the entire USA? Because that's what leads to succession.

  21. If you defend the electoral college, you're defending a system where sometimes the candidate with LESS Support/Votes wins.
    You can do all the dumb mental gymnastics you want, at the end of the day, you're just defending a broken elitist system.

  22. The part he left out in this and other videos is that one of the real reasons the EC even exists is due to the founding fathers desire to preserve slavery. The EC's roots are racist and THAT is the main reason it should go.

  23. The problem is if the right can’t win elections because most votes are coming from urban cities than half the country won’t feel like they’re being represented and if you think home grown terror attacks are bad now just wait till you abolish the electoral college. Updating the electoral college is a better idea.

  24. Crying about the electoral college in the last election is pointless. Hillary did not really win like some people think. Trump was smart enough to know you win the election with electoral votes, so this is how he ran his campaign. Trump was trying to get enough electoral votes to win. Those were the rules. Hillary knew the rules but she opted to try and win with the popular vote. Which failed. If the rules were changed to popular vote, Trump would have campaigned differently and Hillary would have too, and Trump still might have won.

  25. The point is, it is a fallacy to think that Hillary would have won if we had no electoral college. Trump would have ran a different style of campaign in order to try and secure the popular vote.

  26. CPG Grey, we have to remember what was going through the minds of the Founding Fathers. The Electoral College is there as a final safety net. If the ECMs (electoral college members) get word from the FBI that the candidate who won the November Election is a wanted war criminal, they can prevent a potential madman from entering the presidency

  27. We need to have the discussion on what the election system should look like before getting rid of the Electoral College, not *after*. You keep saying "we need to get rid of the College and discuss what we'll do", but I really wish you wouldn't say it in that order. We do not want a direct democracy (that initial "Civics 101" map)

  28. I would love to see a video on why it's not the winner-take-all way that 48 of the states use to distribute their electors that's the problem or at least how the electoral college encouraged that and why the winner-take-all couldn't be outlawed or at least blunted.

    Winner-take-all is what creates swing states. Not the electoral college. 2 states distribute proportionally, showing that it is not the electoral college, which is a federal body, that determines that.

  29. The electoral college wasn't designed to have unknown political-party insiders overrule the results of elections. First, it was imagined that the electors would be prominent people, pillars of the community who could be trusted with the decision. Second, it wasn't assumed that there would necessarily even be an election to overrule. Electors might be appointed by the state legislatures themselves, like senators. Third, it wasn't designed to have political-party insiders, because the folks who designed it had no concept of what a political party would turn out to be.

  30. What if we did it the old way? Most college votes = pres. and second most = vice. Of course, either way, a constitutional amendment is necessary.

  31. If metro areas count, than I live in San Jose. I don’t live in fucking San Jose godamnit! I live in Los Gatos!

  32. Ok your saying an unlikely Sanario. Allso are you taking for grated a pure demorcy with 300 million pepole is a good sistem?

  33. 1:28 .Yes Exactly
    The electoral college requires the president to appeal to a broad section of the country. They cant just be a regional president.

  34. 2:37 That's a strawman. EC was never a guarantee smaller states will prevail. It just (like the Senate) throws slightly more clout to the smaller states proportionally. But with or without an EC, If everyone is crammed in CA, then CA decides the election, even with a popular vote.

  35. It astonishes me how many people don't know what the electoral college is for. It's NOT about representing small states. The founding fathers thought the general public was too dumb to vote properly, so they created a system where you vote for a representative and that representative votes for the president. That is what the electoral college is and has always been about.

  36. suck it grey, it's not time to get rid of anything. the electoral college functions as designed. if the people voted for Literally Hitler, would it be ok for the electoral college to override that?

  37. Parliamentary system makes a lot more sense. Yeah yeah, it makes the "president" part of the legislature and basically folds executive into the other two branches. That's not actually a problem, and in the process it makes those local representative votes matter more so people actually pay attention to the representative instead of thinking they elected a magical tyrant-king who will give them whatever they want and completely ignoring the grifter from their home district.

  38. Why is there ever an argument that the majority of people being represented by the person they choose is "unfair"? If you live in those gray areas, you are in the minority. That's the argument. Saying the larger land area should determine the President is insane.

  39. Ooooooooooo CGP Grey has started to talk about secret society and conspiracies look out bro they will come for you. I for one believe in the honesty of our political leaders and support the system

  40. What's strange is that just before stating his thesis, he stated the most important aspect of the electoral college. Meaning that, although the power to override the decisions made by the electorate remains in the hands of the electoral college, "This has never happened in American history, nor should it." Keep the electoral college as a beacon of hope in a dark world of pull-politics.

  41. Or reform the electoral college so that states dole out votes based on percentage of votes. And remove electors. You cannot, I repeat, cannot allow tyranny of the majority. Thus, you cannot remove the electoral college. We should, however, reform it to be more fair per state.

  42. Faithless electors haven't ever decided an election against the way the citizens voted, but if another election comes along like 1876 (where the electoral college was split 185-184 but the popular vote was 47%-51%) then a single elector (or two) could tip the election the other wY

  43. On most, if not all, ballots it is made clear that a vote for the presidential candidate is a vote for the electors pledged to that candidate.

  44. Guys one of my friends says that the electoral college is good because it prevents mob rule… any way to debunk this?

  45. Just go back and forth between rep/dem every 8 years and every 40th must be an independent. Then Trumps are less likely to win because the left would be forced to choose the "lesser of two evils" (from their perspective).

  46. All the folks who complain about the electoral college seem to also miss the fact it is working as intended. The always want to balance the power of high population states over the lower power states.

  47. You failed to take into account the importance of the Electoral College's ability to decentralize control and to mitigate election interference, which is why the framework of our constitutionally limited republic is fine the way it is. However, if you desperately want to blame someone or something for the problems you currently perceive in our system, then simply turn your attention to the three branches of government that DO NOT obey the Constitution as it was originally intended by our Founding Fathers. Congress continually passes laws that abridge/infringe upon our god-given freedoms and liberties; it codified the "Federal" Reserve to replace gold/silver with fiat currency (worthless paper money); it allows our U.S. military to police the world with nearly 800 bases in over 70 countries; it spends so much every year that we are now $24 trillion dollars in debt; it permits federal agencies to spy not only on foreigners abroad but also on U.S. citizens at home; it grants the U.S. government the ability to topple foreign governments; it approves the funding of terroristic regimes; it forfeited and delegated its constitutional power to declare war to the executive branch (e.g., the president); and so on. Don't forget that it is our job, as the citizenry, to ensure both state governments and the federal government adhere to the Constitution, the supreme law of the land. If, by chance, we fail to do that, then it's not the Electoral College's fault; it's ultimately our fault.

  48. On CGP Gray bias claims: As a Brit, my observation is that in America, if someone doesn't say what you want to hear, he is bias.

  49. Wow. Great job. You made it worse and now you advocate for abolishing something without giving an alternative.
    .
    That's deep.
    That is head in the sand deep.
    -up to my knees in cow pie deep

  50. The only reason the right continues to support the EC is because they know that most of the American population aren't in favor of their ideology and that without it, they would probably never be able to have another conservative president

  51. There is another reason why the electoral collage exists. It is to limit the flaws of democracy. One of the biggest flaws can be shown in Plato's analogy called the Ship of State.

    In Summary:

    Imagine a passenger ship that is lost at sea. Lets say there is a total of 20 members of the crew and 980 passengers on board making a total population of 1,000. The most qualified people to find their way would be the crew of 20. So the best plan of action would be to allow the crew to make the decisions to get everyone to shore. Following democracy, the 20 best people would make up of 2% of the vote while a group of 20 passengers with zero experience in sip navigation complacently negates the professionals say on the matter. This and thus the ship will continue be lost at sea.

    The founding fathers understood this flaw and used the electoral collage as a means to fix the issue. The electoral collage is far from perfect but it serves its purpose of making sure that the people who have the most experience are heard.

  52. That map is so stupid!
    1. It assumes that the people in big counties are unanimous in their choices, which, they never are
    2. The first past the Post used in states to choose where their votes will go akes aquiring the big cointies even MORE important because they can lead to an easy narrow victory in the states
    3. The President doesn’t directly represent the states becayse he doesn’t have almost ANY say on local issues, cingress does that. Therefore, the geographic location of voters is meaningless
    4. The Candidates don’t care for the small states, because they can take a very small plurality in the big states and get a LOT of electoral votes (e.g Trump in Florida)

  53. Meanwhile in Canada:

    >Quebec gets disproportionately more votes than any other province
    >more people vote conservative than liberal
    >more land area votes conservative over liberal
    >two entire provinces vote exclusively conservative (with one exception that’s not even liberal)
    >we have a liberal government because the city of Toronto gets more votes than all of Alberta

    If you think that the electoral college is undemocratic…

  54. It can take away a victory to protect the country from itself, and then it didn’t when it was actually needed. The EC is an abject failure and will only get worse with time.

  55. Nordic Model USA has proposed replacing the Electoral College with a a unified majority.

    Unified majority always selects the candidate most-representative the voters as a whole. It uses a nonpartisan blanket primary to allow the voters to pick candidates representing their diverse views, rather than just their parties. While a simple popular vote and the Electoral College can jump wildly from Green to Red to Green, the unified majority system requires an enormous shift in overall political ideology to make such drastic changes in representation. Rather than winners and losers, the voters reach consensus and agreement.

  56. Hold on a second CGP Grey! The Electoral College was not originally supposed to function the way it currently does today. The Electoral College has been corrupted by political parties. The PEOPLE of each state don't elect the president, but the people were instead supposed to elect other individuals, whose judgement they trust, to elect the president on their behalf. These individuals are called electors. So when the states give their votes, it is really the electors in each state giving each vote. Once the electors are chosen, they did not need to bow before popular opinion or before political parties or before anyone. They should have been like members of the Supreme Court, who are free from the corrupting forces of politics and the the masses of people who could be seduced by manipulative rhetoric and dumb marketing. This is why the founding fathers wanted a republic instead of a democracy. And personally, I agree with them. Its not that people are stupid as much as it is that the average person (myself included) does not have the time and resources to analyze and think critically about what is best for all of us and how to achieve that goal.

  57. Here's something for you let really sink in: If you live in ANY of 30 states in the U.S. which Donald Trump won in 2016 and you are a Democrat – YOU voted for Donald Trump and help him win the presidency. Under the electoral college, all but 2 states are winner-take-all – which means that if you voted for Hillary, but Trump won 51% of that state, NOT ONLY does Trump win that state – they also take away your vote for Hillary and apply it to Trumps electoral college total. In other words: You, democrat, voted for Trump.

  58. How about breaking the votes down further into counties instead of state winner-take-all contests, and disallowing electors from changing their vote against the will of the people?

  59. Can someone tell me a better system (not sarcastic I actually wanna know some other solutions or better ones if you think they are)

  60. 1. The December thing is a problem. But you can fix that without scraping the whole system.
    2. The biggest problem with removing the Electoral College is that it would give smaller states effectively no say in the presidency. When those stays have no voice and the nation keeps passing laws they don't like then there is the danger of them leaving the union. The purpose for the Electoral College (and the Senate) is to provide an incentive to stay in the union.

  61. You partly grew up in Cutchogue? Me too. Neat. Love your channel. I wonder if we were classmates. MHS class of 86 here.

  62. Dude

    The point is that it’s a mixture

    It gives states power and still gives the power to populous areas

    It does both, that’s the issue with these all or nothing arguments

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